Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"This is an actual Navy submarine? Not a float in a parade or something?" - Sonar, Down Periscope


Okay, it's a battleship, not a sub. But it is nice and all nautical, isn't it?

One nice thing about Cub Scouting is that it provides plenty of events for me to spend with The Boy. I just hope that it doesn’t make me hate him.

Let me explain. I think you’ll join up on my side.

His Cub Scout troop recently got the opportunity to spend the night on an actual submarine. The submarine in question, the U.S.S. Cavalla, SS-244, once sent a Japanese aircraft carrier to the bottom of the ocean. Fortunately, there was a war on, otherwise that would have been pretty awkward.

The Cavalla has since been dragged into a canal on a small island, and backfilled with sand and earth around her hull. Unless attacked by a group of vengeful Japanese gophers, she won’t be sinking (or submerging) anytime soon.

The head of the park gave a talk about the Cavalla, and the other ship at the park, a destroyer. He gave a wonderful talk about the heroism of the men who served on board the ships. Then he discussed the rules for the Cub Scouts that would be sleeping on the ships. He noted that the submarine had no bathrooms, hence any Cubs (or parents) that had to drop anchor in the middle of the night would have to go and visit the park’s bathroom. He then went on to some more regulations and then opened the floor for questions. About five minutes later a timid seven-year-old raised his hand.

“If there are no bathrooms on submarines, what exactly did the sailors do?”

Good question. They just went to the park’s bathroom.

Anyhow, the staff at the submarine were all veterans of submarine service, and they proceeded to give tours of the submarine to the Cub Scouts and parents. We went through the torpedo room, the various levels of claustrophobic nightmare that the engine rooms represented, and finally got to play with the buttons that make the “dive” sound. The Cub Scouts generally enjoyed the tour. Me? I learned a heck of a lot:

The subs are way smaller than you think.
These submarines had diesel engines and electric motors – but the diesels only ran generators for the electric motors. I had thought that the submarines were pulled by friendly dolphins.
People in the 1940’s were only 2’3” high, on average, otherwise they never would have fit on the boat.
It’s a “boat” not a “ship.” And don’t forget it.
Someone named “Warren” was not too keen on the idea of going to Viet Nam (graffiti on the bunk above me).

The Cub Scout Pack then proceeded to watch Operation Petticoat (which took place on a sub like the Cavalla) and finally, The Boy looked at me, and told me he was ready to go to bed on the sub, even before Tony Curtis made good on giving up his conniving ways. The first arriving Scouts had already snagged the (relatively) spacious officer’s quarters. We bunked down on bunks that dated (likely) back to WWII. They were surprisingly comfortable.

I was tired, so I pretty quickly got to sleep before the main mass of Cubs arrived. The Boy then woke me to escort him to the bathroom. I took him, then got back to sleep. Then the general aura of chaos and noise that attends any more than two Cub Scouts surrounded me. Again, I got back to sleep pretty quickly.

Then the seventh layer of hell descended on me.

I finally started to get in that deep, restful sleep. You know the sleep, the one that (for me at least) is accompanied by a soft snore. Although The Mrs. indicates that it sounds like a chainsaw in volume and timbre, I’m sure she’s exaggerating. And those ear plugs are just all part of the elaborate joke.

Anyhow, each time I’d make the smallest snore, The ever-so-helpful Boy would poke me in the shoulder with his bony-boy fingers and say, “STOP IT.”

This went on all night. Although I ‘slept’, virtually none of it was all that restful.

Regardless, I was none to happy (and very tired) as we drove home the next morning. Of course I don’t hate The Boy. I just look forward to getting up at three AM and pouring cold ice water on him. Every day for the rest of my life.

Okay, I won’t do that. But I will think of something good. After I get some sleep.
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Blogger Jane said...

Wow you got to sleep (ok be constantly prodded awake) in an actual submarine. That is soo cool. I'm deeply jealous, we never did good stuff like that when I was in the Brownies. The Boy is so lucky.

10:36 AM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Um.... when did Alaska become Texas?


1:33 PM  
Blogger John said...

It really was cool. Alia was in brownies. Not nearly as fun. Plus I had to eat lots of cookies.

the witch,
Geologic time. It think.

6:18 PM  

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