"I am going to miss this town."
That was the thought that crossed my mind as I walked out of the Portsmouth Brewery last Friday night, having just finished my last meal as a New Hampshire resident. I made a final trip up there to get the last of my things out of my old apartment, and got the keys turned in less than half an hour before their office closed. I'm glad to be out of Beechstone; it served its purpose as a residence for J. Raymond and myself, but accomplished little else. Some of the problems we had there are chronicled here in tfo. Having finally divorced from the Granite State, I headed downtown for a burger and a beer...and both were done to perfection. I lamented the fact that I couldn't order their sampler - shot glasses of ten different beers, brought on a long wooden plank. I also lamented the fact that my crossing the state line into Massachusetts marked the end of my time as a resident of the Seacoast. Portsmouth was my fourth residence since joining the Seagoing Military Force, and it's the only one of the four that I remember fondly (although in deference, I only spent six mostly wintry months in Saratoga Springs). As I wrote during the underway and posted a few days ago, I'll be returning there during the PNR.
Damn, this place is empty...
...but at least it no longer looks like a Federal disaster area. Most of Sunday was spent unpacking boxes and bags, getting everything settled in where I wanted it. That said, the most important aspect of combating the emptiness and enhancing my comfort is the procurement of new furniture. In furtherance of this end, I trekked to the IKEA in New Haven on the very day we moored. I went with the intent of getting only a few items. I walked out of there with fifteen things, and two hundred seventy-one American dollars lighter in the wallet - but it didn't seem all that bad. Maybe that was because I knew I was due to receive my six "economic stimulus" Benjamins from Uncle Sam the following day. It would have been nicer had it been sixteen items; upon returning to New London, I discovered that I'd bought a shower curtain - but had not purchased any rings with which to hang it. Though rectified quickly, I could not help but laugh at that lapse. I still have three major purchases to make: a television, a couch or futon (my preference is for the latter), and a microwave. I actually picked up the last of those three items tonight, but was shocked to discover that the glass turntable plate was not present, and that the unit had most likely been used prior to my purchase. It'll have to be exchanged on Thursday.
all this...for how many days off?
As I wrote here on my birthday, I'm in a "port and starboard" duty rotation for most if this month. That means I stand the usual twenty-four-hour duty day every other day, and if the intervening day is a weekday, I'm working that day too. This is but one factor of many that is pushing my stress level to previously unseen heights. My division has a hectic maintenance schedule for this in-port period, and with the recent loss of AnimeFan, I must actively support the completion of these maintenance items. On top of this, I have a new and important collateral duty - that of "Logroom Yeoman." In short, I'm responsible for the bulk of the administrative necessities on the nuclear side of Memphis's house. Filing previously recorded logs? It's on me. Processing newly received technical manual changes? It's on me. Preparing for the next major nuclear examination? It's definitely on me, although that's a ways off. This is not a duty I particularly wanted. But I knew that once I'd been chosen, there was no getting out of it, so I chose not to fight the selection. All this duty is in support of one shimmering light in the distance...three days off next week! Yes, you read that right - only three. That's how long the SDT is allotting its personnel for the move of their goods. Since I followed the boat philosophy of having and executing a solid plan (completing the move last week), I will instead spend this time visiting my ancestral home for the first time since January. Some time with my main man Ryan must be planned. There might also be the possibility of a visit and tutorial with the world's coolest virus-fighting alcoholic blogger. Whatever comes of it, this time away will rejuvenate me. And it's a noted coincidence that it starts on the fifth anniversary of my entry into the Navy. That has no significance for me other than the fact that I'll have exactly one year to go.
one last piece of miscellany...
The words "replenish beer" were on my laundry list of things to do today. I did so at the package store on the Submarine Base. I was stunned to discover that a twelve pack of Boston Lager was priced at $14.49, while an equal quantity of Boston Ale was a full five dollars cheaper. That price lowers to $8.89 if I successfully redeem all twelve bottles (not a sure thing; I haven't had to return a container for deposit for nearly a year). Of course, I purchased the Ale, and I'm pleased to report that it tastes wonderful, and makes the task of producing this blog much easier.