Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend escape (almost!)

As my time back in Everett is coming to an end, we finally were able to get underway for the weekend!  We left Friday night under a clear sky with winds out of the north and decided somewhere around the end of Jetty Island that we should head south to Poulsbo and take advantage of some nice downwind sailing.  We sailed into the night, with the moon rising in a glow of amber and stars all around.  We didn't anchor until 10:30, but it was a nice night. 

Saturday morning I got contacted by work to let me know that I had to come in to work for some urgent tasking.  Ugh!  Winds were not favorable for a gentle return to Everett, a cab/bus/ferry would take forever, and I just really didn't want to abandon my family weekend!  In the end, we decided Sunday afternoon would do.  So we spend Saturday hopping around Poulsbo, enjoying some end-of-summer sales and treats for the kids.  It was a beautiful day and we had a great time kayaking.  After dinner back on the boat, we went for another paddle to check out some seals and were surprised by a plethora of jellyfish!  They were literally everywhere.  Trent touched a few, but Katreina certainly would not!  Such a great day on and around the water, and I will totally miss days like that.

Sunday we busted back to Everett, another great day of downwind sailing (though I'll admit I got a little sick early in the day!) that got us back around noon.  I rushed over to the ship while Frank was Super Frank and cleaned up the entire boat, pumped tanks, and filled water.  He's a machine!  I managed to finish up at work in enough time for us to hit the Farmer's Market for a few minutes, then the kids and I ran around the grassy area to give Frank some "Dad time."  And what did he do?  To heck with relaxing!  He tore apart the shower drain pump in the kids bath that's been broke and proceeded to repair it. 

We capped the weekend off with a nice walk down the pier after the kids went to bed.  It was a perfect evening.  I can't wait to do it all again!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visits and repairs

I'm back to work today after a nice visit from my parents.  It was pretty low-key, but we did get underway Saturday and caught a few crab.  The kids really enjoyed all the extra attention and Frank and I really enjoyed date night! 

On a slightly bad note, the boat does not seem to be happy about my unexpected return.  Since my arrival less than a week ago one of the shower pumps had a membrane go bad, the TV died, and now our freshwater pump completely died.  All are easy enough fixes (we hope), but it's kind of a bummer!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Woo hoo!

Ok, obviously I should be working but instead I am celebrating the fact that I can actually upload photos to the blog from the ship!  I hope it stays this way when we're underway.  This is one of many awesome photos taken in June when we had Kristin Harris come take pics of our family.

I got home yesterday afternoon and am VERY happy to be back!  Trent is talking way more than he was a month ago and Katreina is getting great at spelling.  We had a nice dinner out in the cockpit of the boat and then went for a dinghy ride.  The kids were very cuddly and the night went way too fast, but I'm looking forward to many more nights like that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Slight communications vent

I try not to complain because we have it way better than sailors did even a decade ago, but GEEZ!  I ordered my pictures on July 8th and I still don't have them!  I'm going to see my babies in person before I get those darn pictures in my hand!  And why is it that ABE seems to be the only ship the the US Navy that won't let people (other than Media department and some super big-wigs) use Facebook underway???  And why, oh why, am I unable to upload photos to my blog on this network???  WHY??  WHY?!?!?!!??

Ok, I feel better now.  Thanks for listening!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Since we pulled into San Diego today I got to call home and talk to everyone and it was great!  Katreina hogged the phone mercilessly, but we had a nice conversation.  She let her brother talk for about a minute, then got back on the phone and told me that when she sees me she's going to give me the biggest, biggest hug and lots of kisses.  If she only knew how much I'm looking forward to that!  Then she said, "See you soon!"  That's kind of funny since Frank hasn't told them that I'm coming home yet.  I can't wait to surprise them at school that day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Don't forget your old shipmates..."

In preps for the "battle" today and the anticipated return home, I'm listening to Jerry Bryant and the Starboard Mess's "Roast Beef of Old England: Traditional Sailor Songs from Jack Aubrey's Navy."  It's a favorite album in our house as we love the movie "Master and Commander" and Frank and I are reading the entire series of Patick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin novels.  Anyway, the song "Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates" is one of the kids' favorites and probably the most popular from the movie. 

Lyrics--"Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates"

So to Trent and Katreina..."Safe and sound at home again, let the waters roar Jack...Don't forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!"  Love you guys!

"Mama, I'm comin' hooooooommmmmmmmmme!"

Well, I am happy to report I AM GOING HOME!  Our schedule has seen some flex in the past few days and it looks like we are going to have a few weeks at home before we make the deployment push.  We are wrapping up COMPTUEX now, with battle problems focused on preparing us for everything we will see on a 6-month deployement in the space of just a few days.  It's busy--I'm on watch 0000-0400 and 1200-1600 every day in addition to a full suite of meetings and meals here and there--but I am definitely learning a lot.  In the past month I've seen, once again, that my husband rocks and will do just fine without me, and that with email and phone calls I feel like I'm not too far out of the loop at home.  I think we're going to make it.  But for now....SEE YOU SOON, BABE!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Seattle SeaFair fun

I got the coolest picture and story today from Frank.  The pic was the kids with Johnathon Hillstrand, of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" fame.  The story, well, sometimes it's best to just go with what Frank writes.  Maybe he'll add the picture sometime...  [hint, hint] ;)  He writes:

We had a fun (but long) day today at SeaFair.  It started out great!!  I decided to drive to the park-and-ride near the park where it was held as parking was supposed to be near impossible.  But the iPhone navigated me right past the park and I thought, "Why not just see."  Sure enough, there appeared to be no parking.  Then I saw one space right beside the front entrance with 3 guys at the entrance.  I thought, "Who cares what it costs, it sure will be nice if the kids have a meltdown."  So I pulled in, rolled down the window and said, "Good Morning."  The guy said, "Sir, thank you for your service, just head to the right.  If there is anything you need, please let us know."  I mumbled "thanks" (out of shock that it worked and I didn't even have to pay), and got Super Rock Star parking!  Then shortly after getting in, a man gave me pit passes for the hydraboats!  That was cool, there were whole jet engine motors being craned off boats and new ones put in boats, crews running everywhere, and lots of cranes to lower whole boats into the water.  After that, we walked past a fire truck, and then ran into Johnathon Hillstrand standing there talking to 2 firefighters!  It was pretty neat.  We got pretty good seats for the air show too, although Trent almost bailed on me because of the loud noise.  The kids went into a bouncy-house twice, and were good pretty much all day.  Trent fell asleep about 1 minute after getting in the car, Katreina lasted about 5 minutes because she could see a plane out her window!  I am worn out, but glad we went.

I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to the organizers of the Seattle SeaFair for taking such great care of my family today!  I'm so glad they were able to go and have such a great time!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bye, Eric!

Today I sat in the cold confines of my watch space and watched a live video feed of the flight deck.  Revving up on the catapult was an aircraft that would launch my best friend on the staff off the ship for good.  Thankfully, it had a safe launch and within the hour I was given the news that the plane had landed safely at North Island Naval Air Station, putting him within minutes of his favorite gelato stop in Coronado, CA.  It was a bittersweet day as I will of course miss having him around to chat with at work, but he's off for the better life as a distinguished Olmsted Scholar.  I'll miss you, Eric!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday, Sunday...

So I've mentioned before that Sundays are quite special onboard, with one less meeting and brunch instead of breakfast and lunch.  I took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in, then went out to find a new gym.  I started in the hangar bay using a medieval contraption called a "Versa Climber."  I managed to "climb" to the top of the Space Needle (which totally made me think of home) before giving up.  That thing is just hard!  From there I headed to the new Horizon/Seaside Gym.  In comments to my last post my mom mentioned that "The Boat Show" (check out the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN page on Facebook!) had shown the great view from the rowing machines in that gym and let me tell you, after weeks of working out in white/grey rooms, it was AWESOME!  I biked while watching dolphins frollick and whales pass by.  Then I rowed, imagining I was helping to power the ship along.  And I did all of this, breathing in deep, sucking in the sweet smell of...BACON!!!  I know, I know, you thought I would say "salty sea air" or maybe even "jet exhaust," but it being Sunday morning the only smell out there was bacon!  It really makes working out a greater form of torture than it usually is, but somehow I made it through.

Sounds like the kids and Frank are having yet another awesome weekend.  He sent me great pics of the kids trying out the new toilet he put in their head (boy do I wish I could post photos from out here!) and of them out enjoying the concert at the marina.  And perhaps my favorite pic of the weekend was one of the great sunset, enjoyed from the cockpit of the sailboat.  I miss seeing that with Frank. 

Getting set for a busy week here as our training and testing continues.  Thanks to all the family and friends that are supporting me and all the other Sailors out here--it means a lot to us!