Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Today is MLK Day, a holiday for many.  It is a holiday for the BSA, but I will log some hours today because I need to take tomorrow off.  My boss, Rob, doesn’t return until Wednesday so me being away tomorrow should not cause any problems.

Yesterday was another beautiful day.  I spent some time in the office and watched most of the Chicago game, but I spent most of the day in the Commissary sorting through years worth of accumulation that has been stored in my enclosed trailer.  I have thrown away a lot of junk and found some things that have been missing for years.  They dust however, is wrecking my sinuses.  I crossed paths with Capt. Rich a few times.  He seemed to be running errands.  The BBYO group left and the base was quiet this afternoon.

You may be aware that the BSA National Office has released a new, 13 page (including instructions), medical form.  For 2011, the Florida Sea Base will accept the official Florida Sea Base Health and Medical Form or the new BSA form.  The newly released link to the current revision of the form is http://www.scouting.org/filestore/HealthSafety/pdf/whole.pdf and is now live.  Please remember that the Florida Sea Base Health form is simpler and still valid for 2011 participants.

I hope you have the day off.  Whether you’re working or off, I hope you have a pleasant day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Yesterday was a bit of a transition day as the program season had ended and the conference season renews today.  Yesterday was also a BSA holiday.  Capt. Dennis, Ellen and I spent the morning emptying my 16′ x 7′ enclosed trailer which was filled to near capacity.  We moved all of the contents so I can sort through everything, throwing away as much as I can, donating some more to charities, and dividing the rest between what needs to be moved back home and what I need to keep with me here.  We spent about three hours in the afternoon landscaping and preparing new parking spaces for Capt. Rich and me.  After that we took a break and then I spent an hour or so sorting through the trailer contents.  I woke up at 03:15 with a killer sinus headache from all of the dust I inhaled yesterday.

Capt. Rich, Capt. Carol and Richie spent the day on the water having a fun time.  Our two rangers, Aaron and Aaron, were very busy today and even pitched in helping Dennis, Ellen and me with the shrubbery clean-up.  Capt. Paul Beal is in Dallas for a week of meetings at the National Office and Circle 10 Council office.  Head Ranger, Rafael Arrom is back from vacation.  Admin was closed yesterday.

Our weather was P-E-R-F-E-C-T yesterday.  We have a small chance (10% – 20%) for the next two days but the temperatures are absolutely grand; nice sleeping at night and warm enough to be comfortable working outside.

Short and sweet.  That’s all I have for now.  Have a great day.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, including the Florida Sea Base, is closed today to celebrate Labor Day.  Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about Labor Day:

The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City.[1] It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congressunanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.[2] The September date was chosen as Cleveland was concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair.[3] All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

But I guess I don’t understand the concept of “federal holiday” and “state holiday”.  A lot of people will be working today.  Me, maybe you, military, police, fire and EMS personnel, restaurants, lifeguards, amusement parks, theaters, hotels, motels, botels (hotels where you can dock your boat), gas stations, grocery stores, retail stores, and on and on.  So a “federal” holiday means the top dogs and “non-essential” personnel get a day off?  The banks are closed.  Mail delivery is interrupted.  You can’t see a doctor unless you go to the ER.  I think my barber is closed.  But aren’t barbers generally closed on Mondays anyway?  It would be interesting to know what percentage of employed US citizens work on Labor Day.

Don’t get me wrong.  I certainly appreciate that many people do get the day off.  I just think it’s weird that the federal and state legislatures take the time to debate this, declare it a non-working day, and then so many people are working.  I know, let it go.  Tell us what’s going on at the Florida Sea Base.

Everyone was off yesterday.  I saw Capt. Rich for three minutes, Capt. Carol for two minutes and had an unofficial business meeting with Paul Beal, the General Manager, at his residence for about 30 minutes.  I don’t think I even saw any other staff members.

I have been selected to represent the Florida Sea Base at the Sam Houston Area Council’s celebration of the BSA’s centennial on 08 – 10 October.  I was a Cub Scout in that council back when they recorded dates in Roman numerals.  I think it was in MCMLIX through MCMLXI. The “SHAC JAM” will be held at the Texas World Speedway on Highway 6 south of College Station, Texas.  Do not confuse the Texas WORLD Speedway with the Texas MOTOR Speedway north of Fort Worth.  In the mid to late 1970s I went to the Texas World Speedway to watch races.  It was billed as the fastest oval track in the world due to its outrageous banking in the corners.

The cars could go full throttle from the green flag to the checkered flag.  Brakes were an option.  The best day I had there  was a double race.  The stars were “King” Richard Petty (my personal all time favorite) and local Houston hero A.J Foyt.  The first race was a 250 mile sprint in stock cars.  The second race was a 250 mile sprint in Indy cars – same drivers.  It was incredible.  I left sunburned, dehydrated, deaf, and grinning from ear to ear.

Oh yeah.  Sea Base news, not recollections of an old man.  Let’s see.  Weather!  We had some weather yesterday.  It was mostly sunny and HOT.  We had a thunderstorm about 22:00 to 23:30.  Today’s forecast from the National Weather Service:

Labor Day: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 90. Southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tonight: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 81. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Tropical Storm Hermine was born overnight.  That’s the system on the Campeche Bank I mentioned yesterday.  It is NOT forecasted to make hurricane strength and should make landfall tomorrow near the Texas/Mexico border.  The remnants of Gaston are still threatening to return to Tropical Storm status, but haven’t made it yet; maybe tomorrow.  Another wave has emerged from Africa but it’s WAY to early to know where it’s headed.

College Station (where the SHAC JAM is being held) is the home of Texas A&M University.  My dad taught fire fighting at the Fire Sciences school there for a few years while serving as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the fire department at Carswell Air Force Base.  My dad wanted me to attend A&M.  I applied and was accepted.  But I decided to attend a smaller university where I didn’t feel so overwhelmed.  My dad was thrilled that I went to college (and graduated) but I know he was disappointed that I didn’t attend A&M.

Anyway, the Sam Houston Area Council serves about 600,000 of America’s youth (according to their website).  They send several crews to the Florida Sea Base every year.  The SHAC JAM is advertised as the second largest BSA Centennial celebration – second only to the National Jamboree.  So maybe I will see some friendly faces while I’m there.  Maybe I’ll see you on Saturday, 09 October.

I hope you are one of the lucky ones who gets to enjoy a day off today.  The work load will be light around here.  I’ll try to stay on topic a little better tomorrow.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I awoke at 06:00 to the sounds of light rain beginning to fall on deck above me.  By 06:30 we were experiencing and decent thunderstorm that looks like it will last an hour or so.  The wind is out of the southwest hitting Escape on the port quarter (left-rear) and causing her to dance about in the slip.  Nothing severe, but a little too much to sleep through.  A nap may be in order once this passes.

The Florida Sea Base is located a little northwest of the center of the Florida Keys.  Generally speaking, it is a rural area.  There is one road in, US-1, and that road dead-ends in Key West.  Most of the “highway” from the mainland (about mile marker 125) to the end of the road (mile marker zero) is only two lanes wide.  There are a few stretches where the speed limit is 55 but the vast majority of the way the limit is 45 mph.  Drive time from Miami to Key West is over three hours.  The drive on a holiday weekend like this or during spring break is closer to SIX hours or MORE.  Getting out of Key West will be worse.

I went into the Galley early yesterday morning and started preparing for breakfast.  Thank goodness Capt. Martin Ivy showed up – he actually knows how to cook.  Anyway, I declared the experience a success.  We made hash-browns, bacon and cook-your-own-eggs.  It seemed to be a good morale booster.  Then I went over a little before lunch and caught Capt. Martin already in the process of making “Philly Cheese Chicken Sandwiches” (his name, not mine) for the staff.  So I put together a salad and again the troops were well fed.  I went back at 17:45 an no one was around so I assume they are eating out tonight.  That’s fine with me.  I had a great salad an some grilled, marinated chicken for dinner on the boat.

For those of you interested in the Divemaster Academy I have added FAQs to my LINKS page.  It is a work in progress.  If you are a DMA graduate, or former staff member I am interested in your input.  I will add questions as they are received from this year’s candidates.

The wind picked up a bit last night and switched to the south.  I was hoping to pull my jib down today or tomorrow but it looks like the wind won’t cooperate until Sunday at the earliest.  I should have done it yesterday.  Could of, would of, should of.  The jib needed some TLC before our trip this past spring, but was damaged more during the crossing from the Bahamas back to Florida.  There’s a good chance that the sail is toast anyway.  It came with the boat so I have no idea how old it is.  It isn’t cut properly.  It’s probably time.

Hurricane Earl is now a threat to Friend of Sea Base Rich Kuras in Massachusetts.  I spoke with Rich briefly today.  He is a long time BSA volunteer, father of Past Staff Member of the Year Laura Kuras (who will be back on staff in less than 2 weeks), married to the beautiful Cheryl Kuras, annual spring time volunteer at the Florida Sea Base and GENUINE nice guy.

Fiona is down to 30 mph winds and a slight a nuisance for Bermuda.  Tropical Storm Gaston is being counted out by some folks.  But the National Hurricance Center is giving him a 70% chance of redevelopment over the weekend and the wave behind Gaston has a 30% chance of development over the weekend.  “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, though those streams are swollen, keep them doggies rollin’, RAWHIDE!!!”  [From a 60’s TV theme song if you don’t recognize the words.]

PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE

I’m going to make some coffee, listen to some iTunes and wait for the wind to settle back down.  This is a good opportunity for me to do a little organizing and packing for my trip home.  I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I’m sorry for not posting anything yesterday.  There’s no excuse, I just didn’t make time to do it.

Its pretty early; some of you may be up cooking already.  We fudged a little this year.  The turkey was smoked at Spring Creek Barbeque (the company was originated in Richardson, TX and has become a successful franchise) and some of the casseroles were cooked yesterday.  Granny is bringing the ham and stuffing.  So there are only a couple of hours of cooking time remaining for a couple more casseroles and a pie or two.  Family members should start arriving around noon, so by 1:00 the feast will begin, at 3:00 we’ll watch the Cowboys game (or pre-game or SOMETHING Cowboys related), then leftovers for dinner, divide the remaining leftovers, and send everyone on their merry way.

There’s a lot going on for all of this year and it hasn’t all been great.  Its been a tough year or two for a lot of folks.  My family is doing pretty well.  We certainly have some medical issues within the family, mostly the types of issues that happen as a family ages.  But we can at least be thankful that everyone has a place to live and food to eat.  My immediate family does not have anyone on active military duty overseas.  Other than being together, I can’t think of anything to be more thankful for than the men and women who are protecting you and me and our families from those who would do us harm.  Being a Program Director at a Boy Scout facility gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of young adults.  It’s amazing when you get that staffer who’s a strong leader, living the values taught to him through family, church and Scouting.  Many of those young men and women find their way into our military.  If any of you are reading this – THANK YOU.

So, Happy Thanksgiving.  God bless.

Yesterday I drove 1,000 miles and I still have over 500 to go.  I will be visiting family in Texas for the next few weeks.  The Thanksgiving holiday is the only holiday we get to take off at Sea Base.  We work every other major holiday of the year.  The BSA doesn’t allow us to accrue our vacation time or holidays and doesn’t give us comp time for the hundreds of hours of overtime hours and weekends we work during spring and summer program seasons.  If you add 4 weeks of vacation plus 11 federal holidays, plus the overtime we put in, getting two or three weeks off at Thanksgiving isn’t as much as it might otherwise sound.  This is not a complaint, just fact – part of the price to get to work in the Keys.

As always, I have brought work me.  My primary work focuses are on the 04 December FSB Committee Meeting and the Divemaster Academy and winter programs.  I will post something as often as possible.  Stay warm and dry – and stay tuned.