February 2010

Now that we’ve had the boat for a little over a month, Matt has been at it every chance he gets. Since Eldean’s is only open Monday-Saturday on the off season we don’t get to go on Sundays, but Matt has been there every Friday on his day off work. The nine days we spent in Arizona visiting my parents at the end of January almost killed him because it was two Fridays on the boat he had to give up. I was always astonished when he would come home from a full day of working on the boat and complain that he’d got nothing done, even though he’d spent a whole eight hours on it each time. With me working Monday-Friday and not knowing enough of what to do by myself on a Saturday, I had only been to the boat with Matt once when I had taken a Friday off.

I thought I was going to be on easy street that day, sleeping in a little, and just admiring my boat while maybe moving around a few things and wiping down a surface here and there. There are a few things I underestimated this day. One is how cushy my job actually is. I thought I’d be leaving a rough day of work behind when in actuality all I do is show up at 10 am, sort the mail, answer a few phone calls, and just generally lounge around for the rest of my five hours (No one at work is reading this, right? I didn’t just make myself completely dispensable?). The other thing I underestimated is that a day of work on the boat (especially in February) would be either easy or enjoyable. Or that I would get to sleep in any more than normal.

Promptly at 9:00 (30 minutes before I normally leave for work) we were on the road for the 45 minute journey to Holland. When we arrived I had been under the impression that I was going to be an extra set of hands that day, meaning I’d basically follow around Matt, hand him a screwdriver if he needed it, and mostly just watch and learn while he worked. I quickly found out this was not true as he started ordering me (nicely) to get to work on something, anything, to make myself useful. I looked around, not really knowing what to do, as Matt went to work on electrics. I think my little scheme of ‘pretending to do something’ only lasted about 10 minutes before Matt realized I was clueless and sat me down with a real project of my own. We worked like this, separately, for a few hours before I remembered another thing about Matt. The boy will not break for anything. He can work a solid six hours without stopping and not give it a second thought. This, along with the fact that he can also go an entire day without eating and was working in just a t-shirt and jeans in the ridiculously chilly storage unit, only contributes to my belief that he is not actually human but an alien brought here by some far away galaxy and left to study the wonders of our world. He always tells me no, but I think that’s part of the plot.

After four hours of me being cold, hungry, and already exhausted I begged Matt for us to take a lunch break. I was so excited to have a meal on the new boat, even if the meal wasn’t actually being cooked on it. I had envisioned us setting up the table in the salon, lounging on large comfortable seats in an environment that slightly resembled a weekend cottage. Basically everything I couldn’t do in the Hunter. (I think I over romanticize my luxe life on this boat sometimes) But oh no. Work driven alien-Matt gave us 10 minutes to eat our pb&j’s while chugging our cans of Coke up on deck before it was time to get busy again. For the second time that day, my dreams had been smushed. Not that Matt was being unreasonable in his demands for me to work long and hard, but man oh man was it tough for me to go straight from the laid back days I was used to right into a long day of laboring work. I had to hand it to him, though, for all the days he was out there himself doing this.

Getting in a few more hours of work in after lunch was a bit easier for me. I was fed and slightly rested (I never thought such a big boat could still have so many small places to crawl and bend into), but I was still freezing my butt off. It didn’t matter if I was working on deck or in the cabin, I was still shivering in my jeans, sweater, and winter coat. Matt said it was supposedly 60 degrees in there but I swear it must have been 40. What was even worse is we had to work with our shoes off as not to scuff up the surfaces, and my cheap grunge socks were not doing enough to keep my feet warm against the cold uninsulated surfaces of the boat. 5:00 could not come fast enough.

Somehow I managed to make it through the rest of the day without dying of exhaustion or exposure, and completely ready for a beer when I got home. Although I did learn one very important lesson that day, and it is this: until Serendipity is put in the water, any visit to her before that point, however rewarding in the end, will in no means or in any sense, be fun. It is going to be a LOT of hard work and hardship. I just have to remind myself that in four months I’ll be able to enjoy all of our hard work, and I think I can do that.

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