We choose this

What a week! I show up at 4:30 in the middle of the fucking night after a six and a half mile bike ride to find I still have a trashcan full of water on my desk, I’ve asked my “team lead” four times to fix the leak in the ceiling above my computer… It still isn’t done. There’s a box on my desk it’s addressed to Dena Hankins, C/O James Lane, C/O Whole Foods Market. It’s Dena’s advanced copies for her novel Blue Water Dreams. I do my job, I let my country steel my tax money, I smile, I work like all the rest and then I step out of my wage slave gig, it’s Friday afternoon, my Monday and I notice I have two voice-mails on my phone. I dial up the VM and of course I get the second one first… “Everything’s okay, I got the boat anchored in the little cove in front of the rehab center, we’re fine. If you want to go to the gym to work out,  go ahead, really, we’re fine!” Shit! When I get to our new anchorage Dena is sitting in the cockpit, she rows out to the water-taxi dock and I pull the box out of my pack and hand it to her… She did it! She published her first novel, they printed it, put ten of them in a box and sent it to her and when she opened that box this is what she looked like!!! Everything else instantly became insignificant, well, for the moment anyway. We went out for a very nice dinner and showed the copy she gave me to our waitress and we got a free desert out of it, it was sublime. What had happened was, the Coast Guard had to bring[…]

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Hook Down in Chuck-Town

One last sail! What was I thinking!? Okay here’s what I (James) was thinking: If you’re a fan of this site you probably know that we’ve had our boat for sale for quite some time. Well, we’ve had some pretty serious potential buyers as of late and this time I really thought that one or two of these guys just might put some money on the table before we even had a chance to move the boat to another location. Well, two days after we blogged “One Last Sail” one of the women from the office of the Boston Ship Yard caught up with Dena in the marina lounge and told her that if we were going to “take advantage” of all the amenities that the marina had to offer we were going to have to pay like all the rest, the going transient rate… $75.00 per day FUCK THAT! There is no way in hell that we’re going to pay 75 bucks a day to park our dinghy on the end of a (falling apart) dock just so we can use a (shitty) shower three times a week! That evening we went for a bike ride to spot potential anchorages and found a few promising sites that looked to be a little closer to my new job so we decided to weigh anchor the next morning. The two potential buyers that I’d been talking to just kind of evaporated into non-responsive-email-land so we pulled up the hook and went exploring for our new digs. We sailed east from East Boston into Boston Harbor proper with two reefs in the main on a starboard tack in about 18 knots of freshening breeze, it was incredible! It was a warm Saturday morning so of course there were boats all around us.[…]

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One last sail

After a month of West Marine wage slavery, interviews upon interviews at Whole Foods and living on a mooring at the Wessagussett Y.C. I (James) finally got the call from Whole Foods… “Congratulations Mr. Lane, we’d like to offer you the job of lead-receiver at the Brighton, Whole Foods Market! Now, let’s talk about money and when you can start…” My answer to them about cash was so far out of their range that all I got was abject silence, followed by a clearing of the throat and… “The pay scale in Boston is a little different from that in Manhattan.” So we dickered. They said one number that almost hurt my feelings, I said another that made them gulp then I sat down and wrote a long email to the manager (or rather, Team Lead) of the store and finally we settled on a number that was not quite in the middle. I took the job. While James was negotiating like a fucking pro, I was booking my West Coast tour for Blue Water Dreams.  I’ve contacted dozens of potential venues (literally, and not in that modern sense where literal means figurative) for readings and workshops.  I have a pretty full schedule now, about as full as I’m comfortable making it.  There are only a few days of chill between flying to Seattle and then flying back from San Francisco. I’m confirmed at Good Vibes, for a reading and workshop on consecutive nights (San Francisco), the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up (which started it all, Seattle), Orca Books (Olympia), Blow Salon (Berkeley), the Gender Alliance of the South Sound (Tacoma), the Ingersoll Center (Seattle, for a visit), and a radio interview for People You Should Know.  I have tentatives at Art of Loving (Vancouver, BC), Gender Justice League (Seattle), a[…]

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…And then we went sailing!

EngineengineengineengineengineArrrgh!!!! We motored hard through a thick coat of fog from Dutch Harbor, RI, to Onset, MA, and anchored in Onset (on-sit, remember, we’re in Mass, pronunciation is everything) Harbor. The trip was a loud, bone shaking ride through big following seas and absolutely no wind so showing up in a familiar place, that we really like, was a much needed quiet reprieve. The harbor in Onset is well protected but also quite open. There’s a private island between the anchorage area and the town dock, so it’s a bit of a row. This time, we anchored nearer the island than we’ve managed before – only three boats were anchored in the whole basin when we arrived – which ended up being nice, considering how many times we rowed in and back. After anchoring, we rowed into town for groceries and got pizza. (Yay, pizza!) Back on the boat, we had a quiet evening and went to bed at a decent hour, since we wanted to leave by about 8am. At 7:30am, we decided to check the oil and put a hose clamp on the valve cover breather hose, which had torn when Carl was helping us diagnose our engine trouble. It was causing a little bit of carbon monoxide to leak in the cabin, making belowdecks a bad place to be while underway. Mostly just right over the engine compartment, but still. So we took the engine compartment apart, again, and I (Dena) pulled the dipstick. Oil was nice and dark. I know, that’s not preferable to light and oily, but it is preferable to milky looking. We’re keeping an eye on that, since the mixing elbow was like-new, not new, and when the sea-water portion of the elbow corrodes, it can let water into the oil. The oil[…]

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Shots and Mocktails

Hook down, boat stowed, New London, and all we want to do is relax for a while. Chill out. But we’ve got to get the ball rolling. So we jump in the dink and row into Burr’s Marina. We run into Paul, just like we’d never left. We tell Paul what’s up and he says you need Billy and calls him up. He’s on his way and will be there in a half hour. Invited aboard for coffee, but we were drawn by the memory of soft serve ice cream from Fred’s Shanty. Soft-served, we talked to Billy, who wondered if it could be the injector pump. Ugh. He walked us over to his boat where Carl was working. We told the entire story for a third time (funny how people seem to want to hear it, even if they have no intention of helping diagnose the problem), and discussed getting him out to the boat where it sat at anchor the next day. The ball was rolling, so we went to the convenience store for bread, chips, and soda. Carl really is an incredible guy. He is a diesel mechanic of the highest level, working on these room-sized engines that produce outrageous amounts of power. There was nothing that was going to surprise him about our little diesel engine. We had a real diesel mechanic coming out to look at the engine and we felt like it was time to relax. The next day, he showed up while we were finishing our coffee and proceeded to go through the same process we’d been through. But something caught his eye. Remember way back in the last blog when we said it was spitting the WD-40 back out at us? Well, according to Carl, this machine should  not do that.  He[…]

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Heroism and Happiness

The next morning, we ran through all the issues again. Oh, by the way, in case you missed the last post, we were at anchor off Lloyd’s Neck (Oyster Bay area) because our engine had died the day before. We bled fuel through all the bleed points, including the pipe nuts at the injectors. Okay. Nope. We took the air filter off in case it was clogged. Okay. Nope. We sprayed WD40 in the air intake. Okay. Nope. It just ended up blowing back out at us. Each time we thought we might have found the problem, we tried to start the engine.  With the cylinders decompressed, we ran the starter until it sounded strong and then pulled the compression levers.  It’s like starting a car by rolling it down a hill. Anyway, we ran through a ton of amp-hours in a half day and killed the 7 year old starting battery that we’d meant to replace long since. So we called the Oyster Bay Marine Center, who said they had what we needed, which we hoped at that point was just a new battery. They also said that they couldn’t come get us, perhaps for insurance reasons? We were 3 nautical miles away and our only way of getting there was the same as our usual. The dinghy.  If we have perfect conditions, we sail that dinghy. There was no wind, though. The water was glass all the way across the bay. So we had to row. (Got to!) It was epic, with mid-voyage switching and showers at the marine center. We both got a good workout that day, but the battery didn’t fix the problem. We had options.  The option we didn’t like was to call for a tow and be charged way too much money to have[…]

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All Technology Fails

James and I were just talking about how there’s a role for heroism in happiness.  We’re in New London, CT, and, if you know us, you know we never planned to come back here.  On the other hand, plans go awry. Looking back at my employment history (my linked in page is almost 100% of the jobs I’ve held), I was struck by how few jobs I’ve held more than a year.  Why that should surprise me, I don’t know.  I’ve lived it!  One striking part is how much notice we tend to give – a month or more at jobs that we’ve only held for six or eight months.  It’s the planned nature of sailing adventures and the necessity to stop spending money and bank some for the dry times. It’s also a personal tendency of mine – planning and planning and refining plans. That didn’t happen this time. James and I realized that we wanted to leave. Spring fever, perhaps, but also a long winter of dissimilar schedules and the event that was not-falling-in-love with New York. We talked about it, thought about it a couple of days, and gave two weeks’ notice at our jobs. We’re both still employed, though we worked our last a week ago, because there are more opportunities with the same companies in the Boston area, where we’re headed. Whole Foods and West Marine both want James, and it will depend partly on what town we end up liking. I worked my last day; James worked his last night. We rested one day, readied the boat the next, and hauled the anchor the third. The first day took us to familiar territory (a theme in this story). We filled the water and fuel tanks at our winter abode and anchored behind the Statue[…]

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