Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Survived the Triumph and all I got was this Lousy T Shirt

And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?"

Sing us a song you're the piano man
sing us a song tonight
well we're all in the mood for a melody
and you got us all feeling alright.
All six of us sitting around the “Piano Man” Singing laughing, celebrating…the past 48 hours had been a time to laugh till we cried, tell stories from times past, and celebrate the life we were blessed with…for we were all turning 40…yes….these dear friends from high school had known my highs and lows for the past 30 years...and now all of singing as the Piano Man played well known hits…as he geared up for our last song…we reveled the memories of the day…feet in the sand on a Cozumel beach…me in a hammock…reading….and not one of my four beloved children requesting one thing.  The piano started ringing out the familiar notes of Christopher Cross’s “Sailing”

Well, it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me

Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

And so after a long day…we retire to our cabins…great memories made…great friends to cherish…and a fire in the engine room.

Yep….at 0530 on Sunday Morning they come on the loud speaker and tell us that there is a fire in engine room…but not to worry…it was under control…everybody was safe…and we may experience issues with power….we were told that we didn’t need to form up at the muster know....the place you had to get in a life boat, but you had to wonder.  At the required "muster drill" when you first got on the boat, the crew mentioned that the absolute worse thing was if there was a fire on board.  My thoughts….it’s usually not good to go from a big boat to a tiny boat when you can’t see land and any direction....and WE JUST HAD A FIRE ON BOARD!

Things seemed under control at the time…I didn’t realize how massive the fire was till I got home and saw pictures.  All six began to gather on the deck...still in jovial moods…not really knowing what all this entailed…or the ordeal that lay ahead.
What now needs to be noted…if you don’t already know…I HATE CAMPING…mainly for the reasons that there is no electricity, no running water with a bathroom right next to my bed…and there is no bed…or more specifically…I never can sleep well in a tent and air mattress.

The rest of that day had more questions than answers…like Why is this boat listing so far to the port side…what do you mean I have to do my “business” in a red bio hazard bag…and pee in the shower because we can't flush…are you kidding me…this sounds a lot like camping.  That evening another Carnival cruise ship pulled up next to the Triumph to off load supplies…food and such.  We all could get a cell phone signal from the near by vessel so I call Dave and told him what was going on.  He had gotten a recorded message from Carnival with the vague details that there was a fire but nobody was hurt. 

Dave had been holding down the home front since Thursday morning.  His mom had come into help with the baby so he could get some work done and still get the others to school and their activities. 

That first night with no power was a long night…there was no air conditioning…and the stale air, now pungent with the putrid odor of humid waste, just hung there…suspended in the cabin to be endured.  As the days would go on the ammonia from the urine would sear the lungs.  

Monday morning…still lots of unanswered questions…we knew that the boat was dead in the water…that tugs were on there way…and that the Coast Guard was present.  At the time, the plan was for the tugs to pull us to Progreso Mexico when they arrived.  We where told that we were about 150 miles from the Mexican town.  We began to break the day down into 4 hour increments of survival.  Food was being distributed but not rationed properly as some began hoarding.  Things you saw reported about raw sewage running down the walls was true….the carpets were soaked with urine running out of the toilets.  At one time we were dipping urine out of the toilets with cups and pouring in the shower…to prevent it from running into our room.

By late Monday the tugs had shown up…but at this point we were told we had drifted 90 miles towards the US and would be towed into Mobile Alabama.

Hours begin to run together…the fabric of the ordeal begins to blend into a single hue.  Waiting hours in lines for food…waiting to charge phone in case there is a vessel with service that drifts within range.  A group of us would begin to hold nightly Bible studies Monday evening…we were reminded  "Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9.  That the God that created the Heavens and the Earth…that separated the day into night and the water from the land…still was at the helm as we peered in the dark abyss of the night….total darkness…to be renewed by the light in the morning…and with the light the hope of a new day…and thoughts begin to wander…”How is Dave doing with the kids…did he remember I was the homeroom mom for Macy’s Valentine Party…and Luke has church on Wednesday night…and all the responsibility of the Girl Scout Cookie mom that were due this week.”  The answer would soon come.  He didn’t miss a beat…he called all the right people…squared it all away…and still  got some work done.

You learn what your limits are…I can walk through urine…and not bath for 5 days…I can eat onion sandwiches…but I had to shave my legs every other day…just something I had to do. 

The six of us didn’t sign up for this…but the bond that we now share…the conversations that will stay on that boat about red bags and peeing in shower…the laughs…the tears…the good and the bad…I know one thing…we may all 6 be at a party with other friends we have…and we can look across the room and know we were there.  My husband talks about the bond he has with some of his Marine buds…forged in the fire of adversity...I now understand first hand exactly what he means.

The ship begins the arduous journey up the Mobile channel…with no room for error.  On Friday about midnight…we were off that stinking boat…and on a bus to Galveston…and then on to Dallas…Home.  I went straight to the Doctor to get blood work and hepatitis shot.  Dave picked me up there and took me home.  My kids to hug…a hot shower to take…a hot meal to eat…a warm bed for which to sleep…and wait…there is no odor to endure…and so I count my blessing…give thanks to the Lord…there is the decrescendo of the tune “Piano Man”…to be replaced with crescendo of the famous Hymn…”It is Well With My Soul” 
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

and as my husband always says…WE SHALL PRESS ON!

Written by Dave Elliott
Edited by Bren Elliott


jenlwhitson said...

This blog post is perfection. You and Brenda put into words, what I couldn't express. My relatives have all been waiting for me to e-mail them the details of this experience, and I just didn't have the words. Now I can just forward them this blog! I will never think of Christopher Cross' Sailing the same way again. Well done guys!

McKinney Mumblings & Munchkins said...

Perfect! Thank you so much for putting this into words for glad you are home, yet thankful for what I'm sure you learned bc I know that is always good. I am thankful that God protected you and bonded your friendships even more. Great post, my friends!

Olga King said...

That is a story that, once behind, is to be told to great grandchildren...but boy, do you guys have same writing styles!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm speechless! Thank you so much for allowing me the priviledge to hear your words and feel your experience, even a little. I am so blessed by the strength you drew from the Lord! Glad you are home safe and reunited with you family.
God bless,
Lauren Power
Starbucks McDermott