Friday, September 26, 2014

Observations After Living On Board for 60 Days

We moved on board Adventure Us 2 almost sixty (60) days ago.  It shouldn't be a big surprise to the folks that know us because we have been methodically working towards the goal for over four (4) years.   Prior to the move, I worried that our lives would change in a way I could not completely wrap my mind around.  I was worried the modification to our lives would amount to a whole lot of trouble in paradise.  Change after all is when something is made different from what it would be if left alone.   We were comfortable, and happy in our surroundings, so why mess it up?  You can change your clothes, change your shoes, change your address, change your mind, and even change a prince into a toad.  But what if the new shoes don't fit?  What if the new clothes are the wrong color? What if my Michael starts ingesting bugs?  Uncertainty was churning in the deep waters inside my bladder soul.  It turns out, at least so far, I fretted for nothing.

I am extremely happy that my Michael hasn't started eating bugs, and as a bonus we don't seem to be bumping into each other more than usual because we have most everything organized, even our morning routine.   We both have showered on the boat, but both of us prefer the bath house about two hundred (200) feet down the covered dock. So far the early morning walk, 5:30 am to be exact, is very pleasant but the weather has not turned cold.  Final judgment will have to wait until I become a member of the polar bear club. 

We usually amble down the dock before the ducks, egrets, and herons are awake.  The first morning I woke up earlier than Michael and headed for my shower.  I discovered a pissed off duck can make a whole lot of noise, scare the crap out of you, and leave behind gobs of poo.  When I told my Michael what happened he said he knew something scared me because he had to dodge the evidence I left behind all the way down the dock.    I'm pretty sure duckzilla lives on our dock.                                             
              
duckzilla 

One adjustment we have had to make has to do with preparing dinner in our galley. Our home had a nice size workable kitchen. Counter space went on for miles, with a large island, a four (4 ) burner gas stove top, microwave, large double sink, and a seventy-two (72) cubic foot side by side refrigerator freezer.  Michael and I worked together in preparing our meals with plenty of room to enjoy each others company and make messes.  

before
                                                                           
      after

Now my Michael won't even let me in the galley to help him.  He keeps telling me to go sit down and look pretty.  That's too easy.  I'm more the hands on type.  My cooking job when we were on terra firma was to cut up all the vegetables.  I can't wait to get my hands on him a sharp knife and fresh veggies, but first I have to find a big cutting board to fit over the sink, or perhaps on the salon table.   The other evening while preparing dinner, I utilized the companion way steps as a work space.  That seemed to work, but I still need a custom made cutting board.  Now if I can only remember where I put my Michael's to do list.

A lot of galleys have top opening refrigeration systems, and the top doubles as counter space so an organized plan is paramount.  If not, you have to keep moving things off the counter to retrieve more stuff from the fridge. We are fortunate to have a front and top loading refrigerator with a shelf dividing the two areas.  When stocking the fridge we try to keep frequently used items in the lower section with the front door, but we keep in mind the coldest section is at the bottom.  Needless to say my vodka likes the bottom section.

Cleanup after dinner is easy.  Since there is no where to put dirty dishes, everything gets cleaned and put away as we go.

Our house has just recently been placed on the market, so we still have the best of both worlds.   We have access to our  washer and dryer, a walk in closet , (we both still have jobs) and a garage for one of our cars, motorcycle, and tools.  In just 60 days, we have made numerous trips to the boat with "stuff" and within a few days, we take  the same "stuff" back, because we can't find a place on the boat to stash it.  It's been a back and forth journey, but we are getting closer.  Once we have all our necessary items on the boat, if something new comes aboard; something will have to leave.  We are very thankful that only three (3) miles separate the house and the boat.

Views between the house and the boat.            

                                                                                
                         Galveston Bay                        

In the evenings I was accustomed to throwing in a load of wash, taking care of the garden and plants, mixing a cocktail and preparing dinner.  After dinner we would sit and enjoy our favorite sitcom,  Animal Planet, or Nat Geo.   Now that we are on Adventure US 2, we don't have a TV, but we have more time.   After dinner we retire to the cockpit with sundowners to watch the sunset and spend time talking, and planning our future sailing off into the sunrise.
                                                                            
 Michael chillaxing 

Storage, or lack there of, has probably been my most difficult adjustment so far.  I keep hearing, "Your Morgan has so much storage space".  I'm either missing something, or I just don't get it yet.   Michael had some cabinets built in the salon, v birth, and under the companion way steps to supplement our existing storage.  That seems to help, but it is a big transition from a twenty-four hundred (2400) square foot house with two (2) car garage.
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Janet Lee's Photos   

After a few weeks on board, we decided to utilize the v-berth for short term storage and make the forward head my clothes closet. (Remember, we still have our day jobs so clothing and shoes are very important.)   We removed the Nature's Head (we really don't need it until we cut the dock lines)  and purchased a shower curtain rod and placed it where the toilet was.   We located the rod above the towel rack and toilet paper holder for support so the rod would not come crashing to the floor.   I have hooks on the inside of two doors, one for the dirty laundry bag and the other for my bags.  The floor is for my shoes.  Michael added a few shelves to the existing storage for his clothes, but keeps saying he is giving up clothes when he retires.  I can't wait for his retirement.      


I am still at a loss when it comes to the stuff I carry with me back and forth to work.    With all the kitchen counter space we had at the house, I would just put my stuff at the end of the counter and I was good till morning.  Now I don't have counter space, and don't like the cluttered feeling with it laying around.

Thank God we still have the house for our laundry.   The thought of sitting in a laundry room in the heat of the summer is not in the least bit tantalizing to me.  I don't know how this has happened but since we have lived on the boat, it seems we don't have quite as much laundry so lugging dirty clothes back to the house is not a big deal.  Once the house is sold, we, and I do mean WE, will be going on field trips to the laundry facility in our marina.    
                                                             
So far our hearts appear to be in sync as we reach for the final chapter in our five year quest. Once the house sells; we will set in motion the final push through the last transitional phase to become full time live aboards.  It is the phase where we get rid of the remnants of our old land locked lives.   No more extra closet space, no more garage, no more laundry facility, and no more cable TV.  Someone said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?  I think I have taught my Michael a lot about my needs in just a short period, and as long as the blender makes it to the boat, all is good.       
                                                      

Internet Photo

My next challenge...How to convince Michael we need a TV on board.
                                                                 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WHAT? NO GARAGE? by Janet Lee

Contract signed.  CHECK
Climate controlled storage secured.   CHECK
Bubble wrap, packing tape, and boxes purchased.   CHECK
Run ad for estate sale.   CHECK

                             
After almost 5 years of dreaming, and planning our future, we are finally moving aboard the boat we purchased two and a half years ago.  The closing of our house on terra firma is still several weeks away, but we have started packing up items that will either make the transition onto the boat, or end up in our eight foot, by eight foot storage space.  Every thing else is for sale.  

We are certainly not pioneers when it comes to downsizing and moving onto a boat.  Many before us have given up their lives on land to pursue dreams of sailing the world in search of new experiences and adventures.  When we are I am having trouble imagining our current lives reduced to roughly five hundred and seventy cubic feet of storage and four hundred square feet of living space; we I turn to the experts.  I read their sailing blogs and sometimes I communicate directly with boats that are already out there living the lifestyle. Their stories are inspirational, and their opinions and advise help to reinforce our endeavors.  Knowing others have made a successful transition makes us me more comfortable with the concept.  We are I am actually beginning to feel the experience of downsizing may even prove to be liberating. 

I know that once Seabrook Marina becomes our home address, uncertainty will dissipate and confusion will give way to a new and different mind set.  However, I am anticipating the first weeks living aboard will be outright chaos.   One example is our morning routine.  It will need to be changed to minimize the lack of space and to take advantage of the space we do have.  We are used to showering in shifts, and using various accouterments in shifts, in the same bathroom.  That will no longer be possible.  Fortunately we have two heads, and very comfortable bathrooms, complete with shower facilities, at the end of the dock.  I can use the forward head for my makeup counter, and H. Michael claims he will streak the dock each morning, but where do I hang towels to dry?  Where will we keep our dirty clothes? There isn't a dishwasher on board to put our dirty coffee mugs.  Yikes!




As we I work through the next few months weeks I will keep the sound of distant steel drums, the warmth of the sun on our tanned bodies, powder-soft sand under our feet, clear turquoise water, and the gentle breeze blowing through our dreads hair in my mind.   Oh, and let's not forget  the rum!
                                                     

Friday, July 11, 2014

Time Passes On

There is nothing we can do about the passing of time.  The clock just keeps ticking no matter how desperate we become trying to slow it's pace.  Recently I told a young adolescent kid an acquaintance I was about to attend my 45th class reunion.  He looked at me with that 'deer-in-the-headlight' look and said, "I wasn't even a twinkle in my parents eyes when you graduated from high school!"  


internet photo

Gee thanks for the reminder.  Once the initial shock passed; I thought "Did that little smart ass actually just say that to me?"  But he wasn't finished.  His brain cells continued to fire in rapid succession and he realized that I was alive 18 years before graduating from high school... "so that makes you even older than rope!"  he said.  WHACK!  I hope the bruise heals soon.  Needless to say he learned the hard way not to talk about a women's age while she has a big ass umbrella in her possession.  

My Michael and I graduated from high school in the same year.  We went to Dallas for his 45th reunion last month.  I did not know a soul other than my Michael, his best friend John, and a friend Michael introduced me to on Facebook, Lynne.  I actually had a great time.  People would walk up to me; read my name tag and look at me with a perplexed look on their face. "Do I know you?"  they would inquire.  After several honest answers, I decided to be a bit creative and have a little fun! 
   
internet photo

I told  one dude that I remembered him but he probably wouldn't remember me because my name in high school was Jack, but 20 years ago I changed my name to Janet Lee after my sex change operation.   Upon inquiry from another guy I told him I weighed 300 pounds in high school, but ten years ago I lost 175 pounds after having gastric by pass surgery.  Being the honest person that I am, and feeling uncomfortable setting them into a downhill spiral towards shock, I would fess up and inform them I was just kidding.   

Last week it was my turn.  I  travelled  back to Greensburg, Pa. to attend my 45th reunion.  Why do we go to these reunions?  Do we go to brag about our accomplishments?  Do we go to re-connect with friends and 'share secrets' from our past?  Or is it to re-experience the feelings of youth, immortality, and to remember the dreams and confidence that we once had? In high school the world was our oyster.  We had our whole life in front of us, and we felt as though we could truly accomplish most anything in life! 

We really shouldn't get all weird about growing older.  After all, the alternative is not so great!  Our age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying us!

In the big picture, it's all good.  We are all here on this side of the dirt looking at each other saying, "Who are all these old people?"
internet photo

Greensburg Salem Class of '69
Photo by Janet Lee
And a great time was had by all!

Friday, June 27, 2014

It's All About Vanity, by Janet Lee

I know that trying to decide which items we should have on Adventure US 2 will be trial and error.  Not having the convenience of items we are used to in our every day lives will be an adjustment for the both of us, and just might cause me to have a mini-meltdown. 


                                                   internet photo

Lately, I have been asking myself:  'do I need, or do I want' to have a particular item on board?  It doesn't matter, at this point, which item.  It could be any item.

In Michael's case, he will have difficult decisions regarding which tools should make the cut.   Obviously, commonly used tools will need to be on the boat, and probably more than one or two of them, incase one is dropped over board, or one breaks.  Presently, he has many, yes many,  small, blue zippered bags that hold an assortment of useful tools.   The problem for me is all the little, bags look alike!   I suggested we I purchase a silver sharpie and mark each bag with it's contents so if I am sent to retrieve an item, as his gopher, I won't waste 15 minutes on a search and find mission just for a simple flat head.  I'm not sure he appreciates how pretty I can make his tool bags look by adding some real nice frilly calligraphy.


 internet photo

Now, my case is a little different because I am woman and I want need a few items that will aid in keeping what I call my 'vanity sanity'.  A flat iron and a hair dryer will be two of my most important items, along with the obvious; mascara and lip gloss.  I don't have curly thick hair to deal with so a powerful hair dryer is not necessary.   I was blessed with fine, straight hair, and I think I could get by with a 12 volt hair dryer and 12 volt curling iron.  (Is there such a thing as a 12 volt curling iron, or hair dryer?)   My hair can dry in the sun and breeze in less than 5 minutes, but it will dry flat and straight.  A hair dryer will help give my hair height and fluff, and the flat iron will help add bounce.   Yes, I know it will probably be hot and humid, but there is something to be said about trying to look better.  Even if the results of the attempt do not last, I will feel prettier.  And remember, I am woman and when I feel prettier; H Michael everyone is happier!  
                                                 internet clip art              

 Of course maybe I could just buy another hat or two!


photo by H. Michael



Friday, May 9, 2014

Thanks Mom, by H. Michael

When I was a young boy of eleven or twelve growing up in a suburb of Salt Lake City, I decided I wanted to make some money while school was out on break for the summer.  Utah is very popular with fisherman and it was easy for a young kid to make some cash catering to those using earthworms, or as we referred to them: night crawlers, for bait.   I suppose worms were called night crawlers because one had to hunt them at night when it was cool, and the grass was damp from watering or rain. 
I embarked on my scheme to sell worms by first making a place to put them once I caught them.  I recall building a box, open on the top and bottom, about six inches deep, from scrap lumber.  There wasn’t a need for a bottom because I put the box on concrete in the breeze way of our carport.  I filled the four foot, by four foot box with dirt and peat moss from the flower beds around the house and I was set to begin hunting for worms.

On most nights that summer my mom would take me to Riverside Park after the sun had set to hunt down, and take into custody, the creepy crawlers.  We would find an area in the park that had the right amount of moisture in the soil and begin our hunt.  We both would crawl on our hands and knees with a flashlight and tin can, sweeping our flashlights back and forth, until a night crawler was spotted stretched out on the grass.  Concentration was necessary in order to sneak up on the worm because it seemed like they could sense they were being stalked, and if we weren't careful, dart back down their hole.   Cautiously we would reach out and try to grab the dirty buggers.  With practice we learned if we could get our fingers on it, before it completely disappeared; we could usually get it out of the hole in one piece.  But, oh what a mighty battle it was. 
 
We would labor on our hands and knees on the wet grass well into the night.   My mother would crawl in her preferred direction, and I would crawl in mine.  Occasionally, I would look up from my single minded task and just watch my mother.  She would be at least fifty yards away, in the pitch dark night, with her flashlight casting a glow on the ground in front of her, pinching night crawlers off the grass, and depositing them in her can.   Only a mother would help a young boy on summer nights catch fish bait.

 
I have seen more than fifty summers come and go since I sold worms to fisherman.  Becoming wealthy was never part of the equation because that summer night crawlers sold for about 25 to 35 cents a dozen.  I have come to realize the real wealth I made that summer is the deposit in my memory of my mother, with dirt caked on her palms, and muddy knees, whooping and hollering with joy because she won another battle with a worm.

Thanks mom!
 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Moving On(board) by Janet Lee

This week Michael and I reached a significant milestone in our predetermined five year blueprint to shift our lives onto AdventureUS2.  The strategic objective leading us headlong into the final phase began with a swift and decisive motion of the pen, and ended with a sign from a local realtor being placed in our yard.  Yep, we did it.  We put Casa del Dos up for sale.  



How do I feel?   I feel anxious and excited.  Up until now the impact of our decision to downsize and move onto AdventureUs2 has mostly been on an easygoing path, and at a casual pace.   However the trail has reached a major crossroads, one in which the pace will ramp up several notches, and changes will occur at a much faster tempo.   Suffice it to say I must somehow find the strength, courage, patience, and endurance to run an excellent race because the end reward is a prize we have been training for, and dreaming of, for a long time.

We have had 3 garage sales in the last couple of years, but still need one more gargantuan, mother-of-them-all sale. The do or die sale.   The sale to relieve us of all most of our stuff.  I love our home, and I love our stuff.  But in the end, it is really only just stuff.  Am I ready for this?  Will this be life altering?  Will it be liberating?  Will it be disengaging?  I hear that it is, I hope that it is, after all, it is just stuff. 

I sure could use a good shoulder to cry on some counseling and encouragement from any of the experts that have already gone through the cleansing.   What should I do with the little rocking chair that my mother rocked in as a child?  The same one I rocked in as a little girl.  The same one my daughters rocked in and played mommy with their baby dolls and stuffed animals?  I don't know.   I guess that too, is just 'stuff.   




I know this current stream of emotions shall pass when we, as Jim Morrison and the Doors once said: "break on through to the other side".  Once there; will we be open to a different kind of life journey because we are free of most our material stuff in life? Will we explore new avenues and experiences based on our lack of material encumbrance?  Will we be able to set fresh goals and discover, yet to be told, adventure stories?   Our lives will most definitely be altered, because we won't have much 'stuff', but then what?  

Stay tuned to find out.









Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm a Rebel Rebel, by H. Michael

By now, most of the free world has heard about the misfortunes of the crew of Rebel Heart.   Their tribulation has been plastered all over national media, forums, blogs, and I'm sure in many private conversations.  Some outwardly and passionately admire them for their undertaking and chosen lifestyle, while others heatedly condemn them for undertaking such a challenge, and way of life.  Both sides present well founded reasons for their choice, and are equally quick to point out fault with the counter view.  I am not at all surprised by the attention they are receiving on all fronts or by the contrast in opinions.  Let me emphatically state; I am not hear to weigh in on either side.  (I have my opinion, and I intend to keep it mine.)  Thankfully they are safe, albeit a little poorer for the loss, or perhaps richer for the experience.  

I have been waiting for the maelstrom of opinion to subside, but I can see a second round of turbulence is beginning to unfold.  Hold on tight to your britches because the profiteers are starting to swarm, and I certainly have an opinion regarding this infestation.  


I understand the psychological need to feel as though one is part of a group.  After all, there truly is safety in numbers.  The more tribe members that have the same lifestyle or opinion as me; the more protected and secure I can feel that I am making the right choices, and the less careful I need to be to survive.  And by aggressively assaulting the opposite opinion or code of standard, I can add justification to the pack, gain momentum, and add value to the belief, or lifestyle, or even my very existence.  However, and let me be brief because it is not really my point.  Certainly the righteous have no need to bolster an opinion because being right doesn't allow for an alternative, and without opposition the need to promote is eliminated.  I get it.


All of the heavyweights on various sailing blogs and other social media have expressed opinions and have made there presence known as to which side of the fence they sit.  I really don't have any objection to this form of dialogue with readers.  But, and here is the point: It is wrong to sell a personal opinion of what is truly not your story, but someone else's story, for profit.


There is a story, and it is the story of Rebel Heart.  Once the story is told by them; you may all, once again gather to scrutinize and further dissect the carcass.  But until they bring their story to us, stay out of it, muthafucaas.


Peace, out.



Friday, March 28, 2014

My Heart Cries - by Janet Lee

Twenty-five years after the Exxon Valdez disaster a sheen of oil still shimmers across the waters of Prince William Sound in Alaska.  Will mankind's carelessness ever cease?

After witnessing the collision of a ship and barge at the Texas City Intracoastal intersection and the Houston ship channel on Galveston Bay a few days ago, I ask myself these questions.   Why were these ships out in the dense fog?  Visibility was so poor when we left the Harbor House dock and approached the ship channel the very same tanker that hit the barge was ghosting in and out of sight as he passed 100 yards in front of us.  I'm sure they are accustomed to traveling in such poor conditions, but why didn't they pick each other up on radar or AIS?  Was this just pure carelessness?   My heart is crying.  


 Photo by Janet Lee Knizner-Enders

The bay life that break the water's surface such as dolphins, birds, fish and other aquatic life forms are in obvious danger.  What makes matters worse, if that is possible, is during this time of year this area caters to spring migration and the Bolivar Peninsula is part of the Bird Looping Trail. http://www.bolivarchamber.org/BirdWatching.aspx

Internet Photo

In Texas, the brown pelican is already endangered because of man. The runoff from land was, and still is, polluted with pesticides.  This nearly devastated the population around the Texas Coast by damaging the pelican's eggs.   But in recent years the population of the brown pelican is slowly recovering. Coastal power lines are another hindrance. These huge birds would fly into the lines killing them instantly or breaking their wings, sending them into a dive bomb to a painful death.  Now, once again, oil in the Gulf....mankind's error.  

                                      
                                                                    Internet Photo

When will we learn?  Why can't WE adapt to nature?  Do we just think we can move into their territory and take over?  We did it to the American Indian... now we are doing it to our God given gifts.
                                                                         
                                                                       Internet Photo





Monday, February 17, 2014

I Welcome the Future, by J Lee



An unusual incident took place the other day at work.  Charlie quit.  Walked out.  Terminated his employment.  He just left.  Did not tell anyone directly.   Had enough.  Kaput!  Auf Wiedersehen!   Hasta la vista, baby!   F#&$ off!  That's it!  Like I said... he just left.  It was time, the perfect time.  


                                                                   Internet Photo

I will miss him.  He made me laugh, often pissed me off, but he also made my day enjoyable. I was agitated at first... then I thought about it.  How wonderful it must be to change course, re-program and try a new path in a major part of your life without  getting bogged down with anxiety. 

I would never condone walking out on an employer without giving appropriate notice but, have you ever wanted to do that?  Ever want to pull a Charlie and just bolt?  

Iternet Photo

When I think about leaving on our boat, it is almost the same thing, except Adventure Us 2's departure will be planned.  Ten years working in downtown Houston, day in, day out, same ol', same ol', and in a brief moment a major part of my life and H Michael's life changes. 

I can't imagine the feeling of liberation one must feel to wake the day after a major transition, not knowing, or not overly concerned about what the day will bring.   Not relying on a clock to make it through the day.  Living in a non-restricted world.   

Will time stand still when we bolt?   I hope so.

Will we get bored?  

I think not.
I welcome the future.  Bring it on baby!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Enough is Enough, by H. Michael


Water leaks into the rear lazaretto on Adventure Us 2.  This is a big deal because I expect to use the space to lay up supplies when we untie the dock lines and water getting into the space is no bueno.  (Especially when I know it is happening.)  Two ninety (90) degree half (1/2) inch barb fittings installed to allow water to drain from the hatch cover channel continually clog with all kinds of debris.  The ninety (90) degree bend in the fitting is so small just about everything jams it up. Once that happens water overflows the channel and ends up in the lazaretto.  I tried to convince myself (and Adventure Us 2) that I could tighten clamps on the exit hoses, use a little caulking to seal the fittings better, and be vigilant about cleaning the trash out of the reveal, but in reality I wasn't very effective.  Last weekend I decided enough is enough.  

I have always been one to plan projects with a certain amount of attention to detail, and this project was fairly straight forward once I found the fittings I wanted to use.  The reason half (1/2) inch fitting were used in the first place is because the hatch channel width is barely wide enough to house the outside dimension of the barbed elbow.  For the record I didn't install the original fitting, but for a replacement I chose a one (1) inch slip, by three quarter (3/4) inch threaded elbow because you can drive a truck through the ninety (90) degree bend.  I added a three quarter (3/4) inch threaded barb fitting to the elbow so I could attach a hose and run it to the existing through hull.  With the old fitting removed, and a little grinding on the underside of the channel, with my Dremel, I had a nice, stable base for the new fitting to rest, and I was ready to start some fiberglass work.  

The wise and astute readers this blog attracts have already realized a "certain amount of attention to detail" does not necessarily make the planning comprehensive.  In fact, it leaves the door wide open and allows for the possibility that perhaps some of the finer details were omitted.  Possibly to the extent that Mr. Murphy had little trouble entering and lounging for a while as I scrambled to not FUBAR the whole undertaking. 

In all fairness to myself, I completely understand the effects of gravity, but sometimes I can be a little na├»ve.  Like the time I jumped off the roof of our house holding four (4) corners of a bed sheet as a parachute.   Anyway, lacking extensive experience with all things fiberglass, I basically thought I would mix the resin a little on the stiff side so it would cure quickly.  In the mean time I would hold it in position until I could let it go without it falling.  Simple.  Just in case, I placed a roll of blue tape close by lest I need some reinforcement.   

The plan was well executed on the first (port side) fitting.  Although I did have to use my tongue to get the tape started, my teeth to hold the loose end of the tape as I unrolled it, and then my mouth to hold the roll of tape while I positioned the loose end of the tape because my left hand was busy holding the fitting in place.  Not bad though.  I had the same plan for glassing the second fitting, however about this time Murphy arrived, decided to have a little fun at my expense, and everything proved a little more intense challenging. 

To work on the starboard fitting I had to rotate my body inside the lazaretto one hundred eight (180) degrees.  Now it was necessary to hold the fitting in place with my right hand while trying to positioning some tape with my left.  My left hand behaves admirably as an assistant to my right, but has never really been comfortable taking the lead.  Unrolling the tape, moving it into position, and getting the right supportive angle proved a frustrating experiment.  Good thing Janet Lee showed up. 

"Honey can you please rip off a piece of tape for me? ....  Uh oh....  Maybe a bigger piece will work better....  Hmmm, it worked on the other side.... Shit!"

At this point the fitting had moved way out of position because of fumbling around with various pieces of tape.   I had to remove the fiberglass cloth, reposition the fitting, re-apply the cloth, and smooth it over with more resin.  Good thing I was wearing gloves cause I would've had resin all over my hands. Of course all the old tape we tried to use was coated with resin and somehow ended up stuck to my pants, shirt, shoes, hair, whiskers, and various parts of my exposed skin.

"Okay I'm ready JL, let's try again."

Recalling this incident I am reminded of a job I had in college working with a crew framing houses.  There was a guy on the crew whose irritation and frustration levels would peek, usually because of a "stupid board", to the point that he would scream at the top of his lungs as a warning of what was yet to come.  The entire crew recognized his raucous outburst as a sign to hunker down and wait for the explosion.  Inevitably he would throw his hammer across the project and it would crash to the ground, sometimes from the ridge of whatever we were framing.  Every single time he would climb down, from wherever he was, walk over, retrieve his hammer, and go back to whatever he was working on before the outburst.    I always found this home grown psychotherapy behavior interesting because I recognized by screaming he could clear his mind, and throwing his hammer gave him the opportunity to take a few moments, by retrieving the tool, to: rethink his approach, and regain his zen.  After the third time I removed the resin soaked cloth from the elbow, essentially starting over for the third time, can you guess what I did?  

"F*/#ing shit!  Stupid ass elbow." 

The only difference is I didn't have anything I could throw, and if I had; it probably would have stuck to my glove.  With that one explosive verbal outburst Janet Lee cocked her head a little to one side and promptly disappeared in what I believe was an effort to hunker down in a safe place.   I think I scared the crap out of Murphy too because all of a sudden I had a clear vision of the five single hand bar clamps in the bottom of the dock box patiently waiting for a chance to contribute. 

I am always amazed by the amount of insight I gain when on the verge of panic.  It seems to me that as intensity ramps up, if I can remain attune to the mission and confront my weakness head on; a better plan develops.   Clouds part, the sun comes out, and a rainbow with a pot of gold magically appears within grabbing distance.

Can you see the rainbow?

“When I’ve lost my way or when I am confused about a path to take, I remember that most answers I need I already possess – deep inside. I am naturally creative, resourceful and whole. If I consult my invisible compass, I’ll know what to do.”
~Steve Goodier


Borrowed from :

Art Of Hookie ~ Will work for food or money.

 



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Someone Got Run Over by a Reindeer, by Janet Lee

Celebrating birthdays is always interesting, fun, and from time to time results in a story worth telling.

Recently my daughter and her beau, Mindy from Indy, and many others came to our side of town to celebrate my Michael's birthday.  Festivities began at our favorite sushi restaurant, Masa Sushi, followed by an evening of cheerful fun, revelry, and dancing at Big Texas South.  After several hours of camaraderie, rounds of jello shots, and other libations too numerous to mention, the night progressed with about ten cowgirls and cowboys walking the length of the parking lot to IHOP for more indulgences.    

                                                           Internet Photo

After we gorged ourselves on waffles, bacon and every other extravagance we could stuff into our mouths, the designated drivers took the helm of their assigned carriages and in the wee hours of the morning headed to our house to celebrate a late night an early morning birthday gift exchange.  Turning down our street we were greeted with a very unusual sight to behold!  Three deer were grazing on flowers left over from summer in my front beds.  Being of semi-sound minds, both designated drivers turned off their headlights so as not to disturb the deer, but before I could pull totally to a stop, the passenger of my car, who shall remain nameless, jumped out of my Corvette and started running and screaming toward the deer in what I believe may have been an attempt to get a closer view of Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen.  Prancer and Vixen darted past him cleanly but he was able to get in front of Dancer, and with his arms extended over his head made an attempt at one last dance of the night.  Dancer didn't want anything to do with a six foot two cowboy cutting into their nocturnal salad bar foray and from a dead still posture jumped over his outstretched arms and flew off into the night.  I assume tiny Dancer was displeased at not taking off with Prancer and Vixen because at the last moment, before clearing his outstretched frame, she reimbursed him for damages with a kick to his um.... arm.

                                               Internet Photo

I was reminded of a five year old set free in a penny candy store!  The long, tall cowboy began jumping up and down, squealing and laughing.

"OH MY GOD!!! I JUST GOT KICKED BY A DEER!"  

What is the first thing one does when kicked by a deer?  Recall the event on social media of course.  A post was made on Facebook and funny comments were plentiful.  The thrill of the moment, although tainted with anonymity, will linger for many years, and I am sure, as years go by, the deer will get bigger, jump higher, and the story of the unnamed deer wrangler will grow in the minds of all those involved.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It is Always Now, By H. Michael

I was talking to a guy a few days before the new year arrived, and somehow the topic turned briefly to regrets.  Although the conversation was brief, I have been ruminating on it ever since.  I feel I have got to get this off my chest, brain if you prefer, or I will just keep thinking about it.  Janet Lee will probably challenge this remark with a comment like: "just put your brain back in your pants and let the sleeping dog lie", but I can't. 



I won't go into details regarding what the regret(s) were because that is not the point.  The point, as I see it, is how the past is always pulling us into an illusionary perspective of what we should have done, how we should have acted, or changes we should have made to make just about anything imaginable, different.   But it's a trap, there is only the present, only now. 

True, we should all learn from our mistakes, and it's also true that revisiting past decisions and making different choices, if given the same set of circumstances might work to our benefit.  I put too much garlic in the stew last time; I think I will add less this time.  I cut the board too short, I'll add an eighth on the re-cut, I should have reefed sooner, or the oil in the diesel was really black last time I changed it; I think I will change it more frequently.  You get the point.  When dealing with a task it is beneficial to call on your memory and make alterations if required to make the outcome different, and definitely if the outcome is perceived as better.  But, and here in lies the rub, when memories and emotions get all wrapped up and cozy in a blanket of (perceived) change, and past emotions are not part of the current equation of change, remorse can surface; which may lead to regret, and if severe enough; guilt.  

If I say for example "I regret not going cruising sooner", after I have been cruising for many years; my memory allows emotions and other mental experiences to surface that are motivated by current behavior, and not the actual experience that caused me to perform the way I chose.  The market may have been soft and I couldn't sell my house, my children may have been living at home, or a host of other reasons that were applicable, but were somehow tempered with time.  The point is: the emotional relevance of a past decision was lost, and regret surfaced because a new, contemporary standard is being compared to the past. 

The only way I can see to prevent regret is to always live in the now.  So my mantra for 2014 is:  It is always now.

Photo used with permission of
Robert Grice, Extreme Photography