Thursday, July 26, 2012

being there

My friend's schooner ran aground on Monday. I'm sure at some point i'll hear all the details. When i found out, my stomach lurched, and tears sprang to my eyes. Passengers who were aboard were able to be moved to another schooner who had room for them. Meanwhile my friend, who is the captain and the crew had to try to manage while the boat shifted from 45° port to 45° starboard, allowing water to rush in, stuff to float out, and a mad scramble to try and retrieve things as well as right the boat. The water killed all the electronics aboard, and it was 2 AM when she and the first mate were trying to put things to rights.

No one died or was injured. No passengers lost or hurt. The boat is now on the hard and undergoing repairs. This is the height of the sailing season and when my friend makes the money that keeps the business running, so every day out of the water is loads of money not being earned that sees her through winter. She hopes to have all repairs done in a week.

Another friend, who like me, has worked aboard this boat, told me some of the story yesterday as she and her grandson went over to help. I am in the thick of it with work things so couldn't just drop everything and go, but wanted to do something.

Last night i pulled out some frozen beef cubes, as there's still plenty of beef from the half a cow i purchased a few months back. This morning, i made a large amount of beef stew. I wasn't sure how many people were helping, and i don't often cook for a large number of people, but i figured a pot of something nourishing on a grey day when one feels lost was better than nothing. I'd pick up two loaves of French bread, some good butter, disposable utensils and dishes on my way over to the boat.

I've often had those little crises of doubt when making something. Is it good enough, is it enough, oh this isn't so special, are you an idiot? This was no different, and as i chopped up onions and swept some chopped carrots into a bowl,  i swept away those thoughts. It wasn't just about lunch. It was showing support for my friends however i was able.

I called the friend who told me to see if they had yet ordered lunch. No, they hadn't. I told her i had a pot of beef stew--how many were there? She said that'd be perfect, and there were about 12. She, as i found out later, had gone out on a snacks/drink run and picked up a few sandwiches as well.

I set up on an empty palette and nearly cried when i saw the boat. Poor old girl shouldn't be on the hard in July. Cappy was busily talking to another schooner captain, the one who had taken her passengers aboard. I went over to Cappy's husband, hugged him, and wished him a happy birthday. I told him i was sure he'd remember this one! I also hugged Cappy and told her i had brought some lunch.

Volunteers, friends, and crew members gathered. One of the last to come to the gathering spot was the first mate. The same first mate who helped me this past Sunday, an amazing sailor who calmly lowered the yawl boat and helped me with my dinghy when i couldn't row against the wind despite trying for an hour. Today, when she came up to me, hugged me, buried her face in my shoulder, and released a few sobs, I held her tightly and allowed my own tears to fall. It was then i remembered what i so often forget--she's a girl of just 17, and it was that girl who needed the hugs and reassurance, who needed to be able to take a minute to cry.

Everyone found places to sit, using milk crates or sawhorses with boards across them. My friend who'd gotten the snacks, sandwiches, and drinks was setting them up, and i encouraged people to help themselves as i lifted off the cover of the stew pot. The grandson had wanted to get a bag of the new flavoured potato chips (crips), spicy ketchup, and most everyone tried them and gave an opinion. For the next half hour, there were stories, jokes, talks of next steps, sleeping arrangements (we've a comfortable guest room if anyone needed a place to stay whilst the boat was being worked on), and a sense of healing. I massaged the first mate's shoulders and back while Cappy's dear friend massaged hers. "Oh, i didn't know massages were included!" Cappy said as she smiled. First smile i saw from her the whole time i'd been there.

Work was soon calling all of us to return. I had to get back in time for a teleconference, and others were heading back towards the boat for their afternoon of cleanup, disassembling, or inventory. I gathered the trash, which had been neatly stowed in piles around the makeshift chairs.

Cappy thanked me once again for the stew, "It was perfect, exactly what we needed," she said as she hugged me good-bye.

I thought about it on my way home. There's some magic that seems to be cooked into meals such as these; comfort, love, and an amazing sense of renewal and strength that comes from just being there.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat, 22 July 2012

Carla says this can be a photo or saying.

“When I try, I fail.
When I trust,
He succeeds.”
― Corrie Ten Boom
Still on boat books. A sailing friend lent me "Practical Sailing" by Tony Gibbs. This is one i'm going to want to read again and again, so i went looking online for a used copy and found one right away.

Not much at the moment. I think i need something fun, so might watch The Devil Wears Prada.

Listening to

Made Moroccan Chicken, a recipe a friend shared with me that's chicken sauteed with some onion and spices and mixed up with tons of lentils in a vinaigrette. Can be served hot or cold and tastes better next day as the flavours can marry. I made enough for a few servings. MMMMmmmmm

Happy you accomplished this weekI've almost completed a long, tedious work project. I was hoping to get it all done by week's end, but still have the final tenth to go. My internet and business phone went out for about 6 hours during the week, so rather than work all clocks to make up the time, i opted to start fresh next week.
Introductions between Jim and the older cats occurred earlier this week. The older cats are still hissing and growling, but so far no fur has been flung. Jim has learned to hiss, and demonstrated that to me when i rolled a large empty spool near him. He was afraid of it, got bushy and hissed at it. Twice.
The lawn mower is finally fixed! Able to mow the lawn this week.

Looking forward to next week
Visit from a loved one next weekend. It'll be nice to catch up.

Thankful for today
Got in some great sailing yesterday. Needed a bit of help today when i realized halfway through something that i couldn't do what i had planned and needed to. Help arrived at just the critical point, and i was so grateful! Still am, and have been counting my blessings since.

Bonus Question
What is your favourite summer food and/or drink treat?
Hard to say; in years where i grow tomatoes successfully (didn't happen last year, and this year doesn't look promising), it's that first ripe tomato off the vine. I also love corn on the cob. This week, however, it'd have to be raspberries, as they're ripe now and i've been having my fill and giving away lots. I may end up freezing some for later on.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

RIP, Bob Babbitt and Jon Lord

Bob Babbitt was one of those great musicians who made it look so easy. I've played with some studio musicians, and they make the transition from one gig to another look seamless. An underappreciated talent for sure.

Jon Lord was a mainstay in my teen years and both he and Rick Wakeman made me wish i'd learned to play keyboards.

As the (now old) Righteous Brothers song says,
"If you believe in forever,
Then life is justa one-night stand
If there's a rock 'n' roll heaven
Well you know they've got a hell of a band...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday night chit chat, 15 July 2012

Carla says this can be a photo or saying.

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.”—Henry Ward Beecher

Back to boat books.

Jim playing. He plays with so much energy, and then when he's tired, sleeps soundly. Lots to learn from cats. Earlier today, Phobe killed a chipmunk down cellar and meowed to let everyone in the household know. Not to be outdone, Jo killed one outside later in the afternoon.

Listening to
The hum of the ceiling fan. I think the rain may come soon, and want to take a shower before the thunderstorms start.

Nothing special. Made some salmon patties that hit the spot, and yesterday, i ordered a pizza from my favourite place just around the corner. I kept trying to phone them for the order, but the line stayed busy. When i went in person to order, i asked if they had something wrong with their phone. Turns out it wasn't hung up right. They were glad i told them and gave me the pizza half price.

Happy you accomplished this week
Changed out the rudder line to a smaller diameter one. Made all the difference with keeping the rudder firmly in the down position. Had a sailing lesson on Retrouvé with a wonderful sailing friend, and he said he'd give a few more.

Jim's a bit more used to the routine around here, and i'm glad his first visit to the vet went so well.

Picked some raspberries and gave some away to dear friends.

Looking forward to next week
Another sailing lesson, a visit from a friend who moved away recently.

Thankful for today
Jo did not attack Jim when i had him outside. I kept an eye on her and him, and when i turned for a moment, she had crept closer to see. We were on the deck, and she was about two steps away from the deck steps. Jim was on the second of the three steps, interested and didn't understand what the hissing meant. Jo also gave a low growl. Jim approached no closer, and finally came towards me, so i could pick him up and take him back to "his" room. I went outside immediately afterwards and praised JoJo for being such a good girl.

Saw some people i sailed with last year and had a nice chat

Took care of some boat housekeeping things since the rain held off.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meet Jim

The vet's office sent a "Pet Health Report Card" for Jim, which arrived in the mail today. They took a photo of him, as they do for all their patients to keep with their files. It's not the greatest picture, as he was squirming when they pressed the button, but as my camera is still out for repairs, it will have to do for now.

They have him as 9 weeks and 2 days old. Other than earmites (and we got medicine for that for him and a dose for the other cats, too, since they're highly contagious), the vet said everything looked good!

I have fallen hopelessly in love.

Monday, July 9, 2012

To Boat-Abbreviated First Season

Himself was available the weekend Launch Day, so we christened the boat then, as i had changed her name. I felt the boat wanted to be called something different--non boat owners will think that sounds daft, but boat owners won't laugh. Some won't buy a boat if they don't like the name because they have to go through a special ceremony to rename the boat. And no, i didn't do that with AS. But i thought it best to do it with Himself. And so we did. Her new name had come to me when i was trying to figure out a name that would show that she had been out of commission for awhile, but now was back. Lost then found. Relaunched. Rediscovered.

And then the name jumped out at me. Retrouvé. French for "found again."

We did christen her...

only to find out that the guys who stepped the mast hadn't done the job completely. A neighbouring boater told us and helped us to lower the mast, tighten the tangs on the spreaders so the stays would stay in place, and put on the spreader boots. So we learned a lot that day, thanked our boating neighbour, and finally were able to go for a sail.

Two weeks later, a hurricane was making its way up the coast. Since we had just paid to have her put in, i didn't want to pay again to take her out then drop her back in. I decided we were going to take our chances, and i battened down the hatches wrapped the mooring line in bubble wrap, and prayed. The hurricane just missed us and went a surprising degree westward.

We kept her in until mid-October, and i was still unsure if we should keep her. Himself and a few others thought giving it a proper sailing season rather than such an abbreviated one to decide was best.

To Boat--Launch Day

AS (previous owner) offered to help and said she really wanted to be there for the launch, which did occur on 8 August. She actually had wanted to be on hand to see the boat arrive chez moi, but the hauler arrived at her place earlier than planned, so all she could do was wave good-bye to the boat and call me to let me know the boat was on its way.

I felt it was the least i could do, and she'd be a great help showing me how to put on the motor mount and have the engine attach to it.

Turned out that 17 years that had elapsed since the last time she did it took their toll. She couldn't quite remember everything, the plate she thought should have been with the motor mount wasn't, so we took one from another motor mount she had given me, and it took three trips to the hardware store to get the right bolts and a couple tools.

Still, it was exciting to see all the preparations paying off and we were launching next day, come hell or high water. I had this image of AS handing over the tiller to me and lots of smiles.

Launch day proved to be a bit different. We had a few last minute things that would take us about a half hour. The hauler was early by a quarter hour, and we needed those 15 minutes to get everything done. AS started barking orders at him--it must be said she is NOT a morning person by any stretch. I am not either, and never have been, but she made me look like a happy little lark in comparison. Anyhow, i told the hauler to ignore her as i was now the owner of the boat, and what he proposed was fine. He nodded, gave me pitying look, and quickly got to work. AS did not let up her ranting.

We arrived at the marina and waited our turn for the travel lift. While waiting, AS produced her tool kit and started securing the lifelines. We were going to step the mast, too, and i went inside the office to ask where the restroom was. On my way back to the boat after visiting the loo, i saw a few guys stepping the mast. I went back to the office to pay for the haul (for they were getting the invoice ready when i enquired for restroom directions), to find out when we were to launch, and to enquire why there were people stepping the mast. The amount i was charged was more than what i had been quoted, which irked me, although he did delete the charge for stepping the mast. Long and short of it was we were to launch around 9:30, and didn't until nearly noon. We waited and waited then all of a sudden had to hurry up, get the boat to the travel lift and hurry down, as they had an emergency that required the travel lift be used right away, and it would take some time. By then AS and i were starving, and we asked if we could use one of their docks to tie up immediately after we got in the water so we could go to lunch. Yes, we could.

I hadn't thought to switch the bilge pump on before we left. When we came back, refreshed and excited to finally get underway, i went below to see a few inches of water in the cabin. I started the bilge pump immediately. AS thought the seacock may have been left open. I hadn't touched it and hadn't thought to check it quite frankly, given all the water we had to pump out of the bilge before hauling the boat from AS's house to mine. AS blamed SFB, saying he should have known to check this. SFB had been busy helping other family members with their boat and hadn't been available to help at all. Meantime, i got the manual pump and used that to help the bilge pump. I was glad i had brought a bucket on board to make it easier to empty the water. AS was droning on, and i was getting angrier by the second. From the moment the hauler arrived she'd been ranting about what wasn't right, and i'd been subject to her diatribes for the previous day and a half as well. My patience had run out, i started to seethe. I put the anger to good use and pumped hard, getting the bucket filled in short order and repeating the process a few more times.

AS insisted that we couldn't go anywhere until we knew what was what. Someone from the marina came over and asked AS if she'd please move her boat as they were having someone come in who needed the space. AS started to provide a long drawn out answer as to why we couldn't.

This was the final straw of a terribly trying weekend for me (merely hinted at two paragraphs up but i don't wish to relive them), and i snapped. I explained that I was the owner, sorry we were docked for so long, i had wanted to clear the water out and make sure we were good to go. We were, thank you for your patience, and if the other boat could please give us three minutes to clear off, we'd appreciate it most deeply.

The woman took one look at me, nodded, started as if to say something to AS, and thinking the better of it, looked back at me and said, "All right, then. Good luck."

I smiled grimly, dumped the last bucket of water overboard, and started up the engine. AS was still remonstrating, "You can't do this, you don't know--"

"We can't stay here any longer, AS, and we should be good to go. If i'd turned on the bilge pump before we left, this wouldn't have happened, and we wouldn't have known. We are fine now, and we're leaving."

The Marina woman was pulling off the docklines and throwing them to me as i spoke. AS looked very unsure, and i told her she could disembark now if she wished. No, she didn't want to do that, so we motored away with me at the helm, which was another scary moment as i hadn't a clue what to do. Tillers work the opposite of wheels, meaning if you want to turn right and you've a wheel, you turn the wheel to the right. With a tiller, you turn to the left to go right. Now, i knew this intellectually, but i had no muscle memory of it, and i'm sure i zigged and zagged enough to make tongues wag. As if i needed to add anything else--i was sure they were wagging already as AS managed to rub nearly everyone the wrong way.

She meekly suggested that she take over at the helm since i seemed to be having a bit of trouble with the tiller and my eyesight was better than hers, so i could search for the mooring. This was the most tactful thing i had heard her say all weekend, and i readily agreed.

We finally got to the mooring, tied off, and we got into the dinghy to row ashore. I've only rowed wooden rowboats, and inflatables are a different animal. I didn't realize this, of course, until i was there in the bloody thing trying to row. AS sat on the port side and mentioned how i didn't seem to have the rowing quite down. How i didn't ram the oar down her throat i don't know, but by that point, i didn't care if the boat sank, the dinghy sank, and we had to swim. She also mentioned oh, so casually that it appeared we were taking on water so perhaps there was a leak somewhere? Yes, perhaps there was, i found myself saying glumly. Just one more thing...

Rather than feeling victorious, i wanted to crawl under the covers and stay there. I had expected some stress, but this was exponentially worse than i had calculated. It was also abundantly clear that AS really wasn't ready to turn over the tiller and somehow expected that she could just show up whenever she felt like it and go sailing. On what was now my boat. On that frustrating row back to shore, she listed everything that was not in its proper place on the boat and that i needed to put them in their proper place. And how we didn't bend the sails but should have. And why did those guys step the mast when we were perfectly capable...

We got back to my house, she collected her things and left only after saying once again how this was the worst launch she had ever experienced. I was done being nice and biting my tongue. "Well, this is my first launch, so i've nothing to compare it to," i said, "But, it's given me pause for thought. This whole boat thing might have been a huge mistake on my part. I'll give it the rest of the season and see how i feel about it."

She left after that, and was tied for being the worst houseguest. She left sodden towels lying on the carpeted floor, lights left on, and she had forgotten to pack several personal items. Oh, no. I wasn't going to play that game that i had with some ex-boyfriends who'd leave a few things at my apartment so they could have a reason to return. I bagged everything up and thought of throwing the items away. But i relented, as some of them were very nice things. She was sailing on a friend's boat in a few weeks, and i could simply leave the items with her, which i did.

I might not have paid much money for this boat, but make no mistake. I did pay.

To Boat-Inital Preparations

This is a continuation of the boat story started here and continued here.

June 2011, and i now have a boat in my driveway. I realize i don't know very much and am a bit overwhelmed. Since the boat sat unused for so long, i cleaned her. And cleaned. And cleaned. There was quite a bit of mould in her cabin, and while i was waiting for others who knew more who'd said they'd help me, i figured i'd clean.

Himself was still away, and the people who said they'd help didn't. I don't think they meant to drop the ball or leave me hanging, but life happens, and each of them got very busy with other things. The cloud had a silver lining, as i got chance to become better aquainted with my up-the-street neighbours. The wife suggested that her husband do the wiring for me, since he's a marine electrician. (I had mentioned to her how i wanted to have the rewiring done.) The husband was glad to do it, charged me less than he should have as he helped me with some other repairs, too, and told me i could make up the difference in sailing time.

some before and after photos of the cleaning efforts:
 Above is the port (left) side after I've cleaned. Below is the starboard (right) side before i've cleaned.

 Above is the pointy part of the V berth, which is at the bow (front) of the boat. Below is after cleaning.
 Instead of fancy boat cleaners, i used good old dish soap and bleach.

Himself helped with using a wire brush on the keel to rough up the surface a bit so then we could apply bottom (anti-fouling) paint.

After that, we applied the anti-fouling paint. Himself did most of that. This is the finished result, which pleased us both very much.

My goal was to get her in the water before the end of that sailing season, and that did indeed occur. Launch Day deserves an entry all its own.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat, 8 July 2012

Carla says this can be a photo or saying.

“Those who wish to sing will always find a song.” - Celtic Proverb
Rereading Winnie-the-Pooh. I had picked up a copy in case a friend who has a child stops by.

The cats. Since Jim's arrival, Phoebe and JoJo have been a bit wary, standoffish, angry, and glad to see me. I try to comfort, cajole, soothe, or smile as the situation dictates.

Listening to
Jim play with a piece of paper. Of course, now that i've typed that, he's stopped playing and is watching my hands.

Friends invited me for supper and gave me the leftover cooked pasta and sauce as they were heading back home, and home is a long way from here. I used some of the pasta for tonight's supper and made a white clam sauce for it. I'll use up the rest of the pasta and sauce tomorrow. I don't eat much pasta these days, so it's been a real treat.

Happy you accomplished this week
Boat was launched last week, today i bent the main sail (meaning i put it on) and took the boat off her mooring. Had trouble with the rudder staying down, so it was a very short jaunt and a bit harrowing. Kind next door neighbours lent me their lawn mower so i could mow. The repair place called me on the day the mower was supposed to be fixed to let me know the part is backordered until Thursday.
Able to see friends who were here on vacation. It was fun hearing about their adventures.

Looking forward to next week
Nothing specific on the calendar. I'll be glad to have Jim's vet appointment done with (scheduled for Tuesday morning).

Thankful for today
Great neighbours
Even though the rudder incident was harrowing, no one got hurt or injured other than a cut on my finger when i grabbed the mooring line.
A beautiful day weather-wise.
Phone call from a friend just to see how i was. :-)

Bonus question
Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18, and line 4, and type out the line
The book nearest me is a medical abbreviations book, so i'm going to grab one off the shelf...
"a warm day." The book is The Drugstore Cat by Ann Petry.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting to know you...

Jim has settled in well thus far. I have him sequestered in my office. It's got two doors with glass on two walls, so Phoebe and JoJo have taken to looking through the glass at the Interloper. The first day, they both hissed and growled and were a little surprised to agree on something.

Yesterday, they looked on and saw him but no hissing or growling.

I've been sure to pay attention to them both, praise them, love them.

Today, Phoebe glared at Jim then went back upstairs, which is her home territory in the house. Jo looked through for a while, and when i was upstairs with Phoebe, i heard Jo hiss loudly. It got Phoebe's attention, too.

Meantime, Jim is sleeping, eating, drinking, and playing. He doesn't always get to the litterbox, which concerns me. I think he gets caught up in playing. He always uses the box when urinating, but fecally speaking, it's hit and miss.

He will meet the vet Tuesday morning at 8:30. I have ordered an FIV test for him, as i want to be sure he's negative. I did tell the liaison that if he's FIV positive, i won't keep him. My take on it is that FIV positive animals should be put down. Yes, heartbreaking to do, but clinically speaking, i think it's best. I'd also get an abortion if i found myself HIV positive and pregnant, so it's not species-specific with me.

If all goes well, then when we return, i think that will be the time for Phoebe and JoJo to meet Jim. I'll leave my office doors open whilst we're gone, so they can have a good sniff around, pee in his litterbox, eat what's left of his food, and upon our return, i'm hoping that the smell of the vet's office will gain him some pity.

My camera needed to be sent away to be fixed, and i'll not have it back for a week and a half or so. Pity, as i'd like to chronicle the changes in Jim. I do still have my film camera and i think i even have a roll of film. Might have to resort to retro.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

John said No, I said Yes

Another new chapter begun. Whilst John was reluctantly saying no to the arrival of yet another middle-aged bulldog to break his heart, I was chatting with a woman who works at a local health food store about some kittens. There were three left who needed homes, did i know anyone? I thought i might, but as it turned out, i didn't. But, the thought kept coming back to me. I finally decided to follow up and ask Susan what happened with the kitties. Someone was going to take the two black and white female kitties, but the male orange tabby was still unclaimed.

I went to visit on Tuesday night, and didn't take him home with me then, as friends are visiting from out of town, and i knew we'd be busy all day on the 4th. Susan brought him this morning. He's now finally dropped off for a nap, and i feel ready for one myself!

I'd post a picture, only i dropped my camera last night :0( It's still under warranty, so i can get it repaired, but that will be a few days. As with most kittens or puppies, he gets high marks for cuteness, and he's got quite a purr.

As i was driving home Tuesday night, thinking of names, i said aloud, "We have three cats once again: Phoebe, JoJo, and Jim." So, Jim it is.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

very busy at the moment

It's just too damn nice outside to be chained to my computer one more minute than i absolutely have to be. Amidst work, launching the boat, out-of-town friends visiting, the holiday tomorrow, and some unbelievably gorgeous weather, well i've had hardly a moment to call my own. And, i'm just off now to see about something that may become a new chapter.

Sorry to disappoint any readers who may be eagerly awaiting more of my drivel--i'm hoping to get back to my twice weekly at least entries by the weekend.