Getting Down and Dirty

Saturday February 2, 2012

I knew there would still be projects to do after I got back from Arizona, but I foolishly thought that Matt had done the bulk of them while I was away. Maybe I just wasn’t ‘in the know’ of things still on our to-do list, but I honestly thought there were very few projects for us to do ourselves, and we’d wait for the yard and contractors to go about their work, getting us ready to go in the water. Silly, silly girl. I was allowed a little adjusting time on Friday, after having just got back, to get back into the swing of being on a boat, plus I think he wanted to spend all afternoon with my new laptop, finding out if he wanted to steal it for himself (not going to happen!). I had my heart set on going to First Friday Artwalk again, and after a little begrudging on the part of Matt, he said that if we got our projects for the afternoon done then we could go. Since I was still used to a ‘boat project’ being along the lines of making sure all the dishes are done and the galley is clean (yes, I get all the pink roles), I was thinking that whatever he had up his sleeve would only take us an hour, two at max. Still plenty of time to then clean up and then head into town.

The boat project for the day was to help Matt fiberglass the areas under the port side settee.  This sounded like a long and extensive project to me, all fiberglassing ones had been in the past, but he assured me it would take an hour, tops.  And I believed him.  Silly, silly girl.  Luckily, my part of the job wasn’t hard.  I was the mixing wench.  Which meant that while Matt was covered in ooey gooey goodness, I’d mix his next batch of epoxy.  Knowing from unfortunate experience that even though this job is easy, it would still be messy for me too, I searched through my bags to find at least one outfit I wouldn’t mind ruining.  Because that’s what epoxy does, it sets and you never get it out!  What I came up with was a Hanes white tee and some purple leggings that would have been great for Jazzercise, minus the side pony.

So there I stood, mixing one part resin with three parts hardener, and sometimes throwing in kitty hair (shredded fiberglass), and silica (thickener).  I’d hand the cup over to Matt and he’d stuff and spread the mix in the necessary areas, gloves completely torn open and epoxy all over his hands and arms.  This was a medium temp epoxy which meant that it set a bit quicker than the regular kind, but also created higher temperatures to do so.  Since some of the area he was using it on was below our floorboards, he’d occasionally have me take out our heat gun and check the temperature of the floor in areas where it was curing.  A few of the areas were getting close to 130 degrees, and I expected the plastic sheet we had set down to protect from any mess on the floor to burst into flames at any second.  But even in the hurricane state of the boat, I knew where the fire extinguisher was and was ready to grab it at moment if need be.

This one hour project turned into four hours, and before we even cleaned up there was only thirty minutes left in the art walk.  We would not be making it out that night.  But the work Matt did looked very professional, and I’ll take one step closer to leaving over a night out on the town, even if it is one of the best events around.  I really did want to make it to one more art walk during our stay here though.  But if for any reason we’re still here in March for the chance to attend again, heaven help me, I will burn this boat down.

Today was a bit more of the same, but before we could get to the fiberglassing, I was able to run some errands on my own while Matt stayed behind to get the engine bay ready to paint.  And what my errand for the day was, was to run out and get that paint that would be used for the engine bay and the bilge area.  We had spent all morning debating which kind of paint to use in those areas.  On his way back from dropping me off at the airport, Matt had stopped at a West Marine in Jacksonville and picked up a specific bilge paint from them, but wasn’t sure if he wanted to use it.  Plus there was only a quart of it. To get the best epoxy paint, one can go on this Homepage and also find out why it is way better.

The other thing he had his eye on was a high build epoxy paint from Sherwin Williams.  It came with a price tag five times that of the West Marine paint, but was two parts at a gallon a piece, should be stronger and longer lasting, plus it’s likely there will be enough left to cover the anchor locker as well.  We hemmed and hawed for a bit about the pros and negatives as well as the cost, but knowing Matt, and knowing that he truly wanted the better paint but just felt bad about spending the extra money, I made the decision for him and got myself ready to go to Sherwin Williams.  Besides, I had just been completely spoiled by my parents, I think we could afford to swing an extra few bucks on something necessary.

Getting my butt all the way to the Walmart area where Sherwin Williams sits, about three miles from the marina, I may have quickly popped into McDonald’s for an iced coffee, a usually unnecessary expenditure, before going to Walmart to grab a few items as well.  No surprise that I had come back to an empty fridge and we had no real food to eat.  Then jumping across the street I walked into the paint shop and pretended I knew what I was doing, by throwing down an envelope with some scribbles written on it to the guy behind the counter.  Along with it I tossed down the bilge cover since we wanted to do a paint match and hopefully patch that little area that Matt nicked while sanding.  It took awhile for them to be able to match the color, I think our cover was a little too dirty to get a clear reading, but soon the can was shaking away in it’s mixer.

Going to pay the tab, I don’t know if the guy thought we were with an organization and gave a contractor discount, or there was a sale going on that we didn’t know about, but the price came out $30 cheaper than we were originally planning.  That could buy me a lot of iced coffees….  After I paid the bill the guy asked if he could help bring the cans out to my car and I had to sheepishly admit that I had ridden my bike there and the cans would be going home with me in my backpack.  Wrapping them up in extra plastic to make sure they didn’t spill, we eventually got them stuffed in and I was able to put on the backpack without toppling over.  Now back to fiberglassing, and tomorrow, paint!

Georgie supervising while we work.

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