Packin’ It Up

Tuesday March 5, 2013

As much as we would have loved to lounge in our sunny cockpit yesterday, enjoying our new water views, there was still much work to be done. Now that we’re back in the water, it means we’ll be LEAVING, and this requires a lot of work. Yes, we had just thrown a weekend away while sitting in front of our computers, but it was cold and windy, and not preferable for any of the jobs we needed to tackle. Just after we were tied off to the dock, the cockpit was emptied out and washed. We had skipped this part the other weekend since up until about two days ago our cockpit had become another garage, spilling over with sport-a-seats, grill parts, and cleaning products. We had managed to pack all the items back into place just before getting lifted back into the water, but all this did was reveal a bevy of new stains and spots on top of the normal dirt build up that could only come from three months of a construction zone with no cleanings. Pulling out the hose and almost every product in our arsenal we attacked each spot, some coming out with ease and others leaving us with the two questions of ‘What caused this’, and ‘How the hell do we get it off?’. (Like the resin I told Matt to make sure doesn’t spill, but he said would clean right off, cough, cough)

 Some of the areas were hit with Zep degreaser which when placed in a plastic spray bottle, I thought was Simple Green. When I began to complain to Matt that it felt I had just been stung by a bee on my foot he goes, “It’s probably the acid from this cleaner. You’ll want to keep your skin away from all the areas we just sprayed.”. Uh huh. Thanks for the warning. Once the all over cleaning was done, I left Matt with such messes that were of his own doing, I took on other time consuming areas that I at least knew would eventually come clean. Such as the Butile tape that had been mushed into a few areas of the cockpit seats. Patiently working with a Goo-Gone kind of remover along with dental picks I was able to turn the ugly spots to pristine off-white, matching the surrounding areas. When we each finished our jobs to the best of our abilities I realized how late in the day it was and there were time dictated errands to run. I still needed to make it up to the post office to mail out a spare part we had just sold on e-bay, and then would be one of the never ending provisioning trips to Walmart. We had done a HUGE one with Matt’s mom while she was here, completely filling up the trunk, but now we needed all the perishables and other little things we’d forgotten. As quickly as I could, I walked the mile from the boat yard to the post office, linear drive in my backpack and a large empty cardboard box in my arms. I must have looked so awkward walking down the street, looking like I was making a slow get away with a box full of kittens.

Having eaten up an hour of my day with that stop, I rushed back to the yard so we could still make a run up to Walmart and make it back before it got dark. That gave us two hours to go six miles round trip and do all of our shopping in between. Peddling as fast as we could on our bikes, we made it there in record time and started filling our cart with things like milk and seven pounds of ground beef (five to be kept frozen). We were doing so well on time until we pushed all our items up to the checkout lane where we then waited 20 minutes just to get our things on the conveyor belt. So much for our tight schedule. Stuffing everything into our backpacks and stringing extra bags on the handle bars of our bikes we set off into the dusk, making sure to stick to the sidewalk this time instead of the bike lane that runs through the street. Completely beat up and exhausted when we got home I still did not have time to rest. We had two weeks worth of laundry to be done and I envisioned the next day being even busier without a spare moment for such things as washing our clothes. Packing the laundry bag to the point of zippers breaking I walked to the boat yard next door which has machines, and sneaked past the gate to empty area and began throwing clothes and quarters into the machine. The open air room soon became very chilly in the night, with temperatures now in the 40’s, and I shivered as I had to take off the layers I had been wearing to keep me warm and throw them into the second load of wash. Getting back to the boat at nearly 11:00 at night I didn’t even bother to put the fresh clothes away before passing out in bed.

Giving ourselves the luxury of sleeping in a little for what we knew would be the last time for awhile, as soon as we pulled ourselves out of bed and hopped on the bike to run yet more errands. We went to what I hoped would be one of our last trips in a looong time to Home Depot (we literally go there every other day), and then to Target to stock up a few other random things we had forgotten or couldn’t find at Walmart. Back at Serendipity we were busy stocking things away when one of the yard workers, Andy, came up to our boat. He had been doing rigging inspections all day so we thought it was work related, but he calmly called down to us “You might want to come up here, and if you have any spare fenders you might want to get them out at well.” Giving quizzical looks to each other we stepped out of the companionway in time to see a Catana that had just been launched, having some steerage issues in the river. Between exchanges of the captain and the men working the travel lift, we quickly figured out that the catamaran had just wrapped a line around it’s prop and lost an engine. The men on the travel lift were trying to give him instructions to put it in forward and gain any control possible, but while all of this was going on he was beginning to drift dangerously close to us.

Remembering what Andy said, I knew our only fenders were currently holding us away from our own dock, but there were a few that could be taken off without causing any damage to our boat. Untying the lines as quickly as I could I kept checking behind me, waiting for our imminent crash with the cat and wondering if my movements would be quick enough to get a fender over and soften the blow. Just when I thought I might have to keep them off with the force of my hands alone they were able to divert course and start moving away from Serendipity. What they were not able to move away from, however, was the end of a finger dock, and they crashed into with a force that made my stomach clench. Finally having freed the fender now, I jumped onto the dock and ran toward them, ready to keep them from having any other sickening blows. Before I could get there they did have one or two more collisions with the end of the dock before the men who had been working the travel lift had run down to grab their lines and guide them into a slip. Seeing as they did not have any of their own fenders down, the one I brought over was still necessary, and their boat pounded it against the side of the dock until it looked like it was going to pop. With the quick thinking and work of the men at the yard, the boat was secured before any total destruction could be done, although they had not escaped destruction all together. Along the side of their starboard hull were a few long scratches, and a hole about 6-8” above the water line. The really sad part was that this Catana was going back in after having spent a year and a half on the hard for repairs, and now they’d still be stuck around until repairs could be done on the new damage. I wasn’t lying yesterday when I said that I didn’t trust us to go in under anything other than slack tide around here.

Later in the evening we were taken out to a bon voyage dinner by Chris, as well as being extended an offer to make yet one more Walmart trip. (I think we can fit one more jug of cat litter in storage!) Having recommended they Hypo Cafe to us just after we arrived, but we had never made it out there on our own. Knowing our schedule for the day was still a little crammed, he brought us there for our last St. Augustine dinner, knowing we’d be in and out in under an hour. From the outside the cafe looked like what would be any other linolium floored, plastic tabled restaurant in a strip mall, but opening the door you could tell this place was special. Wooden tables and chairs filled the cafe, and there was a lounge area in the corner, nestled next to a book shelf full of various volumes and games. The walls were painted a soft sage green, and vibrant yet muted photos hung from pegs. Looking at the menu, they also did not carry your run of the mill ham and cheese sandwiches. Trying hard to decide between all the appetizing choices, I wound up going with The Goat, a roast beef sandwich with goat cheese, and Matt had The Elvis, and peanut butter and banana sandwich. Everything was incredible, as always, and between sips of my bottled Coke I’d steal sips of Matt’s Watermelon Cream soda. Thank you again to Chris for one last amazing meal and always being there to help us out. You’ve made our stay here in St. Augustine so much more easy, and fun!

Having made our run up to Walmart and getting dropped off by Chris, there was one more thing on the docket for the night: saying goodbye to Frank and Yu. We had told them we’d be over right after dinner for a drink, but needed to finish a few things on our computers first while we had internet access, we spent an hour huddled in the shed with our computers. Our new spot at dock was too far away from the wifi signal now, and the only way to get it was to go to the source. Going back and forth between sitting on the picnic table, and then on the cold cement floor next to the outlet when my battery ran low, we finished up things like getting the latest Navionic updates for our charts and scheduling a post on the blog. Satisfied with the work we were able to get done, although we honestly could have stayed there all night doing last minute internet based things, we walked next door to Moitessier. Catching on what the others had been up to for the past few weeks, we stayed out past what we said would be our bedtime, hanging on to the last few minutes with our friends. Finally saying our sad goodbyes we joked that we hoped we wouldn’t be seeing each other soon, for it would mean that something would still be wrong with Serendipity and we’d be stuck here yet. Walking down the road that separates our yards for the last time, we crawled into bed with excited anticipation in our stomachs. We’re finally leaving tomorrow!!

Just Cause I Know You’ll Ask

Monday July 16, 2012

Now that I’ve finally let it slip at work that I’m about to go on this big adventure, and only about 10 of the 120 people in my department knew about it beforehand, I have a feeling there are going to be A LOT of questions asked.  And although we’re always open for questions in person or through our new email address on the website (click on Contact Us) I thought it might be a little easier to dedicate a post to the most frequently asked questions we get, which right now are just from friends and family.


Where are you going?

Besides getting to the Caribbean, we don’t have any definite plans.  Since our longest cruise so far has only been the 69 mile journey from Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI we’re hoping that we like this lifestyle but won’t know until we try it.  Our estimated departure date is Tuesday July 31 (weather permitting) and we should be jumping into the Bahamas in early to mid December.  Then we’ll take stock of everything and see what we want to do next which could range anywhere from ‘This just isn’t for us, let’s sell the boat and go back home’ to ‘I’m really LOVING the Caribbean, why don’t we spend all our time here’ to ‘I love the Caribbean but there’s so much world to see so let’s keep heading West’.  Should it be the latter we’re going to try for a circumnavigation (going all the way around the world).


What’s your route?

This somewhat depends on the previous question, but we do know the route to the Caribbean for sure.  We’ll leave out of Lake Michigan in Muskegon and hug the Michigan coastline while going North.  After passing under the Mackinac Bridge we’ll head South down Lake Huron into Lake St. Claire and then into Lake Erie.  We’ll jump into the Erie Canal near Buffalo, NY and follow that until it drops us out in New York Harbor and the Atlantic.  We’ll slowly be making our way South visiting places like the Chesapeake and probably staying inside the Inter Coastal Waterway.  When we get near Miami, FL we’ll make the approx 30 mile jump over to Bimini Bahamas where you go through the island chain and it’s not more than a day sail from one island to the next.  Should we decide to stay in the Caribbean we’ll keep heading down the island chains (Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands and the Windward and Leeward Islands. Basically all of the islands leading down to Venezuela).  Should we decide we want to travel the world instead, after Bahamas we’ll go to Jamaica and then the Panama canal.  After crossing through the canal we’ll go through the islands of the South Pacific until we bunker down in New Zeeland for hurricane season.  When we get the ok to go again we’ll start making our way north to Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.  We’re thinking of skipping Australia and Papua New Guiena and make our way to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.  From there the plan varies on the pirate situation at the time.  We could go toward the Red Sea and hop up into the Mediterranean or maybe we’ll go South to Madagascar and Africa.  Either route would put us back near the Caribbean island chain and we’d get to experience the Windward and Leeward islands that way!


What made you decide to do this?

There could be so many answers to this question, but a short answer would be that we’re young and there’s nothing holding us down, so why not?  The long answer would be you only get one life to live and wouldn’t you love to do something extraordinary with it?  We all think that we’re bound to these traditional 9-5 lives, it’s what’s proper and what’s expected.  But there is such a big world out there with so much culture and beauty.  And once we thought about that more and more we realized the only thing keeping us from experiencing these things are ourselves.  So we decided to put tradtion aside and do something unexpected and unforgettable.  Plus, reading the stories of others who have done it before us made it sound really really fun.


How do you pay for something like this?

SAVING!! Lots and lots of saving.  The old adage of ‘Nothing in life is free’ is definitely true and this trip is not coming free or even cheap to us.  On our website is a Cost page which we’re fully disclosing how much it does cost to outfit the boat and pay for for a trip like this and once we get going we’ll also update it with our monthly spending.  But to get to the point of even being able to spend that money we had to do a lot of sacrificing.  Some of the money coming in has been from the sale of our house and cars and the rest just comes down to not spending.  Matt’s mom and step-dad have been kind enough to take us in for the past year where we don’t have a mortgage/utilities anymore.  We don’t go out to eat or go to the movies.  We don’t go to the bars or take weekend trips to Chicago or Traverse City.   Most of the clothes I’ve purchased over the past two years have been second hand.  Everything that comes in that we don’t have to spend, we don’t.  I can’t say it’s been easy but it will be worth it.


Is it safe?

Just like anything in life there will be risks, but cruising is a lot safer than most people think.  As far as danger in the way of storms on the water we will be following the weather religiously and if it’s bad or looks like it could become bad we will not be traveling.  If storms come up on us and we can’t get into a harbor it means we’re probably far out to sea which is actually the safest place to be during a storm since there’s not much chance of you bashing into anything.  And in the ocean the swells are more drawn out instead of the choppy ones we see now in the Great Lakes meaning you slowly go up the wave and slowly go down it.  Plus we’ll always have on lifejackets and be teathered in.  Danger from pirates is a possibility but not very likely.  We’re avoiding pirate heavy areas and in the big picture, getting captured is only about a 1 in 200,000 chance.  And since we won’t be living on land anymore, we actually cut out a lot of dangers in our day to day life.  Did you know that you have a 1 in 6,000 chance of dying in an automobile accident each year?  I think we’ll take our chances on the water.


Aren’t you going to get sick of each other?

Four years living with another person on a 35 ft boat?  Yeah, I can see how people would assume this will happen a lot.  But we’re lucky in that we usually can’t get enough of spending time with each other.  Just going to work and coming backs feels like we’ve spent an eternity apart.  We follow each other from room to room at home.   In the twelve years we’ve been together we’ve become so much a part of one other that it feels like something is missing when the other isn’t around.  I can guarantee there will be moments that we want a little alone or me time but I think separating ourselves above and below deck or a small excursion on land alone will help cure that problem.


Most of these answers are currently directed at non-sailors as just a general what we’re doing.  If you have anything else you’d like to know, sailing/boat related or more general questions feel free to ask us.  I’d love to know what else you’re curious about!


Graduation Goggles

Friday July 13, 2012

Lately I’ve been getting a pretty bad case of graduation goggles of my land based life just before we’re leaving.  You know, the relief and nostalgic feeling one has about a time in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was completely miserable.  And my life on land has not been completely miserable but there have been plenty of mundane days of going through the rat race of life that I won’t be sad to leave it behind to escape and enjoy a life less ordinary.  I don’t know if it takes most people a few weeks or months of being gone before they realize how much they’ll miss at home because they’ve spent all their time up until leaving focused on the goal of actually leaving,  but I think I can name a few before I even go.

Here are a list of things I already know that I’ll miss:

  • Spending time with family and friends -  I don’t think I can go into much detail on this one without writing a novel.  I think the title explains enough.
  • The convenience of a car -  Pretty obvious one, and not just for the ease of getting from point A to point B for pleasure reasons,  although different kinds of transportation will be part of the fun of traveling.  What I’m really going to miss is getting from point A to point B with a couple weeks worth of groceries in the trunk.  Now it will mostly be done on foot and that’s not going to be fun.  But it’s lot like we’ll be the first people ever attempting this and it probably won’t take long for it to become routine.
  • Hot showers -  They are so relaxing and a great way to unwind at the end of the day.  This may be one of the things I would not have realized until after I left, but it’s the number one thing you hear from other cruisers and I plan to fully take advatage of them while I can.
  • Netflix -  I know, I know.  We’re taking this journey to remove ourselves from the artificial world everyone has set up for themselves of TV, laptops, and cell phones so we can get back to nature and experience the world through our own eyes.  But sometimes after a long day of work when I’m cuddled up in bed watching an episode of Buffy or 30 Rock, my life instantly feels a million times better.
  • The coffee at my neighborhood gas station -  When we moved into Matt’s mom’s house last year it was the same time I started drinking coffee for my 8 am start time (with a 45 minute drive!) for my new job.  While filling up one morning I happened upon their coffee station with one dispenser labled Sweet Cherry.  Mix it with 1/3 vanilla cap and it’s so good that I have to get it at least once a week.  Sometimes twice.  (It’s the BP station on Post Rd if any of my GR friends are interested)
  • Having a dog around -  Although we lost Mazzii whom we were head over heels in love with back in April of 2011, Matt’s mom has had a dog in their house for most of the time we have lived there.  It really does make your day to walk in the door and have a furry little slobber ball waiting for you and wagging it’s tail, thinking that the best part if it’s day is when you walked in that door.  Dogs really are unconditional lovers and animals to be treasured.
  • Camping -  This one is a toss up and kind of hard to include since a lot of the things I enjoy so much while camping are things we’ll still be able to do while sailing.  Hiking, swimming, bonfires.  So I think what I’m going to miss is the specific campground we always used to visit, D.H. Day at the Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Every summer we’d travel up there with friends and enjoy breathtaking views from Pyramid Point, swim in the crystal clear waters of Good Harbor Bay, and kayak down the Crystal River.  There would be wine tasting at The Cherry Republic, lunch at Riverfront Pizza and window shopping at the boutiques.  Then the night is ended with dinner and live music at The Boondocks and followed with a bonfire and lots of beer and a sandy beach under starry skies.  Sound like perfection?  Its is.  And I’m going to miss the hell out of it.
  • Meijer -  This little store really is one stop shopping and they’re ALL OVER west Michigan.  Anything you need, just stop in and you’ll be able to find it there.  It’s a full grocery store with name brands plus their own Meijer and Meijer Gold labels.  There’s also departments for Electronics, Appliances, Home/Bedding/Bath.  There’s Auto, Sporting Goods, Clothing, Health & Beauty.  But might say..That sounds just like a Walmart SuperCenter.  Yes, it is.  But so much cleaner and so many more choices.  My parents who live(d) in both NC and AZ will stock up suitcases with things from Meijer when they’re in town.  When my mom is shopping at her new grocery stores with her reusable Meijer bag and someone who has been to one sees her they’ll stop and say ‘You’ve been to Meijer?  Aren’t the the best?”.  I’m sure there are going to be plenty of Walmarts in my future and I’ll be happy to have them, but in my heart, nothing will compare to Meijer.
  • Downtown Grand Rapids – Leave it until we start planning our exit from this town for it to become a modern and bustling metropolis.  Back when I was in high school people were doing everything and anything to get out of West Michigan as the town had become run down and unappealing.  Important people took notice of this and in the past 10 years the town has been full of renovation.  The downtown area is filled with bars and restaurants, museums, theaters, and there are always events.  From concerts by A list musicaians and sporting games at VanAndel Arena to Festival and Blues On the Mall at Rosa Parks circle.  People come from all over the coutry in the spring for the 5/3rd River Bank Run and in the fall for Art Prize.  It’s turning into a perfect little town and if we were to stay we’d be living in a condo on the river in the heart of downtown to have a front row seat to it all.

Some of these things are general, some of them are personal.  Some are superficial and some are genuine but they all add up to my life that I’m leaving behind.  World, you have some pretty big shoes to fill.

4th Of July Parade Of Boats

Wednesday July 4, 2012

Midweek holidays are a tricky thing because you con yourself into thinking the whole day will be spent completing projects that need to get done although once the day off is upon you it’s hard to do anything but take the time off from the daily grind to relax.  After spending the night and doing nothing productive except get the dinghy washed we woke up early the next morning to try and give the deck a good scrub down as well before my parents came out to see the boat and us for the last time before we all meet up again in Panama.  I should have started at the cockpit and worked my way forward because by the time the phone rang with ‘We’re here!!!‘ I had barely gotten half way and the cockpit was still a mess of smudges and other things I’d rather not find out what they other.  Nothing a sport-a-seat thrown over the top couldn’t fix though.

On their last Michigan trip my parents were able to enjoy 90 degree heat at 10:30 am on the deck without any shade from the bimini which still wasn’t up yet.  It was nice that we had been able to spend so much time with them while they were in town catching up on everything in life and this last visit was all about us and the trip.  Then came the farewells and a few tears from my mom.  We assured her that Panama was not that far away and after that would be New Zealand.  After tucking them into their rental car that we rented from this site, and waiving goodbye we went back to Serendip for a long three hour nap since low’s in the 80’s and a down blanked piled on top of you at night do not make for good sleeping weather and we were lagging.

Waking up in the mid afternoon with no finished projects to show for the day we pulled out the bars for the bimini again to make final measurements and cut.  Unfortunately the last part could’t be completed because the rivet gun was left at home.  By this time though the afternoon heat was becoming unbearable and a swim in the lake was necessary.  While wading in the water I started to see familiar race boats making their way out on the water.  Crawling back on deck and cracking open a beer I sat tucked under my towel and enjoyed the race from the spectators side.

Having spent most of the day napping or relaxing in the cockpit while watching a regatta we did not get a second wind of energy to do anything productive.  Eating potato chips and crackers for dinner we watched the sky begin to grow dark and the fireworks start to emerge.  Many people around the shore including the Muskegon Yacht Club had some small ones of their own but I was waiting for the big display.  Last year Matt had been out here himself and said there were multiple shows going on every direction you could look.  As the last bits of light were leaving the sky the larger fireworks began to come out.  Turning your head in every direction you’d see some from the country club up the hill from our mooring, others blazing over the dunes of the state park, and the municipal show being put on in town all the way at the other end of the lake.  Swiveling in multiple directions to try and get them all in I finally settled on the ones closest to me at the country club.  It was way after my bedtime by the time we left but completely worth staying since next Fourth of July we might be in the South Pacific.  Sparklers anyone?

In at Last…Thank the Almighty, We Are In at Last!

Tuesday June 19, 2012


After it seemed like it would never happen but I knew it eventually would, we are finally in the water.  We are still not completely prepped and ready to leave but this is a start.  There’s a small feeling of completion accompanying at least getting ourselves far enough along to be in the water.  Any future projects just won’t seem as daunting as you’re bobbing along in peaceful serenity.  Plus we can get some enjoyment out of it now before my destructive thoughts take over.  There will be sailing and swimming and grilling to keep me sane.

Now comes the bad news of our splashing.  It appears there has been a mix up this year where everyone has been assigned with their moorings.  Our good friends Steve and Cathy on Buen Tiempo who had been our mooring neighbors for years have now been moved a few spots over.  Our faithful mooring ball, lucky number 35, has been given away to someone else and until they can find a new suitable spot for us we are at a slip.  I know a lot of people out there would be giddy with excitement at the thought of a free slip but we try to avoid them with a passion.  We love the seclusion and peacefulness of a mooring.  Being right on top of your neighbors just doesn’t do it for us.

We made a visit out to Muskegon just to make sure Serendipity made it in safe and to relish the sight of her no longer in a cradle.  Since there are still some projects going on with the dodger and bimini they weren’t up yet and Serendip looked so bare without them.  It’s strange how much difference a few yards of fabric can make.  We enjoyed a fast food dinner in the exposed cockpit and took stock of the immediate projects still to be done.  Our visit was short but I didn’t feel cheated on boat time because I’d be out racing the next night and we’d be out three days later to celebrate Matt’s big 3-0 where we might actually get in some (gasp) sailing!

Sitting on the Sidelines

‘Wednesday June 13, 2012

It is mid June now and our boat is still not in the water.  It’s amazing how quickly it can go from ‘I think we’ll have it in by Memorial Day….ok, maybe one week later….or just one more’.  Not that we won’t be spending every single day for the next few years living on and enjoying the boat, but I was sick of having it on the hard and wanted it in the water now so I gave up my weekly racing time to help finish the last few projects before it can be splashed.  Let it be known though that when I did suggest giving up my precious racing time to Matt I was under the impression that we would be launched that Saturday and enjoy the weekend on the boat in the water.  It was only after I promised this that I found out Torresen’s does not launch on Saturdays (Matt stil had work of his own to do on Friday) and we’d still be in the yard for yet another Sunday to do work.  I may have been able to go back on my word and say that since I had a full Sunday ahead of me again that my assistance would no longer be needed for a few hours on a Wednesday night, but Matt has been working so many long and hard hours to get this ready that I would have felt way too selfish to leave him to do the work alone again.  After picking him up from work we drove out to Muskegon and pulled into the marina just as  all the racers were making their way into the lake to prepare for the start and I could only stay on land and watch them go.

Serendipity was now alone in her row as all other boats had already launched or been moved to another area of the boat yard.  Grabbing my grungy clothes out of the car I looked over to the yacht club and saw Island Dream still sitting in her usual spot and I was tempted to make a run for it only leaving a dust cloud and my regards behind.  Being the dutiful wife though I walked to the restrooms instead to get changed.  When I got back to the car Island Dream was now gone and I looked out to the lake to see the boats begin to gather, some flying downwind with their spinnakers raised.  When I looked over to our boat I was happy to see that Matt had brought down the aft cradle pads and there was plently of room to get in and work.  No more cut and scrapped hands for me today, hopefully.  Getting the Makita out of the backseat I attached it to the extension cord I had just run and went to slide it between the cradle pad and the hull.  Silly me, I didn’t take into consideration that where would have to be enough room to account for the hight of the sander as well which would fit into some spots without a problem but could not squueze into the lower areas where the pad was still within an inch and a half to two inches from the hull.  My delusions of having both sides finished in 30 minutes were gone as I realized that I would have to back to hand sanding for a good portion of it.  Hoping I’d have more luck on the other side I quickly ducked over there and found there was an extra half inch or so of leeway and I worked at different angles getting almost 2/3 of the paint of with the power sander.

When I was left with an area that could only be hand sanded I dreaded what it might do to my hands since they were just starting to heal from Sunday.  Taking another sanding pad that had once belonged to the Makita I folded it in half and instead of using just one hand this time I tried a new method of grabbing each side of the pad and moving it from right to left in a sawing motion.  This actually let me put a lot more force behind it and didn’t require nearly as much work as how I was doing it last time.  Not that it was instantanious but this new way was definitely cutting down on time and on strenght from me.  Within 15-20 minutes that side was completely done and I was able to go back to the other side.  It was looking like I’d have about an hour of sunlight left before it started to go below the trees and I figured if I could have this side sanded by that time I would be in good shape.  The painting would only take me 5-10 minutes so this was really all that needed to be done by me on this trip out.  Going back to my sawing sanding motion I did find the starboard side had a little less room for my hands which made it slightly more difficult but I kept plugging along determined to get it finished.  Off on the lake I could see all the boats racing downwind with their spinnakers up and I kept my eye out for Island Dream.  In the distance I could see their blue, orange and yellow spinnaker and watched them mesmerized while they cruised along as it was much more fun than doing work.  As they were coming to the point to make a turn and lower the spinnaker there was a crane blocking my view so I climbed a few steps up the ladder to be able to see more clearly.   I would have given anything to be out there with them at that moment and not only because sailing on a boat is much more fun than working on one.  Waiting in anticipation I saw Island Dream round the marker and the spinnaker swiflly come down and out of sight as they began to make their way back upwind.  Everything went perfectly and I think a few guys in the boat yard were very curious as to why I was jumping up and down on the ladder with excitement.

 Getting back to my sanding and nearing the end the work did slow down and there were a few areas I was cursing, but just as the sun fell behind the trees I was scraping off the very last bit of VC-17 from our boat.  I triumphantly turned to Matt to show that it was finally complete,  and better yet I had finished it all on my own this time, but I don’t think he was as excited for me as I was.  Ready to get the paint buckets out and finish this job up once and for all he said I could probably hold off on that tonight because the new through-hull he’d be putting in on Friday would need to be painted as well and I may as well do it all at once.  Since the sky was still light we tried to squeeze in one more project of adding our home port to the stern.  We assumed it would be a fairly quick project and it was.  Matt took out the step ladder and positioned the letters on the stern while I stood back to make sure everything looked even and then he scraped them on with my ok.

Loading the car up to go home for the night I was disappointed not to carry on my weekly tradition of racing tonight but I was so so happy to now be 100% completely done with sanding.  Plus after just a little bit of cleaning up this weekend and getting everything on the inside straightened out we’ll finally be ready to get in the water.  So next week when I’m back on Island Dream and we leave the docks to race I can proudly point to Serendipity in the water and say in a Forrest Gump voice ‘That’s my boat…‘.

I may not have any pictures of my own to add for this night, but I will steal some of Tom’s from the race.  Here’s the crew that was out racing while I was gone.  And I found out after I got home from sanding and jumping on Facebook that I missed some real excitement where a strong gust of wind swung the boom over the cockping and knocked Mark right in the head!  Luckily he’s ok but was out of commission for about 15 minutes.  You see what happens when I’m not around to supervise?  All kidding aside, it was fortunate that nothing more serious happened and Mark sounds like he’ll be recovering just fine.

Skipper Tom

Hey…that doesn’t look like work!

Miss these guys!!

That looks just an iiiinsy bit painful!


Quote Of the Day

‘Tuesday May 15, 2012

All our hard work will have us visiting places like this

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Mrs. Globetrot)

At work everyday we get an inspirational quote sent to us, probably reminding us just to hang in there because while working customer service on the phones you can use all the positive energy you can get. A lot of people will delete them without reading and I’ll usually skim through them myself without fully taking it in.  However, as I sat at my computer one morning without much to do I did read through the daily quote and found it quite uplifting.  Maybe it was because it came across my desk after I just completed three days in a row of sanding where my arms were about to fall off and I was just sick of the work, but this one really stood out to me as something I could learn from.

For future reference, I’m not the kind of person that will normally post quotes on the blog, but this is one I really wanted to share.

Instant results are not always the best results. Have a little patience, and you can greatly expand your possibilities.

If your desires were always fulfilled immediately, you would have nothing to look forward to. You would miss out on the joy of anticipation.

There are some good things you can have instantly. There are many, many more good and valuable things that will take time.

You deserve more than mere instant gratification. Be willing to take the time, and to put in the effort, and give yourself access to life’s greatest rewards.

Value that arrives in an instant is probably going to be gone in an instant. Value that takes time and commitment to create will enrich your life far into the future.

Dream, plan, prepare and persist in your efforts for the long haul. The more time and effort you give, the more richness you can achieve.

— Ralph Marston

Arms on Fire

Sunday May 13, 2012


I’ll try and keep this post a bit short by covering three days at once because I’m sure you’re as sick of hearing about my sanding as I am of actually doing it.  I had taken another Friday off of work to get boat work done and was very worried that it was going to be just like last time where I wasted a vacation day to do nothing at all.  Winds were showing that they may grow to 15 mph, but this day they were coming out of the south and I was protected by land so they weren’t hitting as hard as they normally do.  Using concrete blocks and anchor chain as normal I got the set-up all squared away and went to work trying to bridge the gap between the bow and stern.  The first few sections I did were a little rough on me because I was still using the same sanding pad I had finished with last week trying to get as much use out of it as I could but it was taking forever to get the paint off and my arms were already becoming sore from holding it up for these longer periods.  After an hour of work I put a new one on and it made a world of difference, the paint started comming off like butter (if that term works here).  From that point I was able to start racing through the work or at least it was feeling like I was.

After I took my lunch break for the day I figured 2-3 more rows would have the full side finished and then all I would have left is the work underneath and on the keel.  But part of me was getting really annoyed with the winds blowing on my back and blowing me directly into the boat again.  Then my mind started grinding gears and I realized if I was out here two more days in a row, I didn’t want to save all the hardest parts for days I was already tired and weak.  Getting down really low I started working underneath the hull.  Unlike the stern area where I could lunge forward to work, this area had the cradle in the way so I had to sit on it while keeping the 10 lb sander above my head.  Doing better than last time I worked for a straight hour going as far down as I could before the sander would bump into the keel.  When I had done the whole area from left to right I took a short break and then set myself up again to do the higher parts starting at the waterline and working my way down.  I finished two more rows before my phone showed quitting time and I began the hour long process of cleaning up by vacuuming the dust from the boat, cradle and tarp, and then bagging everything up to stick in the cockpit.

Saturday morning I gave up my ritual of watching the previous week’s Amazing Race episode while sipping fresh hot coffee to go out to the boat for a half day of work.  Since I was unsupervised this time I made a few stops on my way out, one to buy Matt’s birthday gift and then a stop at Tim Horton’s since I had never been to one before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  I probably looked like a complete idiot to the girls behind the counter when I didn’t realize there were three different areas I had to pick up my donut, coffee, and sandwich.  The fact that one of my earrings had fallen out the previous day and I had forgotten to remove the other one probably didn’t help my case at all.  Pulling in to the marina still bright and early just after 9:00 I was greeted by an adorable pit bull that was tied up to the cradle of a boat a few down from me.  After getting the ok from her owner I spent a few minutes playing with her before I needed to get to work putting up the tarps while the winds were still low.

I had everything set up in less than an hour which I was impressed by since it was only me and I didn’t have Matt dragging the wet/dry vac down from the cockpit for me.  I ended up skipping the anchor chain this day and just using a few cement blocks, partly because the remote for the windlanss popped out of the locker killing the power and even though I could tell where it needed to be plugged back in I didn’t trust myself to get it in without breaking the fragile looking prongs.  Since I knew I only had 4 hours of work before I needed to start cleaning up to go home I used the same logic as the previous day by working on and area I knew would be hard.  Not even bothering with the large Porter Cable I pulled out the little Makita and sat on the metal bars of the cradle while beginnng to sand paint off the keel.  I remember the last time I worked with the Makita it felt like I was moving incredibly slow but I thought that was due to a lack of strength on my end and now I’d have some muscle to back it up.  Nope, something about that sander just takes five times longer to remove paint.  Working in sections 4″ wide and 24″ long it took me close to an hour to do one.  My dreams of finishing the remainder of my sanding this weekend were starting to get squashed.  I tried to work as diligently as possible but I did require more breaks than I had recently been using because this area of sanding had me constantly crouched over and I needed to get out and stretch.

Halfway through my day I took a break to eat my donut and after grabbing it from the car had to duck back under the protection of the tarp since winds were picking up and it was getting chilly.  My neighbor with the blue bottom boat and smurf-like wife I had talked to before saw me sitting and came over to talk about boat projects and overall plans.  We compared boat notes and after he told me that he’d been sailing in the area for 20 yeas I sheepishly admitted that I was in need of lessons before we left on the trip and asked if he knew about the races that were held next door at the yacht club.  He was surprised that after four years of sailing I didn’t have a full grasp on how to handle everything and agreed with Matt that I should know exactly what I’m doing by now.  Getting called out by Matt is one thing, but an almost stranger?  Ouch.  In my defense… I haven’t had anyone to train me or show me how to handle all the lines properly.  Matt was able to pick it up by reading alone and figured I should be able to do the same since it worked for him although I’m a total kinesthetic learner. Once I do the process and repeat it, it becomes ingrained.  Oh well, I’ll find a boat of nice people that I’m sure would love to teach me exactly what I need to know.  And lastly in my defense again, I may not know how to handle all the lines but I’m a kick ass helmsman.

Getting back to work with just an hour left before clean up I continued on the keel not making much more progress.  The wind was starting to blow pretty hard at his point and the tarps were having a hard time staying shut.  I started closing down shop about 20 minutes earlier than I had planned and was happy to do it since my back was killing me by this time.  It was also going to allow me time to quick take a shower and hop in bed for Saturday afternoon nap before I needed to start gettting ready for family things.

Arriving back out on Sunday morning we tried to get an early start since it was Mother’s Day and we had dinner planned at Matt’s grandma’s at 5:30 which meant another half day of work.  Getting into my routine I put my tarps up again for the third day in a row now.  My enthusiasm for the project was dying a little and what both Matt and I thought would be my big push of a weekend to get the rest of the paint of clearly was not going to happen.  I was just going to focus on the keel again and work on getting the paint off that area since it was turning into one of the hardest areas to sand on the boat even though it took up the least amount of space.  All the odd angles made for diligent  and time consuming work.  I should have pulled out the Porter Cable for the larger areas but it was so big and the area was so small.  I thought I’d be working with it for five minutes before I got into a small angled area and would need to put it down and work with the smaller sander anyway.  If I was smart that’s what I should have done because the area that would have only taken me five minutes with the Porter Cable was now taking me forty-five minutes with the Makita.  Live and learn I guess.

Knowing that I didn’t have to spend a full agonizing day there I did try and skip a few breaks and even worked past the time I told myself I’d start cleaning up at to get as much work in as possible and make sure the next weekend was my last one ever at sanding.  What I was left with at the end of the day was a keel that was sanded, but paint was still left on the fin and the curved area that connected the keel to the hull.  It of course wasn’t as much as I had wanted to finish that day but I think I still did a good job in the time I had.  I have to admit though that I’m so happy there was an excuse to leave early because three days in a row of that backbreaking labor was really starting to wear on my positive energy.  It was almost having me say things like ‘This trip isn’t worth all the work’.  So good thing I got out of there in time before Matt heard me and decided to use our money for a riverfront condo instead.  (Have I mentioned that he keeps talking investments and a condo would put us further ahead in life than a few years of traveling?  I need to get that boy back on the water and remind him what he could be missing)

Dancing In the Dust

 Sunday May 6, 2012

Heading out to the boat today I had no idea if I’d be getting any sanding done since winds were right at that point where I might be able to get the tarps up or they might all come tearing off on me.  I’m beginning to loathe the wind and how it dictates my work.  Can’t wait until it’s dictating my movements of travel, but I think the lack of a professional job and experiencing different places will help to combat that irritation.  I was about to beg Matt to stay home and I’d maybe finish work on the dodger once and for all but he said that if I couldn’t sand he would need my help on the rudder.  We stopped at West Marine on the way to pick up some supplies for the day (where I noticed they had some Sperry Topsiders I was eyeing for Matt’s birthday that were in stock) but they did not have the filler we needed to do work on the rudder.  If winds weren’t agreeable I’d be stuck there all day with nothing to do.  When we pulled into the yard and got out of the car there were small waves rolling through the docks near our boat and I worried I was out of luck but the winds themselves didn’t feel too strong.  Both of us had checked different weather sites that morning and while the one I looked at showed winds going from 9 up to 16 mph in the afternoon the one Matt checked showed them only going up to 11 which since it was more acceptable to him of course had to be the correct one.  After years of studying forecast on multiple sites I can tell you the one starting with accu is usually not the most accurate.

Unloading all my supplies from the cockpit I tried to gauge which direction the wind was coming from so I didn’t have any openings in the tarp on that side and could hopefully use the full coverage on that side from letting wind blow in on other sides.  Conditions were so well when I started that I didn’t even ask Matt for help or put down the anchor chain. Of course once the third and last tarp was taped up wind started kicking in so I used both anchor chain and a few concrete blocks to hold everything down. We had given up on shore power so I ran an extension cord to the far docks for some electricity.  I had everything set up but just needed to grab a few more things from the cockpit.  Standing on the port side where I would be working that day I could definitely hear gravel moving by Nemesis’ boat and freaked out thinking he was there.  I don’t even know why I worry, we’re doing everything we’re supposed to and he shouldn’t have a problem with us, but if I can avoid him all together I would prefer to.  I didn’t want to spend my day having him tell me what he thinks we’re doing wrong.  Not wanting to use the main opening I had given myself by the bow for fear I could run into him there I made my way to starboard by the ladder where two tarps were overlapping.  Having used sheet stays on the top and middle to keep it closed to the wind I got on my hands and knees to crawl out the bottom and make my way up the ladder without being seen.  Up in the cockpit grabbing the last few things necessary, a sander is usually good to have, I stood out on deck searching for his black pickup but did not see it.  Going back down the ladder and around the front this time I found it was a man from a neighboring boat hooking himself up to shore power.  Guess it was back on after all.

Hoping to use this day to bridge the gap between the front and back I started putting on all my gear only to find out Matt had shoved my mask and goggles in the bag with the hose while cleaning up last week and they were absolutely covered in dust.  Making a quick trip to the restrooms to clean everything off as best as possible I finally suited up and got to work.  My arms were sore from the beginning but I had the same problem when I began last week and thought I just needed a little time to get my body used to the movements again.  I was also starting with an old sanding pad trying to get as many miles out of it as possible and that was slowing down my work as well.  Maybe I was going at the same pace as before, but without caffeine and other things to keep me going it felt like I was moving in slow motion today.

When I finished my first top to bottom section I went through the routine of vacuuming the dust that had accumulated on the hull and made sure to change the sanding pad stat.  If I needed to buy a new box to finish the job, so be it.  Just when I was getting ready to start the process again Matt came under the tarp from the rain that had just begun to do a little sawing for a platform he needed to place the watermaker on.  I had heard some thunder booming off in the distance for awhile and asked if I would be ok working through the storm and wouldn’t be electrocuted by the cords I had running outside.  He said not to worry which either meant it was a non issue or he was getting ready to take this journey as a single man with all my life insurance money.  Before he went back up to do work in the cabin he asked if I could sand down the fiberglass he had put over the throughull last week.  It wasn’t a problem to do it for him, but once I had finished all the rough edges really took their toll on the sanding pad and I was almost back to square one when I went back to working on other parts of the hull.

Working two more 6-8″ top to bottom sections I sat down to take a little rest.  Looking down the side I didn’t have too much more to sand before bridging the gap.  What I did have though was the whole underneath section leading to the keel and then the keel itself. It would be the hardest part where I wouldn’t be able to hold the sander right in front of me and use my body for leverage, but instead holding the sander above my head and only using the muscles in my arms to not only hold it there but to keep just the right amount of pressure on it too.  If I finished the easy part today and left only the hard part for next week I would die.  I’d be incredibly miserable and get nothing done.  So I made the decision to start working the underneath today and split up the job a little bit.  Sitting myself on the cradle I positioned the sander against the hull above my head and turned on the power.  15 seconds of work and then lower my arms for a rest.  Back up for another 15 seconds and then down again.  Sometimes I’d get a burst of energy where I could hold it up for 20-25 seconds.    By the time I had worked about three feet horizontally and only gone down about four inches vertically I was panting like I had just run a 5k.  My arms were burning and I needed a rest.  Since I still had a bean burrito in the car that I hadn’t eaten on the ride over I pulled it out and went back under the safety of the tarp to enjoy it.

While I was eating the winds had begun to pick up at bit more just like I had forecast them to (ok, or the website I chose) and I started to wonder if the tarps would hold.  Just as I was thinking this the opening on the windward side blew open and all my clothespins exploded off.  I quick ran out to put it back together and sat down again.  While I was finishing Matt had come down to see how much longer I wanted to stay and when I mentioned the winds were really picking up he gave me the ok to start cleaning up for the day.  I hadn’t even finished my burrito yet when the wind broke the tarp open again and even more forceful this time started plucking the tape off the hull with it.  At least it was helping me to do my job of taking it down.  Maybe it could help me a little more by blowing all of the dust away instead of me having to vacuum it.  (kidding!!)

I’ve Got Hose In Different Area Codes

Sunday April 29, 2012

After an incredibly frustrating day on Friday of making my way all the way out to the boat to not be able to do any work because the winds were just too high, I was in for vengeance today.  I checked the wind on Saturday where it showed nothing over 5 mph and then looked again this morning where it had gone up to 9-10 mph, but I’ll be damned if there was going to be anything to stop me today.  After checking the shore power agian to see if it was up and running and finding out it was not I began pulling extension cords out of the car and ran one to the slips on the other side of the marina where they did have working power.  Since it was a decently nice day out and it was  getting closer to Memorial Day weekend which everyone hopes to have their boat in the water by, the marina was getting crowded on this Sunday and all you could see were orange extension cords running through the boat yard.  After getting all my supplies underneath the boat I began to unroll the tarps and grabbed my Gorilla tape to get to work.  Wind had shifted to the Northeast today where our boat has the most exposure and I stupidly started taping on the starboard side where I always do as the wind is normally coming from the northwest and hitting this side which then makes the other tarps easier to get on.  I didn’t even have the first tarp fully taped when Matt realized the trouble I was about to get into and immediately released the anchor chain and started to put it on the bottom of the tarp to keep it in place.  He then helped by holding the tarp up while I taped, but by this point I was now on the Port side where the wind was hitting and automatically pressing it against the boat for me and helping block it from the other side.  Once I had everything taped I went to pull out the new clothes pins I had bought over the weekend, sturdier plastic ones, although whatever angle the wind was coming in at today still wanted to bust them off.  That’s ok, I had a back up plan.  In addition to the clothes pins I had purchased elastic (bed) sheet stays and after clipping them onto the overlapping parts of the tarp that baby was not going anywhere.

Since the tarp was blowing itself directly into the area I had been working on last time (4 weeks ago!!) I had no option but to start somewhere else.  Looking at the bow it was the only area on the Port side where I didn’t think I might get sufficated so I neatly set my blue tarp that keeps dust from falling onto bare ground under that area and brought my tools over.  The vaccum was a little harder to move becauser of the size.  Since it was all the way at the stern and I was trying to find the best way to bring it up, over, or around the cradle and get it to the bow.  I was finally able to get the large thing lugged over to the bow and then spent about another five minutes getting the hose untangled and brought over.  Soon everything was connected and plugged in and I could get to work.  The moment I had brought the sander up to the hull my arms had a slight ache and I freaked out thinking that I physically wouldn’t get anything accomplished this day.  After 60 seconds or so that feeling went away and I was happy to keep sanding along.  I’d do rows in three sections, the first where I’d stand on the ground going left to right sanding off an area about six to eight inches wide.  Then when the sander would start getting to eye level I’d get on the first step of my step ladder and keep working until I was again at eye level with my sander and then I’d move up to the top step and finsih the work going up to the water line.  And since 80% of the time I was holding the sander right in front of my body my arms would not get as tired and I wouldn’t have to take my long breaks to rest my arms.  I did however have to stop at least once, usually when I was on the first step of the ladder to wipe off my goggles since there was so much dust I couldn’t even see what I was doing.  After I had gotten up to the water line I would detach the hose from the sander and run it up and down the hull sucking up all the dust that had settled on it.  It was a nice little break from sanding, but it was surprising to see how much dust was building up today.  There seemed to be a lot more then the last time I worked but I just chalked it up to the extension cords taking away some of my power and therefore causing the vaccum that’s attached to the sander to lose some of it’s sucking action.

After even just one hour of working I was very pleased with my results feeling like I was getting a lot done.  Once I stepped back to take a look (as far back as the tarp would let me) I did notice that the bow can be deceptive to your progress since the closer you get to it the less area there is to sand.  I didn’t let it get me down though and kept working while getting closer and closer to the bow.  Although winds weren’t terrible there would still be a few gusts here and there and since I was working on the same side the wind was blowing there would be times I’d be balancing on the ladder and a strong gust would blow the tarp sharply against my back and shove me right into the hull while I was working.  There were a few times the sander got way too close to my face for comfort but luckily nothing was sanded off my face.  It was a minor inconvienence though the last straw for working in that area came when I was trying to get the very front part of the bow but since I had the tarp taped so tight in that area where it was wrapping around to the other side that it had no give when I’d try and stand on my ladder.  My nose was inches from the surface and there was no way to back up.  Without getting too upset about it I just told myself I’d tape much higher in that area next time to allow myself more room.

At this point I had been working two and a half hours and felt I deserved a lunch break.  Taking my Mt. Dew and what was left of my chicken onion teriayki sub from that morning I walked to the empty docks next to us and dangled my feet over the edge like a little kid while enjoying my food.  There was another couple a few docks down from me that had the same idea but they were smart enough to bring beer.  Those brown bottles in their hand looked better than anything I could have imagined at that moment and I’m going to have to remember to bring one out for myself next week.  Once lunch was finished along with a quick sprawl on the dock to satisfy my aching back I grabbed my goggles and made my way to the bathrooms for a good cleaning.  It was meant to be for the goggles alone but once I saw my reflection n the mirror I decided I needed a good cleaning too.  Washing my face and arms to get them back to a normal color I wiped everything down including my now shiny goggles.  On the way back to Serendip the guy two boats down from me stopped to talk a little as him and his wife were sanding parts of their bottom to get it ready for a new coat of paint as well.  I have to admit that even though I usually go home feeling pretty dirty after a day of work like this I had to look on the bright side because their boat had a bright blue bottom and after working on it his wife was starting to resemble a smurf.

Making my way back under the tarp I decided that instead of working back from the bow I would work on the areas near the stern I had not been able to finish on previous attempts.  First I started on the Starboard side where I had only worked the one day with my little Makita palm sander.  Now with the big Porter Cable in my hands I could really do some damage to the area.  Literally.  I had forgotten that one of the reasons I stopped working is the angles I was coming up on and I would dig too far into the surface.  Foregoing that area and leaving it to Matt (that’s one spot he actually wanted to do himself) I used the unusual strength and energy I was having this day to try and sand the underneath of the hull, something I was too exhausted to do before.  On the Starboard side I didn’t have much trouble lunging one knee forward to bring myself closer to the ground while holding the sander in front of me.  I did a pretty good job of getting most of it but stopped again when there were areas I’d dig to deep.  When I did all I thought I could on that side I moved to Port and worked that area as well, making sure to avoid the areas I knew my Porter Cable couldn’t go.  While my lunging had worked great on one side I was not having as much luck on the other.  My back foot would keep sliding and sliding leaving me almost doing the splits.  Instead of giving up all together I just gave up on standing and knelt on the rocky ground while trying to sand above my head.  It would work for about 20 seconds at a time and then I would have to rest for a few seconds bringing the sander to chest height before trying again.  This method only lasted about 10 minutes before I realized I was becoming completely exerted and wanted to use my energy where I could see a difference.

Moving all my supplies for the third time this day now I dragged the ladder, tarp, vacuum and all it’s hose back over to the bow area.  Just as I was getting all the cords plugged in again Matt stopped down to do a little work of his own.  A few weeks ago he had fiberglassed a new through-hole for the depth/speed sensor and he needed to sand it down.  Happily handing over all my tools I sat on the cradle sipping a new Mt. Dew I just opened, letting my arms and legs recover from the lunging and raising.  Unfortunately he was done in under five minutes but the good news was my energy was still still pushing on and I didn’t mind getting back to work.  It was becoming late afternoon and Matt had mentioned we’d only be there for about two more hours which meant only one more hour of work for me since it takes an hour to clean up (this mess) at night.  Starting to work aft I was able to complete three more six inch sections before my clock said it was time to call it a night.  Now was the time for vacuuming everything.  Vacuum the hull, vacuum the cradle.  Vacuum the tarp and vacuum the vacuum itself.  When Matt was helping me get everything put away for the night he asked if I was having any problems with suction from the hose that day.  I replied there seemed to be more dust than normal and power didn’t seem as strong as I was used to but I chalked it up to using extension cords and not our  shore power cord.  He came back that he’d found a hole in the hose which would have been causing me to lose suction all day.  Damn hose be actin up causing all kinds of problems.

After what felt like forever we had everything cleaned and put away.  I ran off to the bathrooms to change into clean clothes because I looked like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown when I moved.  Every inch of me was covered in dust and even though I had been wearing a mask and goggles all day my face still looked like it was covered in soot and it was very irritated.  I could not wait to get home and in the shower.  Walking back to the car before leaving I looked at the progress.  I was excited by how much I was able to accomplish and proud because I don’t think I was working at a pace far behind Matt.  It’s amazing what you can do in a day with a lot of determination.  And Mountain Dew.  And Adderall.