Captain's Log: Stardate 10830.3
This past weekend, several members of the Enterprise crew gathered at spacedock for the first day of mission-prep so the ship would be ready for the voyages ahead. Unlike previous years, the list of modifications and maintenance items was shorter - it won't take a lot of time to be ready.

This biggest item on the list was getting rid of several years of poor paid-for paint jobs and prepping the bottom for our new anti-fouling paint. Commander Jory, with the unfortunate luck of showing up first, was given the new Enterprise sander and was put to work on the hull. He never complained (not that we could hear him over the sound of the sander or the big goofy mask he was wearing) and did a superb job for the four hours he could stay - only taking one break to swallow a slice of pizza.



Ensigns Ellen and June went below decks to clean surfaces and protect the wood for the season ahead while I mixed Marine Tex to rebed the stanchions and installed our new starboard light, replacing the one that was damaged by a CIYC launch driver last year. After her experience last year, June could not have been happier when Ellen said she'd do the head. Perhaps it was fitting that the Pope was just a few miles away, because Ellen apparently found religion down there combating legions of mold and mildew in and around the toilet. All we could hear was "Oh my God. Oh my God!"

I went down to check on status and sensed something from the icebox. Something was wrong there. A tremor in the Force. I slowly opened the door to see a hundred or so eyes looking back at me and then heard a deep voice say "close the door!" Amazing: Mold, given enough time, will evolve! Oh no! Intruder alert! Even if our mission includes seeking out strange life forms and new civilizations, I don't think the Federation had the fridge in mind. Someone was going to have to get in there and clean that out.

They say that's the most difficult job for a captain - to select crew for missions they might not come back from. How does one weigh levels of expendability against the value of human life? Thankfully, the answer arrived -- almost two hours late, too. Ensign Brittany strolled into the yard, all smiles from a night of getting drunk and said she's ready to work. We found her the thinnest set of rubber gloves we could find and sent her in there armed with a trash bag, two sheets of two-ply Bounty and cleaner. There was a screech, a clunk, some rustling, a burst of foul air, and then a scream....

We haven't heard from her since.

Meanwhile, Lt. Jonathan was put to work on restoring the hull above the water line. Covered in rubbing compound and wax, he repeatedly asked if this would make the ship go faster. No, but as Billy Crystal's 'Fernando' used to say, "It's better to look good than to feel good." And, after his effort, the Enterprise looked "Mahhhrvelous!" After all, it is the Flagship of the Federation.



Not yet dirty enough, we put him to work on the sander to fish the job Jory had begun. By the end of the job, the hull was fully sanded and Dusty Frodo was driving off to his family Seder. Good job, Jonathan!

Captain Dave switched off between the hull and below decks, apparently finding it difficult to decide between the Enterprise's good looks and saving Brittany's life.

We finished up around 3:00 so I could drive 10,500 miles to a Seder and back home again that night. Man, the things I do for Commander Richard (who, by the way, didn't show up for this work party so he could watch his HDTV at his beachhouse while his wife prepared dinner.) I think I used up my entire mileage allowance on my Pathfinder lease just in one weekend.

The next day, Ensign Ellen and I went back and put the first coat of paint on the hull. One more day of work (next Saturday, everyone!) and the Enterprise will be ready.