Stranded in Pearl Harbor

There we were, riding along at a comfortable clip, sprays from the harbor glancing across us every once in awhile, the weather in perfect semi overcast shadow, listening to the narration of history by one of the sailors dressed in Navy whites. And then, perfect stillness. Not a sound, but much movement among the crew. Several attempts at starting the barge failed. Two different below deck ventures, still failed to get the vessel moving. What had happened? A riddle as old as engines: We had run out of GAS!

all is well

This was our third attempt at taking Pac Fleet’s Remembrance Barge tour; each with a different set of mainland visitors. The first, I called too late and it was already booked, the second our house guests had an untimely trip to the ER the night before, rendering them too tired for the barge, and this the third attempt with our final guests.

Cinc Pac

The Remembrance Barge is a hidden gem among the historical tours, open only to military and those they sponsor on. As I mentioned, it does fill up quickly and they only book thirty days out, so making a timely call is imperative. The tour starts at the boathouse, where you see the Four Star Cinc Pacific Fleet that all but two Presidents have ridden, the smaller version, the two mystery Presidents rode, a museum with hidden celebrity footage and also a very well done educational movie about the events of Pearl Harbor.


Following this presentation with plenty of entertaining commentary by the sailors, we boarded the Remembrance Barge and headed off in the harbor. Shortly after we entered the secure gate, just past the USS Nevada marker, we ran out of gas. We were able to see the water view of the USS Utah marker, along with a handful of other sights only seen from the Barge and hear about a few non-historical sightings to the movie Pearl Harbor.


Early visitors.

getting gas

Visitors bearing gifts.

tow this boat

That’s right. Tow this boat ashore!!

Shortly after we ran out of gas, we were joined by another boat and then a tug boat. In the course of our waiting on the water, we were visited by four other boats. I think they were all having a grand time, silently ribbing the three sailors on our boat. At one point, diesel was delivered, but the engine wouldn’t have it and eventually we were towed back to the boathouse.

arizona over there

The point where we floated in Pearl Harbor for thirty minutes.

arizona 180

This is as close as we came to the Arizona Memorial.

The most disappointing part of the whole adventure was not seeing the inside of the Arizona Memorial, but we did get a very long and thorough exterior view. My in-laws were real troopers and not bothered in the least.

Mac attackThey were such good sports, we took them for giant pancakes at Mac24/7, on their peso. Win, win! We still didn’t finish; not sure we ever will.

Notes for future on the Remembrance Tour: Book early and expect the unexpected. They said this had never happened before.

Uniform Structure

Kids crave structure. It’s true, they do. Following several rough mornings last school year, I made chore charts for the boys and used them to dole out totalitarian structure. The charts gave our mornings focus and order and allowed the boys to determine how much Curious George they would watch on any given day. It was good for all of us.

It wasn’t until yesterday morning I was thinking about self directed control and security; the forms in which it manifests. Our final house guests had left in the wee hours of the morning, I was knee deep in laundry and mid stride of cleaning my bathroom, when my oldest announced he’d completed all his chores on his chart (It’s been at least a month since he felt any inkling to work on his chores, as I’d given them a pass this Summer). His bed was stripped, room cleaned, teeth brushed and he was on to cleaning the hall bathroom with a sprayer of water.


Brendon made this for Vance’s retirement. How fitting he chose a roller coaster.

As I fought the urge to tell him to leave the bathroom be, no doubt I’d need to go in behind him, it dawned on me, he too was looking for order. He’s come to learn my coping with stress procedure and possibly adopted some it for himself. His mood was elated and confident. He was in control.

Moves are hard on everyone. Regardless of their ability to express it verbally. I thought back to our move to the island two and half years ago. We’d left our home, moved into lodging, flew across the country, visited family, flew across the ocean (no small feat with being stranded in LAX for several hours with a three and one year old), and moved into another military lodging. My boys were out of sorts. Rudderless.


Vance’s retirement ceremony last Friday. We were both elated his parents were able to make it out for the event!

The morning hubby put on his uniform to sign into duty in Hawaii, all was right in the world with my boys. Unknowingly, the uniform had become synonymous with structure and security for them. As it has in many ways for Vance and myself: job security, routine expectations amid the sea of constant change, and comfort in the consistency.  As hubby prepares to permanently hang up his boots, 25 years after raising his right hand, and we waffle into the great unknown that is military retirement (18days and a wake up), it won’t be those temporary rafts of cleaning and chores to sustain us, or the normalcy of uniform. It’ll be something far greater we’ll use to rudder our lives – the open arms of friends and the backbone of family.

V talking

Happy Military Retirement Hubby!! I love you!!