Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Right now it is kinda crazy. We are working full on these days at our jobs and now progress on renovations is halted a bit as we just try and keep ahead of the pile of firewood. Not much in the ways of days off until the 23rd or so.
I got our first Christmas card of the season. Thanks to my Aunt Irene for the card. I had an idea I'd get Greig, the kids and I up on the bow of the ship, hang a big fat wreath off of it and send it around. Yah, you don't see it do you?
People have given up on sending me cards as I just don't have the time to send them out to anyone anymore. It is one of those I miss having the opportunity to do. I have the cards squirreled away somewhere....
No real plans for Christmas so far as it's Nell's turn to have the kids this year.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
It has been three years in the "planning" but Greig has finally devised a good method of getting firewood onto the boat.
We sit about three boats out from shore with our starboard side (bow pointing eastward up the river) adjacent to the shoreline. We have a substantial dock between us and our neighbour, the wonderful Jimi Siwa*. The dock just happened to be floating down the river one day and Greig wedged it between us and Jimi's boat. The Fraser has many log booms going up and down and often these will come apart or logs will pop out of the boom. We'll often gather quite a few logs between all of our boats.
Greig has put a wood chute in the side of the hull and put a metal framework in place that was part of a vent from somewhere else. With the chainsaw he can now buck up and split the firewood on the dock and pop it through the chute where we can pile it up inside. The metal framework won't damage the hull when pieces get shoved through. (It is the kind of system that my Dad would probably drool over as the logs just float by. He has to actually go out into the bush to find the stuff.) The main disadvantage is that it is often wet and green. Ideally, we should have been doing all of this in the spring and summer to give it all time dry/cure.
Regardless, it beats the heck out of carting cord after cord of firewood down the docks. We did however have to get a load of dry firewood from One-Eyed Mike* yesterday that we can mix it up with the stuff on hand and get a hot fire.
Last night, with plans for yoga dashed,again, I shlepped firewood down the dock. Marcus, Steve, Ted and I unloaded the truck, in the dark. It was high tide - it had to be done. Nothing worse than carting firewood down the docks on a LOW tide.
*Jimi Siwa, welder, mid fifties, lives on a steel 60' boat that he built himself. He is a Japanese Canadian from Prince Rupert. Claims to be decendant of Samurai. He is a total flirt and a tease and tries to play the ukelele. I adore him.
*One-Eyed Mike, old as dirt, lives in a house up the river a way on River Road in Richmond. He lives alone and he's quite a curmudgeon. Probably sitting on a couple million of riverfront property and lives in a furniture-less house that is teaming with cats. Drinks Royal Red. Last time I was there I counted about 40 and those were the ones I could see in the house. He has a boom coming out from shore and hauls in many logs for firewood that he sells from his house. He reminds me of the old loggers from around Kaslo. Considering the man has one eye and the other looks pretty rheumey he is pretty keen with an axe. Grieg likes taking me along when we see him as Mike actually likes me and sweetens up a bit and tries to practice his flirting skills.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Crystal finally came to get her stuff. As a consolation she has given us her beautiful doors that she has packed around with her for years. She just has no use for them now and I know she feels bad about the way things went down last month. The woman doesn't have much and since she is on a disability and there was little I think she felt she could do to remedy the situation. The gesture meant a lot. I do miss her. She was great with the kids and they liked her very much.
We have moved Chris's stuff out of his room into a corner by the back door, in the hopes that he will be back for his stuff. A gentleman named Ted has taken up his space. He's in his mid-50's with five grown children, most of whom live back in Ontario. Has one son in Afganistan at the moment. Works as a constrution site safety/industrial first aid attendant. He apparently has a "connection" at Cantabury Coffee to supply us with the "good stuff". What no President's Choice floor sweepings? But it's only 5.99/can...
And up on the Promenade deck where our room is, the spare room on the Starboard side is now occupied by Steve, 29. A Nova Scotian he has just started a job in Pest Control. "I suprisingly like it as it is not unlike gardening/landscaping really."
Sweet Hallelujah! Methinks this is serendipity in my battle against the rat(s).
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I grabbed it to wedged the pipe behind the fridge to pull the fridge away from the wall. I think nothing of my murderous intent toward this beast.
"Lookit ya little bugger - ya can't scale those pipes. Grunt, Grrr!" I jammed the pipe onto the top of his head and he zipped back into the fridge motor. "Little shit...I'm gonna git-choo."
So I went around to the left side and pryed it out there as the fridge is wedged in between the counter and set of shelves for the "pantry." So the little rotter tried to scale the pipes again and I zipped around to the right of the fridge to smack him down again. Then he zipped out and across the galley.
I went into Chris's room to see where he was hiding --Chris wasn't home thank goodness...and the rotter zipped back under the fridge, scaled the wall, over some power cords and up the big ventalation fan in the corner. "ARRGh! I'll get you yet RAT! Stupid freakin' fan!"
And of course where were the cats? Still sleeping. I said, "Go get the rat!" Their ears perked for a moment and then they yawned, considered the idea for a moment and but clearly thought that not the best action. "Whatever...your not the boss of me. Be off with you." I know that is exactly what they were thinking.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Do you, or have you had a history of mental illness?
C: I have no recollection
Do you have a problem with drugs or alcohol?
C: I have no recollection
You stumble home drunk with a guest in tow at 2am. He is a Benecio Del Toro look alike, although much more fat, ugly, belligerent and inconsiderate. You let him wander about the ship on his own and where he makes it his business to wander into private rooms where people and guests are sleeping, bellowing, “THIS THING IS LISTING, IT’S GONNA SINK!” A: You’d never be in a situation to let it happen in the first place
B: Apologize profusely for the behavior and escort him out
C: Make like the whole thing never happened and hope that no one will say anything.
A: You’d never be in a situation to let it happen in the first place
When your birthday card which you thought was on the kitchen counter mysteriously gets moved up to the locked door outside your bedroom, your immediate reaction is: A: Who was the *#@hole that moved my ONE AND ONLY birthday card? Well that is a “F*#! you if I ever saw it!”
B: Get into a screaming match and full blown temper-tantrum and accuse everyone of being insensitive because it is your birthday and that you are the “Queen of All That”
C: Ride it in stride as it is just a card. Be thankful it didn’t get wrecked from water running across the countertop as someone actually washed dishes for a change.
A: Who was the *#@hole that moved my ONE AND ONLY birthday card? Well that is a “F*#! you if I ever saw it!”
You consistently have trouble paying your rent. You tend to forget what time it is let alone what day of the month it is. You’ve bounced your rent check again and it is already close to the end of the month. Do you:
A. Apologize and remedy the situation immediatly
B. Say nothing and hope your roommates “just forget”
C. Call your roommate an “*#@hole” because he has finally had enough of holding your hand and enabling you for the past year and a half decides once and for all kick your butt out.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Not to be dissuaded from using his hot tub for anymore than a couple of days, Mr. Inventor found another way to heat the tub. He took and an old auto propane tank, you know, as most people have one kicking around, put in a bunch of copper pipe and utilized the exisiting fuel in/outlets that were in place for water.
He thought, "Why have all that wood heat and not make hot water too and hot water for my hot tub?"
A $400 trip to Home Depot (is it always a $400 trip for you too?) and 14+ hours later, he has water circulating from the hot tub back into the woodstove where the fire heats the water and back into the tub again. It warms up much faster that with the spa pack actually. The only problem is TOO MUCH hot water. "I'll make a steam room!!"
OK, great idea Honey, but plastic walls do not a steamroom make 'cos when you brush up against them, the water is COLD!! That and hose went crazy under pressure and came alive, kicked back and somehow burnt my hand...("That's because you didn't listen to me" he chirp. Certainly not because not because his design was at all flawed.) "I need to make a Steam Engine now --then we can get off the grid!" Sigh. God love him for having enough ambition to try. And it IS heating up the water in the hot tub quite nicely to boot!
He welded on fins (where the black lines are on the top photo) to increase the area and heat distribution. Outside with a bit of re-design he has put this assembly of valves and hoses together plus an steam overflow so should it get too hot and build up steam pressure, it has a place to go into a metal resevoir. God forbid anymore of my body parts get burned.
All in all to get one more piece of equipment that isn't dependent on shore power is a good thing.
Now if he can stop the smoke from billowing back out when you load the flippin' wood in, it'll be perfect.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Greig got the plywood on here Monday afternoon. We have to put on another layer of plywood and then glass it but we decided to wait and gather the materials and tackle it in the spring.
That said, my hopes for a "tarpless" winter are now dashed as this roof is not quite waterpoof. We have been using this area with the barbeque and the patio table as the prep area for firewood and Greig has now announced that all the firewood cutting can now take place on the dock instead of this weather deck as it is need of repair too. I arrived home to a new tarp over this "new" roof while we wait out the winter and the ability to pay for more materials.
As you can see it has lots of potential for a nice sitting space and it is a lovely place to hang out. Marcus has taken on gardening as a hobby in between his physics research. I am hoping that he'll start weeding and getting rid of the plants that actually dead though. I haven't had the heart to criticize and throw all the tired plants out, inasmuch as I'd like to. Frankly, he is doing more in that regard that I am and my priorities are elsewhere.
In the meantime we are, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, referring to this deck above as the Helipad. A huge amount of square footage he has just added but we needed to cover the old weatherdeck and get the Lazerette and the battery room dried out so we can repair the stern and transom.
Greig's industriousness never ceases to leave me surprised. Makes a girl proud.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
This afternoon, I took a photo of the ship, SANS TARPS, and with the new structure in place. Really, I think there is a HUGE improvement.
The drapes are drawn on our bedroom windows unfortunately but at least you can pick'em out. You can see how even a year the paint didn't last long.
Now where the heck did I put that can of paint...
So therein lies the remains of the last of the scaffolding to which we had all our tarps affixed. No more tarps! No more shall I listen to the flap, fwop, flap, fwop, pfffthhhflop, of the tarps! The sound of silence. Sigh. Sweet relief to see such progress.
Crystal stiffed us at the beginning of the month. Truth be told we saw it coming and figured it was more a matter of when instead of if. She had some story about being wierded out by Carmen (ooh the threat of another female perhaps?) and that Ken hit on her not once but THREE times. To which Ken has denied (and I believe him over her frankly) as Crystal has been so sketchy lately. That said, the DAMN CATS (see If it isn't the people it is the damn cats have ceased fouling out of spite. GEEZ..could it be that maybe they just didn't like Crystal? Hmm...
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Ah well...its only money right...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Greig cut through Marcus's old room to the generator room which gives another entry point into the engine room and aft to the stern. So he is keeping the kids busy whilst they are home from this teacher's strike in hauling out more junk out of all those rooms. He tells me the deck stringers are shot on the back deck so we have to replace those. Good thing he has the next few weeks off work.
It has been so quiet again and we have peace in our home again. Amazing how much that can motivate a person to getting stuff done. It is so nice to see stuff getting cleaned out and getting rid of extraneous crap. I am becoming more modernist as I get older...having and maintaining stuff is just too much work.
(Pic of old boiler unit that is going).
The idea is to move the/a furnace into where this boiler now sits and put in a central heating unit. Greig likes how my folks have a wood furnace in their house in Kaslo. They have wood and electric. But wood heat is just so much work and it is so dirty. In as much as we have wood floating by us all the time and logs are clogged up between us and the other boats here, one still has to haul it out of the water and cut it up, put it somewhere to dry, and have enough to last all winter.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Now we have Ken Smith moving aboard. Not the one who was a former owner but a new Ken Smith - handyman and jack of all trades. Well we could use one of those. Seems nice enough and quite pleasant and keen - but they always are for the first week.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
The new room is up and functional. Only about three or four leaks in that room. Crystal has a couple in her room as do we do in one corner. It is in an area where we happen share a wall so it is all in that spot. All in all things are improving and we still have lots of buckets out it isn't nearly as bad as last year or this spring. I think the fibreglassing days are over for a bit thou.
We've company in from Alberta and they are staying in that room. We have put up Tatami mats on the ceiling for a headliner. Figure that if any rain come in the water can get through it easily and that it can dry out relatively quickly too as it breaths. Plus its cheap at a buck a sheet - $15 to do a 10 x 12 room.
I am ok with living on a boat but I just feel the Bowie is just too big to manage. Wonder how much longer I can stand it. Too much personal drama with all these people and just the pace of work and the lifestyle is taking its toll -- despite how much I can look around and see things are getting better.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The border on feral really and they are sketchy as hell. We have had them for almost a year now. They don't like change and when something changes, Ariel, (mother to Zaboomafloo, male), makes her displeasure known by peeing or taking a crap somewhere. It is beyond rediculous actually. I had cats growing up and they were at least sociable let alone certainly didn't crap in the house. EVER. She has no compunction about taking a pee right in front of you.
Last night I started to clean up the excess foam insulation that we scraped off the evening before in a new room we are trying to rent. I walk in and it is rank with cat shit and pee. And over in the corner hidden under a pile of foam shards is a pile of cat poo. After sweeping up the room of foamy bits and scooping up the poo, I attacked it with Windex and then two bouts of Natures Miracle. Thankfully this morning it smells much better and as long as the door stays closed...
Now it turns out in Greig's mind that I "arbitrarily arranged to have Marion bring out the cats, really without his consent, and that setting traps was less hassel than the responsibility of pet ownership, and that he doesn't mind the smell so much." What CRAP...how short his memory is of Ariel peeing on HIS pillow after he shoved her face in a pile of her poo and covered her chin royally. She knew which pillow was his to pee on.
Its a wonder I am not more insane than I clearly am.
Its Ariel who does the destruction - as many of us witness it innumerable times. Think its time for her to go swimming or back to Grandma...In the meantime...its kitty valium in the kibble.
Monday, September 12, 2005
I was so impressed as the kids worked really hard along with us using the crowbars and the cordless drill, sweeping and scraping. I figure these are all really practical life lessons as I know lots of adults who don't know how to use a drill. Getting them to do stuff frees Greig and I up to do other things plus teaches them how to solve problems on their own, team work and communication.
We got so much accomplished this weekend it was most impressive. I feel it most though in my backside. OYI! Played the kids out pretty good to.
We can see the fire burning in Burns Bog from the bow of the ship. Hopefully, they'll be able to get that under control soon.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
My clothes are hanging on a makeshift rope/curtain rod in the wheelhouse as we insulated our bedroom and had to tear it apart. The wheelhouse mind you has an exterior wall missing, thus dust from Allied Concrete is coating everything quite nicely. I have to get on making our closet and putting our room back together. I injured my foot and it is painful to stand or walk much on it and I have to get it looked at. The motivation to come home from work and build a closest isn't leaving me that jazzed.
I am grateful I don't live in the Gulf and I could be far, far, far worse off. We bitch about stuff that goes on every day but you only have to look at the devestation of Katrina and really assess what your priorities really are all about.
Friday, September 02, 2005
We have had to throw Peter out. Stole Crystal's rent, pickpocketed Richard, and had been caught rifling through Marcus spare change in his bedroom. Zero tolerance on that one. So we turfed him out and Greig graciously dropped him off at his sister's home, only to discover that he ended up stealing his brother's car and his sister's purse. Nice type eh? I thought it was shitty enough stealing from people who already don't have anything but then stealing from family? People show you who they are.
Dealing with all this kind of crap makes finding the motivation to do work on the ship really difficult. It seems like Greig and I are parents to many of these people. I am weary of it as I work two jobs and I am not home to see all the stuff that goes on when we aren't there.
If it was only about fixing the Bowie that would be one thing, but it isn't. My friend Rod said I was the "eye" of the hurricane there. He may be right.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
We couldn't do this without them really. The tenents help pay for the moorage and the hydro, telephone, internet, satelllite TV and there a bit left over for actual supplies and building materials.
Marcus has been a god-send -especially lately, as he has put a great deal of sweat equity into stripping the green paint off the stack that sits in the middle of the Salon and now you can see the lovely mahogany underneath. We've some finishing work to do on it before we oil it but it is mostly done. I hope to get in there and help him finish it off. As soon as I find a round tuit. Photos to be posted soon.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Living on a ship like the Bowie has challenges. Some of which are things that
most people wouldn't worry about from day to day. It is courtesy in the boating
world that when you happen upon a marina and/or docks, that you slow down.
Apparently, not all boaters know this and I guess they just can't see us.
Last Monday eve, a 38 foot sport fisher buzzed us at flank speed a mere
25 feet off our portside, thus sending the already dodgy docks, us and
our neighbour boats into a mad froth. I ran out screaming at them onto
the portside breezeway as fast as I could shaking my fist to little
avail. "Slow down you Rat bastards!" I screamed. They didn't.
So it has been on my mind of late, to find a way to slow them down.
Greig and I have had discussions about this. Of course, his advice for
me on any action on my part was couched with "don't do anything stupid
to get us thrown out. It is hard to find a place to park this thing."
He nipped one consistently ignorant boater several months back by
chasing him down in the speedboat and got all Viking on the fellow.
Apparently chasing down other boaters and attempting to board them is OK
but I can't yell at them from the ship.
So a few nights ago we were sitting in the hot tub around midnight and having
a glass of wine and debriefing each other on our day. Travelling east up
toward us at a reasonable speed of about 3 knots was a 45' tug boat.
Now often as not, after 9pm at night, we'll be naked in our hot tub and
we don't care. It's our damn tub. Neighbours be damned. And since it was
after midnight, we were in there, naked.
So I decided to try a wee experiment. The tug was just coming along
side us but still well over to the north side of the riverbank and
really not going by us at an unreasonable speed.
"You don't have the guts," Greig said to me.
I stood up.
Apparently I CAN make stop a tug boat in less than three feet of
I have never seen a car, let alone a boat travelling with the momentum
and weight that a tug does stop on a dime like that! It was most
impressive in spite of the fact that Greig and I were rolling on the
bottom of the hot tub laughing hysterically.
He threw it into reverse, backed up about 10 feet and was sitting there
stopped in the river along side us, expecting more of a display. That boat was
absolutely still for what seemed like ages but we were laughing so hard
I can't rightly say how long it was. But there he was, wiping the
condesation off the windows in his wheelhouse hoping to get another
I can't possibly give him what he wants and I am trying to wave him on
- the show is over, I am laughing way to hard. He isn't going and quite
determined there is more to see.
So Greig, consumate gentleman that he is, stands up. As he is rising
out of the water, the tug drops back into gear, determined to see none
of what Greig's got and floors it forward and away he goes.
"See, honey, I keep telling you - you have way more power than you
realize." Yah, thanks honey.
So I think I'll make a sign and hang it off the bow of the ship."Dead
slow please, naked women at play"
I think that just might work.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Greig, my boyfriend and I met on-line back in January of 2002. For about 10 years and prior to my ever meeting him, it was a mission of his to live on a boat. So about a year almost to the day after we met he was scouring the Boat Journal looking for his "fat 50". He had been picturing a wider yacht of about 50 feet in length, big enough for me and his two kids from his previous relatonship.
136 subchaser. Needs lots of work. Offers. Powell River, BC. Off like a shot he goes went with a friend to investigate this "yacht". It is anchored in Saltery Bay, near Powell River on what is known as BC's "Sunshine coast". He squealed like a little girl in anticipation of seeing it. I, however, did not.
Now I like boats and though the motivation towards boats has never been as stong has his, I found myself often on boats of some ilk. Powerboats mind you, as sail boats never really entered my sphere. It borders on an obsession for him - perhaps a by-product of his Viking heritage. Boat disease indeed and rare is the boat he doesn't like.
The more I look around for others who are doing something similar, I see the term seasteading hashed about. I guess we are doing that too. But this is unique on many levels and friends and people are facinated with our lifestyle which is a most curious thing to me. I guess it is just so audacious that people are naturally curious as to our lifestyle and that he picked the damn thing up for a dollar.
"You can do that? Is it legal? What's it like?", are most often asked. Well it's kind of like pioneering.
What would you expect of the condition of a 136 foot wooden ship that someone sells for a whole dollar?
"Well it only leaks when it rains!" Greig tells people often. Most people go "Oh-mi-god!! Would ya look at that thing?" They probably think it is about ready to sink but it's hull is quite rock solid and bilges require little pumping.
Which is why a total neat freak and who's work is about the asthetic was completely overwhelmed and intimidated at the sight of it. To say it scared the crap out of me was a HUGE understatment, our relationship was, at the time, not exactly rock solid. It was not an easy decision to stay and still challenges me daily. And I am pretty handy and know my way around tools too. I am kind of a Martha.
But he was so damn determined...that voice said, "oh don't be a pansy, stick around, this is going to make a woman of ya!" That he didn't have a job nor was he even on Employment Insurance wasn't even a deterrent. This was his life's dream and how to pay for it all was a minor detail. I don't make huge cash at my job and at the time it certainly wasn't secure and all I could see was more work for me and I was busy enough as I had a job. That and love makes ya just downright stupid.
But here we are now and it is August of 2005. His two children live with us part time as well - though we don't get to see them nearly as much as we'd like. It is earning its keep as we have tenents (with whom we live with - a further challenge). We have been plugging away at cleaning it up and improving it as much as we can without financing. That we have people who are willing to PAY to live on it never ceases to amaze me but it attracts the misfits of the world, the iconoclasts, ok, the freaks.
Our life is a reality televison show. A mix of Trailer Park Boys, Survivor and Extreme Makeover- Home addition all rolled into one. The work is never ending. Greig, thankfully now has a pretty steady employment as a Restricted Engineer and cruise director with a local charter boat company, with benefits of chunks of the winter off and I now have two jobs (my graphic design job and working with him on the charter boats on weekends). Then there is trying to renovate a ship. If you think one of the ultimate challenges to a couple is in renovating a house try a ship!
And while I bitch about the challenges of it all and try get enough sleep, nurture my soul and my own needs, and I certainly don't want my epitaph to read - "I wish I had cleaned more."
When we sit in our hot tub on the stern of the ship and look across at the leaky condos on the other side of the river and snicker that they have us for a view as we scamper our lily-white butts into our hot tub. We are thankful that we don't live overpriced and leaky condo and realize that they aren't any better off than we are. Thankful to not have the bullshit of strata councils. So we contemplate life on the river and future plans it all seems to somehow fall into place, albiet not always smoothly. We live in an industrial area and it is what I call , "livin' on the Bayou." The whole complex is an industrial mess and irks me everyday I walk past the overflowing dumpster in the yard that our landlord is too cheap to empty. We live in a "gated" community (tongue firmly planted in cheek) and we are really in the best spot to do the work we need to do on the ship. We have ready access to the big recycling outfits and centrally located to both our jobs and his children who live with their mother as well. Ying and Yang.
We can blast down the river on our little speedboat and go to the beach. Wreck Beach, that is and we bypass the stairs from hell but accessing it from the water. We can zip over to Bowen Island for dinner should the mood hit us, therefore, bypassing BC Ferries as well.
So it is pretty cool and stupid crap happens all the time. Its also funny as hell.