Category Archives: frustration

The week in review…

Too hot.
Even hotter.
Not so hot, but raining.
Raining again.
Supposed to rain, but actually perfect.
Supposed to be only slightly rainy, but VERY rainy, at least until the flood rose under the boat, we threw in the towel, and the rain slacked off.

Where to begin? It all runs together, but here’s a summary. This week Frank and I set out to fix the leak in the keel. Years ago a skeg was added. In the process a section of the keel was cut and reglassed, then drilled for the bolts securing the skeg. Unfortunately those bolts eventually allowed water to leak in, then weep out when the boat was hauled. This year we pulled the skeg to take a closer look. We found a gap in the repair which easily separated, revealing waterlogged cement ballast. Someone with more fiberglass experience was supposed to tackle this one, unfortunately when the time came he was too busy with other work and we were on our own. yay.

First off, the old cement (yes, cement) ballast had to come out. Frank got some strange looks as he used a sledge hammer and chisel to excavate the core of the now open keel, but eventually he reached clean, unsaturated ballast. The plan; re-core the keel with solid teak, reinforcing the bolt holes, and re glass the whole area from the bottom up, wrapping it completely rather than just the strip of glass, which clearly failed. Step one. Grind away some very thick fiberglass along the outside of the keel. More strange looks. It’s the end of April, but pushing past 90 degrees as we’re working in dust masks, covered in heavy clothes and glittering with sparkly, itchy fiberglass dust. It gets through the clothes anyways, and the best way to wash down is (shudder) unbearably cold showers. If there’s one thing I hate more than fiberglass dust, it’s cold showers.

The new core we constructed from three pieces of teak, laminated with West and layers of fiberglass reinforcement. Then the core was epoxied into place, the bolt holes re-drilled over sized. These holes were then filled with reinforced epoxy. After everything is re glassed, they’ll be re drilled to actual size, and there should be no way water can find a way in. And finally, we had everything set to go, but the rain started. Friday a girlfriend and I were going in to see Blue October at Webster Hall so we wrapped up early. Even getting soaked on the way in I had a great time, the concert was unbelievable; unfortunately I was so exhausted from the week and knowing I’d be up at six the next morning to tackle the scariest step yet on the keel repair, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Still, Blue October is amazing live, and they performed nearly every one of my favorite songs. I wished I could have enjoyed it more.

I was up bright and early the next morning, despite getting home at 1:30 a.m., and Frank said “Go back to bed, it’s raining.” And so it was. Weather claimed the day would be a washout. So I set about prep for the canvas work, (another fun project, but far less itchy). By ten it wasn’t really raining, but no sense in getting started, it’s supposed to rain all day. This was probably just a break. By mid-day that break had turned to patches of blue, and we loaded the car. We plan out the whole process, figuring each layer of glass, even do some test work. The trick to fiberglassing a complex shape while fighting gravity, we’re learning by trial and error, involves letting the resin start to kick, then laying up a layer and working in fresh resin, rinse and repeat. It’s that whole ‘wait till it kicks’ part that takes the time and patience, and now it’s too late in the day. But tomorrow isn’t supposed to rain nearly as much as today, so maybe we could pull this off.

Sunday dawned gray and gloomy, but dry and better than Saturday began. On the way over it starts to mist. We figure we can still work, so long as things stay dry underneath, so we set up a tarp tent between the boat and the Mars Rover. It’s raining now, but we’re still dry where we’re working so we forge ahead. We’re all set up, the glass mat measured and cut, and the minute I mix that first batch of resin the rain turns to torrential downpour. The island of dry beneath the boat flooded and we had to throw in the towel. Of course, no sooner than we load the car and break down the tent the rain slacked, but now there’s a small lake under the boat. *&#%@!

It’s supposed to pour for the next two days. Just f’n great. Grrrr. Stay tuned for the next round.

It must be April…

We ache. Our fingers hurt. We’re exhausted and again questioning our sanity. The weather’s been miserably cold and uncooperative, though the cover is still up, so while things are cramped at least they’re dry.

We’re still at it. The main planks are all off the bridge, and the black goo beneath as well. Now it’s just the outer trim pieces. But it was so bitter and damp today, we called it quits a bit early, and we’ll start over tomorrow. And I’m bringing a space heater this time.

And the headliner’s down, revealing fascinating details of the construction closer photos will show more clearly. This boat is built like a tank. But that’s for tomorrow, if I’m not to beat to post it.

As I’ve been removing wood in the cabin, I planned to number it for reference when things go back together. Only I’ve found it was already numbered during construction 32 years ago. The amusing part is,as the boat was built in Hong Kong, it’s written in both English and Chinese.

A few loose screws, and XM radio alternatives…

Much of yesterday was spent as today will be, removing countless screws from the bridge deck planks. Lots of screws. I’ll do the math,  but I’d say probably 1,000 + screws. Frozen screws. Screws that snap. Stripped screws.  Each and every one has to come out.  And first each must be dug out from beneath a teak bung, some of which have been epoxied in place, or glued with some strange rubbery compound. Others just pop out. You never know what you’l find.  A tedious task to say the least. But that goes with the territory. Much of boat maintenance/restoration is tedious, monotous work.

One thing that made last spring’s work pass more pleasantly was XM Radio. Most times it stayed on X-country, other times Fred or Ethel. Stations all phased out when Sirus and XM merged. Which was the same time I cancelled my contract, vowing I’d only return when the programming I enjoyed did as well. Thousands of other listeners cried foul as well, but judging by the comments on the petitions, (4,450 at last  count) most remained customers, hoping things would improve. From what I’ve heard, it hasn’t.  But I’ve found some alternatives, and they seem to be working.  I still miss Rogue Calls, but at least I’ve found a place to hear most of the music I’d come to expect on X-country. The first, recommended to me by someone named Cody (hmmm?) is Texas Free Radio. Take a listen, there’s good things to be found there. The other is, which also lets me listen to their Americana station, Alternative Country,  or switch over to several of their Alternative Rock stations. They have plenty more beyond that, it’s just a matter of what you like. Optimum has WiFi I can log onto right by the boat, so with my laptop and a set of cheap speakers, so if all works as planned, there’ll be music onboard today. And you can get on Slacker via Crackberry. So for all of you still stuck on XM and unhappy, there are options. It just takes a little creativity and some loose screws.

Saturday night, round 2…

As in February 28, 2009, at Terminal 5, NYC.  Yesterday was too busy and I was too tired to give a proper run-down, but seeing that people are already hitting my blog searching the various musicians that performed I figured I should give a follow-up.

Doors opened at 6, and we were among the first in. As always, I’m amused how they all but strip-search Frank while smiling and waving me through. Oh, the irony. And based upon the price of drinks within and my jaded tastes for higher qualities of rum than that paint-stripper most clubs serve, (Bacardi? Captain Morgan? Blech! Try Gosling’s Black Seal, or better yet, Old Rum!) I vowed I’m aquiring myself a small flask for future events.  Food? In the corner of the third floor they had these ‘pizza-pocket’ type things, edible but overpriced. To be expected, I suppose. We’d planned to meet friends and grab dinner before the show, but traffic on the Jersey side cancelled that.

The thing I liked about Terminal 5  is the layout. The club is your standard black on black pit of darkness, but there’s three floors. The ground is open to the stage, and by 8 it was pretty much packed up. Those of you who know me know my aversion to crowds, which can only be overridden by equal amounts of loud music, quality alcohol, and my own personal 280 lb. bouncer/bodyguard. But Terminal 5 had another option. Two floors of balconies, surrounding the stage to three sides. We staked out a spot right at the edge of the second-floor, with an excellent, unobstructed view of the stage, the mass of humanity on the main floor, and even a small counter on which to rest our plastic cups.

Now on to the ‘Salute To Texas Independence Day’ Concert.

Ray Wylie Hubbard came on around 7. This is my first time seeing him live, and he put on a good show. I would have hoped for more audience participation during ‘Snake Farm’, even if you’ve never heard that one, he made the sing-along fairly straight-forward and fun. But the shocker for me was the lanky kid to his side, introduced as his son, who played one amazingly wicked guitar. Watch this kid, he’s going somewhere! His Texas blues solo was beyond words.

Charlie Robison followed around 8. I’m least familiar with his music, and much of what he performed is off an upcoming album, but it all sounded good.

Around 9, Cross Canadian Ragweed came on. This would be my third time seeing them live, and hands-down the best performance I’ve seen to date. I would have been there for them alone, everyone else was just a happy bonus. They kicked off, appropriately enough, with New York City Girl, and it only got better. And while they were short their own drummer and had to borrow Robert Earl Keen’s, everyone was in superb form. Guys, if you’re reading this, well done. Keep coming back to NY, we’ll be there every time.

And finally, Robert Earl Keen came on, also in excellent form. His live performances are legendary, and while this was my first time seeing one, he did not disappoint. I was particularly pleased with ‘Feelin’ Good Again’; it truly suited my mood for the night. He left the stage, all went dark, the crowd chanted, and he came back on with Cross Canadian. They did the most epic jam of  ‘The Road Goes On Forever’, with amazing guitar solos. All in all, a perfect end to a great show.

And now, a rant. There was one negative to this night, and while those with me said I let it get to me too much, I feel I need to discuss the issue of ‘Concert Etiquette’.  We’re not talking classical music here, where coughs must be choked back and crinkly wrappers kept in check. So my guidelines of courtesy are much simpler. Scream, shout, dance, show your appreciation for the band and the performance they’re putting on.  That’s what we’re here for, at least that’s what I’M here for. Those tickets cost me a chunk of change. So did they parking and the round-trip ferry tickets, not to mention the over-priced drinks and (?) food. Bottom line, I’m here for the music, and that’s why I was in the door early to stake my spot where I can see, and that’s why I didn’t move from that spot for five hours. If you wanted a good spot, you should have shown up earlier. So when my husband steps away between bands, that’s not your invitation to shove your way into his place, pushing my arm off his space at the balcony edge, then laugh and ignore me when I warn you he’s coming back.  He did, and gee whiz, a bit to big to push around. Big enough to shove you back where you belong.

But that wasn’t as bad as the group that took the spot to my other side, when the couple who’d shown up early left around 10. The space was open, so fine. I even squeezed back to give you a better view. But you were just there for your dates, not the concert. Or you would have actually faced the stage, not had your back to it the whole time while you shouted to one another about who said what, who was wearing what and ‘Ohmygoddidyouseeherhair?’ The entire time Robert Earl Keen played, you leaned to each other, right against my shoulder, and shouted into each other’s (and by proximity my) ear about every inane thing that could have been discussed elsewhere, so close your voices competed with the music onstage, while those pointy cornered little stylish purses you wore tucked under your armpits jabbed me in the ribs. And ladies, when you’re that stinking drunk (and you were) breath mints, please. I asked them to keep it down or move it elsewhere. I don’t think that was unreasonable. I was ignored. Finally I leaned over and yelled “Please, a little louder. I can still hear the band over you.” And yes, those were my Doc Martens deliberately stepping on your feet, when you refused to get a clue. Next time, I don’t won’t be so polite.

In the end, the show was great, despite the inconsideration of some individuals. I have some fantastic photos I’ll be loading a bit later.


Sigh. My most favorite time of the year… not. Is it January yet? Better yet, February.

It isn’t the grayness and the shortening days, in fact I’m quite fine with that. That, truthfully, I find restful, even soothing. Darkness is nice. Anyone else out there get depressed when the sun breaks through on a nice drizzly (or snowy) day?

No, what wears me out about December is the constant-happy-busy-jolly-fun-fun-fun-in-your-face attitude of everyone around me. The rest of the year, if I want to quietly ignore people and stick to my own little introverted existence, that’s fine. People ignore me right back and all is good. But not in December. I see this as a time of quiet reflection. But noooo, it’s the holiday of your choice season, and everyone’s bouncing around building up to their big celebrations, and few seem to understand you can celebrate just fine on a more subdued, low-key way. I don’t mind the holidays, just the whole wired-up attitude you’re expected to have or else there *must* be something wrong with you. The constant interuptions of people talking about the holidays, talking about planning for the holidays, what parties are happening when and where and all that great stuff…

All I want for Saturnalia is some peace and quiet with a few family and friends. Simple. End of discussion. No offense, but everyone else, I’m fine, really. Just go about your business and leave me alone. Thanks.

2,300 + and counting…

That’s the number of responses so far on the ‘Bring Back XM Radio’s X-Country XM12’ Petition. I will give XM/Siruis some (cough) credit, they had my service shut within minutes of me requesting cancellation, and my remaining year of subscription credited back to me the next day. So for those of you who may have been told you can’t cancel, you most certainly can.

Unhappy with X Country’s demise? CANCEL!!!

Okay folks. I’ve seen the traffic on my blog skyrocket, and I’ve had more visitors in the last two days find me through searches regarding XM12 Cross Country, X-Country, Rogue Calls and assorted other related terms than I normally see in a month. And if you check the ‘Bring Back X Country Petition’, so far 574 people and rising have signed. (I’m #23) Many have multiple XM/Sirius Satellite accounts, and many say “bring back x country or I’ll cancel!”

I would like to suggest a different approach, one I took immediately upon discovering the programming change. CANCEL! If it’s not worth listening to, stop listening, and stop paying. And if, like me, you paid yearly in advance, demand a refund for the remainder of the year. Don’t let them tell you it isn’t possible. Trust me, they’ll try. But they changed the programming in the contract, thereby they voided the contract. Their current programming is NOT what I paid for, and I demanded my money back. Okay, they’ll try to sway you, telling you try it, you might like it. Sorry, no sale there either. Then they’ll try selling you a discounted bill of goods… I can’t even tell you how it figures because I wouldn’t even listen. Thanks but no thanks, if there’s no Cross Country, I want my money back, conversation over. They said they were sorry to lose me as a subscriber, and I said I was sorry too. They shouldn’t have taken away my main reason for subscribing, not to mention wiping out every other preset I had on my receiver. I guess that says something about my musical tastes, but by the look of that petition, I’m not alone. Now, if those of you on the fence take that plunge, perhaps we’ll force their hand. They still have my email and address. I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of XM/Sirius.