Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's wood and sanded but blue all over?

     That's right its the boat. After allowing the five coats of primer to cure for a few days, I began applying the topcoats. We now have five coats of Royal Navy Blue on the hull. I wanted to have it flipped and sitting upright for these pictures, but the weather turned back damp and cold, so I am letting the paint cure for an entire week before attempting to flip the hull. Once she's upright I will add the rubrail, finish the interior carpentry and wiring and then we can move on to the fit and finish work in the interior. It looks like we'll be on the water by May.
     Overall the paint looks nice, the semi-gloss surface reveals more of the surface irregularities than the flat primer did, but I had already resigned myself to having a "work boat" finish on her , so I'm not disappointed. I think I learned some valuable lessons in the fairing process  which would really help me have a better finish if I ever decide to build another boat. When she gets her maintenance coats at the end of the season she may end up with a flat or satin finish, just to conceal some of the unevenness, but we'll cross that bridge when we float under it.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Finally, change I can believe in...

I am proud to announce that I completed sanding the fairing compound on the hull, and was able to put a coat of primer on. It took me about seven hours of sanding since my last post to make it to this point. Which is only a few more than I had predicted. It took one quart of primer to put one coat on the hull, I would like to put a total of five coats on, so I will need to pick up a gallon of primer, before I can continue. I need to lightly sand in between the coats to insure a good finish, but that sanding should be nothing compared to the months of marathon sanding that went into fairing the hull. Its by no means perfect, but it looks pretty good so far. We are really starting to look like we've got a boat here. After the last coat of primer goes on I need to carry the hull outdoors and flip it so I can put the rubrail on and finish the interior carpentry. If any one in the area would like to volunteer to help me flip the hull, I wouldn't say no...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You asked for it...

   Over the last few months there have been thousands of emails, direct messages, blog comments, late night phone calls, and registered letters demanding the return of regular posting to "". I can't promise you much as I am only the assistant blogger (or perhaps assistant to the blogger), but I can tell you that boat building has resumed, so hopefully boat blogging is not to far behind.

  As many of you know the boat building process hit an evil stage which consisted entirely of sanding until you're almost insane and then giving up out of exhaustion only to look back over your work and see almost no progress. I'm not going to say that this made me give up on boat building, but it sure did take a lot of the fun out of it. I strongly warn all would be boat builders to prepare for this, because I did not. It's surprising how many other things you can find to occupy your time, when all the fun is sucked out of your leisure activity. This coupled with the change of the seasons really slowed down the boat building to a crawl.

  Now, with the promise of Spring just over the horizon, we are once again building (sanding). I was able to get a few hours of sanding (building) in this past Sunday, add that with the little bit that I managed to accomplish here and there over the winter, and I am proud to say "we are getting close to priming". I know some of you have heard this before, but I really believe that we have less than five hours of sanding to do, so theoretically sanding could be finished as early as this Sunday. If this is the case priming could begin next week.

  In other news: Betty came back after being absent only one night. A hawk ate Consuela, which was shocking to both the chicken farmer and the remaining chickens. Egg production fell off to nothing, but has returned as of this week. The pool which, was drained, managed to refill itself to about twenty-percent capacity, so that will have to be drained again before I can repair my pool. My friend Aaron has promised to help me have that pool operational by Cinco De Mayo, so he may have his work cut out for him. I bought the wife a new scooter for Christmas, which has her excited for warm weather. Finally, I have lost forty pounds and no longer need the sleep apnea machine (of which pictures were previously posted on this very blog), and only have another twenty to go before I hit my target weight. There, that should just about catch everyone up on all of the non-boat related sub-plots, which have been discussed on the blog.

 As soon as we can get a coat of primer on the hull, we'll post pictures for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for following.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Betty is gone


I got home about 2 1/2 hours later than normal last night, so it was dark.  I took a flashlight out with me to tuck the chickens safely in for the night.  After I locked the coop door, I lifted the lid of the nesting box and found only Martha and Consuela.  We hunted outside for a while, since Betty has been known to roost in the trees.  But, it was night time and we couldn't really see anything.  We assumed that Betty had been spooked by nearby road construction earlier in the day and figured she's be back in the morning.

When I went to let the chickens out this morning, I had expected to find Betty to be waiting to be fed.  I even went out a little later than usual, with daylight in full swing.  No Betty.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Hope springs eternal.  I'm hoping I'll find her in the yard when I get home from work.
2.  With Betty gone, we really have no eggs.
3.  Not only is it hard to be a chicken farmer, it's hard to be a chicken.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Apparently, it's catching


It's hard to be a chicken farmer every where.  Shenandoah Valley is suffering from a dip in egg production due to molting.  Our suspected egg problem is two fold.  As it turns out, we also have low production AND an egg thief.  The eggsperimental trap egg was made off with on Friday, while Betty was locked away laying her own egg.  Now what?  Hope for the best and that what ever furry bandit has developed a taste for eggs is simply collecting goods for hibernation and when spring rolls around it won't keep stealing our eggs? 

The man went in for his Sleep Apnea follow-up test tonight.  This procedure is to determine which type of CPAP therapy will work best for him.  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a method of respiratory ventilation that works by pushing air through the airway passage at a pressure high enough to prevent apneas.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Mondays don't have to be bad.
2.  I'll do almost anything to get out of writing a biography.
3.  It may be time to put the flip flops away for the season.

Thursday, October 14, 2010



So the verdict is in.  There is no egg thief, only a non-laying hen.  Our lone laying  chicken has not laid in three weeks.  What we do have is a grain devouring rodent of some sort that defies all obstacles in search of pellets and cracked corn.  I'm not sure where to go from here in regards to egg production.  I guess we're just waiting for the other two to be mature enough to give us what we've been waiting for -  delicious, tasty, free range, extra large, organic eggs.

The man has to go back in for a second sleep test to determine which CPAC machine will work best for his apnea.  Considering how much he enjoyed this past Friday's test, he's more than excited about the one on Monday.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Complimentary fillet mignon is really tasty.
2.  Complimentary fillet mignon is even better when offered with a pino noir.
3.  Free steak does not make me stop missing the Thursday night ladies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



This is the low down.  The chickens had another varmint hole dug underneath Cooperstown while they were still locked inside.  Once again, there was no egg in the nest.  However, the eggsperimental egg on the pavers, which were meant to block the furry bandit digging, remained.  What does this tell us?  According to the man, this tells us he was right.  Some thing was after the chicken food.  I just found this hard to accept since there is food all over the ground outside the hen house, even in a pan full of cracked corn.  So, why break in to a joint when there are good pickins on the outside.  Right?  The man said you can't use logic when dealing with nature.

I see how things may appear.  Keep in mind chickens don't lay on a daily basis and our one layer may have given an egg yesterday, but not today.  But, the thief did overlook an egg ripe for the taking.   Where are the fresh eggs going?

Lessons learned today:
1.  The man is always right.
2.  The man says chickens can brain wash his wife.
3.  He adds I'm a lack of egg apologist.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



Some thing really, really likes chicken eggs.  After filling in the critter hole tunneling into Coopersville yesterday, I additionally closed off the chicken run with a wire fence that surrounds the area.  When I went to let the chickens out this afternoon, I found the fence closed, but the burrow had been re-excavated and  once again no egg.  So, what we have is a thing that can climb, burrow and steals food.  I'm not exactly sure what it is.  Possibly a squirrel, since the thievery occurs during daylight hours.

The man has a different viewpoint.  He believes nothing is pilfering the eggs because there are no eggs to filch.  His theory is that Betty, our only hen that is old enough to lay, is not outputting and it is a mere coincidence that there is a channel going into the hen house.  He says I'm just making eggscuses for why we don't have any eggs.

Who's right?  We're conducting a small experiment. With the chickens locked inside their home, I refilled the hole, placed multiple pavers over the former opening and surrounding area so nothing can dig back in.  I set the bait on top of the pavers - one Betty egg, and closed the fence.  Will it still be there tomorrow?  Will there be a fresh egg in the hen house?

Lessons learned today.
1.  It's hard to be a chicken farmer.
2.  Chickens are not good at guarding their turf.
3.  There better be an egg in that nest tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rocking the Suburbs


The man said I shouldn't post this picture.  He said it would make Lee sad.  The point of this photo is not for Lee to mourn the loss of his weekend spent power washing our pool spotless.  It is to illustrate that we've had a bit of rain and a tad bit of set back in terms paint readiness.  Who's up for an early RSVP for spring cleaning?

Lessons learned today:
1.  Some thing likes chicken eggs so much it will tunnel underneath Cluckingham Palace in the daytime and steal eggs.  What could it be?
2.  The man says I make excuses for lack of eggs.  Meanwhile, we have eggs from Betty in the frig.
3.  BJs has a surveillence camera for $29.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sands of Time



The man got tired of hearing:
        Why haven't you worked on the boat?
        When are you going to work on the boat?
        Have you worked on the boat lately?
        Is the boat done yet?

Inquiring minds, the man had some time today, put aside a few personal things that needed done and instead dedicated 6 hours to sanding.  one half of the outside of the boat is now finished.  Woo hoo.

Lessons learned today:
1.  It's hard to embellish a story about sanding.  I was asked to put a literary spin on sanding and I was like, um, it's sanding.  Not a darn tooting thing is exciting about sanding.  Trust me on this one, folks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sleep Test


The man went in for a sleep apnea test tonight.  I'm entirely thrilled that he's finally agreed to have a test completed.  The man has long suffered from many of the symptoms associated with this syndrome.  Great stress on the heart is a result of this condition.  The man's alarming resting heart rate is in the 100's.  You heard me right.  During dinner while we were recently on vacation, he checked his wrist worn heart monitor.  The dismaying display read 102.  In disbelief, I checked my own rate against his.  There was no malfunction.  Throughout our vacation, his heart rate remained between 102 and 108.  Eventually I took the watch away because the results themselves were an additional stressor.

The man was supposed to receive an instructional packet from the out patient sleep facility prior to his test.  It never arrived and at 4:20 today he realized he had no idea what he was supposed to do to prepare for his overnight excursion.  He called the facility, but only received their voice mail. This whammy was in addition to our original loss of faith when they had misplaced the faxed order from our doctor's office.  Acting on a wing and a prayer, the man showed up at the facility hoping that they would act on good faith and receive him with open arms.  He was not disappointed.  Not only did they provide him with the needed paperwork to complete, but they also allowed him to call me so I could bring him a forgotten book.  Additional brownie points scored for the personable nurses.  I can totally overlook the poor administrative personnel knowing that my man is being taken good care of tonight.

Lessons learned today:
1.  If left to his own devices, Wilson will eternally incarcerate himself, whether he deserves it or not.  Guess who was locked out on the lanai all day?  This was preceded by an overnight stint in the closet.
2.  Cube walls are not voice barriers.  Now that I'm on loan to a sister office, I am continuously hollered for through the fabric dividers.  I can't say I have sympathy for my cube farm neighbors, who have the absolute worst cube etiquette in the entire galaxy.  Karma is paying you back.  Rue the day.  Rue it.  Ruuuuuuuue it.
3.  I ain't no hollaback girl.

Love Connection?


One of the man's friends asked him to be the wing man of romance.  For some reason, this task was turned over to me.  Nothing says amore like throwing a few stones at a local bowling alley.  Right?  With a game plan in hand, I invited the only single person I know, a coworker, and told her to bring single friend.  Was it a love connection for any of the three singles?  Tune in later.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Even when you take the time to help a friend, he will still stand you up at the Brewhouse.  Yes Wood Sprite, I talking about you.
2.  After a long day, three games of bowling is actually quite cathartic.
3.  Bowling alley pizza actually isn't that bad.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Stop


During our Boating Skills and Seamanship class tonight, we were shown the above slide.  Now, we're not ones to question command.  But we can't help wonder if the text on the slide correctly expresses the exact message that was trying to be conveyed? Guess who couldn't get "Feel Good Inc." by the Gorillaz out of their head for the rest of the night?  Thanks command!

 Feel good, AHHHHahahahaha.

And for the Freudian slip of the day.  During a staff meeting today, I provided a synopsis of a project that is 28 days out from completion.  In my mind, I concluded the segment with, "And that's a general overview of the great tasks at hand."  In reality what spilled out of my mouth went more like this, "And that's a general overview of my greatness."  In my mind I'm really not such a douche.  In reality...

Lessons learned today:
1.  Not all whistles look the same.  Another pearl of wisdom from BS and S class.
2.  Not everyone is meant to be a public speaker.
3.  We really need to get back to work on the boat.  The man says enough time has passed that he feels reinvigorated and is ready to knock this venture O-U-T.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just saying...


Business meetings might be compared with a funeral, in the sense that you have a gathering of people who are wearing uncomfortable clothing and would rather be somewhere else. The major difference is that most funerals have a definite purpose. Also, nothing is really ever buried in a meeting.

An idea may look dead, but it will always reappear at another meeting later on. If you have ever seen the movie, "Night of the Living Dead," you have a rough idea of how meetings operate, with projects and proposals that everyone thought were killed rising up constantly from their graves to stagger back into meetings and eat the brains of the living.

I was in a meeting that lasted 4 hours and forty-five minutes today.

Lessons learned today:
1. Some meetings operate the way "Show and Tell" does in nursery school, with everyone getting to say something,
2. The difference between “Show and Tell” and a business meeting is the kids actually have something to say.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still Waters Run Deep


We still have not been able to break through this wall and finish what we started with this boat.  We've been here before - the basement.  We refinished the basement of our new (to us) home.  New floors, new ceiling, new tiered level where the new bar sits, new mounted lighting, new walls, the whole gamete.  But we were so tired of home improvement that we never quite completed the outside of the basement, you know, the stairwell and landing.  It's been 2 years that we've been staring at unfinished sheet rock and exposed cinder block walls.

We put our weekend to good use.  We telebinged on Heros.

A very important person in the man's life has passed.  Say a prayer for Reuben Parker and his family

Saturday, September 25, 2010



I was having lunch with my friends the other day when one of them asked how the boat building was coming along.  And I'll tell you what I told them.  We've hit the proverbial runner's wall with this project.  We only have two steps left before we can put this all behind us, sanding and painting.  Painting is the fun part.  Sanding is not.  The mere thought of having to strap an orbital sander on my hand one more time breaks my heart.  It's like purgatory.  You can't even listen to music to help pass the never ending, mind numbing, soul crushing, back breaking monotony.  I suspect the man feels the same way, although he tells people he's still sore from the yellow death banana adventure in Maine.  We have about 20 hours of good times to get through before we can start painting.

One of the lunching ladies then suggested that the man and I have a sanding party and offer a ride in the boat as a token of our appreciation to all the helping hands.  While brilliant in concept, the plan fails to take into account how much sanding sucks and that there is not enough beer and pizza in the world to lure in any suckers.  Would you attend a B.Y.O.S. party?  If you would, how does tomorrow look?

Lessons learned today:
1.  Some walls are harder to break down than others.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 64 - How's It Hanging?


Mission accomplished.  The Ranch has been outfitted with a fresh set of railings and banisters for the portico.  All of this was drawn to a close, despite Sally.  Looks good, right?  Lee and the man did a most excellent job.  Now, if we could only get the rants back up here to finish the pool.  Wink wink.

I'm jesting.  They never leave us hanging and are always beyond generous with their time and diligent dedication to concluding shi-tay projects.  I mean, who wants to clean up a stinky green pool with a broken air line?  The rants.  That's why the man helped with the porch handrails undertaking.  We owe them a thousand times over.

Fresh off the lanai endeavour, the man intends to start on the boat tomorrow.  Our goal is to set sail by the end of September.  We'll be headed off to Pinchot Park for our maiden voyage. Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre full service park consisting of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides and a the 340-acre lake.  Plus, it's just an 18 minute ride from our home.  Guess who's packing a picnic?

Day 63 - Fat Cat


The man has Silly Sally to keep him from being too lonely and I had the big boy, Haji, to fur up the clean sheets.
14 hours were spent mounting hand railing on the man's rants' porch.  Although the man has earlier surmised they were halfway to project completion, this just was not the case.  The plan is to get up at 7am and try to knock the remainder out.  Good luck.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Watching 'Solent Green' helps put things in perspective.
2.  Watching 'Where the Wild Things Are' helps you remember what it was like to be a kid.
3.  Watching Betty White on SNL, although a repeat, makes you love her even more.  Dusty muffin, anybody?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 62 - Home, Home on the Ranch


If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.  The rants' ranch hand returned their previous weekends' labors of love and earned his keep on this day.  The porch railing and banister removal/installation project is now half way complete.  This is quite a fruitful triumph when you consider that wayward kittens are not known for their carpentry skills.  Sure, they may try to lend a helping paw, but they're really more a hindrance and should stick to moral support with after labor accolades. The man tried to slip "Silly Sally", as the stray has been aptly named, into the rants' home for midnight company.  Much to his chagrin, his mom put Sally back out for the night.

So, what does a wife do when her husband is out of town for the weekend?  Take out Thai and house cleaning.  Oh, yeah.  Let the good times roll.  Whoop whoop.  Party over here.

Thought for the day:
He who laughs last, thinks the slowest.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 61 - Who Knew a 15 Year Old Could Make You Feel So Good?


Our two-hour Boating Skills & Seamanship class ended an hour early tonight.  I guess that's what happens when two students know the material from a previous class and one keeps his mouth shut.  Then there's the other.  She tried to keep us longer, but we disbanded ahead of schedule despite her wicked attempts. Her shtick is that her sailboat is missing and she's not sure if it was stolen or borrowed.  How could you not know the difference?  Don't ask her.  Seriously.  She said not to ask. Her rope was pinched  around the same time, so the Auxiliary had to give her a piece for the upcoming knot class.  Who steals rope?  Kidnappers and goat ropers.

What do you do with the gift of an hour of extra time on your hands?  Balvenie.  It helps wash away the sins of the day.

There will be no boat building until Monday.  The man is departing for his folks' house tomorrow.  Since they were kind enough to give us their concentrated effort to rid us of the backyard bog, and it can now once again be called a pool, the man will be returning the favor and is supplying them with the man power for a task that is similar in pain-in-the-butt-ness, but much less Swamp Thing.  His weekend will be spent installing new banisters on their wrap around porch.

Shout out to Adam for reading the entire blog in one day.  Don't forget to sign on as a follower.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Cats are no help when stringing a guitar.
2.  If you lost rope and a boat, and you're not sure how, you might have dementia.
3.  Sometimes when you make a mistake, nobody cares but you. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 60 - Wind Out of the Sails


The man and I were not even two ships passing in the night.  He had lodge tonight and I did not get home from my 9-5 until 8:50pm.Therefore, we did not see each other before I went to bed and neither of us worked on the boat.

But, the man is making mad progress on his cigar box guitar.  The frets are now installed along the neck and it's almost ready for the blues.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Digging out of somebody else's mess ruins peach night.
2.  Cheese can be dinner.
3.  We really need to get more than one working remote control.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 59 - Happy Birthday Debbie!!


Yesterday was spent power washing the drained pool, and then draining the water from power washing.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Today's task was to be painting the pool.  There are two things that we had not counted on.  First, none of the pool supply stores sell pool paint.  WHAT?  That's like an office supply store not selling computer paper.

And then it rained.  The picture above is how much water collected from the rain this morning.  At least we can still work on finding the air the rain.  

Debbie wanted to go to the Renaissance Faire, an outside event, for her birthday.  We even found two-for-one tickets online.  But, it's raining.

 Lessons learned today:
1.  Baby showers that are still going on at 1am usually end up with gun fire in Goochland.
2.  There's still work to be done.
3.  Debbie never ages.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 58 - Replete with Stinkiousity and Some Ab Fab Stuff


"What smells?"

These were my first words when I came home from work.  The man said it was swamp butt.  He was close enough.

Judas priest.  Who knew that draining an algae ridden, rodent death trap could funk up the inside of a house so bad?  The green pool water, emptying into the driveway sewer drain, which in turn runs underneath the house (and most likely underneath all the neighbors' homes), emitted a noxious gas was that similar to low tide on a hot day.  The man even discovered a new form of life - a white 'beetle', or hundreds of beetles to be more exact, with a black spot on their back.  As the pool was in the last stages of being drained, and bucket-by-bucket of beetles and slime were being hand carried to dump on the lawn, the chickens aided the process by EATING them.  Blech.  Luckily, none of them are laying right now.  So we won't die from possible deadly elements, if we were to consume their nonexistent eggs.

On to the find of a life time.  Hand carved, Chinese-Indonesian furniture, courtesy of the most wonderful Amy Z.  Her great grandmother was given a spectacular trio, matching twin chairs and a sofa, as a wedding present.  The couch has the imperial dragon and phoenix motif, and the chairs have the lucky Chinese bats.  They are estimated to be at least 100 years old.  Now you have something other than the disco ball and an odoriferous home to be jealous of.

Boat building will commence tomorrow.  You may doubt us. That's your prerogative.  But you do not know Debbie.  She is a machine of efficiency, determination,  and all-out results.  A true peach of a lady.  The man has passed the sanding baton on to her.  She has graciously accepted.  I think. She might not even  know about this particular family duty.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Pools are easier to swim in than walk in.
2.  If you deny yourself (or your delightful, helpful MIL) a cart while shopping, you cannot impulse purchase because your arms are already full of what you came to buy.  You can, however, make plans to come back and purchase that big arse mum for $17.99 if you really need it.
3.  Hot dogs are not quick, easy, or uncomplicated - the way we eat them.  Home made chili, sauerkraut, chopped onions, and a whole bunch of other stuff is tasty.  Not fast.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 57 - Roasted Bananas and New Experiences


The man's rants are in town.  It's his mamma's birthday weekend.  What says party more than draining a pool?  It's so green that my friend's children asked if there were fish swimming in it.  We kid you not.  About the fish or the fact that Lee and Debbie are helping us drain, power wash and fix a leak in an air line in that nasty pool.  We'd show you a picture, but then you might want to celebrate your birthday here, too.

For the last 793 times that Debbie has been up visiting, she has very politely requested that we eat at Neato Burrito, a mission style burrito shop that features over 2 pounds of goodness and uber trendy twenty somethings.  Her lucky number must be 794.  We went to Neato and all ordered "Chick in a Thai" - chicken marinated in a spicy peanut sauce served with a flour tortilla, whole grain brown rice, black beans, monterey jack cheese covered with a roasted banana and macadamia nut salsa.  The man, not usually a follower, decided what's good for the goose is good for the gander and without reading what made this particular burrito so special, just made the plunge.  Needless to say, holy banana surprise batman.

Lessons learned today:
1. Banana based burritos are not for everybody.
2. Fretting is harder than it sounds.  Even still, the man is moving rapidly along with his cigar box guitar.  Randy Rockstar said the man was cooler than life for building a boat and a guitar.
3. Some chickens are smarter than others.  The new Martha is like the Houdini of chickens.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 56 - Boating Skills and Seamanship


Tonight was our first of thirteen  U.S. Coast Guard Auxilliary's Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) classes, which will be held every Wednesday until December 15th. The lessons are a comprehensive course designed for both the experienced and the novice boater.

Which Boat Is For You? - Boater's language; types of boats; outboard motors and sterndrives; hull design; uses of boats; other power plants; materials for constructing boats; your intended use; the Coast Guard Customer Infoline; marine surveyors; buying a boat.

Equipment For Your Boat - Requirements for your boat; your boat's equipment; legal considerations; substance abuse; boating accident reports; Courtesy Marine Examinations.

Trailering Your Boat - Legal considerations; practical considerations; the towing vehicle; balancing the load; handling your trailer; pre-departure checks; preparing to launch; launching; retrieving; storing your boat and trailer; theft prevention; Zebra mussels; float plan.

Handling Your Boat - Leave with a full tank; fueling your boat; your boat's propeller; cars and boats; twin screws; jet drives; loading your boat; getting started; leaving a pier; "man" overboard; docking; mooring to a permanent anchor; anchoring; towing a skier; heavy weather; small boat safety.

Your "Highway" Signs - Protection of ATONs; buoyage systems; waterway marks; how waterways are marked; light characteristics; chart symbols; light structures; lights on bridges; electronic aids to navigation; a word to the wise; navigation publications.

The Rules You Must Follow - Two sets of rules; to whom do the rules apply; what is a vessel; the general responsibility rule; general considerations; conduct in narrow channels; traffic separation schemes; vessel traffic services; stand-on or give-way; rules for special vessels; risk of collision; bend signals; restricted visibility; vessel lights and shapes; vessels at anchor; diving operations; distress signals; drawbridge signals; penalties.
Inland Boating - Types of inland waters; inland navigation; inland seamanship; river currents; maintaining inland waterways; dams; locks; river charts; commercial traffic; before you go. (This lesson typically will not be taught in coastal courses)

The Rest Of Our Story - Small boat safety; personal watercraft; hypothermia; motorboats and sailboats; carbon monoxide poisoning; float plan; U.S. Coast Guard District Offices; instructions for using a course plotter; metric conversion system.

Introduction To Navigation - Piloting tools; maps and charts; chart features; your chart's general information block; other charted information; your magnetic compass; position on the earth's surface; locating a point on a chart; distance on the earth's surface; measuring distance; course plotting; sources of compass error; correcting a compass reading; positioning; speed-time-distance; dead reckoning; practice your art.
Powering Your Boat - Types of marine engines; marine engines; selecting a propeller; induction systems; ignition systems; flame arresters; cooling systems; gasoline considerations; batteries; maintenance; winterizing your boat; spring fitting-out; troubleshooting.

Lines & Knots For Your Boat - Line or rope; rope materials; kinds of rope; measuring rope; selecting your ropes; care of rope; making up line; knots, bends, and hitches; splices; securing lines; dipping the eye.
Weather & Boating - Sources of weather information; wind and boating; wind and waves; understanding weather; weather and heat; fog; non-frontal weather.

Your Boat's Radio - Radios used on boats; functions of radios; licenses; selecting your VHF-FM radio; installation; operating your VHF-FM; maintain a radio watch; channels have special purposes; some "no no's"; copies of the rules; calling another station; procedure words; phonetic alphabet; routine radio check; distress, urgency, and safety calls; crew training.

Many insurance companies will offer discounts on boat insurance to individuals who successfully complete this course.

To learn more about America's volunteer guardians, visit

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 56 - Our Waterfront Home


We made an epic 7 state journey in 8.5 hours.  Even we were shocked, given the predicted travel time, coupled with the national holiday.  We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.  Even our utmost realistic wishes didn't place us here as soon.

Mr. Murphy, of Murphy's Law, is a funny, funny man.  Sure, we got home three hours early.  We will not deny the most excellent nature of this happenstance.  We were literally filming ourselves being tickled pink about three minutes from the ol' homestead.  We even said we didn't want to curse ourselves, so we waited until we were at a point of celebration - we could see our neighborhood from the highway.

We made the final turn, on to the public street where our home is located and found a geyser.  Neighbor Carl said we were the first to notice.  Odd, considering the street was flooded and we were really new to the situation.  We called the water company, who insisted we pay $150 for an emergency call on property WE DID NOT OWN.  No thanks.  We were just trying to be good citizens and report a problem, not get punished for delivering a community service.  The repair man actually complained about having to work on Labor Day and repair a pipe his company broke from pushing higher water pressure than our hold timey pipes can handle. The broken water mains have been happening ever since the water company insisted on increasing the water pressure.  Typically the ramifications have most often occurred during this past winter, when leaking water causes ice slicks, pointing fingers, and bad moods. 

We weren't the only ones without water.  Our poor flock of thirsty chickens had no water either.  For some reason, their water was on unlevel ground, so it had all leaked out of the container.  The gate to the yard was open, as well as our freezer door.  Everything in the freezer was spoiled.  On a positive note, none of the herd puked on the bed while we were gone.

Since we had no food, we went to an area joint on the river for dinner. The picture above is a snapshot from the restaurant's deck of a footbridge that once connected the east and west shore.  The middle was torn down by an ice jam in the 90's and was never rebuilt.  From time to time there's a discussion about bringing it back, but it's like a conversation between the Sneetches with stars on their bellies and the Sneeches that don't have stars on their bellies.  Neither wants the other on their shore.  It's a pity we can't be more like Boothbay Harbor, which has a connecting footbridge, and plenty of prosperity.

Keeping with the vacation walking tradition, after our local river dinner, we dropped the rental car off by the oddly located nudie store, and took the shoe leather express. 

Our street is being ripped up, we have no water, the man is snoring.  It's good to be home.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 55 - The Squid and the Whale



We set out looking for supplies for our 10+ hour ride home tomorrow.  Where would you go get  necessities for a potentially lethally lengthy Labor Day ride home?  Oak Street Provisions!  A delightful store where we found Pino Grigio salami, Rose salami, Drunken Goat cheese, water crackers, plus some tawny port and mix-a-six beers for our last night's libations.  The proprietor, whose name we did not catch, was a sort of everywhere man.  He had lived in Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts and North Carolina before he and his wife ended up in Boothbay Harbor.  He said they had given consideration to many locations, with the understanding that every place has its drawbacks, put together a list and came to the conclusion that Boothbay Harbor had the least amount of negatives.  The man liked the notion of choosing where you live instead of ending up in your current location because of a job or where you were born.

The man and I parted ways in the afternoon.  He got friendly with the locals and I went whale watching.  One of us was more successful with their adventures than the other.  The man thoughtfully located sea glass baubles for me and mocassins for himself.  I braved the rough, turbulent waters while fighting to keep my hat on, my skirt down, my seat planted, a watchful eye peeled for whales, while filming... the open water.  A trio of tragically hip lesbians decided to take root in a no standing zone directly in front of me, completely blocking my view.  As insufferable as they were, on some level I was secretly glad that they were not the more loathsome backwards hat wearing frat boys.  The karma police quickly caught up with these vociferous, insufferable ladies.  One by one, they dropped from the effects of the rolling seas.  I even recorded the moaning sea sick trio sitting on the floor, heads resting on their knees.  With my view now unobstructed, I could go back to filming...the open water.  
Upon my return to port, the man greeted me at the wharf and listened to the tales of the one that got away.  While all the spassenger were issued a complimentary ticket for another whale watching voyage, there was no point for me.  The man consoled me by taking me for a beer and calamari.  The menu said the calamari was the best in the area.  Let's just say that the man had to later comfort me by taking me for another beer and some better food. 

Much like the movie, the squid and the whale were failed opportunities.

We captured a panoramic clip of the harbor from the third floor patio of our B&B.  Not too shabby.

Lessons learned today:
1.  Whales don't operate on the same schedule as whale watching tours.
2.  Being able to mix a six pack from a provisions store is awesome.  Hint, hint PA.
3.  It's always time to go home just when you're beginning to relax.

Day 54 - Maine Maritime Museum and the Fence of Knowledge


We left Boothbay Harbor and drove to nearby Bath to the Maine Maritime Museum.  Much like the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, this was a fenced off section of land with several educational out buildings.  The Maine Maritime Museum offered us a myriad of opportunities to explore Maine’s maritime heritage and culture and to experience the mystique of Maine, which featured fascinating exhibits brimming with art and artifacts; contemporary, interactive areas; a historic shipyard with five of the original 19th century buildings;a Victorian-era shipyard owners home and active waterfront; a life-size sculptural representation of the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built; a scenic campus on the bank of the Kennebec River. Note the photographic homage to Andy Samberg and one of his genius digital shorts. Do you see it?

The man's favorite part about the museum was the small boat shed, where the same boat that we're building was for sale at the low, low price of $8,000.  Given the blood, sweat and cursing we have put into this project, we agreed that this was a fair price.  He also enjoyed the boat building production line, which took you from raw lumber to where the completed boat launches.  Personally, I was reeling from the fact that not only is pine resin used to seal the boat, but also as gum.  Pine flavored gum is just not something I would voluntarily place in my mouth.  I couldn't get that Pine Sol smell out of my nose for the rest of the day.  I was also saddened to learn that back in the colonial era, there were five foot lobsters, but due to over fishing, a one footer is now uncommon.  It takes a lobster seven years to grow to one pound.  Can you even imagine dining on a five foot lobster?  Shiver me timbers.

Upon our return to Boothbay, we walked across the foot bridge that connects both sides of the bay and had lunch at another one of the harbor's working lobster co-ops. The Boothbay Region Lobsterman's Co-op, complete with the Fence of Knowledge sells wholesale live lobsters for a prices that ranged from $6.50 per pound for lobsters under two pounds, to $8.50 for lobsters over two pounds.  We wished those prices were extended over to their restaurant.  We dined on cold lobster rolls, which each had the meat of an entire lobster, nestled in lightly grilled and buttered rolls.  The surfer dude, moon lighting as the bar keep, prompted us to enjoy the scenic overlook from the second floor.  This was code for there's-no-crying-kids-spilling-milk.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  Bay breeze, local brew, accidental gift of a free bowl of clam chowder, killer lobster rolls, premium real estate, and a view of our B&B across the bay.  Heavenly.

Lessons learned today:
1.  When in lobsterville, it is not a mistake to order the veal from an Italian joint owned by a northern Italian.
2.  New policy - based on mutually assured destruction - The man will answer every hour of kayaking, or similar event, with one hour of museum time.
3.  The man needs a four hour nap if he walks three miles.

Foggy comparision

Same spot, same time fame, two different days.