Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Third time's a charm...

A common comment around many a maintenance shop, be it planes, bikes, or boats, is “Practice makes permanent”. The gist is the person who manages some odd ball or unpleasant task will, most likely, get to do it again the next time that one comes through the shop door. It makes for a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, any good technician wants the reputation of being able to fix about anything, figuring it out, coming up with a solution, making it work. After all, someone built or installed the thing in the first place. Who wants to admit to not being at least that capable or smart?

On the other hand, does one really want to be the “go to” expert when it comes to pulling holding tanks or rebuilding heads? How about being the person who can climb down into any ugly, dirty, tiny, sharp-edged filled hole toting tools and grinders? Even tasks that are normally kind of fun, like climbing a mast, are much less fun when it is the third one of the day or the wind is blowing and the waves are rocking the boat. (We use a climbing rig around here as moving the crane in place for a simple light repair chews up too much labor time. And no, this old guy wasn’t one of the “permanent” mast guys - though I did use the harness a couple of times on easy jobs just because I could.)

But being a boat tech was never on my list of "things I want to do for the rest of my life." And so it came to pass that Friday was my last official day of punching a time clock. My first “last day” was when we moved the boat to Oak Harbor, moved aboard, and headed south. Unexpected expenses made it necessary to refill the the cruising kitty and “retirement” was put on hold for a summer season. It went well, we retired again and headed off to the islands. Life lined up to have us back here and on the clock for a second stint of “filling the kitty”. That has worked out really well in ways completely unexpected. Still, we always knew that the time would come to work on throwing the dock lines once again.

This makes the third attempt at being retired and, in this case, “practice makes permanent” would be okay with me. Not sure how much confidence I have that it will work out that way, but we have managed pretty well so far. No reason not to keep giving it a try.

It will still be a while before Kintala rides to an anchor or mooring ball as she requires a bit of tender loving care of her own. Care that wasn’t as forthcoming this past summer as we had hoped, mostly because a whole tribe of grand kids were around to fill up the days. A real bottom job, all the way down to the gel coat for a barrier coat, is on the schedule. There are some plumbing mods to make (yes in the head system), a few rigging issues, brightwork, and an assortment of odds and ends we want to address. Estimated time of completion and departure sometime near the end of January.

I’m sure the enthusiasm for working on my own boat will return after the first few minutes of working on the first project. That will likely be replacing some of the running rigging, a low key way to get up and running on personal boat projects. Later we will have to work on the habits of living off the grid once again, conserving water and battery power, planning ahead for making stops to add fuel and stores, keeping an even closer eye on the weather.

But for now, just having the time clock out of my life feels pretty good.


Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

Sounds good! Where to, when you're ready to journey?

Unknown said...

hope it sticks this time!