Wednesday, 25 May 2011

it ain't all glamour, baby

I have taken it upon myself to learn about the systems on our boat. (It's an ongoing process). After four years of training, Rick has the advantage of knowledge and work experience over me. But I won't be deterred. And as mentioned earlier, it's not like it's all smooth sailing even when you supposedly know what you're doing. 

And that brings us to yesterday. Yesterday, I was feeling ambitious. 

I was going to get all kinds of things done. First I was going to sand down the rough patches on the cockpit benches. (Brightwork, I'm good and experienced at that. Well, reasonably good anyhow.) I was going to prep both benches for touch-ups. I only got one bench done. Let's blame it on my arthritic S.I. joint. So, I decide to put a layer of epoxy down to seal the wood somewhat, until we have more sunny days and I can add layers of varnish.) Rick had assured me the pumps  were in good working order.(I know from experience, that when they haven't been used for a while, they get temperamental). Only, he forgot that the can of 207 hardener hadn't been used since last year. Faulty pump, means half of a half finished job wasn't getting done.

So I decided to brave the next task I had offered to tackle. The head. The head if you don't know, is the washroom on a boat. You  know, where the toilet is. Yep. I sure felt noble for taking that one on. Afterall, Rick can't get all the crappy jobs, just because he knows what he's doing. So while feeling noble, I tried to grill Rick about the process of taking out one faulty discharge joker valve and replacing it with a new one. (Newish, but we won't get into that.) One of the issues I had to be aware of was that the Electro-Scan (our sanitation system), is positioned higher than the toilet. So once the hose clamp is loosened and the hose removed from the discharge elbow on the toilet, well, you can imagine there would be some outflow. Rick gave me an orange foamy cone, (I don't know how else to describe it,) to plug the hose while I replace parts. Okay, at least I had the forethought of laying down plastic and running the system with just salt water over and over. I then closed off the through-hull and snapped on my rubber gloves.

I was not expecting the large volume of gushing "water" when I finally pried the hose loose. And that's just the beginning. There was the case of the repeatedly disappearing screw that holds the pieces together (that is, the joker valve and other plastic bits). Then there was the scraping off of... well you get the idea. I finally get the cleaned and new pieces repositioned. All that's left to do is get the hose back on and clamp it. No problem right? Wrong. The stupid hose is stiff as hell and as soon as the cone is removed more "water" gushes out and the hose just doesn't want to go on the toilet. I try a couple of times and give up in frustration. I try to call Rick, (who's out of range), to make sure he hasn't forgotten to share an important detail about the process. No luck. I'm on my own.  Here I am, crammed in our tiny head, wrestling the evil hose in order to get it on the discharge elbow... and it keeps getting caught on one side. (Did I mention liquid is gushing out at an alarming rate?) What happens next is not pretty. I'm cursing and crying, practically sobbing. (Yeah, I'm not proud). I bash my elbow, hard. But damn it, that hose finally goes on. I sit back on my heels and assess the mess. That's when the phone rings. 

After hearing me vent about the stupid #$&* hose on the phone, Rick brought home a large bottle of Phillip's Double Chocolate Porter to cheer me up. Bonus points for the man. (Yet, I couldn't help but notice, in all the sympathetic comments, a certain something in Rick's eyes... As if he were thinking, now you know what it's like to do the really lousy jobs! [Editor's note: Rick says all he felt was sympathy, having been there too many times to count. I stand corrected.] After the clean up, I had a hot shower ashore while he added a shut-off valve to avoid a repeat performance next time we take things apart. (It was on the to-do list, we just hadn't gotten around to it yet.)

In the end, I was freshly showered and somewhat humbled, and the chocolate beer never tasted so good. Oh yeah, the joker valve? It's not sealing properly, I'll have to replace it. Again.

I love living on my boat, I love living on my boat, I love....


  1. wow Kyra! Yay for shut off valve's and husbands who know just what we need to feel better, good beer!

  2. Cheers to you for tackling such a job! Chocolate beer ... never heard of that, gonna have to try it.

  3. Apparently there may have been an easier way (a different order of doing things) - chalk it up to inexperience in that department... At least I can laugh at myself now! And the beer was very yummy!

  4. Congratulations Kyra! You are a very brave woman! I've tackled bright work, painting, changing the oil & water pump with instruction but I embarrassingly still leave the "head" fix it's for Darren. Perhaps I will observe more next time we need to do something!

    Love your writing style, very humourous!

  5. Thanks Aka Gracie! I have learned it's not a bad thing to see the humour in the challenges that come with owning a boat. Sounds like you do plenty of work on your boat, I'm sure you can relate. (Don't worry, you're not missing much when it comes to the head!) Cheers, K



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