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