Monday, July 21, 2008

Ah, The Navy Life

As many of you know, e.craig, brother dave and I were in the Navy. I was a radarman, I don’t remember what e.craig did, but brother dave was a pecker-checker (corpsman – medic – medical personal.) We all served on board a Navy destroyer – me the USS Frank E. Evans (DD754) and e.craig on board the USS The Sullivans (DD 537.) So they will appreciate this little description of Navy life as compared to civilian life sent to me by one of my old Navy shipmates (Quartermaster Chuck.) The only exception I have to this little ditty is the mention in number 12 of curtains. Only submarines and the new fangled Aircraft Carriers have curtains over their racks.

If you were once a US Navy sailor, you will no doubt relate. If you weren't, now perhaps you will understand what the life was like.

How to Simulate Being a Sailor

1. Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.

2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

3. Repaint your entire house every month.

4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

5. Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.

6. Once a week, blow compressed air up your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot onto your neighbor's house. Ignore his complaints.

7. Once a month, take all major appliances apart and then reassemble them.

8. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back door so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

9. Disassemble and inspect your lawn mower every week.

10. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family
they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

11. Raise your bed to within 6" of the ceiling, so you can't turn over without getting out and then getting back in.

12. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say "Sorry, wrong rack."

13. Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

14. Have your neighbor come over each day at 0500, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up."

15. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she's going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 0600 while she reads it to you.

16. Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 1500.

17. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day , whether it needs it or not.

18. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

19. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then show a different one.

20. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations. (Now general quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations.)

21. Make your family menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.

22. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

23. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.

24. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (midrats)

25. Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose.

26. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout "Man overboard port side!" Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

27. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don't plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup "Stove manned and
ready." After an hour or so, speak into the cup again "Stove secured." Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.

28. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4 hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.

29. When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket.

30. For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room, and run it all day long.

31. Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and allow the pot to simmer for 5 hours before drinking.

32. Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears.

33. Sew the back pockets of your jeans on the front.

34. Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for "liberty. At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

35. Have your wife get you up at 0330 one cold morning, stand you on your front porch with 2 Coke bottles tied around your neck while she throws cold water in your face for 4 hours, and then ask you if you want to ship over.


Pamela said...

I'm making sure the hubby reads this one. He's told me some humerous stories

Brother Dave said...

Life at Johnsville Naval Air Development Center with it Aviation Medicine Acceleration Lab (AMAL) was interesting.

Our liberty cards were always in our wallets. Wednesday was "steak day" at lunch chow time. Steak was prepared to order. We never ran short.

The animal wing at AMAL had a freezer with pints of ethanol. The dispensary ethanol was under lock and key in the pharmacy compartment. It was accounted as part of the narcotics count. AMAL pints of ethanol were not.

Our astronauts did some of their training at Johnsville. AMAL had a human centrifuge, as well as a monkey centrifuge. Houston Space Center had not yet been built.

Anonymous said...

Hee-- Is that what smelled at USS Alabama-- lube oil in the vents??

My Girl Scout troop spent the night on the USS Alabama-- we really got a "feel" of what it was like on the ship. Totally awesome, that yall stayed in such close quarters for so long. Hats off to yall!! Thanks to the Navy! Tina

e.Craig Crawford said...

You brought back some vivid memories, Coffeypot. First off .. I was an Electronics Technician.

I recall that I had to crack my shin bone while negotiating a watertight doorway only a couple times before I developed the habit of stepping correctly through.

I had a steel beam about 9 inches above me when I laid in my rack. It was a top rack that an air vent blew onto, so I never did bump anyone for a "better" one, when I was finally able to "pull rank." When you're in the tropics on a ship without AC, that air flow is a godsend.

That 0500 reveille sounds like boot camp. You get to sleep another hour once you're out in the fleet. Fortunately, ETs didn't have to stand "underway" watches, but didn't always get to knock off ship's work at 1600 hours.

The most exciting deployment was to Gitmo during the Cuban Missile Crises. Twelve hour underway watches in CIC. The other 12 were dedicated to work and sleep. Mostly work.

And the description of Navy coffee is spot on. It could wake up a dead man.

I recall the time we steamed through the outskirts of a hurricane. Dinner that day was a "sack lunch" consisting of a PB&J sandwich and an apple. They couldn't do any hot food prep in the galley. It was a rough ride that day.

Thanks for the memories.

ccw said...

I know nothing about this but oh how I laughed.

Thanks for putting up with such things for our country!

Southern (in)Sanity said...

First, let me say thanks to all of you - coffeypot, e.craig and brother dave - for your service to our country.

Second, I can't begin to imagine trying to live in conditions like those described in the list.

Anonymous said...

you are all amazing to have lived with these conditions x

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Gee, it just sounds like so much FUN!

I just toured an old railroad car ferry last week and I know what you mean bout tripping or bumping your head and about bing inside a grey dumpster!

Brother Dave said...

I must say that for all intents and purposes my tour of duty was rather unconventional as a sailor.

I do not envy anyone who was {or is) assigned to a "tin can" [destroyer]."

I do recall the ol' saying, "if it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, paint it."

clew said...

Hi Coffeypot! I haven't been blogging nor making the rounds lately but I wanted to drop by and let you know you're still my best fwiend.

Coffeypot said...

Pamela, I remember he was a submariner. He had curtains.

Brother Dave, go here and see some photos of you’re station.

Anonymous Tina, sleeping on the USS Alabama is like sleeping in a motel with an aroma. Thanks for the hats off, too. I have done that and put it over my nose after a firing exercise with the smell of cordite and gun smoke all around.

e.craig, that’s right. I remember, now. The ETs bunked with the radarmen in the OI division below the mess decks.

Ccw, I look at old WWII movies and watch the Tin Cans riding the rough seas with all the up and down, rolling right and left, and I ask myself, “Did I really do that shit?”

Rwa, thanks and me, too.

BD, I remember that saying and it is pretty much true.

Clew, baby! Where ya been? I check your space everyday waiting for your great sense of humor. I guess you are feeling better and all, so get to it, woman, and make me laugh. Bring me a beer first.

Olly said...

Like the one about a ten year old with sheep shears the best....

Brother Dave said...

Thanks, coffeypot. Brings back memories.

e.Craig Crawford said...

That's right .. we were OI Division. When I made E5, I was also assigned to our Master-At-Arms force for a few months. It was 4 duty sections instead of 3. Better chance for not having duty when we hit a port somewhere. Later .. back to 3 section duty, but anytime we hit port, even home port, when I had duty I was assigned to the local Shore Patrol. I enjoyed going to Gitmo because doing Shore Patrol there meant you got to eat dinner in the Enlisted Men's Mess Hall .. and the food was top quality.

If you were a part of the Tin Can Navy, you sure as hell knew you were at sea unless you were steaming through the Doldrums.

Scarlet said...

That was f*****g funny!

It was laugh out loud at many points.