merchant mariner families

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

May 22, 2013

top 12, baby!

   I'm not much for top 10 lists, mainly because I don't like being restricted to a certain number of items.  So here's my take on said lists but with 11 instead of the obligatory 10 and if I feel like it, I might add some more later.  And if you feel like it, please feel free to add your own must-haves in the comment section below. 
    Callie's Top 12 Must-Haves for Merchant Mariner Living

Number 12:  A good mechanic.

Most everything that will go wrong with your vehicles will happen, almost certainly, when your mariner is gone.  So unless you feel like taking an auto mechanic's course at your local community college, finding a good mechanic is essential.  What a huge weight it will take off of your shoulders and the mariner in your life.  Beyond switching out wiper blades I'm useless, so I'm glad to have my father and father-in-law on hand, as well as a good mechanic.  Every little bit helps!

Number 11:  A complete understanding of household bills and how they will be paid in his or her absence.

Surprises aren't good, and let's face it, when The Merchant Mariner is out to sea, you're in charge!  More knowledge of the financial situation and plan in the house means less stress and anxiety.  And in event of something tragic, you won't have to spend time figuring out passwords for online banking, bills, or even sort out what needs to be paid and when.   

Number 10:  The emergency number for the ship or company your mariner works for. 

You have to be able to contact them in an emergency in some form or other, so having the ship or company's number handy is key and will save you a lot of valuable time and trouble in these type of circumstances.

Number 9:  An over inflated ego.

Wendy the Welder was AMAZING!
What do I mean by that?  "I'm the most amazing person on this planet because I  (fill in the blank)"  It's statements and feelings like this that might just get you through some of the tougher times while your mariner is out to sea.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself because the washing machine exploded all over the floor, you can appreciate the fact that you're a pretty incredible person for taking care of it on your own...BECAUSE YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!  As Tonya George (a mariner wife) once said, "We are an elite group!"  Remember that.  Not everyone would be as successful as you are at this life. 

Number 8:  Power of Attorney

This is so helpful for times that your mariner is out to sea and you 'd like, for example, to sell a car in both of your names.  However, you have to carefully research which type you need for particular circumstances as a blanket power of attorney may not work when you want it to.  
Dave Mountford (a mariner) and his wife, Jamie ran into such circumstances..."We had a real legit Power of Attorney written up by a lawyer and when Jamie sold our house the bank wouldn't accept it. They wanted us to use their own 'in house' Power of Attorney." 
Number 7:  An Experienced Accountant

Over the years, it really helped to have an accountant experienced in dealing with merchant mariners at tax time.  It was completely worth the money as Beady and I likely would've divorced had we 
done the taxes together one more time!    

Number 6:  A healthy vice!

Dirt the Skirt, Ladies!
Whether it's "rough-housing" with your local baseball team, watching 8 episodes in a row of Downton Abbey, or digging ditches in Third World Countries, DO IT UP!  It's so important to do your own thing, be your own best friend, you know?  Although I really enjoy hanging out with Beady when he's home, I love the fact that I have my own "stuff", things I do that don't involve him, that are just about me.  It helps to keep me grounded and not to get sucked into being just Beady's wife.  I was a super someone before I met him and I'm sure as heck not going to change that just because I fell in love!  
We're great together and we're great apart.   

Number 5:  A good babysitter.

This is perhaps the one of the more important must-haves.  Why?  So you can be successful at number 6, that's why.  You need "Me Time", everyone does, which is why it's so essential to treat yourself to a break once in a while.  SeaWife, a mariner's wife and friend of mine, is a full-time stay-at-home mom who uses a babysitter at least once a week to recharge and not be mom or somebody's wife for a few hours.  
A definite must-have. 

Number 4:  A well of patience.

No explanation necessary.

Number 3:  A 'mariner spouse or partner' friend.

It's a truly wonderful thing to be able to vent to someone who knows exactly what you're going through.  Why?  Because they won't say stupid things like "Maybe you shouldn't have gotten involved with a mariner."  Instead they'll say things like, "YOU'RE SO AMAZING AND YOUR MARINER IS SO FRICKIN' LUCKY TO HAVE YOU!"  And if you don't have one, you do now...write me ANYTIME you need to vent, I'm happy to hear it and will completely understand and not call the police when you say you're going to kill your mariner when he gets home because a tree decided to fall right across your driveway and you had to put your overalls on, strap the baby to your back, and attack that tree with a chainsaw just so you weren't trapped for the next 4 months! 

Number 2:  Big time familiarity with your local Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware.  

Between my father-in-law and Home Depot, I have gotten a crash course in Fix-It knowledge around the house as I'd only ever lived in apartments before Beady and I met.  It's so nice to be able to go into these stores and remedy an issue that might normally have taken months to resolve in waiting for Beady to return.  Now I can't fix everything, but I can certainly attend to any number of things I would have left to Hubby had he held a land job.  It's very empowering!

Number 1:  A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!

To me, this is THE most important 'must have' to have.  You are going to experience a number of 'I can't believe this is happening to me right now!' moments when your mariner is gone.  Sorry, it just goes with the territory.  How you react in each situation will be a good indication as to how fast you resolve it.  Now I'm not saying you're not going to get angry because sometimes you will, that's only natural, you're a human being for crying out loud and life can be really unfair.  But if you can see it, at some point, for the ridiculousness that it is, you'll be so much better off and the next time something like it happens, you won't get as angry.  I can't tell you how many times I've just sat down on the ground and laughed at how ludicrous a particular situation was.  Having to deal with a destructive skylight leak never happens on its own, oh no, things like that always occur when you have to put your most beloved pet to sleep and the furnace starts making a high pitched ringing sound while putting off smoke.  These are the times I always look up and say, "Really?"  But the fact that I can laugh at it sometimes immediately, sometimes a week later, makes life so much easier because I'm not a victim of my circumstances.  I'm a strong person who can handle a lot, if need be, since life is life and more importantly, life is really funny from time to leaky time! 

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner


  1. I love your list! It is very well written and totally true!

  2. You nailed it, and I used my Power of Attorney to transfer the title to the car yesterday. The people at the local hardware store know me by my first name, and I resently started having a babysitter sit for me to just do whatever, but I stilll haven't found a good mechanic, but I am working on it! I wish I read your list 3 years ago when we bought our home, my life would have been easier!