Sunday October 23, 2011
I was quite surprised this morning when we left home and I still had full use of my arms. I was originally thinking that I’d be so sore from Friday that I wouldn’t even be able to brush my hair. I knew I wouldn’t have Superman strength that day (not that I ever do), but was confident I would get a decent amount of work done. To help us even more we made a quick stop at Home Depot and picked up some 60 grit sandpaper for our sanders to help push through the layers of paint quicker. Throwing up the ladder and climing into the cockpit when we got there it looked like a layer of dirt or dust was covering our boat and the boat next to ours. There was still a little morning dew on the deck as well, so Matt rubbed the surface with his finger and it came right off. We knew it would need rinsing off (as well as the boat next to ours) but we figured we might as well wait until the end of the day since we were just going to make a mess again.
Ther original plan of the morning ws for Matt to work on the hull of the boat with his larger sander while I was going to try again with the Makita sander lent to us by Jack. This plan lasted all of five minutes where we still weren’t able to supply both of us with enough power and I was forced to go back to the chisel. The good thing about working on the keel for me is that there was actually a good spot for me to sit on the cradle while working and I rarely had to lift my arms above my head. Matt was zooming along with the coarser sandpaper ans were were on the road to having a ton done that day. And that’s when he pulled up…..Nemisis.
Just as Matt was going to have me walk around the boat while he was sanding to see if the dust was floating anywhere, a black pick-up truck pulled into a spot by our stern and a man got out and walked over to the boat next to ours. We immediately walked over and Matt apologized for us running our electrical cord through their boat cradle to get to shore power and offered to move it. We also mentioned that we think some of the dust from our sanding had landed on their boat and we’d be happy to wash it off for him. Instead of being greeted in return with the friendly boater reply of ‘Wow, thank you so much, that would be really nice’ that we were expecting, we got this instead. ‘We had this same problem last year when someone next to us with a blue bottom sanded and got dust all over our boat. It’s not going to come off with soap and water.’ Turns, and walks away.
We looked at eachother in shock with a kind of ‘what do we do now?’ expression while we walked back to our boat. That day we had been working on the Starboard side of the boat while their’s is to our Port side so luckily we didn’t have to look at Nemisis and his wife while they worked on their boat. Sanding again was obviously not an option while they were there, at least not with the power sander Matt was using. Both of us took shelter behind the keel, completely hidden from view of Nemisis and his wife. We started hand scraping just to be doing something and wondered how long this other couple would be here. We were desperate to run up the ladder of their boat and show them how easily the dust does actually wipe off but we figured the best course of action was would be to stay where we were and attempt cleaning it after they had left. It felt agonizingly long but an hour to an hour and a half later we could tell they were packing it up for the day. By this time Matt had pulled out the palm sander to do work on some of the hard to reach areas on the bottom of the hull. I saw Nemisis walk up first and tapped Matt on the shoulder. We both turned around as Nemisis explained that the dust was in fact very bad and he would be contacting the service department at Torrsen’s the next morning to see what chemicals could be used to clean his boat without damaging it. He said we should expect to be hearing from them (Torrsen’s) soon and again walked away to his truck to leave.
This is where Matt and I differ on our feelings of the situation. He feels our neighbor has every right to be mad since it was our fault his boat is ‘damaged’. He also feels that this guy has every right to treat us as inconsiderately as he did because it’s understandable that he’d be upset especially if this was the second year in a row this has happened to him. Then there’s me. Although I agree this was our fault and we should be the ones to take care of it, I feel we should be treated better than we were. We told this guy immediately about his boat as soon as he pulled up that day. We admitted it was our fault and the next words our of our mouth were ‘We’ll do whatever it takes to fix it’. Yet still we could not get one Thank you or I appreciate that out of him.
So when they pulled out we raced up our boat to get a closer look at his. The morning dew was long gone and our finger rubbing did nothing this time around. Matt started pulling out cleaners and we mixed them in a bowl with water and applied it to his fiberglass with a wet rag. Nothin’. We pulled out every cleaning supply on board and it was not getting any closer to coming off. This sent Matt into a panic. He imagined that Nemesis’ boat would have to be pulled into the service area to be cleaned and polished professionally. He started calculating the cost in his head, what our deductible was and what we would have to pay out of our pockets. He was obviously too scared to keep sanding any further that day so we moved to the next project on the list, putting anti-freeze in the lines. It took us less than a half hour and we were still left with a little over two hours of daylight. Since the only project available for us to do that day was sanding and Matt was still in such a panic we decided to go home so he could begin his hours of research on the internet of what takes paint from fiberglass and what the cost of a professional cleaning would be (expensive). In the end the plan was for me to drive out as soon as the sun was up the next morning and give another attempt to clean it since I couldn’t get away from the explanation that the morning dew wiped it right off as soon as we had gotten there.
Rolling out of bed the next day in the dark I put on grungy clothes and packed nice ones in my car for work. I made the drive out to Muskegon with a stop at Meijer on the way for some rags and cleaning products. The first thing I did when I pulled in to the marina was stop into the service center and make them aware of the situation and that I was going to try cleaning it myself since I knew Nemesis would be giving a call there later that day. The guys in the building were super nice and helpful with information and possible solutions for our problem. One even said he would walk out with me to take a look at the ‘damage’. Unlocking the ladder from our cradle he leaned it against the boat and climbed on deck to have a look at the two boats. After standing up there for a few seconds he glanced down at me and said, ‘What dust? I don’t see anything on either boat.’. I explained it was a thin covering that looked like dirt and was on the cockpit and deck. He verified that he still wasn’t seeing anything and invited me up to take a look. When I was on our deck everything did in fact appear clean. There had been rain the previous night and it must have washed everything off.
Upon closer inspection there were still a few small dots on the fiberglass if you looked really close. The service guy said everything looked good enough to him and stepped down the ladder to go back to work. That made me feel so much better because even if a call were placed to the marina that day I had someone on the inside to back me up. Still wanting to make everything as clean and shiny as possible I pulled out my rags and started giving both boats a good wipe down. When I finished, to me, they looked cleaner than they had before any sanding had even started. I texted Matt that everything was ok and he didn’t have to keep stressing himself into a heart attack, we’ve lived to fight another day.