Monday, January 23, 2012

Two Heads Are Better Than One

  When we first looked at Swing Set we were impressed that a boat of its size not only had two heads, (or bathrooms, for our landlubber friends) it also has two independent showers, separate from the toilet areas. As it has turned out, in the 6 years we have had Swing Set, the shower in the "day head" has rarely been used, although the toilet has been, as it is more convenient to access from the salon and galley.
  Once we decided to become full time live aboard cruisers at some point, the shower was converted into a hanging locker, perfect for gear that may need to be rinsed off with the shower spray, items such as rain gear, wet suits, life jackets, and snorkeling gear. We had also placed an older cooler on the shower stall floor to be used as our washing machine, basically a container with a drain, big enough to accommodate a few items of clothing, or some light bedding items. By adding water from the shower head, along with some Oxi-Clean, the action of the boat eventually gets the clothes relatively clean. Then we can easily wring out the items by looping them through the grab bar in the shower and twisting them, again use the shower spray to rinse. A clothesline strung up on the flybridge is ideal for drying items, mostly done overnight in the cover of darkness, or when underway. (We hesitate to allow any dock neighbors the benefit of scrutinizing our underwear choices, more importantly the ability to calculate our underwear choices by constantly noticing that there never is any hanging up.)
  Our decision to add a crew member in the form of Holly, our puppy, has changed the plan somewhat. Since Holly is being litterbox trained, we needed to decide where to put her "potty place", and the shower stall in the day head was the obvious choice. The swim platform will be an option when we are on the hook and outside, but she will need a place when we are underway, and one she can use by herself while we are sleeping.
  The "washing machine" will be placed in the engine room, where there is still a water faucet with hose, plus dumping some sudsy wash water occasionally won't hurt the cleanliness of the bilge. Live aboard cruising requires at least daily trips to the engine room anyway, but now the clothes washing duties will fall on the captain, as Rosies expertise at other chores will leave her forever free from any engine room duty. One more reason to wear less clothes, I think.
  At home at the present, we are using a folding baby gate to keep Holly in her bed and potty area while she is still learning "where to do what", so Rosie suggested a similar gate of some sort to place in the doorway of the day head to keep Holly in there at night, or otherwise when she can't be supervised 110% of the time, until she graduates from potty training. One of the first changes we made to Swing Set was an Ocean Aire screen system for the master stateroom. The Ocean Aire attaches to the liner of the deck hatch and has a rolling screen and shade, so the screen supplied from Sea Ray became useless, but was kept "just in case". I'm glad I kept it, as it was the perfect size to fit into the doorway of the day head. By attaching some snap studs to the inner door frame, and by pop riveting two snaps to the aluminum frame of the screen, we are able to snap the screen in place when needed, and then easily unsnap it to set aside to allow Holly to come and go at will from her area while in training, or I should say, our training, and the door will still close when we want.

  Here's Holly in her "area", the day head, where she has her "potty pad" in the shower. In addition to under the sink storage, and two other cabinets in the day head, I installed two more hanging shelves, where along with the myriad of other essential boat gear that we needed to find room for, we have also added: Potty pads, dog food, dog treats, flea spray, flea powder, flea shampoo, regular dog shampoo with conditioner, dog treats (several kinds), dog toys, (several kinds), Go Go (tells her where to pee), No Go (tells here where not to pee), a bottle of dog stain and odor remover, grooming supplies such as two brushes, a comb, and nail clippers. Various pharmaceuticals in the way of flea pills, (for adult and baby fleas), and heart worm pills, dog water bowl, dog food bowl, her play pen, and her crate to sleep in, all round out the inventory for the present. I have two items in our medicine cabinet: a toothbrush and Advil.
 All of this preparation is for a pet that will perhaps pay us back with a bark or two before some errant pirate slits our throats in the dark of night, only to discover that the most valuable item on board is Holly herself. I wish the Dow Jones was increasing in value as fast as this puppy is.

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