My What A Lovely “P Trap”

noun: humor or frivolity, esp. the treatment of a serious matter with humor or in a manner lacking due respect.

Humor or Frivolity indeed!  After the last couple of  “introspective” posts on property, security and metaphysical leaps of faith, it’s time to lighten the mood. That’s why it’s time to talk about plumbing… wait, what? Let me look at my notes here… Yup… Plumbing. I despise plumbing.

verb: feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.

Repugnance! Yes… Repugnance!  That is a damn fine word.  I have a deep repugnance for plumbing. What is all this about you ask?  The home inspection found some “issues” with some leaky supply lines to the sinks and toilet in my back-house. So, Mr. Home Inspector says I must fix or have fixed, said leaks and add a “P Trap” to the tub drain in my bathroom.  This is the point at which I felt like saying, “look, I’ll go have a colonoscopy, they’ll have a couple leaky sinks and no “P Trap (Whatever the frig that is) and we’ll call it even.”  Deal?

No deal.

This looks like a job for Mr. Sylvan Park Handyman!  I’ve seen the trucks for the last ten years driving around my neighborhood and now I am in need of rescue. DUMB LUCK! My neighbor drives one of those fancy white vans that reads something like; “No job too small! Licensed, Bonded, Insured… great dancers, who like long walks on the beach,  piña colada’s and puppies.  God fearing, atheist’s who love whales and show up on time!”  Ok, I’m reaching, that’s a lot to write on the side of a van.  I grabbed my phone, walked out into the yard, gathered my thoughts and prepared myself to… ahem, ask for help.  Something no man likes to do.  What to my wondering eyes do see? My neighbor, yes… that neighbor, enjoying a Krystal, grey meat “hamburger” on his stoop!  Dare I ask? I do.  I went over, introduced myself and asked if he had a few minutes AFTER he finishes that delicious looking, little grey cheeseburger to assess my situation.  He agrees.

A few minutes pass and a knock comes on my back door.  Gene is a strapping man.  Large, clean shaven and bald. Picture Mr. Clean, sans earrings.  He looks at my “P Trap” issue and complete lack of access to the area and begins with another thing no man wants hear, the vague and off-putting, “Hmmm.  Mmm. Hm. “Click, (draws air in through his teehth)” Mm.”  Ugh! Not the “click, draws air”  thing.  That’s expensive!  Then the damage.  “That’s really tight in there.  That could take two men about 2 hrs.  and at $115.00 for the first hour, you could be looking at $400.00.”  What?  $400.00 for something called a “P Trap?” That’s ridiculous.  Thanks Gene!  Nice to see you Mr. Sylvan Park Handyman, Son-of-bitch, rip-off jerk bag!  Put that on your van smacked-ass!

I got into my shitty little truck, drove to Home Depot, purchased said “P F’ing Trap”, glue, 90 degree this and that stuff and promptly marched home and cut a massive hole in the drywall. You want access? I got your access bitch… and in one hour, yes 1 HOUR… me… novice, no count plumbers-ass got said “P Trap” installed. $34.95!  Then, I went on to fix the two leaky sinks and the toilet and GUESS WHAT?

They still leaked.  Grrrrr.  Now Melody… my girl says, “Honey I used to be a plumber in a former life.  Why don’t you let me take a stab at this.  You did the “P Trap” and your obviously losing patience with this… so go for a run and I’ll fix it before you get home.

…Right

Repugnance leads men to do strange things.  I agreed.  Yep… I got out of the way of my penis and surrendered the wrenches and teflon tape with aplomb. I went for a lovely run and cleared my head of drywall dust and dank crawl space fungus while Melody toiled away under the sink.  When I returned I expected to find her as exasperated as I had previously been. Not so.  She went to the hardware store, bought a new hose (source of the leak) and installed it with thread sealant and then reorganized the entire under-sink area. Dry as a bone.

Now some people deduce that they were Napoleon or Gandhi in former lives.  Joan of Arc, Mary Magdalene… Not my baby.  Nope.  She was a plumber… And I have to say, that’s one “plumber’s-ass” I can handle.

Inspection

in·spec·tion/inˈspek’shuhn/

  1. the act of inspecting  or viewing, especially carefully or critically: an inspection of luggage on a plane.
  2. formal or official viewing or examination: an inspection of the troops.

The act of inspecting… Well I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  February 8th I posted the “So this is where we are” blog about me (us) wanting to break away.  I believe the words were, “right now my brain is about breaking away.” And that was a Wednesday.  That Friday we had a showing on our house.  I said to Melody, “We’re selling this house today.” Consequently, we had another showing on Saturday and I repeated my sentiment.  Then… a showing on Sunday.  I was damn certain that we were selling our house.  I pressed my palms together and spied the heavens with all the muster I could muster.  And then… Sunday night… The call.  We got an offer.  After almost 1 year and countless price adjustments I finally tossed all my chips on the table and dropped to a price I knew would make something hit my line.  Today was the home inspection.

I met the inspector and agent at the door. I wanted to tell them that I’d been inspecting my “home” for years. The last couple years with extreme scrutiny in fact.  I wanted to tell them that I spent years picking the right bed, couch, tables and chairs to soothe my soul and pad my nest.  Candles and lamps; blankets and books.  Paintings, knick-knacks, music and memorabilia all in an attempt to foster development, remind me of who I am and provide security.  There’s that word again…

se·cu·ri·ty/siˈkyo͝oritē/

  1. The state of being free from danger or threat.
  2. The safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft, or espionage: “national security”
The state of being free from danger or threat… Hm.  When have we ever been free from danger or threat? Since the dawn of man we’ve roamed the earth in harms way.  Hunted saber-toothed tigers, discovered fire, electricity… language.  Think of the fella who invented and TESTED the first parachute.  Danger.  Threat. Of all the things we’ve “discovered” in this world, I think the facade of security is the most dangerous of them all. People grow up under the umbrella thinking if I just do the right thing, get the right education, marry Mr. or Ms. Right, work for the right company and play by golden rule, my life will be just perfect.  It’s unattainable. Perfection that is.  Will a Harvard education get you further in life?  Absolutely.  Does a 25 year marriage make you special?  Yes… it does.  Is  that the only route to take through this thicket called “life”?  Nope… There are many branches on the Tree of Life. Go out onto the limb friends… that’s where the fruit is.

Repairs can only begin after inspection.  I’m not suggesting we all sell everything, quit our jobs and leap off the ledge.  I’m merely suggesting you take a moment out of your day, lie down on your belly, stretch your arms far out in front of you and pull yourself out onto that ledge and peer over.  No need to leap.  Just appreciate the distance.

Yeah, I wanted to tell them that I’d been inspecting my “home” for years. The last couple years with extreme scrutiny in fact.  Now, we’re operating as if this house is sold.  Our home is within us and not for sale. Always has been.  Always will be.  I hope to pass along my house to a young Dr. couple who, with any luck will begin to pad their nest with candles, couches, lamps and blankets.  I know where they can get some… Cheap.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat…

So this is where we are.  If  you’ve been following along, you know this blog used to be about the restoration and love of my old Tartan 27 “moose”.  Well, after several years of enjoyment and restoration, we realized that we wanted to move aboard a sailboat and actually try living on it. Sadly, “Moose” at only 27 feet was entirely too small for a comfortable existence.  So, we need something bigger. That’s where we are now…

Personally… after owning a couple houses over the last fifteen years, I’m tired of it.  Cutting the grass, fixing hot water heaters, leaky roof’s and crazy neighbors.  I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, as most of us have, on mortgages, kitchen upgrades, taxes, etc… etc.. and I don’t feel one tad bit more secure than I ever have.  The dream of home-ownership has never been for me.  I’ve tried to buy into it and picture myself with the picket fences, and all that crap but I can’t.  I’ve always been a wanderer, seeker and vagabond.  I grew up in a house where that was highly discouraged.  “Go to college, get a J.O.B and work for the same company for 25 years and retire with a pension” was the company line in my family.  A Marine Corps father and highly intelligent and over achieving siblings is what I was surrounded by. But I was the artistic kid and while I really tried to tow that line, I couldn’t do it.  Still can’t.

I could go on for days but that would be arduous at best.  Long and the short of it is, I found me a girl who is smart, beautiful, adventurous and also ready for a big change.  If this world has taught us anything over the last decade, it’s that nothing is guaranteed.  Nothing. Life is right now.  Happening in front of us everyday.  My Marine father is battling Parkinson’s Disease as we speak.  Melody’s mom is wrestling with Lupus and the tragic effects it has on an otherwise vibrant woman.  We aren’t guaranteed a healthy “old age” and even if we were, when I’m 70 years old, am I going to want to run around the globe and try new things, live uncomfortably if even for a day?  Chances are, I’m not.  I’ve been observing the world around me vigorously… differently after the events of September 11, 2001.  It was a day that changed my life forever.

Where I thought I’d find “security” I found absolute unrest.  I’ve been an artist my whole life… Like it or not, that’s the fact.  Sometimes I don’t much like it to be honest.  I’ve had a “regular” J.O.B for the last 10 years… and it’s nearly killed me.  So, the house is for sale.  I sold the drum kit I’ve had for 25 years.  I’ve given away things near and dear to my heart because I’m sick to death of STUFF.  Shit I own that brings me no comfort and provides no enlightenment what-so-ever.  My books, and a couple of guitars I will keep.  The rest… gone.

I do dream of having a small, eclectic cabin on the lake someday.  One with a library and large stone fireplace.  I’d like to have some chickens, grow my own food and write my crazy poetry and silly songs.  I would but right now, my brain is around breaking away.  It’s about throwing off the wet and musty blanket I’ve covered myself in for the last decade and leaping off the ledge.  This story, The “Story Of Moose” is no longer about a boat.  It’s about us, Melody, Jet (our dog) and myself.  We are “moose” and this is about our “journey”.  The journey that we’ve been on together for the last 6 + years and the journey we’re attempting to under-take as we go forward.

Moose is Sold…

CHRIS: Singer/Songwriter from Philly, transplanted to Nashville, took a break from the music biz and somehow convinced his girlfriend (now wife) to live on a boat. You can check out his music on iTunes.

MELODY: Computer Nerd/Writer/Jewelry Designer who thought her boyfriend (now husband) was crazy for wanting to live on a boat, but never one to shy away from an adventure, decided to play along and now she may never get off the boat. She blogs about being a digital nomad and how to make money while cruising at Saving to Sail.

JET: Dutch Shepherd rescue who has traveled more miles in his 6 years with Chris and Melody than most people do in a lifetime. Refuses to vacuum his own hair and instead insists on shrimp tails and belly rubs.

THE BOAT: A 1984 Cal 35. Our home.

‘Moose’ For Sale

The winds of change are blowing and I won’t make a long story longer but here goes.  For the last 10 years I have been planning my “get-away” so to speak.  Planning on getting on a very small, but sturdy boat that I could pay for quickly, handle by myself and feel safe in any weather and heading out for destinations unknown.  That is what led me to the ‘Moose’.  I decided to re-build an already fantastic and legendary boat to make her even better.  I would keep her for the next ten years and travel as far as my spirit would take me.  Then I met a girl.

…To be honest, I never thought she’d stick around long enough to get to the ‘grand plan’ let alone want to join in!  We talked about a 5 year plan to buy a bigger boat and move aboard.  That was about five years ago… then apprehension set in and I couldn’t get her to commit to that time table.  We kept pushing it and adjusting it, so… I resigned myself to the fact that I’d be sailing the ‘Moose’ in my local waters and enjoying all the work and MONEY I just put into her.

In May, we put our house on the market… intent on moving closer to big water.  About a month ago we had the ‘talk’ about the ‘plan’ again… Only this time… Mel was completely honest with me about being so attached to her stuff.  Then she said, ‘I’m not sure why I’m attached to all the stuff since it’s been in storage for the last four years’, and then… she said, ‘let’s go.’

Now you can imagine my distrust… not elation… skepticism?  Yes.  I didn’t want to be forcing her into this but since that time, we’ve had every indication from the universe that it was the right decision.  Little signs here and there all over the place.  My boss came into my office this week and told me if I was going to continue with the company in 2012, I’d have to take a very large pay cut.  One I just don’t see myself taking… especially after taking one last year.  Nope… it’s time to go.  The ONLY bad thing about all of this?  ‘Moose’ is too small for me, the girl, and the dog.  And I’m crushed.  I’ve thought of every possible scenario to keep her.  Store her on a trailer, keep her at the club, take her up to my brother’s house in NJ… but it’s all too silly.  She’ll just got to shit and that’s not fair.  It breaks my heart to say  this but my boat is now for sale.

Now the details: $12,500.00

She is a 1970 Tartan 27.  Designed by the legendary design team of Sparkman & Stephens and Bill Shaw.  She is 27 ft. over-all with an 8′-6″ beam.  She is a centerboard sloop that draws 3′-6″ with the board up and over 6′ with the board down.  She weighs a hefty 7800 lbs. Her mast is 38 ft. above the water (I say 40′ to make room for the tri-color light and vhf antenna).  This boat has been completely re-done from stem to stern and now I shall list as much as I possibly can without looking at all my receipts:  The original Atomic 4 engine has been replaced (1994) with a Yanmar 2GM20F diesel with about 900 hours on it.  She runs and starts perfectly. New 135% on roller furler, 110% in great shape on furler and a custom made heavy air, full-luff blade that I’ve never used.  Dodger with detatchable bimini. New Deck Core, New Stainless Deck drains and hoses, New Chain Plate Knees with chain plates bolted to the OUTSIDE of the knee.  An original “weakness” on the original boats.  I used bi-axial 1706 cloth and West Systems Epoxy for all the work.  New Stainless steel nuts and bolts throughout, New Trojan batteries, New Electrical wiring with Tinned Marine Wire, New plumbing with pressure Hot/Cold water and 6 Gal. hot water heater, New Electrical Panel ($400.00), New LED lights inside and out, All Nav lights are now LED (except Tri-color), Coamings and every piece of deck hardware was removed, over-drilled and filled with epoxy and then replaced with custom mahogany backing plates, port lights removed and re bed, New Bronze thru hulls and seacocks and cockpit drains, monel gas tank, auto-tiller, standing rigging was replaced ten years ago, Harken blocks and traveler, winches removed, rebuilt and re bed with backing plates, leaky ice box removed and the hatch has been glassed in (a hazard at sea), custom nav shelf built where the ice box was, propane two-burner stove, all interior teak has been sanded and re varnished, cabinets and doors have new hinges and pulls, New head, hoses, holding tank and Y valves, Macerator and vents, custom canvas cover for the ENTIRE boat.  Keeps the snow off and the teak maintenance down (a little), 5 jack stands, conduit in the mast for all the wires to run through and not chafe or slap the mast, 25 lb. Bruce anchor with chain and rope rode, front and rear hatches rebuilt,  newer interior cushions, forced air heat, paraffin wax lanterns, winch handles, blocks, spare parts… I could go on for days.  If you’re interested in these boats at all,  I can assure you, you will not find one in better shape.  Most Tartan 27’s on the market go for between 5K and 7K.  I’m asking $12, 500.00.  I’m pretty firm on that.  I’d love for her to go to a knowledgeable sailor who will maintain all that I’ve done. I have several more photos of all stages along the way so if you’d like to see more, just ask.  Thanks for looking.

Once A Bum Always A Bum

In 1960 an older John Steinbeck felt disenchanted with and disconnected from the country he loved so much. He’d attained major success at this point and although the vagabond spirit still welled within him he, along with the decade, was approaching the 60’s.  He was living in Sag Harbor, NY and although it was home, it was a long way away from Monterey, California where he grew up.  So.. being John, he grew a beard, let his hair grow and decided it was time to travel this land and rediscover America.  He had GMC build him a “state of the art” pick up truck with a slide in camper for the back and in Rocinante (the name Don Quixote gave his horse), he and his standard poodle Charley (the mind reading dog) headed out in search of… America.

travels with charleyIf you’ve never read “Travels with Charley” you owe it to yourself to do so.  It’s only about 200 pages and within the first 5 pages, he tells the story of Hurricane Donna hitting their bay and the struggle he had saving his precious 22 foot sailboat “Fayre Eleyne,” named after his wife Elaine.  You’ll not read anything like it this I promise. Now… let me post my disclaimer:  If you read Cosmo, GQ or romance novels featuring men with names like Dirk and Leo, you should stop reading now.  If you think “Sex in the City” is on par with “War and Peace” and care more about Gucci than you do about Guinness, you should stop reading now.  In fact, if either of those two types are you… you in the wrong, f’ing place altogether!

Actually, I’ve probably read this book about 5 times.  I have a copy in my truck, one in my every day computer bag and one in my back pack that I fly with. I give them away regularly and if I’m ever stuck in traffic, waiting for someone or in the airport, I pull it out, open to any page and immerse myself for as long as I have.  It’s so poignant and relevant, it could have been written yesterday.

     “Having too many THINGS,” he says, “[Americans] spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and Nature throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on it’s knees, miserable, greedy and sick.”

Steinbeck argued that the trashing of America was suicidal; he urged restraint and conservation of natural resources.  He considered the wastefulness he saw everywhere around him and lack of caring for the environment as part of a greater malaise that seemed to have overwhelmed America.

Now… you must be asking yourself at this point, “what in the hell is he talking about?”  Why all this crap about Steinbeck in a blog about a boat.  Well, if you don’t recognize and identify with the passage I’ve posted above… stop reading now.  You’ll never identify with anything I write.  For today, I feel as disenchanted and disconnected as he probably did.  I bump into people on a daily basis staring into the palm of their hands; their “devices” that “make our lives easier.” Email, cell phones, texting, twitter… whatever… all these gadgets designed to “help us communicate” are stripping away the essence and creating huge interstates of space between us.

The “Moose” is my Rocinante and sailing is the reason for all the crap about Steinbeck.  There is no gadget developed yet, that can sail a boat in choppy seas and high wind.  Sure you got auto pilots and wind vanes… don’t argue semantics… because if there isn’t a human soul on board willing to brave the motion, the sea spray and chill, there is no auto pilot.  And every good sailor knows… auto pilots fail and windvane’s break. Then what.  A hand on tiller is all that prevents the broach.

So, do yourself a favor and grab a worn out copy of “Travels with Charley” and put down your freaking “smart” phone.  Turn off the Bachelor, Jersey shore, Biggest loser (which could quite possibly be you) and READ.  Breathe it all in. You’ll do yourself and quite possibly some of us a favor.  If you get offended by my last statement… you should have stopped reading a long time ago.

     “When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.  In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked… once a bum always a bum. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself.”

Fair winds my friends.

Come Hell or High Water… And Most Likely, Both!

As spring 2010 arrived we were way behind.  The economy was now full on in the shitter. Stock market down, housing market collapsing and my job in serious jeopardy.  The thought of spending more money on an old boat grew even more daunting.  I mean lets face it… one could pick up a Tartan 27 online in decent shape for around 5k.  I’m well over that with this project and the end is not in sight.  But alas, we soldiered on. The prospect of buying a newer, bigger and more expensive boat was less attractive than finishing what I’d started.

head thru hullsHead thru hulls

So… with all of the thru hulls done, it was time to continue with the decks.  Moose had been under cover since December and now it was time to get these things fared and painted before the dog days of summer hit.  We pressed on day after day and spent every weekend out there in pursuit of a smooth deck with no ripples or bad seems. After many, many hours of sanding and mixing epoxy, we achieved that.  As most of you know who’ve done this job… it is a bitch.  When you think you’re done… you’re not.

The photo to the right shows Moose just prior to deck paint. She looks rough but structurally she’s in fantastic shape. The hatches, both front and rear were being rebuilt and varnished along with the coamings and grab rails.  I tried to use the original grab rails but many years of sanding reduced them significantly and when I screwed them back in, they split out.  As for the interior, we pulled out all the shelves, cabinet doors, head, holding tank and plumbing. We replaced all the hinges and knobs and I cut backing plates out of half inch Mahogany for all the stantion bases and deck hardware as well as the winch bases.  The Atomic 4 had been replaced by the previous owner with a Yanmar 2GM20F. She’s got about 800 hours on her and she purrs like a kitten.

port chain plate newHere you can see the chain plate template for the head to port just prior to getting her all glassed in with biaxial cloth.  I had the original chain plates checked out for stress cracks or elongation and they seemed to be fine.  So, after a good polish I bolted them on the outside of the knee, as they should have done in the first place!  Now, if we get water in, we’ll see it.  After all was said and done, this past March 2011 made it just about 2 1/2 years that we had into her and I couldn’t believe how much time and effort went into a boat that was less than 30 feet.  At she stands here, she’s got new deck core, new chain plate knees, thru hulls, centerboard pendant, new bottom, new hoses, electrical and electrical panels, fresh paint and a bankrupt owner!  Emotionally and financially…

port chain plateport chain plate

To the right is the glassed in chain plate as she looked before paint.  Came out pretty nice if you ask me. 6 layers of Biaxial cloth which has a layer of mat covered by 2 layers of cloth stitched together at 45 degree angles to each other.  So in actuality there are 18 layers of glass here.  God help me if I ever need to remove this.  As this summer ends, we’ve finished painting the whole interior of Moose with an oil based Alkyd house paint.  It was smelly but way cheaper than the interlux stuff and it came highly recommended by those in the know. Don Casey as well as many marine people I spoke to said it will hold up longer if done right and it’s tough as nails.  That said, Moose has a fresh white interior, new shelves and cabinetry.  We rebuilt the companionway ladder as well.

new electrical panelnew electrical panel

We recently spent the night out on the ball with a bottle of wine and a movie.  It’s been almost 3 years worth of blood, sweat and tears.  I usually stay as far away as I can from cliche’s but in this case it rings true.  I have scars on my knuckles, knees and skull to prove it.  I’ve poured buckets of sweat into that bilge and the tears… well, there were many nights that I thought to myself… “what the hell am I doing?  All this money and effort.  20 thousand dollars on a 5 thousand dollar boat.”  Oh, there were tears. But now, although we still have work to do, there is a vision making itself visible through the fog of “someday.” I still have to suss out some electrical issues but inspiration is rising.  It’s time. Moose must make way and by God… come hell or high water and most likely both, we’ll sail.

I’m Just Gonna Fix a Few Things… and some other stuff…

And so it goes and so it goes… a busy month has kept me from my boat and my thoughts about my boat.  When last visited, I was re guiling you of the adventures of the summer sailing.  The summer spent with friends that ended with  me pulling the ice box out of my little boat.  Well, if “I’d have only stopped there…” I believe was the quote. As you  can well imagine, I didn’t.  What followed was a two and a half year complete refit.  Stem to stern.  Here’s the reader’s digest version…

See, I have this mast that the previous owner rewired.  He did a good job putting in a tri-color mast light, anchor light, steaming light and vhf antenna.  But… he never ran a conduit in the mast to keep all those wires from dangling and swinging whenever you moved on the boat.  38 feet of wire, 4 of them to be exact, made a noise that was driving me mad.  The mast is keel stepped which for the non-sail boaters, means the mast doesn’t just stop on deck, it goes clear through a large opening in the deck down to the keel.  A very beefy and sea-worthy design. But, that puts the mast right in the v-birth, where we sleep. When the wind blows, the boat rocks, therefore making that 38 feet of unsecured wire smack the mast making it impossible for me to sleep. Picture someone standing on deck tapping the metal mast with a small screw driver… that’s kinda what it sounded like.  Melody, “Honey, just pretend it’s African music.”  Me, I’m just going to pull the mast and run some conduit up there for those wires.  Done.  Easy-peasy…  I say that a lot.  But… (I say that a lot too) That’s not how it happened.

It ended up like this;  Well, since I’ve got the mast out, I might as well fix these spreaders… Oh and I should just drill a hole or two and check those chain plate knees… Hmmm… not good.  I’ll just do the chain plates and then she’ll be good as new.  Well, I can’t really fix those chain plates and then put it all back together with those two soft spots in the deck.  So, we’ll do the conduit, spreaders, chain plates and the two soft spots… That’s it.  Done.  Easy-peasy.  I dropped the mast in March of ’09.  Got the chain plates cut out and the interior ground down by the end of July.  We’re were on schedule.

100 degrees10:30 am

Now let me expand here for a moment and quite possibly go off track for a spell.  Trying to describe the experience of grinding fiberglass in June and July in Nashville is beyond words.  Picture this if you will;  It’s 95 degrees outside, 110 degrees in the hull.  I have on a white suite, gloves, goggles and a respirator.  The grinder is whizzing.  The motor sounds like a cross between a dentist drill and chain saw. It’s throwing hot, sharp fiberglass dust into my face at a hundred miles an hour. No matter how I tilt my head or contort my body, the molten, stinging dust finds my face.  The sweat carries those tiny fibers under the bands holding my respirator and they grind slowly into my face and forehead.  Oh my God, it’s freaking awesome.  My neck is coated with white, infiltrating dust. Somehow it’s found it’s way under the gloves and cuffs of my white “sort of paper” suit and start to saw at my wrists.  And don’t even get me started on the fine few handfuls of that shit that found its way into the waist band of my boxers… pure joy.

tartan cut deckSummer comes to a close and I’m no longer on schedule. Not even close.  Fall arrived and with it an opportunity to get on a trailer.  We pulled Moose and I planned on taking the months of September and October off just to finish the chain plates, mast and deck.  September and October are historically the driest months in Tennessee.  Not this year.  It rained all but 9 days.  In that 9 days, I cut the decks off and got them re cored and almost glassed in.  One day while I was away from the boat a major storm hit, blowing the tarps off the boat… Needless to say, water found it’s way into the seams around the deck skin that I had yet to glass in fully.  I had to re-cut the decks.  My heart sank.  And for the first time in a very long time… I tasted that nasty, bitter, back of the tongue sensation of defeat.  We were now pushing November.  If I wasn’t done before Thanksgiving… I wasn’t going to be done.  Weather in Nashville is ridiculous… One minute it’s 75 and sunny and the next, it’s 27 and snowing… This year was exceptionally worse.  I felt the pressure from the club who wanted my nasty, tarped boat out of the yard and the trailer owner who, even though I was paying him, acted like some what of an asshole.  So feeling burden of time, I abandoned the decks. I got to the thru hulls thinking I could change out the thru hulls and get her back in the water, cover her and then come spring, sand, fair and paint the decks.  Melody was less than thrilled with spending every waking moment out in the cold, damp weather watching… helping me grind and drill holes in the boat.  The winter days grew dark early.  My soul was close behind.

Part 7: So now… we sail?

To pick up where we left off, the boat (that’s what she’s called so far) arrived in Nashville and the family departed Nashville.  After a short stint in re-hab (joke) I’m back to normal and ready to get out to the lake and rig up the boat for a Nashville maiden voyage.  We invite some friends who lovingly helped bend on the sails and supplied the alcohol. Everyone knows you can’t hang out on or near a boat without booze.  And after a family visit and the hatch drama, alcohol was a welcome deck hand.

Jeremy, Tommy Me and Graham

So now we sail.  And we sailed a lot the summer of ’07.  My friend Jeremy Greer, photographer, furniture designer extraordinaire and fellow sailor took hundreds of photos. But you’ll have to imagine them because he never SHOWS THEM TO ANYONE!  But you can go to jeremygreer.com to see his other amazing stuff. You will be blown away… I promise.  Just don’t expect to see any of the photos that I’ve been begging and pleading for in order to make my blog cohesive. You know, those photos that would tell this story perfectly and in such detail that you’d all be captivated and encouraged to come back and read more. No.  You won’t see those photos.  You won’t see the photos of the winter sail we did in 25 degree weather where we took a knock down and when we righted, a small minnow was frozen to the metal of the rail… nope. You won’t see those. Don’t ask.  You won’t see the photos from the day we sailed with Matt’s dad (you don’t know Matt yet) in 30 to 40 mph winds and 2 -3 foot waves on an inland lake, making 7 knots at one point. Nor will you see the pleasant, calm and near perfect night we all motored out in twilight enjoying some Miller High Life… it’s the Champaign of beers you know.  Jeremy took pictures of all of that.  They are beautiful because I saw them once… once.  On the small 2.5 inch LCD screen of his Cannon 7D, D7, 5D… whatever the freaking thing is. But alas… My “friend” Jeremy’s grasp on those photos is so tight if you put a chunk of coal in his palm you’d have a diamond in two weeks. I do love my friend Jeremy… the one at www.jeremygreer.com. You know, one could possibly send an email via that site requesting… gasp! No, that would be inhumane to suggest such a thing.

Ok… enough Shakespearean bullshit.  My friend Jeremy is a turd. So you’re going to have to go back to when you were a child and use your “imagination”. WHAT! Dare I say… damn you mouth… Imagination… Oh… the horror.  Anyway… we sailed a lot. Me, Jeremy and Matt Behnke of “The Behnke’s” fame. Singer / songwriter and woodworker extraordinaire. Yes I hung out with a lot of extraordinaire’s  what of it.
(I’m losing focus… can you feel it?)

Then one day, it happened.  Matt and Jenny, his wife, singer / songwriter and 2nd half of the Behnke’s… decided to move. Leave Nashville.  Leave me. They sold their gorgeous 1961 Swiftsure and moved to Oregon.  Then… it happened.  Jeremy and his lovely wife Sarah decided to move! WTF!  Where is everyone going?!  They sold their Tanzer 25 and moved to New Hampshire.  Me and the girl were left behind.  There was only one thing left to do.

Remodel. If I didn’t have my sailing buddies, what fun was sailing?  I had done some ocean trips with another friend and now my little inland lake held no allure.  The luster had worn off.  The endless shifting winds and red-neck speed boats held no charm.  I mean one can only take so many drunk red-neck girls flashing you from a jet-ski before it becomes “old hat”.  It was time for something new.  Time to tear out the old leaky icebox. Oh boy.  If I had only stopped there.

*Note:  I love my friend Jeremy.  I just felt like busting his balls a little.  You should indeed see his website.

Part 6: Welcome to Nashville. Now y’all go home!

Judging by the lack of comments left on this page, I’m lead to believe that most of you think I made this stuff up. You know, for effect. I have an old friend who says, “never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” And while I tend to agree with that to some degree I have to say when the truth is a good story… well what more could a man ask for.  I’ve spent 20 years as a songwriter trying to make stuff up… I found out later, writing about the truth suits me much better than making stuff up. I guess that’s why I’m not employed as a songwriter anymore. Hm, maybe people don’t want to hear the truth.

Ok, so Snookie, along with the cast of Dancing With The Stars, Glee and Charlie Sheen, yeah, Charlie Sheen, were all involved in a high speed chase and the cut off the guy delivering my boat! He swerved and there was a huge explosion… ah, never mind.  I don’t think I have any tiger blood in me… the story of the Flying Hatch stands as written.

Which leads to quite the “anti-climactic” follow up post huh.  Well, Michael and Michael did indeed hang out and along with the mystical hatch brought along some ghosts for the machine.  See, Nashville had been experiencing about 30 days of 95+ temps with no rain.  I think when they arrived, we’d had 11 straight days over 100 degrees.  Everything was brown.  I mean dead, dry, crumbling and brown, brown.  Deader than “Charles In Charge” re-runs.  And that’s dead.  The first night they were here, my AC went down.  Down like Heidi Fleiss. Ok… enough with the euphumisms… You get the drift… drifting like Minnesota… ah, sorry.

With my AC unit pumping out nothing but warm air, the house was hot. Sweltering is a decent word. Shit. This wasn’t good.  The older brother shows up, first time visit and now, we’re all lying on the floor in our underwear with box fans blowing all over the place. It was horrible.  I was mortified.  Then, a day or so later, my brother flushes the toilet… and it breaks.  Now, no AC and no place to… well, you know… this is not good. AC repair people are booked solid… of course… we’ve had a month of 100 degree temps. Everyone’s AC is down… shit. Another night of boxers and box fans.  Looks like we’re off to Home Depot!

Upon our return, Michael and I prepare for fixing the toilet, laughing our asses off at the sudden collapse at my house after living there trouble free for three plus years and Melody, that’s the girl, is in the kitchen doing the dishes.  She’s laughing at us laughing at the toilet and now everyone is laughing.  As she’s rinsing a plate in a sink full of water, the drain trap drops off.  I mean just falls straight off the bottom of the sink… A threaded pvc pipe that’s been there for years just decides it’s “time to go.”  Water is pouring from the sink out of the cabinets and onto my hardwood floors… Nobody is laughing anymore.  Actually, we are.  I’m tossing in some major four letter words, but… in between, I’m laughing.  Kind-a.

After a week of this total ridiculousness, I send them home.  I’m glad they came but I was glad they left!  To this day, I’ve not done a single thing to my AC unit.  I’ve had it checked, and re-checked, cleaned and re-inspected and nobody can tell me what went wrong.  It simply gave up the ghost for one long week and has run like a charm since.  Toilet? No problem.  Sink?  Replaced the trap, no problem.  Needless to say, I’ve got several box fans still sitting in the shed awaiting my family’s next visit.