Thursday, March 21, 2013

While the Cat's Away...

... the mice will play.

The Cat being Hans, and Wilbur and I the mice.

Hans has been away on business this week in Canada and normally this would be great for him as he gets to visit his baby brother but wouldn't you know this would be the year of the endless winter.  He very narrowly escaped being snowed in while in Halifax and is currently enjoying (read sarcasm here) 20 degree temps, gray skies, and heavy snow in Toronto.

We're both looking forward to his return tomorrow night and I've promised him a huge pot of home made chile with lots of Italian bread and butter, and a cooler full of beer (purchased at American, not Canadian prices!).  Actually, I should say we're all three looking forward to his return as poor Wilbur, who is fine during the day, surely misses Hans in the evening. Wilbur gets worked up every time a car drives by and he alternates between sitting in the salon with me and then thumpety bumping down to our berth  where I believe he thinks if he falls asleep there, Hans will magically reappear.

So get this.  Today I was at my favorite fabric store (no sarcasm here, it really is fantastic) when the lady waiting on me said, "Is the weather improving out there yet?"  
I was puzzled because the sky was bright blue and completely cloudless while a wonderful cool breeze with absolutely no humidity made me realize (for now but probably not next week) how happy I am to live in Florida. "Oh my God!" I exclaimed.  "It's gorgeous out there!"  and understand, I was in my usual uniform of shorts and flip flops.
"You must be nuts." was her casual reply.  Because heavens to Betsy, it was a bitter 68 degrees out!  These crazy native born Floridians!

Wilbur toasts his sad little bones in the cockpit while he awaits his masters return.
I made Wilbur a new collar last month and I've been on a tear ever since. The boat is now covered in fabric and dog/cat collar hardware as I hope I've found something I can do to earn money (and hopefully donate to some helpless fur-babies) while living on a boat.
Wilbur went to bed in our berth tonight much earlier than usual while waiting for Hans to come home.  He heaved a huge sigh when I covered him with a blanket. He's not happy unless we're all together as a pack.

So while Hans has been gone this week:

I woke up later than usual, didn't get the things done I thought I would, and ended up eating bologna sandwiches for dinner (just one night. Really).

I got out my sewing machine and it's yet to get put away.

Therefore there's no room on our table for me to eat my meals.

But that's okay since Wendy's take out containers are pretty sturdy.

Even though our queen sized berth is missing a rather large German Man, I still find myself mashed up against the wall.  It would appear that Wilbur requires a great deal of room for his tender pitty body, and I'm thrilled that he so loves my Memory Foam Pillow.

I've kept an eagle eye on our bilges and batteries.

Yet, after carefully locking Wilbur and myself in for the night, including securing all our hatches and having my phone beside me, I awoke one morning to find my keys still stuck in the cockpit door. On the outside.

I know Wilbur and I will be very glad to have Hans come home tomorrow night.  The boat would never get cleaned otherwise, Wilbur needs his daddy, and I can't eat a whole pot of chile on my own. Actually, I could. I just miss Hans.

Friday, March 8, 2013

An Eventful Week.

I find it strange that shortly after posting about things one doesn't want to hear or say while on a boat, we soon thereafter experienced a middle of the night equipment failure, and a couple of days later I certainly didn't expect to hear the horrible cries for help from one of our fellow liveaboards who fell into the water while getting on his boat after a grocery run.

During the summer when someone falls into the water here at the marina it's usually a comical experience. But when it happens at night, in the winter when water temps are much colder, it's not so funny.  

And our friend, who was maybe in the water for five minutes is still in the hospital.

I remember reading somewhere that more people on boats die while at dock than they do at sea, and I don't have any doubt that that's true.  

Very peaceful and calm during a hot summer day.

I will never forget the night Hans went into the drink and it will forever haunt  me that I could have lost him in such a simple and stupid way. Don't think I've ever let him forget this.

I, for one, would hope this is the last post I write about things I prefer not to say or hear while on a boat.

But since I live on a boat, I think I know better.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Stern Shower

Around 2:00 AM the other morning I heard a noise in our cockpit, which reminds me of this post that I wrote just a short while ago.  The noise sounded a bit like a screwdriver falling to the floor.
And since the wind was blowing pretty steadily and we currently have all kinds of crap lying around the cockpit due to our on going gel-coat repair job,  I wasn't too concerned and tried to fall back to sleep. I then heard the sound of rushing water which in itself isn't too unusual what with a lot of liveaboards here having water based heat pumps, so I again tried to fall back to sleep. 

The running water, now accompanied by an irritating humming noise continued.  I was in that half-awake-half-asleep stage and wondering why the water seemed to be swirling between our twin hulls when Wilbur decided he needed to visit his potty patch.  It was now around 2:40 AM.  Hans got up to let him out, and once our cockpit door was open, the humming noise grew much louder and it was strange enough to drag me out of bed which believe me is not an easy thing to do. We were just about convinced that an electrical problem on shore was the problem when Hans asked me if we had anything turned on.  I wasn't wearing my glasses (meaning I was pretty much blind) but I did see that that our water pressure light was on (I know my boat!) and after switching it off the noise stopped.

Oh, crap!

I won't go through the whole convoluted, " Turn it on, turn it off,  I SAID, TURN IT OFF!" stuff we went through when Hans suddenly announced, "Oh my God, our stern shower is gone!" And just like that, it was.  And what a strange sight it was to see that where our stern shower hose and nozzle sit, there was now a gaping hole where a geyser of water was erupting and running over the side (I told you I heard water rushing between our hulls).  And the only reason water was erupting now was because once we finally realized the irritating humming noise we'd heard had been our water pump desperately trying to re-pressurize itself as one of our tanks had run dry, we'd switched over to our other tank. The water pump, screaming its displeasure at having to work so hard at such an early hour, finally got down to business, and started pumping like mad.

But what the hell had happened to our stern shower hose?  Where was it? Our suspicious little minds took off (after all, shortly after we arrived here last year someone stole my potted plants and threw my Halloween pumpkins in the water). Had someone boarded our boat and literally ripped it from our stern?  We were at a total loss, because still sitting in our cockpit were an air compressor and a lot of tools and supplies. Wouldn't a vandal have targeted those things first?  It was now at least 3:00 AM, we were cold, Hans had to be to work in the morning (meaning a shower at the bath house), and I would now apparently have to spend my day trying to either fix it or at least plug it so we could turn on the pressure.

Come morning, I hustled out of bed determined to check out a hunch (ala Nancy Drew) before taking Hans to work. And I found it.  Peering into the gaping hole that had once held our stern shower hose I spotted something. After poking about with first needle nose pliers and then finally my tweezers, I jubilantly yanked out the remains of our stern shower hose sans nozzle. 

Aha!!!  Mystery solved.  There had been no subterfuge.  No sabotage. No, what we'd had was merely a simple system failure most likely due to the lack of a little hose clamp. 
A couple of years ago we had to replace our stern hose nozzle and unfortunately we had to settle for a 1/2 inch inside diameter fitting instead of a 3/8 inch fitting. This meant stretching our hose in order to push the fitting in and I have no idea why we didn't secure it with a clamp. We had created a volcano just dying to erupt.
And two years later it did.  At 2 AM. And the result of the nozzle shooting through the air and hitting the deck before going overboard is the sound that woke me.

I actually took this picture (due to our gel-coat work) the day before our stern shower went missing.  If you look just to the right of the middle of the picture you can see the yellow water nozzle sticking up from its hold.  

And here's its replacement.  It's a bit droopy but it should do the trick.  I just need to come up with a cover for it since it isn't UV rated. 
It took most of my day to get it done but I did indeed fix the problem.  But not without help from one of our neighbors. This neighbor is a really nice man whom I'm sure wonders why he got stuck living next to a woman who spends her day talking to her dog.  After explaining to him that I couldn't find the proper fitting at Home Depot and then not understanding exactly what he told me he would do, he took pity on me and volunteered to go back to Home Depot with me. And what should have been a relatively boring trip to the store turned out to be an entertaining ride when another marina friend asked us if we could give him a lift up the road. Even though it was early in the day, Friend was feeling good and in fine spirits and we talked him into going to Home Depot with us. After getting our supplies, Friend was anxious to be dropped off, and his panicked reaction when we jokingly told him we were now going on a shopping spree was priceless. So we dropped him off, got back to the marina and shortly thereafter had a working stern shower.

And here's our hero, the ever vigilant Wilbur with his radar ears at the ready for the next Bump in the Night Noise.  If he hadn't politely asked to use his potty patch our water pump would have been ruined.

Lassie has nothing on this dog, and while she runs around fishing that stupid Timmy out of wells and dragging him off of railroad tracks, Wilbur valiantly serves and protects his Knotty Cat.  This particular Nancy Drew loves having a dog with a nose for trouble.