”Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea–on, on–until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
After a hurricane, an election, a Nor’easter and a nightmare we’re still hanging in there for the last gasps of 2012. The Mayans were wrong, some minister down in the Bible Belt was wrong (a couple of times) and now were preparing to leap from the fiscal cliff as soon as we croon the last notes of Auld Lang Syne.
Once again the schedule has me and my crew aboard for the holidays. Every other year we are aboard. We “swing the hitch” every year by putting in a three week hitch right around Thanksgiving that effectively reverses which holidays we’ll celebrate at home. We could do a week and a week, but the amount of traveling we’d have to put in at the busiest time of the year is prohibitive. Our crew change day is Thursday, and Thanksgiving (if you’ve been keeping track) is also and always a Thursday. We’ve looked at trying to swing the hitch at different times of the year but because of the Thursday crew change, it has to be around the Thanksgiving week. It doesn’t work any other time without forcing an additional disruption in time on and off.
It’s not difficult to put in three weeks, some guys work a three week rotation as a normal hitch, some work a lop-sided four weeks on and two weeks off. And some (I shudder) have no schedule, they work until they have to quit to get off the boat. Something that would make me consider an alternate career choice. Something like a chocolate chip brownie/cookie shop in Colorado next door to the local “smoke” shop maybe.
At any rate, I was home for Thanksgiving so that’s really enough for me. No running and driving and wrapping etc. And after three weeks of kicking back at home my Missus is sweet to say she ‘ll miss me when I go back to work. I’m almost certain she’ll breath a sigh of relief when she doesn’t have to deal with me bumping around the house messing up her “stuff”. She needs her alone time too.
The boys have got a beautiful prime rib dinner ready to go for tomorrow with enough pie and cookies to spike your insulin levels off the chart.
Operations continue as usual. We’re looking to be en route to Baltimore on Christmas day and so it goes…
The radios are chirping holiday greetings with each passing arrangement and we’ll be changing crew soon after the holiday. A few tugs are decorated with (illegal) holiday lights (shhh) and the harbor is still recovering from the hurricane’s impact.
My crew and I wish all a safe and warm holiday. May our next “trip around the sun” bring better days.