Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Too much to do, so little time

Hot tub discussions on all the chores that need doing around here lately. Not a "top ten" list...it is just a list.

1. Cut out and remove the old wire in the upper bow suite (Marcus's old room) to make way for more spray foam insulation.

2. Make way in Mark's old room (below Marcus's room) for spray foam there too.
3. Working on the "boom stick dock" and laying out deck stringers there.

4. Firewood.

5. Install new toilet on
Partnership and sort out switches and outlets in bathroom.
6. Move my computer off old bedroom on the Bowie to the Partnership.

7. Sort closet on Partnership and make room for our clothes.

8. Finish putting up panelling in upper hallway of the Bowie.

9. Firewood.

10. Finish the hoarding on the Partnership. (Hoarding is a term used by our building envelope boys=leaky condos [Steve, Bro's Mclean, Carpenter Greg et al], that applies to the term of tarping a structure prior to renovation. Usually related to leaky condos.)

11. Take pictures and update the news of Steve and the
Sand Castle, and his new work in progress (WIP). I think these will be the official "before" pictures now that he has take 60+ bags of garbage out of it other detritus therein.
12. Move stuff out of the new on-shore shop into Rolly's container for storage to make room for a new shop area.

13. Move all the extraneous stuff littered about the Bowie off of the ship and up on shore to the new shop area.

14. Clean up planters on the bow and by the hot tub. Get another garbage bin for all the soil for next year's containers should we endeavour to have any.

15. Move the dirt up to the shop if we don't.

16. Firewood.

17. Go empty out my apartment and move it onto the
18. Make curtains for the
Partnership. Make new curtain for Carpenter Greg's room to add to his collection.
19. Make curtains for other rooms on the
20. Make new docks.
21. Delegate the kids to sort the videos/dvds to put back on the shelves on the stack.

22. Tidy the plywood decking and re-screw it down to lay more anti-skid/slip materia (aka chicken wire).

23. Firewood

24. Push a broom around

25. Vacuum

26. Fix the back stairs. Again for the umpteeth time. Throw some chicken wire on them.

27. Rescue the
Pine Leaf up the river where it sunk a couple of months back
28. Finish the moulding on the Partnership's bathroom
29. PUt the new vanity together. Sink, tile and faucets req'd.
30. Convince Greig to remove old dryer and keep old washer and use remaining space where dryer used to be for shelving/storage.
31. Move the port engine and the old woodstove off the stern deck of the Partnership and up into the new shop space or just off the back deck...while he is at it, he'll pull the starboard engine too...
32. Install the new glow plugs for the Benz.
33. Fix the door latches on the truck.
34. get new cordless drill
35. install new chimney pipe on the wood stoves on all boats.
36. Fix the docks again.
37. Firewood!!
37b. Screen new roommates
38. Find some R & R

Sunday, January 28, 2007


We've been having issues with the hydro. As in, not enough between the four boats and all the other boats.

We applied to BC Hydro to get another service installed as Greig wants to ensure there is enough hydro to run a electric fire pump. We know that in an emergency having one here vs. waiting for the City of Richmond to show up would just be all the wiser. However, BC Hydro policy says one service per address. They are going to bump up the service instead I believe. We have a working diesel firepump downstairs in the generator room on the Bowie but an electrical back up would be wise if that old genny don't start.

Fortunately there was an unused breaker in the big barn up behind Neil and Linda's shop (Fancy That Designs). Greig has been busy running new tek cable (or is it tech cable?) and shore power leads to the Partnership, the Bowie and the Express. The Partnership is now on its own metre and he
upgraded it to 220 amp today. I have only been using space heaters, trying to get the paint to dry.

I am progressing in there quite well though not as fast as I would like. I just finished the second coat of floor paint in the galley. I put up some mouldings today. I am a bit stalled until Mr. Billyard can help me with the rounded door frame and re-hang the bathroom door. I have to put together the vanity and finish installing the GFI outlet and switches for the bathroom light and the fan.

Eventually, when the roof is replaced I hope to put in a smaller woodstove as that other thing just took up too much floor space. Greig thinks I should put in this ivory Jotul so that it will match nicely with the beadboard walls I put up. I am leary of white though...Maybe something will come up on the craigslist again when I can afford it.

Again, another busy day.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thar she blows...

See the missing glass panel over the hot tub just above the aluminum ladder?

It blew off the "sun room" in one of the last windstorms we recently had. Greig was standing on the Bowie looking out the window and just happened to see it blow off, over ther roof of the Partnership and onto the logs in front where it shattered. Thank goodness there was nobody underneath it.

I suspect that this structure has been problematic for the boat for some time. Until the other day when I took the axe to it. It came down pretty easy and pretty much did most demo myself. I dropped the wood down onto the dock below and Scott too the chainsaw to it the following day.

It was done. I have just been waiting for a sunny, windless day to get a couple of hands on to tarp it up until I replace the roof. I hope to put the hot tub down below and extend the roof back to maybe create another bedroom. As it stands it sits a bit bow heavy so I'd like to level it out a bit.

There is always something.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Flower on a bumble bee

We haven't finished putting panelling. So Dave, our resident painter and sculptor, has stapled up some canvas to scratch his creative itch.

When he began I said, "So whatcha gonna paint?"

"Oh something bright and sunny."

"Like bumblebees?" I inquired.

He laughed and I didn't really think he'd bite but here he is working on Flower on a bumble bee.

Here is Dave, welder by trade, and our resident Mad Canadian Artist. Click on the link to see more of his work.

I will post the finished work when it is done.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


In mid October, Ken, our landlord, hollered out to Greig one day to "Get ready as there's a floathouse coming in and I think you'll be interested in it Greig!"

"Oh great," I thought to myself, "Yet another wreck to sink all of my blood, sweat and tears in. Are we not working like, stupid already enough for you honey?" I asked.

It had been a really crazy, crazy year. I don't blog
about all the stuff that really happens here, I think mostly because my mother would totally freak out and a freaked out Mum is the last thing I need to add to my daily "top ten" list of things to contend with. I suppose I should though as I couldn't dream up this stuff even if I tried. It would make for more way more interesting reading, horrified Mother notwithstanding.

But I digress.

When we first moved onto the Bowie in June of 2003 there was a room behind the wheelhouse which we turned into our bedroom. There was but only three foot holds to hoist oneself up and down. I felt it was a bit unsafe to be expected to stumble out of bed, multiple times in the night due to the walnut-size volume of my bladder, half asleep and performing calisthenics just to water-my-lily twice in the night.

Really, how conscious are most of us when we stumble out of bed to the bathroom at night? We're a bit like automatons as we feel our way in the dark, unlikely there are many obstructions in our way. In life BG, (before Greig) I wouldn't need to even turn on the lights. To have to use toe holds to Ninja one's way down the hatch to the biffy below and then to use those same toe holds to get back up to bed was the limit. By the time I got my back in bed I my blood would be boiling.

At the time Greig though I was being completely unreasonable and that I was acting like a total princess. To his good health he took a less used ladder from another hatch and put it in the hatch leading up to our room. The steel steps were meant for an external application and you couldn't go down them in bare feet, but by that point I didn't care if I had to put on slippers to relieve my bladder.

So in October, when the carrot of another boat was being waved in Greig's face, I was a bit gun-shy about it all. The biggest appeal to me was that it had an ensuite toilet right beside the bed upstairs. Wa-hoo.

The sucker saw me coming I swear! It moved in beside us and the owner was looking to sell it or rent it and so with the help of my parents, I secured financing to get it. It has been neglected and needs lots of work. I have to replace the roof and put in a new woodstove when I have enough money to do so. Maybe August...

In the end, given the real estate market that is stupid here in this city I felt that a leaky house boat was better than a leaky overpriced condo (sans strata councils). I think 300k can get you 500 sq feet in a concrete box downtown that looks out at another concrete box. Given my view of the other morning which would you choose? Ultimately, it was just so damn cute.

To view before pictures go to

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If only I had left the wallpaper alone

Yes, I just couldn't leave well enough alone.

OK, well, all wasn't well.

When Melissa and Laura were leaving the float
house I decided to pull up the stinky carpets. They smelled of dog and my steam cleaning them could not rid me of that lovely odor so outwent the carpet. Then I saw a patch of patch of black mold behind some wallpaper that had pulled away. So I pulled at it.
Then I was able to poke my finger through a rotten wall.

"Oh neat," I said to myself.

Greig had a fit to say the least. "Why couldn't you leave well enough alone! The shower was working! It could have waited!" Nonetheless, there he is swingin' that axe! God bless him!

That it only took a small amount of pressure to push the tile on the wall and through to the otherside was irrelavent. Tiles had been mounted to OSB. Not and ideal substrate for a tile shower where the grout had all come away. You can see from all that mold on the first pic. I think it was 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick in spots. Not healthy to be around.

But that wasn't all. The floors had been done in OSB too and well, up they went too.

The float house has a steel catamaran hull. We pulled up the flooring to the steel deck below and pulled out wet yellow fibreglass insulation. The worst spot though was right where the shower was and you can see all the rust by Carpenter Greg's toe.

So we have sprayfoamed the deck and the pontoons and filled them in with foam.

Everyone say "YEA!" to positive floation.

The pontoons were open for most of the 50' length of the boat. The three foot crawlspace was unusuable anyway. The foaming will stop any oxidization as where you have air you get rusting and now we won't. And it is oh-so-much warmer too.

The deck stops and the pontoon begins right where that cross piece goes through the centre of the pic here. And here we have the handsome, handy and single Carpenter Greg walking across the new PLYWOOD floors. He has been a HUGE help and that he insists on doing things right. The man knows his stuff.

Yesterday morning, bright and squirrely...

at 7am, Carpenter Greg, aka the Firewood God, was up and at it early. His friend had dropped off a brad nailer so that we could finish off the bathroom renos on the houseboat.

It was a tad early, even for me but this was the view that stopped us. On the right is the tip of the east end of Mitchell Island looking east up the Fraser with the spiderweb of anchor lines coming off the bow of the Bowie in front of the galley windows of the Partnership. It was still cold and the promised snow storm has melted most of that white crap away now.

I am not a big fan of winter but this was such a pretty sight.