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, 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.