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 fucking 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

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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

Rough Week

What a week we had. Being sick on the boat is not comfortable at all. It reminded me of my Zika week. Horrible. Even though we were ill we managed to get a lot done. We even got to watch the Stanley Cup finals with a bunch of weirdos at the Tiki Bar. It was Bingo night as well. Kind of fun and kind of strange. My team lost. Plenty of Blues fans out there celebrating and poking fun at me. It’s all part of the fun about sports. There’s even some Suddenly Blues fans out there who became fans just to rub it into the losers. But, the losers may have been a wee bit vocal about the opposition the week before. It’s just human nature to be a dick sometimes 😀

I’m feeling better today and Deb is still cautious. We’re not sure what caused this episode but we’re unwilling to repeat it so we’re careful about what we are eating the last few weeks. I haven’t had a fresh vegetable in over a week and it’s killing me. I want a fresh green pepper, nice and crisp that I can slice and salt and pepper and just eat. In fact I want four of them. It will not happen. I just can’t get a veggie here lately without it being rotten in spots. I might have to settle for carrots. Local veggies are fine but they’re mostly root veggies. I’m not going to gnaw on a root veggie except a carrot. Though I do know someone who eats raw potatoes. Gross.

Hoping to be out and about today.

I’m at the point now where I need to leave the island. I’ve reached peak paradise.

Cheers!

PJJB

Oh, the pain.

We are near closing out on our fifth season of sailing/cruising. Interesting. I assumed we would get this far. Will we go further? Further than the Caribbean? Nah. Our entire goal and dream was to sail to the Caribbean and hang out like boat bums down here. We achieved that goal and then some. Grenada has been home since November, well for me anyway. Debra took a little break from the lazy life in the sun.

Will we continue with cruising? Yes. We plan on living on the boat for a few more years. The reason I state this is because I have been fielding some questions about my attitude towards cruising. In other words I’ve been whining a lot. Even Deb called me a whiner. Ouch. I suppose I have been.

One thing about me that you should know is that I live with a constant smirk on my face. I’m always seeing some humor in my life. I may get wound up about something and and start ranting but minutes later I’m joking about it. I am generally a happy person but maybe a paranoid one. Every stinking rotten thing that has happened to me in my life has been balanced with something wonderful so I shouldn’t complain but the paranoid in me wonders when my luck will run out. It’s just who I am and it’s probably too late to change this behaviour now. So, when my blogging appears to show aggravation, disappointment, extreme whining and you’re “feeling my pain” just remember I am typing these posts with a nice little smirk about to break out into a giggle. I’m retired and on a boat in the Caribbean playing guitar in the sun. Oh, the pain. 😀

Cheers!

P

I do appreciate the concerns though. I have some dear friends who worry we’re losing our minds and money down while we try to figure out this engine issue. No worries. We lost our minds long ago and the boat can always be sold or left to rot in front of a CEO’s vacation home 😀

And yes, I’m still going to be a whiner.

A season without head repair

Never happens.

Yesterday the macerator froze on our aft head/toilet. We had discussed a few days ago that a macerator (a poop processor) would be a good spare to bring back from the States. We have a Raritan super toilet. You press a button and all the troubles you left behind vanish. It was a beautiful thing until last night.

Last night I was in a fog because beer we only had four hours sleep the night before watching turtles lay eggs in sand. So I was in no mood to enter the waste treatment business. I tried to free up the motor but it didn’t work so I left it for morning.

So, here it is…morning. I have not finished my first tea yet but I’m thinking how shitty my day will be. Good thing we have a forward head. We keep this one un-magical and it uses a hand pump. It’s like having a Tesla and a horse in your garage. OK, maybe a Tesla and a bicycle. When the high tech fails you fall back to the old manual way. It will do what you want it to do. It just takes more effort and you might get wet. Always close the lid before you pump.

Tea number two, a double bagger has arrived. I’m looking at the bag of Grenada coffee I have and thinking that’s going into the percolator next. I’m gonna need all the stimulants I have today. Maybe throw some cokes into the fridge. We have friends arriving from Carriacou later this afternoon. I need to get this shitty job off the list before then. Will there be any handshakes after they read this? Stop by for a salad?

I will shower and hand sanitize. Promise.

Everyone have a great day. And when things don’t go the way you wanted them to just picture me with my hands in a toilet scooping pee out of it so I can disconnect a motor and not have it flood all over the floor. Then I have to free the macerator blades….

Yea, I’ll stop right here. Go have breakfast. Skip the apple juice. Those fudge brownies…ah never mind.

Cheers!

P