the adventures of a girl, her dog, and two cats.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

making moves

A terrible cold side-lined me for a week, causing me to miss a marathon (which was also to serve as a final long training run for the upcoming 50K). Friends warned me to be particularly careful about the cold now that I live aboard; being in a cold, damp boat can turn a cold into "a quick cab ride to pneumonia" as one friend put it. Now that I feel mostly recovered, I am under the gun to catch up on the many, many projects before me.

One useful exercise I did work on while nursing my cold was a list of all the fixes and upgrades I need or want to make on the boat. There are over fifty entries on the list so far (from small items like changing to LED light bulbs to larger projects like removing and re-bedding all the chain plates). Project Gitrot is in a holding pattern at the moment due to a few wet days and considering whether the rot is simply too extensive to fill and a new mahogany threshold should be installed instead. Only a few days away from two months' aboard, I would really like to have my propane stove and oven up and running as soon as possible, and will try to push that to the forefront in the next couple of days. It seems like a simple enough exercise, but never having even used a gas grill before, I have a healthy fear of making any mistakes with the propane, so this is a project I want some help with.

So far this week has brought some big changes. On Monday I sold my Honda Element. It was, as the floppy-haired sailor had put it, my only asset of any real value. It is very hard to be in such financial straits that I have to sell my car to pay the bills, eat, and make some core boat repairs. But such is life. I reconciled myself to it, and was lucky to have a friend who helped me get through the process quickly, maximize my sale price, and move on.

On Tuesday I signed the lease for my new slip. I am very excited to move! I have the slip as of January 1, but am hopeful the owner will let me come over a little early and get settled in. We'll only be four blocks from our current marina, so still able to enjoy being within walking distance of so much and still have the sense of neighborhood Eastport offers. No long icy docks to walk down; just a short stroll to the bathhouse; currently no competition for the bathhouse; nice grassy lawn for pup dog to play (and piddle); a longer finger dock that may allow me to use the actual boarding gate rather than tying the lifelines back; a better shore power set up; almost certainly an easier in and out of the slip so I can use the boat more; a quiet, scenic view.

On Wednesday I bought my new-to-me car, a clay-colored Buick Century. Where my Honda was hippy-dippy, covered with bumper stickers, and let everyone in town know where I was, the new car is entirely under the radar. I am already loving the car. Big comfy seats, an easy, smooth ride. A huge trunk to use as a dock box. I had the car detailed so I'll feel like I am starting fresh. Now I need to remove the couple of stickers on it with a blade and some WD-40, load it up, and cover the back seat for pup dog to chill.

Today I have a friend coming by to look at some boat issues and hopefully help me identify parts I need to purchase. Tonight is the marathon training group party; it will be great to see some friends I haven't seen much of (or at all) in the past couple of months, but bittersweet that I missed my marathon on Saturday.

Here's another of my neighbors. He hung out all morning catching fish.

Life aboard is very different than being ashore. But at the same time, it is often just different versions of the same things we once had on land. Instead of deer and fox in my yard, I have heron and otters. Instead of mowing a lawn, I scrub the decks. And, to my great chagrin, instead of the damn gumballs from the sycamore all over my deck and yard, I have bird poop all over the deck from those damn birds perching on my spreaders.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

project: git-rot (day 1)

I noticed a small scuffed up, deteriorating spot at the threshold into the cabin not long after moving aboard. The area gradually became larger and I was concerned about the integrity of the wood. One day I showed it to the floppy-haired sailor guy and asked for his diagnosis. He dug around at it a bit and the wood just fluffed off. Diagnosis: dry rot. Prescription: "Git"-Rot. I did not get instructions for cleaning the wound or applying the medicine, but on my little shopping list went "Git-Rot" and when I was at the local marine supply I specifically sought it out.

Today, a few weeks later, I began Project "Git"-Rot. A few days ago a friend had looked at it and used a dull knife to test the extent of the damage--significant. The likely source of leaks down the bulkhead at the navigation desk/electrical panel and galley. I was advised to dig as much out as possible before filling it.


I began digging out the rot and initially planned to throw away what was being removed. Then I read the product instructions. While I knew that the area should be as dry as possible and to use a spike or drill to put holes in the areas around the rot for the epoxy to fill, I did not realize that sawdust or the shredded rotted wood needed to be used as filler in order to maintain the contour of the wood piece. I began to save the shredded wood and what was wet was set aside to be dried.

I also learned that the product is a two-part epoxy that must be used within 20 minutes of mixing and that it may heat up so much within 20 minutes that the plastic container actually melts. Not quite sure how I am supposed to dispose of it if the bottle is subject to melting right in my hands. 

I used a table knife, spoon, and large and small needle-nose pliers to work at the rotted wood and try to get it all out. Based on the angles of access and the extent and location of leaks, I am concerned I won't be able to reach all the rotted areas. I may drill holes in the threshold to allow hidden areas to be filled. As you can see, the rot went all the way through the side of the door frame. I'm not sure how to protect the fiberglass from the epoxy that I need to have spread all the way through that hole.

With sunset approaching and knowing the wood was too wet to undertake the application of the epoxy today, I covered the holes with blue tape to try to keep extra moisture from the night's frost out. I will likely try using a hair dryer to help dry the wood before applying the epoxy in the next couple of days. (To be continued...)

frosty docks

Although there was a little frost on the docks yesterday morning, this morning was the first where the docks were white. Little paw prints were visible from the dock dogs getting their morning walks. Where the cool weather had been useful insofar as I could store extra beer in the cockpit and keep it cool, (the fridge does not hold much), I now worry about it freezing and exploding--cleaning up frozen beer is a sticky mess.

Speaking of things freezing, my mission to find the "sweet spot" for my fridge's thermostat continues. I am trying to find a spot where a few items can be kept frozen, but beer and sodas do not freeze. I have already had yogurt, cheese, beer, and ginger ale freeze, and Red Bull and diet Dr. Pepper explode in the fridge. But if I turn the thermostat too warm, the frozen items thaw and must be thrown away. And, alas, I have a large bottle of orange juice that should have been used by yesterday and two cheap bottles of champagne to make mimosas with it, but have not been able to get friends over to help me drink it all up. I guess I'll be having a lot of mimosas for my Thanksgiving dinner afloat.

I have planned to go over to my office today to work on unpacking, cleaning, and photographing items to sell. I am unable to get released from my office lease, and so must try to find a way to pay that overhead; hoping business will pick up soon. Although I will likely have to keep the office through September, I plan to move ahead with dramatically downsizing, selling the bulk of items there, and just holding onto sufficient items to furnish the office for meetings with clients.  While I am over there I may try to actually cook--a luxury I have done without for almost two months now. I will be very thankful if I am ever able to get my propane stove and oven hooked up and working.

Naturally, as soon as I bragged several days ago about Buttercup going up the stairs herself, and without towels or anything down on the steps, she promptly stopped doing so. Now she will not even go up them with towels down and simply pushes the towels off the steps and fusses for me to lift her. Not a situation I can live with much longer so I guess I will have to go back to my plan of ordering ample black nylon cord and either wrapping the steps and including decorative knot patterns for tread (the solution suggested by the floppy-haired sailor guy) or making decorative rope mats that are nailed onto the steps (a suggestion from The Marlinspike Sailor). I have decided ropework will look and feel better than Treadmaster and will be a nice opportunity to learn and practice the decorative knots.

I look forward to getting to a place where I have the skills and funds to simply handle all my boat issues on my own. I do not think there is anything wrong with asking for help, as much as I dislike doing so. We all have different skills to offer and I help others often in the areas where I have the skills to do so. However, there comes a point when there are simply too many cooks in the kitchen. I am lucky to live aboard in the sailing capitol of the US, if not the world, and be surrounded by people who have ample boat repair and sailing experience. At the same time, unrequested advice is tiring and despite every person feeling expert, there are many ways to skin a cat and only I am the one to decide which is right for me. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

project: fix hatch door (with photos)

The hatch door to the boat has been broken since before I bought it. It has been an inconvenience setting it in its place and the other day I finally took a stab at a fix. I had sought various opinions on how to tackle the problem. On the repair side there was a mostly even split between folks recommending Gorilla Glue and those recommending West System epoxy. The floppy-haired sailor guy, (who is always right mind you), strongly urged me to simply draw out a pattern and make a new door. I trust I can obtain the tools and figure out how to fashion a new door, but decided to first experiment with West System epoxy since it has so many uses on a boat and this would be a relatively harmless place for me to learn how to use it. If the epoxy doesn't work, I can always make a new door, and I'm sure I will want to do so eventually.

Here's a before picture with the hinges already removed from the door.

I used West System 105 resin, 205 hardener, and then added adhesive filler to thicken the mixture to a peanut-butter-like consistency. I think the first batch was not as thick as the second, which filled gaps better. The instructions warn that one only has about 15 minutes to work with the epoxy before it begins setting, so my friend Mike and I were trying to work quickly and learn on the go. It was definitely a two-person job to have the pieces held together properly while the other applied the epoxy.

Here's the work in progess and then clamped to dry:

Epoxy is supposed to be somewhat set in a few hours but not ready for load-bearing for 24, but that also assumes 70 degree weather. Epoxy cures more slowly in the cold, and we've been bouncing between about 38 and 55 here in Annapolis the past few days. After four hours it was still very sticky and even the next morning was slightly tacky to the touch. After 24 hours it seemed generally hardened, so I removed the clamps and have been placing and removing it very carefully.

Here is the door in place. The hinges still need to be reattached, but some screw holes at the top must first be filled (likely with dowels) before re-sinking the screws.

But what did I do for 24 hours without a door?

Maximus escaped no less than 6 times while the door was out of commission. When the weather is nice I place a dog gate across the door to keep the cat in, but he's smartened up and realizes he can just push it out of the way because it is very lightweight. Luckily, Max responds quickly to the sound of a rattling food bin so I was able to keep him from running too far down the docks.

The other problem being without a door was the cold. It was getting down to 38 degrees or so overnight and windy. I had little choice but to improvise, so I taped a black garbage bag over the companionway. Outside I simply used blue painter's tape and then rested the dog gate against the bag. From the inside overnight I used duct tape to seal it up as best I could to keep heat in. Here is a photo of it just lackadaisically taped during the day when I was coming and going frequently. So elegant, no?

Even without the door on its hinges, having just one piece to insert and remove without having to try to "set" the two broken pieces together has been a big improvement.  Eventually, I will undertake "Project: build new hatch door," but I am hoping this will be a functional solution in the interim and it let me take my first stab at using West System epoxy so I will be more confident and prepared for the next time I need to use it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

diving in

Walked the dog this morning our usual one-mile route around the Horn Point section of Eastport. Here is our early morning view off Horn Point while pup dog plays in the sand.

For the past several days pup dog has managed to come up the stairs without any towels down on them for traction, so I am proud of her making some progress. Now and again she balks, as she occasionally does with getting on and off the boat, but overall she is coming along and getting her sea legs. She still jumps from the top step over the next three to the cabin sole, which I fear is not good for her joints long-term, but at least I do not have to have sail bags taking up so much space in the cabin.

Diving into the idea of shedding the majority of my "stuff." There are a few things I would never be able to part with nor fit on the boat, so a small storage unit will likely be needed, but if I can trade that expense for an office, the savings will be significant. Began the discussions last night to sell my car and should hear today what sort of price I can get for it through a friend who is an auto wholesaler. Will then need to see cars he has in my price range to try to scoop up a cheap, serviceable dock box. Once various cleaning and minor projects are taken care of aboard, will try to get to the office in the coming days to photograph shoes, handbags, knick-knacks, kitchen items, and furniture and start trying to sell things to Facebook friends and then via craigslist et cetera as necessary. Will try to find out this evening about where I might maximize my sales of the furniture and original artwork.

I have held on so tightly to expensive furniture because I know I will likely never again be able to afford to replace it and letting it go seemed an admission of my failures. And while that is true, keeping the furniture only holds me down. It is time to just let it all go and consider everything lost to the hurricane that is my life. Once the storm has passed perhaps I will have clear skies and calmer seas ahead of me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

doubling down

Just over six weeks ago I moved aboard. My initial plan was to live aboard year-round here in Annapolis, where I have started putting down some roots in the past two-and-a-half years since I moved here. I rented an office, which allowed me to avoid one of the hardest (and most liberating) aspects of moving aboard--letting go of all the "stuff." I dislike the expense of an office without enough clients to cover the costs involved, but could not face losing the various material things that have represented home to me.

I did not set out on this new adventure with the plan of being a "cruising liveaboard," though I certainly did not want to be dockbound, either. But even in this short span of time aboard, my perspective, goals, and priorities are fundamentally changing. Things have been hard. So many things aboard are broken, dirty, and disorganized. The feeling of "camping" has extended beyond my 3-week target with no immediate end in sight. The docks are getting slippery with frost and going ashore to shower in the cold can be a chore, particularly if there is a line to use the facilities. While I have spent a lot of time on the water, I simply threw lines and drank rum runners. I don't know how to run or sail my boat myself, and lack the mechanical fix-it skills to make all the needed repairs and upgrades. At this point it would be easy--perhaps logical--to say "I am in over my head" and throw in the towel.

Instead, I see myself doubling down. I am increasingly apt to sell the furniture, downsize my collection of kitchen gadgetry, let go the collection of shoes and handbags. So many things I felt I could not let go of. But in the past two months I have not even removed the same simple pair of earrings and necklace. So, all the jewelry I could not live without...I have. I lived without all my "stuff" during my nomadic year traveling from Miami to Virginia to Maryland to Oregon to Virginia to Maryland. Do I still want to have some nice things that let me be spoiled? Will I still have more shoes than guys think anyone should have? Of course. But perhaps it is time to let go of all those things which now seem such a financial burden on me to house and which simply tie me down. I would rather be surrounded by good company than stuff, would rather have freedom than stability. I would readily trade my beloved dining table for equipment and repairs I need on the boat. And with looming bills and no income, I am once again forced to consider selling my car. The car is a great dock box for storing things I need handy but cannot fit on the boat, and having a car is a necessity in Annapolis, but bills have to be paid and the equity in the car may better serve me invested in the boat.

Many hard decisions to be made in short order. But if I am to do this, I think I must go all in. I want my boat to be safe and sound, but also comfortable and home; that will require time, money, sweat, and tears. I don't want to continue feeling I do not know my boat, that she is a mystery to me. I want to know every nook and cranny, be able to at least take a stab at most any repair, and be able to take my boat wherever I want, whenever I want.

Ran into a liveaboard friend last night and in catching him up on my liveaboard adventure lamented being left behind when the floppy-haired sailor guy went south for the winter. I am grateful to my friend for reminding me I am one in a million and not to settle for anyone that won't do everything in his power to have me with him. I hope I'm not forgotten, but I have to remember that I deserve to have someone as crazy about me as I am about him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I think this one will leave a nice scar. The bruise must be deep because it is painful to have anything touch the area, but it is not yet black and blue. Putting antibiotic ointment and tea tree oil in hopes of nipping any infection in the bud.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

goodbye dock water (with photos)

Although we are only flirting with lows in the upper 30s right now, the dock water at the marina was turned off yesterday. In preparation for the inconvenience of having to take a long, long hose down the dock to fill my water tank, two days ago I tried to get the most I could from the water at my slip. We had a day warm enough for flip flops, so I washed the decks. Filled several gallon jugs with water for the pets. Filled my water tank. A certain cat decided the freshly washed decks were a perfect place to leave some kitty tracks.

Although terrified of bringing a hose into the boat since the primary bilge pump is not running properly, I brought the hose in and sprayed down the bilge to get rid of (or at least reduce) the general ick and primordial soup that lives there. I took the musty, swollen hatches from the floor and set them in the sun on deck to dry out while I cleaned and ran the secondary bilge pump at regular intervals trying to clear out as much water as possible. In my little cleaning frenzy (and these only come along in short, intermittent bursts) I elected to change out the cats' litter boxes. One of those boxes resides adjacent to the area where the bilge hatches had been removed. Naturally, I took one misstep backwards, my leg fell into the bilge, and I careened into the space heater. I hurt in so many places that I decided it was best if I just laid there on the cabin sole a bit before determining where all I might be bleeding. Although banged up a bit, the only real damage is a little chunk missing from my shin. It's looking rather unhappy so I'm trying to slather it with antibiotic ointment and hope the primordial ooze in the bilge doesn't get in my bloodstream. Two days later it looks much angrier than in the photo below, taken right after the fall.

In my misstep into the bilge I managed to smash into electrical wires and the secondary bilge pump had ceased running. Luckily, I found two wires that looked as though they belonged together, dried them off, and re-connected them. Voila! Secondary bilge pump back online and crisis averted.

But the day had just begun! Worried that with dock water being shut off, pump out facilities may start shutting down, too, I wrangled a friend into helping me take the boat over for a pump out. He asked me if I wanted to take the helm bringing her out of the slip. Since it's a tight parking space and fancy, expensive boats at the snooty marina across the way that I risk hitting, I was pretty nervous. But he is good at leading me to believe he doesn't fear for his life with me behind the wheel, so I went for it. There were some frantic moments as the boat did not seem to want to reverse and I headed for a boat and piling across the way, but we managed to get out into the channel without hitting anything. Little by little I will get more confident with running my boat, but it does take some getting used to and does not steer like a car! There was a long line of boats waiting for the pump out, so everyone was hovering and circling and drifting while the seventy-degree weather also brought heavy traffic to the channel as everyone enjoyed what might be the last warm day to get out on the bay. With so many boats all around and feeling I was getting blown too close to a boat docked along a bulkhead, I had a minor panic attack and my friend had to take over. (Thank you, Phil, for all the help, for backing her into the slip like a pro, and for nudging me to go ahead and take the helm.)

Once we finally got pumped out I coaxed the pup dog topside and we took a little cruise out of Back Creek before heading back to the slip.

Although I am not there yet, within a year I am certain I will be, and I think the most important things I will gain from becoming a liveaboard will be freedom (to cast off the lines and just "go"), confidence that I can tackle whatever problem gets thrown at me, and the friendships with the wonderful, colorful, and generous liveaboards who have cruised into my life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

just keep running

The process of boat shopping, office hunting, and moving came smack in the middle of training for the NCR Trail Marathon and the Seashore Nature Trail 50K. I lost about a month of training and had to make a quick decision whether to go forward with the races, which are two and five weeks away, respectively. I missed at least one 16-miler, possibly two 18s, and a 20-miler, as well as many, many short runs (which are the backbone of training). Got out last Saturday for 16 and today pulled off a 20-miler. I'm 30 miles so far for the week and will top it off with another 5 tomorrow. The 20 was slow, long, hard, but I think if I get in all my runs for the next two weeks I'll be able to survive the marathon--though my time will surely be slower than when I ran it two years ago.

Another concern with completing the races is budget. Although registrations are paid for, the 50K is in Virginia Beach, so I will need to drive down and back and have a place to stay. The idea of spending on hotel when I am struggling to come up with money for bills and boat repairs was rather disheartening. Luckily for me, I have found a place to stay gratis in Norfolk, so I won't have to spend for hotel. A dock mate who is also a runner suggested I stay with he and his wife if I ever want to run the Shamrock Marathon or other Virginia Beach races and I piped right up that I actually have one around the corner. They confirmed the dates are fine and I'm welcome, so the running gods must want me to go ahead and knock out my fourth ultramarathon.

After these races I plan to take a hiatus from long distance running. Although my total mileage for the Miami to Key West Ragnar Relay is almost 19 miles, it is cut into three segments, the longest of which is only 9.1 miles. Once the 50K is done I plan to cut down to 30 miles per week made up of three 10-milers. With a few days a week of ice skating added to that, I should stay in good shape and still be able to eat with abandon. Once skating season ends I can up to four 10-milers if I feel the need.

I have to learn to enjoy running again. I dislike the hooplah and crowds involved with races and only register for races to either have something on my calendar forcing me to stay in shape or because it is an interesting location (Miami to Key West, including running the 7-mile bridge) or bad-ass bragging rights (North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K). What I really want when I run is solitude. A place to clear my head, settle my mind, lose myself in music. I also want to be fit, both for my health and to look and feel good. I do not need to run 20-milers, dedicate huge chunks of every weekend to such long runs, and beat up my legs that way to stay fit. Forty miles a week is still quite a lot, but 10-mile chunks are doable, and won't require buying expensive electrolyte mixes and gels.

So, I will find my way to love running again. And just keep running.

Friday, November 9, 2012

south for the winter

My floppy-haired sailor guy set sail today, headed south for the winter. He will be sorely missed. No one else I would want to stay up all night with discussing the art of bread-baking, or arguing politics, or drinking, dancing, and making love.

I suspect the feeling of distance of late arose from a mistaken perception that I only wanted him around to fix things on my boat. As priceless as his help has been, (I wouldn't trade for anything the afternoon learning from him how to splice my own docklines), I do not care if he helps me with my boat. I just wanted to enjoy as much time together as possible; had wanted so badly to get my boat cleaned up enough that he would be willing to come hang out, perhaps spend the night aboard my new home. He turned down my requests for him to come have drinks and never got to see the surfaces uncluttered and significantly cleaned up. Misunderstandings abound in every human interaction, I guess, but still I wish I could get a chartplotter for my heart so I can avoid running aground. Hopefully he will keep me close even as he heads for warmer climes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

in need of some power (and power tools)

All these projects before me, large and small. I am trying to educate myself about them to undertake as much of the work myself as I reasonably can, but not having used power tools since middle school shop class, it can be a bit daunting. Hard to believe I used to help my grandfather run a lathe and make table legs when I was a young girl. But I always had a fear of the drill press in his wood shop. And witnessed plenty of shop and chainsaw accidents to instill a healthy (or overblown?) fear of the dangers of saws.

Nonetheless, I am trying to learn and gain the knowledge needed to undertake projects without causing more harm to my boat than good. I also try to rely on store clerks to be knowledgeable and helpful. Unfortunately, often they are dismissive (either because I am a girl or a new boat owner, or both), and the advice I receive is oft wildly conflicting. I feel I should be able to say "I want to fill some wood so I can re-sink screws in it," and readily be directed to the right product. But no matter what I do or buy, someone says it is the wrong product, or won't work, or could have been solved better, faster, cheaper, et cetera. Since it gets tiring to be cut down every time I ask a question or mention an impending fix, I'll likely stick with Don Casey and Nigel Calder, whose books are conveniently absent of criticism of my lack of an encyclopedic knowledge of boat repairs. I would rather do for myself, but I also have to learn from someone; as much as I prefer to thoroughly study a problem in textbook style first, I need to see and practice hands-on before it sinks in. So I will still have to ask for help.

I've been told by the floppy-haired sailor guy that my problem is a lack of self-confidence, which is plainly an annoyance to him. It's ironic because I'd venture to say every other person who knows me thinks I'm one of the most self-assured people they know; I take on crazy new challenges without batting an eyelash--whether running daunting trail ultramarathons, leaving my whole life behind in Miami and starting over with hardly a penny to my name, or buying a 36-year-old project sailboat and moving aboard. I've had a lot of help along the way, and while I don't want anyone to carry me, we all deserve to surround ourselves with friends and lovers who want to lift us up.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

storms keep a blowin'

Feeling overwhelmed by everything before me. Struggling to unpack my office, where there simply never seems to be space enough for everything; a similar challenge aboard, of course. Just want to feel unpacked, settled in, centered. Instead, simply attending to each little crisis as it arises and then crashing, exhausted--physically and emotionally.

Some five weeks feeling like camping is wearing me down. I cannot even store clothes where they need to go on the boat because I still have not managed to eliminate the holding tank odor that seems to comes from the vent line. Bought hose and hose clamps yesterday to replace the vent line, which I suspect is permeated. Hoping that will be a solution, but unsure of my ability to tackle this little project on my own.

No propane hooked up, (and me with no idea how to do it), so unable to cook. A pot of soup on the propane stove would also be my best and only source of heating the boat if today's nor'easter knocks out my shore power. Galley sink only generates a trickle of water, though pressure is strong in the sink head, so even washing dishes will be a chore. Fridge compressor did not seem to be running and was worried one of the few items on the boat that works had died. On the upside, the compressor was simply off as the fridge was plenty cold. On the downside, the canned beer and soda had frozen and several sodas had exploded; got to unload the entire fridge and clean up frozen diet Dr. Pepper everywhere.

Worried about finding a way to get the boat hauled, seacocks replaced, and main bilge pump serviced with the very limited funds I have left. Would prefer to learn how to do the work myself, but with the seacocks and bilge pump being the most important parts to keep the boat afloat, I am fearful of making any mistakes.

Bought an oil-filled radiator-style heater yesterday and that has helped to warm up the boat a bit. I am still very nervous about leaving it running when away from the boat. Several people have suggested it is safe to do so, and I hate to leave the cats and pup alone and cold overnight when I stay elsewhere or when I am gone for long periods during the day.

Deeply sad to see my floppy-haired sailor guy leaving town in a couple of days. Had hoped at least the last week would have been an opportunity to enjoy each other. Had thought there was something real and lasting afoot, and was foolish to let myself fall for him. I just want the days back when he wanted me to fall in love with him and we stayed up dancing together all night. Wish I could at least get time together to let him know he will be truly missed.

A marathon is on my calendar in less than 3 weeks for which I have not trained. Must soon decide whether to slog it out and try to make it to my ultramarathon in December, or whether to throw in the towel. I hate to quit; perhaps I can pull myself together and get out in the cold this morning for a run.

Friday, November 2, 2012

the little sacrifices

They may not seem short to some or at least not short enough, but my nails took a major cut-down from where they had been. Both index nails had been severely broken in the past three weeks. I'd feel better if there were some dramatic story of how I broke a nail battling Sandy's winds or one snapped as I wrestled a kraken, but, alas, both fell victim to a sticky cabinet door. In any event, I warned my nail tech that we may be taking them even shorter. But I still had to have my little bling: some purple flowers, which soon will match my toenails, and already match the several dozen bruises, a/k/a boat bites, I've acquired.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

perhaps not everything survived the storm

Had met a floppy-haired sailor guy a couple of weeks ago, and, although very different in some ways, I had thought we clicked on some deeper level. He thinks I'm "bat shit crazy," (and the feeling is mutual), but neither of us seemed to mind. As any of my friends know, I am fiercely opposed to "dating," which I consider a form of torture. I have had an occasional moment of weakness, but have generally stuck with my solitary life for the past few years, without regret. For the first time in three years, I was surprised to meet someone I might care for, might want to become entangled with. Naturally, it would be my luck that he would be leaving town soon for the islands. At first I thought "how nice to find someone with a natural expiration date" so as to avoid entanglement. Unfortunately, he rather grew on me and I became quite fond of him. But such is life, and winter is only long when one is lonely. I had thought there was a mutual affection. He said he'd keep me up all night playing music until I fell in love with him. When I protested that I needed to rise early and run, he said "What's more important, falling in love or running a marathon?" I just want to have both.

But it seems some gust during the storm blew us apart. He went from caring to icy without explanation. His departure has been accelerated a week. I had been looking forward to the next couple of weeks just enjoying each others' company, arguing politics (ok, I actually hate politics), listening to music, hopefully getting to cook aboard together, literally and figuratively. But I've gone from sweet nothings to radio silence. I did try to tie a bowline around him, but he wriggled away in the nick of time.

Add to some heartache that I've been missing my father terribly. Nine months since he died and I still want to pick up the phone and call him, the only person who always supported me no matter what.

Headed for the marina shower late in the evening today, a glass of wine in tow. Seemed like a safe time not to be holding anyone up if I drained the hot water (which doesn't last long anyway). Kept the window closed and decided to throw caution to the wind and sing in the shower. Singing seems to be my only solace when I am wrecked--whether heartache or grieving the loss of my father, or as in these past days, both. Got through my triptych relating to the sea: I cover the waterfront (Billie Holiday), Never Been Gone (Carly Simon), Sea of Love (akin to the Cat Powers version). Could not even get through the first verse of Amazing Grace before breaking down. I seem to have been caught up in a storm surge of sadness. Once I had applied all my lotions and potions, donned my pajamas and down coat, and opened the door, there was a guy sitting on the floor outside the bathroom waiting on me. He'd probably been there long enough to hear me singing and crying; a major downside of semi-communal living.

Normally rather "girl versus food," today I ate two pieces of string cheese, Amy's cheese enchiladas, and two (about to be three) glasses of pinot grigio. All in, about 1000 calories and far less than I normally consume. Forgetting to eat is never a good sign for me. I will have to make an effort to get back on track with both running and eating. Perhaps I will break down and eat some Goldfish crackers now before bed.