Part 2: Wasps, Cockroaches and Rats

At least she's smiling.

After we signed all the papers, we jumped right in to cleaning the boat.  Unless you’re really into horror stories, you don’t want to hear my descriptions of the condition of this vessel.  I captured what I was willing to look at in photographs and have posted some here.  Here are some phrases to clue you into the surprises we found on the first day:

  • Cockroach holocaust
  • Death by wasp-stings
  • Rusty explosives
  • Rotten, red-stained teak
  • Mold
  • Rat

OK, I wasn’t very creative with those last two.  I can’t say that I was “grossed out” by the boat, but I did learn quickly that I should be careful when opening lockers and cabinets.  For some reason, well into the day, I figured I would open the lid on the toilet in the forward head.  That’s where the phrase “cockroach holocaust” came from.

An aerial view of the Compass docked behind her former home.

We had learned from the broker that the boat had been docked behind one of his neighbor’s homes for many years without being sailed much.  There is a possibility that boat sat this way for twenty years, believe it or not, but I have no proof either way.  At some point, it began to sink.  We’re assuming it was simply full of rain water, but the owner did eventually have it towed to the nearest boat yard and have all the through-hulls replaced.  The boatyard also made a new gaskety-seal type thing, assembled from what looked to be old vertical blinds, and screwed it into the hull around the saildrive, but we wouldn’t find that out for a few more months.  The boat came sans engine, which we were aware of.  Apparently this came out for repair around the same time the other problems were addressed, but the gentleman who owned the boat became ill and passed away before it was ever reinstalled.  In fact, we can’t find a single person who knows who took the motor to do the repairs.  I’m sure that Volvo Penta has been installed in some other boat for quite a while, now.

Aside from all the dust and mold, cleaning the boat became kind of like a scavenger hunt to find the coolest 1980s boat junk.  The most obvious finds were in the nav station.  Among the equipment on this boat was a Furuno FE-400 echo sounder/fish finder complete with a few brand news rolls of paper, a 1983 model Micrologic Loran, a Vigil radar with a companion CRT monitor and quite the large remote control, and some sort of very big, obtrusive RDF.  Oh yeah, and it had a tape deck.

The nav station was also full of old manuals, charts, receipts and magazines.  My favorite find was a 1988 edition of the Waterway Guide for the Gulf coast.  I tore out one of those little cards that you send in – this one had a promise for a letter from Walter Cronkite – and dropped it in the mail complete with all of my pertinent information.  I’ll let you know if I hear back from them.

So, aside from the boat being rough, there didn’t end up being all too much to tell.  There were no dead bodies (unless you count the cockroaches), no bags full of $100 bills, and, most importantly, no obvious leaks.  It’s a shame for the family of the gentleman who owned the boat before he died, because a days worth of labor could have doubled the asking price for the boat.  Two weeks worth could have quintupled it.  I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have said those things before the bill of sale had been signed, but I can’t help but feel a twinge of sorrow on their behalf.  I hope they know it’s in good hands.  Oh, and we got the rat out alive.

BREAKING NEWS: Ramen Noodle Crisis Averted

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – A potential crisis was averted when this journalist uncovered proof that Winn Dixie’s Thrifty Maid ramen noodles are actually manufactured by Nissin Foods, the Japanese corporation responsible for the Top Ramen and Cup Noodles brands.  College students and community college students alike felt a shared sense of loss when the Top Ramen Oriental flavor suddenly went missing from Bay Area stores this spring.  “It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced,” said one self-professed “typical ramen noodle eating consumer.”

Once upon a time /Once when you were mine /I remember skies /Reflected in your eyes /I wonder where you are /I wonder if you think about me

The Oriental flavor is particularly sought after for several reasons.  The flavor is one of the very few with a completely vegetarian seasoning packet, which makes it very popular among tree-hugging hippies.  Others claim that their love for the noodles in the blue plastic stems from a much more important cause: JDM-ness.

Whatever the reason for any particular nerd’s dedication, the disappearance of the Oriental flavor created quite the stir in some places, so the news that these noodles could still be had was universally well received.  “I didn’t even know Winn Dixies were still around,” said me, when I read that they had my damn noodles.  “Does this mean I have to drive to Pinellas Park, now?”

The noodle rebranding conspiracy was uncovered when this reporter got desperate and actually tried to find an answer to her problem instead of crying in her closet for hours on end.  After entering countless search terms into Google’s search engine, I found a 2007 recall notice for Top Ramen shrimp flavored ramen noodles which also listed the Winn Dixie brand as a co-potentially-deadly foodstuff.  Upon locating a Winn Dixie Supermarket (see previous Pinellas Park assumption), I was delighted to find a shelf full of Thrifty Maid Oriental ramen noodles.  I am happy to report that they come with the exact same flavor packet as the Top Ramen, and have the same moshi-moshi-arigato-kawaii flavor as well.

This reporter has also been informed that Aldi supermarkets carry a rebranded Nissin line, but she finds standing in bread lines to be so 1980s, so she won’t be confirming this just yet.

Part 1: It all started with a particulate filtering facepiece respirator.

Charlie and I were headed to the beach, which was particularly wonderful for us because we’d been away from Florida beaches for far too long.  Although he’d spent quite a bit more time in New York than I had, I feel that I suffered the most from the lack of emerald-colored salt water.  Why is that?  Because it’s my blog, and I say so.

Denise manning the helm.
You're looking the wrong way, moron.

When we came back home to Florida, we brought with us a fabulous little MORC race boat that had been donated to his school, SUNY Maritime College.  We’d put a lot of work into this thing, most of it during the winter.  Charlie is the one who made us work on it in the snow, by the way.  He made all these promises of hot chocolate and space heaters.  Guess who never got her Swiss Miss.  Even through all of the forced labor, I ended up falling in love with the boat.  To this day we haven’t splashed our little G&S 25, and it’s all because of a new girl who caught Charlie’s eye.

There’s something you should know; Charlie can name a sailboat model from a mile away.  I wish to God this was something that paid.

Back to the supposed beach trip: we had to stop at a boatyard to check on Charlie’s dad’s Mako 21 which had been having some engine troubles.  In the haul-out slip at this boatyard floated a huge wreck of a derelict vessel, which never even caught my eye.  Charlie, on the other hand, recognized it immediately as one of the boats that had been on his dream-boat list for as long as he could remember.  He walked right into the service department and asked the first person he saw, “what’s the deal with that Compass 47 out there?”

“Is that what it is?  It’s yours for five thousand dollars.”


Compass 47 Lookin' Rough
Compass 47 what? I had no idea, and didn't really care to, at this point.

The gentleman behind the counter then handed over an N95 mask and gave one last warning, “it’s pretty moldy and gross inside.  Oh, and it’s full of wasps.”

You would think Charlie had just been assigned a top secret fact-finding mission by the President himself, while I’d just earned a near guaranteed stab with an Epi-Pen.  Going through this boat was serious business for serious people.  Charlie was enchanted by things that were giving me the creeps.  I wasn’t entirely sure he was seeing the same things I was, and was tempted to administer a field sobriety test.  He insisted, though: this boat could be brought back to life.  He then let me know that he’d just seen one sell on YachtWorld for $120,000.  I must have blinked at him strangely a few times, because I started seeing black spots.  All I could say was, “sold.”

We did eventually make it to the beach.  The entire time we were there, Charlie was sweating the Compass.  We had yet to deal with the broker, and we weren’t satisfied that the verbal agreement with the service technician at the boatyard constituted a deal done.  The broker would end up being hard to hook up with, only because he wasn’t too concerned with this hunk-of-junk he had on his hands.  He didn’t even know what it was, and we weren’t about to tell him.

I think it’s around 25 or 6 to 4, or so.

Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?

Seriously, if I ever asked anybody what time it was and they came back at me with some pseudophilosophical tripe like that, I’d get pretty aggravated, because, yeah, you’d know what damn time it was if you’d look at that watch that you’ve already admitted to wearing.  I’ve got a question for ya’.  Why are you wearing a watch, anyway?  Now, I won’t get violent or anything like that, so fear not hippies, but I won’t be sticking around to hear what the bigger message is supposed to be, so the whole thing ends up being a wasted attempt at getting me to care about whatever deep thought it is you’re having at the moment.

And, after typing that all out, I realize I’m probably the only person in the world who has such a reaction to that song.

Something For His Baby Book

This post is about Charlie annoying me by constantly invoking the title of a miniseries.

You can go ahead and blame me for all those Masterpiece classics Netflix keeps suggesting to you.  Yes, I’m the one that devours episodes of Downton Abbey, and I can’t seem to make those four part BBC miniseries last longer than one night in my instant queue.  I know you probably thought Netflix was screwing with you, but someone really watches that stuff.  I even put up with (the lovely and talented) Shirley Henderson’s voice for several hours because the adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now was just so strange-in-a-good-wayThis is not about that.

So, He Knew He Was Right must have sat in my queue for nearly a year before we got around to watching it.  Then we did.

You know how a kid will go around repeating that thing that made you laugh the first time he said it over and over until you find yourself reassured that putting the locks on the outside of his bedroom door was a good idea?  I don’t even have kids, I just remember being that annoying.  Anyway, Charlie is like that kid.

Since watching He Knew He Was Right, Charlie has claimed to have known he was right about everything.

“Charlie, could you hand me the remote?”

This remote?”

“Yes.  Thank you.”

“I knew I was right.”

Spoiler: In case you were wondering, the guy who knew he was right, he dies at the end.

Where I Complain About Wining and Dining My Boat

Everything we do to the boat is hard. I’ll go into details when I get this blog fully refocused, but for now I just want to complain about the boat.  Yes, I’m going to whine about a strong hulled forty-seven foot long sailboat that has three state rooms, two heads and over six feet of standing head room.  I’m going to sit here and boo-hoo over a boat that was sailed to Florida from South Africa and has gone up and down the east coast of the US quite a few times, as well.

We purchased a Compass 47, so we’re pretty much the luckiest kids in town.  The fact that a boat like this was around for the taking, under the circumstances that it was proves the existence of some sort of merciful God.  The boat needs some work, but, structurally, she’s as strong as an ox.  A really big, young, strong ox (or whichever way oxes … -en … are strongest).  She’s got an attitude though.  I’ve begun to think of her like an insecure woman who gets a reputation for being – and I do hate this term – “high maintenance.”  She’s quite the catch, but she needs you to spend time and money on her so that she’ll know she’s worth something.  She knows you love her dearly, but she requires that you show her.  She wants to get taken out to dinner and a movie, and dessert, and get an engagement ring.  Every day.  She wants you to shower her with platitudes, and act like you need her a little bit, too.  A few tears shed on her behalf every now and then may be necessary, and she doesn’t mind if you know that.

She likes it when you spend eight hours straight hunched over, putting painters tape down on her deck.

And we did.

Quiverfull of FUNdamentalism

For the past few weeks, I have been obsessed with finding as much information as possible about fringe religious groups.  The most interesting of the bunch, in my opinion, has been the Quiverfull movement. I’ll refrain from saying too much here about the ideals of those involved since … well … I’m not into being set ablaze for the Lord.  Whether or not you’re aware though, you’ve probably already been exposed, thanks to TLC and their love of the Duggar family.

This morning I came across a parody page (at least, I was really hoping it was a parody!) touting the benefits of quiverfull living for secular feminists.   I was just so moved by what I read (read: ROFLMAO) that I had to type up a quick email showing my support:

Reverse Quivering: The Answer to my Question!

I was sitting at home yesterday and I was alone.  I am always alone at home but, to be fair,  I’m rarely at home.  It was Saturday night and all of my friends as well as some of the other women from my office were going out to a hotel bar.  I was ready to go out with them – wearing a black dress, black heels and my Blackberry was in it’s case in my black Coach embossed python tote.  Despite this being a Saturday night ritual since graduating university 8 years ago, I could not motivate myself to head out.  I was overwhelmed with sadness.  At least I think it was sadness.  You see, I’m an empowered woman living life in the fast lane on he track leveled out for us by women generations before.  I work as a high powered corporate person making big ticket corporate purchases and deciding things that effect other people in my social and economic sphere.  Unlike the sappy housewives of the 50’s, there is no time for emotion in my life.  This isn’t Sex in the City!  I work 60 hours a week!  So I thought it may be sadness but I wasn’t sure so I pretended to have a 24-hour virus and texted all my girlfriends the news.

That was last night.

This morning I had an email from my grandmother, and while I tend to ignore those (they range between “when are you gonna meet a man?” and “make me a great-grandchild – and not a test tube grand-baby like your mother did!”), I was somehow drawn to open this one.  I’m so glad I did!  Her email was simply a link to your website and an emoticon where a little smiley guy was on his knees with his hands clasped in a begging gesture.

I’ve seen the light!  As soon as I read your words I felt a warmth fill my heart … or maybe it was my tits, which would be a maternal thing, right?  Either way, I was moved and I’ve decided what I want to do with my life.  How better to spread my feminist, work-hard-play-hard ideals than to breed a bunch of little clones?

As it all settled in, my affection for the idea turned into anxiety.  Where does one meet a secular quiverfull man?  All of the men I know had vasectomies straight out of college and have so many mistresses that they’d never have time for me and the kids.  Perhaps you should start a dating section on your site.  Also, a forum so we could share homeschool ideas (Unschool?  Waldorf?  Something new for us in the movement; something Steinem inspired?).  What letter do you suggest I start all of my progeny’s names with?  I was thinking “M” so I could have both “Madyson” and “Mackynzie” but I’m lost after that.  Should our family uniform be made by D&G or so I go off the rack?  I’m thinking black.

Thank you for opening my eyes to opening my uterus.  I can’t wait for my new life to start.  Having a quiverfull is going to be so freeing, I can feel it already!

I’m still hoping the site is a parody since the comedian behind the keyboard posted my letter.  If not, I may have inadvertently set myself up for a whole new type of witness knocking on my door!

My Old People

I (am lucky enough to) live with some Old People.  Well, one of them is older – eighty-three – and has Alzheimer’s.  I was his daytime caregiver for the 2008-09 season (yes, life runs in hockey seasons).  One of them is a young ninety-five and, despite some definite rough spots, is in pretty damn fine shape.  The other one is only in her sixties and, you know what they say: sixty-six is the new nineteen … or something like that.

I try to be courteous, of course, and yesterday I needed to make a run to Publix for my own nessesities (beer and Sudafed, as it was) and I asked the Old People if they needed anything.  I got the usual “oh, no honey”‘s from two of them but, as if I should have actually expected some other answer, the ninety-five year old walked up to me.

She’s a small woman.  Five-one – which still trumps me by at least an inch – and her weight is near the same as her age.  She’s sharp as a whip, this one, but her hearing has gone quickly over the last year or so and she get’s really close to whomever she’s speaking now as if we are having the issue hearing her.

“You know those trays that old people put their teeth in,” she asks of me matter-of-factly as if I’m supposed to simply nod my affirmative.

“Uh, no, not really.”

“Well, they’re near the toothpaste and the dental floss.  I need one of those.”

So, yesterday, at Publix (at 27 years of age), I bought my first SeaBond Denture Bath.

Just another Pinellas County, Florida right of passage, I suppose.