Waterfall

It was three in the morning when I heard the dude upstairs start his shower. Usually I wake up at two because he’s pissing in the toilet and it’s about the time I have to go anyway but a shower at three? C’mon man. I tried to fall back asleep but the water kept running. I tossed and turned and then resigned myself to just staring at the ceiling until I felt like getting up and making some tea.

The water kept running. I’m usually up before this dude decides to clean himself so I have no idea what the shower sounded like down here but damn it sounds too loud. Actually it sounds wet. Almost like the dripping is in here. I couldn’t stand it anymore and I walked into the bathroom to look around with the light on my phone. I stepped in water. What the fuck! There’s water running down the walls! There’s water coming through the ceiling fan! There’s water everywhere! Deb!!

We got towels and I called security because it’s just what I thought you should do. Knocking on the neighbors door at three something in the morning seemed wrong. Security told me they would drive around the building. What? What the fuck is that going to do? They have to wait until daytime hours and call the owners to get permission to enter the apartments. Oh for Christ sakes.

I got my shoes on. Oops. Pants too. I ran upstairs and BANGED on the door. That might have been a bad idea. I knocked again a little softer.

“Yeah! Hold on!” I heard grumbling and mumbling. All I could think of was the dude was looking for his gun. From deep in the apartment I heard, “Aww fuck me”. I then heard footsteps towards the door. The dude opened it up almost naked with his hand over his forehead and his eyes closed saying, “Man, I’m sorry man it just overflowed. The toilet valve is fucked up and well I just noticed it.”

Picture a southern Tommy Chong minus the beard with a giant beer belly.

“I usually know when it’s fucked up but I had an accident man and got like seventeen stitches in my head so I been sleeping on the couch to keep my head up.” The couch was pulled out in front of a massive TV which was playing some old black and white movie. There were paper shopping bags all over the place filled with stuff and well, if there were twenty cats in there too I would not be surprised.

Is the water shut off? “Yeah man it’s off. My truck is down the road and I have a wet vac in it. I can suck it up tomorrow if you want”

Thanks but as long as the water is off we should be able to handle it. “Alright man. You here through the weekend? Cause we got an owners meeting and I will bring it up that my fucking toilet did it again.”

Uh, OK. Hope your head feels better.

I’m so tired. Tommy Chong is moving around up there now. We let the owner know what happened. Tommy better not appear at our door with a wet vac. I think he should put another movie on and light up and enjoy the day while using the guest bathroom.

Cheers!

P

Update: Tommy just knocked on the door and wanted to see the damage. I let him in. He doesn’t even look like the same guy this morning. He’s off to work and before he left us he mentioned he quit drinking and the damn doctors should have told him he might pass out cause that’s why he got stitches in his head and why he didn’t hear the toilet flowing. Thanks for the info Tommy.

Advertisements

Close call

Getting the new used bike on the trails here on Hilton Head Island has been fun. It’s nice to just pop on the bike and burn off some energy (calories) whenever I feel up to it.

Yesterday I did some beach riding. Upwind was brutal but it was worth it to see a guy walking his bike through the creek that flows out to the atlantic. He must have crossed at low tide and it wasn’t quite low enough to avoid a good soak on the way back. Oops! Once he got up to his balls in water I couldn’t watch anymore and took off down the beach. A glance back caught him on my side drying off and his bike laying in the sand. If he waited any longer it would have been one hell of a long ride to get back or a swim without his bike.

I got off the beach and road the trails for a while ending up along the main drag on the island. This was a long stretch and slightly downhill so I got up to speed and really flying down the path. I made it to an intersection and the light in the crosswalk was in my favor. I slowed to almost a stop and was balancing slowly, slowly, trying to get the attention of the driver wanting to make a right on red. I got a look so I took off. He either didn’t register my presence or assumed I was staying where I was and decided to move forward into the turn while looking at oncoming traffic. I yelled and sped up and lucky for me his wife slapped his arm for him to stop. He stopped inches short of my rear wheel. It was a Prius so my odds of serious injury were slim.

I looked back at him and he was apologizing with his hands and head shaking. Close one.

I always wear a helmet and try to wear bright clothing. I don’t have any LED lights/strobes for the thing yet but that’s next on the list. One thing I should have done is come to a complete stop and wait for the dope to wave me on. The traffic on the main road is brutal and you really are at risk in those crosswalks because people want to jump out in any break in traffic even if they run you over to get there.

I’m going out again after dinner for a lazy ride and hopefully the traffic will be lighter. I don’t like these close calls. It’s like you only get a certain number of them and after that…squish.

Cheers!

PJJB

Leaving NY

We had a blast up in Western New York. We were so busy that the time just flew by and before you know it we were heading south again. Kelly and Eric kept us busy with plenty of activities. Late summer in NY is a great time. There are festivals and concerts everywhere you look and the weather was spectacular. My only complaint was there was too little time.

As always it was a tough goodbye with the kids waving from their doorstep as we drove out of view. I wanted to hit the brakes and run back for one more hug but we had to jam more stuff from the apartment into that little road weary car and head south to the other half of the family who eagerly waited for us to arrive.

I picked up some germs and ended up with a nasty head cold as we were leaving. Talk about miserable. Trying to pack everything in our little car with me sniffling and sneezing and a pounding headache was not a fun time. Poor Deb. I kept whining about all the stuff we’ve accumulated. Somehow I wedged it all in and we hit the road.

To this day I am still amazed at the affect caffeine has on my body. I only needed to be relieved of the wheel for a couple of hours the first day and managed to do the whole drive the second day. Thank you java.

I’d open the door at a gas station and all my snotty tissues on the floor of the car would blow out the door. I didn’t care. How Deb is not sick right now is amazing though she has a runny nose and I hear her sneezing this morning. Update: She got the bug.

After the road trip I was toast. I’m just now starting to feel better and getting back to my normal self. Do I have a normal self? I was just thinking about all the people that caught this cold from me in PA, WV, VA, NC and SC. Except for the snotty tissues leaving the car I was pretty careful about washing my hands and sanitizing but those gas pumps might be crawling with bugs. We’re lucky we only get sick maybe once a year now.

Now we’re in a condo near the beach and relaxing a bit. Our SC family has some activities but the kids are in school and the parents working all day so we have some time to get prepped for the coming boat projects and sailing season.

I have mixed feelings about this season. The whole vibration thing is not going as I had envisioned and I’m getting a bit anxious about all the miles ahead of us. Granted it’s mostly off the wind which is nice but something about the boat bugs me lately. Call it my machinery instinct. I used to have a sense for when machinery I was involved with were about to give me heartburn. I kind of have that sense with KN right now. She will be getting a thorough going over before we go anywhere believe me. I am one paranoid little man so maybe this is just pre voyage jitters.

On the other hand I’m thinking this will be more like the party cruise we had on the way down. Some new places. Some new faces. Lot’s of excitement, the good kind not terror on the high seas. It’s going to feel different that’s for sure.

Cheers,

PJJB

Early Bird

I hate being up so early. I’d rather get about seven to eight hours sleep but most nights this does not happen so here I am. Four in the morning is no time to be up and typing. Deb is sleeping. She will sleep through the noise of me making tea by boiling water in the microwave but wake up if I tip toe on the carpet past her because I forgot my reading glasses in the night stand.

These fking microwave ovens. The door to the damn things are always difficult and noisy to open and close and does it really have to beep like a dump truck backing up when it’s done? Why does the coffee mug I put in there always stop with the handle to the back of the oven? Other than boiling water in a pot on the stove there really is not a quiet way to make tea. I tried to shut the bedroom door but it squeaks like hell when I touch it. Oh well. Deb seems to be sleeping through it as usual.

I drove to Buffalo yesterday to take my Mom to lunch. She wanted to go to a fancy place so I had to go out and buy some pants. I have pants, just not the proper kind for where we were going. While I was at it I picked up a shirt. I felt like I was dressed for work and it kind of creeped me out a bit. I drove down the Thruway which runs across the state connecting the major cities. It’s a boring drive. Totally straight with nothing but farmland to look at and people pulled over for speeding. Mom decided the bar and grill along the river would be better. Now I really looked like a worker bee. Everyone was in shorts and t-shirts. It was a beautiful day with the breeze blowing in and power boat antics on the water. It was also the best fish fry I’ve had in some time. I got coleslaw on my new pants.

Oops. Deb just popped out to see if I was OK. Must be the light above the stove is too much. I’m usually in the dark but I don’t have a lighted keyboard anymore. I said I was fine and even in the little light that there is I could see the look she’s giving me which is probably the “Thanks a lot for disrupting my sleep pattern you creepy ass night stalker”. 😃

My Mom is doing OK. She still looks young for her age and still smiles a lot. In all the shit she’s been through all her life I always remember her having a slight smirk when most of us would be filled with anger and rage. The times she yelled at me for doing something stupid (many) and she was dead serious and trying to make a point with me I could always detect a smile about to erupt. Of course that was just me she was dealing with and I was quite the idiot at times so maybe she was serious with others and managed to maintain a stern look. I know she wasn’t smiling at my Dad sometimes but me she found it hard to not laugh.. I think.

We told some stories and remembered some people over the years and had some laughs. Mom’s tend to remember everything about their kids and she had some good stories. I really was an idiot back then. With Dad gone it’s nice to chat with Mom. I’m more like my her than my Dad and he couldn’t stand it when we both got some coffee into us and were chirping like magpies out in the kitchen. She’s more relaxed now and it makes a difference. I really enjoyed our lunch together and I’m hoping and wishing on the stars that we can see each other again in June.

There’s a little bit of rain this morning and the cars are starting to accumulate on the road. The sound of the tires in the rain are getting louder as the day gets brighter. I might get a walk in if this rain stops. We have brunch with Kelly and then dinner with friends later. It’s the time of our visit that I get a bit sad. It’s the goodbye time.

Another tea. Debra went back to sleep. I should creep past the bed and see if she wakes up. If I was out here in the dark on the floor pleading for help she would sleep right through it. If I snuck out of bed and raided her purse for some cash she would be right behind me, “What are you doing?”

With NY time winding down I’m starting to get a little anxious about the boat. I got an email from the yard asking for the combo to the lock. Uh, it’s the same one I left in the paperwork. They said they can’t get it to work. I asked them if this is the first time they’re trying to access the boat to check the batteries? In two months? I have not received a reply yet. I might have to drink beer today.

Cheers!

PJJB

Cars, Kids and the Future

“I’m not sitting in that car for anything longer than twenty minutes”, said Debra.

I don’t blame her. I don’t even have an ass anymore. It melted away in that little car over the last thousand miles. Since landing in Jacksonville we’ve been travelling continuously it seems. FL to SC. SC to TN. TN to SC. SC to NY. Along the way the car gave us some fits but we made it to New York for some rest. We’re currently holed up in a tiny apartment (bigger than the boat) and relaxing with the kids. Phew.

Deb and I started walking in the mornings and I’m grudgingly starting to exercise again. It really feels good to stretch our legs plus the kids like to hike the local parks and trails so that’s a plus. I think we’re eating healthier but there’s still a concerning amount of pizza in our diet 😀

Plenty of outdoor music this time of year

Our Son-in-law Eric. How about a beer!

So far I’ve tasted all the fruits and veggies I missed while island bound and the only thing I still need to sit down and enjoy is a nice warm NY bagel fresh out of the oven with some cream cheese and a tall coffee. The corn is excellent right now so hoping to get some on the grill again. Can’t get enough of that fresh corn. The other day we got out of Wegmans (best supermarket ever) for under a $100. Amazing. Last Thursday I went to the farmers market. Rochester has one of the best in the country. Super cheap fresh veggies. We’re eating well. Nothing like cooking with fresh food. It just tastes better.

Finally!

We’ve met up with a few of our old friends. It’s good to catch up but as usual the time was too short. Kelly is keeping us busy while we’re up here in NY. Plenty to do this time of year as the locals soak up the remaining good weather months. It’s been fun and the Grandkids are awesome to hang with and when they get miserable we just go back to the apartment 🙂

Tennessee was a blast. The Smokey mountains are beautiful but they are crowded. It was tough to enjoy the scenery sometimes because of all the people crowded on the trails. Gatlinburg was nice but it reminded me of Niagara Falls Ontario with all the cheesey shops and corny decor. There were people everywhere but they were all friendly. It was a good time. We had a cool place on a hill in the mountains with a spectacular view of mount Leconte. For morning tea I was watching the sun rise over the mountains with the morning mist being cleared by the sun. Pretty relaxing view.

It’s about that time to start thinking about the boat and getting her ready for sailing again. I hate to even get that thought process going but KN needs attention as you all know. I’ve been pretty damn patient with what’s been going on but now my attitude has changed. She will be running smooth and we will be leaving Grenada within weeks of our return! One way or the other we will be leaving Grenada. KN might have a permanent home in the islands if this keeps up but we’ll be somewhere in the woods of Georgia.

So this will be season number six coming up. I thought we’d only last five but we’re going for one more year, however we will only be sailing up island, not back down. WHAT?! Hah! You all knew we were ending our Caribbean adventure didn’t you? I’m hoping this sail back will be just as fun as the one coming down. We expect to see new islands along the way and old pals. Should be a good time plus we’re off the wind 😀

We miss family and the Grandkids are so much fun to be around that we want to see them more than just during the three month visit. They’re growing up so fast it’s startling. They’re probably just as startled when they see me after 9 months away. “Geez Grandpa what happened to you? You got old.” Quiet, you little..

WTF am I going to write about when we’re back? Well there’s the ICW. Lots of nut jobs motor up and down that thing every season so there is some good material plus we’ll probably hit up the Bahamas again. There is still some adventure to be had over there. KN is going to get some TLC when we get back so she’s pretty again and then we’ll see what happens next. No we’re not buying a trawler. No we’re not buying an RV. We don’t have any plans other than to bring the boat back though I caught Deb looking at tiny home plans online. Yikes! Any home I might be living in better have a well insulated band room. I’ve just learned to poorly play Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young and it rocks on my 20 Watt amp. Might need something bigger than that if I’m on land 😀

We’re off to the Science Museum today with the Grandkids. My goal for the day is to NOT LOSE THE KIDS. That can be tiring to stay that focused all afternoon. Those little smurfs can move fast. Hopefully Mom puts them in some bright shirts nobody else is wearing. I’m all for tagging the kids with trackers or at least a wearable strobe activated by phone. That way I can sit down with a coffee while they run around and break stuff. All I have to do is light em up once in a while to see where they are 😉

I have to blog more. That was fun.

Cheers!

P

Oh, I forgot to mention…

When we picked up our car it drove fine for a bit and then one day the check engine light came on while I was waiting for Debra to come out of a store. Uh oh. I shut her down and when Deb got back in I started her up and there’s the engine light again. Not good. I pop it into reverse but it’s running rough. I drive away and she’s vibrating and full throttle only gets me 10 mph. Seriously! Did someone cast a spell on us? Now the car is doing this shit too?

We called for a tow which was 2 hrs late. We looked like we were drowning in sweat. People came out of an office and offered their place for us to cool off. “Dear Lord you need some water?” They didn’t understand that this is how we live for 9 months out of the year. No problem. We’re good.

We had a bad air flow sensor that caused the car to go whacko. I found a crack in the hose from the air filter to the manifold. I suppose that could cause the issue but I’m not 100% confident. Maybe mice are eating our electrical system while the car is in storage.

Days Away

Some very long days ahead as the anticipation grows. Haul out 2019! Do I seem excited? I used to dread haul outs and now I’m looking forward to this one.

Why is that Captain?

Well I’ve been floating in this fiberglass tube on one island since November trying to stay sane. For two months of that time I was alone. Things got weird. Not that I was talking to myself a lot much and living every day fully naked with beer cans scattered all over the cockpit. It didn’t get that weird but it was strange enough to be sitting here for that long. Things got much better when Debra arrived because we could be weird together but now I just want to GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!

We have our “mechanics” pulling the shaft and prop to check for balance and straightness on the day we haul. We should know the outcome of that and have a plan before we fly out. I pray the shaft is bent. That would be awesome because it would explain everything. Everything except this strange lump on my elbow.

So I’m going to soak up the three months with the kids like a sponge. I hope for their sake I’m not that clingy but I’m really looking forward to it. When I hear, “Nice day for a walk Dad.”, then I’ll know.

When we haul, my hard work begins. I immediately flush the engine with fresh water and change the oil though this year we have super clean oil (didn’t go anywhere) so I’m wondering if I should change it. I put new oil in everything else including the windlass and watermaker pump. I’ll wash the deck and hull and try to clean up the bottom the best I can. I have to clean the chain. I have to disconnect all solar panels except one. We take down the boom because the topping lift snapping in the wind would be bad though we do have a spare halyard on it as well. Kayaks and dinghy get strapped down on the deck and then we fly out. There’s more but I get tired just typing it out.

We’re doing something different this season and staying in an apartment instead of living on the boat in the yard. Been there done that and it’s not comfortable at all. Sure it’s more adventurous. There’s always a chance you could fall off the ladder. That makes it kind of exciting. You get to pee in a bucket at night. Adventurous gross at two in the morning. You might be one foot away from another couple living the same way “Hey, good morning. Nice bucket.” Maybe you’re next to a single guy from Finland who wants to have beers any time of the day. “Good morning. Beer?”

I’ll miss the clever timing of a bathroom run and hearing the dude you beat trying the door and swearing as he runs away quickly. “Hope you make it! Mwahahaha.” Tracking yard dirt all over the boat and Parrots doing a bombing run twice a day will be memories I cherish forever. I will miss the occasional beer talks with people under our boat or the Rasta yard guy that directs the travel lift who was swaying to Marley one afternoon, head back and eyes closed while they moved a big powerboat that had an awesome stereo system. He gave me a big smile as I passed. One love. This dude never smiled until that day.

It sounds like more whining but all these things bring a smile to my face. I’m glad we’re not experiencing all of it again but it was actually kind of fun and I’ll have some fond memories to laugh about later in life.

So, apartment life awaits. We’ll get to chill in the AC after a long day in the yard. After that we’re going to leach on the kids for a while and thoroughly enjoy our time with them before we fly back. What then? More sailing… in one direction.

Cheers!

P

Clue

Hey look, it’s June!

It’s the month of June and we’re at anchor in Grenada. We’re not waiting for a weather window to hop to Trinidad. We’re waiting for a late month haul out. Why are we hauling out so late and why not Trinidad? I forgot why we scheduled such a late date. Oh yeah now I remember. We were supposed to be sailing the islands during the “good months” and having fun. And of course you know why not Trinidad by now but basically we can just about nurse this tub to the haulout so open ocean for ninety miles is not happening. I do wish we were in Trinidad right now because the vibration problem would most likely have been solved. Not joking.

I kind of I miss being in Trinidad because of the familiarity with the whole haul out and storage process. Doing this in Grenada is new to us and brings with it some anxiety. Add to this new process the removal of our shaft and prop for inspection and the possibility that the problem will still exist when we get back is very unnerving. Next season is an important one for us and this boat needs to be in working order.

It just dawned on me the other day when I saw a blip on the hurricane tracker app that we are in the water and exposed to mother natures summer rage parties. Not worried really, but it is different for us. We see plenty of boats just left at anchor for the season with sails still on and everything on deck. I’m assuming these people are returning soon and will ride out the hurricane season onboard because it would really bother me to know they just dumped their boats here hoping for the best. Speaking of dumping your boat, here’s a pic of the knob that dumped his boat in front of us and over our anchor. Asshole. When we haul chain we’ll have to raft up and push them out of the way to get at the anchor. We have the worst luck sometimes. This season has been like a weird dream. I do have thoughts of smashing our left over eggs in their cockpit and spreading bird seed over the top of it but I’m sure cooler heads will prevail. 😎

Today I thought of getting out and getting some exercise but it’s been raining on and off and just opening and closing hatches is like step aerobics. Feel the burn. We still have some chores to do but it’s a pain in the rain. About the only entertainment right now is watching people in their dinghies get caught in the rain. I love how they go full throttle when it pours. Their glasses are soaked and hair is hanging in their eyes but let’s go 20 knots between boats.

Do you think breathing Tea Tree oil is hazardous? Man that stuff stinks. Combine it with vinegar and it’s pretty potent stuff. Deb came out of the V-berth all glassy eyed and coughing. Deb, this is how you would look if you smoked weed. I sure hope this concoction works. We will not have a dehumidifier running this year. Our last season in Trini we really didn’t have one either because the damn earthquake knocked over the unit and it wasn’t running most of the time until our contractor found it. What I want to know is why didn’t our battery monitoring guy see it? Huh? Why didn’t our battery guy notice the diesel fuel being pumped out of our bige after our tank leaked? Huh? So based on this event we feel that maybe we don’t need the damn dehumidifier because we coat the boat with enough Tea Tree oil to kill anything. Let’s hope so. I could not imagine coming back to a boat full of mold.

We have a paid caretaker so we should be OK. Hopefully he would alert us to any unusual things. No, it’s not the same guy as last season. This new guy probably has other issues like drinking our liquor or wearing Deb’s panties or both. I’m just kidding. I’m sure no shenanigans like inviting his cousin and girlfriend to live on our boat while we’re gone will happen. Should we wrap the mattress in plastic?

So it’s Fathers Day. Congrats to all the Dad’s out there! I’m looking forward to seeing my Daughters and Grandkids. It’s cool to see yourself in your kids when they deal with their own children. Pretty funny actually. Should be some good times ahead. We just need to get this boat out of the water. It’s all downhill from there.

Cheers!

P