boat cooking

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months I began to regret the decision to throw out the crusty old stove that was on our boat when we bought it.  Sure, the cooking grate was completely burned through over one burner, there was a large gap in the back of the oven that did not look safe at all, and it was coated with grease but, hey, it was a stove.

Continue reading “boat cooking”

The Primrose Path part 4

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.


We arose early. I showered while my Better Half cooked pancakes and CoastieGuy made sure the repairs had held overnight. We talked about taking the boat out just once, for a little while, before Dad and I left. I was extremely excited to do this because I felt that leaving the dock, even for 5 minutes, would make this trip seem just a tiny bit worthwhile and I wouldn’t feel quite so horribly depressed about the whole endeavor.

We ate breakfast but I had neglected to provide the coffee-drinkers of the group with adequate coffee (I ran out of the fancy Starbucks instant thingies that cost $2 each). CoastieGuy drove to the store to get more. When he came back he came bearing a jar of instant Folgers and a story about someone who had “seen the boat and wanted to make an offer of $200k for it”. In that second I knew I was hopeless because my initial reaction was “no!”  It was a joke, of course, and then I felt even more stupid.

Through a series of circumstances we were not able to take our boat off the dock. I was bitterly disappointed. This entire miserable thing was for nothing.

Dad and I drove the three hours back to the airport. I was tired, cranky and discouraged. We left behind CoastieGuy and my Better Half who were going to continue to fix the leaks for one more day until CoastieGuy had to leave (here’s a big, bloggy hug for Mrs. CoastieGuy; thanks for sharing your man with us! We absolutely would have been lost and possibly sunk without him…). My Better Half had another week before he had to be back at work. In that time we would surely find a way to bring the boat up, right?

I must have looked pretty wrecked on the airplane because the man sitting next to me showed me the Discovery Chanel Sharkweek video 10 times and bought me a drink in order to cheer me up.  The drink worked wonders though I managed to spill a quarter of it on myself. It was a first for me…

AllesGirl and HerSpouse picked me up from the airport, bought me Vietnamese pho, and brought me back to warm embrace of The Commune. Thank God for them, I was a Basket-case of jangled nerves and I barely managed to make it through the airport on my own.

It was so nice to be back in civilization but all I could think of was my Better Half and our floating home…

That was day 4.

The Primrose Path part 3

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.


Day three (Saturday) dawned bright and early. CoastieGuy and my Better Half took the truck into town to try to get the necessary parts to fix the portlights.

We knew we would not leave the dock today or anytime soon; the pressing issue was to keep water on the outside of the boat.  30 minutes later they returned, having forgotten to bring one of the portlight dogs for comparison…

All 4 of us climbed into the truck and we drove to a diner for breakfast. After some down-home Southern cooking we all felt better physically though, mentally, I can only speak for myself.

We drove to the Strip Mall Extraordinaire where the boys went to the hardware store, I walked across the parking lot to the mega-giant soul sucking store that has everything, and Dad stayed in the truck.

It was starting to sprinkle as I was walking and 2 minutes after I got inside I heard a really strange noise. It sounded like a huge fan spraying marbles across the roof. It turns out that sound was rain and lots of it. Again.

I got the miscellaneous things I needed (cutting board! Dish sponge! Bowl! Dish towels!) and called Dad to come pick me up. It was raining so hard that the parking lot was flooded and it was hard to see. I got soaked just running out to the truck. What fun times!
The boys took a little longer and by the time they were done it had stopped raining. Stupid weather.

We drove to the Marine store to try to find boating-specific things. No portlight dogs but we did manage to spend a whole bunch of money.

On the way back to the boat it rained again; so hard that we had to slow down to a crawl because the windshield wipers couldn’t keep up. Stupid weather.

Once back at the boat the boys started working on fixing the portlights.

The sink still wasn’t draining and the water in it was getting pretty nasty. We speculated on what was causing the problem. Was the water on the outside of the boat pushing against the pipe to the extent that the water inside couldn’t drain?  Was it plugged and we would have to tear the boat apart (again) to access it and clear the lines?  Had they painted over the through-hull during our paint job and the water would just sit in the lines until we get hauled out? We knew that it had been working during our three day cleaning fest (back when we were young and idealistic) so this was a recent problem.

We needed to go to the hardware store yet again so the three of us left Dad napping and drove in to town. I called The Commune to explain the situation while the boys shopped. Among their purchased was a tiny plunger (along with aluminum angle-iron, a hack saw and myriad screws).

We drove back to the boat and the first thing my Better Half did was to plunge that stupid sink. It worked!  Our one victory! Our one success!  It seems the boatyard had thrown so much shit down the drain that the pipes had gotten clogged. At least it wasn’t anything worse. It was awfully nice to have a working sink.

CoastieGuy did some work on the worst offending portlights. We squirted them with our water fill hose to check for leaks. It was a slow process since there were a lot of leaks…

I made dinner (pork and beans with beer) and we sat around the table looking at each other and trying to make light of the situation. There wasn’t much light to be made.

The Yankee Feast I had provided for the indigenous bugs had made my foot and ankle swell up to the point where I couldn’t stand on it and my ankle bone disappeared under puffy, itchy, red skin.  I sat on the settee with a baggie of ice pirated from the “refrigerator”.

That was day three.

The Primrose Path part 2

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.


We spent most of the night with the hatches open and big fans blowing the hot air around. Unfortunately a rain shower passed through in the wee hours of the morning and we had to close them up. It got stuffy and very hot very fast!

Day two dawned, steamy and muggy.  CoastieGuy and I drove into town to get some plumbers putty because our galley sink hadn’t been put back together correctly and was leaking. Because it was leaking we couldn’t run the engine since the overflow hose from the engine spits out into the sink. (It’s not how we want it to be set up but we are working with what we have. )

We returned to find a plumber under the sink. The boatyard had stopped by to see why we were still at the dock and, through a bit of cajoling, had sent over their “master” carpenter/plumber/jack of all trades. This was actually the 4th time he had tried to fix the sink. His proclivity was to start talking to whoever was around and, in talking, forget what he was doing. My Better Half, who had seen this phenomenon before, asked us to go topsides and not distract him. When he was finished he tried the sink and found that it was still leaking. He tightened something down and said we were good to go. The sink wasn’t draining well but we figured that it would be fine once we were moving and the water would sort of be sucked out from the drain hole as we went along.

After he left my Better Half stuck his head under the sink and found that it still had a slow drip. Bless his temper; he didn’t break anything, just said that we should use the plumbers putty and fix it right ourselves. When we tried to do that we found that the pipes had been glued in place to the extent that they will have to be chiseled out.

We put a towel under the leak and decided to hope for the best.

It was now almost noon and time for me to return the rental car. I jumped in and drove the 45 minutes to return it. Luckily it’s the place that advertised that it will pick you up (or drop you off) as needed.  I got a ride back to the boat pretty quickly but noticed that there were some dark thunderclouds forming to the west of us. I saw lightening.

The boys were plotting our course and trying to decide how best to do it.  We were just about ready to get underway when a huge clap of thunder sounded overhead and the heavens opened up upon us.

It’s ok, we can motor in the rain, right?  Well our 55′ aluminum mast will be the tallest thing around once we are on the ICW. What could go wrong?

The hatches and portlights started leaking. We tightened them down as much as possible but water kept pouring in under the seals. This wasn’t just a rain shower, this was biblical rain and Noah’s ark was sealed better than our boat was.

No matter how much we tried to secure them, the seals on the portlights were shot. We formed a small reverse-bucket brigade: CoastieGuy and my Better Half at the front of the boat where it was leaking the worst, Dad in the middle and me at the sink. The boys would pass saturated towels to Dad who would pass them to me. I would pass back a freshly wrung-out towel and the process would start over again. This went on for what seemed like days, though I think it was only an hour in real time. At one point the hatch over the galley was leaking so badly that my Better Half went outside and tried to strap a tarp over it with bungee cords. He came back soaking wet but it helped a little. After a while the boys went outside again and unfolded the tarp to tarp up the whole darn front of the boat since just about everything was leaking. 10 minutes later the rain stopped.

No one said much; we were all tired and wet and extremely irritated.

It was now 5:00. We all knew we couldn’t leave the dock with a boat that leaked like a sieve.  We needed to purchase seals for the portlights to prevent them from flooding again but we had no car and the closest store was a 20 minute drive away.

This began the mad scramble to try to find a car rental place that would pick us up (the place I turned in the car at noon had no one who could drive out to get us). Everything closed at 6:00 and the level of stress was rising. CoastieGuy, my Better Half and I were all standing in a little group away from the boat trying to call any place that might have cars and a solution to our problem. My Better Half found a taxi company in a town about 30 minutes away and said that we needed a cab ASAP. They sent one out for us. The trouble was that it wouldn’t get to us before 6 and that’s when all the rental companies closed.

CoastieGuy worked some magic and convinced one of them to stay open until 6:30.

The taxi showed up. My Better Half, soaking wet, dirty and unshaven, jumped in. CoastieGuy, Dad and I attempted to clean up as much as possible. We took measurements of the portlights to see how much gasket material we needed. We measured the good “dogs” (the things that secure the portlights closed) because some were broken or missing and we wanted to figure out how to fix them.

At 6:35 I started to worry that I hadn’t heard from my Better Half.  Did he make it? Had the place closed and he would have to resort to carjacking? Was he standing at an unnamed crossroads cursing the world (which is what I felt like doing at that point)?

I checked my phone. No signal.

I went outside where there was reception. I sent him a text and he called me back.  He was in a giant 4-door dodge ram pickup truck but at least he was driving. He had been trying to call and his messages came through as I was speaking with him. Stupid bunker boat. Stupid poor cellphone reception…

He got back and was just about Done. Done with everything. I sent him off to take a shower.

CoastieGuy jumped into the truck and drove to the liquor store where he bought a fifth of rum.

I cooked some dinner (baby back ribs, rice pilaf) and we all proceeded to get drunk.

Not too long after that the rum was gone.

That was day 2.

The Primrose Path part 1

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.

While our baby was getting her bottom wet for the first time my Better Half’s Dad and I were driving like maniacs to reach the boat launch so we could be part of the celebration.

The plan was for the 4 of us (BH, dad, CoastieGuy, me) to hop on board, cast off the lines and sail from North Carolina to New York.  Easy, right?

We got there (after only a couple of wrong turns) to find two very sweaty, grimy boys buried up to their elbows in engine oil and engine parts.  An oil change was in order, which made sense since the engine hadn’t been run in two years.

The boat was clean (as in: free of dirt) thanks to my Better Half and his Herculean efforts in getting it ready for my arrival.  He knows me well and knows that if I found dead bug bodies or excessive grime it might go badly.  (I know… I’m going to have to get used to a certain amount of this in our new life.  It was just sooooooo sweaty and sticky…)  And, as much as it was clean, it was in complete disarray since it had been taken apart, put back together; things in cupboards looked for and found; drawers rifled through to find the thing that wasn’t there…  I dove in and started putting things in other places away.

One of the things that bothers me the most in life is clutter.  Our boat is cluttered.  And hot.  And sticky.  And full of sweaty people.  It’s ok, I’ll just put These Things over here and get them out of the way.

Oh, that’s a tool you need right now?  Sorry.

Oh, you were using that container to hold the important things you need to put back onto the engine?  Sorry.

Oh, there seems to be a problem with EVERYTHING WE TOUCH?  Oh.

I stood on the dock and the dock master came by and showed me how to pump the diesel we would need to fuel up.  He is former NYPD and Good People.  He said he would give us a good rate if we were off the dock by 7am the next morning.  I said we would be.

I left to go Provision.  We were going to be sailing/motoring for 4 days straight so we were going to need a lot of food. Food that could be cooked in an electric skillet (yay, Target!) since we have no stove. Also, I need to buy food that is not-so-perishible since we have Ice and a Cooler instead of a refrigerator (the refrigerator was garbage, remember?).

I didn’t get far.

I looked at the clock and called the boat in a panic because it was approaching the time when my Better Half had to turn in his rental car. I couldn’t get ahold of any of the three of them.  Our lovely steel boat acts like a bomb shelter from cellphone signals (plus is located in the boonies).  I somehow got through and my Better Half drove to drop his car off, 45 minutes away.  I picked him up and we drove to the hardware store to pick up some sort of part to fix something that was wrong.  We also picked up a half-rack of beer.  I drove him back to the boat.  It was nice to be in the air conditioning.  I dropped him and the beer off  then drove the 20 minutes back to try to Provision again. I found the Piggly Wiggly and also found it highly entertaining.  It was considerably cheaper than our local grocery store in Manhattan (granted that we now live in the The Commune and not in Manhattan, but still…).

I provisioned and got back to the boat.  The half-rack of beer was more than half-gone.

I looked at the boys.  They were still covered in dirt and engine oil and were beginning to smell like Hopelessness.  They needed the car for parts and booze.

I stayed behind and sipped beer while I watched the stars come out.  I saw Orion, my favorite constellation.  It was so muggy that my bottle was dripping condensation like a tiny waterfall.  And that’s when the no-see-ums had a New York feast on my ankles.

The boys returned with a bottle of scotch, more beer and some boat parts.  We were all tired and hot and sticky and irritated.

I made some sort of dinner.

We went to bed.

That was day 1.