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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

welcome to the circus

The other day I was doing dishes and pup dog was in the cockpit relaxing in the sun. I saw her tail begin wagging wildly and thought my friends might be arriving for our little cookout. When I peeked out there was a girl crouched down on my dock as close to the boat as she could get with her mother in the background trying to frame a good photo of the girl with pup dog behind her. Sigh. I wanted to say, "Hey, we're not a circus! This is my house! I don't come take photos of you sitting on your porch or in your backyard." I know, I'm a curmudgeon. It's just that there are times when you're in the mood to be friendly and satisfy the tourists' desire to see some "local color," and there are times you just want to be able to enjoy a glass of wine on deck without being bothered. I'm considering making signs for the boat that say "The Circus is Closed" and "The Circus is Open; Pet Photos $5 each." (It's tempting to at least monetize the annoyance, but then I'd be a commercial enterprise in violation of marina rules.) I had hoped to move to a slip on one of the docks that has a gate and a sign noting the pier is private. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like any slips over there will be available until the fall.

You can see that the pets are very stressed out living aboard. Clearly, they handle the pressures a little better than their mom does.

I'm not sure if it was the serious rocking and rolling from high winds or that the litter box was due to be cleaned, but one of the cats mutinied and at 5:00AM Friday morning I was unceremoniously awoken by a giant puddle of cat pee on me and my blankets. It was a surprise since it had been well over a year since we'd had any out-of-box peeing. But oh, yay; laundry time! (A four-part attack of detergent, Oxy Clean, Borax, and Nature's Miracle due to the particular noxiousness of cat pee.) Washing the boat bedding is a serious pain because the mattress protectors, sheets, and heated mattress pad are all made for traditional rectangular beds but mine is a huge triangle that is also very difficult to access, so making the bed is sort of a project in itself. Naturally, one washer and one dryer stole coins from me and wouldn't run. The other dryer has been out of commission for several weeks. I ended up having to schlep my wet laundry to the icky laundromat nearby to use the dryers. Why can't marina laundry just work and be simple? If college dorms can figure it out why can't marinas?

I knew that the condensation from the winter would be bad so I had to brace myself for whatever ick and mold might be along the sides and beneath the mattress. The mattress itself did not appear to have any mold and was completely dry underneath, to my great surprise. The condensation did lead to mold on the teak, which I wiped down with a solution of tea tree oil and water, and the laminate appears to be nearing its useful life but I don't have the budget for gutting the entire interior of the boat anytime soon. I took the opportunity to prop the mattress up on various items so that it had full air circulation around it, sprayed it down with the tea tree oil solution and with Febreeze, cracked the hatch, and aimed a couple of fans on it. I spent two nights on the settee, for which my back definitely did not thank me, and then put the v-berth back together, leaving off the heated mattress pad until next fall. There is still a ton of mold from the winter to battle, but I'm just going to keep working my way aft through the boat until I've got it all under control.

So many projects... so little time... I have this bottomless list of projects aboard, some of which I need mechanical assistance with, some of which I just need to buckle down and make happen, and some of which I won't be able to tackle anytime soon since all the funds saved up have been bled into the worthless car. Yet it's all I can do to stay on top of basic laundry and dishes. Honestly, I'm not doing a good job staying on top of those and feel overwhelmed by them most days. But I am running my ass off, which is important. I've worked up to a base of 30 miles per week, which will be my routine until late August when I begin increasing mileage in preparation for my 50K trail race right before Christmas. The running is keeping me sane and slimming me down, so even though I'm in hopeless debt and broke as can be, I'm feeling and looking good. Let the world keep throwing shit at me; they haven't brought me down yet.

I went out on another fishing charter but again no fish. I'm starting to feel like bad luck. But on three of the four times I was out with friends trying to catch something I did, and I reeled in four fish among those three trips. Although it's obviously less "work" on the charter when you don't catch anything, I need to learn to fillet the darn things and I need to impress the customers so they'll throw more cash my way. But at least I'm getting out on the water. 

Sadly, the more time I spend on the water, the less I like sailboats, or probably more accurately, sail boaters. It cracks me up how so many sailors say that it's the power boaters who don't know and don't follow the rules of the road. My experience has been the polar opposite. And I hear from so many sailors who when they do have the right of way feel the need to press it, won't alter their course a few degrees, when it could make a huge difference for the give way vessel. Just because you technically have right of way over a fishing charter boat with lines out trolling doesn't mean you should revel in the opportunity to cut across their lines and cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars in gear, ruin someone's charter trip, and increase the animosity between the power and sail camps. When fishing lines are out, and especially with planer boards, that power boat is going maybe two knots, has limited maneuverability, and needs to make turns very gradually. The fundamental concept behind the rules of the road is to have boats with greater maneuverability give way to those with less maneuverability. It would be so much nicer out on the water if folks would consider that and show each other some courtesy and patience, rather than acting like spoiled children stomping their feet that it was their turn. And of course all the sail boaters who hate powerboats pipe down when they need a tow or someone to throw them a wake to get off a shoal...  Sigh.  A little more application of the Golden Rule would definitely make being on the water more pleasant and safer.

I actually dread going out on the water on days there will be lots of sailboats. They commandeer large sections of the water for their races precisely where others need to transit. Because I can't read their minds I'm in a constant state of panic that they will tack or gibe nearby and force me to alter my course on short notice. I want to be out on the water with not another boat in sight. I love to be out on the water, but I can take or leave the sailing part. We all have different reasons for being on boats and would be well served to learn to respect those differences. A sailboat made sense for me because they are set up more logically to live on, I could buy more boat for the money, and it opened up the possibility of destinations I could not afford the fuel to reach. But the boat is a method of reaching destinations, its value to me is not in sailing for sailing's sake; its value is in where it can take me, what it lets me see and do, the adventures that become possible.

Dockbox update: I was two weeks without the car. The ECU, (i.e. the "computer"), needs replacing but is an elusive part. I can't trust one from eBay because it has to be exactly the year and model of my car or it won't work. I have a friend keeping an eye out if one comes available through the junkyard network. For now, I have to avoid using the car on rainy days and try to keep it parked where it will stay dry. I can't just hop in and start the car. It will just freak out and make horrific noises and not start. Instead I have to get in, put the key on the second ignition position, and... wait. Sometimes after about 30-60 seconds the check engine light will turn off and I will hear the fuel pump kick on. Then I can start the car. If after a minute that hasn't happened, I have to remove the key, wait a bit, and try the routine again. I've never had a totally unreliable car before, or one that was treated like a trash bin, or held together by duct tape. I feel like I'm trying to rehabilitate a dog that was chronically mistreated by its prior owner. My life has been a series of poor decisions but this is the first truly piece-of-shit car I've ever had dragging me down. I admit I have some bad karma but I didn't deserve this. The self-impressed guy who talked me into buying the car has been texting and emailing, but I'm going with the Thumper Rule: I don't have anything nice to say, so I won't say anything at all. What I want to say is unless you are contacting me to buy this junk heap for the $2,700 I'm into it, please lose my number. Ugh.

On the subject of idiot guys texting me, the former boytoy who fell overboard texted me twice on Saturday. Midafternoon I got a message asking if I was home and then again a little before 10:00PM. I figured maybe he wants to beg for a sympathetic witness at his trial or perhaps he's 12-stepping for a plea deal and has to make amends. But the second text asking "hey you home tonite?" makes me think he's actually so stupid that he thinks he can come by for a booty call after all his nonsense. I guess he could be that stupid. Again I went with the Thumper Rule and did not respond at all. But I was a little nervous he might drop by uninvited, so I made sure I had phone, flashlight, and hunting knife within arm's reach.

Being single in Annapolis can be a drag because it's such a small town and I've pretty much seen everything on the market. I also won't just sleep around because everyone here knows everyone else and it's a gossipy little town. I tend to think I have to wait for new guys to move to the area or just plan to be single until I move on to a new locale. I can count on one hand (or more like a couple fingers) the guys here I haven't already friend-zoned. I know what I really want but it'd be so one-in-a-million to find it that I figure it's an impossibility. But at the very least I have to be firm about not settling. If there isn't that immediate chemistry, if a guy doesn't have the chutzpa to seize the moment with me, then it's not worth my time. I'd rather be alone than with someone with no passion. And if someone isn't willing to get messy, get complicated, get their heart broken, forget it. Doing dangerous or adventurous things is easy; risking broken bones or even your life is easy. Risking your heart takes real guts.

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