Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's all about getting ahead...

Oh yes. It's every boat owner's nightmare. A broken head. This spring, upon opening the seacock for the seawater intake that provides the water for flushing, I discovered, much to my horror that something -- and I'm sure only God knows exactly what -- had somehow broken in the head.

Oh it would pump dry. But water would not come in. I died a little inside. When the dial was turned to "flush," the handle would become almost impossible to push down and no water would appear in the bowl. I almost cried a little bit. Almost. OK, maybe one tear. Don't judge.

Anyway, once my serious panic had subsided, my dad mentioned that some guy in the boatyard had said that pump repair kits could be bought and that it would likely solve my problem.

Pump repair kits? Yeah, they cost $75 for a Raritan head -- which is, of course, what I have. Just so you know. And the Golden Anchor coupon I'd gotten from US SAILING and had been saving? It was expired.

So I gritted my teeth and paid full price. When I finally got the courage to open the little plastic box on Saturday, I was relieved to find instructions. And I was not so relieved to discover a large amount of strange parts never mentioned in the instructions.

That's the box, sitting on the head. See that red thing? I never used it. No clue what it's for. But you can bet that at $75 I saved the darn thing.

The first thing you do is close the seacock and take the handle arm apart. The instructions are very specific that before beginning work you should CLOSE THE SEACOCK. No sweat. Then it gets scary. It involved a 7/8" deep well socket (don't even bother going to Wal Mart, all they have is metric.) It involved taking a cap off and putting in new rubber and plastic bits.

It involved a new black rubber ball, the function of which I can only guess at.

And finally it included "Raritan Super Lube." Get your mind out of the gutter. I smeared that stuff all over the part of the pump that moves (I'm pushing on it in the second picture) , reattached the handle, opened the seacock again and pumped -- and darned if it didn't start flushing like a champ!

I may not know a thing about marine electronics, but I can sure do some plumbing with the right tools and a well-thought-out chart. First the seaweed and now the head pump? I'm unstoppable.

At least until something else breaks.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And then spend an inordinate amount of time sewing them....

OK, so I can't find my little point-and-shoot camera. And that has all the pictures I took of the curtain making process. So while I look for it, we'll talk about moving back to the boat.

As I mentioned before, I chickened out in the winter weather and moved home for a couple of months. What can I say? Blizzards on a boat are no fun. At least, I imagine they aren't. I wasn't there for either of the ones we had this year.

At any rate, I moved back to the boat this weekend, after moving it to Baltimore. When the weather finally dries out I'll do a photo tour of the new marina.

I'm excited to be back aboard. Even if I have one side of the cabin in new curtains and the other side in the old curtains. Even if I broke my lamp and had to buy a new one. Even if I think I might have to buy a new hose because the water spigot is a bit farther away.

It just feels good. It feels calming.

And now I have a Verizon MiFi, so get ready for a deluge of posts including: the curtains, the head rebuild, the move to Baltimore and much, much more! For only $29.95....


You don't have to pay. This blog is free. Free as a fish! So enjoy. Bookmark. Comment. And get ready to read about my first spring aboard.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In which I buy fabric for new curtains....

So now that I have a stove cabinet, which is the next best thing to actually having a range, I've shifted to work on some more cosmetic changes to Misty Rose's interior while I have my mother's sewing materials at my disposal.

The first thing that I thought needed some attention was the curtains. It's a relatively cheap and easy way to change the whole look of the inside of the cabin. I removed one of the eight old curtain panels to see how the fabric was held into the tracks. It turns out that the curtain slides along the track using what are essentially buttons that would be easy to sew on by hand.

So I removed one panel for experimentation and set out for JoAnn Fabric with my mother in tow. My mom is an ace with a sewing machine. When I was very young and she stayed home with me, she not only made all of my clothing (save underwear and jeans), she also sewed costumes for the Peabody Conservatory dance school to earn a little extra money.

With my mom along, I was pretty confident she'd be able to help me figure out what I needed to buy from the fabric store.

The old fabric was off-white (which may have started its life in 1983 as pure white) with multicolored flecks. I wanted to find a thick fabric with some sort of very subtle pattern to it in a navy color. The thick fabric and dark color being conducive to having people stay over, as my salon functions as dining room, guest room, living room and study, and its impossible to use a computer with the glare or sleep past sunrise in the salon.

Immediately we dismissed duck and simple cottons as not having enough weight to them. I was worried, however, that decorator's fabric, which is usually used for fabric and upholstery, would be prohibitively expensive – some types of decorator's fabric at JoAnn's runs into $50 a yard, and I was hoping to buy between five and 10 yards of matching fabric.

Finally we found a rack of fabric off to the side that included a dark blue and white-striped fabric. It was a "Mariner stripe."

And what did I see beside it? Dark blue fabric with white sailboat outlines and the same fabric in red.

Aha! Pillow fabric! The boat originally had these three-foot long pillows in the same fabric as the settees. Unfortunately, they're really uncomfortable to sit with, so they spend a lot of time on the floor of the cabin, where, last year when I was having stuffing box issues, they got a little damp.

And by a little damp I mean soaked.

So I really want to toss them and make new ones. I bought all the striped fabric (they had only 6 yards) and a couple yards each of the other fabric and two pillow forms. With one 40% off coupon for one of the forms, and the already-discounted fabric, I got everything for right about $70.

The only thing I need to do now is finish making the curtains....