Thursday, July 17, 2014

So, what does the foot look like now?

Its been awhile since my last post but that's because there really hasn't been much to say.  We've prepared the boat as best we can for the hurricane season and now we wait for it to be over and for skin to continue to grow on Tami's foot.  Progress is slow - its worse than watching grass grow - and the pain associated with it is unrelenting.  

But also in the meantime, I've began another long list of things we need in order to make the final push towards splashing in November.  I've got another chartplotter on the way to mount in the cockpit and I'm seriously looking into a Sirius receiver (rim shot please), an AIS, and additional solar panels.  Add to that a dinghy, some additional rigging pieces, the bottom paint, a few HDTV's for the cabins and a couple of more odds and ends and we're almost there.  It will be a busy October.


Tami at her weekly doctor's visit

What it looked like on 3/10/14 after the debridement 


But she's finally gotten clearance for "weight bearing as tolerated" and for passive and active range of motion in her toes and Achilles, but the pain keeps her from really working it out anymore than just a bit.  Each and every Tuesday involves traveling 45 min to see the doctor so he can see the progress and to make any changes to her dressings.  She has a tendency to grow excess granulation tissue that looks like little mounds of subcutaneous tissue that actually impedes her tissue from growing together.  At first, any kind of tissue covering the exposed tendons was better than none at all, but now since the tendons are all covered up, we'd rather not see it.  

Then, every Thursday and Saturday, Home Health arrives to do dressing changes but in addition, Physical Therapy has also been approved for twice per week.  Now begins the long and painful road of rehabbing a foot that has been badly damaged.  But just seeing her hobbling around in a walking boot has been encouraging to witness. 


Here are the current pictures
(Click to enlarge any of these pictures)



This is what $600k worth of medical bills will get you: 

4 combined weeks at an acute care hosptial
3 1/2 months at a long term acute care facility
2 podiatrists
2 infectious disease doctors
2 pain management doctors
2 attending medical doctors
5 skin graft surgeries
1 surgical debridement
50 Hyperbaric dives
24 bedside debridements
67 dressing changes
2 months spent attached to a wound vac

 - and we're not done yet.

So what did you do in 2014? 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Some repairs Worked, some Didn't

After 22 days at the boat, once again, a lot of things got marked of the list - the shut off cable for the port engine worked like a charm, the ocean hatch locking lever was a quick fix, and the fabrication and installation of the acrylic window wasn't too difficult at all.  Simple things like getting hot water on board only took a quick flip of the breaker to "on" (who would've thought, huh?)  And replacing one of the access covers to the fresh water tank was just a 5 minute install with a new one.  I had also wanted to replace all the old light bulbs with more efficient LED ones, and it didn't even take an hour.  But some fixes took a bit more time such as removing all the non-skid padding from the entry steps, assembling a closet, installing an automatic strainer, and running the mast wiring.  But for the most part, all of these tasks were pretty straight forward and we didn't run into too much trouble at all.

But there were also the "fails" - the fixes that didn't quite work out as planned. 

The first fail was my attempt at refinishing the navigation table.  The surface had 3 horrible water rings (damn-it, use a coaster! i.e. notice the cup in the picture below.)   And you just can't have a bad looking nav table, right?  So I figured that I'd just sand it down, and lay down some new stain - but that's what I get for thinking (and I've never been good at staining anything, I should've known better.)  The problem is that plywood doesn't sand down so good and I sanded past the first finished layer. Panic quickly set in.  Tami is going to freak.  Back to Home Depot to try and find a fix.  Counter-top paint was my solution - but that didn't come out worth a crap either.  So it's back to the drawing board with this project.

The "Before" picture - and those were the 
sandals Tami was wearing when she broke her heel :(

The "After" shot...not horrible, but not great either

Not everything can be a hit, so I'll have to figure out what I'm going to do here (it looks better from a distance than close up.)

The other thing we tried to do was to make new rungs for our entry ladder.  The old teak ones were in bad shape and needed replacing.  I thought it would be as easy as making a few cuts, drilling a few holes, and putting it back together.  Not so fast buddy.  First, have you ever priced teak???  My God, they wanted $36 per foot.  There has to be an alternate.  I almost went with oak, but who uses oak, right?  Then I called a local lumber store and they said they had something called Epa.  Its a hard, water-resistant wood and at only $4 per foot, pretty reasonable.  But sad to say, after about a day and a half of working on it and getting two rungs in place, it just didn't feel solid enough.  It also started splintering at the attaching point and we agreed that we just couldn't move forward and feel comfortable getting on the boat using these rungs - so it was scrapped.

 Nice wood (that's what she said) but it just didn't make a good rung

Of all the positive things we do for the boat, every so often, there are repairs that just don't work.  I've already found a great replacement ladder that will be perfect for our application, and I think I got it figured out what I'm doing with the nav table and the galley counter-top - of course Tami will probably be with me next time and she may have something to say about all that.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Video - A Catamaran Refit Part 2

Here is the new video of some of the projects we've been able to complete during our latest "vacation".  Was able to gather over 50 gigs of video and time lapse pictures during this latest visit - sifted through thousands of pictures and tons of videos, edited it all down to bite-sized clips, and then narrated it in my cabin and put it all together before we leave for Texas....enjoy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Closet Puzzle, Engine Rooms, and OTA Antenna

Now that we've had the antenna in use for over a week, I thought I'd give a small update in that regards.  The over-the-air antenna was mounted on the mast because I wanted a reliable way to get the best reception without hanging rabbit ears outside my window.  It is a small powered HD antenna that I've also seen installed on other boats.....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bilge pump upgrade and Step Scraping

Over the weekend, we've been able to knock a few more things off the list.   Although we still have the starboard side to do, we were able to switch the port hull bilge to automatic pumping.  Originally, there was one strainer on each side of the rib attached to one main pump that was located under the sink in the head.  There was also a valve located under the sink that would switch from one strainer or the other, prior to the discharge leaving the boat, through a shared through-hull....

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Making a huge dent in the list - May 13th - 24th

Since our arrival on May 13, we have yet to stop working.  Most days start somewhere around 10:30am (I am on still on vacation mind you) and end when the "noseeums" come out - usually around 5:00pm if the wind isn't blowing - but we still seem to get a lot accomplished....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Video - Stepping the Mast

Thought I'd put together a short video of the install of our mast today.  It was very nerve racking - begining with fishing it out of its hole about 1' from the boat and 2' from the building and trying to keep the new wind vane off the cables.  With the winds gusting up to 18 knots,...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Installing a Groco Hydromatic Self-cleaning Strainer

Being away from our boat for 3 months was tough; leaving Tami behind was even tougher.  I felt bad for her, but we really need to get things done in Florida, so she gave her blessing and away we went.  As she continues to grow skin at the LTAC, Brandon and I left for a vacation full of work.  And as things usually go, its not all been smooth sailing since our arrival....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Progression of a horrible Foot Wound

If you've read my previous posts, you already know that we had to prematurely leave Key West a couple of months ago due to a calcaneus fracture (her heel broke in two) that Tami developed after falling off a ladder.  But what was a complicated enough issue to begin with, turned very complicated when she (as best they can figure) seemed to have had an allergic reaction...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It was Hard to Leave.....

When we left on February 10th, it was difficult.  Partly because we knew Tami had a pretty long road of rehab ahead of her (even without the reaction she developed).  Also, it was the first time the boat's been alone since November 4th when Tami and Justin pulled up and set up shop.  And it makes us worry.  We've heard a bad storm rolled through a month ago and had winds somewhere between 50 and 60 knots.  As a result, one of our canvas covers....

Friday, April 18, 2014

The cost to refit a Catamaran

So, what does it cost to refit/repair a catamaran that's been growing roots into the boatyard?  I always see forums discussing the cost to sail, but not very many talk about what it costs to repair a boat - probably because it can vary so much depending on how long the boat has sat, and how neglected it was by the previous owner.  But as a prior prospective buyer myself, I thought it might come in handy for somebody looking to refit themselves even if my renovation may not be typical....

Monday, April 14, 2014

The story behind the Name and Logo

Even before we purchased our boat, we had boat names swirling around and would often bump different names off each other in an effort to try and find the perfect boat name.  We had seriously considered Wet Dreams, and almost went with it, but at the last minute we changed our minds.  Justin even wanted to go with something ridiculous like Breaking Wind, or Sofa King Bad Ass (well, that one might have been mine).  After I did a quick search on boat names, it was the consensus....

Friday, April 4, 2014

Video - The last 5 months of Renovation

This video takes a look back on the last 5 months of renovation and repairs that have taken place in Key West aboard Catchin' Rays. Although this isn't the most perfect recording in the world, and the footage was edited as best I could from our location here in Texas, I'm going to go ahead and post it anyway....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Screens and StackPack

While we wait on Tami's recovery, at least one project we started back in Key West has been completed since we've been here in Texas - a new window sunscreen, stackpack, and cockpit screen.  The window sunscreen allows us to ditch the curtains that were inside the saloon that were just about worthless anyway.  They were disintegrating and were nearly impossible to push to one side or the other....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Broke, but not beat

Our first few days back in Texas were spent trying to keep warm - the highs were in the mid 30's - and the motorhome was freezing as Brandon had ran through just about all the propane while we were in Florida.  The space heaters were doing their best to keep the inside temperature to about 64 degrees, and the windows were dripping from all the condensation.  And to top it all off, Tami is dealing with a broken heel - hobbling up and down the steps of our motorhome as she tries not to break the other foot....

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Glamorous life of a Yard Rat

Not that anybody thought that living in a shipyard was all that glamorous to begin with, but its funny to see people's reaction when I tell them that I'm going to Key West for a month to live on my boat.  Granted, the weather is awesome - but this is no vacation - except for one, I've spent every day working on the boat in some form or fashion.  Some days are spent shopping for parts in the morning and installing them in the afternoon, other days are spent going to the grocery store and laundromat, then working on the boat....  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mattress replacement and Wifi Hotspot

After getting over my "crud" that I've had for the past 2 days, I finally got a little bit done around here and am feeling all productive again.  Actually, my productivity began yesterday afternoon, when I decided that it was time to see if an electric knife really can be used to cut a 6" thick piece of foam.  A few months ago, I read about mattress replacement options and ways to replace your old, worn out mattresses.  Replacement foam can be purchased at Walmart or online, and could be trimmed with an electric knife to whatever size is needed....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Replacing an impeller on a 15hp Mercury

I had always heard that outboard impellers are inside the lower unit, but had never confirmed that and never knew how it worked.  And while there is just about everything else posted up on Youtube, Justin had a little more difficulty trying to get a good guide on exactly how to do it.  He ended up combining a few different sources and started disassembling the unit....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mast, Mercury, and Tournament

The goal for today: finish up all the loose ends on the mast which included final mounting of over-the-air antenna so we can receive free television, re-mount the radar, and try and get the dinghy outboard running.  Afterwards, we could go to the marina next door and watch the boats come in and weigh their King Mackerel....

Friday, January 24, 2014

Living in the Keys but still working everyday

Trying to update this blog while living on our boat is much more difficult to do than it sounds.  By the time we finish for the day, I just want to take a shower and go to bed.  But I'd like to update a little more often since I'll be here for about four more weeks and can now officially be considered "living on a boat", although "yard-rat" is probably more appropriate....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Normal life as we know it has changed.

Since my last post almost 4 weeks ago we've been pretty busy around here and that's part of my struggles to post more to the blog - I really don't live on a boat and can only describe updates secondhand through Justin.  But I thought I'd at least let you know what's been going on around the house in preparation in making the big move....

Friday, December 20, 2013

Electronics upgrade and Seatalk Ng backbone connection

When we first bought Catchin' Rays, we had hopes that we'd be able to use some, if not all, of the electronics.  Although we were able to power up the radar and chartplotter displays, the GPS would not fix on a signal, the radar wouldn't engage, and the displays looked like the old dot-matrix printers....but those were just hopes....

Monday, December 16, 2013

Progress update after another week on the boat

Just got back from another week at Key West - time for a renovation update over the past month's progress.  First, the mast finally came down - and our rigger had some trouble busting the turn-buckles loose and also had difficulty finding the correct replacement parts on the cable ends - I'm not sure how that's going to work out yet, but hopefully it all goes back up ok.  A new anchor light was installed along with new wiring and a new "steaming" light.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back home after a week on the boat.

Just back from a 6 day stay on our boat and I'm sad to say that I'm not real happy to be back home.  Tami and Justin arrived at the boat about 11 days ago, showed up with a car and a trailer and set up a home.  All the bed covers, seat cushions, and curtains were removed and taken to the laundry-mat.  Everything was wiped with clean-wipes as there was no running water.  Tami even fell 6 feet off the back of the boat because the only access was from a ladder.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In her better days

Well Tami and Justin ended up driving non-stop from Dallas-Fort Worth to Key West and made it there today around 4:30pm local time - now that's some hard-core driving.  They took shifts driving and slept in a small sliver of a space they created in the back among all the stuff that was crammed back there.  Total driving time....

Monday, November 4, 2013

And the work begins

This past week, work began on the boat.  The local Fiberglass/Delamination guy that's doing the work had some good news and some bad news.  The bad news: all the bubbles under the bridge-deck were indeed delamination and all of them have to be ground down and sit for at least 10 days prior to repair.  The good news: the front six feet of the inside of each hull that was report to be entirely delaminated by the surveyor were in fact NOT delaminated....

Friday, October 25, 2013

I now have a family of ASA 101, 103, and 104 Certified Sailors

Although I didn't go on this latest adventure to Seabrook, Texas, my family just got back from a 6 day trip to become ASA certified sailors and learned a lot in the process.  Both Justin and Brandon were reported to have done well, Tami on the other hand claims that she has too many brain issues to be able to apply what she's studied to the actual sailing process.  And based on these difficulties, she's come up with a solution for our new running rigging on Catchin' Rays.....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The new name for the boat is "Catchin' Rays"

So Tiki II will now be known as Catchin' Rays, and I hear that unless you do this complete "name change" ceremony that your boat will be cursed with bad luck.  Ah, .....nobody told me this when I decided to change the name during our registration process.  Are you exempt by way of stupidity.....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

From Dream to Reality: how we plan to afford it.

As I write this post, we are nervously anticipating the signing that is scheduled for this Friday on our 1995 Fountaine Pajot Venezia. Although this is a brand new blog that I started this year, this is actually a 7 year old plan that has required a huge amount of dedication, discipline, and work.....

Offer accepted and contract signed!

After much debate and discussion and weighing all the pros and cons, we accepted the contract on a boat post survey. Our 10% down is officially not ours any longer.  The boat: a 1995 Fountaine Pajot Venezia located in Key West, Florida......