Arranging Our Lives


My week was going along OK, calendar packed full but manageable if all went as planned, assuming I was able to move pretty quickly the whole week. I was chugging along… thinking how weird it was that a whole week was going to happen kind of pretty much as planned.

Anytime Chris calls from the boat, everything screeches to a halt. Just in case. In case there is an emergency. In case he needs something done he can’t do from way out there. In case…. whatever else, you get the idea.

About 5 minutes later, everything was up in the air (as usual). I don’t know why I even write out a calendar sometimes. Anywho…. next thing you know phones calls and texts are zooming. I’m grabbing stuff, tossing piles of random kid stuff out of my car. We are heading to San Diego to bring down a ‘fresh deckhand’ and bring home the, well, not so fresh guy. And some really stinky laundry. And (Yay!) fish for the Market.

It needed to happen. I needed the fish. The guy needed off the boat. We all needed to see Chris. Even if the only time we’d actually have with him was to watch a few fish offload and to take him grocery shopping for the boat. So, 7 hours in the car got us all an hour together at Ralph’s while we provisioned up for the boat and 30 minutes at the dock watching him work. OK.

I’m sure it sounds like I’m complaining. I kind of am, I suppose. But I’m also kind of proud. We’ve arranged our lives (and our children’s tolerance) for this type of thing. It’s NOT easy. But I am very proud that:

1. My husband wants us to bail down to SD, and not just to handle all the shopping, laundering, shuffling of crew stuff (although let’s face it ~ we ROCK those jobs!) … but he really wants to see us all. He could easily tell the crew to get a ride or take a bus and he could hide in the nearest watering hole while the ‘exchange’ happens and the deckhands do all the work. Lots of Captains do it that way. And honestly, those guys more than deserve some hours of ‘play’ when they can get it. But our Captain chooses US. It’s not the easy choice. Kids are loud. And needy. And wives, even the most awesome of us, have a tendency to stand in the wrong spot on deck, and need help with the ladder, and fuss about getting ick on their shoes.

2. My kids heard my conversation, discerned that we’d be ‘going to see Dad’ and immediately went into ‘what can we do to help mode’. Mr. Max helped Little Man to find his constantly lost shoes, My Sweet Girl, faster than you can blink, grabbed clean underwear and toothbrushes and sweaters for all, as if she were a 44 year old experienced mother of 3 already. We all fell into ‘who is going to deal with the dogs mode’ and got it handled right away.

We needed to leave at about 3:30 am in order to get to the dock at the right time to make all this happen before the boat needed to leave again. So at 2am I was in my kitchen sharpening colored pencils. My kids all really love to draw, so I always bring paper, crayons, pencils etc along, so they’ll be entertained in the car. Or at the dock as we wait for fish to come off the boat, etc.

In my sleepy brained fog I was fussing a bit about my broken schedule and my crazy life. Then, I saw all of those colors. And I thought that every time we make one of these trips, or get a frantic boat call about a broken part or a crew issue, or we fight with some politician about our fishery, or we spend another $5000 on some unrecognizable boat part (to me at least), or we have a horrible season or maybe an incredible over the top one… every single crazy thing that happens is like another one of those¬† colors that are in one of those gigantic boxes of Crayolas that are stored in tiers, because there are so many. The one with the built in sharpener, for on the go sharpening needs. It might not be all in ‘color order’ like when you first get the box…. it’s all random and crazy… but it’s brilliant and gorgeous and full and never, ever dull. When it comes down to it, I guess it’s just a great thing that my kids have a wonderul way of taking all that color and turning it into wild, gorgeous kid art. My life and my walls are plastered with it. That’s just good stuff.

My week did not go as planned. It rarely does. Instead, we had a ‘colorful week’ and made some brilliant memories along the way.

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