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May 25, 2006

A day in the life of a bubblehead

24MAY01 0115

Slow midwatch* today with hardly any sleep oncoming. I got to the rack last off watch at 1400, watched a movie and went to sleep. I was woken up at 1515 because our forward-looking sonar wasn't transmitting and they wanted me to fix it. I got dressed and went up to Control only to find out that the dipshit sitting there didn't know how to operate it.

I went back to the rack but was woken up again at 1640 because Martin had to yak, guess he isn't feeling good. Can't really get too pissed of at that. But for fuck sake, I need some sleep before I have to go on watch at midnight for 6 hours...

Got to the rack about 1700. The messenger didn't wake me up for my midwatch so I was a little late relieving Senior Chief Ratti, not that I care. That guy sucks at relieving the watch on time. Actually he just sucks in general- as a sonarman, a leader and a human being. Sonar rider #1 let Ratti have it when Ratti started bitching about sonar rider #2 (names have been hidden to protect the innocent). Rider #1 shit on Ratti for: passing out system lockups to Control while the towed array was stowed (civilian equivalent: calling tech support about a monitor problem when the thing isn't plugged in), relieving the watch late, lying about a data package that he said we turned in but was actually hidden in the back of the safe and then whining like a bitch for having to stand one port and starboard watch while his techs spent 40 hours troubleshooting the sonar system so the ship could stay at sea. One of those techs was me, by the way. What a tool.

I would love to hit the rack after the midwatch (6 hours, of watching green sonar screens just sucks) but I have an hour of cleanup starting at 0600, Department Training at 0700, Sonar training at 0800. Nope, no sleep until 0900. I will be one tired puppy.

We are supposed to surface tonight or tomorrow morning, but for what nobody knows. Well, at least I have a choice of halibut or pork for dinner before I go back on watch. Think I will bust out some rack rations and get a spaghetti MRE and wash it down with a Georgia coffee. Yummy!

The Recreation Committee is in some deep shit right now with their money situation. Thank God I got rid of that bag job while I had the chance. Inaccurate record keeping, and LTJG Knope being an idiot, caused a massive internal audit. This came about because the COB wants to start planning for our Christmas party (in May, in the middle of the Pacific?) but found out we only had a few hundred dollars in the Rec Committee funds. He suspects foul play but when I reminded him that the Captain would not support highly successful selling products, like Zippos, for fear of promoting the image of a smoking navy. Of course that was preposterous to the COB then I reminded him of the $5000+ I made last deployment as the Ship Store custodian selling those kinds of things. Everyone was shitting daisies when we had enough money for picnics in Guam and a killer holiday party at the Hale Koa upon our return. But when the well runs dry the witch-hunt begins.

The Rec Comm meetings are formalized now instead of a bunch of guys sitting around throwing out ideas to better the morale of the crew. The process reminds me of the scene in Animal House when they are at the hearing for their possible charter revocation. New business, old business, stupid business- come on. Seriously.

24MAY01 1600

The rack spit me out so I decided to take a shower and hang out in crew’s mess for a while. I love taking showers underway; it is the one true thing that breaks the strangling grip of this place. There are a few caveats: finding massive amounts of body hair, mostly pubes, clogging the drain; being in rough seas and bouncing back and forth off the cold, stainless steel walls; a clogged drain (noticed only too late) with massive amounts of body hair (mostly pubes) floating on the surface of the water around the ankles; having the evaporator break thus resulting in all showers being secured- the absolute worst possible scenario.

We are leaving our operational area (OP Area) to pull into Sasebo for a few days. Frankly, I could use a few days in to recharge. We’ve been on our own for a few weeks now and everyone is stressed, especially the brand new junior officers; they truly scare me. The C.O. made an announcement and woke everyone up earlier today to inform everyone that LT Sicola passed his Engineer’s Board. Great, another officer who’s been in half as long as me but making 5 times much.

I am hoping to have some time off in Sasebo to restock my rack rations. I blew through my Hershey’s miniatures way too fast. I also need to send some letters off and perhaps even get some mail when we pull in. I have yet to have a bundle of letters in wait.

*Editor’s note
I only received one letter from my (now) ex-wife that whole deployment and it was the Dear John letter so common in Navy relationships. The punch to the gut that accompanied this kick to the dick was the fact that she sent it to me 3 weeks before I was to pull back in off this 6-month deployment. She couldn’t wait 3 fucking weeks?! WTF? Nothing like being abandoned by your significant other when you are 5000+ miles away and no way of reaching them except for a few phone calls every now and then. I used to be bitter about it but I think I am over it now.

Sasebo is one of those ports that is always on the list that nobody really wants to go to. There really isn’t anything to do, nothing is close and we are moored at the very end of long ammo pier separated by a humongous shipyard. I remember seeing portion of an enormous tanker in its last stages of construction- truly a feat of modern engineering.

There are a few bars that we frequent- Bunny’s and Grammophone- and I think I will those places up and leave the cultural shit for next time. I just need a shitload of Jack Daniels shots.

Side note: We are pulling in the day after we run out of fresh salad. Coincidence? I think not.

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