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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Awaiting the Bering Sea or Was it Awaiting Me???
Thread: Awaiting the Bering Sea or Was it Awaiting Me???
violent_flower
violent_flower


Promising
Supreme Hero
Almost there.
posted July 13, 2006 06:15 PM bonus applied.
Edited by violent_flower at 03:17, 20 Jul 2006.

My story of being challenged by life, love, and a lot of Crab…..                


It was thirteen years ago that I stepped into the most prevalent challenge of my life and attempted to step out of the biggest disappointment. My challenge? Spend a season with Icicle Seafood’s in Juneau Alaska on a fishing boat, seventy-five guys and me. My biggest disappointment? My first divorce of not only my husband but also two stepdaughters that I had raised and loved. After I had decided that my marriage was in dire need of a face-lift or a toe tag, I knew that I needed to have some green to survive with on my own. So with my eighth grade education that was acquired through a cloud of pot smoke and Night Train, I had to start my employment search. I had a neighbor that was about five years older than I was and informed me through a casual conversation that he would be going on a processing boat out of the Seattle harbor soon. When I asked him what his job title would be and how much he would be lining his dope filled pockets with, I knew that this was the job for me.

Understand that there was no Internet access for me and I had no way of even doing research about processing boats or trolleys. So at nineteen and full of attitude and uncertainty I went to the place where my “So called life” would soon change. At the time we were living in a beautiful 1974 singlewide Lamplighter Mobil home. It was nestled away among other single wides and a breath taking view of a black berry patch that would not go the **** away. The smell of poverty lingered in the thick judgmental air of Black Diamond Washington. I had been a resident of this park for about four years. I had been married for three years at this point and had one son (Jake) with my husband Lance and two stepdaughters (Macy and Kayla). Our relationship was over at this point and this was my way out. My alcoholic mother living ten trailers away and the devils child (my grandmother) just a hop, skip, and a hammer to the head away, well the thought of leaving started to look promising.

Lance and I separated and he stayed in the trailer and I moved, *pause* address unknown by all except me, 1989 black Monte Carlo Street, Backseat on milk crates, Wa.
That’s right I moved into a car in the back of a post office in Auburn Washington. I had very little money and I was grief stricken by the absence of my children. Lance kept them because I was not able to at that time. I had to get a job and money so that I could pull his financial rug out from underneath him. It was the only thing that he had going for him at the time.

I made my way to the docks of Seattle where I found the company location (Icicle Seafood) and some very interesting people to say the least. It was a dive building that had been beaten by the salt filled water for years. The dock that led to it was long and swayed as your feet maneuvered around the blessed droppings of the seagulls that raped the air. It was about five in the evening when I finally arrived to get the low down on what this job would consist of. I was living off of roman noodles and the variety of sample foods from the local Albertsons store. So at this point I didn’t care if I was “over qualified” for the job or if it was “over qualified” for me. I needed money so that I could get a place to live and a lawyer to get my babies.

I made my way through the double steel doors and up to a counter that had been less then organized. I glanced around for a bell of some type and then next for the guarding Pitbull that lay beneath the counter. I found neither of them and so my wait started. I paced the floor and hummed so the room’s air would break. It was so muggy that day and my clothes were wet from the mist that covered me as I walked the dock. What seemed like forever was only a few minutes before a man came to the counter. An Older man with a beard and cataracts for eyes. “I’m here for a job are you here to give me one?” I stated to him coldly. He smirked reached under the splintered wood counter top. He pulled out a piece of paper and flung a pen aimlessly toward me. “Fill this out and then I will need to see your license.” I walked over to the chair that was placed alone in the dimmed hollow room. The application was short and sweet and right to the point. Are you willing to be at sea for as long as three months at a time? Was there a willingness to deal with no contact from friends and family? Was I drug free, immigrant paper work free, and of course not pregnant? I checked all the proper boxes and did not question the words that I just read. Was I willing to not talk to my children or have any contact with them at all? If it was going to get me away from the situation I was in and make a life for my children and I than yes, I was more than willing. If willingness was a cross I would of hanged myself on it that is how willing I was.

I placed the paper over his fresh coffee ring and handed him my ID. He made a copy of it and with very little conversation led me to a room where I was to follow all instructions and give a urine sample. “Will you be assisting me today or may I do this alone,” I said to him with my hands about my hips. “Just make sure you follow the instructions and place it in that container over there,” He said as he pointed toward a metal basket that was rusted with the many spills of past urine samples. I was so grossed out by the unclean environment that I was about to take a wiz in, that I just did it as quickly as possible. When I was finished I found my way back to the waiting room from hell and awaited his presence. I heard his heavy feet pounding down the hall and he came toward me with some more paper work. “You fill these out and come back next week for orientation so you can see if this is really what you want to do.” “Do I need to bring anything,” I said in a desperate voice. “No, just yourself and a friend if you have one that would like to go with you.” I put my hand on my chin and just stared out the big salt covered window that overlooked the bay. What the hell was I doing and how did I get to this point in my life? The thought of leaving my children came rushing into my already preoccupied head. I felt over taken with emotion and my hand came up just in time to catch the overdue stream that was about to find it’s home on my paper.

I left with a slow drug out walk down the dock. I jump off the dock and onto the wet sand that would lead me to my car. What if I couldn’t do it? What if the job was too much for me and the time away from my children would make me insane? I already felt that way as it was. I was not sleeping and my eating habits were very poor. Cheese samples were starting to clog my **** up, literally. I sat down on the beach and with squinting eyes tried to find answers in the waves. The water had always talked to me before. When I was alone and fearful or just really depressed I would find my way to the beaches of Seattle no matter where I was living in Washington. There was a comfort in the sound of the waves finding there way to nothing. The feeling that I get when I let the shower water run on me as I lay in the tub, that feeling of the water washing all my problems away. This is the same feeling that overtakes me when I watch the ocean waves pound on the sand. It is like that’s why its there, to absorb the problems of the world. It does it without complaining, without expectation of return, and no matter what you throw at it the ocean still comes back to you. I received no answers that day on the beach but still I felt better and more serene about my decision to just do this.        


I went to orientation and met a few nice gentlemen that seemed to be all about me going on this trip. They wanted to get with the girl that was willing to go into the test room and throw up seventy-five pound boxes with them without complaining. I was informed that I would be one of five girls on this processor. The boat held one hundred and seventy-five people and that included the staff. It would drift a few miles from the docks of Juneau Alaska for about seven days at a time while awaiting the trolleys to come in with their load of King crab or King Salmon. We could do everything from clean the fish to can the fish and box it up. Once that was done we delivered to the docks and that is where we would chill for about a day. We were able to leave the boat and go ashore where we could contact family and even party a bit. So after orientation I had a few days before we would be flying a bi-plane over the ocean and then transferring to a seaplane that would take us to the boat.

While waiting for my papers one of the orientation leaders approached me, “Will you be going on with other women that you know or by yourself?” I was wondering if he just wanted to try and hook up with the girls and I, what a pervert. “ I will be going alone, why do you ask?” He motioned me to come closer; “ You do realize that there are going to be men that have not been with a women for months on this boat?” I guess it had never occurred to me that this was a problem. “Have there been problems with this before?” I said with folded arms. “Not many women go alone on the boat they usually go with someone they know.” “Well I will be going alone and I hope for their sake they leave me alone,” I grinningly said. I was done having this conversation with him so I turned and walked away to go get my orders.  

I would be purchasing gear once I was in Alaska so the clothes that I did have I packed in my army green duffle bag from out of my car. I decided that I would just find a place to park down town next to where I would be leaving. I went to Pike Place Market and feasted on samples that night. It would be two days before my departure so I felt that my children and my husband needed to be informed of what I was about to embark on. I found a phone booth and placed myself in a crouching position and prepared for the wrath. I made my collect call, hands shaking and breath rapid I spoke my name to the operator. Lance answered the phone and demanded to know where I was. “I’m down town and just got done with a job interview,” I choked out. “Well have you found something or are you ready to come home now?” I would do anything not to go back to an alcoholic with a ten-year old mentality and a free loading brother-in-law. “You leave me for thee months to go find work with your recovering alcoholic brother in South Dakota only to find your way into every bar in a fifty- mile radius. I’m at home in Washington with your not so clean brother Brian (who by the way is refusing to shower in hopes of getting rid of the company of one Rosemary, who just happens to be in love with him. Not only is she a size twenty but also has no teeth because; Brian threw them away at the local McDonalds. As if she needed to be woofing down freaking Big Macs.) Three children and no money, living in a trailer that’s only character is the pond that has started to form in the backyard due to heavy rain and sewage leakage. Ya, I think that I will just rush home on foot even, you dumb ***.” What the hell is he thinking? “I need the money to get a divorce and get my children, I will be leaving on the plane in two days and I have no idea how long I will be gone.” With a gruff tone and annoyed voice he states, “ You are ******* up and no judge will ever give you your children after you have left them to go on some damn boat.” I asked to speak to my kids and I told them I would be home soon to get them. The phone dropped from my shaking hand and I lie down and sobbed while rain poured in under the phone booth. This was the biggest adventure of my life that I was about to embrace with open arms and a sad heart. Frail and wet I found my way back to my car and made my bed in the backseat on my milk crates. I locked my doors and just listen to the waves as they took me to sleep. I would dream of nothing and just let the waves form my breathing pattern for me. Tomorrow would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Sea and I.

Continue? Maybe
       

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The_Gootch
The_Gootch


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Kneel Before Me Sons of HC!!
posted July 14, 2006 04:38 AM

First!

Reserved for later.
____________



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violent_flower
violent_flower


Promising
Supreme Hero
Almost there.
posted July 19, 2006 03:27 AM
Edited by violent_flower at 03:17, 20 Jul 2006.

First Day at Sea,..Did I Just Sign up for the Core????

I found the dock that I was to arrive at so the “skipper” could pick me up and take me to my exit from reality, as I knew it, my plane. We left from a small airport that was set up just for Alaskan voyages. I did not speak to the gentleman that was fulfilling his duty of transporting me. I was not in any mood to have to explain my life story to some underpaid cab driver; for fear that I would bore him. I looked out my fogged up window to see what we were approaching, {uncertain *pause*} WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? You have got to be kidding; you want me to get in that? I’m to climb on this red and white candy cane looking piece of **** tin and gallop my ass over the Pacific Ocean? Great I’m so glad I signed up for this.

I hesitated for a moment and then drug my holy duffle bag out of the cab. He drove off leaving me with doubt and somewhat of a nauseated mind. I was waved over and found my way up the three steps that I just knew were going to launch me to my death. I could see the headlines now, “Women found in Pacific Ocean with a not so shocked look on her face, charges being brought against the Candy Cane plane company.” I got in and laid my head down so I would not have to witness the take off. It was hot and the legroom was lacking to say the least. We transferred to a seaplane, that’s right a plane with skies attached to it. We sailed into the harbor of the most beautiful rockbound countryside I had ever laid eyes on. The pilot strolled off and flung my bag out onto the ground. He nodded and the four of us found our way to Icicle Seafood’s floating beast.

I had no conversation with my fellow passengers. I had a million untamed thoughts racing through my head. Talking to anyone at that point was going to seem like a rambling sentence with no end. We were all bit nervous and trying to figure out where the hell we needed to be. We checked in at the dock that harbored our home for at least one season. My sinuses were just screaming at me from the inside. The fish smell was putrid and it was like being in a cloud of rotten seafood. I turned and looked at my company and said, “Where the hell is everyone and why are we just standing here?” One of the scrawny fishermen replied, “I was told mam to wait here and they would come and take us in.” He was from the south somewhere and he had a twang to his voice that almost made me bust out in laughter. “Weeeellllll alrity than, I figa well all just hang out around yonda and wait for our skipper.” I could not help myself, not to mention I thought it break the ice. Nope, it pissed him off and he started drilling me about how people from the south were hard workin folk. We should be thankan all those cowboys down thar for the hard days working they put in. **** all I wanted for him to speak English because I could not understand a rebel *** thing he was saying.

The conversation was short lived due to the fact we were blessed with a man in rubber pants, no shirt, and a smell that made me throw up in my mouth a bit. He showed us to our rooms that would accompany our bodies for a while. Mine was the upstairs in the female dorm.  I had the whole upstairs to myself; WAIT JUST A FREAKIN MINUTE!!! I’M THE ONLY GIRL? WHAT HAPPEN TO THE OTHER GIRLS? THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING, A FUNNY GOD, THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE…. He explained that girls sign up all the time but rarely do they show. One hundred and seventy five men that have not seen bush on land or anywhere else for that matter, and me?  I looked around for the party of girls to jump out and yell, “Surprise here we are.” Nothing, not one single female anywhere. Ok where is the exit? Time to deport now. I pick door number two please.    

Detail was to start in the morning and there would be no room for anticipating the fact of whether you wanted it to or not. Did I just join the military? Well the next loud barking order would answer that for me. “The U.S. navy defines a boat as a "vessel" that can be hauled aboard a ship. This is not a BOAT nor will it ever be a BOAT and you will not call it a BOAT, this is a ship.”   Confusion struck me as I felt like I was getting ready for the war. Where the hell did the DI come from? So I was waiting there for my BDU’s to be handed to me. Well that was all right I would look hot in fatigues. I was starting to question if this was a mission I could accomplish. My face got cold and my hands sweaty. The rocking of the “ship” was already starting to get to me. My four humors were starting to boil inside of me. I was in dire need of still earth. I finished listening to his pounding words while squinting the sun away to look for somewhere to discard my stomach fluids. “Eureka!” There it was a rail I was about to make very fond friends with. Well that detail we can just leave out.

I went to my room shortly afterward and the MD came in and gave me a shot of Dramamine in the*** cheek.  I held the edge of my bed and waited for the next force of fun to bless my cottonmouth with. I was certain that I would die and the hard ups on the boat would ravish my limp body. I fought to stay awake but my eyelids became steel doors and I fell into deep a trance….. Oh ya can’t wait till the morning..  

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violent_flower
violent_flower


Promising
Supreme Hero
Almost there.
posted August 02, 2006 06:15 PM



I woke in the morning to an intercom system above my damn head. This alarm was screaming at the core of my irritation. The next two weeks would consist of rail holding about once a day so I could contaminate the salt filled water.  

Two Weeks Into My “Vacation”


I ventured out onto the deck in the morning before my detail. My face pale and insides still crying for flat still grounds. The Alaskan harbor owned the right to be called “the last place you’ll ever touch with your soul.” The colors in the sky dance around each other, sometimes clumsily and without direction they would collide. Then you would see swirls of color come together as if they were never meant to be apart. Among the quiet restful sea there sat a shy young man, Asian, with his head down and appeared as though he may faint. “ What brings you to the deck this morning?” I asked with wondering eyes. He glanced up for a moment and then put his wary head back to its position. He then looked toward the water colored sky and said, “I come out here a lot just to think, sometimes about nothing and other times about everything.” “ I do the same as well. I find peace out here before my detail starts and my mind gets a rare chance to become clear.”  I walked towards him with dragging tired limbs and perched myself on the rail of the vessel. The beast swayed back and forth with swells about five feet in height. “ Five minutes to survive in that icy water, that is what they told us, right?” I waited for an answer and then jumped down onto the wet deck. “I have been out on this same run before,” he spoke solemnly. “It never gets any easier to be away from the family.” I then went into some detail about my situation as he sat there and just listened to me. He responded with few words and was trying to grab at his thoughts and keep them quietly contained as I spoke. He then stood up and told me that it was nice to meet me. I nodded and turned back around to gaze one more time at the one thing that required nothing from me, the ocean.


As I performed my duties that evening I began to reflect upon our conversation. He did not given me a name nor did I require one.  He was somewhat of a mystery to me at this point. I had not seen him before that morning and since I stayed to myself at that point, I was concerned I may not see him again. He appeared so hollow and gloomy on that crisp morning that I felt uneasy about it. This man was looking for himself but the problem was he never met himself to begin with. He knew not what he was searching for. Everyone on this floating piece of cold steel had their own stories, their own convictions of some type. I’m a person who likes to look into the souls of others and discover the reason they have for living in a life that merely brings us to a death. What was this distraught man pondering about, why was his discontentment disturbing my energy flow so much?  It was a few days later that I fought my closing eyelids to make my way to the galley. It was then that I spotted him in a cloud of agitation guarding the salad bar. He had a plate that he held in his shaking hands. He glanced up at me and quickly become soft bodied. It was apparent that he had let his long-standing guard down if only for a moment. “ So do you come here often?” I spoke with a grin. “Only when I have to eat, and you?” “ I would like to get down here more often but these sixteen hour shifts are taking the better of me.” “Would you mind if I sat with you and enjoyed the silence of the galley?” “If you don’t mind eating with a slob?” he said as his head dropped.


We approached our destination that I chose so I could see outside through the staggered portholes. It was sky was gloomy outside that day and the color of the sky was sad. It was like the clouds were confined in one place, just like my thoughts.  I watched in wonder if they would move but they just seemed to remain desolate. Thoughts about my children were pin balling in my head and where I was going in my unplanned life. He had already started to devour his food so I waited till he was able to speak without throwing chunks of wilted lettuce my way. “ I have not seen you around the west deck lately, have you been working a different shift?” “I have been talking with the doctor onboard about only doing half the run this time.” I put my fork down and said to him, “ Are you sick or something?” He looked away for a moment and then just stared at me for a brief time. “I have been talking to the head doctor, so I guess you could say that I’m sick.” Silence struck us both as we tried to find some comfortable way of continuing this conversation. “Are you missing your family or just feeling really isolated?” I asked him while picking at my food. “ I have been very depressed and can’t seem to get out of it.” He picked up his tray and with sadness in his voice said,” I will see you on the other side tonight, I think we are working together.” I just put my elbows on the table and supported my chin. Even my chin was sore and tired. Pounding out sixteen-hour shifts was brutal. How was I going to concentrate tonight knowing how unstable he was acting?  I drug myself to the noisy conveyor belt that was sucking our uneaten grub. I looked around the corner to see who was collecting it; oh my God I could not believe who was waving at me. Wow, what a small world….  

____________
Learn how to duck and weave because I will throw truth at you all day!

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Antipaladin
Antipaladin


Promising
Legendary Hero
of Ooohs and Aaahs
posted August 02, 2006 06:49 PM

c'man this is getting good,no time to stop..

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violent_flower
violent_flower


Promising
Supreme Hero
Almost there.
posted August 02, 2006 08:34 PM

Quote:
c'man this is getting good,no time to stop..


I have to, I have to prepare myself for thhe next couple of days at sea. They get pretty intense for me...It has been 13 years but it was like it was yesterday. If you ever get a chance to do something like this , GO!!
____________
Learn how to duck and weave because I will throw truth at you all day!

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 30, 2007 01:26 AM

Oh Dear

I'm shocked and speechless. Did you say you only had an 8th grade education? Were you joking? Why?
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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violent_flower
violent_flower


Promising
Supreme Hero
Almost there.
posted April 30, 2007 04:21 AM

Yes, until I received my GED in 99 and then I went to college. I passed all of my subjects with flying colors except math and I had to study for that before my test. I got married really young and dropped out the second month of ninth grade.

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 30, 2007 05:37 AM
Edited by Consis at 05:38, 30 Apr 2007.

Simply Amazing

If what you say is true then you are indeed a person of exceptional quality and strength. Of the many who do not finish school, bounding back and overcoming the odds only becomes more difficult. I have discovered a newfound respect for you Violent_Flower.

What about your children? You now have custody of them yes? I would be very much interested to know if you returned to them.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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