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....  

But at the same time, I realize how lucky I am to be afforded this opportunity to live this lifestyle at such a young age (at least I think I'm pretty young anyway.)  I entered the workforce full time right out of high school and have never gone without work for more than 3 weeks (and that's when I was laid-off).  For the 25 years that I've been in the full-time workforce, my Monday through Friday schedule was making huge ruts in the form of a monotonous way of life.  So now to even think about having this 5 week window of getting up when I want, doing what I want....and still having the money coming in to support myself is really foreign to my being - but I think I could get used to it.

Laundry day

The "protected" birds of Key West wander into the Laundromat 

But in finding a boat that you want to buy, it sometimes picks the location in which you live - at least for some period of time anyway.  Although we looked at boats in quite a few different locations outside the country, the one we bought was here in Key West, and so our current home city was picked by the boat that we bought.  And just like any other city in the world, each comes with its own nuances and personality.  So far, during my time here, one predominant observation that I've noticed about this particular place is the high concentration of people that live in poverty or are homeless.  Maybe its just that I've lived in Wise County, Texas for so long and have been sheltered to some extent of what a normal city has to offer.  But no matter what part of Stock Island or Key West we travel, during our day to day activities, there just seems to be a hire-than-normal amount of people that spend their whole day sitting under a tree - according to the newspaper, that number is 693.  The "homeless" study was conducted by a group of people that went out, interviewed, and counted the number of people that either "live under a bridge" or "live on somebody else's couch."  I guess it is a problem down here because its just so conducive to living outdoors and there are only so many cots at the shelter. While my son deals with ice on the streets in Texas, we're trying to stay as cool as possible with temps reaching around 85 degrees almost everyday - and it should be the middle of winter I suppose.  Also, an interesting trend here is the high numbers of people that travel by scooters, bikes, and trikes - they are everywhere - and accordingly, Key West has an abnormally high number of deaths related to this as I've seen very few people that even bother to wear helmets. 

"Monkey Tom's" typically decorated trike

Anyway, back to boat stuff - we functionally tested both Jabsco head units and opened the top of the black water holding tank (something we've put off until now because nobody really wanted to know what was still inside the tank.)  I attempted to remove the lid that accesses the 30 gallon stainless steel tank about 2 months ago but was overruled by Tami.  But we couldn't put it off any longer and to everyone's relief, it was empty, so we just sprayed it out and ran fresh water through the head units and tank.  The previous owner had one Jabsco repair kit on board so it was installed for good measure, and it seems to be pushing and pulling much stronger, I ordered one more kit to install and one more kit to put on the shelf.  The question is: what would we have done if there were still waste in the black-water tank?  I have no idea, but fortunately, we didn't have to answer that. 

The update: I haven't posted in over a week because its just been too crazy around here.  This blog "draft" was started almost a week ago, but a lot has changed since then.  The biggest thing that is, for the moment, affecting our present living location is that Tami has broken her right heel bone into two pieces after falling off our ladder.  She had been compound-buffing for 2 days, but while trying to climb the ladder yesterday to buff the bottom/front of the bridge deck, she lost her balance and fell to the ground.  While the ceiling of the bridge-deck is just over 7' high, once she got to the front of the bridge-deck, it goes up to about 9' off the ground - I should have know better as it is way too tall for a 6' ladder - but it's not like her to stop and complain about concern over safety, so she attempted it anyway.

Needless to say, since she doesn't have a bone sticking out of her foot, the ER here recommended that we go home to see if it needs surgery and so she can rehab one way or the other.  Climbing up 10 stairs to the cockpit (5 on the metal staircase and 5 on the boat itself), then going down another 5 steps to our cabin is just not real fun when your heel is broken.  So our flight to Texas was changed to Monday and she has an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday - by the looks of the x-rays, I don't see how she'll avoid surgery.  I could stay behind to keep things going, but I just feel like "re-setting" and chilling out for a little bit, at least until we know how long she'll be out of commission.  I could be back as early as the second week in March to get back on track, but we'll see.

 It was looking great 'till she got to the upper part where the car sits and she had to get further up on the ladder

Before Demerol, it was the 2nd most pain I'd ever seen her in 

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