What Are You Thankful For This Pandemic Year Thanksgiving?

I am so thankful to be at work. I am thankful that this year I have had more work than I’ve had since I was laid off in 2015. Maybe this long downturn is finally ending?

I’m thankful I still have some savings left. I’m not totally broke yet. I still have my house and most of my assets, though I’ve had to sell off a few things in order to survive the last few years with practically no work. I’m thankful I’ve had the years of experience of working in the offshore oilfield which prepared me for this time. I did all I could to be ready for the layoffs.

I’m thankful to be fairly healthy. I’m not deaf, dumb, blind or seriously injured. I do have some health issues (I’m getting old) and I’m still fat (nothing new there, I still have no success dieting). I’ve pretty much given up on that and just accept that I enjoy my food and drink and always will. I’d rather enjoy it all rather than deprive myself in hopes of a few extra years of life.

You never really know what’s going to happen anyway. You could die in a car wreck tomorrow. I could find out I have some kind of cancer next month. I have such a hard time right now with this ‘pandemic’, it has a 99%+ survival rate but everyone in the world seems to think it’s worth throwing away everything that makes life worth living in order to be ‘safe’. Like anyone ever could be.

There is no such thing as 100% safety in this world. Life entails risk! There is no living without it! Giving up so much, reaching for that 1% just seems totally insane to me.

I’m thankful for my friends. They accept me as I am. I don’t have to dress up or play any games. They don’t run me off (very often) if I start going on about one of my ‘conspiracy theories’. I’m glad I have so many I can talk about such interesting subjects with. I get super tired of having nothing to talk about but sports and babies!

I’m thankful that I’ll be able to eat and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner out here on the boat where we’re all living pretty much normally (we just check our temperatures daily). I do not have to worry about any idiotic mask mandates or restrictions on how many friends I can invite over to eat!

I’m really, really thankful that more and more people are starting to wake up. To stand up and fight for their (and our) freedom. That they are no longer willing to submit to the idiotic, arbitrary and ultimately useless rules and restrictions being forced upon the world using the excuse of a deadly pandemic (covid).

I’m thankful that I can still get around (tho who knows how much longer that will last with all the covid restrictions ongoing). I’ve been able to keep my ’97 F-150 going and do my best to take care of it. I don’t ever want to have to buy another car in my life!

I’d love to find somewhere to live where I don’t need a car at all. Somewhere like where I grew up in Florida, where everything I needed was within easy walking distance. Not like Texas, where everything you need is miles away and we have no real options for public transportation.

I’m thankful that I still have access to so many great books to read! I have my kindle with me and it’s full of a few dozen good ones. Everything from travel to horror, to biographies and science fiction. I also brought a stock of magazines with me. I’m still working through the Seaways from the Nautical Institute and just started on the National Geographic. I still have a couple of Smithsonian’s and Reason magazines to get through.

I’m thankful I have my house and garden to go home to when I get off this boat. A place of my own where I can spread out. I can relax and lay down on the couch if I feel like it. I can fill the fridge with food, cook and eat anything I feel like. I can adjust the temperature to where I’m comfortable (this boat is always freezing!). I can work on projects like painting while listening to my favorite music. I can look forward to getting outside to clean up my yard while the weather is nice and cool. I can enjoy watching my plants do their thing and pet the visiting cats that come by to meow at me pretty much every day.

I’m thankful for my cameras and computers. They allow me to take photos to help me remember all the fantastic places I’ve been and all the beautiful people I’ve met. I can look back and remember all the good times I’ve had and fantasize about having more in the future. I can wind up practically drooling over some of the emails I get describing bucket list destinations.

They also allow me to share and meet people all over the world who I’d never be able to in any other way. I’m thankful for that too. 🙂

What are some things you’re thankful for?

Christmas on the St Louis Express

We made arrival in Norfolk early in the morning on the 24th. We were all fast by 0315. I slept in til 0630. Got up for breakfast and watch at 0800. We spent the day securing the port accommodation ladder, sending crates down to the engine room with the crane, putting the port lifeboat in the water and putting primer on the catwalks where we’ve been chipping.

Since it’s a weekend, we get overtime even for working on watch. It’s nice to get OT again. I’ve gotten so used to working in the oilfield where there is no such thing as overtime. We work 12 hours every day (or more). No such thing as a break for weekends or holidays. It’s very nice to go back to a traditional schedule of 4 hours on/8 hours off (except that I am here working as a “day man” so I work 8-5).

Today is Christmas, so I took the afternoon off. I think most of the crew did the same. Some of the crew went ashore last night and today. They say there are a few shops right outside the gate (we still have to call for a ride to the gate).

Santa made it to the ship! Actually, it was the local seaman’s center that brought presents for the crew. You have no idea how much it means to all of us working out here to get something like this. So many sailors are working for months, even years at sea without ever seeing their friends or family. It means a lot to know that someone cares enough about us to make the effort to bring these presents to the ship.

Santa brought presents to the ship!

I opened mine this morning. It had a nice Christmas card on top with a thoughtful comment. It’s full of candy, shampoo, shaving cream and razors, lotion, soap, q-tips, etc. All things you need and might’ve forgotten or run out of on a long voyage.

Christmas goodies from thanks to the seaman’s center

The stewards department was really the only one that really had to work today. I have to hand it to them, they put on quite a nice spread for both lunch and dinner.

We had ham, turkey, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green peas, fresh bread, cranberry sauce, and then apple and pecan pie. 🙂

Cooks are happy they made it through the holiday

Not counting the salad bar and freezer full of ice cream. 🙂

For dinner, they had super tender filet mignon, home made crab cakes, shrimp and again all the rest. I was so stuffed, I couldn’t even finish my steak.

It’s cold (37) and really windy here, but no snow yet. Tomorrow we’ll be back to work as usual. The ship is due to sail at 1900. Sadly, I won’t be going with her.

I hate to admit it, but I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be. I took this job as a day man, not knowing what I was getting myself into. Big mistake! Since a large part of my job is running the cranes (4 of them), and the controls are very high up there, I had to face the facts and ask for a replacement.

I’m sure if I’d have shipped out as a regular AB. A watch standing AB, I would’ve done fine. I’m frustrated with myself that I took this job without finding out more about it, but it’s like pulling teeth sometimes trying to get information out of them at the union hall. I was really looking forward to making this trip. Crossing the Atlantic and seeing Europe again. From what I can see, the regular AB’s have it made on here. I’d have no problem doing that job.

I hated to ask the captain for a relief. I don’t like to give up. I don’t like to be a quitter. But, I also have to take into account that I am getting older, I still have not lost any weight, and climbing up and down straight ladders more than a couple of times a day is killing my legs.

I’m bruised all over my body, I keep smashing my knees into the ladder rungs going up the cranes and I’m afraid one of these days I’m going to fall off while I’m cussing out my kneecaps. I have to remind myself that there is no way I can afford to get hurt and if I keep on climbing those cranes, there’s a pretty good chance I would hurt myself before the ship returns to Houston and I’d be due off.

So. I’ll be getting off tomorrow and flying home to Houston. I don’t have any idea when yet. I may be working all day tomorrow and just have a few minutes to throw my gear together. Or maybe they’ll let me know earlier so I have some time to clean my room and get ready.

I’m just hoping they can find me a cheap ticket, since I’m told they will be deducting the price of the flight from my pay. Looks like I may’ve wound up working pretty much for free this trip. 😦

Lesson learned: NEVER take a job as a day man!

 

Poseidons Christmas Dinner

Our catering department stepped up their game and came up with a fantastic Christmas dinner for the crew. The European tradition is for seafood for the holiday. So we had shrimp, mussels, salmon, fresh tuna and lobsters. Appetizers were various cheeses, crackers and homemade pates. We had roast beef, baked chickens, cold meats, even a roast suckling pig. For dessert we had fruits and nuts, cookies and cakes, ice cream and puddings. Our Italian clients even had a  special delivery of enough panettone for everyone to try a taste. Everyone enjoyed the feast. 🙂

We don’t really appreciate the catering crew enough out here on these rigs. I have to give them all a big hand.