“All fishing families depend on the sea for their livelihood and must create a family life that involves times when husbands are home and times when they are at sea.”
(Adapting to Change-Fishing Families, Businesses, Communities, and Regions
1998, Oregon Sea Grant)
And so it begins.
I got a call from George today, live and at large from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
He’ll be home in a matter of hours.
The Vis 2007-2008 Dungeness Crab Season is officially over, and the break before the halibut/blackcod season begins. Of course, there is at least a week of boat work to get through before that break begins—unload the crab gear, load the longline gear—but never mind the details.
The boat’s home, so let’s get this party started.
And if history is any indicator, it will be a good party for a while.
“Daddy’s home!” I’ll announce to Eva, to Vincent, and to our dogs, Mandy and Toby. I’ll fling open the front door before George is even out of his truck, and proudly show off my clean floors, sparkling bathrooms, and freshly bathed children.
“Can I make you a drink, hon?” George will ask once he’s inside.
“Why, that sounds great,” I’ll say. “And how about Papa Murphy’s for dinner?”
“Fantastic!” George will answer. “Anything interesting to watch on the DVR?”
“Yes–48 Hours, Cold Case. I’ve been waiting to watch them until you got home. And by the way, are you coming to church with us on Sunday?”
“Sure, hon,” he’ll answer. “That sounds great!”
Ah, there’s nothing like the Homecoming.
Check back two weeks later. This could be the situation:
“It’s 5:15 p.m.,” I’ll announce. “Where’s my drink?”
“What, you can’t go one night without?” George will ask with a smirk. “How about Round Table for dinner?”
“No,” I’ll say. “I’ll throw up if I eat one more piece of pizza. What happened to rice and fish? That’s what we should be eating! As for the drink, spare me. Are you coming to church with us on Sunday?”
Then I’ll glance around the house. I’ll see a pair of men’s slippers that have been flung onto the living room floor instead of placed in the closet shoe rack. I’ll notice the mail dropped haphazardly onto the dining room table. Dishes piled in the sink. Pieces of paper on the kitchen counter with lists of things we haven’t gotten to yet, and probably won’t. I’ll hear Vincent crying to go to bed, Eva whining for dinner. I’ll see two lovable but big and stinky dogs sniffing around for treats.
“Argh!” I’ll say. “I can’t stand this! Everything was clean. Everything was orderly. Everything was calm. Now everything is messed up because….”
“Because what?” George will ask. “Because I’m home?”
I’ll look up at him then, this one whose hard work pays for this house, the car I drive, who does his best by his wife and his kids whether he is at sea or at home. Who listens with infinite patience to my chatter about Jazzercise, my blog, my writing, my family, our babies.
I’ll see the hurt in his eyes as he asks the question. I’ll remember quickly how lucky I am that he even came home, because not every fisherman does. Who cares about a little mess, a little disorder? It’ll be time to make the transition then—the one from “George is at Sea” to “George is at Home.”
It should be a good run.