So, it’s time for a boat blog (okay, way past the time). Of course, if you’re connected to me on Facebook, you’ve already gotten the snapshot version of Sunday’s adventure, courtesy of ML Baron.
My Little Water Buggy had a whole set of different issues this year.
Let’s start with last year. I had to get towed (again), because the motor died. After all the speculation about the ethanol gas and every other such thing, it turned out to be a much bigger problem. The stator needed to be replaced. That’s the thing that charges the battery (I think). It’s a conglomeration of magnets and other junkyard stuff, arranged just so, to spin and create a magnetic field or something. My Motor Guy explained it all to me, but that was last year. Anyway, it took weeks for the parts to get here, and then my Motor Guy had to practically assemble the whole thing inside the motor in the driveway anyway.
I watched him do that. I kept thinking, “Part? It looks like pieces.”
Then some other piece of something that cost a fortune had to be replaced, too. The powerpack, maybe? I just paid for it. I’ll be damned if I can remember it. Yeah, it was the powerpack. Would just get fried from all that super-duper power that would now be coming from the stator.
The upshot is: It cost me a fortune to get that 1985 motor working and then it was cold out, so I just wrapped it up for the winter, covered the boat, and dreamed about next year (which is now).
So, I uncovered the thing, rinsed it down and discovered that the patch we’d put in last year was not doing its job. The soft spot had gotten bigger. Turns out my friend used Bondo, which is bad because it has powder in it and absorbs water. Live and learn.
So, I called my carpenter guy (remember the floors?). I told him just to dig out the soft spot and patch it with plywood, then fiberglass it, and I’d paint it.
He started digging, and digging, and made a nice big hole in the deck. (This is the spot where I would normally post a picture, but, it appears that I did not take one….go figure.)
Then he stopped, and went home.
When I got him by phone he said that he reached his hand underneath and it was all wet under there and the whole deck needed to be replaced and that was beyond his ability to do and he sounded absolutely panicked that I would fall in or out or over or under or into a shark or something.
So, I started asking around. All I wanted was a patch, I told people. I just don’t want my foot to go through it. I don’t care what it looks like. This ain’t no billionaire’s yacht.
A couple of neighbors had a guy…or two. Everyone agreed that going pro was stupid. It would cost way more than the boat was worth. No problem, there. I don’t HAVE way more than the boat is worth. Really, at that point I wished I had just thrown tackle box over it and pretended it didn’t exist.
One neighbor did say he had a really good guy for that kind of work. I’d have to pick him up, though, he doesn’t drive (read: Probably lost his license because of DUI). And, don’t offer him a beer or anything alcoholic to drink until the work was done. AND, get a price for the job, not an hourly rate, or he’ll milk it.
But he’s a really good guy for that kind of work.
Welcome to my little island.
My brother had a guy. “He can do anything,” said my brother.
Okay, does he do boats?
“He can do anything.”
Okay, I’ll call him, but first…let me ask around a little more. (Read: I need to ask Hoppy.)
So, I saw Hoppy, explained the situation, and he said emphatically not to replace the whole deck. That’s crazy at this time of year. It’s a big job and expensive.
I just don’t want my foot to go through it, I said.
Y’know what you do, he said. Get an old street sign, a stop sign or something, and just screw it in. Then throw a big carpet over it.
“Ah, shit,” he said. “I’ll do it. Won’t cost ya nothin’.” (Except a 30-pack, or two, of course.)
Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
Of course, it took him awhile to get around to it. Also, my carpenter had removed some supports, so the window and seats and all that got all twisted up. We needed to fix that, too.
Hoppy, God bless him, did it. Before my vacation was completely over, too. I was sooooo excited that I’d be able to use the boat during my two-week publication break.
Of course, he didn’t use a street sign, he used a realtor’s sign (hoping they don’t read the blog).
So, I got in there to goop up around the edges and discovered…wait for it….another soft spot.
Geesh. Hoppy and I had stomped all over that boat and it seemed fine (mostly….that’s another story).
“I’m gonna need the other half of that sign,” I told him a day or so later. I said I could do it myself now that I saw what he did.
No, he said, you’ve got to use the right screws, and he said he really wanted to look at it himself.
Vacation almost over.
Then he did it. Used a “Slow Children” sign this time. On the bottom, someone wrote: “are easier to catch.”
Then I gooped up the edges.
I used that Boat Life Life Caulk. My boat is very familiar with that stuff. I love it. I used a tube and a half on the signs.
Then I needed to wash the boat. But, the remains of last winter’s wood were still piled behind the boat. That took three days to get rid of because it’s been super hot and humid and….great boat weather.
Then I washed the boat. it looked downright respectable.
Then I put that big old tub under the motor to start the engine. It started for about five seconds a couple of times, but just wouldn’t keep going.
For some odd reason, the shift lever beckoned to me in an odd way. So I grabbed it and pulled, the pushed. I discovered that it wouldn’t move. I thought for sure that it was supposed to move even if the engine wasn’t running. That thing was stuck.
And the engine wouldn’t start.
And, the fuel line leaked.
So, I looked in the shed and discovered a fuel line that was clearly newer. That one leaked, too. When are we going to stop accepting this garbage that only works for two minutes? I would not have a problem with the global economy if we would just hunt around for the best stuff instead of the junkiest stuff.
So, I went and bought another fuel line: $39+ with tax.
Now, bear in mind this is all happening THIS July, last week, in 80-90 degree weather and super-oppressive humidity. So that means I’m working outside for 15 minutes and retreating to the air conditioning for 20.
Spoke to my Motor Guy and told him the story. This was Saturday afternoon. He said he’d swing by on Sunday if I didn’t call him to say I’d gotten it started.
I went back out to the driveway, hooked up the new fuel line, and got the motor started. YIPPEE! Right?
Then, for some odd reason, the shift lever beckoned to me, again.
The motor was running, the shift lever was in the “neutral” position, but it sure looked like the propeller was spinning. I do not remember that much oily water getting splashed all over the driveway…and me.
So, I called my Motor Guy, to fix the shift lever. He said he’d be by Sunday morning.
I went to my mother’s summer place and hung out with the relatives, ate dinner, watched the sun set. When I got home, a car was pulling out of my driveway. COOL! My Motor Guy decided to take a ride and he fixed the shift lever. It was kind of stiff, but that’s okay, it used to move so easily that I popped it in reverse sometimes when I was trying for neutral. (And you remember what it does when I pop it in neutral, right?)
So, now I’m ready to go. The idea of going out for the first time of the season on a Sunday in the middle of July is kind of scary. But I was ramped up and ready to go.
The good thing is, there’ll be lots of people around, right? So, how bad can it be?
Stay tuned for part II.
Visit www.Zorena.com for links to Beth David’s other writings; visit www.NeighbNews.com for this week’s Fairhaven Neighborhood News.