Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Dropsies

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W 

Many a time, I've said on this blog that you can not live on a boat unless you are ready to deal with a never ending list of maintenance chores.   Even rich people with big yachts, even those with brand new boats, will find that things break, and that other things need regular maintenance to keep from breaking.  If you're really rich, you can hire crew to do it for you.  Still, one way or another it must get done.

Actually, real boaters love doing all that stuff.  When they sit around having drinks, they love telling each other about their latest projects in great detail, and when friends are invited over, the men are invited to inspect the captain's latest handiwork.   Hell if you don't like working on your boat, you certainly won't enjoy living on it.

Last night, I had to unclog a blocked toilet.  First time since moving on board nearly 7 years ago.   It was ugly.  Really ugly.  To ugly to discuss on this blog.

But my real subject today is amazement over how I can get along year after year doing all those maintenance projects when I'm such a klutz.   Every time I work with small stuff, like screws and nuts, I drop them.  In the engine compartment, they fall into the Netherlands underneath the engine where they are the devil to find and retrieve.  Never mind.  I do find them and do retrieve them, then I turn around and drop them again; sometimes 3-4 times before I manage to get the screw in the hole.

The other day I was working on wiring in the engine compartment.  Something I did down there screwed things up and my attempts at remedies, keep causing additional problems because I'm so clumsy.  I seem to be making negative project in the last several days.  Anyhow while searching for a nylon washer that I had dropped under the engine, the Honda generator sputtered and died.  I went up to look and I saw gasoline streaming out of the generator housing.

Leaking gas is something that can not wait to be fixed.  I quickly untied the safety rope that secured the generator up on the bowsprit, moved it down to the deck, opened it up, diagnosed the problem (gas was coming out of the overflow tube on the carburetor which means the carburetor float must be stuck.) I fixed it quickly. When I went to return the generator to it's spot on the bowsprit, I saw that the blue canvas cover with the letters HONDA on it was missing.  It was tied with the same safety rope that secures the generator.  The cover must have gone overboard. Oh no.  What a klutz.  (The next day someone on the Cruiser's Net said they found the cover floating 1/4 mile away, so I got it back.  Who would think those things float?)

Family and friends who knew my father before he passed away know that I'm his spitting image.  His hobby was clock and watch making.  He did fantastic things with those tiny parts.  Me; whenever I try to do something small and delicate with my hands, I have to concentrate so hard that my blood pressure soars, my hands start to tremble and I drop what I'm holding on the floor.   The same thing happens when I try to help Libby with her stitching on the pine needle baskets.  Whatever gene my father had that allowed him to do that stuff (call it the brain surgeon gene), I didn't get a copy.

If I was a mechanic working for hire, I'd be fired after the first hour.  However, as a boat owner. I need only persevere.  Eventually, I muddle on through all of those projects.

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