Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello from San Francisco!

We are here while Al does business. Poor Al! He was gone from the hotel for 14 hours yesterrday. Today and tomorrow he will be working also. But we will have Saturday all day together, and departing Sunday.

Christine is along too. She has a broken toe, which prevents her from work, but allows her to tag along for this trip. It is fun to show her around one of my favorite cities in the world. Yesterday we drove down Lombard, the crookedest street. And up to Coit Tower, and since the weather was quite clear, we got some fabulous photos from the top. Next we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge (cloaked in fog) to sunny Sauselito for lunch at an Italian bistro. And drove through Golden Gate Park, and strolled through the botanical gardens.

We do have to make concessions for Christine's toe. We move quite a bit slower, and have to consider our routes. Today we will be riding the cable cars, doing some shopping, and perhaps going to Alcatraz. They have a special tram for those unable to climb the hill to the prison, so she will have to take advantage of that!

All for now. Will post pictures later. The internet is quite intermittent in the room, so I am writing from the parlor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things have changed a bit...

Throughout this past year+, Kristi and I have figured out that we can not really 'plan' things more than two weeks out. Oh, we may have a general direction, but in terms of Planning, Wasted time. In that light, things that Could Of, Should Of, or May Of happened have somewhat happened and as a result we have changed direction a little.

Not much, mind ya, but a little.

Some background: In the Big Picture, we had been looking to 'Pull The Plug' in about two years (well, more like 1 and a half now :-) And it was that timeline that we were working towards: Things, kids, Boat, us. Well - Getting Laid off in January kind of accelerated those plans, we went into hyper gear: Finishing the boat, selling the house, dumping stuff onto the kids, etc.

Throughout all of this there has always been rumblings of a Job. Over the past month, those Rumblings became more solid and this week I started a consulting position with the EPA on their ENERGY STAR program. We also moved into an Apartment.


Yes, I can hear everyone screaming! Well, almost.

See :-
Job: This is a consulting position that is part time (10-15 hrs / week), and will provide some additional Boat Funds without tapping into Savings. It might last a year or two, but more so: it is one that I can largely do from the boat with only a Laptop and a Cell Phone.

Apartment: Blame Oregon on that one. They made a change in their Tax law that nullified a key provision I was counting on, and has effectively driven me out of the state. So, we have an apartment in Vancouver to establish Washington residency. I have more to say on this, but rather not have it in 'print', at least not in this pseudo family-friendly format. But know this, Pissed Off over this I am. . .

Boat: We will work to complete the boat this fall and Winter. Will be a bit slowed by Job, but then funds will help some with some major purchases (battery, sun/rain shades, Pactor modem)

So, basic 'plan' (err, sorry, basic Direction) right now is: We are living on the land in Washington, working on the boat through the Winter and some time next Spring will give up the slip and the apartment to move full time on the boat. Will cruise the Columbia for the summer and next Fall look to head north to the Sound Area (remember, the only real firm 'Plan' we ever have had was "Go down river and Turn Right")

Finally, Kristi and I spent a few minutes putting together a high level 'need to do' list. In no order than what came to our mind, here is what we will be working on over the next few months:

  1. Wire up backup inverter
  2. Install larger battery bank
  3. Install Hydronic Heating system
    1. Hurricane
    2. Finish piping, circulation pump
    3. Interface to Motor and generator
    4. Interface to Diesel Stove
  4. Finish Generator
  5. Install water maker
  6. New Anchor platform
    1. Platform
    2. Rebuild Windlass
  7. Propane Locker
  8. Decks
    1. Devil Seam
    2. Bungs on deck
    3. Install aft cleats
  9. Sand / refinish lazzorete
  10. Finish Lazzorete
    1. Framing
    2. Rain water system
    3. Finish Hatches
    4. Install locking system
  11. Install wood access hatch in aft cabin
  12. Finish Aft Cabin
    1. Finish trim around Hatch
    2. Insulation
    3. Headliner
    4. Trim around top
    5. Drawers
  13. Install aft head
    1. Door
    2. Head
    3. LectraSan
  14. Kitchen
    1. Cook stove
    2. Doors
    3. Pollish Diesel Stove
    4. Banana Hanger
    5. Framing around refrigerator
  15. Soles (cork)
  16. Overheads in Main cabin
  17. Forward Cabin
    1. Overheads
    2. Trim
    3. Sink counter top and faucet
  18. Wash down system
    1. Raw water
    2. Fresh water
  19. Aft external shower
  20. Leaks
    1. Fly bridge
    2. Forward cabin around deck?
  21. Repair rotten framing Port side
  22. Trim and racks
    1. Forward helm station: Binoculars, Handheld, etc.
  23. Install SSB
  24. Procure EPIRB
  25. Dingy
  26. Sliding Door Locks
  27. Install AIS
  28. Install computer
  29. Flopper Stoppers
    1. New Mast
    2. Outriggers
    3. Flopper stoppers themselves
  30. Rain / Sun shades

Saturday, September 12, 2009

No longer liveaboards...

Since Al will soon be working as a consultant for the EPA, we have taken an apartment in Vancouver WA. We signed on the line last Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. It was another two days before we actually spent a night there, but we just had our second morning at the apartment, complete with coffee! (Can you tell I am writing from the boat--calling the apartment 'there')

It seems we have spent the past two and a half months just schlepping stuff! SO MUCH STUFF! Again, it is my goal to work through the many boxes we have brought with us. Hopefully, after spending 6 weeks living on the boat, I will have a better perspective about what is NEEDED there, and space that is AVAILABLE, and will be able to get rid of quite an amount.

Although my parents would argue, I consider myself to be pretty neat and organized. Let's just say that as an adult I am pretty neat and organized. And after 6 weeks living on the boat, I find myself even more intolerant of mess and disorder. The goal still is a place for everything, and everything in it's place. And now that is carrying over to the apartment. I think the sailor life is a good place for my OCD/Virgoness to shine!

So, what is the apartment like? It is a two-bedroom, one bath place with a patio complete with tomato, squash and green beans growing on the edges. We have noted that there is more room for TWO butts in the kitchen than there even was at the house.

It is kind of like living in a motel, or Al says, like being in a college dorm, or starting over again. We don't have much stuff-- borrowed furniture, just two pans for cooking, even had to buy new sheets and dishes,and no art on the walls. I think we need to get a dresser of some sort. Still living out of bags.

I am trying out the washer/dryer we have for the boat. It is an all-in-one unit that washes, THEN dries. It takes only a small load, and things come out of it VERY wrinkled. This is going to be quite an adjustment for me! I have always said that laundry was my favorite chore, but this contraption may alter that view.

Speaking of dishes---I TRIED to shop at Goodwill, I really did. But when they wanted $2.99 each for plates, and I had to search to find four that matched, plus bowls and silverware---it would have cost $50-70 for a jumble of items. I went to the K-Mart down the street from there and got a box with a set of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, and silverware for $22. AND it all matches/coordinates!

I spend the afternoon yesterday cleaning. The apartment has an odor that we don't particularly enjoy. The borrowed couch is contributing it's own unique aroma. I washed out cupboards with bleach, lit candles, and sprayed Febreeze. By evening, it seemed to smell better. The real test comes with that first whiff when you have been away, and then come back.

You have probably noticed that it has been awhile since Al has posted. He's been busy. At this moment he is hanging the mahogany panel for the storage unit in the aft cabin where the laundry will be. He has this week also removed the back sections of the rails, sanded down the back of the boat where he re-caulked last fall, and is reapplying Cetol.

Though we do now have an apartment, we still plan on spending the major part of the day at the boat. There is that list of over 34 projects still to do before actually becoming cruisers. We need to keep plugging away.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wet and Wild Weekend

What a handsome thing! Some people ask why we get up so early. Lots of reasons....the airplanes start flying around 6AM, we are kind of naturally 'early to bed, early to rise' people, but this time, it was High Tide--the only time we can get into or out of the slip this time of year. But if we DIDN'T get up so early, we would miss so many experiences like this.
The view from our 'front window'.

Sunrise behind Mt. Hood

Evidence of wildlife.....I didn't have the camera for the sturgeon we saw on the beach, half picked clean, but surprisingly NOT smelly!

Isn't Viking Star pretty? She had a bath and everything! And just like washing your car, it is sure to rain within the next 48 hours! I am thankful that the big bed had been installed in the aft cabin. The rain reminded us of a couple of leaks in the V-berth...

Curious cat Capitan from Paradox came to visit. We miss our kitty, but she would NOT be so at home on a boat.

Wow! The moonrise on Saturday night was phenomenal!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out with the OLD, In with the NEW

So, several changes around here. Some small, some not as small. Have been working on the plumbing aspect of the aft sink and washer/dryer. Yesterday got the rough drain in; today completed the hot/cold water. Now just need to fit the counter, and can start installing the aft sink! Guess that is really just in with the new.

OK something out and in. Have been mentioning about the possibility of a job, well. Looks like I will be consulting with the EPA as they extend their ENERGY STAR program to Data Center servers and storage. So, out with Lazy Life, and In with Job. Just need to finish the contract and can get started. In the mean time, I have been busy learning about and setting up a small business in Washington. LLCs, DBA's, State and City Licences. Combined with insurance and other fees, it seems like I will be working the 1st Month just to be able to be allowed to work...

Now, some have wondered about how this will affect our cruising plans. A little, but not totally. This is a part-time job, and much of it will be able to be handled remotely. So, after a Hard Days Work working on my naps and the boat, I can pull out the Laptop, pop in the 3G/4G card, and do my 'job' while enjoying the sunset on the aft deck.

Sounds rough, but we will see how it goes :-)

Washington? Yes, Kristi and I are moving to Washington to establish residency. Oregon use to allow one to file exempt if they were out of the state and had no real property. Now they also require that you reside in a FIXED dwelling. So, if I am in Belize in a shack on the beach, I can file exempt. If on the other hand I am on Viking Star anchored 100 yards off that same beach, well, Oregon wants me to pay income taxes. Now, I am not against paying my fair share, but IF I am anchored in Belize, not sure why I need to send money to Oregon. Too bad, as I have lived here all my life. But what can one do . . .

More out and in: Been pulling out the nasty old Port holes and replacing them with nice new bronze ones. Today I pulled the forward ones, and will put in the nice ones soon. The After picture is from the Aft cabin.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's been a month.

It's been a month now since I moved onboard Viking Star.

The question I am asked most often is 'Are you driving each other crazy yet?' I think I can answer that one 'No'. Other than a few moments (a day or two?) that COULD be attributed to PMS, 'No'.

We have both enjoyed time away--I have played with grandchildren, Al has helped his kids with projects. But other than those 2 or 3 occasions, we have been together constantly. I HAVE noticed an increased incidence of reading each others thoughts, however. Even after knowing each other more than 10 years now, and over 7 years in marriage, I continue to be surprised by the extent that we seem to be 'on the same wavelength'. I think that's a nice place to be.

And, after a month, we are both agreed with other retirees who say 'I don't know HOW we found time for a job!' Boy, for the last week, we haven't even done a thing towards boat projects!

Yesterday we did a small 'warm-up' project, and today Al has already interupted me several times to come give opinions. He will be working on plumbing for the washer/dryer and sink for the aft cabin. I plan to 'swab the decks' to make Viking Star more presentable for the cruise we plan to attend this weekend. Even though the forecast is for rain this Labor Day weekend.

So, it's been a month. We have agreed that it has been no hardship at all to live aboard. We do seem to have all that we NEED, even with a garage full of things we need to either dispose of or move onto the boat.