September 15th, 2005


Home again, home again

But on duty.

Not so bad, though. At least I don't have to come back for duty
tomorrow. When I walk off the ship, I don't have to be back until Sunday
morning. Yay!

Dad and the girl had fun, I think. One of my brother chiefs was always
hauling Dad off to somewhere interesting, and the girl made friends with the
four other girls she slept near.

More later. Maybe. Things to do now.

I learned at least one thing

That whole idea that one can be a parent and still have a responsible
position on a starship (as in Star Trek's Dr. Crusher & son) just isn't
going to work well at all.

See, on a ship underway, one is always on duty. Take me, for
example. I'm responsible (under the Division Officer) for the maintenance
and repair of navigation, radar (except for two of them), air traffic
control, IFF, and communications equipment. When any of it appears to
malfunction, my folks respond and take the necessary actions. When major
things break, they're calling me to let me know, and I'm interfacing with
the Division Officer and Department Head, and sometimes the CO (Commanding
Officer). That's a 24-7 job underway.

Then there's watch. For me, watch is in addition to my primary duties, and
I get four to five hours of watch a day, depending on which watch I stand.
Add in all of the other things a chief ends up doing, including 20-some-odd
people's professional growth and training, and there's not much time left
to be mommy. Or daddy.

I didn't see the girl nearly as much time as I would have liked to, but we
did spend time together as my schedule was mostly cleared specifically for
that purpose. Usually when she was with me she was bored....

But where I was going with this: one cannot be a good parent when one has
major responsibilities on an underway surface ship, so I don't think one
could manage the task on a spaceship when it is 'underway'. Or conversely,
one cannot be good at holding major responsibilities while being a good
parent. I suspect that I shall no longer be pleased with fiction that
pretends this is possible.