Coffee, WTF moment

Unfixable or not trying hard enough

I awoke this morning to a day of nothing to do, since I’m in between contracts and waiting for work to start, it’s a hard way for me to awaken. I like waking with things to do. So, trying to be optimistic, I got up and started to make coffee, and clean up the galley a bit from the mess sitting in the sink that I’d ignored the night before.

I start the kettle going and think that I’ll just do dishes until the water boils, then chill out for a bit. So I start scrubbing away at the wooden plates and bowls. I check the water gauge and note that I’ll want to conserve, looks like we’ll have to fill up again soon.

Scrub, soapy, foamy, warmth for a few minutes takes my mind off of coffee. I glance at the little depressed orange button on the back of the pot, which says to the kettle ‘boil’. I heard nothing yet that sounded like the rumbling of the mechanics working, and it’s been a while.

I start doing what I normally do when something does not work – I turned it off and back on. Probably did that more times than I needed or should have, because I was starting to get sad about coffee. I unplugged it, plugged it back in.

I’ve heard of electronics randomly just not working after a time on boats, due to the salt, harsh environment, etc. I’m not entirely sure if this is the case here, it’s practically new (4 months, 5?). I’m not the biggest fan of this appliance, so seeing it stop working isn’t the worst thing in the world. I have a pot of water boiling on the now-working-stove, so all can be saved. If I didn’t have the stove, I’d probably hop in the car and get coffee, and probably end up finding a kettle at this hour to replace this sad little guy that barely had life.

I still want to figure out why it’s not working. I don’t want to go buy another and have the same thing happen.

I know this mystery will remain just that. Just once I wish the appliances could talk like the Brave Little Toaster. I want to know his story.

Why did you burn out so fast, little kettle? Did I put you with the wrong crowd? Did the grinder put bad thoughts in your head? Did I not give you enough attention? I’m sorry you are broken, I’m not sure how to fix you.

After fixing and making things work in the boat so often, it’s hard to let go when I cannot now fix something.

Should I get all Operation on this poor kettle and crack it open? Should I let it retire to the electronics retirement yard? I think it entirely depends on me finding a project after coffee how this story will end. I’m so glad we have a boat daily stand up and KanBan.

Yes, we are nerds, if you haven’t guessed. This little kettle might end up in the Backlog.

Maintenance, WTF moment

End of the rainbow

I was trying to vacuum, which always seems to throw off the balance of the tiny universe, here. It tends to trip the electrical system, so it’s best to shut some things off before starting. The electrical math to equal things not getting totally irked has not been established yet.

I’d not figured out where Lights 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the electrical panel actually go to. I found out pretty quickly this morning when flipping everything back on after the vac tripped one.

Light 4 goes to the internet, which means it’s the mother of all switches, other than the refrigerator. Along that panel, it seemed, was also the malfunctioning propane sensor. The propane sensor goes off when reset, and normally you just hit ‘alarm silence’ and it’s good. It doesn’t work like it should, but it’s quiet.

This morning, when it reset, that button didn’t work. No amount of pushing it with a thumb or sharper object would make it stop. I put the dog on the deck. She wanted to be in the way to help, which was not helpful because she just whines about how horrible it is. Yes, I know, dog. This sucks. It painfully sucks.

I went back to the source of the beeping. After a few minutes, the beeping was penetrating every sense I had. It was peeling back the all the layers of my brain, getting into the wee spaces. I could see flashes of purple as it shrilled, while also making me jump. Beeeep. I wondered if I’d end up seeing into the future if I endured it past ten minutes. Beeeep. Would I become a wizard? What happens to a person when they experience this…BEeeEEEp….level of pain? I hope my retinas don’t

I could see flashes of purple as it shrilled, while also making me jump. I pulled everything out from under the sink. Beeeep. I wondered if I’d end up seeing into the future if I endured it past ten minutes, while trying to get a view of the panel. Beeeep. Would I become a wizard? What happens to a person when they experience this…BEeeEEEp….level of pain? I hope my retinas don’t detatch or something insane. BeeeePPP.  I couldn’t see anything well enough.

As it continued to emit a practically vomit-inducing pitch, I tried to pry it from the wall. Tears started somewhere in there. Then, I finally found the right wee screwdriver and started to take it off from the wall. Still beeping. I began to frantically dig under the sink to get to the wires of the sensor as I felt my sanity melt. Everything felt warped like a Dali painting.

I went to turn off electrical at the panel. It stopped. Yeah. That dead simple.

I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier, I thought perhaps it would just magically shut off by doing things that weren’t working. Everything around me began to unmelt and resume a normal form.

Well, that was really &*@#&!^ stupid, I said to an empty boat. I bet the neighbors heard that.

Back at the galley, with sweet, sweet quiet around me, I felt myself get slightly calmer. Cleaners, rags, bottles pretty much covered the galley floor. Tripping around it into the sink and around the bend of plumbing, this time armed with light, I found only two wires were connected, black and white, to the outlet. I presumed if I just cut those then there’d be no power. The rainbow of other wires wasn’t connected to anything. So it’s just connected to electrical to trip itself, it wasn’t actually reading anything. Awesome. I looked at it again and said that out loud.

I was nervous cutting up the galley wires, even though I didn’t think I’d hit anything that would kill me. I knew that there was propane over there and other electrical that I probably needed. I did a quadruple check of the wires I needed to cut. Then I grasp hold of one and clip! I’d actually in my nervousness grabbed the completely wrong wire.

Of course, I thought ‘here it is, this is how I die’. As I stared at it for a few seconds, then back at the source, like a dog watching and hoping something will fall from table to floor.

Thankfully, it was connected to the sensor part of the system, and needed to be cut anyway. I made a mental note to perhaps tape or label the wires in prep to cut, always.

I gleefully yanked the propane sensor out of the wall, threw it on the floor and yelled slightly, since sound carries, “I have vanquished my enemy!”. Then for good measure, I kicked it into the salon while giving it the finger. There is a picture somewhere of my finger and the sensor in a pile. I was pretty worked up at that point and had lost exactly too much sleep and sanity over it already. That compiled with the fact that I’d left the thing beeping when I didn’t need to and that it wasn’t even hooked up to a sensor, just the electrical, probably didn’t help.

It’s been in a plastic bag in the car slowly heating up and cooling off as the days go on. I didn’t really realize how torturous that must be if that machine were real. I should get on that and do something with it. I’d like to recycle the rainbow wires somehow, they’re kinda pretty.



Hygiene, Maintenance, WTF moment

Timing is everything

Much like other adventures in life, there have been lots of conversations about poop aboard. I learned from times when you are stressing yourself physically, speaking to some detail about your leavings becomes the way of things whether you like it or not. It’s a really easy way to understand stress and poor hydration. One could say if the subject matter at hand is not solid, neither is the rest of you and you should take care. I didn’t realize it would become a normal topic in a stress-free, everyday existence.

As a dog caretaker, I already have a fair amount of this to deal with, to be fair. Now, I contend with not only picking it up for dog, but pumping it out for ourselves.

You can go to a pumping area and empty your holding tank. We aren’t ready to move yet. We either treat the boat like a fancy tent or figure something out.

This community at the marina is full of information – everytime you even mention a need at the coffee shop, package office, or to a neighbor. I don’t recall where or who we got the tip from, but there’s a company that will come pump out your holding tank for you. While you are at work. Yet another little industry that is so random and yet so amazingly genius. I swear I heard angels sing when I heard this news.

So, this magical little boat comes by once a week and pumps out the holding tank. Shayne waved them down as they cruised to service other customers two weeks ago. They’d been tough to get ahold of, and were apparently crazy busy. Needless to say, we were both elated that they were taking on other customers. Perhaps because we were close to others, perhaps because we’d pay in cash. We were happy to sign up whatever the reason in their packed agenda.

That done, we got soft. Normally, in a land-based toilet, you flush it and it goes away and doesn’t smell. Here, well not so much. The super friendly and knowledgeable girl at the marine sanitation store (aka the poo store) informed me that our toilet is comprised of three chambers. So when you flush it, it is vacuumed into one chamber, then another, then the final one. I feel like I should buy her a drink after we’ve had such conversations.

But I digress, you want to make certain the timing is right on that final chamber. It’s essential to not cut the army off at the pass. That must have not happened at one point. I think we have a crushed soldier, perhaps. Efforts to clear the pass have not happened. We will inquire within the community.

Our other toilet, next to the galley, has a holding tank that can only be treated and dumped overboard outside of the Puget Sound-ish area. So, we’d have to go pretty far to make that work. That’s going to have to be a while.

In the meantime, timing is everything.


Coffee, Hygiene, WTF moment

Naked holding money

Over the past week, we’ve had a number of adventures that have been mostly fun learning experiences, some kinda terrifying. I’ve not had time to write anything down. This is bad because the point of this was to document so I don’t forget what I did.

I’ve been on the deck in my comfy pants checking and cleaning up lines right before bed, found spots to get comfy while still managing the move in, and cleaning a lot. We don’t have hot water, some of the outlets don’t work. There’s only been snacking going on onboard since we’ve not yet gotten some cookware that will fit on the stove.

There are a lot of wtf moments I have yet to even get into. Every time you look into an area, you find another project. I knew this would happen. I’m ok with it. I’m really glad it’s summer so we have nice weather to prioritize the massive list.

With the house on the market and in ‘show’ order, it’s pretty much a bad idea to breathe in there, much less be there for any length of time. So, we do very quick trips back and forth from the marina to grab what we think we’ll need to survive. It’s amazing what survival can truly mean. It’s actually not much for me, but it would feel more homey if there were a few things I could do.

I’ve been in this boat almost a week full time and JUST TODAY I tried to make coffee. Of course, in my rush at the house to get out before someone magically shows up to view it, I forgot the French Press. This same scenario has happened a lot lately where I’m like “I do not have all the materials I require”.

Lesson: Always check what all you’ll need before starting any project, from disassembly to cleaning.

I went to shower yesterday, my second in a week (I’m working at home a lot lately). I was so excited to be in a shower that had a lot of hooks so I could throw my heap of confusion upon it. I don’t have the shower routine down yet. All of these routines, checking systems, showering outside of the home, all these things help me understand more the resources I use daily and what I really need to have in a living space. I’m thrilled with having to never clean a shower, that’s amazing that someone else can deal with that. The issue with a shared shower is someone else is maintaining it. It sucked when I put in quarter after quarter, minted from 1973 to 2015, all of varying degrees cleanliness and wear, and they all shot back out happily in the change area. There was no good year or shine that worked, no pleading, nothing I could do to get it to work. This is of course well after I’ve laid out all my toiletries, found my fresh clothing, and am stark naked with a handful of quarters and some hope.

I also had to go to a meeting that day, so I tried to just remain calm and figure out my options. I actually went without showering and took a sponge bath in one of the bathrooms at the marina. A very vigorous one. Luckily, I’d gotten up super early like I have since we moved onto the boat. I had plenty of time.

Looking back, standing there naked holding money is pretty much how I feel with the entire boat thing. I’m putting myself out there totally, exposing my fears and thoughts to the world while I learn this life.

Lesson: Make time to engineer a situation. Don’t Panic. Figure out options. Do what you can. Let it go if it doesn’t work out the way you want. Seriously, let it go, Jenn.

Finally, last night Face dropped off the dog. He’d had her for the last two weeks so I could better handle listing the house and moving some things onto the boat. I saw her in the parking lot and she ran up to me, all happy and waggy. She handled the ramp to the dock just fine, which was surprising – it has grating in it where she can see the water and that usually makes her slow to a shaky crawl. She trotted down it like a champ and onto the dock. She also, crazily, made it into the boat and sniffed around with very little dog earthquakes. There was a little trepidation and whining at the 2 sets of 3 stairs (oh! scary!) but she’s getting over it.

She’s now rested on the settee behind me while I type this on the nav station of the pilot house. I hope the weather is nice today so she can sit on the deck.

F-bombs: 1 – coffee related

Guests: 1 – Face Smullens (#3)

Maintenance, WTF moment


This 1200 sq ft house feels like the prairie in here. I think the dog is starting to get antsy at the movement and lack of things. I opened the door this morning to the front and back of the house to let some air flow in. She is now glued to my leg, watching the open doors and shaking. I am thinking it’s the slight sound of the trash truck that she cannot see. Really interested and terrified as to her reaction of living on a boat.

As I’m coughing up dust from yesterday’s superhero efforts to get the garage in more garage order and less bombing state, I’m hoping like hell this dog will like the boat.

Cause it’s a done thing. Mind made, now and the title is being transferred. We leave Friday morning to go get the boat.

A neighbor I’ve never seen before stopped and chatted with me while I was at the tail end of daylight yesterday, and still had about a cup of coffee’s worth of energy to burn. I feel like my OCD or whatever focus you want to call it when I’m in the middle of something makes me a rude person. I had just sprayed off one side of the house with a cleaner that takes five minutes. She was taking like 15. I tried helpful suggestions about the neighborhood to kinda close it down. She kept going into leasing prices and how I should talk Shayne into renting. It seemed in some ways clear that she thought she could afford rent on the place and she could somehow talk me into it all in this conversation. That’s when she spoke of having an issue with seeing things and how her husband had helped her, finally after a few years.

Finally, the conversation ended and I went back to my peaceful moss removal. It got me wondering if this is a terrible decision. Even if it is, there are options. No one ever did anything cool without going and trying, right?