Saturday, March 15, 2008


Rejoice! Hallelujah! Shift work is over!

Advance warning: I'm pretty tired and I'm not sure my thoughts are logically organized tonight, but here are a bunch of things off the top of my head...

We just finished 14 days straight of working 11 hour shifts (3 hours of pre-watch tours, training, and briefs followed by an 8 hour shift). Plus, we started on a Friday, so there was a normal work-week leading up to it and we worked through two weekends.

Things finally started looking up this morning. In spite of a headache and the anticipation of a critique at 10 a.m., I crashed hard at 8 p.m. and managed to get 11 hours of sleep, took a shower in my own shower at home (instead of that sheet-metal closet with a water spigot on the barge), took ES to school and then treated myself to some Starbucks.
Aside: I know my previous post about ordering coffee at Mickey D's every morning gave Caffienated Cowgirl convulsions of horror, but I had every limited options at 4 a.m. I am SO ready for a day off tomorrow and the rest of the weekend. It's a pretty busy weekend we have planned though.
The critique wasn't bad, although I was starving and had to piss like a race horse by the time we finally finished 2 1/2 hours later. Something occurred to me as we sat there going through the sequence of events, causes, and corrective actions. One guy was typing up the group discussion on a cause-map Excel spreadsheet up on the big screen. I think having to sit and WATCH someone ELSE do ANYTHING in MS Excel (or MS Word or MS Outlook or MS ANYTHING) is a new form of torture that the CIA could start using instead of waterboarding.

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Man my neck hurts. I've given myself repeated cases of whiplash walking around the boat with all sorts of scaffolding, ventilation ducts, and other temporary services hanging in the overhead. Keep in mind I was tall to begin with (6' 2") and have always had to duck as I walk around the boat.
Aside: I've noticed a recurring pattern on each of my boats (including prototype as a "boat" in this discussion, there was MTS-635 then SSN-719 then SSN-725 then SSN-708). For about the first three months in each case, I was very cautious and ducking everywhere I went. Then at about the 3 month point, I would start to get overconfident that I knew where everything was and stop being so careful, so I would start knocking the holy crap out of my head on things that had been there the whole time (like the Feed Reg Valve handwheel, or the locking handle for VH-3 in between the navigation plots in control - I especially hated that one as Navigator). Back to my original line of thought...
With the added height of my steel toe boots and my hard hat, I have been practically knocking myself out. Thankfully, the hard had has kept me from getting any big lumps on my head, but it doesn't protect my neck from the whiplash that occurs as my head ricochets and goes flying backward while the momentum of my big'ole beer gut continues in a forward direction.

My instinct with the added height and increased number of hazards in the overhead has been to just walk around with my head angled down. The unfortunate results are that (a) it obstructs my vision of upcoming hazards in the overhead, and (b) when I run into things, it's like I put my head down and ran into a brick wall. It sends a shockwave of compression down my neck.

Advice to any other tall people going to the shipyard: What I've been trying lately that seems to work much better is to walk at a crouch, bending my knees and waist, but keeping my head upright. This has helped me to maintain good visibility of overhead hazards, and I think it reduced my height better than just ducking my head.

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In spite of not exercising and eating whatever was convenient (and convenience doesn't normally equal healthy), somehow I lost weight the past two weeks in a row. I don't know how that's possible, but I'm not complaining. I look forward to getting back into an exercise routine.

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Get sirius...

I've had KLOVE playing in my office all day every day for a while now. I'm starting to OD on KLOVE. Their playlist is great when you listen for an hour or two per day in the car. It lacks enough variety to listen to all day at work because you end up hearing the same songs about once an hour or so.

As an alternative, I've found out Sirius is available online. I've been listening to my favorite Channel 22 - First Wave for the past two days on their three day free trial. It's been AWESOME. I guarantee I never hear the same song twice in a day, but every song I'm like, "Yeah! I love this song!" I'm considering paying the membership to continue listening after the free trail is over.

Don't get me wrong, I still love KLOVE and listen in my car on my way to and from work, but it was a nice change of pace to get some variety by turning on First Wave the past couple of days at work.

Yaaaaaaaawn, streeeeeeeetch. Okay, I'm going to bed. Hope you all have a FANTASTIC weekend. I already think it'll be the best weekend I've had in 3 weeks. :-)

P.S. Oh, Jud's picture from the Washington DC Metro is really cool. (Go back to the 3/14 blog entry).

1 comment:

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

"Convulsions of horror" - I am still laughing out loud! You're right...actually, what I was really thinking while reading that was "dang, I need to send that man a coffee maker with a timer" :)

Glad you're off shift work!