Our hiatus on land has made us a bit stir crazy of late. Although Rick and I grew up in the Chicagoland area, we aren’t thrilled with the cold temps and general dreariness that accompanies it once the thoughts of first snows and cozy fires are a distant memory. Sixty degrees one day and 30 the next is tough on the joints, not to mention the psyche.
We were here to help my mother-in-law after surgery, but she’s been self-sufficient for a while now. Unfortunately, when we committed to her we also committed to storing the boat until spring. Being “on the hard” allows us to get some work accomplished on Nautical Dreamer, so our weekly routine includes traveling the two hours on Friday to work, arriving back at the house by Sunday night.
The boat is in a giant warehouse. Our bow hovers over another boat’s stern and our stern is inches from the back of the building. We have to wind our way through all the other boats to get to ours and then climb up a rickety old step ladder to get to the swim platform, where we climb the boat ladder to enter the back door. The warehouse has overhead lighting and is heated. Still, the light is low and it’s cooler than I’d like. We can connect one cord to “shore power” to plug in the refrigerator, a space heater, the few power tools needed, and the only two lamps we have on board. If I was a boat, I’d be a bit depressed spending six or seven months in this dank spot. Just visiting makes me a little down. I imagine Nautical Dreamer wishing for her glory days (a couple months back), gliding on the water, wind whipping through her flags, and sun shining down upon her decks. See? Stir crazy. ‘Nuff said on that issue.
We spent last week working as a final push before the marina puts the boat back in the water. We had them blast off the remnants of the bottom paint and Rick is repainting.
I am spending my time making a new cover for the flybridge helm station. I’d made the first one a few years ago and it was worn out. I had used duck cloth; I wasn’t sure I could do it properly and I didn’t want to waste the money for better material. Now, I had that old one as a pattern. We ponied up the cash for Sunbrella material and a hot knife. An added bonus of the Sunbrella is that there is no “wrong side”. Both sides are identical. So, say you get confused and cut a piece out wrong, you can just flip it over (and by “you”, of course I mean me.)
As I cut each piece, I used a special marking pencil and labeled it “port 1, port 2, starboard 1, 2, or 3”, etc., so I’d know how to sew them together. I was a little intimidated by the hot knife at first, envisioning losing control and slicing the table, shortening the dog’s hair, or starting a fire somehow because, you know, “hot” is right there in the name. But it was super easy. It cuts, then seals the Sunbrella, so there is no need to double fold to keep it from fraying.
As I cut new pieces I tossed the pattern aside. Very sloppy of me.
When the time came to sew it all together, I searched and searched for my notations on the new material. They’d already rubbed off. Sigh. I stood on the flybridge looking back and forth from the mismatched pile of the old, cut-up cover that served as my pattern, to the new pile of now unmarked material. I decided I’d have to install the pattern onto the helm station, then match the new pieces by laying them on top.
I’d take each piece to the machine as I sewed it together. Sewing something that massive using a regular, fairly junky home machine and a small folding table was akin to toddler herding at Disneyland. The material splays out in all directions, but is never where you want it to be. So, in addition to feeding it through the machine, I had to keep a steel grip of a chunk of the balance with my other hand lest it pull on the material and skew my seam lines. I’m not gonna lie. There was a lot of swearing. The dog hid under the table and looked as if he thought maybe I wasn’t who he had been led to believe I was. I imagine the dudes hired to work on other boats were blushing. (Normal people hire out this stuff. We talk ourselves into saving money, which is why my vocabulary has become much more colorful and Rick was currently speckled head to toe in blue bottom paint.)
Rick also finished all the floors and steps, built steps into the “Princess and the Pea” bed (see previous blog posts) that included storage, and created quite the sawdust mess on the bow of the boat.
I stripped wallpaper in both “hallways”, spackled, sanded, and painted, creating mounds of dust indoors.
We’re excited to get moving again, but first clean-up so we can breathe.
Oh, and if you are thinking we can relax now, our home improvement list begs to differ. It’s on the fridge, so we can never really feel accomplishment for long. Retirement is relaxing. (Major eye roll.) I need a vacation.