Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dicey situation

I was in the freezer hold two days ago and a dicey situation presented itself.  I'm in the freezer every day.  It makes me stronger.  Gives me focus.  I like it because I can just work my ass off and no one bothers me.  In this case, however, I was bothered by fifty tons of fish falling no more than ten feet away from me.  Obviously fifty tons of fish won't fit into a ten foot cube or any other dimension that is bound by ten feet, but the beginning of this titanic collapse was quite close.  This is always a problem that we fear when steaming back to Dutch harbor.  The weather, if rough, can wreak havok on stacks of cases of fish.  It did.

My favorite part is having to pick up the fish and re-stacking it.  That is clearly the best thing going.  In a close second place is hearing everyone suggest new ways to stack the stuff so it doesn't fall.  No one seems to appreciate the fact that free standing stacks of anything not reinforced by super glue or a bulkhead is going to fall if provoked.  It can be frustrating.  It was frustrating.  Then we did an offload.

The offload is by far the worse day of any trip.  And that's if you're lucky.  In some cases, it's the worse two days of any trip.  In this case, Terry asked for some 'Corey magic' because we had a timeframe.  And it was tight.  I said no problem, we'll take care of it.  And we did.  With 45 minutes to spare.  So when I saw him, I calmly unsipped my pants.  You know, for a job well done.

So back to the collapse.  I was down there with Jared.  Toward the end of the trip, I need another guy down there because there isn't any way to move around the hold and creatively place the cases.  We were there.  And we hit a roller.  It wasn't a particularly strong one.  Definitely not the worse the boat has seen.  But the fish flew off of their stacks.  It looked like a Star Trek episode.  When they'd take a photon torpedo from some Klingons and everything would cant about thirty degrees and fly across the room?  That's what it looked like.  I came up laughing. That's my reaction when I see my life flash befoer my eyes.  I said the hold fell over.  The assistant foreman asked how many people I needed.  I said everybody.  It ddwas like 'The Professional' with Jean Reno when Gary Oldman's character needed verybody to get the professional.  He seemed to think I was exaggerating.  He asked how much fell over.  I said probably fifty tons.  He looked at me like I just told him I was pregnant.  Then he went down and saw it and told everyone to get in their freezer suits.  Everybody.

We got it done with only half of the people who came down to the freezer hold trying to tell me what needed to be done. Which is a fair ratio.  And offload is done.  the sorry thing about offload is that you have to do it again everytime you fill up the boat.  If it was something you could  catgorize as a one time thing it would be one thing.  Like, this is the worse thing you'll ever do but you only have to do it once.  That wuld be cool.  But no. Everytime we get paid, we have to offload.  Shit.

Another fun little tidbit is the Shakespearean drama that plays out when people try to talk to eachother around here.  Often times the participants of a converstaion don't really converse. I would call it a monologue, but it is less directed.  It is a soliloquy.  They are just saying their thoughts out loud for the benefit of whoever.  It is infuriating to listen to.  I heard people talking over eachother with no regard for the previous statement.  Unbelievable.  I guess it is just the flagrant disrespect for others that bugs me.  There you go.  That's that.  Offlaod?  Sucked.  Not listening to people?  Sucks.  Now?  Rest.  Maybe. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

32 again

I found out a few days ago that I'm 32 years old.  It isn't like I never knew my age.  It's that I didn't know how old I was on my last birthday.  For some reason, when people asked me how old I was, I said 33.  Now, understand that my birthday was in September.  I had this revelation in late January.  Ya.  That happened.

So at first I was thinking, 'wow! I have a whole extra year now.  I'm so young.'  Then I rechecked the math on being born in 1980 and it currently being 2013 and not having a birthday yet in this year.  Yep.  Checks out.

Out here on the boat, I'm not the oldest guy, but I am not in the young crowd either.  My boss, Terry said to me, "Hey Corey, we're gonna try to go with one guy in the freezer hold more this season.  So let's get you in the factory for half the day (which is 8 hours around here, working 16 and a half hours) and beat up the younger guys."  I said sure.  Well, the younger guys couldn't quite hack it, so Terry asked me to get my freezer stuff on and I have been going solo in the hold since.  We just offloaded 400 or so metric tons of fish and I put a full two thirds in there.  Lotta work.  Especially for an old guy.

Well, the point is that when I discovered that I was really 32 instead of 33 I jokingly told Terry about the situation and proclaimed myself a young guy.  He laughed.  Because that's what he does when I make jokes, pointless or otherwise.

Then I laughed inwardly.  Whatever number of years I've been alive is beside the point really if I'm already forgetting my age.  I could think of a hundred analogies to illustrate the point.  Not necessary.  I forgot-or more accurately-never knew my age.   That's senility setting in any way you flip it.  Ha! 

However old I am or feel, I can say with confidence that I out worked everyone in that hold today.  Flat out.  It isn't even my job to do labor per se, but rather to make sure the operation runs smoothly during offloads.  But I had to step in and show young and old alike that I still got it.  I actually enjoyed quite a bit of it.  And I hate offload.  And I also dominated my nemesis, the boxalator.  Later.