Thursday, June 9, 2016

Days Like This

"When it's not always raining there'll be days like this. When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this. Everything falls into place, like the flick of a switch, well my mama told me there'll be days like this ...". (Van Morrison, Days Like This)

I got some unexpected good news last week, and it seems like a fine time to stop and take stock. Not just of my career, but also of my life in a larger sense.

First the good news: our office approved a transfer down to Corpus Christi, which is as close to home waters as I can ever get on a harbor tug.

My folks live about 20 minutes from either of our two docks, my brother works in the port and about two-thirds of my rather large and historically very close extended family are just 30 minutes up the road in Rockport (RFHS class of '87, y'all!).

And the schedule is 7/7 -- crew change the same day every week, every other weekend off.

Corpus is a "quieter" port than Houston. With approximately 1,800 ships and 79 million tons of cargo per year, it's about a quarter the size of the nation's second-busiest port but still ranks in the top 10 nationally.

Anyway, folks who work on our boats in Corpus tend to stay there. I thought I was going to have to wait a couple of years before wrangling a transfer south. It feels like a gift, and validates the down-to-the-wire decision not to move to Houston.

A different port, a different class of boats and a different bunch of pilots means starting over on a couple of things, but I'm betting it will come quickly.

My new boss, the master of the tug I've been assigned to, has already called to make sure any questions I have are answered.

That's a first in my six years of sailing commercially.

("When no one steps on your dreams, there'll be days like this ...")

Much to the dismay of most (and no doubt the secret delight of a few!) family members, this does not mean we're moving back "home" to Rockport. But we'll be visiting a lot more often.

The truth is, after moving half a dozen times across the length of the state, the long-suffering spouse and I are really enjoying our life on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. 

There are deer in the front yard, and a river in the back yard (a canoe and kayaks in the garage), and we've begun making friends.

Georgetown is convenient to her several-times-a-month client engagements in Fort Worth or Dallas, close enough to the coast to make a weekly commute manageable, and with two weeks off each month I might actually have time to feed my saltwater addiction.

Significantly, I also have unfinished business in Central Texas with the first-born entering his senior year in high school. He's turning into a fine young man and I want to be around as much as I can before he flies ....

("When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they'll fit, then I must remember there'll be days like this ...")

Elsewhere on the homefront, the favorite nephew just graduated from high school after an extremely challenging senior year.

I'm guessing a lot of kids would have thrown in the towel, or gone off the rails. He did neither. I'm pretty proud of him.

He has a contract in hand and ships out for Coast Guard basic training in September, where he will carry on a family tradition, is guaranteed his first choice of occupational specialty and will earn enough educational benefits over the next four years to see him through two PhDs debt-free, if that's his desire.

As he begins his last summer break, he's frequently at our house, often with friends. I'm kind of enjoying the sounds of teen-age boys playing video games, noodling on their instruments and engaging in fierce battles of Monopoly.

They may have broken the good brown dog, though, throwing that ball.

The littles are enjoying a vacation in Grammiland. We'll see if we can peel them away next week.

("When you don't need to worry, there'll be days like this. When no one's in a hurry, there'll be days like this ...")

Anyway, all this to say that all is well. Very well, in fact.

And I think it's important to acknowledge that from time to time, especially since too often I blog as therapy -- in lieu of punching somebody in the face or throwing small appliances overboard.

Challenges? We still have some. We're still trying to carve out adequate couple time. We still have some big bills to pay.  We're still not sure how we're going to match the energy of a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old over a long, hot summer.

But I'm hyper-aware I have friends and loved ones dealing with much worse, and I am so grateful, on a day like this, to be where we are as we tackle that stuff.

*cool Harbor Bridge photo by my brother.


  1. Love you, Aaron. Happy to see such an upbeat post, and it will be nice to have you around a little more often.
    Blogspot is more or less insisting I post as Rockport Conservative, which I am, but to you I'm just Aunt Ruth

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  3. I am so very happy for you, big brother! You've needed days like this for a long time, now. Good for you.

  4. Sounds like the good life to me! Glad you're there! Love you! I don't know how this will be signed, but maybe you can figure it out!
    Aunt Anna