merchant mariner families

...a highly unusual, sometimes maddening,
but mostly comical way of life.

May 07, 2013

beady & hyde...the rising

  A little while ago, I posted a question on Callie's facebook page asking if there was anything you'd like to hear about in particular.  I received a few comments, but one of them stuck out, actually screamed at me, as I'd been working on a piece along the same lines.  The suggestion was from Dave Mountford, a mariner, who wrote that he'd like to hear about the "trouble" other mariners might have in transitioning from the ship to land.  For instance, apparently Dave insists that every hose, extension cord, or line in their house be coiled clockwise. I can just imagine what the word insist entails, so my sympathies to his wife and children as I completely understand.  He also mentioned that he consistently tries to drive the car home from the airport at 6 knots, which Google tells me is nearly 7mph.  Nice, Dave, real nice.  I hope for your family's sake that you only live 1/2 mile away, otherwise you should really take a bus home on your first day back.     
  So Dave's comment got me thinking about Beady at home and Beady at sea, the contrast between my husband and the Chief Mate.  I'm sure lots of people speculate at one time or another as to how their mate is at work, no pun intended, truly.  Are they nice, well-liked?  How about proficient, are they any good at what they do?  Is he a jerk to work for?  But my biggest inquiry has to be 'What does he do out there, how does he live?'  And that's where this idea of transition comes into play as I've gotten glimpses of the Chief Mate over the years and I just can't tell whether I like him or not. 

Grandmother's watch, rarely worn...
     Like Dave, Beady sets all of our clocks to a 24 hour format which doesn't really bother me as Big Daddy Mitchell did the same and I was in the military for quite a while.  However, my husband makes an elaborate production, each time he comes home, of setting all the clocks to the same exact time, down to the second.  I'm not sure what standard he's using to perform this ritual, but it's quite a ceremony that even involves resetting the car's clock, all the while tsk-tsking me as I was the cretin who let time run haphazardly.  Additionally, I've stopped wearing watches all together as he constantly corrects me when I answer someones inquiry of the time.  "No, that's not right," he says while showing his watch to the questioner and simultaneously shaking his head in disappointment of me.
   Lashing is also a huge event in our household and I've come to dread those moments when we have to move big pieces of furniture from here to there in his father's truck.  I'm not certain where he keeps all of his lashing equipment in our house because when he pulls it all out to begin the job of securing, I'm always amazed at the fact that the amount of material he brings doesn't need its own room for storage.  And forget about going anywhere soon as it takes him a good hour to finish lashing.  Most of the time I just go back in the house and watch TV until he's done even though he inevitably complains that I wasn't out there to help him.  Why would I do that?  The long shoremen, professionals who lash cars and equipment down for him on the ship, don't always make him happy when they're done with the job, how could I even come close to pleasing him?
   And this one's my absolute favorite.  Apparently, on the ship alarms go off all the time and are subsequently addressed.  So Beady is like Pavlov's dog when he hears one off of the ship.  Anywhere we go, if an alarm is sounding at any level, he finds it very difficult to concentrate on what we may be talking about or anything else for that matter.  He becomes obsessed, agitated even with the alarm until someone shuts it off.  But this is the best part of it, at home I often run the dryer at night when we head to bed.  It's got an annoying buzzer that goes off when it's done, which I rarely notice even when I'm asleep.  Not Beady, which is why I love it if I'm awake when it goes off while he's sleeping.  As soon as the buzzer sounds, Beady rolls off the bed into a squatting position, all from a deep sleep, and scans the bedroom with enormous, feral eyes, this goes on for a good 30 seconds.  I usually just watch him (while I'm laughing hysterically) as he orients to time and place.  The first couple of times he did it, I nearly peed the bed, I mean it's like he works for the CIA.   
   Yet, in the laundry list of quirks he brings home with him, there are only about three that really concern me, irritate me, confuse me and they all have to do with traveling.  I'm only going to tell you about one of them today for time's sake, but don't worry, we'll make it a trilogy so you can be assured I'll fill you in on the rest at some point.  Here goes...Beady is an excellent flyer, the one flight attendants wish they had a cabin full of.  Why, you ask?  What makes him so special?  Well, to begin with, when we get to our seats I'm more concerned with sitting down and getting out of the way; I figure, these are our seats, I'll just sit down so everyone else can get by and get situated, we can sort out the details later.  Oh no, not Beady.  If I sit in the wrong seat (his seat), he'll announce to the plane, "You're sitting in my seat," and stare at me until I move, as if I'm a stranger, not his wife.  All the while a long line of passengers glare at me like I'm some sort of airplane criminal trampling on the rights of God-fearing citizens like 'You're Sitting in My Seat' man.  

    Next comes the lecture, and I mean lecture.  Every time, without fail, Beady gets comfortable in his seat and takes out the tri-fold brochure the flight attendants will use to give us all a safety briefing.  He reads it thoroughly, looks throughout the cabin for emergency exits, rows, etc, then assesses the passengers located near and around these exits for strengths and weaknesses.  Then he turns to who he perceives as the biggest weakness on the plane, me, and begins a 5 minute dissertation on emergency procedure which includes how he will get me off of the plane as if I have no arms, legs, or even the will to live.  "I'm just telling you right now, be prepared!  I'll most likely throw you over my shoulder and disembark through the wing exit.  People don't move in an emergency, so I'll make sure you get off alive!"  Sometimes, I think this attitude he has about flying is endearing, other times I want stick my finger up his nose when he's getting to the John Wayne portion of the lecture.  
    I've tried several times in the past, unsuccessfully, to dodge this part of the flight.  I'm already nervous enough as it is about flying and really don't want to have a conversation concerning all of the catastrophic scenarios that could occur while we're 30,000 feet in the air.  I mean, I listen to the flights attendants, honestly I do.  They have a lovely way of speaking about such disasters as if they're a mere nuisance, nothing to worry my pretty little head about, and sometimes they even manage to make these calamities seem inviting.  That's their job, they're really good at it, so I truly feel as if  Beady's 'Air Transportation Inservice' is completely unnecessary and a bit melodramatic for this particular civilian.   
   I'm pretty sure in all of these instances, it's the Chief Mate Beady is channeling , I'm such a lucky girl.  So that person, the one who leaps off of the bed and crouches like a well-trained ninja, or the incarnation of Policy and Procedures Guy seated next to me on every plane I take, is the one I imagine to be working at sea in Beady's absence.  And though he gets on my nerves from time to time, I'm so grateful that he only makes an appearance once in a while at our home as I couldn't imagine full-on Chief Mate, 70 days straight, 24 hours a day.  I think I might coil the garden hose counter-clockwise around his neck and lash him to an incorrectly set grandfather clock if that were the case.   

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner


  1. my hubs doesn't do much of anything like that except for waking up in the middle of the night for a few days and needing lots of make up sleep, I said SLEEP. (haha) He does love his routines tho, I'll admit that, he wants my homemade granola in the morning, but he's pretty easygoing. I'm the freak!

    1. Poor Beady! I've used him abominably in service to Callie's Mariner, all with little to no complaint from him. I hope he never decides to share my one million quirks with the rest of the world!

  2. Ok - I think I figured out what lashing means now (phew) and I'm getting a sense of Mariner life. You are an awesome comedy writer, Callie! (And an even more awesome wife!)Ooops - did I write that out loud?!?

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I'm so glad you're enjoying this even though I neglected to explain what lashing was! I went back and re-read it with "fresh eyes" and thought, Wow! does this sound bad... ;)