Fishin’ His Way Home

“Fishing families experience many benefits from the lifestyle that commercial fishing brings, but they also experience challenges in adapting to husbands’ trips to and from the sea.”

(The Ebb and Flow of Fishing Family Life—Oregon Sea Grant)


I got a call from George while he was in Seward last week getting ready to deliver his latest load of longline-caught halibut. Although there haven’t been many outstanding loads to deliver so far this season, George and the crew have been, as we say, diligently scratching away at it.

Bit by bit, little by little. Or, as my dad used to say during Alaska salmon seine openings when we committed to scratching away in one area of fishing rather than running around and burning fuel to chase fish, “Stick and stay, make it pay.”

George has a certain amount of halibut and blackcod quota that he must catch. If fishing is good, he can catch the quota quickly and come right back home. If fishing is scratchy, he simply stays in Alaska until it is caught.

The good news is that he has started fishing his way home–the bulk of the quota has been caught and he feels confident he can grab the rest of it on the trip South.

George is an optimistic guy, though, and operates on something my family calls “George Time.”

For example, George has estimated he’ll be home in about 10-14 days. We automatically adjust this estimate and figure to see him at the dock in about 14-21 days, barring any mechanical problems.

Regardless, whenever he shows up, it is an understatement to say how happy and excited I will be to see him, and I’m just glad the countdown has begun.

After a fun and sunny Memorial Day weekend, last week went all downhill. It was just awful–but because Nobody Likes a Whiner, I won’t bother you with the details of losing the hearing in my right ear (now restored), or how Vincent cried for four days straight, or how I had to take Toby to an emergency vet appointment for another cancer treatment, or how Eva locked me out of my bathroom.

Things are turning around now, though, and balance is being restored: As I told the neighbor who came over to yell at me through my porch window one evening during dinner about one of the construction trailers parked in front of his house,

“Hey, I know we’ve all got a lot going on. We’re all doing the best we can!”

Toby is eating again and is actually gaining weight.  My sister and brother-in-law have helped me out a ton. My friend, Tish, came to visit. The construction is moving forward on our basement. I finally decided to accept an offer to teach two Jazzercise classes per week. My parents will be home from their (ahem, too long!) vacation to Hawaii on Tuesday. And within the month….George will be home.

Whenever I get into my car after a trying morning as the only parent currently available to meet the demands of a young and needy household, I play Trace Adkin’s new song “You’re Gonna Miss This,” at least a couple of times. Next on my (custom mix) c.d.–and I’m not kidding–is Ronnie Milsap’s “She Keeps the Homefires Burning.”

“She keeps the homefires burning
While I’m out earning a living in a world
That’s known for its pouring rain
She keeps the homefires burning…”

If I can just keep these homefires burning for a couple more weeks, we’ll be good to go.


  1. Ha! Good one. Well, as I said, Nobody Likes a Whiner. Poor me, poor me, pour me a….well, you know how the saying goes.

  2. That sounds like a crazy week! I feel for ya.=) I also LOVE that song by Trace and when Mila is crying for hours I try to sing it in my head too.=) That’s funny.

  3. Just pokin’ a friendly elbow.
    I recall single-dadding in Dutch Harbor before blogs let you vent. For one thing, internet access cost a buck a minute in 1985. Talk about long distance.

    But I was working long hours grading those roads for paving, stop by the store, cook up a decent dinner. During which I pried from those wonderfully bright kids what it was they cherished or feared that day in school. After which I’da fallen asleep on the keyboard venting.

    Poor me.
    It worked itself out.

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