Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cat & Oar

I'm cleaning up my hard drive. I've been thinking about reviving my activity here because there has certainly been boat work being done, and if I weren't so tired at the end of the day I'd tell you all about it.

Meantime, here's a flashback from the summer of 2009.

Arthur sits by the paddle with a proprietary air.  He wears a tux with white bloomers.  His species keeps him from looking ridiculous in that getup, but it doesn't help him with the paddle.

His slow blink makes warmth uncurl from my belly upward.  My eyelids droop sweetly.  He would squirm if it weren't too much work.  Instead he squints and looks away.

One hand rests on the tiller, the unvarnished part. The sanded warmth touches my skin.  The gentle pressure makes my carpal bones catch fire.  I'm never allowed to forget:  I worked too much. I can't work much now.
I couldn't make three strokes with that paddle.  It's there to soothe the Coast Guard, like the life jackets shut inside the bench.  They always check those, instead of making sure the fire extinguisher works.   

It's tough to use a life jacket that's inside the boat you just fell out of. 

Most liveaboard boats die by fire.  The Coast Guard counts unused life jackets.   

That's humanity all over. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The ballast bin is finished. The cupboard -- cut and partially assembled -- has started to rot. Good thing I hadn't finished it or anything.

Note: bamboo flooring is not suitable for making cupboards in a marine environment. Bamboo sticks don't make good curtain rods. I don't care what the marketing literature says, bamboo DOES grow mold. With considerable skill. It's strictly for outdoor, UV-saturated environments.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Still finding cat hair

I've been having a hard time lately without Arthur Cat. I'm building a ballast-box and and a cabinet in the engine space, so perhaps these fundamental changes stir things up? I don't know. It's certain he would have loved investigating it. He loved investigating the motor, although I sometimes wonder if the lithium grease he invariably found had something to do with that.

I'll post pictures when it's further along. Right now the mess is frightful and splinters of glass get into everything.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My box blew last night.

Exhausted and uncharacteristically straight-faced, I said that to the manager at Svendsen's. He said, "WHAT was that??"

I simply repeated the poorly-worded statement, eyes too tired to lift from the pile of wire, terminals, and accoutrements on the counter in front of me. He followed my gaze and was all sympathy: "That's rough," which is serious stuff from a big outdoorsy guy like that. He cut me a deal on the wire because he thought it was ringing up too high. They are so good to me there.

Paul says he'll come over tomorrow to do the real work. I have to rig up a way for him to sit, since his legs don't work much. I'm thinking Bosun seat slung from the boom, since reaching the junction box from outside the lazarette is a joke.

I blew $50 on an adapter so I could plug a power strip into the shore power cord; not having to throw away all the healthy crap I packed into the fridge will pay for it. (It's a small fridge, but mighty.) Also, it means me and the cat get to use the heater tonight. Purrrrrrrrrrr

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

Location:Ballena Blvd,Alameda,United States

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sweet Lethe

What a stunning night!

Words I never thought I'd say after sleeping alone.

I've been finishing up projects that have been hanging around forever, but had almost ground to a halt. Amdst yesterday's planning (by which I hoped to start a new trajectory) I went to pick up a package. It contained a heated mattress pad I had ordered in a pain fog earlier last week.

For the first time in years, I climbed into a warm bed. For the first time in months (my circulation is slightly worse) my feet were not two clenched little icicles. I slept like a rock. No waking up to rub a freezing limb. No stirring awake to smother an imminent draft. No agonized dozing, waiting for the chill to ease.

I slept.

I woke up and fed the cat in the morning, then climbed back in u til the cabin warmed up. Woke up 4 hours later after wonderful dreams.

That was a pain-fog worth having. I wonder what life will be like now that I can sleep like that? And I wonder how long it'll take me to catch up on rest, so I can actually get out of bed before 10?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Selling my future; securing my presents

I cashed in my 401k. (A tough decision once I remembered I had one to cash in, but if I don't survive the winter, there will be no retirement to plan for.) I paid off the boat (WAAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!), got a survey done (my boat is worth 3k more than I paid for it!), and it just occurred to me that, with careful shopping, I can get nearly everything on that wish-list. And still have 6 months' living socked away.

Today, I've got to fix leaks ahead of the impending rain. The surveyor gave me stellar suggestions about where they might be coming from.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Real wish list

In no particular order, and just for the hell of it ...

  • 1/4" plywood, ACX grade (hard to find inland, but it does exist) - this is basically marine-grade plywood without the "marine-grade!" markup

  • 1/8" luan plywood

  • 1-1/2" bolts, stainless steel, 6 ga., 8 ga., and 1/4" diam. With nylon locknuts.

  • Stainless steel dress washers for 1/4" hafts

  • CPES: clear penetrating epoxy sealant (any size)

  • White/warm white primer for one-part above-water yacht enamel (1-1/2 qt)

  • Drill bits (standard sizes) that will go through stainless or fiberglass more than a couple times

  • Wet/dry sandpaper, 600, 800, and clearcoat grade (~2000), ~3-5 sheets each

  • 50' 6 to 8 ga. two-strand tinned copper wiring (green and white, given the choice) with 4 pr shrink-wrap 3/8" terminals.
  • Standard, normal carb-cleaning kit, like from an auto parts store.

  • 10-20 hours' labor, mostly minimally skilled.