Cleaning, Happiness, Maintenance, Organization

How Matthew McConaughey helped me manage projects

After having the heating replaced, I think we are starting to get the hang of how projects work on a boat. My phone ended up in the marina a few days into the project, so all most of pictures I had taken over the last months of our progress are gone. I thought I’d synched it but, alas. I even lost the one of me flipping off the old propane sensor when I ripped it out of the wall. Which is probably best, that was a little rude, even given the brain-melting hell that device put me through (RIP).

In this time of the great Heating Project of ’17, I came to three solid things I’ve learned.

1. Essentially, get your shit together

Clean and orderly stacks. Keep everything as clean and organized as you can (and backup photos!). Everything needs a place, and also a safe place to be when it can’t be in that place. That place might change three times during a project, so a third safe place might be needed. Just be ready to constantly move things. We DID save a lot of time by cleaning lockers up as we went installing the heat registers, so when we went back to run wire, we weren’t disgusted and therefore moved slower, we knew what we were in for and had a plan. Of course, that plan changed at times, but the pre-planning and cleaning set us up with essentially the right surface area to paint our vision. Of magical, 85-degree heat. Ahhhh…

Don’t get lazy, cocky, or assume anything. Anything that’s not put away or managed while out will get tripped over, moved, lost, possibly any number of those in a given hour or day. You don’t win at “stuff bingo” when all of these occur all in a day. You just lose…things, time, possibly sanity. Things that you think should be easy won’t. Some things that are hard just magically happen with ease. The moment you mix that time-sensitive pot of epoxy, it rains. The second you are done battening down hatches and checking lines for the storm, the sun comes out. You are pretty much run by nature’s whims, be a bit more in tune and you’ll fair better.

Manage tools & resources. We would have saved a lot of time if we’d had a little tool belt so Shayne wasn’t often asking where he’d put a tool (I do it too, not gonna lie).  We saved a ton of time by having one place for all random tools/bits, so they just aren’t sitting here or there. We were trained if we didn’t know what something was or couldn’t find it, look or put it there.

I saw one phone, four cotter pins, a few washers, and one tool charger go into the drink in the past month. The first three were my fault, the charger was Ev as he tried to toss it from the boat to the dock cart. It didn’t work.

I think I might start making a list of items into the drink. I feel like if we are going to contribute to Posieden, we should at least be organized about our offerings. That inventory must be nuts.

2. Be patient & chill

Flexibility is key. You might have to sleep with no water, no heat, a different bed, no electric. Who knows? It’s a boat. This is life, it’s all a toss-up.

Go into a project with a mindset that the scope will change, be as ready as possible for it to shift. Everything is so interconnected one project to clean out a cabinet could end up equalling taking off the entire deck if one really wants to be thorough. Projects escalate here like a paternity battle on Jerry Springer. There’s always one person that thinks they are going for a makeover. Never be that person.

3. Keep livin’.

For as many one-liners that Dazed and Confused had, Matthew McConaughey words are probably the most apt, “you gotta keep livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N.”

Keep in going. It may be that everything comfortable you had is now uncomfortable. So where exactly is your comfort? Comfort and security lie within. Make what you can of the situation, attitude is everything. There are still peals of laughter from our boat, regardless of whether it has heat, water, electric. We still have fun, no matter what.

As we head into Fall, I know that it’ll be a bit less jolly as the colder temperatures creep in. We made a great investment in the heating, as we already find ourselves curled in the U-shaped settee with it blasted, playing board games. It’s super cozy. Total hit with this crew.

Today, we have to get some extra diesel for the heater. We still can’t really leave the dock, so we have to throw the jerry can into the dinghy and take it over to the fuel dock. There are of course a few steps before we can get the dinghy started, so that’s pretty much today. Hopefully not all of today. I am looking forward to getting dog into dinghy. I’m certain there will be terrible jokes about the dingy dog in the dinghy.

Cleaning, Maintenance

Swabbing the deck

On Saturday, we wanted to swab the decks using salt water to kill some of the green on the teak. Shayne had a boat brush in his smaller boat that we are still keeping for me to learn on. It’s not a good idea to practice on the house, really, so we kept the boat he learned on. I walked with the dog down to the pier where the smaller boat is moored with other small boats. Unbuttoned her and went down after getting the dog aboard and settled. She was wondering where Shayne was, perhaps, so whined at the dock until I helped her onto the deck. She then proceeded to whine on the deck as I rummaged around in the boat.

As some gray rain clouds rolled around across the water under a turquoise sky, I walked a few minutes with the dog to the pier where the smaller boat is moored. Irie whined at the dock until I helped her onto the deck. She then proceeded to whine on the deck as I rummaged around in the boat. There are some consistencies in life, the dog losing air pressure is one of them.

Looked all over the boat, to no avail at all but I did find a ton of dog treats in there and a bottle of water that I sipped while searching. I gave Irie a few treats, which helped her air pressure regain a bit. Her concerned eyebrows wiggled at me as I closed up the bag. A long stream of droll quickly formed and tapped on the deck, ‘plink!’ as she blinked at me with questioning eyes. Not finding the giant pole thing on the wee boat, we left. Irie skipped next to me all obedient and amazing, highly focused on the fact that I had taken some treats with me.

Just missing the rain on the walk back to the house, I laid down and ended up napping for about 15 glorious minutes. It was the perfect day to do some deck work in between showers, perhaps but it wasn’t happening. No tools, and now no weather cooperation.

We had three guests on the boat on Saturday before we went to dinner – Monica, Laurel & Liz. Monica actually knows two of our neighbors at the end of the dock. Such a small fun little world.


We went out on the deck Sunday and finally cleaned it. At the local chandlery (marine supply store), we picked up a new boat brush and an amazing bucket with a sieve within it, a grid for brushes with integrated measuring cups, and a lid seat. Entirely too excited about this bucket. We also picked up a telescoping pole. These are also awesome and worth excitement.

We hit up the decks with the sea water and ever so gently scrubbed the teak the opposite of the grain to preserve it, as had been recommended, with a super soft brush on that telescoping pole. We totally missed the chance to sing a sea shanty while we did that. There will be other opportunities. I nerded and enjoyed watching the rivulets of gunk roll through the irrigation channels of the boat and into the water. I noted where the water gathered at all on deck and cleaned out any drainage. It is super fun to have such access to what is essentially the roof of my house and be able to clean it.

Saturday Guests: Monica, Laurel, Liz (4, 5, & 6)







Cleaning, Happiness, Maintenance

Freshened Spirit

Sunday and Monday were a whirlwind of cleaning mixed with precious moments.

We’ve basically divided the livability of this boat into the three basic need groups: shelter, water, food. Step one right now is getting the master cabin safe and sleepable. It’s got a bit of mold. Two is getting the water tanks flushed and under control. These things do not include any of the other list of items that need to be fixed in the right now category. There’s always something to do on a boat. It’s ok. I know this. I’m a billion percent certain I’ll be ranting about it in short order, but it’s good for me. Keeps me young, or something.

After realizing for the thousandth time that I have to relearn a lot of cleaning habits and go simple, I did some research. I had to reconfirm my findings a few times. Really? Just vinegar kills 82% of mold species? Huh. So, took straight vinegar to the master cabin’s woodwork, particularly under the bed. There will be a couple of rounds of that, then we’ll switch to vinegar and baking soda. I’m thinking I might mess around with throwing some herbal tinctures in there for a nice smell, I just have to figure out what.

Lesson: Everything you use on the boat could potentially end up in water, for us that’s the Puget Sound. So, keep in mind the duck’s butt. Their butts wade through your Scrubbing Bubbles and magic purple goo with an exclamation point. Stick to biodegradable. Nobody likes a burning butthole.

There was that fun level of horror and elation wiping up the mold in large swathes. I was amazed at how well it worked. I handed Shayne a mask when we started and he laughed it off, and about a minute later his whole “vinegar isn’t that bad” crumbled. We are in this for the long haul, I see no reason to suffer or harm ourselves needlessly.

Lesson: Always have a mask when dealing with mold or harsh chemicals. Ain’t nobody here a superhero.

cleansplosionRight now, the mattress is in the pilot house, airing out with all the carpet. The curtains had to be taken down and laundered. Luckily, we have Shayne’s washer and dryer for a few more weeks until the house sells. A cushion bomb basically went off in the boat, we took them all off of their intended homes to circulate the air and get rid of the mold. It’s a jungle of foam.

cleaningmastercabinBut! After we sprayed down and came back to the boat an hour or so later, the smell totally changed.

It wasn’t very ‘boaty’ before, but it did smell slightly cleaner. I’m like a dog now, constantly sniffing the air for signs of mold, chemicals, anything that shouldn’t be. I wonder how many small things like that will change living in a space like this that requires a bit more attention.

We had our very first guests on board during the cushion bomb, which was lovely to have them, truly. I tried to quickly get over that I couldn’t receive them like I’d like. You know, having a place to sit. We made the boat home that evening having them be there, opening the first bottle of champagne with them and saying cheers to new adventures. They are moving to Japan, Tiberio leaves today, I believe. That will be the last time we see them for a long time, but the happy spirits and love they brought will live on in the boat. They are both kind of spirit and adventurous in heart, that’s the energy our home needs. We are both so happy they were the first people to see it. Yuriko’s face lit up, and it made me so happy someone else loved our home, too.

I have to believe the boat is starting to feel loved again, breathing in sighs of relief and anticipation. She was well loved before but has sat for a little while. She needs a style to fit Shayne and I. She’s basically getting a rebrand when we name her, and I’m excited to give her a new, fresh life.

I love this boat already so much.

Guests: 2 – Tiberio and Yuriko

*I know most things have the potential to go overboard, this visual just makes it easier for me to make the right decisions.