Saturday, May 14, 2016


A dog bed on the floor? Seriously? Because we all know where Wilbur sleeps.

I alluded in my last blog post that we would tell you about our new home (temporary home that is. We intend to head back to the Knotty Cat in January). I was referring to Lisa and Oliver Douglas of the long ago sit-com, Green Acres. Some of you may remember it and most likely even more won't.

It's the tale of a city couple who find themselves transplanted to 'Hooterville', a small farming town in the country and the similarities between them and us are uncanny. Hans is definitely 'city' and still marvels that we can burn our garbage outside and harbors the notion that if we don't mow the grass it will quit growing and all will be fine. Right now it's nearly knee high as we can't get the damn mower to start and he won't let me buy a goat. And while I slump around in a pink fluffy robe instead of a negligee, Lisa and I are both blonde and not very bright.

My pink robe and a very chilly pooch.

As a matter of fact if you drove past our house this morning that was indeed me in the yard and in my robe cutting Hans' hair with the clippers (I already sweep dirt, dust, pine needles etc... out of the house with a broom on a daily basis. I'm not adding hair to the mix).

When we arrived here we discovered we had no cell coverage unless we went outside and waved our phones over our heads. Calling Sprint and airing our problems solved nothing and was extremely aggravating. Not unlike poor Oliver who had to make his calls by climbing to the top of a telephone pole where their phone was mounted and then had to argue with the operator. Hans spent an entire day (not minutes like we thought and I was stuck in the vehicle with Wilbur the whole time) getting out of a contract with one company and into a contract with a new company and now sometimes we have a signal and sometimes we don't.

Out little house is furnished with Salvation Army purchases and all kinds of stuff we've salvaged from the shed out back (I even found a foot bath back there that really comes in handy after a full day of waitressing). Our bed sits on the floor of the living room (I'm not paying over $60 for a frame), our kitchen table was an umbrella table in a past life, we have a rocking chair (shed), dorm fridge (friend), toaster oven (another friend), and thank god, two space heaters as the temps actually fell to 17 degrees (F) a couple of days after moving in. In April! It's now May and tonight it's going to be in the thirties. This however, does not stop the grass from growing.

Alas, it's not to be. Hans said I couldn't bring Charlotte home.

Where the mice come to play.


Since phone coverage was such a joke we didn't even think about TV and we were thrilled the radio my mom gave us (the same radio that sat on the kitchen counter when I was in high school) actually worked. But there was a TV down in our basement and it was preying on Hans' mind. My mother gave us an old digital converter and we dragged the TV up the rickety stairs and into the living room. If nothing else I figured we could us it as a night stand.

But, by golly it worked! Every day is a grab bag of programs (religious stations may be the norm in Florida but around here it's court TV) with the big prize of Hockey play-offs for Hans. At least when the local stations deign to air them.


We fall asleep each night listening to the squeaky fights of whatever creatures live in our exhaust vent in the bathroom. I assured Hans that bats do not make that kind of noise and it's most likely squirrels. When they get especially rowdy and physical and it sounds like they're going to fall on our heads, I smack my hand, super hard, on the tub surround and they stop. For awhile.

However, being awakened by the sound of one of my mousetraps going off in the kitchen means I will not get a good nights sleep. Especially when the 'victim' doesn't go quietly and instead flails about my cupboard in the throes of death. That's when I'm positive I'm going straight to hell but at least in the morning I won't find mouse poop in my silverware tray. For a few days anyway. Adding to my sleepless nights is my concern over the crafty mouse that's able to steal a sticky blob of peanut butter from a trap and not set it off.

Wilbur's kin? Both Hans and Wilbur said no to bringing these guys home. One pig is enough.

And then there's Wilbur. When we first met him six years ago, I commented that he looked and sounded just like a pig and therefor if he were my dog I'd name him after Arnold Ziffel of Green Acres. But I was informed that he already had a name and it was Wilbur, in honor of Wilbur the pig from Charlotte's Web. I should have followed my instincts. Wilbur is just as brilliant and spoiled as Arnold was but we do limit his TV time.

TV may be limited but lucklily he has a library card.

Our landlord is a co-waitress and dear friend who has the farm across the road. In between shifts at the inn, Dear Friend is kept busy with her menagerie of stock and passel of dogs.

And you know you really live in Hooterville when the following conversation is overheard and no one rushes to call the police:

Dear Friend: You know I'm gonna be a grandma again! I hope I'm not on the schedule next week, the baby's due any day now.

Me: Um, don't you know for sure when she's due? Doesn't anyone know when she got pregnant?

Dear Friend: No, dammit! Her own son knocked her up, you know.

Me (horrified): Oh my God! What did you do to him? Where is he?

Dear Friend (making a slashing motion across her throat): He's in the freezer. We're having some of him for dinner tonight.

Of course she was talking about her cow.

I hope.

Brand new baby. I think he's his own brother. I don't know, it's confusing.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Topsy Turvy.

I can't believe it's May. This has seriously been a few crazy months for us.

On the blog I left off in January when we were getting back on board the Knotty Cat after having left her on the hard for several months.

So here's our life on the boat from January through March:

On the boat Duct tape once again came to our rescue when we had to repair the connections to our solar panels AGAIN!

This is what we found the day after we put out the solar panels. Thanks to severe winds, one of them was ripped clean off its connectors. And this happened 'inland' in a very protected area.

We motored a whole 4 hours to Stuart, Florida where we stayed on a mooring ball for a little over 2 months.

Whoever heard of tornadoes in Florida in January? When we weren't worried about what the hell we were supposed to do if one were to hit, we were pinned down to the mooring field while we rode out 35 knot winds. And cold? Thank god we have a lot of blankets and a very warm pit bull on board as there were many days we couldn't get ashore

Now this was scary.

Our little barometer. One look at him and you know what the weather is like.

We had every intention of selling the car that we'd bought from our time up north and actually received an offer on it very quickly. But, for some reason I told Hans I thought we better hang on to it for awhile. I'm glad we did.

Our charger/inverter continued to be a stinker and refused to invert but at least it did charge. The electrician we hired (at 2 hrs minimum pay) unplugged it, peered at it, gave a wiggling Wilbur all kinds of scratches, plugged the inverter back in and said, " Well, it's working now and I didn't even do anything to it." Wilbur said it was worth it.


Trying to heat water would have been ridiculous so we took showers at the marina bath house (when we could get off the boat), and I washed my face every morning and night with ice water. So refreshing!

In an attempt to feel like 'normal' people, we ran the generator each night for a couple of hours in order to juice up the batteries and watch some TV (Oh my yes, don't I just love to depress myself with the nightly news). We have a small antenna that was quick to pick up Spanish programs, religious programs, religious Spanish programs, and one regular station. In addition to witnessing some of the most appalling behavior from all the presidential candidates, I got caught up with every Mike and Molly episode ever aired.

We learned early on that if we wanted to take an excursion on land sans Wilbur, we needed to take him ashore to empty him first or risk coming back to a smelly surprise. Wilbur does indeed have a potty patch and is an expert at using it while at sea, but that dog has gotten even smarter over the years and has us well trained (as long as we're on board with him there's never a problem).

We attempted to go sailing just one time (we do live on a sailboat!) and once we got both the main and the jib up, the wind died. Back to our mooring ball we went and that was it for the two months we were there.

In late February I received news that my dad was in the hospital and things weren't looking good. No sooner had we received that information than Hans and I took a trip into town as a couple and due to a sudden emergency I came back alone. I managed to flood the dinghy motor and had to be towed to the boat whereupon I flooded the generator. Wilbur and I were in bed by 7 PM.

For two days I relied upon the kindness of fellow cruisers who got me and Wilbur back and forth until Hans came home. Let me tell you the first thing we did was get the dinghy motor fixed and the generator got a new spark plug. I can now start both lickety split!

Waiting for Daddy. "If I sit and stare long enough, he'll come home.

There are no more splinters on the marina dinghy dock as they all eventually ended up on my person with an especially painful one embedded deep under a finger nail. It took days to remove it and I was terrified I'd end up with a disease as the Okeechobee water was full of bacteria.


Hans came home on my birthday (a good reason to celebrate), and a couple of weeks later as we were on the road headed north I looked over at him and announced, "Happy Anniversary (our fourth as a married couple)!" Both of us nearly forgot.

My dad passed away three days after my birthday so Hans stayed on the boat with Wilbur while I flew north for the funeral. I've flown a lot over the years and this just had to be the time nothing went right (maintenance issues on nearly every flight... and actually having to depart one plane after sitting in it for an hour). The real kicker was when I was nearly tackled by two attendants at a boarding gate. One of the ladies jabbed a finger at me, told me my bag was too big and it needed to be checked. I pointed out that I'd just come off of a flight without checking it and that I'd flown with it for years with no problems. Her cohort then got in the act and also exclaimed very loudly that it had to be checked. Not desiring to be added to a no flight list, I stopped arguing and checked the damn thing.

Great. This just meant I had to wait forever at baggage claim in Florida which then put us into nightfall and we had a very dark ride back to the boat in our dinghy.

When I got back to the boat we decided we should head up north for one more summer to lend a hand with family matters and just like that the Knotty Cat was put back on the hard. We stuffed Wilbur and everything else we might need into our car and off we went.

By car or by boat, he's a well travelled pitty.

A lot of people have asked us if we enjoyed our winter in Florida. Well, what with everything I mentioned above and the fact that the weather was actually nicer here in Pennsylvania this year, my answer is, "Not so much." But we're here in good old PA now, back to our jobs from last year, and enjoying our 'new to us' home.

And speaking of our new home, Lisa and Oliver and Wilbur We'll fill you in on the next blog post.