Friday, December 13, 2013

Raison d’être, My Captain ~ By JLee

While seeking inspiration for a blog post the other day, I serendipitously turned to Facebook and began communicating with one of my daughter's race fans.   We were discussing what I imagined as my future before I met my Michael.  That's when the light bulb went on and inspiration struck.  

(Internet Photo)
Nine or ten years ago I seriously thought the future would find me with long, flowing hair living in the mountains, perhaps Wyoming, Colorado, or Montana,  nurturing an organic, peaceful life. On my back porch would be a pottery wheel overlooking my vegetable and herb gardens.  I would still be preaching about saving our Mother Earth and refusing to purchase anything contained in plastic.  I even started to prepare myself for the transition by returning to my creative roots and exploring my inner self through art work.  

                                                        (Internet Photo)

I had just purchased a smaller home and was beginning the process of making it mine!  The first project I tackled in my new home was making it reflect who I am.   I replaced most of the light switches with dimmers so that the atmosphere would reflect my calm, and tranquil inner being.   My brother Marty, who lives half way across the country in Phoenix, talked me through the first couple until I was comfortable completing the project on my own.  Oh yea, that was fun.   The simple truth is one should not drink wine while working on electricity unless you are prepared to get ZAPPED.  Next, I hired someone to redo the kitchen.  I had the contractor leave an area above the stove top so I could create a mosaic of a Kokapelli to represent my inner fun loving spirit, love of music, and disobedience for normal rules and conventional behavior. Ahhh!  My home was becoming an extension of me.  The only thing missing was the mountains. 

Being just over 50 years old, I felt there was a number of years before I would be able to move to the mountains, so I continued to enjoy my home.   It was quite beautiful, very comfortable, and relaxing.   Several friends described it as cowgirl chic.  I liked that depiction.  I felt it was a reflection of who I was, and in some regard, still am.  

So now what?  I have a wonderful, chic cowgirl abode and no one to share it with.   I asked myself, what does a red-blooded American cowgirl-wanna-be do when she wants to find someone to share her life?  She hits the single bars, of course.  Not my style.  Country western dance saloons?  Maybe.  All male strip clubs? Definitely maybe.  Instead, I opted for becoming a voyeur on Match dot com.  Yup. I bit the bullet and joined Match.   For over a year I would come home from work and spy on unsuspecting men via the internet.  What a great concept. 

After a little more than a year of false starts, many half truths, and outright untruthfulness; I decided to give up and cancel my subscription to Match.  The nerve of some people.  What makes a person believe they can say they are 55 and 6 ft tall, when actually they are 75 and 5 ft 8?  Do they actually think I would not notice 20 years and several inches?  Not to mention starting out a relationship with a lie.  No thank you!  I was prepared to try the all male strip clubs, but  Match inadvertently hit my credit card for another 3 month payment, so I decided to give it one last shot.  That is when I noticed someone of interest viewed my profile.  Hmmmm ... not bad!   I winked at him.  He winked back.  I wrote to him, he wrote back.  I called him up, he called me back. 

And that is how it all started.  

(Internet Photo)

                                                                 (Internet Photo)

Fast forward six years to current day and we are preparing to celebrate an anniversary of sorts.  We met six years ago this month.  Since meeting I have traded my future of living in a little mountain cottage, reading poetry, throwing pots on a wheel, and tending my gardens, for an adventure on a sailboat with the sun on my face, wind in my long flowing hair, reading cruising guides and nautical charts, and enjoying sundowners in varying locations with my Michael.  I thank God daily for this man beside me.  He is my dream partner, my raison d’être, my captain. 

Hey H Michael.  Do you think we can find room for a pottery wheel, 200 pounds of clay, a wood fired kiln, and a cord of hardwood on Adventure US 2?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Adventure Us 2 Talks to Me, by H. Michael

If your attitude is such that you believe one can only communicate with humanoids; don't read this post.   If your stance on life allows you to look at an object, but not consider the energy emitted from that object; don't read this post.  If you are of the mindset that non living objects can't communicate with people who are willing to listen; don't read this post.    If you are able to view an object and walk away without acknowledging the vigor sheathed inside the object; don't read this post.  However, if you have ever looked at a sunset and felt the power of the sun and earth communicating in a brilliant display of partnership and alliance; you may choose to continue reading.  If you have ever looked at an old, used, piece of wood and thought about the message buried deep within the character of the wood; you may choose to continue reading.  If you can relate to Robert Duvall in this scene from "Days of Thunder"; you may choose to continue reading.

The first part of the paragraph above should be considered a warning.  Do not get angry at me because you have decided to read the personal thoughts I am about to transcribe.  Do not send me mail subjecting me to an angry diatribe because we do not share the same philosophy.  I am not being blasphemous, nor am I being sacrilegious.  I am simply relating personal feelings, sentiments, and emotions the Great Creator has bestowed upon me as an individual.  I will respect your thoughts, if you will respect mine, but if yours don't agree with mine; keep them to yourself.  (JL thinks I  should add a smiley face emoticon here.)   Therefore.  :-)

Adventure Us 2 speaks to my soul.  Occasionally I sit in the cockpit and listen to her declare all the places she wants to go.   Out into the Gulf of Mexico, down to Corpus and back.

"Oh, and let's go to Mexico, and maybe stay awhile.  And when the time is right let's go east along the Gulf Coast, all the way to Marathon.  I've been there before and will show you some cool places.  We can round the corner of Florida and go into the Atlantic, continuing east to the Bahamas, I've been there several times.  We can travel down the thorny path to the windward and leeward islands of the Caribbean Sea.  Oh, I know I will absolutely love the warm waters of the Caribbean.  After a while, when we feel like it, we can transit the Panama Canal and go north all the way into the Sea of Cortez." 

It is impossible for me to ignore Adventure Us 2's tenacity.    I am often awe struck by her persistence, vigor, and spirit of adventure.

Just the other day, after I had finished a large project and was wondering what project to start next, she unexpectedly and surprisingly whispered in my ear. 

"Michael, please check my belts for proper alignment."

I did, and the alternators were whacked way out.

"Please look at, and tighten these screws."

I did and they were all very loose....

"Look at this bolt."

It was showing signs of fatigue....

"Replace this hose."

Cracked, and weak....

She is never bossy, but very persistent with her suggestions.    I believe she knows the demands water travel can place on her, and I am always happy to respect her recommendations.  She is a lady with great desire, and aspirations.  I feel I must do my part to prepare her for her destiny.

Just last Saturday, after I had invested a long day in her character, she seemed to sigh a breath of relaxation for the evening.  She appeared grateful for the hard work and devotion I had bestowed on her that day.   During these special moments I tell her about all the things I want to do to her to make her stronger, and prettier.  She listens intently and responds in her magical way known only to those of us that pay attention .

Friday, November 22, 2013

Enlightenment, By H. Michael

Janet Lee has accused me of teasing readers that may have found their way to my November 12th  post because I failed to explain how I became enlightened.  "But JL," I said "don't you enjoy a little foreplay prior to getting down to business?"  

"Yes, I do" she said "but I prefer to be stimulated with continuity, and without interruption." 

Once again her cunning intelligence left me speechless and with a lot more insight into that thing called love.  Here then is my enlightenment story.

It was a dirty December afternoon in 2003 when I stumbled into the youngest brother of my best friend at a local restaurant.  He mentioned  that, along with a friend, he had just purchased a really cool used twenty-four foot sailboat.  I was curios regarding his desire to own a sailboat because he is one of many I spent time cavorting with on the water.  His acquisition definitely tweaked my interest to the degree that when he offered to take me out sailing; I accepted.  We set up a time to meet the next day on an area lake where they kept their boat . 

I was not a sailor, but I trusted both of the owners of the little POS boat we were going to take out into the frothing waters of the lake.  Frothing?  Yep.  The wind was clocking at around 30 miles an hour and gusting to 35 or 40.  The grey, sunless sky provided limited light, and the low, fast moving clouds were threatening rain, or perhaps worse.   I would not have ventured out in a power boat in similar conditions, but to my uneducated sailing mind set the strong, gusting, cold, north wind just meant we would have a great sail.  My first warning should have been when one of the guys started taking hits from a flask about every ten minutes. 

"Hey Michael go up on the front of the boat and put this sail on that wire thing going up to the top of the mast.   Just make sure those little clip things are closed all the way and are in the right order.  Oh yea, and make sure that rope is attached to the first piece of hardware on the sail."

"Uh, okay" I said. 

My second warning should have been how spongy the deck felt when I went forward to hank on the jib, but I trusted my companions because they had been sailing on the old decaying boat before. 

"Do you guys know how to sail this thing?"

"Yea we took her out last week for the first time, but we didn't know we had to put the retractable keel down.  When the outboard ran out of gas and died we were pushed sideways into the back of the cove and Kevin had to jump out and keep us from hitting the shore.  He had to push the boat all the way around the cove, in waste deep water, back to the dock.  That was a really good learning experience."

"The water was so cold I lost feeling in my legs."  Kevin chimed.

After we got the boat set up to sail we headed out of the cove and into the main body of the lake.   At first we were traveling in the lee of the cove but once we rounded the corner and cleared the tree line the little outboard mounted on the stern began struggling to maintain forward momentum against the oncoming wind and waves. Occasionally a big wave would crash into the bow and throw a spray of ice cold water into the air toward our totally exposed bodies in the cockpit.  With the onslaught of every wave my host took another hit from his flask and offered it around. 
"No, none for me thanks." 

We had attached the halyard to the main sail back in the cove and now Bob said "Okay, it's time to pull the sail up the mast." Wrap this rope around the winch a couple of times and start pulling."

I did as I was told and the sail started inching up the mast.  Immediately upon being exposed to the wind, the sail began a disorderly complaint by dancing wildly side to side.  As the sail neared the top, Kevin added a handle to the winch and began to crank.   In no time the sail nestled tightly into place at the top.  As the sail gained height up the mast, the outboard increasingly struggled to keep the boat moving forward.  The little sailboat fought back bravely but labored under the attack from the waves hitting the bow.  She launched into her protest by bobbing up and down like a bronc at a rodeo.  I was beginning to understand.

Bob was at the tiller and asked if we were ready.  He should have said hold on cause the shit is about to hit the fan, but what did I know.  I was sitting on the starboard side of the cockpit and when Bob turned the boat to port, the wind immediately filled the sail, heeled the boat over about forty degrees, and buried the port toe rail three inches below the water.  I had to brace my feet on the bottom part of the port lazaret to keep from falling on top of Kevin and Bob.  The boat took off like a NHRA dragster, and my heart started pumping adrenaline as if turned on by a switch.  Eventually I took a turn on the tiller and even discovered I could maneuver the boat by pulling in on, or easing off of, the sheets. (I learned the terminology later.)  We incredibly sailed for about an hour until we were so cold and wet we couldn't take it any longer. 

I have heard it said that love will either set a man free, or make him a prisoner.  I'm not sure if that's true, but since that fateful day in December, love has become my alibi.  That day was a turning point in my life.  We were the only boat on the lake, and really had no business being there.  The extraordinarily bad conditions undoubtedly threw caution to all the sane people.  But, there we were, out on the lake.   Few people recognize important defining moments in there lives, but I knew in the short time we were on the water sailing that worn out, little sailboat that I would make sailing a long lasting part of my life.  I started to research sailing classes the next week and soon after started taking ASA sailing courses.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Not a Sailor, by H Michael

I have always enjoyed being in, or on, water.  In my youth it really didn't matter if I was in a swimming pool, lake, or backyard sprinkler; I felt happy when around water, as though I was receiving some sort of unexplained emotional benefit.  Later in life I naturally gravitated to friends that receive similar reward from water, but always our interest was connected to power boats.  Whether we were on top of the water skiing, or under the water diving, power boats were our preferred style of water toy.  I am not a sailor, but I vividly remember the day I became enlightened


From the above one may presume that I do not come from a long line of sailors.    I was not born with a sailing pedigree, and to the best of my knowledge no one in my family tree was, or is, a sailor.  Please allow me at this juncture, to take occasion and explain my use of the noun "sailor" in this transcript.  My desire is to reference those individuals that employ bits of fabric sails to move their watercraft, not as reference to a crew member in the navy.   Permit me to further declare; I did not take sailing lessons during summer camps, enjoy summers on a lake racing sailboats, or create any other form of youthful sailing memory.  I have never had a mentor that was a sailor, and if fact be told, I thought sailboats were for indolent individuals.  How exciting could moving a vessel with the wind be compared to the speed with which wind blows through your hair on a powerboat?  I have never known a sailor, and I am not a sailor.  But, I clearly remember the day I became enlightened.

Last week Janet Lee and I were visiting with a group of sailing friends (you can read their blogs here and here) and the conversation turned to a specific component recently installed on one of their sailboats.  Everyone present, at least the men, the women were discussing different kinds of rum, knew the function of the devise being discussed but no one knew the proper name.  My excuse, and lack of knowedge in this regard, is most certainly because I am not a sailor, and I might add, make no pretense of being a sailor.  Oh sure I understand the dynamics of moving a vessel through water using a wing or combination of wings for propulsion.  I have even skippered sailboats in the leeward and windward islands of the Caribbean, navigated successfully between islands in all kinds of conditions and arrived safe and reasonably sound.  I have owned a couple of sailboats the smallest being 35 feet.  I can identify some of the parts of a sailboat and sometimes even know their intent or function, but I could sail from now until my last day and I would never consider myself a sailor compared to resumes of some I have met.  But, I definetly remember the day I became enlightened.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flying Without a Net, By H. Michael

The other night Janet Lee and I were having cocktails with some friends. We shared our goal of moving onboard Adventure Us 2 with them (they shall remain nameless) and one of them responded with, "oh, I could never do that".   I thought to myself, well isn't that precisely the point?     Allow me to explain.

When I was a teenager growing up in Dallas, I was lucky enough to have parents that loved going to the movies.  Even before we moved to Dallas, we would go to "drive in" theaters and watch double features into the late hours of the night, and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.  This manner of distraction allowed my imagination to run out of control with unrestrained frenzy.  I easily identified with the lead character, or any other character I choose, and in that context I would make choices and decisions for the character based on my own youthful idealism, and perception of the world.  Whether I was identifying with Lloyd Bridges in his role as the Karl Wallenda,  John Wayne in the Alamo, or Omar Sharif in just about anything, I created my own sensibilities.  Movies somehow filled in the gap between who I thought I could be, who I would like to be, and who I really was.  Yea, in my youth I could totally perform a high wire act without a net.  To do anything else would be so uncool.  Besides if you are confident in your ability, skillful at your craft, and courageous in your mission what could go wrong?

Somewhere along the line I stepped away from a romantic perception of life and allowed  conventional structure to dominate my existence.  I became what I was expected to be; a consumer of everything traditional culture told me I wanted from life.  Now don't get your butt up in a roar because this post is not a rant about consumerism,  and it certainly is not a cry of regret for things I have or have not achieved.  The fact is I have been blessed with a life free of depravity and full of adventure that has left me sane, healthy, happy and free of undesirable habits.  But, always bubbling just under the surface in the cauldron of life was an irresistible essence, or spice I wanted to taste.

Occasionally someone, or some event would stir my soul and quixotic thoughts would invade my spirit and bestow an irresistible desire to swim against the grain of convention.  Some of you (if anyone is reading this) may say that the very spirit of quixotism makes for an ugly blend of impracticality at the expense of romanticism.  I ask you; did Rooster Cogburn fuss over the impossible, or impractical odds stacked against him when he mounted his horse, a Winchester in each hand,  reins in his mouth, and charged hell bent for leather toward the bad guys?  Hell no he didn't.  He was prepared to stay the course, trust in himself, his abilities, and his equipment because he learned from his quest for self realization that he had true grit.

The roads we travel in life are many, and a few of us must lead the way for others to follow especially when it means going against conventional wisdom of how our time on earth should be spent. Romantic, impractical, or naïve as it may seem to those who do not share our mindset, Janet Lee and I have decided to explore the undeniably different lifestyle of living on a cruising sailboat, and if required to make personal changes in our lives to achieve our goal.  Do I want to wash clothes in a bucket? Not really.  But, if it is a necessary requirement then I'll take the ugly along with the bad and the good.   Perhaps somewhere along the way we may even discover that flying without a net can be fulfilling, as long as we stay away from uncontrolled landings. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spider, Shadows, and Bears! Oh my! By Janet Lee

Michael and I recently went to Greensburg, PA (near Pittsburg) so I could check several items off my bucket list before we sail away.   1) I wanted my extended family to meet My Michael.   2) I have always wanted to take my mom to see my daughter, Erica, race (mom is 85 and has never seen her race),  3) I wanted to spend some time with my cousin Teddy, in the mountains.  And 4) I wanted to see and smell a real autumn again!   And trust me, it's only coincidence that the world's largest Steeler fan store in Station Square along the Monongahela River, at Liberty Bridge, happens to be not too far from where we were to land.   

The first morning, after arriving in PA, we traveled across the state to the Reading area to surprise my daughter on her 30th birthday.  She and her husband, Richie, were racing in an NHRA event there.   When she saw me walk into her race car trailer, her jaw dropped and she said, and I quote, "What the heck are you doing here??  You are crazy, momma!!!!"  
My mom, yours truly, and Erica 

First time a husband and wife
 have run against each other in pro stock.

Mom & My Michael watching Erica & Richie race
My cousin Teddy and his wife have been living totally off the grid for over 40 years, and leave behind a zero carbon footprint.  Teddy has written a book about living carbon free called Off on Our Own  and you can find a copy of it here.  It is truly an inspiring book full of encouraging ways to become better stewards of the planet.  If you think you know how to re-cycle; read this book and learn from the ultimate re-cycle pros.  (Teddy has even figured out how to capture methane gas from his compost to heat his sauna and hot tub.) Teddy and Kathy call their home Stone Camp and it is located on Laurel Mountain just outside Ligonier, PA.  For power, they rely totally on wind and solar, everything else is wood fired.  Spending a few days at their home is always a memorable experience.  They live in a 12 volt world, which is where Michael and I are headed! 
The road to Stone Camp
 I snapped a picture of this handsome buck
              hiding in the fall colors.               
Stone Camp
The fist thing Teddy told us upon our arrival was to get up to the guest cabin and build a fire since it was predicted to get down into the low 40's that night.  He told us where we could find some dry wood and a hatchet.  The little guest cabin in the woods is not wired to Stone Camp, has no electricity, and occupants must rely on candle power or a flashlight for sight, and the wood stove for heat.  Any water that is needed throughout the night must be carried in and out.   After chiseling some of the wood into slivers, we accomplished our first job by making a fire without paper!  

The little cabin in the woods

After a wonderful dinner of soup, assorted cheeses, and bread, we visited with Kathy and Teddy over some wine.  Before long Uncle Sneezy  (Teddy's dad) and Aunt Janet (my name sake) showed up with Timmy, Teddy's brother, his son, Casey along with his wife and two kids.  Yep, we had ourselves an Appalachian Mountain, homegrown, backwoods social, complete with triple distilled 90 proof moonshine.   Teddy, being a flamboyant story teller, entertained us with stories about a 750 pound black bear, and other stories of unrecognizable cries in the night that he could not identify.  (Note to self... such stories are not conducive to a restful night's sleep.)  A black bear has actually broken into the breezeway between the house and garage at my uncle Sneezy's house (he lives a half mile down the mountain from Teddy) and vandalized his triple locked freezer to get to his stash of ice cream.  Hearing how the bear ripped the lid off the freezer and sat eating the ice cream was comical until I compared the door at the little cabin in the woods to the heavy metal locked door on the breezeway at uncle Sneezy's house.  

The impromptu family gathering began to wind down so we grabbed a flash light and several candles and headed up to the little cabin in the woods. Once in the cabin, I opened the trunk to find clean sheets for our bunks.  With no moon to cast any light, the dimly lit room gave way to a spooky scene that nearly chilled my bones.  When I opened the first sheet and saw movement on Michael's bunk I said:  "Michael, flashlight please!"  I'm not one to scream because of critters, but after Teddy's stories of unidentified wales in the night, if Michael had not creamed a certain unwelcomed bed buddy, Teddy may have heard yet another unidentifiable blood curdling scream!

Mr. Spider, who was about the size of a quarter, was making his way across the center of the bunk when from out of nowhere, with lightening quick reflexes, My Michael pulled off his cowboy boot and brandishing it as his weapon of choice, ended the spider's life.  If I didn't know better, I would think that spiders make Michael squeamish because he moved with such stealth, agility, and quickness that the poor spider didn't see it coming.  RIP Mr. Spider.  As you would expect, I thoroughly inspected the whole area for any friends or relatives of Mr. Spider and continued to make our beds. 
If you remember my post on things I will not miss, you know I have a lack of love for 'the bra', but on this night I was sleeping in everything I owned.  I removed my cowboy boots, but kept my socks on, and slipped into my PJ  bottoms.  Bra, shirt, and hoodie stayed on.  I was so inspired by Michael's skillful dispatch of our unwanted bunk mate that I put my hood up and tied the strings so that nothing was exposed but my eyes; like a Ninja.  Now dressed confidently in my spider fighting Ninja attire I was prepared to kick, wrestle, chop, brawl, or squash any friends or relatives of Mr. Spider making their way onto, or into, any part of my body.  If they are seeking revenge for Michael's actions; I'm ready.
The silence surrounding the little cabin in the woods, combined with the moonshine, and  blackness of the cool October night, permitted me to fall asleep quickly but, with rigid shoulders.  At one point in the night, Michael got up to stoke the fire, leaving the stove door cracked open when he returned to his bunk.  Uh oh.  Big mistake.  The flickering flames created dancing silhouettes that jumped all around in the little cabin in the woods.  My mind went on a journey filled with big man eating rats morphing into gigantic blood sucking spiders, mean grizzled black bears, and an assortment of zombies for good measure.  Yea, I was a little freaked out when the dawn started to show the next day.  


Now that we are safely back in Texas, at sea level, I can say our trip to PA was a complete success, and I got to cross items off my bucket list.
                    1)          Family got to meet My Michael (and we got to meet my
                                 moms new boyfriend, Fred).
                    2)         Surprised Erica for her 30th birthday.
                    3)         Mom got to see Erica race.
                    4)         Spent time at Stone Camp with Teddy and the Family.
                    5)         Got to taste, smell, and see a real mountain autumn.
                    6)         Stocked up on Steeler gear (just in case).

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Sisterhood: by Janet Lee

My last post mentioned the Facebook page, Women Who Sail.  Sunday I had the delight of meeting one of the women who is a member of the page.  We had both made a  comment on the same conversation stream about how hot and muggy it was because of all the passing showers.  Her comment positioned her in Kemah, TX which surprised me because Michael and I were at West Marine in Kemah, Texas
We both diverted to personal messaging and continued to communicate.  I happened to mention we were headed to Outriggers for some lunch with friends.  Well,  just as we were finishing up our lunch, I noticed a woman looking around as though she was looking for someone, and then our eyes met.  She pointed at me, and I pointed at her!   You would have thought we were long lost friends who had not seen each other in years!   What is it about women that when we share viewpoints, experiences, and goals with other women, even though it is only in print, we feel instantly connected?  You don't see men running up to each other hugging.  Probably a good thing!  I guess it is some kind of sisterhood we share, or some kind of inner web that connects us.  Whatever it is, I am happy to be a part of that sisterhood, and I am extremely happy to have connected with another sister.
After our friends left; My Michael and I visited with Diane and Paul at the restaurant for awhile.  We invited them over to have a look at Adventure Us 2, which was only minutes away.  During our visit we chit-chatted about our pasts, about our plans, and about our beliefs while the boys conversed in their own macho language that only men seem to understand.   I noticed at some point they opened the door to the engine room, so I'm quite sure they were bonding at some kind of stereotypical, masculine, chest pounding level.  The afternoon was very pleasant and Michael and I we hope to do it again soon.  Before they left, I had Michael take a few photos of Diane and I.
The pose....


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Top Ten Comforts, by Janet Lee

Tammy Kennon, of the Plodding in Paradise blog, wrote a blog titled Tammy's Ten Things that make her life on board better.  She asked the Women Who Sail Facebook participants to make their own list of items, and since I am a participant I recorded my own top ten.  At Tammy's suggestion I offer my top ten list to our blog followers, not necessarily in any order or significance.  Save one.  I would also like to point out, at this juncture of the post, that Adventure Us 2 has not yet cut the dock lines.  It should therefore be understood that my top ten list of things that make my life better on board will most certainly change as we make our way out into the wild blue.

The first item up and probably definitely my number one boy toy item would be: My Michael.  I'm not saying that he is an item but, he posses a certain item that makes me a happy girl.  Least you think I suffer from some kind of item envy, there happens to be two other reasons for this choice.   My Michael can do almost everything.  He can cook, sew, and make me laugh. He can fix just about anything and if he doesn't know about something he gathers information until he can figure it out.  He can shop, he can paint a pretty an awesome picture, he can decorate the house, and he has great ideas.  The other reason I want to keep him on board is because he has my heart and he won't give it back. 
What a hunk of burnin love.
Second item that makes my life better is Vodka.


The third item that makes my life better is wine.

Fourth is food.  Food is a necessity, (although vodka and wine are made from food and might make good substitutes) we all need food.   Sometimes, when I get home from work the first thing out of my mouth is: "Man, I'm starved."  My Michael's response is always, "Are you whining"?  "No, I am not whining, but if we are out of vodka or wine you will hear me scream like a possessed banshee". 

Water is the source of life and is my fifth item that makes my life better on board.   Rain is sent from the heavens by God to wash His earth in a shower of love.   Rain makes the flowers grow and the rivers flow.  Someone recently said:  "Rain makes corn, corn makes whisky, whisky makes my baby a little frisky".  Seriously?  If you ask me, rain makes grapes, grapes make wine, wine makes my baby really, really, really, fine, and oh so sexy.    Besides, how is a girl to rinse her hair?  In salt water?  I don't think so.  Seriously!   

Splish Splash!
One thing I cannot live without, and my sixth item is: music.   Music makes me happy, especially when I have to go to my special padded room place.  Music takes me back,  makes assist me in remembering certain events from my past, and fills me with joy, inspiration, and happiness.    Music makes me peaceful, and if we run out of vodka or wine, music drowns out my whining.

Cause your kisses lift me higher
Like the sweet song of a choir
You light my morning sky
With burning love
Ah, ah, burning love
I'm just a hunka hunka of burning love

Remember the Oprah Show when she went out and about talking to women in grocery stores, gyms, and on the street asking them just one question?  "Are you as cute as you can be?"  If you have to go out into the world, you should at least make an attempt to be as 'cute as you can be', so as not to frighten anyone.  Especially little children, or the hunk of burnin love sitting across the salon.  This is why I will never be without my seventh item that makes my life on board better; mascara and lip gloss.  

The Internet.   Nuff said.  What would we do without it?  It's like water, the source of life, and with it I can hunt down the best prices on vodka and wine. 
The interweb

All of us have addictions, vices, and weaknesses.  Mine is not something that one needs a Hefty garbage bag of fifties to purchase.  Mine is not one that will hurt anyone.  Mine is  not one that will make me look younger.  Mine is....drum roll....

You know those juicy, red, flimsy sticks of chewy, luscious candy that taste so scrumptious when they are fresh.  I have to force myself not to walk down the candy aisles because if I see them, I need them.  It wouldn't be so bad if I could eat just one here, or one there, but Nooooo !  I want them all, right now.  I want them to gush between my teeth.  I want to drink milk through them. I want to lay them in the sun and get all soft and juicy.  I want, I want, I want.

Okay, how many is that?  Ten, eleven?  Well that's my list for now of ten items that makes my life sweet on Adventure Us 2.  But, the main thing we all need on our boats, to make our lives better, is the basis of all peace and happiness:


Let me offer this disclaimer just in case you think I have a drinking problem.   In all honesty we have had the same bottle of vodka for at least, oh I don't know, the last 2 days, and our wine collection has dust all over it cause My Michael took away my key to the wine cellar.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Treasure in the Bilge, by H. Michael

Last week while I was finishing up a project on Adventure Us 2, I happened to notice that there was water standing in the bilge under the forward head.  Usually any water that accumulates in that area drains into the lower, main bilge and gets pumped out.  I was alarmed by the volume of water that was standing and promptly employed my wet dry vac to extract what tuned out to be about 15 gallons of water.  The whole time I was working to remove the water, I had visions of various problems I could have created back in May (JL wrote about it here) when I removed the old plumbing, and holding tank. Yikes.  What if I inadvertently created a slow leak in the hull by removing the wrong plumbing, I thought to myself.  I was even contemplating contacting the marina for an emergency haul out to spot any unknown issues with the hull.  Once I got most of the water removed however, I traced the problem to a condensate line from the air conditioning unit supplying the main salon, and residing in a cabinet in the forward birth.  It's hot and humid in Texas this time of year and I have been running the air almost full time which explains the volume of water, but did not explain why the condensate was not draining properly into the main bilge.   I used my fish tape as a rooter from the main bilge forward under the head to dislodge any trash that may have accumulated in the drain, and low and behold the last of the water came streaming out just like it is suppose to.  I decided to let the area dry out for twenty-four hours, without running the air conditioning, and then try to vacuum out any "crud" that might have found a home in the dark, dank recesses of the bilge.  The area I was interested in cleaning is not highly accessible, and at best can only be reached with advanced boat yoga technique.  It's a good thing I am a yoga master skilled in the ways of discipline that promotes spiritual unity with old crap.
Access to the bilge under the head

Bilge Treasures
(back in May I removed a rusty screw driver and 3 stainless #8 screws from a different area of the same bilge)
The smaller of the two holes at the bottom of this picture leads to the forward bilge.
I wonder what kind of dip wad thinks it is acceptable to drop an item into a hard to get to place on a boat, (car,  plane, or                 , insert your personal favorite ) and walk away thinking it's okay.  I personally would toss and turn in my sleep all night long worrying about any item I dropped and did not retrieve, no matter how hard it was to get to.  Especially when it has the potential of causing problems down the road. 
Just last week while I was replacing the battery on JL's Corvette, I accidently dropped my open end wrench while tightening the last nut on the battery cable.  Corvettes have a sealed underbody so the wrench did not fall to the ground.   It took me 10 minutes to replace the battery and 25 minutes to remove enough of the under carriage to access the f*#@/n wrench.  Even then I had to get JL to reach in and get it because my hand was too big to get into the tiny, tight spot where it landed.  It's a good thing she rewards me regularly with her fantastic  awesome awesomely fantastic smile.
The end.