Wednesday started with a down - literally. I slipped and fell on some ice as I arrived at work, and incurred a bruise on my left leg. The rest of the day was nondescript, until just after 11:00 pm - just before I was supposed to be relieved of watch and able to go to sleep. The words "smoke in aft trim" came over the 4MC, the Submersible Death Trap's emergency reporting circuit. You know the old saying, "where there's smoke, there's fire"? Well, on a submarine, that's an absolute truth. Thus it fell on the crew to combat the casualty, which, of course, was the result of shipyard incompetence and carelessness. As a result, I didn't get to bed until after 1:00 am, and got less than four hours of sleep before going back on watch in the morning.
The damage to my body continued on Thursday, when I accidentally stepped on a co-worker's hand. This caused me to lose my footing, and fall about halfway down one of the access hatches onto the boat (about seven or eight feet). My upper left arm took the worst of it, getting caught in the ladder on the way down. That did, however, break my fall enough that I was able to land on my feet. A bit later on, I once again had to pick up other people's slack, completing a maintenance item that had been started before lunch. Once we got that done, I was able to head home. As much as I wanted to simply crash, I had to press forward with laundry; with a prior commitment on Friday, duty yesterday, and my laundromat being closed on Sunday, I had a very short window in which to take care of laundering the dirty rags. Alas, when I got to the laundromat, I was informed that it was closing early due to the sizable rain that would be rolling over the Seacoast that night. Foiled! Curses! That precipitation, combined with my personal fatigue, also meant there'd be no excursion to Durham; I instead elected to stay in and overdo the Elixir of Joy.
The excessive drinking didn't benefit me on Friday morning, as it further reduced my nearly non-existent desire to do anything at all during field day. After some training, and lunch, I ran the Physical Readiness Test. The Navy's semi-annual fitness checkup is completely irrelevant to my ability to perform my duties, but I can still be booted out for failing three in four years. That said, I've never failed one - and Friday was no exception, although I'm still sore from it two days later. Once I got home, I powered down for a bit, prior to driving toward Boston for the Cornell @ Harvard men's hockey game. Most of the inbound trip proceeded without incident, but I failed to properly execute the route Google Maps had given me. The result was an oh-so-lovely drive through downtown Medford and downtown Somerville - during Friday evening rush hour, no less. By the time I reached the "T" station at Alewife, I knew I'd be trying to find dinner close to the game. I took the "T" three stops inbound to Harvard Square, and my subsequent search for some standard-issue fast food proved fruitless. (Subsequent research has confirmed that there doesn't exist a McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, or Wendy's within easy walking distance of Harvard Square.) It was 6:25 by then, so I headed across the river to Bright Hockey Center - or as we Cornell fans call it, Lynah East. And true to that nickname, nearly half the crowd was wearing not crimson, but carnelian red. Our quest to take over Bright was aided by the fact that many Harvard fans - and the Harvard band - were in New Haven for the Harvard-Yale football game the following day. And the Faithful were in full form, making fully known their displeasure for the Crimson. We called out the team, we called out the
Yesterday was an utterly boring duty day; today, I did get laundry done by trekking down to Hampton (seven miles south of here). I watched the Giants improve to 7-3 by escaping Detroit with a close victory, and tonight I'll watch the Patriots attempt to up their record to 10-0. I'm quite glad I have a full slate of clean clothes, as it gives me many options for my mid-week road trip. I have Wednesday and Thursday free of duty, so I'm heading to Long Island. The primary purpose of this voyage is to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family, but an important secondary mission is to enjoy Thanksgiving Eve, hopefully with some old friends who I haven't seen in a while. And after Friday's duty, I've got all of Saturday and Sunday off. I haven't yet quite decided what I want to do with that time.
One last note: at midnight today, my "happiness factor" - the ratio of time in service completed to time in service remaining - reached an even three. One-fourth of my enlistment - eighteen months - to go.