The SA is leaving. His time is up. He is very excited about leaving. He has been dancing around, singing the "I am going away" rap, and talking about everything he was going to do once he gets home, mostly involving sex and alcohol. He was describing to me as I stood washing dishes (and he stood not working) all the sex he was going to have with his wife when he got home. Now the cook is pretty tolerant of a lot of things, but I guess this was just too rich for him. The cook turns away from the grill and looks at the SA and says this:
"Fifteen years from now you will be home with your wife on a slow day. You will turn to her and say, 'let's have sex', and she will say ok. You will climb up the stairs, go into the bedroom, crawl into bed, and get under the covers. Then you will both look at the ceiling. After about five minutes of this she will turn and say to you, 'I can't think of anyone', and you will say, 'me neither', and you will give up and take a nap instead."
I had just gotten used to the Chief Engineer, making sure to pay attention to how he operates on a personal level for when I get into the engine room. And now we have a new Chief. The old chief got knocked down to 1AE, the old 1AE, who was really cool, is now 2AE, and the old 2AE left (I think-- I didn't really know the 2 and 3AEs). Apparently, he isn't high ranking enough to run the football pool anymore, because instead of the old chief continuing to run it, or the new chief taking over, it has passed on to the second mate.
This is the second mate who called every single game last week, while the rest of the board was covered in Xs. I have one more ten dollar bill before I admit that gambling was a bad idea. Or until I go to an ATM when we hit Toledo
Speaking of leaving, a whole lot of people had thier time come up at the end of the month, or perhaps at the first of the next month. SA, 2AE, Watchman, QMED, and a Conveyorman are all getting off within a week of each other, and thanks to circumstance, most will be getting off when we hit Toledo tomorrow. Some departures are invisible, but when the wave is this big (and the SA is so loud about it) it does change the mood a bit. On the other hand, our poor captain has been waiting to get off for going on two weeks now, but first there were the mechanical issues, and now it sounds like they just can't find anyone willing to take over from him because they don't want all the river duty we are scheduled for. As the cook says, these captains all want the big bucks ($1000 per day and up! I made a $1001.47 last month), but they don't want to work for it. I told him that I, too, wanted big bucks without working for them, and he scowled at me.
The current plan is to hit drydock in Toledo as soon as we finish this run in Cleveland, so we should be in by tomorrow. They think it will take four days at a minimum even if the problem is trivial just to open everything and then close it all back up, and if the problem is bad we may be in for a week or a bit more. There was talk about sending the deck crew home, but I think they found some nasty sounding job for them to do. It is still up in the air as to whether I will be on the nasty job crew or stay in galley, but the nasty job sounds really interesting (cleaning out the guts of the engine while it is cool) and the galley job is nice and peaceful. Either way, they have been very emphatic that there will either be a whole lot of overtime for everyone, or else there will be strictly no overtime at all, and anyone who says different is just wrong. I make little enough that I can laugh about it.
I keep saying that I am not making shit, but I made a bit under half of what I was making monthly in my last job, and this is the very bottom of the payscale, so I feel pretty good about that. The fourth phasers each made about $5,000 with an average of two hours of overtime a day. The QMED who is on his first ship as a full union man from Piney Point made over $7,000. Apparently the Chief cook and Chief engineer made somewhere around $20,000-25,000, so that sounds like about the top of the payscale, except of course for captain who pulls in $1000 a day base rate. Obviously, everyone's but my own pay is hearsay, though it sounds like what I have been hearing elsewhere. It also sounds really good.
It is going on a year now since I had to cut my hair for the first time in years, and I still don't like it short. When I am having a nice shower, I will sometimes get way more shampoo than I need anymore. When I put on a shirt, I will sometimes forget and brush my phantom hair out of the way. Of course, now I am going bald for real, so I don't even know if I will ever be able to get it back to what it was.
Though isn't that the tale of aging? Not knowing if you can ever get back what you once were?
"Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocks beneath the waves
I am older than I once was
Younger than I'll be
That's not unusual
Nor is it strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same"