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.)


Jelaina said...

might i suggest a paint ball gun? it might not resolve the problems, but at least you can mark the stupid people for later, or even as a public service to warn others.

bowiechick said...

Oh Jel! That's brilliant. I've been thinking about getting Bui one for christmas actually.

Kraig said...

Hi - I am going to be in Vancouver in May and wanted to photograph LV 76. I enjoyed seeing your pictures of it on your blog and was wondering if you could provide me directions to where it is docked.

Thanks - Kraig
I can be reached through