Dessert First!


Detaching the rode from the chain.

This weekend Mike and I had an epiphany. We’re both in our ’50s and it is only now clear to us that our mothers were completely wrong. Also wrong were all the nutrition ‘experts’, doctors, school teachers, Mrs. Kravitz, and any other so-called ‘authority’  or rule-lover who insisted that dessert be eaten only at the end of a meal. Eating dessert at the end of a meal is a risky business. While you are busy filling up on broccoli and brussels sprouts with broiled chicken on the side all the desserts are being enjoyed by people smarter than you who know how to go out and have fun. We will become those people beginning next weekend.

If you think I’m really talking about food, you haven’t been reading this blog for very long. I forgive you. I’m talking about sailing and the fact that we haven’t been having any lately. And why is that? Because we are both hard-working American oldest children, that’s why. We work with almost religious zeal. You’d think we would be raptured at any moment. This must stop. If getting out on the water is the dessert of life, and I reckon it must be if we’re willing to work this hard for it, then we’re going to start eating that first and saving the work for later.

Here’s how these weekends go: Drive to Astoria on Friday night, commence working on S/V Nameless. Drop into bed around 11:00, asleep before hitting the hay. Mike gets up early on Saturday morning and commences to work again. Melissa gets up slightly later and also commences to work. Coffee is made and imbibed. Someone makes breakfast, the only meal of the day that is actually attended to. Work continually Saturday, noticing the sunshine and warm temperatures. Try to ignore it. Go to bed only when the body literally will not obey commands anymore. Repeat on Sunday, by which time the body is screaming in protest (especially the hands. Oy vey. The hands, they do hurt.) Work until almost dinner time, then load the car with this week’s projects and drive home for 3 hours. Feel greenly envious of people who were on the water today.

We had the idea that this weekend we would do work on Saturday, then leave Sunday to go out on the River and play with the boat. Work first, play later. Sounds good in theory. But the ‘play later’ never happened. Here is why:

It’s a little hard to leave the dock with this happening on deck. Mike removed all the chain form the chain locker so we could look it over. This is on our list of ‘must do’s’ before leaving Astoria for Puget Sound. Turns out that the longest chain, which is at least 300 feet, is actually in great condition. The shorter one, which was attached to rope rode, is the iffy one. So he removed the shorter chain and we’ll have that checked out. The anchor and chain on the boat are ready to go. Down below, I was faced with this:

The anchor locker was filthy. With all the chain and rode removed, this was the perfect time to get it cleaned and painted, a job that took better than half the day. Now it looks like this. Got to love Bilge Kote. I won’t bore you with the washing, sanding, and painting. I already lived it once. Why should I make you suffer? Notice that ugly net? This divides the anchor locker into two spaces and ostensibly it keeps one chain from infringing on another. It may have worked well before, but we’re not impressed now. Mike will be redesigning the interior of this space in the future. For now he put Dri Deck at the bottom of the locker to keep air circulating and keep the chain from marring my pretty painted finish. With anchors and chains off the boat, Mike was able to get to the anchor rollers. They are aluminum. Who knew? He removed them, cleaned them up, and lubricated all moving parts. . 

While I worked on the anchor locker, Mike was working on installing the fuel gauge. He was not having a good time. The hole was slightly larger than it needed to be and he’d planned to buy some Star Board at Englund’s. Problem is they’ve never heard of Star Board there. We are unimpressed with that marine store overall. They rarely have what we’re looking for. He spent enough time on this project that he actually got pretty frustrated. Enough said.

Not going anywhere with a cockpit looking like this.

While he was cursing in the cockpit, I did some sewing below. I’ve been working on cushion covers for the salon settees. This is not on our list of ‘required’ things to finish before we leave Astoria, but it’s a soothing project that I can do a little at a time. I have decided sewing these by hand is the best way since these are temporary covers. When we remodel the salon in the future, all will be replaced, so I’m doing these the fast, cheap, easy way. Basically they remain unfinished on the bottom side. That’s where the ‘cheap’ comes in. It saves fabric. I found this fabric for 5$ a yard, which is almost like stealing it. If I don’t have enough for the seat backs, I’ll just get a matching solid color. It’s a good thing I take photos or I wouldn’t be able to remember all the projects we have going on at once. Still waiting for the Bilge Kote to dry, Mike returned to his latest nemesis: the aft head. Recall we took about 30 feet of hose out of the engine room. Mike replaced that with some pvc pipe, connected with regular boat sanitation hose (to absorb vibration).  Finding a way to hook this up to the head itself in a tight space required some sharp turns. In the future we may move the head to the other side of the bathroom where the plumbing will be a straight shot into the oversized holding tank. But for now, we just need a completely plumbed head that dumps into a holding tank in order to be legal on the water. Our forward head goes directly overboard, so we’ll have to take that out of service and ziptie the seacock closed.  Check that off the list.

It’s said you can flush a raincoat down these. We will not be testing that theory.

In the future we’d like to get the bases for both heads sandblasted and let them go green. Industrial art. Perhaps walls of a pale tangerine would show these off well. With the head plumbed and the Bilge Kote dry, Mike returned chain and rode to the locker. While he did that, I began a cleaning project in the area around the aft head. Sometime in the past a previous owner decided that wallpaper and boats went well together. Maybe sometimes they do, but not in this boat, and not in a humid room like a head with a shower attached. I’ve known this was coming but take a look:

EWWWWWW! Just disgusting. There is no other way to say it. One hundred percent of the wall surfaces were covered with black mold behind the paper. Fortunately it was completely dry, having been there for a long time. I’ve been itching to get at this project because I knew it was there and it grossed me out. Since the head wasn’t plumbed we never used that bathroom, just passed through it. Now that we have a head we can use, I wanted it to be clean.

I ripped off all the paper, spraying the backing and walls with bleach water as I went to kill any spores. The paper was put on with what appeared to be standard wall paper paste, something that mold loves. It was the perfect medium, just one big petri dish. I sprayed down all the walls, scrubbed with bleach water with a drop of dishwashing soap, using a big green scrubby pad. That took off most of the black spots and revealed that the walls had been painted previous to papering them. I am going to repaint, so I got most of the black off, then got out my electric sander with dust collector. Masked, with the widow open, I commenced to sanding and the stuff zipped right off. I used the shower head to spray down the walls after wiping them down to take most of the remaining dust off. I’m almost finished with the removal of the nasty stuff. I still have to remove the paper behind the mirror and on the base cabinet. It’s not pretty, but it will do for now.

In the middle of this, Mike re-routed the raw water vent from the engine. That only took a couple of hours. Meanwhile, the sun was shining. Sunday morning the wind was calm, the river looking almost welcoming. The boat was too ripped apart to do any kind of ‘going out’. In the car on the way home we made a pact of sorts. Next week if the weather is fine, which, in Astoria means that the wind is pretty calm and the river is not gnarly,  we will go out first, and then do our work after we’ve played for awhile. Perhaps we will also eat cake for breakfast.

14 thoughts on “Dessert First!

  1. I am 100% in favor of cake for breakfast but only because you two are seriously getting it done! Looking forward to photos of Sv Nameless out on the water.
    You really do need to name her before Nameless sticks!

    • Yeah, it’s a constant stress . We have visions of naming her when we’re out on the ocean bringing her up here. I think that’s where it will happen.

  2. Amazing workers. That anchor locker looks amazing. I would have sold the house and moved to Astoria by now. lol. That’s what we did. Only we moved from Everett to La Conner.

    We have wallpaper like you in our 2 heads as well. We want to replace with new wallpaper though. We don’t have mold so I guess they used the right stuff back in 1972. I wonder what you are supposed to use on a boat?

    Good job on that head toilet redoing the piping. That is the worst. Using hard PVC pipe is definitely the way to go. Use as much as you can before going to the flex.

    Hope you get out next weekend.

    • I should have posted a photo of the engine room where the hard pvc runs, then under the sole to starboard side of the boat to the tank. Mike did a nice job on it.
      You are lucky to not have mold. I think the previous owners had the boat in the south Pacific where there is a lot of humidity.. Add an on board stand up shower and mold is the answer. Even though the boat is very well ventilated, a boat can take only so much,

  3. Do you know about Mr Clean erasers…wonder if they would work cleaning under wallpaper in boat heads? Suggest next weekend you have brkfst underway before either of you can discover any must-do chores

    • I would go through alot of Mr. Clean erasers in that head. But i do like the idea of breakfast underway BEFORE we discover more work to do. And eating cake. All of the cake.

  4. Perhaps ~ name the boat DESSERTFIRST. : ) completely agree with the philosophy…Kim and I just turned 50 and we ARE going to switch to liveaboards and early retirement in 1-2 years. Figure reduce standard of living and $ will be OK – frankly life is short and while we have lots of $’s now we don’t have time. I’d rather have the time. EXCELLENT post.

    • Glad you liked it! I hear you about having plenty of money but dwindling time. We feel that pressure for sure and know that when we move onto the boat our ‘standard of living’ will be reduced. We have mixed feelings about that now, but look forward to a simpler life. Still I struggle with letting go of our house, basically because I wonder if it’s the last home I will ever own that is big enough for family to be with us. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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