Monday, December 31, 2007

Mmm...Casserole!

Ah New Year's!



That oh-so-over-hyped and overpriced and anti-climatic event that usually has me wishing I was just at home in bed. And this year, I WILL BE! Well, Greig, the poor sod is working. Usually I am too but not this year. No cheap tippers, nor drunken louts for me...whee. This is the best New Year's ever!
WOOT! WOOT!!

Well, almost woot. Poor Bui got nailed with a nasty stomach bug in the wee hours of Sunday morning. But I think he's on the road to recovery as he looks a bit more sparkly around the gills and not sleeping quite as much.

We've been watching movies and eating Turkey Casserole. No, I didn't cook a turkey for Christmas dinner. It is from all the leftover turkey Greig has brought home from the charters. The freezer is chock full of the stuff. Too bad most of us don't really like turkey but it is versatile stuff for leftovers nonetheless.

Smell ya later '007!
Happy New Year 2008 and all the best to you and yours!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OpenID commenting

I have enabled the new OpenID commenting. Blogger says:
"After just two short weeks of testing on Blogger in draft, OpenID commenting is now available for all Blogger blogs. This means that your friends and readers can leave authenticated comments on your blog using their blog URLs from OpenID-enabled services such as WordPress.com, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, or with their AOL/AIM accounts."
I know there are lots of you out there, lurking and not saying hello. Don't be scared! How did you find my ranty little blog? Come round often? C'mon...I tell you lots of stuff...

Why they call me the Rat Slayer

In light of Rob's and Jelaina's recent posts about mice and such and coupled with the fact we've got a new resident rat beneath Noah's room on the Pacific Express, I must tell the tale of how I became known as the Rat Slayer.

It think it must have been during the winter of 2004. We had lots more holes everywhere and at the time there was a dumpster up on shore that got emptied rarely - like every six or eight months. The Bowie also tied up closer to the main ramp.

There was a ventilator fan that came down from the wheelhouse and through the galley. It was a prime in and out spot for them. We had traps and the odd one we'd catch. OH how I despise the things and how they freaked me out. I was such a princess.

Dosha and I had been cooking dinner and she heard a rustle up in that corner and saw a fast movement and we both knew it was Ratty. He' d been leaving his calling card hither and yon and I was doing my utmost to keep things in gnaw proof containers and thus trying to train roommates to not leave stuff out for the rat to get at. I rushed over to the spot and whacked a wooden spoon into the hole knowing the futility of such an effort. I had to let it know that it was on notice and it was going to be him or me.

We proceeded to have dinner and after we came back to the galley, I had seen where it had gotten into a loaf of bread during the time we'd been eating. I cleaned up dinner and we sat down for a bit to watch some TV (back in the day when we had TV). I ushered the kids to get ready for bed and to go brush their teeth.

Bui then came rushing back out into the salon. "Um, Tana, there was a rat going up the ladder into your bedroom."

I looked at Greig, sitting in the salon in his robe and looking all Bhudda like and without speaking, "Well, go deal with it."

To which he spoke, "I'm not going after it. Have you seen how fast those suckers run? I am not so naive as to think I could actually catch it."

I was dumbfounded. I thought to myself, "You bastard. I've just finished cooking and cleaning up after dinner and you CAN'T, NO WON'T tend to a rat?"

Which was pretty much like waving a red cape in front of a bull as far as I was concerned.

I stormed over to the galley to look for a broom, only to find there WAS NO BROOM, as someone hadn't put it back after they'd used it. "AAAAAKKKKKCCCK!!!" I roared.

I did, however notice the broken end of a broom handle that was never there before. I grabbed that and hiked up the ladder to our bedroom. Halfway up the stairs I turned on the stairs and noticed him sitting there on the edge of the hole, not moving very fast. I knew it saw me. But it didn't bolt at all.

I was the Cruella De Ville of the Rat world, "AAAHHHRRRHARRR!!!" I cackled and screamed, Dosha and Bui, watching me at the bottom of the ladder. I raised my broken broom handle and WHACK, WHACK, WHACK, WHACK, across its shoulders. The adrenaline was just pumping through me. I probably broke its spine on the very first whack but then, after the first set of whacks, I had to give it a couple more for good measure. My teeth were clenched, I was probably panting. I turned down to look at Bui and Dosha who were staring up at me, jaws dropped and in awe and wonderment.

"Wow," cried Dosha, "You did it! You killed the rat." Bui, on the other hand was doubled over and laughing his butt off.

Then Greig rushed up to the bottom of the landing. "Don't tell me you actually caught it? I don't believe it." He was laughing as hard as Bui was.

I on the other hand had tasted blood. I was on one hand, proud that I had conquered a fear and on the other hand angry as hell that I had to do it. What kind of knight in blue bathrobe was he anyway and what do I need him for again? I stomped back down the ladder and looked at him defiantly.

Suddenly, I realized I had a squashed dead rat in my room and it had to be removed. Immediately! I looked to a plastic plate that was adjacent to me on the counter. Grabbed it, went back up the ladder and scooped Ratty on to the plate.

"So you couldn't think you could catch it eh?" I charged presenting him with the rat square to his chest and seething, "Here's your g#*damn rat you g*#damn pansy."

Still roaring with laughter and shocked amazed by my killing prowess I realized he was totally mocking me, yet, impressed as hell.

However, I also realized I still had a rat on a plate looking up at me all glassy-eyed. I opened the door to the port side breezeway, and threw the rat overboard into the river.

"Ha! " I said. "Pppffft!"

It was a moment later that I realized that I no longer required the plastic plate. I threw that into the river too.

From henceforth, they called me Rat Slayer. I confess to only consciously killing another rat since - also with a broom handle. But I only knew died days later because we could smell it after it had crawled into a wall and died.

Not long after Rolly removed that dumpster for a smaller one that got emptied on a weekly basis. We get them in occasionally but regular emptying of the dumpster alone keeps them to a minimum. Though they don't freak me out like they used to, I still hate the damn things. I am not such a softie that I wouldn't slay one again.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another day, NOT in paradise

We had great intentions to address our ever insatiable need for firewood. But Mother Nature’s latest windstorm and the human inhabitants apparently had a different agenda to ours.

As Greig, and I were struggling to wrangle logs from the flotsam between the docks, Kat came wandering up the dock and told Greig that Mark Q was, really, really drunk. It was 11am. We suspect he’d been on a binge from the night before and as Kat said, “I can’t deal with him.” I should mention that they moved in separately and met and got together whilst living here. Needless to say, there have been issues between them that spill over into the communal mix.

In the meantime, we’d also noticed the Lightship drifting close to shore. Winds were blowing from the Northeast and pushing the whole mix toward shore. We were on the high tide but Greig knew that if the tide went out, chances are the lightship would tip over and squish the Bowie. Wrought iron and Douglas fir don’t mix well under such conditions.

Greig trotted up to the bow of the Bowie to check anchor lines etc, and to his dismay, discovered that the Bowie had pulled its anchor. We have a big anchor some 30 yards out into the river PLUS a 45 gallon drum or two full of concrete as anchors. We’d dragged those. He fired up the anchor winch and started fiddling with the block and tackle that hangs from a crane on the bow. The crane buckled above his head and fortunately, didn’t actually break apart. It only buckled and bent over a bit.

In the midst of all of this, Mark Q was utterly intoxicated, “As drunk as I have ever seen him,” said Karen and, as a call from Kat not much later would attest, “threatening to kill himself.” He is not unknown for drunken behavior and had been warned back in the summer that it wouldn’t be tolerated. Greig and others went down below decks into the lower bow suite which has a bed in the v-berth and a room aft of that which they use for a sitting room. He was blathering incoherently on his cell phone, wine bottle tipped over on the coffee table and ashtray full of butts. (And no, smoking downstairs and inside is a definitive no, no.) He was playing with a knife and scratching at his wrists.

Was he really serious about killing himself, probably not. Were we going to take that chance? Absolutely not; enough was enough. Karen got on the phone to the RCMP and we had four of their finest come to remove him. Which probably would have been OK if he hadn’t gotten snarky with them.

I can’t say that was one of my favorite moments of live aboard life. Having to endure a very drunken idiot, clearly inconsolable and in a terrible spot in his life, on all fours, cuffed, wailing with tears and snot streaming out of his face. It is not a memory I look forward to keeping. Mark Q is not known for being selfless at the best of times. There was no way in hell that if he was to off himself, that he would do it on our boat. He is where he is by the choices and decisions he made.

Though I may bitch and whine and shake my fist at the stupidity of the things (and people) that happen in my life, they are my choices and my decisions and I take responsibility for them. I do my best to maintain my boundaries as much as I can, though from time to time allow them to be obliterated. That I continue to choose to keep going in circles with it all is my (and our) choice.

Who needs TV when you have Bowievision!

And the what of the firewood? Well we got a nominal amount done before breaking for lunch (about 2pm) and deciding to leave what was there for tomorrow’s tide as it was getting too dark. We had enough for the next day or two. This time of year, it starts getting dark at about 3pm in the afternoon where it becomes not very safe.

We were emotionally exhausted already from Mark’s performance. And as I was sitting on the couch I saw one of the marina’s other tenants (and who is completely separate from us) going after the firewood that we hauled out. Using our axes. That we’d already begun bucking up. Now, there is plenty of wood to go around and if you want a work party of it then by all means, saddle up with your axe and some fuel and let’s go.

But Greig and I had been out there struggling against the jammed up logs to break them free for a better part of an hour so; timing the tidal height just so, that we could get at all that business safely ashore safely. Bouncing ships and drunken mad roommates interfered with that endeavor.

I was furious. I stomped back up the dock and tore a strip off Mike. “Jump in anytime and help. There is plenty here for everyone but why use my equipment and take what I have already started.”


Now, if he’d been there working to along side us in all of that, that would have been a different story but he’d been sleeping all day, and hadn’t heard the chainsaw. Or, even if he'd said, "hey, I need some firewood and I was asleep whilst you were pulling that out. Do you mind if I take part of it?" He just decided to help himself and thought that it would be entirely OK.


I'll add that it is our chainsaw, our gas, our oil, splitting mauls. I think I have about six splitting mauls about all handle-less from amateurs missing the block of wood with the business end and not the head of the axe. Finding the right kind of splitting maul in THIS CITY is a bit of an exercise in futility. (Axe heads that are blunt and sharply tapered to a better job of splitting than thinner. The fatter the wedge the better the split.)

Everyone is up for sharing as long as they benefit but when they actually have to put out and do something in actual work or exchange for it, well, that is a whole bucket of resin.


Back down the dock I stomped, fuming to Greig, Karen and Sean. Was I being a total bitch? Was I completely out of line? Nope they told me. So, I decided to stomp back up and get my axes - I've wasted plenty of time in the great axe/maul hunt in finding the perfect one only to have some Nimrod break it. OH the time I've wasted finding the right kind of axe+head.

You see, it is so ridiculous. For it isn’t like there isn’t enough to go around - there is! That isn’t the point. I am not going to do all this work for you to just swoop in and take and not replace. Jump in anytime and help.

Enough is enough and we’re done. We’re selling the fleet. It shouldn’t have to be this hard. We’re tired of turning the other cheek an getting slapped up the head for it. We are tired of constantly trying to do right by others and them not giving a flying fig back. “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Ain’t the Christmas season just grand? AH well, at least there is someone on Monty's boat that has a good sense of humour. Behold the learner's permit sticker down by the ladder. How appropriate. (Photos here are from Karen 1.)

Change is in the air

Well, again, it has been a heck of a week. We've a bit of a windstorm and I'm bouncing around like crazy at the moment. It must be really windy up by the Bowie as I tend to be a bit more protected down here on the west end of the marina.

We're really down on roommates. We've got ads running in several places but the phone just isn't ringing. Regardless of the time of year perhaps it seems strange.

Though Greig did rent a room to this freak who told him he was a welder and yet told some of the other roommates about all the hot stolen goods he could fix them up with. Geez, Greig my digital camera is missing. Three guesses as to who took it?

Dummy also tried barging in to Troy's room and since he has a Sidney who is a cross between an Australian Shepard and a harbour seal two guess who won that showdown. Good old Sid. She's a good old girl she is. The writing was further on the wall when Dummy got in Greig's face about Sidney and what a dangerous animal she is (some pot calling the kettle black methinks?) and Greig and I escorted him toot suite out of here about midnight the other night.

But like I always say, people show you who they are inspite of whatever they SAY it is that they are. So though it makes it tight, especially for the holidays, we'd just as soon stay empty and at peace with all the great people who are here than be desperate and have to babysit a bunch of crackheads and a@#holes.

The energy in just isn't comparing to the energy out. I've finally convinced Greig that it is time for a change of course so we're putting up boats for sale. Lousy time of year to be even thinking about it and of course, as soon as I wanted to go take some more pictures the damn camera gets ripped off.

Oh well, better stop this blathering and go get my vacuum of the Sea Ferring. I need to finish cleaning that. Gee it would be so handy if we just sold that one. And I have no firewood at all so that is one of my priorities today.

Stuff on today's list:
1. Set out a rat trap on the Pacific Express as I sure smell one and Noah says we've got one there.
2. Clean the bathroom on the Sea Ferring
3. Firewood; cut up scrap crap laying about
4. Clean out the shop up on shore as we're getting out of that.
5. Bag up the loose insulation in front of the shop doors and take it to the dump.
6. Dump run.
7. Grocery run

oh...i know there is more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Award

We had a professional development day at work yesterday which was coupled with Christmas party which I don't think I've ever managed to attend in all the years I have worked at the College. Mostly because they happened after work and I usually had to go work on a boat.

Anyhow, in addition to the gift exchange I received an award. Two of my collegues cleverly gave "special" awards to 10 of 12 of my fellow workmates - save themselves of course.

And so the Mark Twain award goes to ....ME! They really shouldn't even refer to both of us in the same sentence as I am hardly so well written. Alas, regaling them with my tales of the river seems to have entertained them.

The funny thing is I said, "I haven't been regaling you with as many of my stories anymore as I thought I was freaking you out."

"You were," said Christine. "But don't stop now!"

Victoria said, "Really, you should be writing all of this down before you forget. Even if you do it through a tape recorder and save it all for another time."

"Well I try to do so through this blog but I don't always have time. And I'd like to be mindful of people's privacy even when they stiff us and are (insert expletive). But they are mostly nuts anyhow. Plus I don't want to get sued," I said.

"Whatever. It's good stuff. You'll wish you had."

OK, where is that list?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Its a typical case of a failure to communicate.

Which, ultimately tends to be one of our biggest sources of frustration. Of course it is a two way street and often we hope common sense prevails but alas, it rarely does. Oh that "common" sense just isn't that common and what seems common to me just "ain't" to a lot of other folks.

Just like the saying goes "If you assume you make an ass out of you and me."

And being the partner without rose-coloured-glasses, I think it is an exercise in futility most of the time. I expect people to be lousy whereby it totally bums Greig more when it happens. If we were only fixing boats then it would be easier but often this is social work. I am neither social worker nor psychologist - just a frustrated schmuck trying to keep everyone safe, fix a bunch of boats and help us all stay warm in the process. OYI for some simple cooperation!

That said people are always late with rent and we find ourselves covering for them. Most of the time people get caught up but sometimes they don't. Sometimes they can't even be bothered.

Recently, we gave much lattitude to someone I thought was worthy. But we gave an inch and they took a mile. In the meantime they found their own boat. Which was fabulous for them and in spite of their being in arrears with us and promises to get moved off any and all of OUR boats and onto this new boat we gave them lots of latitude. "It will all be off in a couple of days."

Two months later it lots of personal effects remained - at one point items over three rooms where only one room had actually been paid for.

The final flash point for me Sunday when one of the other tenents told me that his female cousin had come to visit. His cousin required a place to change for the hot tub so took to changing in the empty room. Turns out the errant tenant happened upon her, and had a fit about her being in "her" room. Apparently she still thought it was 'her" room though hadn't paid rent on the thing in some two months.

Well that was the final red flag to me. It was all a bit rich and cheeky. So I called her up and left her a not so nice voice mail and requested she come and see me about it to clear things up.

Alas she never did.

So the other day, sore and done from shoveling snow and throwing firewood about we were headed up to the hot tub, Greig saw their boat leave and head around the tip of Mitchell Island. He appeared to be headed downstream.

I thought, well, they've not said anything to either of us, maybe they just went to get fuel as they left a bunch of crap on the dock and there is still stuff in the hall upstairs on the Bowie.

Not that wouldn't be a typical thing of course - leaving a whole lot of crap around for ME to clean up is quite typical. Heck, one guy tried to sue us for throwing out his stuff after umpteen request that he come get it (and promised to do so several times and never showed.) Then, when he got hostile and sketchy we asked him to bring the RCMP to provide a civil standby, he said the Police wouldn't and then tried to sue them. So yes you do get all kinds.

Several hours later I had a call from Rhianna who'd had a call from this tenent saying that they had run a ground on a sandbar UP THE RIVER. Could Dave fire up the tug to help, 'cos they'd found moorage as we had kicked them out. Well no, I/we hadn't actually said leave the marina - just move out of the rooms and get it together but since they didn't come and see me....well, ASS=U+ME!!

Dave can't operate the Sea Cap alone at this point, and the tug isn't up for that kind of trip as it isn't running well enough. Too risky. Plus he'd dropped a battery on his foot...

Sigh.

I really wanted was for them to clean up their stuff and not be spread out over three rooms so that we could be able to rent the rooms and oh, pay our $1700 hydro bill Please and THANK YOU.

Unbelievable.

PS. They were apparently rescued. I can only ASSUME they are OK and hope that is true. I like them lots I just hate the rash behavior.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Me thinks it is possessed

Greig got the tug back and operational by that Tuesdayafternoon. It is alas, not problem free. A new head gasket is at the very least in order. Greig somehow jerry-rigged a swimming pool pump up to it to at least get the cooling system working but there much more mechanically to do before they ever get it out and working on anything.

I got up this morning and I felt that Tug talking to me...

"Ya missy, I may be ugly but I am not afraid of hard work..the kids these days don't now what real hard work is..all shiny and aluminum...they make a hell of a racket and they are no tougher than me, why where's the dirt under the fingernails...pansies ALL! I've been around almost 80 years and I still got work to do. I know my wheel house need's a fixin' and this and that but all those naysayers don't know nuthin...(grumble,grumble)."
S'truth! It's what I heard it said!

In the wee hours of Wednesday, the orange skiffy flipped over as it was tied up next to the Partnership. That poor outboard, which Greig has had for about 10 years went swimming for the fourth time since he has had it. Alas it was only a $125 touch - I was expecting it to be $300 - and we picked that up today.

Environment Canada says we are in for the coldest winter that we've had in 15 years. I think we'll have to go great guns, all of us on firewood. The carol ships have started up and so Greig is going flat out on that until Dec 23. I had resigned from the cruises a month or two ago after I got back from Dad being so ill. I can't tell you how much I don't miss it. If I didn't already have a full-time job + this place it would be one thing. To not have to factor it into my life/weekend is a godsend.

Well, more time for firewood and soup makin' can't be all bad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

...and now it is not.

Well they had it running and had pulled it alongside the Partnership, working and working out the bugs. The idea was to have it strapped to the big dolphin and inspect the prop and hull. I thought it perhaps was an unwise thing but what do I know?

Greig had been out there in an incredibly mucky storm testing out that engine and other equipment. The water pump seems to be having issues. He had my spare garden hose running from my boat to the engine room and periodically would holler to me to turn it on or off when necessary. Whilst he was doing that I was making this delicious a Tortilla pie. He'd had a 12 hour day in it and was chilled to the bone and of course, had had little to eat. He called it quits at about 9pm when they ran out of water beneath them.

I know, I know, it seems crazy but there was some logic behind it all in spite of Greig's reservations. Greig changed out of his soggy clothes to head over to the hot tub on the Bowie to warm up and I wasn't far behind.

CRRAAAAACKKKKEEE! And out of the corner of my eye whilst standing in my galley saw it list to starboard.

"Oh that is just fantastic!"

Then I saw a grey form streak across my back deck toward the Sea Cap. Yes it was Dave, and he moves pretty fast for a middle aged white guy!

Rhianna has documented our evening (her camera is way better than mine for night shots). Go here first...

and flash forward a couple of hours to here.

Greig thought Dave was getting his trash pump off the Meat Locker as prep for when the tide came in again so as to avoid having to submerge that just re-done engine.

Afterward, Greig was very surprised that with they were able to right it with that chain block alone as without it the pump wouldn't have kept up. My lord that man is strong. As my pa would say, "built like a brick sh**house, strong"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's ALIVE!!!



They did it. It lives, it breathes! The Sea Cap, soon to be renamed - probably the Mad Canadian I, came to life on Friday afternoon. Relatively problem free for the most part it seems.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

The latest project

Today was a glorious morning, though navigation on the new docks somewhat precarious with all that frost. We've ordered some rolls of chicken wire which will get stapled to the docks. Apparently it has now come in. Seems to us that ultimately, that is the best material to use for it.

In other news, another boat has arrived and this one with some promise. Dave has salvaged this tug and Greig is going in on the tug with him. Destination: log booms.

The Sea Cap I, is fairly ancient as tugs go and its wooden hull has been covered with a steel skin. It had been sunk and they are putting the single 333 Caterpillar back together. It is a six cylindar turbo diesel and they have it turning over. They've put in a new starter and batteries. Greig is going to take the 24 volt charger to his guy Colin who is a wiz bang with all things electrical. He's hoping today to actually get it running.

They have to get the all the Nav lights and gear in order. The old mast is a piece of junk and I am sure Dave is going to weld something together. So much great stuff can happen when people actually cooperate and work together!




Now when they get this up and running he is aiming to get the v-16's on the Pacific Express up and running. They pulled the starters on that yesterday to take to Mr. Colin.

Now that will be blog worthy when that happens.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time waster

Wanna play the Docking Game?

I suck. Don't let me at the controls.

So the other day...

Well, it was a few weeks ago truth be told. I have some smaller 4 x 5 rugs scattered about in the Main Salon on the Bowie. The place needed cleaning and I lifted up the rugs to go shake them and give them a beating when under one, I discovered a very squashed mouse.

Yes, it was freshly squeezed.

So some big galoot (Greig thinks it may have been him), must have come along with Mousie hiding under the rug and not realizing, actually stepped on it.

Now to not even notice that is a bit of a mystery don't you think? I mean unless you are wearing some big steel toed clod hoppers and are moving fast maybe that is something you wouldn't notice. But Greig doesn't and he just doesn't move that fast.

I mean, if there was an egg underneath the rug and I stepped on it I think I would notice it. Surely a mouse, though a bit squishier and without the telltale crack of the shell, well, I still think I would FEEL it under my boot.

Another mystery for the pile.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This could come in handy

Ever on the lookout for more and efficient storage methods that are multi-functional and multi-purpose, I found this image on the How magazine design blog.

It is always amazing to always find an empty toilet paper roll on the roll holder and often as not several partially used ones just laying about, usually getting wet. EEUCK!

There are two kinds of holders about. One where you just slide the roll a rod, and the tension rod variety. Such a simple design to remove and replace it with a full roll. Apparently, quite complicated for others to master. I buy TP in bulk from Costco and Superstore - usually 32 rolls to a bundle.

And that empty roll, why the garbage is only inches away but it never quite makes it into there either. More mysteries of the universe I guess.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Power restored

With Sunday's storm, the power never went out directly until Tuesday morning. As Monday had progressed, the brown outs were becoming more frequent and severe to which I decided to empty the fridge on the Partnership and unplug it as I could hear the poor thing staining away. The stove on the Bowie being electric, was inoperable and so I was able to cook a big pot of soup for us on the Partnership's stove. Cooking on the propane stove is better anyway.

Greig was able to keep our big freezer freezing with hooking it up to one of the ear splitting gensets we have on hand.

When I got home from work last night it was still off and so we decided to go low tech and invest in some old fashioned coal oil lanterns. Canadian Tire has a big camping section and lots of lovely rechargable lanterns. I love the Coleman camp lanterns that you can screw in a small propane canister to but those are $80 a pop. Those throw off so much light! However at $13 a pop we opted for some of the old fashioned kind. Nothing to keep perpetually charged, not so valuable that if it gets broken or falls in the drink it would be a big loss. Plus they look cool and when not in use they have a decidedly decorative effect!

Yes, open flame is not a great idea to be sure but having to keep up with chargable batteries or leaving things always plugged in to charge is not a practical option for us. Unlike the land dwellers, if the power does go out we do have some wood stoves to keep us from freezing.

As soon as we got home from shopping and dropping $200 on flashlights and lanterns they had the power restored and all things normal.

I am sure we'll have another couple of storms like this before Christmas arrives.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to make aluminum railings fly.

Actually, flying railings aside, it should have been the poke in the eye that was my first clue of how the day would ensue and the kick off to the winter storm season.

Ole-Twinkletoes here managed to give myself a right proper poke in the eye with the business end of the pike pole today. I had it in such a position so I wouldn't trip over it and I was trying to tie a line off from a piling onto one of the cleats on the Partnership. I do have two hooks that hang above the walkway where the poles are normally hung but the handle was in one hook and dropping at an angle toward the deck, where I was working the cleat.

And I forgot it was there until I jabbed the end in my eyeball.

Idiot.

Yes, mother, yes father, I am a sailor. Well, perhaps not but I sure swear like one! However that aside, I am a very lucky girl as I fully felt it giving the old eyeball a bit of a toss inside the socket. I gathered my dim wits about me and saw that all of my eyelashes had tucked themselves inside the eyelid and that I still had my vision. Whew. Bullet dodged.

Thankfully, Karen 1 was here and had the presence of mind to immediately grab an ice pack out of the freezer which I have for my shoulder. I have been trying to ice it regularly all day.

I fully expect a big black eye from it.

Cut to Scene 2, on the Bowie, where Greig has been working on building an upper bedroom and has stored some of the aluminum railings. Tonight, two flew off the roof and one landed on the Dos Amores and the other on Troy's new boat. (Yes Troy now has himself a 40' sport fisher, twin gas engines, which looks a lot like Rob's boat actually except with a big fat tarp on it). It landed on the bow deck of his boat. Needless to say, he was a bit upset, and rightly so by it. It all could have been worse and landed on something like, oh, his windows.

I pulled one of the railings out from between the dock and the sailboat and set it back on the dock. It was blowing like hell and the docks were pulling around like crazy.

Cut to Scene 3, MV Partnership, where I happened to be present for the big bang and discovered my chimney had come down and the tarp has ripped in the wind. The tarp's replacement is in the trunk of my car which I was hoping to procrastinate on a bit longer.

We've started this year's storm season off with a good couple of bangs and a poke in the eye.

Good times.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

And the culprit is...

A piling.

Yup, I am sitting smack on a piling. It is 12:36am. And I know I need to do a haul out on this too...

"The bow is sitting on a piling. I just have to move you over a few inches so we can clear it."

Now this boat yard has been here for many years. Well, many in terms of BC time...I think as this place has been a boat yard is the early day of Richmond/Vancouver.

There are some wierd sounds that kind of creeping me out. A creak, a groan, a vibration....oyi!!!The logs are creaking here and there...

Well I felt that I was sitting on something there and now we can see it. Funny how it all "seems" ok when you can see things better.

It should start turning anytime now. This is the low for tonight. I was looking at the surface of the water out the galley window, to see if it was slack or otherwise and it looks slack to me. Maybe that Big Blue Heron whose sillouhette I see will be getting some good hunting.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Addicted to the tide schedule

Since the ultra-low tides of last week, everything being on a tilt and waking up to things crashing about, I have been changing my evening bedtime habits a bit.

I am getting addicted to the tide schedule. I know if it goes below a .8, that I should ensure the dishes and the dish rack are away in their spots cupboard. Anything "loose" on the counter should go into the sink. I should turn off the valves to the toilet lest the downstairs one run on and on and the upstairs one leaking out from the handle and with the drip ending up in the middle of the galley downstairs. (I had thought it was leaking from the tank/bowl connection but I was wrong). I have to prop a stick against a stair tread so that the doors of the cabinet that I have there don't spill out its contents of screws, tools and paint.

I had thought about buying a bit of that metal strapping to go around the stem of my vintage floor lamp but realized that stuff was expensive and that I had tons of ribbon, grosgrain ribbon to be precise. That would keep the lamp from falling over just fine and it won't scratch the metal of the lamp. It's milk glass shade is hard to come by and I have replaced it twice to the tune of about $80.

I was always aware of the tide but not to the nuances of a point this, or that of a metre and what a difference they make to my general sanity. In general, I would avoid taking things up on shore until the tide was higher as we get 17 foot tides. I work hard enough and like a fool so why do it and struggle to get it UP THE RAMP? I realize now that I can take a .8 or a.7 and a .6 will keep me awake. Who knew a .5 would make a girl so cranky?

I was looking ahead to this week, wondering when the next .5 will hit me and how will I manage. The next big .5 is next Friday morning at 12midnight to about 3am. As long as I know this, I can mentally prepare for it. I have it printed out and I've highlighted the "nasty" parts.

Well I did fee a bit virtuous too Sunday as I managed to dig out a deadhead with stump attached that was coming down on the new dock and had pulled all THAT apart. I tell ya, it's a constant assault just staying ahead of the deadheads. I shoved some very valuable bits timber back under the ramp and out with the high water. Funny that we don't see the log salvage guys nearly as much as we used too. There are a couple more wedged in between the dock and into the mud but it would be impossible to get a boat in there to pull them out and I just don't have the strength to push on it with the pike pole.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Another short sleep

Greig took out that extra finger of dock but alas, at 2:30 I heard a tell tale thunk and got up to investigate. Off went the valves to the toilets. I was too tired to put away the dishrack earlier in the evening but took it off the counter before all its contents went flying.

At about 7:30 am yesterday, after my 2:30 am post, the contents of a cupboard containing cans of paint and tools that I have under the spiral stair case flew out. A small can of water based varathane dumped over the floor. I was able to catch it but all the million screws that got dumped felt like I was playing a game of "52-pickup."

"Are you mad at me," Greig asked?

"No honey, I know how much you're scrambling and trying to do it all yourself. I'll yell at you for something else later."

So, not wanting a repeat performance of that, I wedged a stick from a stringer on the stairs against the door of that cabinet.

We decided to pressure up the fire hose and attack the mud from under the pontoon. An deadhead that had been floating around yesterday was sitting right beside the pontoon on the mud. Our neighbour Gerard, who recently bought the float house that sits behind us came over to help and stood on a chunk of plywood on the mud, firing the hose at the log and pontoon. Gerard chuckled at me and said in his thick Newfie accent, "Do you guys ever sleep? God, you are goin' all de tine."

Greig had also cinched both Dave and I a bit closer into shore he's going to release us back out until all this dredging is attended to. He thought just taking that finger back out would be enough but it seems the tides are quite a bit lower at the moment.

I tried to get back to sleep at 5am for an hour or so but it was too difficult. I just couldn't warm up again so decided to get up for work. I did managed to get about four hours sleep. Hope I can hit the sheets early tonight without much trouble.

Phew, it is only the first of November. Storm season is only beginning!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's like living on a Tilt-a-whirl, but without the cotton candy

Well, it is 2:24am and as I type, I am sitting at my desk at least a 20 degree tilt. I woke up to a couple of thumps, notwithstanding the severe angle to which the bed was listing.

I had gotten up as there were a couple of things that I heard falling over only to discover the downstairs toilet running on and on. Worried that it would eventually make a big mess, I shut the valve off at the bottom and drained the tank, just in case.

My galley cupboard doors came open but nothing has fallen out. I'd hate to be be cleaning up balsamic vinegar and olive oil off my floor.

I carefully climbed the spiral staircase to the loft. Geez this is a bitch to scale on a list like this. I hear a drip, drip, drip....

The upstairs toilet is leaking from the connection at the bottom of the tank. At first I thought because of the angle it was leaking from under the lid but it didn't feel like that at all. Maybe it was draining out from the back and down to that spot. Whatever, I turned off the valve but not without an inadvertent commotion, freaking Greig out who was managing to sleep in spite of the crazy angle. Maybe it is leaking from the handle.

(Apparently I was violently hucking crap across the room).


And then there was small thunk. "I think that was the plywood leaning up against the wall," he said.

Then came the REALLY big thunk. Out of the bed like shot he went, with me on his heels to see that the dining room table had slid across the galley into the cupboards on the starboard side. The dish rack had slid off the counter and across the floor, contents also dumped. No broken glass at least. We threw everything back into the sink and put on shoes and I armed myself with my camera. (It is lousy with night shots - I should give this thing to the kids).

Greig had put in a new finger of a dock between Dave and I today, which has pushed the bow of this a bit further into shore and more onto the beach. Apparently it is coming back out tomorrow. Oops.

All this dock moving is in preparation as the Port Authority is going to be dredging the slough. By accounts should be done by Christmas time we're told. All the squawking up and down the river from this spring's floods apparently has facilitated this project.

Anyhow the starboard engine on this boat is still in place. Greig yanked the port one last Christmas. Both were long seized but Greig hasn't gotten around to pulling out the starboard and placing a cover up where the leg was to seal that compartment. It has been on his "list". In the meantime I do have a pump that comes on regularly and it is currently having a hard time keeping up. So we're up to wait this one out. He says it is gushing through that spot now.

It is just that starboard engine compartment. I am not going to sink as it is all sealed off. Still, it is a pain and we'll have to address this soon.

Ah well, thank goodness my hull is steel. I think I need a snack.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pictures, cranberries and spiders

Apologies for the poor quality but I took these from my seat on the plane through the wee window. Other pics from this trip have been posted previously but here are the last remaining few of interest.
Just a little FYI for those of you who may not know this, British Columbia contributes 12% to the North American Cranberry production. And whilst I was tooling about on the BC Cranberry Grower's site I saw a link to spiders. I think it is mostly Wolf spiders that I am nurturing on my little spider farm that is the the side decks of the float house. They are nature's window screens to be sure and are no matter how many times I destroy their webs, by accident or with purpose, they've always got new web's up within hours. They move really, really fast.

I must stop beneath the Horse Chestnut trees in Moody Park in New Westminster and pick up some chestnuts. These are pretty good at repelling the wee beasties. Maybe I'll make it a craft project with the kids and we can make some big chestnut garlands to hang about.

I think it will be a good thing. Its going to take A LOT of chestnuts.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mostly spit and a bit of polish

There is nothing like working a full time/five days-a week job PLUS a part time job four days a week, evenings PLUS nursing a sick parent and some time away from home to see it all go to hell-in-a-hand basket in one's absence, just to see how much I DO MANAGE to accomplish on a day to day basis around here. My Saturday was spent from 10am to 4pm (yes six hours) cleaning the galley on the Bowie.

It isn't a large space in the big scheme of things, however, combined with the fact that I've been hardly there lately to "maintain my turf", one can readily see how quickly things disintegrate. It forever stymies me that this is so problematic with all these "adults" about but that is just the way it is, sadly.
I re-washed every pot, shelf, cleaned stove burners, the swill out of the bottom of the fridge and all the shelves therein, pantry shelves, cupboards PLUS the sinkful of dishes that were already there. That it only took me six hours was miraculous in and of itself. Oh ya, and swabbed that wooden floor with a scrub brush and a mop and it still could have been gone over a few more times. A well, a bit of a lick and a promise at any rate.

And it is a necessary evil as with doing so, I can take an inventory on supplies and groceries.

I was determined to make up my Sweet Potato, Roasted Garlic and Red onion soup. And somehow, as is the usual fashion, the soup took WAAYY longer than I thought.

In the midst of roasting the veggies for my soup
"Honey, I need roller frames!" Greig cried. "You got me the fuzzies but it is the rollers that I need." Greig was taking advantage of a much necessary break in the weather to get in as much fibreglassing as he could before it is too cool to do it. With such a lousy summer, the planets never aligned just so with work and everything else so that there was a warm weather window. The resin clogs up the rollers pretty quickly and while he could easily take the frame and dip it in a bucket of acetone to use again, that is just a bit too complicated and he doesn't have the time for such details.

Off to the Home Depot again I went. Really, we should have been going to Rona instead all these years as I know we would have logged enough Air Miles through purchases to actually take the whole lot of us on a Mexican vacation. But Rona is at the other end of Bridgeport (4.6km away vs 1.5 or so for the Depot) and would add another half hour to the errand time. And since I hate going anywhere for just ONE thing I had to wander through that place far longer than I wanted and I just got up to the checkout when Greig called again for me to pick up something else.

An hour and 15 minutes later, with roasted veggies cool now in the pan, waiting for the stock and spices, I set to my soup again. I started the soup at about noon and here it was 3pm and I was only JUST getting it all blended up and back in the pot to reheat, racing to do so as I would have to get in the car AGAIN to run the kids across town to SkyTrain to meet their mum.

And got this just as his Nibs was coming in the door, starving as he finally made an effort to take a break and have a bite to eat. And off like a shot I was with the kids and their pal Dennis in tow to hook them up with their Mum. Life is usually like that as often as not, Greig is up to his neck in something mucky that only he can do. Just as well as that fibreglass is gawd-awful so better him than me. I'll take running his children across town to sniffin' that crap.

All in all things have been coming together a bit more of late and we're plowing through the latest list. New boats have arrived and new docks are in the making. There has been the arrival of a behemoth of a boathouse which most of us don't like much as it breaks up our little community. New residents to train and of course there is always firewood to be done.

More pics. One day. But here is one of Greig and Roger working on building a new dock. It's been about two weeks since this was taken and it is still only about half done. Too many other pressing things. It's pretty spanky so far.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Please sire, just a bit o' warmth please

My friend Jamie on the Katherine Jane is having a devil of a time staying warm. I must commiserate though as we have the daily issue of this too - over five boats mind you - not just one. So if it is any consolation Jamie, staying warm it is an omnipresent daily challenge for us too.

I over did it this spring splitting firewood and the right shoulder crunches like crazy and I have been in chronic pain from it. As well, it exacerbated some carpal tunnel in the wrists and that is already challenging when you work at a desk job.

I was going to some physiotherapy over the summer and loved it when my therapist had me lie back on the traction table that pulled on my neck. Oh, how I wept from all the tension release! So much so, that just going over to lay on the table to pull on the neck and nothing else would have me salivating.

Staying up at Sanctuary House in Trail whilst Dad was in hospital was lovely - except for the beds. They were abysmal!! Oh how naive I was to think that I wouldn't be home, therefore not subjugating my poor carcass to the usual stresses which I consider to be part and parcel of my lifestyle. Things just got worse and while I was concerned about how poor old Dad was doing, I felt I was coming apart at the seams and anxious to come home and get my pain under some control.

When I arrived back home last week, I was so exhausted. I think being in Trail, Flash's passing, my lifestyle and workload (five days a week at the college and often Friday, Saturdays and Sundays on the charters,) was bound to mess me up and find me in a crisis. Going for Craniosacral therapy which at this point may be my new salvation, wasn't something I planned per se, but I think I found an angel in Fred.

I love my little Intrepid Vermont Castings stove and it really heats the joint up! (When I have dry wood.) However, keeping up with feeding it is a all consuming thing. Nevermind just getting dinner ready or renovations of any kind. We have not the space for anything like my father's Woodhenge. (That proper woodpile out in the "back forty," that so many of us rural type North Americans have.) Oh ya...but I live in the city, ON A BOAT! Stupid me.

I already have a propane water heater, (though I'd like that to be on-demand), we are considering a propane furnace of some kind. Something that doesn't require electricity as there is a limited amount of Hydro coming into the complex.

The bottom line is that the most reliable and worry free heat seems to be electrical. We're also having issues with the Dickenson diesel stove on the sailboat. When it is hot it makes it toasty and if not, BRRR. The problem with the electrical is that without a central heating system on the Bowie, everyone has a heater in their room drawing 1500 watts each and so breakers blow constantly. We have been upgrading electrical for sometime and still are (We used to be constantly going through those cylindrical fuses...oyi). However, we could eliminate the individual heaters with a furnace and ducting. Where is that list?

So I don't know if we'll be entirely able to help out Jamie and her Hurricane Furnace issues or not. We aren't immune from having heating troubles either. I can only hope we can knock our heads together and perhaps learn from each other.

The other option which is under serious consideration, is just packing it all in and moving south where I don't have to worry about trying to stay warm. Mexico, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos? Sounds great to me!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

And we all need a laugh sometimes



I heard these guys, the Conchords from New Zealand, on the radio on the way to work today and I made me laugh so hard. How could I not share it?

My favorite lines:

"Next thing we're in the bathroom and we're brushing our teeth; that's all part of it, that's foreplay"

"2 minutes in Heaven is better than 1 minute in Heaven!"

Blah, Blah...here are some pictures

Here are some pictures from the journey to the Kootenays. I managed to get a picture of the peach bandit too. Mouse over the images as they slide by for the captions.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I am getting there

Home again, and feeling pretty wiped I don't have much energy to blog about the goings on of late. I feel like some how I have been sleep walking and volunteering for this clever fella. I had a good laugh over this funny ad on the Best of the Craigslist.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September postings and the tale of a bear in a peach tree.

Postings are a bit lean this month. There is lots going on - though I am not home for any of it. In my absence, Greig et al, have been busy at a bunch of things: fibreglassing, cutting firewood, fixing electrical issues, adjusting docks, making way for new docks, boats etc.

Apparently the Lightship has sold too. Which is a good thing as I'd was dreading the owner having to get rid or more of its original brass portholes just to make the moorage.

"Does this new fella know anything about boats," I asked Greig?

"Hmmm...don't think so. Not sure. Seems nice enough though."

I am back up in the Kootenays as my Dad took a turn last week. Staples from the previous week's surgery had pulled away inside and he was leaking from the small intestine into his stomach cavity. He went under for a second surgery last Wednesday. I was able to fly into Trail directly via Pacific Costal Airline's service there. It was very nice to not have to go through the main terminal at Vancouver as that one is so terribly busy. Well, busy as far as BC standards go, it's no Heathrow or O'Hare.

Old Dad has really been through the wringer these weeks. He went in by ambulance to Trail on Aug 31 with a possible strangulated hernia, and until the day before yesterday, had had NOTHING to eat for 18 days. He is finally on clear fluids though still getting a intravenous nutrition that is very high in sugar, and as a result, is throwing his blood glucose completely out of balance. On top of that to counter act that he is getting insulin as it is normally about 6 and running 18-20 now.

The day before yesterday, my brother and I took a trip home to check on the house and maybe pick SOME of the peaches. Upon arrival we inspected the garden. Gavin set about installing a new toilet they had ordered and I watered the plants in the house and the begonias by the creek. I was hunting about for the wheel barrow to use to pick the peaches when I noticed some piles of scat about. I also noticed something a bit suspicious around the peach tree.

I went back up to see brother dearest and asked him, "Gavin, do you know where the wheel barrow is and weren't there peaches on the ground around the peach tree when we got here?"

"Well, the wheel barrow is probably leaning against Woodhenge* and yes there were peaches on the ground. Why?"

"Well, there aren't any peaches there now. I think the bear has been there since we got home and he's left his calling card."

He rounded up the wheelbarrow for me and said, "Well, I have to get some more parts for this toilet. ARe you going to be OK picking these without me?"

"Oh ya, I'll scare him off if he comes around. I'll be damned if he is going to be getting anymore of these if I can help it."

And so I picked them all - about two wheelbarrows full. I kept trying to dream up some clever song about the bear and the peaches but I really suck at songwriting. It was a very itchy process. I've forgotten too how much I hate earwigs. Something I don't see much of on the coast.

Bear Bruin didn't show up again to stake any additional claim on the peaches. That was on Monday and today, Mum and I left Dad with Gavin to keep him company to tend to these bits of sunshine. I told Mum they were ripe but she didn't think they'd be as ripe as they are so we're canning peaches this very moment. It has been YEARS, since we have done this. I really miss doing this kind of thing with her: antipasto, beets, tomatoes, pears, jams, borscht.

Tomorrow morning we'll go back to Trail for the rest of the week (and probably the weekend) with Dad. Gavin is heading back up to Prince George to be with his wife and kids. Dr Britto says he is likely to come home on Monday. Regardless, I am stiking around for a couple of days after to ensure he (and mostly Mum) can handle all without me. So if we can get through the bulk of the garden produce then, and she can arrange for some homecare support while he heals from all this.

All that back and forth to the hospital several times a day is exhausting. It was really doing my Mum in when she was there by herself. Regardless, this is why I work so hard. For when it really matters, I can help those I love for a bit it won't completely kill us.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Reluctantly earning my engineer's stripes

I arrived in City of Champions, somewhat flummoxed. As I was about halfway there, Leni seemed to loose power; like she wasn't getting fuel. It was intermittent and particularly aggravating when trying to pass the slow pokes, like the tin boxes/RVs Rob describes over in Jolly Ole'. (Except ours our usually fibreglass in these parts).

Is my turbo charger going? It was like it was sputtering for fuel. All fluids look fine and the new rad is holding....nothing leaking so far. What could it be? Geez, I feel like such a girl...

Later that night I spoke with Greig about it and he suggested it may be the fuel filters and gave me the run down on how to switch them out myself (in the parking lot of the Trail Hospital). What tools I would need to buy; how to do it; how to manually pump the engine to re-prime after I change the filter. "Time I learned how," he said.

Yes, AND with my father in hospital, could there ever be a MORE PERFECT time for me to actually LEARN one of these necessary life lessons? Sorry it took me a week to get here Dad. And sorry I don't have time to sit with you but my car is having issues and well, I've a life lesson to learn and you'll have to keep waiting.

I had left Leni at the hospital over night and the following morning upon inspection, also noticed there was coolant on the ground beside it. More lovely. I left Mum at the breakfast spot as the local Lordco was just next door. One filter was there but the other would be there by 2pm that afternoon. I have so impressed my mother so by all of this that I can actually recognize coolant from say oil or transmission fluid.

I wandered aimlessly though the store, wondering what tools I should buy and would they be cheaper at Canadian Tire? I opted to wait to buy the tools when the parts actually got in. I took Mum back up to see Dad and off went to deal with my car. I stopped back at Lordco and the part that was supposed to come in the afternoon was already there (11am). YEA!! I asked for them to recommend a shop in town and they said any were just fine.

Finding a mechanic on duty, or a shop open on a Saturday in Trail, was the challenge. I found a fellow who would do it and he also reconnected a vacuum hose that had come off my rad. Coolant leak solved too. Forty bucks and that would be a far sight cheaper than the money I would have spent on tools PLUS trying to figure out how to do it 'cos I didn't write down Greig's directions. Immediately I noticed driving away from the shop it was better.

With Dad on the improve and seeing his determination to get out of there, I left this morning and the trip was mostly fine.

Until I hit Chilliwack. I heard something thunk as I was booting down the highway. Sounded like in the rear end. Maybe I just hit something on the road. Feels fine. Then a half hour later, I could smell diesel fuel. "Is it me?" I wondered, booking along at 140km with the rest of the bunch.

I noticed my fuel gauge was dropping awfully fast and a fine mist/smoke inside the car. OH CRAP!! I better pull over! IT IS ME!

I opened the hood to see diesel fuel spraying everywhere! I noticed the disconnected hose clamp coming down from the new fuel filter. Kill the switch! Gee that hose looks new too. Luckily, I had purchased a new screwdriver. (my trusty red one was left in the Suburban from the previous sojourn.) Ooh...what the hell is this big lag bolt doing right there? That looks out of place.

It was about 3.25" long, I couldn't see if it came out of anything on my engine though it certainly could of for all I know. I'll keep it just in case. Maybe I picked it up and it just "happened" to knock off the line to my new fuel filter. Hmm...unlikely coincidence. Buddy may have not entirely tighted it up but he seemed a bit to particular to overlook such a thing. On the other hand...where did this bolt come from?

A bit of a twist to the hose clap and a check to the other end seemed OK and I started it up and nothing was leaking anymore.

Whew! I did it! Yea me Girlie-princess!

Oh MY...running on empty! Off to re-fuel. I lost quite a bit of fuel before cluing in about it. Now I know better.

I refueled in Chilliwack and back onto the Highway 1 went, pulling over again just to check it was still holding and it was.

Almost home - should be there in an hour I thought and I was another 15 minutes down the road when I smelled diesel AGAIN!!

I pulled off as soon as I was able and pooped the hood and lo and behold...THE OTHER CLAMP CAME LOOSE!! Didn't I tighten that for good measure too? I can't remember. Surely I would have... friggdy-frig-frig-frig....I have to steam clean this engine now! Oh the underside of the hood covering is soaked with diesel too!

Tighten clamp. Start engine. No leaky-leaky!! I finally made it home and as far as I could tell nothing else has come apart.

I think.

Dad is on the mend but Mum has nabbed herself a nasty cold in the process. I still don't like Trail very much though. The people are lovely. It's just a bit of a vortex to me. That is for another post.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hope

As in the town of Hope, BC actually. Last weekend we were trying to get beyond Hope*, but as we were pulling in to a gas station fill up our "new" suburban, the transmission packed it in.

This last minute trip was a bit of a mad dash to get off to Trail to see my dad who'd taken ill. Thankfully, Karen 1 was happy to make the 2.25 hour drive to come and rescue us and we ended up just leaving the Suburban in Hope and coincidentally, opposite the GM dealership. So while we waited for her...



We've had a bit of a devil with cars lately. Should we put money into the creampuff, my 1983 Benz that I've become a bit attached to? I know its issues and prefer the devil I know where Leni, the Benz is concerned. Greig had found another Mercedes down the road at the auto wreckers but alas, the lack of a California registration was too much hassle. (This after we put it through a provincial inspection and repairs to the tune of $800.) So it would stand to reason wouldn't one think, that a 1990 Jag in need of some TLC is an appropriate alternative. Everything we OWN needs TLC and Greig can fix the mechanical quite handily, when he HAS THE TIME. We'd also picked up the Suburban last week too as often as not we are transporting more than half a dozen bodies hither and yon. Especially if the kids are here and have friends over to play with.

In light of everything in the past couple of weeks with Flash and Mark, we're taking some inventory. Life is short. It has always been a bit of contention between Greig and I that this place is WAAAYYY too much work. Individual personal pursuits have no other place but to be on a back burner. And as much as a social experiment it has been in the "pay it forward," it is not an easy way to live. Interesting for sure, but never easy. If it was just about taking care of the boats, well, I think that would be the easy part. It is the human condition that is so challenging.

I must say though my intuition for picking out sociopaths has much improved.

In spite of my misgivings all along, I believed and still believe in my oh-so-altruistic partner. I've always been impressed with his ability to look on the good side of people. Even when their bad side is right in his face and throwing their nasty karmic goo all over him; even WITH a half a dozen of us going..."Don't do it! BE CAREFUL!!!"

Yet recent events are also a prime example of strength in numbers, which is part of Greig's Grand Theory/Experiment. A few of us were able to be there for the Flash's family: to help them and to also help ourselves though a really horrible tradgedy. On the other hand it is a not so subtle reminder on the fragility of life - you only ever get today. I can't say if we've been as "there" for Mark. But he is gone from here and though he is slowly healing, we're in some ways mourning the loss of him too. Of course logically, I realize he'll come back to visit at the very least but perhaps there is some closure still required - at least for me.

All that notwithstanding, I have been Benz-less this week as I set about to getting it repaired and try to get my backside up to the interior to be with my parents. Life goes on...tickety-tock. Some days, just trying to get out the door is an exercise in frustration. Anyhow, a new radiator and my stereo back in order should stand me in good stead for the seven hour drive to, ugh, Trail. I just happens to be one of my least favorite places in the Kootenays. OK, so they produce A LOT of NHL'ers and calls itself the City of Champions. (That is hockey champions to you foreigners.) That and Cominco is it's claim to fame.

So I am off to the City of Champions to see my Dad, now post-op, and hope the drive will be nice and uneventful and that I can be of some moral support. Gee...what a poor old Dad has to do to get his little girl to visit him eh?

* As a child, growing up in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, there was a saying, usually to slag Vancouverites. "Anything beyond Hope (BC) is beyond hope."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Progress in the neighbourhood

We'd been a bit worried that the new SkyTrain Bridge for the expansion of the Canada line that is crossing the western tip of Mitchell Island wasn't going to be tall enough for the Dos Amores mast to clear it. We thought in typical Canadian fashion someone forgot to check the heights of the neighbouring bridges and we'd have to do this great journey up to New Westminster and out the South arm of the Fraser and out at Steveston to get out into the chuck.

(Looking east up the Fraser with Mitchell Island on the left and the new span coming into the right side from Richmond)

Well, they got it right and when Greig, Dave 1 and Rhianna brought the Lucky 7 up, it cleared with a couple of feet to spare. Whew!

So any sojourns out to the chuck will happen on the lowest part of the outgoing tide and we should make it under all three bridges without too much trouble.

(Part of the new span coming across from Richmond on the south shore of the North arm of the Fraser near River Rock Casino)

Monday, August 27, 2007

It was a bit of divine intervention

I am now and have been sick for a few days with some kind of virus that has me feverish and without a voice. I am trying to take it easy and finding some retrospection in the events of the past week. It has been something else.

Flash's family arrived after a long day of traveling last Wednesday. We offered to do a burial at sea for him and they kindly took us up on our offer on Friday. We had thought there would only be perhaps a dozen people. However, it soon became apparent that we had to move it from the 40' Trojan onto the Eloquent, the usual charter boat Greig and I crew on. A last minute call to our regular Captain Jorgen had him johnny-on-the-spot to help us out.

Karen 1 and I had gone into the Granville Island market before we left to get some flowers to throw into the ocean. There were about 22 of us I think. I never really did a final head count but it was to be a most beautiful and blessed event.

Jorgen took us out into English Bay, in between Point Atkinson and Point Grey. Betty, Flash's Mum had asked me to take charge and I was honoured to do so. Not having officiated over a funeral, let alone a funeral for a friend, she was totally OK with me winging it. I had thought, well, we'll gather everyone around in a circle and perhaps we'll all say a few words if we choose to do so and then we'll dispose of his ashes.



We had started the "ceremony" and Greig and I had said a few words. I think someone else was about to say something when Greig spotted the whales off the port side of the boat.

In the five years that we have been out there we've never seen a pod of Orcas before. Clearly it was divine intervention on Flash's part. It was, after all, his funeral and since he was not one who liked to talk about himself, he was apparently uncomfortable with us talking about him now.

Out to the bow and toward the whales we went to watch. Jorgen pointed us toward them, albeit very slowly. There were a couple of other sailboats out there too. We were in awe and pretty speechless over it. It was a glorious day! And there were whales!

video
We watched them for a bit and then Greig took Flash's mum Betty, his brother Jeff and his wife Courtney back to the swim grid with Flash. I told Betty we had chosen a single yellow rose for friendship in the bouquet and she took that for a keepsake. Others to take some blooms from the bouquet to toss them out with Flash to say goodbye.

Karen 1 played "Gone in a Flash" for everyone. Alas my video of it is quite abysmal. It is simple and beautiful and very poignant. I hope to put a better video up of it at some point.

Everyone was so moved by all of this and the appearance of the whales. Flash was taken from us all so quickly and has left a great impact on all of us. We'll never forget him. There will never be another Dave 3. Any other Daves will be apportioned 4, 5 etc.

Exhausted and overwhelmed with the events of the day, we came home to a voice mail from Evil Mark, albeit a very scratchy and weak voiced, not unlike myself at this present moment. He was touching base and out of ICU. We popped into see him after dinner and were delighted to see how well he was doing. He's been having some pretty trippy dreams and apparently in one of them I had run off with one of the male nurses! (Gee I hope he was really hot wish I had been there for it!) Although still very banged up and considering all he has been through and yet to face, he is healing amazingly well. He's a scrappy bastard. Go Mark!