Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tight spaces

Sometimes decaf coffee drinkers luck out. Example- here I am at Starbucks an hour before closing and since most people like hi rev coffee (this week so do I during the day. Still only little bits.) they don't even have it brewed which means for the same price I get an americano. The same used to be true at my favourite coffeeshop in Indiana. And I have to say I am enjoying the well marketed comfort here. (For more on feelings of that nature this week read two blogs down. ;) )

Today I was down in the laz (lazarette/engine room). I worked hard and felt like I was five. It's rather tight and labryinthy down there. Unlike the bilges there is plenty of light but strangely I felt more claustrophobic in the laz than I did in the bilges. Claustrophobic is incorrect- claustro-frustrated is far more apt. But before we go into that how about a little bit of translation as to what on the boat I'm talking about anyway?

So as I have mentioned we are currently in Shipyard which means they've hauled the SeaBird out of the water and she's raised up like a car at the mechanics. Only on a much larger scale. Before this we had to take a whole bunch of stuff out of her to get her ready for her 'spa treatment' as the bar tender, Patricia, put it. So right now our boat has no water- this time I mean running water- but we do have electricity. It's like camping except you work all day instead of hike or swim, and you don't always see the sky or sun or trees. And you have steak for dinner. And we don't sleep in tents. Okay so it's not actually much like camping but sometimes we think so. Our galley is temporarily moved to a blue tarp and the crew is living at the Days Inn, which by the way I'm thoroughly enjoying.

After the boat came up from the water we dutifully went about covering EVERYTHING inside her because of the huge mess we were about to make. Out came the garbage bags, the carpet masking (oh carpet masking. I will be perfectly fine if I never see carpet masking ever again.), the blue tape, the huge sheets of heavy duty plastic until the inside of our boat looked like an energetic 8 year olds imagination playground. With hard hats. On the outside the Shipyard workers began necessary maintenance on the SeaBird. I wasn't part of this so I'm not entirely sure what it entailed but I know there were sparks, blow torches and paint.

On to the bilges. So the bilges are as far under the boat as you can get and as far as I can understand without having actually asked the water system is in it. So we climb under the crew quarter floors to get into these small dark compartments called bilges and there we chip off bad spots and rust, grind them down where necessary, clean up and then paint. I say 'we' but until today I really only did this once. People walk around in white tyvex coverall suits and look either like astronauts, scientists from E.T. or Oompa Loompahs in Willy Wonka's television room. They come out of the bilges and look like miners. Sometimes we don't recognise our own because their appearance quite changes during the day's work.

As for myself- Jackie and I have been doing a lot of odd jobs. I've done some of the Engine Room organizing for Perry - not much organizing. Mostly moving things to their new containers and relabeling. But apparently useful so that's good. We have both done a LOT of carpet masking. Some of the carpet is being redone and so carpets we had masked had to be remasked- poor Jackie got stuck with most of that which is semi-hilarious because she abhorred carpet masking from the first day and I worked with her. Jackie's nickname is 'sailor mouth' and some of the things she said while we were trying to work with this obnoxiously difficult material made me laugh out loud. (Jackie is a musician and my roommate.)

Today I got put in the Laz to work with most everyone else. Now the Laz is also under everything but it's where most of what we unloaded and what I've been organizing goes and it's where most of the mechanics and everything else of the boat are maintained. There is technically a lot more space than in the bilges and yet I felt like a five year old today because I kept nearly having temper tantrum nervous breakdowns down there. I wasn't afraid of the closeness but I was incredibly frustrated by it. Do you know that feeling when you're a little kid and you can't make something simple work- you get caught in a piece of clothing and can't get it fixed right and you become so so frustrated by it? That is how I felt. I knew it shouldn't be a big deal but I kept bumping my head and I couldn't reach places I needed to clean and my spray bottle didn't work and I bashed my thumb. It makes me laugh to think about it all now but wow I HATED the Laz. hahaha!

But when I would come up into the blue sky and sun to breathe fresh air (oh yes, we also walk around with goggles and respirators. When we aren't wearing hardhats that is. :) ) and walk a little grumpy into the dining room I was cheered by the sight of this bright red poinsettia that one of the carpeting guys bought for us. He was grateful for being part of our -really yummy and nice - Thanksgiving dinner and so brought the flower for us. It makes me so happy.

Hmmmm. As I type this a lady comes to sit near the plug because the scooter she needs to get around wants recharging. She tells me that it came with a bad battery and so it works very slowly and they've been waiting a very long time for the new battery to come. As she tells me this I think that that must be truly frustrating. She sits down next to me, her husband across from her on a laptop working on his book. Her name is Fran and we have rather a nice chat in the twenty minutes before Starbucks closes.

And now it's time for bed. Good night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

When I was a little girl my Mom used to take a brown paper bag and cut it into the shape of a featherless Turkey at Thanksgiving. Then she would cut feathers out of appropriately colored construction paper and we would write down on each feather something that we were thankful for. The turkey and the feathers all went up with scotch tape on our big glass front door. (I think one of the reasons I want to be a Mom is because ours did such a good job of making childhood fun.)

There was going to be more to this blog when I began composing it in my head during shipyard today but this seems to be all I can remember. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and sadly I won't be home. I will however be donning my hardhat, goggles, and coveralls to go work in shipyard. I've never done that on Thanksgiving before. :) We'll get off early which is good and we'll have Thanksgiving yumminess in our little makeshift galley tarp which will also be a new experience.

Holidays almost always make me excited and happy- even stupid ones. I'm not including Thanksgiving as a 'stupid one' by the way. But there are some stupid ones and I even get happy about those. It's kind of weird but I'll take it.

If I had a brown paper bag turkey with construction paper feathers how colorful and full could we make his plumage together? :) If you care to leave a note, tell what you're thankful for. Thanks for reading.
plume 1 (red)- the difficulty of choosing just one plume.
plume 2 (orange) - that spellcheck asked me to change 'yumminess' to 'chumminess'. hahaha!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Positioning, Fam Trips and Shipyard, oh my!

right then- a super quick blog after a very long day! We're in shipyard for the next two weeks in Alameda, California our 3 day positioning trip from Oregon (hurrah for some good rest, a LOT of sleep (a rocking boat, seasick tablets, eternal night from boarded windows and a formerly busy schedule can make you sleep more than you knew you were capable of. And I know I'm capable of a good deal!)games of Boggle, conversations with Jackie, Christmas lights, silly movies, milkshakes, and bowriding dolphins.)* and two - day and a half familiarization trips in San Francisco (ohmigoodness they were BUSY.)
So anyhoo, for the next couple of weeks the ship is going to be drydocked and we're going to be fixin her up and getting her in 'ship shape' as is the annual custom. I'm excited for the change of pace and type of work. AND, we get to stay in a hotel almost the whole time and I am so so happy about all these crazy little American conveniences like free wi-fi and taco bell. And my goodness it's funny what ship perspective does- Jackie and I are amazed by ALL THIS SPACE. I don't hit my head and wander around wondering if I have a concussion because of my low ceiling bunk. The ceiling looks so high and in the bathroom the shower has an actual tub and is entirely seperate from the toilet! It's crazy! I will say they don't fold their towels as nicely here as we do on the ship though. ;) Ohmigoodness this very normal size hotel room is about 4 times the size of our quarters built for three and we're delirously happy with all the space. Or maybe we're just delirous- we did work from 6:30am to 9pm.
I don't know for sure how this reads as I am tired but do know that these aren't actually complaints just funny observations. We like our little cabin ( we actually missed it when we had to move to guest cabins for positioning), like our crazy boat life, and work today was unusual prepping the ship to go drydock.

*wow. I didn't realize that whole huge runon sentence was all parenthetical. Sorry about that. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smeeks and Baby laptops

Here I am, cold and wet, in the aptly chosen 'Wet Dog Cafe' in Astoria, Oregon. We are at the end of our river season of which I have written nothing and for that I apologize. Hopefully posts will be a bit more faithful now as I am the happy new owner of a brown 'baby' laptop. Darkness and I have been calling them (we ordered the same thing at the same time and so they are not only 'baby laptops' but 'sister baby laptops, Yes, we are silly.) baby laptops and looking forward to their arrival all smeek. And so now I get to sit here with a coffee and enjoy the wifi! How fun.

A 'smeek' is what we have been calling the small weeks that the river trips have consisted of. We begin in Portland, Oregon and travel through several locks up and down the Columbia and Snake rivers. I'm never quite sure if I'm in Washington or Oregon because one is on one side of us and the other on the other. So when we're in port and I call home or somewhere and they ask where I am I stall for a moment and then say 'I'm not sure'.

I'm kind of freezing here in my jeans which has nothing to do with the temperture of this establishment and everything to do with my rain soaked jeans. And so my happy wi-fi usage will be cut short so that I don't get a terrible cold before we position down to California. Hurrah sunshine!

More soon~