Friday, October 2, 2009

Settling In

I've had a busy couple of days even though I'm not at work. But I have a HOUSE!! It's a cute little 2 bedroom cottage just three blocks from downtown. Easy walking distance to restaurants, shops, the FARMERS MARKET!!, yoga studio and the library. And about three miles to the ship...definitely bikeable. It's an older house that has been reasonably well taken care of, but the paint is chipping and the kitchen show signs of 20 years of renters. But a good cleaning and plenty of new shelf liners make all that manageable.

My arms and legs are covered in bruises from moving all my furniture in. I have too damn much stuff! A lot of it is really beautiful stuff (my Persian rugs look *amazing* in the living room), but some of it is stuff I haven't seen in 10 years. I'll probably spend the next eight months that I'm here integrating the last decade of my life, with paperwork and books that have been scattered over four locations for quite some time. Waialua stuff meet Virginia stuff meet San Diego stuff meet Bahrain stuff. I'll be making some trips to Goodwill.

I've really enjoyed spending these last few days in my new home. But it is a little odd being away from the ship. The crew is still very busy getting stuff done. There's range dates, casreps to follow up on, a small boat to break in, generators to replace, a tsunami to prepare for, weigh ins, SGLI updates...wait a second...a TSUNAMI!!

You've probably heard of the earthquake that shook Samoa on Tuesday. My heart goes out to the people whose lives were devastated by the quake and the following waves. I'm so proud that the Coast Guard is participating in the relief efforts.

But here in Hawaii, we had to make preparations in case the tsunami came this far. The easy response for ships under a tsunami threat is to get underway. Out to sea, the waves are much less noticeable so it's safer for ships to be away from shore. So there's two difficulties that KISKA faced when we got word of the tsunami warning. The first was really just more *my* problem...I wasn't there, and there was really no way for me to get back quickly enough. My XO did a fantastic job of making preparations and talking to the right people. But the ship would have gotten underway without me. Kinda a squigjy (pronounced skwid-jee) feeling, especially not having the time to mentally prepare for it. It's one thing to provide a planned professional development opportunity for my XO to take the ship out on his own when there's a commitment that I must be ashore for (like a CO's conference), but it's another thing entirely to be enjoying a few days of househunting time, and get the call that the ship is getting underway without me.

It makes me feel superfluous.

The second problem we faced was that, well, we didn't have any generators, which means no power, which means not being able to get underway under our own power. So the plan was to use the Station small boats as tugs, and then pass the tow to another, larger ship once we were out of the harbor. Second problem solved.

Thankfully, the tsunami watch was downgraded to an advisory that kept the beaches closed until the next day, and we didn't have to get underway.

But it was a good mental exercise for me. Tsunamis can happen at any time, with very little warning...not like a hurricane, where we can see it coming from a week away. If I thought that I always had to be available to the ship every moment of every day for every emergency, I'd never get to take any time off. That's no good-for anybody. Which also means that while my position is very important, *I*, me, Charlotte, am less critical than the position itself. My XO is very capable at standing in as the crew's leader.

Of course it's always better to have the CO there, but it doesn't stop the world from turning if she's gone.

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