Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crew Change and Groceries

The headline encompasses the two most eagerly anticipated events in a mariner’s working life.
It would be nice if they were both straightforward and dependable.

On this boat, the office offers some flexibility on how and where we get our groceries; we can purchase from one of three sourc
es, every week or every two weeks, and choose our delivery times. We do have a budget, of course. Here it’s $100/person each week.

It’s an interesting exercise, attempting to juggle the wants and needs of four (or five) guys from different backgrounds and different parts of the country. I could survive on Dr. Pepper and Lucky Charms if push came to shove, and I still haven’t warmed-up to turkey necks or chicken gizzards.

Two weeks ago, on the eve of grocery day, we threw-out five gallons of spoiled milk. Okay, I thought, we’re ordering too much milk. So I ordered less for these past two weeks. We ran out five days ago.

Always, as the grocery order nears completion, there is a process of adding and subtracting, tweaking amounts, double-checking that everyone on the boat got at least one of his special requests while keeping it close to our allowed budget ….

Crew change for our boat is officially noon, but in practice more like 10:30 – if we’re at the dock. One hitch I waited in the truck for six hours as the customer sent our boat on a wild goose chase around a distant field.

No huge deal, except that I’d driven nine hours and had to go on watch at midnight. It was probably a bigger deal for the off-signers, who were delayed getting home.

The job we’re on now is a good one from that perspective; the dispatchers are helpful, and the run is pretty short, so a six-hour delay is unlikely.

The work boat that serves our rig also is at the dock; when that happens, our runs sometimes get cancelled in favor of loading everything on the bigger boat. With any luck at all, we won’t even move before the crew truck gets here.

Altogether, I don’t have any reason to complain. The tug guys get screwed-over almost every hitch. Just read this.

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