The Install begins

This week, we made it to the boat. The streets were clear, but the paved trail was still raw snow.  Turning back, we made stab at the back country trail.  We could only ride across small patches, which left us with about 3 miles worth of pushing the bikes and slogging through snow that was up to 2 feet deep. Sweaty work.  Very hard to do. When we got off the trail in Mumford Cove, we cheered each other and relished the smooth roll over pavement.  And then it was straight to work. The project for the day – priming everything. From: To: The smell was so foul that we couldn’t stay in the boat.  Cold air doesn’t move very fast and fumes don’t dissipate.  In summertime, we can do a project like this and go for food (exactly what we did).  When we come back, we can do another project or just relax aboard.  Not in the winter. So we went to a movie.  Quartet.  Good movie, enjoyable.  I don’t think the big screen was a critical component of our enjoyment, but the big sound system rocked the Bach and Verdi.  But you have to know – we didn’t have to go to this movie.  We live this life.  The only element that was missing from what we live on a daily basis – ours isn’t a home for retired artists, and their estate was definitely not a dump like the place we live. By the way, going to a movie means another 6 mile bike ride each way.  This time, in the dark and freezing cold.  We moaned and groaned a bit, but the light exercise (we took it easy) felt good after the morning’s labor. Next day, we turned our attention to installing the hatches in the[…]

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Stopped Cold

So we got hit by this huge snow storm last Friday that dropped about 3 feet on us over night and well into Saturday. Then it froze hard overnight, rained like a mother-fucker the day after that and then it was time for our weekend. On Monday night Dena did the few remaining cuts of Azek that we needed to finish the new galley cabinet while I went on a recon mission around the neighborhood to see if the ride would even be possible the next day. The snow drifts were piled up to about 6 feet on both sides of the roads but the rain had cleared most of the salted roads to be pretty safe as far as I could tell. Everyone that I talked to that had been out in the world-at-large had told me that it was the back roads in the neighborhoods that were bad and we both could only imagine what the back-woods trails would be like so we figured we’d give it try and if it didn’t work than it didn’t work and that was that. The day was bright and beautiful with not much chill in the air so the big melt was in full swing. We packed the trailer up and headed out with very little to deal with outside of the fact that the traffic was a bit intense but that was to be expected, being the first day people could actually get out without putting their lives in mortal danger in about four days. Once we made it to the trail head we knew we were in for a slow slog but what we got was stopped cold. Once it got up to the derailleurs on my bike the trailer then sunk like a rock and stopped me in[…]

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A shelf and a drawer

This week we didn’t get to do a whole lot of work on the boat, I mean we worked, as you shall see but we did more riding our bikes through the insistent  snow than actual work on the boat. Back at the community we loaded up the bike-trailer with all the pieces of Azek that we cut to form on Monday night. Then we rode. Just after the crack of dawn we rode from Groton to Noank on a thick carpet of freshly dropped frozen precipitation and unloaded the trailer at the marina about 45 minutes later. We had about an hour before Dena’s eye exam so we thought we’d put the new dry-goods shelf in place and do the fiberglass so it could dry while we were gone. Then we rode to Mystic through the gently sloping Connecticut rivers edge. It snowed on us constantly the entire ride but it didn’t seem to matter much, the scenery was spectacular. When we got to Mystic Dena headed over to her eye-exam while I settled in at Bartleby’s for a relaxing day of reading and sipping coffee imported from the Mexican mountains. All the while it snowed, a light late winter feathering that covered the already picturesque town of Mystic painting a perfect postcard. …And it was all day. I (James) am reading a most fascinating book, Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson. It’s about all the things that Neil Stephenson writes about, computer culture, codes and breaking them and the thing that I think stimulates him as a writer more than anything else, the concept of a Universal Machine. Cryptonomicon is a 918 page future door stop that helped me pass the time quite nicely, so, by the time Dena showed up just after dark my feet had thawed, my mind[…]

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Now let’s put it in place

… But first, let’s fix that bilge pump, lest we lose another night’s sleep! Notice my (James’) new hair cut!  Doesn’t it look great with my hands in the bilge? Lying awake in the middle of the night back at the community, I fantasized about how dreadful this job was going to be.  Covering my entire body with bilge muck, screaming and cussing, wishing that I could just…smoke a cigarette…take a shotgun and blow seven holes into the hull of that boat and just watch it sink… With the Rule SuperSwitch, there’s a hole for a fastener at the forward end.  There’s also a notch under the float for a second fastener, in a place that is designed by a truly insane human being.  You cannot get to it with any tool.  You have to set the fastener up first…remember, this is in the oily, stinky, freezing bilge…put it at the perfect depth, slide the notch around the fastener, and then tighten the whole thing down with the forward fastener. I’ve done this job before and it never takes less than 3 hours.  But this time, the old switch literally came apart in my hands.  It just disintegrated.  I set the screw at the perfect depth and slid the switch onto it the very first time. I clipped all the wires down, hooked everything up, did all the shrink wrap, and the whole job took about an hour. The most important thing about this picture: when using a very powerful hand tool, you should always look at your job. But damn, I look good. Did I mention I got a haircut? There it is.  That’s all the bilge pump you’ll ever see.  In the upper left corner of the photo above?  That’s the bilge pump switch – with both auto[…]

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Primary Mock-Up

This week we took all of the measurements we’ve been doing over the past month and applied them to our sheets Azek. Each sheet started out 4 feet by 8 feet and our working space is almost exactly 6 feet long  by a little under four feet wide so we had plenty of material to work with and then some for our drawers and cabinets that we will build into the installed unit. The new sink is much bigger than the old one (74cm wide) and has a somewhat domestic appeal, it has two very large, very deep, pans. Instead of cutting one big hole for the sink we laid the sink out on the cut-out Azek, up-side-down, and drew out the hole cuts on the Azek. Then we measured them out for exactness. We punched a small hole, just big enough for the saw blade, in the Azek and cut the holes precisely the right size to fit the sink in, you’ll see why in a second. After that we had to practically shave out little pieces with the jig-saw here and there to get the sink to fit but it did and we put it into place. Then we mocked the whole thing up just like it will be on the boat. As you can see, we used the sink cut-out pieces as lid-cutting boards for the sink pans. The right side of the image will be the new settee while the left cut-out will be the new place for the stove. We rented a car and took all the pieces that are too big to fit in the bike trailer to the boat to fit them into place. Once we got to the boat we discovered the bilge pump had stopped working so we had to dedicate[…]

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Low Tide Revelations

The ice began its rapid melting process last Monday night and we were in the basement wood shop putting a new coat of paint on the Rutland 913 wind generator. We have discovered that even though our employment is not necessarily physically hard work, it is taxing none-the-less and riding to the boat on Monday night after work is just a little much. So we continued working on the projects that we have going here at the community. I found a new (to me) bike on Craigslist for a couple of hundred bucks, a steal really, borrowed a car and went out to the middle of bum-fuck Rhode Island last Thursday to pick it up. I was stoked to put the new ride to the test on the muddy ice-melt through the Bluff Point State Park and Tuesday morning we made that happen. It was a blast! Dena rode my old bike, which we originally bought for her anyway, and had no problems riding through the goo. My new bike, a 2010 Trek Wahoo with a single speed gear set-up, is pretty much built for me and it rides like a dream. It is a bit harder to deal with being as though I can’t rely on the 21 speed gear package my old bike pampered me with but I got used to it quickly and had a great time muddying it up on my first time out. By the time we got to the boat we were both covered in muck and laughing our asses off. We got right to work… As soon as I stepped on the boat I noticed that the batteries were completely dead! There wasn’t even enough power in the house bank to run the power meter. By the time Dena had stepped aboard I[…]

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The cold rebuild

As it’s prone to do here in the New England, Atlantic North East we got dumped on with 4 inches of snow in 5 hours, followed by 3 days of hard-freeze creating the ultimate conditions for bike riding! As much as we love riding our bikes in the rain and dodging cars, riding 5 miles through the state park on the (not-quite) virgin frozen hard-pack was a blast for sure. I’m not just bragging here, we really do love to do this kind of thing! On the ride to the boat it had warmed up quite a bit so the snow in the back country was pretty hard on Dena’s balance being as though she’s got these skinny little street tires on the borrowed bike she’s been riding lately. Neither one of us fell, it was just slow going is all. Oh yeah… The night before we rode out to the boat we had to barrow a car to come out and get the rest of the big pieces to the Aries windvane steering system that we took off the boat last week. While Dena took the stuff back to the community and took care of a bunch of other “car” duties, I stayed behind on the boat and hooked up the new  12 volt refrigerator for testing. I temporarily set it up in our “New Hole”, the place where the Pilots Birth will be, hooked up the power that had been for the old fridge and the new refrigerator kicked right on. It’s quite, has a functional thermostat and only uses 2.5 amps while the pump is on, in other words, it works perfectly. I left it on for the 2 and a half hours that Dena was gone and it cycled through enough times to keep it’s self[…]

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