Monday, October 25, 2010

In the wake of my destruction

Everything is broken. How does this happen? The last time things were this bad was just after my ex-wife had moved out. The transmission on my car started making a loud grinding sound and quit. The washing machine filled up with water and stopped. The computer went to blue screen and stayed there. Even the neck decided to pop out of the body of my guitar as I was lugubriously strumming it, mourning my misfortune.

Life got better ... eventually. Yet somehow, five years later, we're back to that place. I tried to take my parents out on the boat Sunday morning, it blew antifreeze everywhere and overheated. I was driving my dad back to my sister's house, and the car blew oil everywhere and died. The extremely expensive camera stopped turning off. The TV no longer has sound 50 percent of the time. The computer, three-times replaced since the blue screens of 2005 now has to have the memory and SATA cables unplugged and reseated every three or four hours to continue functioning. The cost of trying to fix or replace all of these things that have suddenly died at once is just overwhelming.

How does my life get to these points? I do hours of research before making a purchase to ensure that I'm getting a quality product that's not going to up-and-die in six months. Yet, it seems that if there is a defect in the lot, I'm guaranteed it.

Is it sheer coincidence that all these product lives all happen to expire at the same time? Is there some sort of negative energy caused by me or my home that destroys things? Am I subconsciously sabotaging everything I own to punish myself because I don't think I deserve to live a happy life?

I wish I knew the answer. The debt is mounting. I've got to shed expenses and simplify my life again to stay afloat. Does that mean the car has to go? Probably. Does that mean the boat has to go? Most likely. I may even have to abandon my beloved iPhone and go back to a non-data plan.

Five years later I'm back to a world of sitting at home alone with the dog. How many times will history repeat itself? How will I break free of this cycle?

They say, the things you own end up owning you. So is owning nothing the only way to happiness?

And more importantly, when you own nothing, what the hell do you do with all your free time?!!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Crisis averted

After a couple months of playing, I finally "just said no" to everything and everyone Saturday to get some real work done on the boat. It was a productive day. I got all of the trim back up on the port and starboard bulkheads, I got at least two more coats of varnish on everything, and I got the refurbished folding table put back up.

New bulkhead and table

This marks the end of major construction and renovation in the cabin. It is once again a clean, functional space instead of a cramped, dirty area full of tools and clutter. I can now return to annoying, time-consuming tasks like tracking wiring through crawl spaces to see why my mast lights still don't work.

Speaking of wiring, I narrowly diverted a major accident Saturday afternoon when I pulled up an access panel and found the bilge was full of water up to the floor level!

Flooded bilge

Apparently the wiring I had run from the battery to the bilge pump corroded out. I'm not sure why this happened as I used shrinky-dink connecters on all the splices, but the resistance on the wire was only allowing 4.5 volts of current to make its way to the pump -- not enough to activate it.

After bailing 9 buckets of water out of the bilge, I did what I should have done from the beginning and took the time to track all the loose wires in the bilge until I found the one that led to the bilge pump switch in the fuse panel. It was still good for 11.5 volts of current, so I hooked up the pump in the factory configuration. Why the previous owners had chopped up the wiring in the first place, we'll never know, but it's all working now.

I did notice that despite having sponged the bilge dry Saturday, it was full enough to kick the pump on Sunday after taking a trip out to the bay and back. I guess my stuffing box is leaking a bit, but I'm hoping it's not enough to worry about at the moment.

Of course, it wasn't all work all weekend. As I mentioned, we went out Sunday morning to enjoy the cool weather and to snap a few photos for Nikki's modeling portfolio.


If I really wanted to obsess over the interior I could repaint the countertop, repaint a couple walls, put in a backsplash, etc. However, I think for now I'm going to focus on getting cushions back on the couches in the salon and enjoying the boat.

Since the galley is now finished ...

Finished galley

I plan to celebrate next weekend by cooking a big breakfast on the boat Saturday morning. Then maybe we'll have some friends out Saturday night.