merchant mariner families

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

October 02, 2013

the trouble with tape...

   It's my turn, yup, that's right, my turn to experience one of the bigger life changes while Beady's at sea.  Which one, you ask?  Selling a house and all of the joys that come with said endeavor.  Now before I get too far ahead of myself, please know that Beady worked his little butt off before he left, doing as much as he absolutely could just so I wouldn't be straddled with unnecessary troubles in the midst of a closing.  He was like the Energizer Bunny, after a long day of moving gigantic boxes and heavier furniture, he'd come home and pack some more, so anxious about leaving me in the midst of a move.  It was endearing, however the constant pressure he put on himself to 'get it done' made me sad and I tried, unsuccessfully, to reassure him that the amount of stuff left to do was certainly manageable and he didn't have to worry.   

My "office" during the move.  Salty is still with me!

  Now that he's finally left, of course it's been tough, it would be that way for anyone selling their house and moving to a new place, never mind someone who has a partner out to sea, but I'm finding the silver lining is a lot more material for Callie's Mariner!!  Case in point...  

  I'm pretty sure I've spoken to Beady's underlying OCD?  Resetting all the clocks when he comes home, lashing sessions that take hours, etc, if you missed it, you can read about it here.  Again, is it a Chief Mate thing or is it just the way he's programmed?  I don't know and can't say that I'll ever find the answer to that particular question though I love him anyway!  Well, his latest one reared its ugly head for others to witness in the form of tape.  And frankly, I'm not even sure what kind of tape it was.  Even the plumber had a hard time identifying it.

   It started innocently enough, part of almost any home sale is the inspection, of which we came out of excitedly unscathed as the items the buyer asked us to address were minor.  Minor with a side of irritation as is everything that leads back to the Chief Mate.  Now I'm willing to bet that most of you involved with a merchant mariner got a handyman of sorts in the bargain.  The same was true of me, something for which I'm very grateful as it's saved us quite a bit of money over the years.  But in this case, my luck ran out when I received the 'Purchase and Sales Agreement' that requested I "...professionally repair the drain and supply lines in the two bathroom sinks and kitchen to be completed by a plumber currently licensed in the state of New Hampshire."  What?  Didn't Beady install all of those particular units and haven't they looked and functioned superbly for the last 7 years?  

   Okay, so you know how they say your body can't tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?  Stress is stress, right?  And my current stress involved the excitement of moving to a new place, a new home, as well as seeing a bunch of friends I hadn't for the last 15 years.  Exciting, right?  My body didn't think so, you see, by the time the plumbing incident popped up I'd literally just gotten over a sore throat that had lasted for about 2 weeks.  Before that, I experienced an over-sized zit (no, I'm not being dramatic) that probably should've been removed in a day surgery procedure instead of running its course for 9 days.  And throughout everything, even up to this day, my hair started falling out in clumps despite a trip to the hairdresser which usually resolved the situation.  Too much?  Well, I'm trying to illustrate the way my body dealt with all of the positive stress I've been feeling about the move over the last month and a half so that you'd understand my sheer terror at the thought of just how my body was going to react to the plumbing issue with Beady gone.  Measles, vision loss, rabies?  What was next?!!  With more than a little fear, and simultaneously hoping I wouldn't have to sleep with the plumber to cover his costs, I eventually called to schedule an appointment and prayed for the best.

   When he arrived later in the week, I showed him the request, as well as the report from the home inspector that detailed all Beady had potentially done wrong in his quest to make our home a nice one.  The plumber, Kevin was his name, nodded and proceeded to look around and under the kitchen sink, as well as the two bathroom sinks.  Here is an example of what he saw in EVERY space he looked into...

His first question, as he scratched his head and crinkled up his brow line, caught me totally off guard as I assumed he must already know the answer.

Kevin:  What kind of tape is that?

Me:  (Shrugging.) I don't know.  Isn't it electrical tape?

Kevin:  No.  It looks like it...but no.

Me:  Oh...well what kind of tape are you supposed to use?

Kevin:  You're not.

Me:  Oh. (Awkward silence.)

Kevin:  You say your husband did this?

Me:  Yup.  ( It was all I could say even though I wanted to lie and tell him we let a kindergarten class come in and experiment with their mysterious brand of tape.)

Kevin:  Well, everything else looks right...I'm not sure what the home inspector thought was wrong.  Maybe he thought the tape was hiding a more serious problem?  I'll get it off and fix it back up, okay?

   And he did, although Kevin had to replace some of the components once he pulled it apart as the glue from the tape had ruined them.  Fuming, I began to compose an e mail in my head to Beady about his costly misstep.  WHY THE TAPE!!  WHY EVERYWHERE IN THE PLUMBING THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE!  Oh boy, was he gonna get it!  He was going to get an "eye-full" on his computer tomorrow morning in my most articulate and audacious e mail to date!  I had learned to live with his mariner quirks over the last 10 years, but this was going absolutely too far.  He'd cost us more money because he couldn't control his tape fetish, a fetish, mind you, I hadn't even been aware of!
   Suddenly, Kevin came into the living room, perhaps he could feel the steam rising from my body, and asked had we had a leak at some point.  I nodded yes and explained to him that it was more of the pipes not being attached correctly in one of the upstairs sinks, not my husband's doing and something which he remedied immediately.  Unfortunately, it wasn't in time to avert a little damage, however Beady fixed that as well.  Kevin went on to explain that he could see why Beady had taped all of those spaces, even though it was completely unnecessary.  "I've had leaks before, ones that caused a whole bunch of damage.  It's not fun and once you've had one, you'd do anything to prevent another one from happening."  He chuckled, adding, "Although, I'm still not sure what kind of tape that is."
    Almost immediately, my body relaxed and adjusted to a normal running temperature.  I even felt the hair on my head secure itself a little more firmly back into place.  Of course!  He was only trying, as always, to prevent potential future threats from occurring, and inevitably, to protect me and give me a safe and comfortable home to live in.  He had always tried to make life a little easier and a little less stressful for me, why should pipes under sinks be any different?  So I shrugged my shoulders, smiled a tiny bit, and thought how much I loved my merchant mariner, my handyman, my Chief Mate.  These quirks were just a part of that adventure and would always be, no getting around it.  Consequently, it wasn't so hard to write a check out for 'The World's Most Expensive Mystery Tape Removal.'  

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner 


  1. :) Sounds a lot like Matt. He is quite the handyman though this is usually the sequence: thing needs updating, update attempted, thing actually breaks, thing gets fixed. We bought and sold while he was at sea as well. Pregnant and with a 2-year-old! Surprisingly, it went very smoothly and it was nice to stay extra busy. The only thing that gave us a major headache was securing our lenders DO NOT understand the income of merchant mariners!

    1. Once again...glad I'm not the only one! ;) And I'm really looking forward (not) to the other end of this when we purchase a new home for the exact reasons you stated!

  2. My husband is home finally and identified the mystery tape as RESCUE Tape, LOL. We bought and sold and moved and 4 days after we moved, 6 months preggers, my husband went back to sea. It was a world wind event, and banks really do not comprehend a Merchant Marine Engineers pay, it made everything so much more tense!!!

    1. Beady still claims he bought the tape in the Plumbing section at Home Depot, but I'm not buying it! Glad to hear your story about moving. I don't have any kids, so if you can get through it with all of your additional "stresses", I should be able to, right? ;)

  3. Hi Callie, I just want to say I'm really glad you're taking the time to keep this blog. I've been searching for some sort of forum, some sort of SOMETHING to reassure me that I'm not the only one out there cyclically losing her mind with the coming and goings of her merchant marine. There's so few support groups it seems (and by few I mean none) for msc significant others. This is a beautiful site you've created, I'll be following and sympathizing with you.

    1. Oh, Shana, I feel like a broken record, but that warms my heart right up! Your note is exactly why I started this project and I can't even begin to tell you how good it makes me feel to see that it's actually working. In my own life, I feel so bolstered most days just knowing this unique group exists and is helping each other out. Thank you so much for writing, Shana, I'm so glad to have you with us!

  4. I'm only going to shake my head and just say, this is the difference between a mate and an engineer. :)

  5. Your blog hits home. I have just loved reading it. I've been looking for something to read, or some type of support group for merchant marine significant others and this one is so perfect! :)