Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 4:30 PM
Subject: Ugh! You wouldn't belive
What an impossible 36 hours it's been...
I just adore herding people to bed and listening to them complain...then running around all morning because some of them had too much to drink and got in trouble...there are so many hours I'm about to use up over the next couple of days because of people being stupid...
And of course that's when some of our gear decided to break...
Soon, though, it won't matter because I will be HOME...
Hope your week has been better than mine...
The 'people being stupid' weren't actually mine. My guys stayed out of trouble. I was the command drug and alcohol program advisor, though, so all of the alcohol related liberty incident people came to see me. And I had to attend all of the disciplinary meetings.
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 11:08 PM
What a rough couple of days! There's nothing worse than having something broken while you are on watch from 10 pm to 3am and knowing that the guy who is fixing it is the one who is supposed to relieve you on watch...
So what could I do? He kept fixing and I kept standing watch. Eventually someone came up to take the last two hours of his (after I'd been up there for seven hours) and I went down to help fix it. And then of course the parts are not onboard, but I let someone else run that message while I got a couple hour's nap before I had to be up for the afternoon events.
So it took a couple of days to sort myself out.
Now I have to put my creative writing skills to use again because it's evaluation time for some of the junior guys, and their supervisors are madly trying to produce something for me to polish up. (we only have about ten evals to do. Only.)
So enough about how my week has been. How about yours?
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 12:59 AM
going home finally. too bad it takes forever to get there.
and i have absolutely no motivation to work right now...
see, i'm too lazy for caps...
so i started a whole bunch of posts for a whole bunch of folks so that i could still pretend i was being productive
just not the way i'm supposed to be
and i went out and just watched the water rushing past the hull. it's deep blue, now, not the almost-black that we saw for months on end or the turquoise of the arabian gulf with it's occasional oily sheen
but deep, ocean blue, of the sort you see almost anywhere
and the only whitecaps are those tossed up by the bow.
the water is foamy white close in to the hull, and as you look further out you see the wave tossed up by our movement
and it curls towards us, and the white foam underneath shows through the dark water amd makes another lovely shade of blue.
you can hear it when you are standing on the missile deck, over the noise of the gas turbines - both the generators and the engines - you can hear it splash, and ripple, and it sort of makes the same sound your hand does when you run it just below the surface of the water, and it also sounds kind of like the beach.
the spray flies up and mists over your glasses, and since it's salt it streaks when you wipe it off.
the bitt is warm beneath your behind, and the sun is so bright you can hardly stand to look at the white things
you can feel the deck throbbing slightly beneath your feet
and you can smell the ocean, just a little, the salt and whatever lives there and dies there
and the exhaust from the generator stack behind you - it smells different from what gets blown down from the main stacks, because the engines that drive the ship burn hotter and not as steady as the generator engines
and you can smell the last bit of fuel on the deck and in the hose from yesterday's underway replenishment
your hair blows in the wimd, and now it's going to stand up in all directions because of the salt from the spray
there are people on the flight deck, the only place to smoke but it's further aft and the wind carries the smell away
there are people running around the aft superstructure - they can't go all the way to the forecastle because of wet paint
but there on the sun-warmed bitt, with your feet propped up on a rail and the salt on your lips and the wind in your hair and the sun hot on your back and the sound of the water filling your ears even over the engines and the smell of fuel in your nose and the white foam almost hurting your eyes...
you can be so alone that you don't even realize how much you are craving physical contact of some kind until someone pats you on the back as they pass and ask how you are doing. not even anyone special, and they have no idea that they've given you something you needed...but they did. and you notice all the people again.
i'm still pretty happy.
'Coposts' refers to the fanfiction club I was and still am writing with.
Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 5:00 PM
Subject: Random thoughts instead of working...
Had a 'steel beach' picnic today...it's still amazing that we think it's a good idea to set up a grill right between the torpedo tubes and the missile launcher...
So here we are, underway, and we might or might not see any other ships out there. Some group or another onboard (the Morale, Recreation & Welfare Committee, the First Class Petty Officer Association, the officers, the
chiefs...) gets tagged to man the grill and cook. So everyone pretends to be excited, gets into shorts and tee shirts and heads out to listen to music (and of course we take turns annoying everyone with it...) and goes out to eat the burgers and dogs and whatever else they've cooked up, maybe ribs maybe chicken and then there's the usual picnic food like beans and such.
So we sit on the missile launcher, or the deck, and the non-skid pokes your skin, or maybe not because it's wearing thin, especially on the flight deck. We can't repaint the flight deck no matter how bad it looks because we are certified for helo landings and the white landing marks are meticulously measured. That's to keep the helo rotors from hitting the ship itself, which would be a bad thing. After two years it's starting to look pretty bad, and then there are the four yellow duck footprints courtesy of the 'desert duck' helo - that's the helo squadron that delivers mail and parts to all of the ships in the Arabian Gulf. (sometime in the last ten years we've stopped calling it the Persian Gulf...must be a political thing.)
Okay...so the grill stinks, the burger is not quite cooked all the way through, I hate baked beans and especially the version we have here, the soda is warm, the deck is hot - I never bother to change out of coveralls - the music stinks, and the only positive thing is that the sun is shining, the ocean is a lovely deep blue - that 'ultramarine blue' and the water sounds nice. I still don't know why I hate those picnics, but I do. Always have.
I guess I'm not much of a social person.
So I have watch now, 0430 in the morning, and I idly check the department's eight o'clock report - the list of everything that's down or degraded - and everything on it belongs to my division. Five divisions in the department, and the only things broken are mine. That could have something to do with CE having something in every space on the ship. Anyhow, if the ***** parts would just get here that would help.
But then I remind myself that I'm on my way home, and it doesn't matter if the Coca-cola still tastes wierd - the cans have pull-tabs that come off and arabic writing down the side and they really _do_ taste different. It doesn't matter if the email is sporadic, although that does cause a little anxiety on my part...wondering what's happening to all of the characters next is rather my little substitute for 'soaps' and it certainly lets me take out a few frustrations by making imaginary people miserable. It doesn't matter if my entire morning was wasted because some people had too much to drink and did some things too stupid to ignore - they won't have the opportunity to do the same thing in the next liberty port. It doesn't even matter that I have almost no drive or desire to do what needs to be done.
All that matters is that in around a month - give or take a little - I'll be able to drive, and play with my daughter, and snuggle my husband, and surf the internet, and have a long tub soak, and just get up and eat whatever I want out of the fridge at whatever hour of the night.
And that is what is making me vaguely discontented with everything. For the first time in six months, I let myself think of those things, and now I'm impatient for them.
So time to forget again, at least until we hit the last port before going home.
I really don't set out to have gloomy emails to you...
One of my guys has a real ***** for an ex-wife and she was going to take the kids on vacation during his leave right after we get back. We tried to work around it, but it just couldn't happen for him because we can only have so many people gone at any given time. Well, he finally got tired and told her that he'd spend every penny of his re-enlistment bonus ($15k) on his lawyer if the kids weren't there when we get home...and now all of a sudden she is sooooo cooperative. Good for him. Good news. I laughed.
If I find stuff like that funny, it's no wonder some days I want to stay in my bunk all day. Plotting. Sleeping. Just staring at the bunk above.
Things aren't all gloomy, though. I have less than three months before shore duty. :o) Before Dawn-at-home-every-night.
I wonder how the family will handle that. I will have time for SHOPPING in used bookstores, and thrift stores, and just about anywhere else I like to scavenge for good books. :o)
I will wear more than tee shirts and jeans.
I will see a movie occasionally. Alone, even, if I want.
I will be able to plan things for a weekend and know I won't be too exhausted to do them before the weekend even starts.
I will be home for dinner. On time. early, even. Every night.
I will be able to take a college class.
I will have lots of things I can do that I used to enjoy doing. Lots. And girlchild and I will have lots of Mamma-girl time.
:o) Happy now.
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2002 7:14 PM
Subject: duty again...
But yesterday I bought matching silk pajamas for Katie and I. They are berry-pink with pooh bear all over them. :o)
Got rained on a lot. Ate well, though. Had some yummy ice cream - sesame cashew. YUM! And a lovely fish filet in a white wine sauce.
Hope you are having a quiet night. I have watch in about seven hours, but there's still trainings, and I'm sort of on call for anything dealing with the combat system and electronic maintenance, as well as making sure that everyone does some of the checks we need to do to get underway again.
Didn't buy anything else except a picture for myself. It's basically cut and carved out of rawhide, then colored. I seem to be making a collection of asian dragons...
Phuket, Thailand, as is the email below.
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 11:07 PM
Subject: Yawn. Sumble. Stumble. Yawn,
Hiya. Let me tell you about last night...
Stood watch last night from 4pm-8pm, then climbed down a rope and wood ladder (called a Jacob's Ladder) off the back of the ship and rode a bouncing little speedboat in to the pier, where I kept putting our ship's folks into the boat to send them back. Then the seas got too rough and they had to sit there for an hour, then we started running the boats again but only one drove well enough for everyone to get off so here I have people backing up and I can only send nine at a time and it takes a half-hour at least for them to unload all of their stuff at the ship because they have to hoist it up.
Finally we got to run both boats so I was getting them out more regularly, but they were really getting backed up and then the other three ships had to stop running theirs (three ships full of marines all annoyed that they had to be back by midnight) and _then_ things got real ugly. Our folks had to be back by midnight as well, and we didn't get them all on boats to the ship until 3am.
People were falling or getting pushed or jumping off the pier - I was actually about three barges out so we queued folks up on the barge as we had room - and loud, and noisy, and I was one of the senior folks out there in uniform. _Then_ I sent for a bullhorn. That was fun. Drunks don't like it when you set off a siren about a foot in front of them. :o) Told 'em I'd do it again if they didn't listen to the nice Marines trying to keep them in line.
They had some bad incidents...so bad I can't go into them right now. We didn't have any problems until right at the end, when one of our guys didn't make it back. I got stuck out there for an extra hour - got back at 4am - and two of our shore patrol had to stay out until this guy turned up. The beach detatchment (manned by the other ships now) hunted for him, hospitals and police were called to see if they had him...and he finally turned up at about seven am...which is fifteen minutes before we set the sea & anchor detail and an hour before we pulled up the anchor and left.
Did I mention that it rains all the time here in Thailand at this time of year? I soaked two uniforms - one on watch and a second on the beach. Good thing I kept an old pair of boots in my locker. They were soaked this morning when I got up...at about 645 am...and actually, my hair was still wet. Didn't really mind, it wasn't bad since it was warm. Just annoying. Now I know _exactly_ how my characters are supposed to feel when it gets to be the rainy season at Anchor's Fall.
The sobering thing was when I was talking to a woman at the bar the night I went out...she was happy it was raining even if it was bad for business because it meant her household would have water again. Imagine.
Still, I did enjoy being there. Bought a matched set of Mamma-and-girlchild silk pooh bear pajamas. :o)
Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2002 7:32 PM
Subject: Heya -
Betcha can't guess where I am...out being part of the scenery for the 'birth of a new nation'...of course, we aren't exactly going ashore in Dili, East Timor...Only a few folks are going for a community relations project. Not I!
The water is a beautiful deep blue here but the land looks dry and brown. It's a series of steep hills and there's green dotting the hillsides but a lot of brown...not lovely green like Bali.
Anyhow, hope your eveing is going smoothly.