Refit is the hardest part of a submariner's schedule. At least that's my opinion, but I think most people would agree. Refit is when the boat is in and the crew is doing maintenance on it before it goes back out. It's hard because the sailors are on 3-day duty, which means they have a 24-hour shift once every three days, and usually 12-hours shifts for the next two. So a sailor will work 7:00 am Monday to 7:00 am Tuesday, at which point he starts his Tuesday shift, then gets off at 7:00 pm. Wednesday he'll be back to work at 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, then it starts over again with a 24-hour shift on Thursday. Weekends are not excluded for duty days, but if you don't have duty, you can hope for it off.
Not only are the hours exhausting, but the work is too. So basically we see Jeff for a few hours every couple of days when he's in a state in which he can barely think let alone move. Poor guy. Poor family.
Here's why it's hard on me:
1) He's gone all the time, so the single parent thing kicks in. I become responsible for everything-- the kids, the house, the cars, the administrative stuff, everything, because Jeff won't have a spare minute in a day to do it. He gets home, says hello to the kids and plays with them for a few minutes (if they're even still awake) then it's off to bed to try to recover and gear up for the next day.
2) But he's still "home," so I still need to keep the house clean, the kids clean, make food, and do all that stuff. I know, just plain awful right? :) But when he's gone, I can skip the cleaning, skip the dinner or the bath, and it's no big deal. But when he's kind of home, it makes a big difference for him when it's done so I need to do it.
3) And when life gets hard, people get cranky. Especially the kids. Enough said on that one.
So anyways, life during refit is hard. Military life is hard. I try very hard not to complain and this wasn't intended to be a complaint either. Most of the people who read this blog aren't military and I thought they might be interested as to what it's like.
So yes, it can be hard. But I know we were supposed to join the military, specifically the Navy nuke program. And that's why I don't complain. I'll write the story of why I know that another day.