Suck It Up Buttercup
Day one starts with a 7 hour dive to Montreal. After getting lost, we all managed to get to the vessel in Quebec city. The boat which stands docked in front of me is an old style river boat fashioned to the era of the early 1900’s. It is designed like an old River steam boat but was in fact built and launched in 1981. It stands at 108 feet in length, powered by two huge diesel engines, and outfitted with modern up to date Transport Canada approved equipment. This boat is dressed to impress. Also dressed as such is the crew, who are all in attire to match the old world flair.
THE SUN DECK
After one shift I realized that this was going to be much more difficult for me than I originally thought. The work itself is not difficult. The trouble is my size (LOL)! I am a 300 lbs, beast of a man and this ship has 4 levels, 8 stair cases, 2 ladders, and 5 hatches. I am no stranger to hard labour. Give me the heaviest task and I do it with ease but make me walk a marathon and I might collapse. On a typical night shift you need to walk the entire boat once every half hour, which is approximately 18 times. We do this for safety and security. I walk around with a 10lbs clock slung across my chest
and at 7 different check points during each of my 18 hikes (up 4 levels, 8 stair cases, 2 ladders, and 5 hatches) I enter a key into the clock which records I have made all 7 checks on my rounds. The engine room and ships storage are accessed by ‘hobbit’ like doors. To access these tiny doors which would fit better in ‘Middle Earth’, I need to turn sideways and suck in my gut to fit through. Everything happens for a reason and luckily my uniforms which I gingerly squeeze into like a large hand into a small rubber glove, conveniently holds my large gut in. If it weren’t for this I might have had to make a trip to the galley each night to grease down to fit through the hatches and hobbit doors. And even greased I could quite possibly POP through the doors like a champagne cork.
I may have also miss calculated my physical endurance levels. After the first shift I realized that while I can dead lift extreme weight, it is a bit difficult for me to be going up and down these stairs and ladders 18 times a night. I ended the night with severe knee pain which has lasted for the first couple trips. I thought the pain was due to different muscles being worked that I don’t normally use, so I tried just working through the pain. After the 2nd trip and my knees not any better I decided to go to a doctor to see what this could be. Diagnosis: overworked, arthritis, and gout!
Over worked – ya you think? Over worked by carrying a 300 lbs man up 8 flights of stairs 18 times a night. I thought that was a very nice way to tell me to loose some weight LOL.
Arthritis – That’s what your parents get! The Knees are swollen and it has triggered my arthritis that I didn’t know I had.
Gout – .”WHAT?”
I took my own advise for the next month and a half…
“Suck it up buttercup!”
….the next day I was on the boat with my own medicine cabinet in my suitcase.