Monday, April 23, 2012

We've Officially Moved Onto Swing Set

  It's been nearly a week since my last post and a lot has happened, the least of which was that last Friday was Rosie's last day at work, and after I picked her up we headed to the boat with the car loaded up with some of the last things we needed aboard and we officially moved in.

  The desktop computer was the key item brought on board that validated our permanent move. In the picture above you can see how much room it takes up on the desk, partially hiding the opening port behind it, but only partially; I can still reach around to open the port when necessary. I don't know how much salty sea air I want blowing in on the computer anyway. The computer is attached with lots of Velcro and I will also fasten it down with another method I devised before we travel.
  The cabinet just to the left of the knee space houses our WiFi printer on a slide out tray on the top, and a hanging file for important papers on the bottom. I used some plastic plumbing strap to secure our external hard drive to the bottom of the desk above the printer which made for a neat installation. I have all of our charging and linking cords here all in one place, plugged into a power strip with a switch so that when the switch is off, no power drain occurs on those little items that seem to draw no electricity, but added up, they do.
  We had a nice celebratory dinner and while I was installing the computer, Rosie was organizing the spaces for our clothes when some friends stopped by with a parting gift. Steve and Sue brought a cooler full of home made sausage that Steve makes in various styles. We have very limited freezer space, but the vacuum bagged packages are small, and we knew that Steve was going to supply us with his delicious sausage so we saved room. The trick will be to not use up the supply before we shove off in a couple of weeks.
  We claimed the entire evening a success once I fired up the iMac and was able to hook up an Internet connection via our personal WiFi on the boat, and even better when we connected to the free WiFi here at the Duck Club. AT&T claims thousands of free WiFi hotspots all over North America and we intend to find them and save data transfer charges on the on board hotspot.
  Friday night only topped off a very busy week. Some of our friends had claimed that we were unusually scarce, given that not many emails went out, and our facebook presence was slim.
All the work in the engine room is complete for the time being. I picked up our new fresh water pump at St. Charles Boat and Motor last Wednesday and armed with ample supplies from Lowe's, began to re plumb both fresh water pumps. I made the mistake of using a lot of the old compression fittings and although there were few right angles evident in my work, I rationalized that not many people would bear witness to my handiwork and decided to let form follow function. Function is the key here: but when I switched on one of the pumps to test my work it looked like the fountains in front of Union Station down in the engine room. I also found that the circuit breaker was tripping as the pressure built up, and discovered that my two new pumps now had undersized circuit breakers and the two 10 AMP breakers had to be replaced with two 15 AMP breakers.
  I set to the task of fixing one leak at a time and was able to contain the majority of the leaks before I became just too tired to continue. Climbing in and out of the engine room took its toll,  and as I took a misstep, I grabbed the engine room hatch and caught myself, but not before I broke one strut on the hatch, and tore the bracket from the other one clean from the fiberglass. I declared my work done for the day, gathered up Holly and made the drive back to the city to pick up Rosie from work, and like Vivian Leigh, vowed that "tomorrow is another day", but only after stopping by Bloch Marine where Karen was able to find the two 15 AMP breakers that I would need for the two fresh water pumps.
  I really don't like crappy jobs, and I like to think I'm better than that, so on Thursday morning I decided that I was going to the boat and do the job right or not come home. We left Holly in her well appointed room at the condo and I dropped off Rosie for her next to last day at work. I stormed into Lowe's with a long list of supplies to obtain; I was on a mission and was not to be denied.
  I had read a post from a fellow blogger that had replaced the plumbing on his boat and had used PEX fittings and was pleased with the result, so I armed myself with enough of those fittings to replaced nearly all that I had installed on the previous day, practically redoing my previous work. I popped in the two new circuit breakers and fired up the pumps. I found one small leak as a result of not seating one of the fittings properly and after fixing that, declared the job a success.
  I then set in to fix the struts on the engine room hatch. I had four spare struts, taken from the bunks in the second stateroom when I tore them out to build the office/NAV station. Where the bracket had broken through the fiberglass I fashion a bigger bracket from some angle aluminum I had, pop riveted the new bracket to a meatier section of the fiberglass around the hatch, and then pop riveted the strut bracket to the new aluminum. The new fabrication left this strut and bracket stronger than the original installation from Sea Ray.
  I called Rosie and told her she didn't have to take the train back to the condo and that I'd pick her up after work on my way back to city. That evening after dinner, I relaxed in the glow of a successful job and Rosie vacuum bagged more clothes for us to take back to Swing Set the next day. On Friday I dropped off yet another load of clothing at the Salvation Army before picking up Rosie and that brings us back to the beginning of this story.

  For the time being, our time aboard is spent moving stuff from one spot to another, trying to find the perfect fit for all the things we deem necessary for life aboard. Solutions to problems pop into my head as we go, and I list my ideas on my iPhone and make use of them as we embark on our shopping trips. Last Saturday morning was no exception and we were both engaged in getting Swing Set "ship shape". By mid afternoon we called a halt to work and started in on our plan for play for the rest of the day.
  We had accepted an invitation weeks ago for what has become an annual "Spring Fling" at one of the prettiest marinas up here on the Alton Pool, Lake Center. Mark and Jennie Foppe, along with Phil Steimel, are harbor residents at Lake Center and were hosts of the party this year.
We arrived about a half hour after the scheduled start, but it was obvious that the party had been underway for a while already. Mark, Cliff and Brett were already busy frying fresh fish and giving out samples; the food tables were filling up with pot luck offerings and I heard beers cans popping all over the place.
  If no one got something good to eat it was their own fault; a band played into the night and the bonfire was a welcome addition to a chilly evening. The fore casted rain held off and the party was a huge success, I'll wager that the approximate 200 folks in attendance will double for next year as word gets out. We were the humble recipients of many hugs and kisses for our upcoming departure, as well as many compliments regarding the blog. We know we are doing the right thing when so many people tell us that our plan is shared by so many, if not only as a dream. We'll do our best to live up to expectations from so many friends.
  We got a slow start on Sunday morning, and we had gotten some invitations to join friends out on the hook for the afternoon, but the skies and temperature were not really cooperating. I had gotten a brain storm the previous day to solve one of the problems we had in regard to Holly's "potty area" and I was anxious to acquire the components to solve the issue.
  We had purchase a smaller potty pad holder similar to the one we use at the condo and placed it in the second shower in "Holly's room" on the boat. Once the pads are clamped into the holder, a lot of plastic surrounds the pad and what results is a lot of area for a mess to be made and for Holly to make mistakes. My revelation was to remove the holder altogether and purchase some snack chip holders from the Dollar Store and use double stick tape to attach the clips to the floor in the shower at four points to enable a solid and quick mount for the potty pads. The mounting is waterproof and will only require us to grab the shower head for a quick rinse of the shower stall floor as needed.

  You can see the white clips here in the picture as Holly shows off her form, only we are working on her habit of "hanging out" in her bathroom area instead of just using it and vacating it. Once we get her to drink out of the toilet and change the potty pad herself, our problems are over.
  The trip to Dollar General for three dollars worth of chip clips resulted in checking out with a chock full shopping cart to the tune of $124. A stop at Lowe's for some more "necessities" and another to Aldis tabbed up to about $250 for the afternoon. The weather remained chilly and the sky threatening, so we felt no remorse for not wasting our day at play. We spent the waining afternoon stocking our cabinets with canned goods we had acquired and shuffling yet more items from one place to another in order to reach the nirvana of ultimate organization that we are seeking. I'll let you know when we arrive.
  Our shopping excursions are nearly complete for the time being. In a week, our vehicle will be picked up by the purchaser, a deal was struck two months ago, the stipulation that we could keep the vehicle until May 1st. We had received numerous offers for vehicle use from several friends over the past few days, so it's good to know we have wheels if we need them before we go.
  We'll leave the slip by the 1st also, as the rent on our slip will cease at the end of this month. We paid up the rent and our electric for the last seven months and are free to go when we're ready. We are turning over the job of selling our condo to a new agent that we hired last week. We have a strong lead from some out of town buyers, but won't keep waiting. One week turns into another, and we don't want to miss exploring the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers for the summer before making Florida by September or so. We also turned over a key to a resident "handy man" at our condominium complex. He'll check on the condo once a week to ensure everything is in order and make any necessary light bulb changes, etc., until we eventually sell, sooner than later, we hope.
  When I complete this blog, my plan for the day is to organize the dock box on the bridge and finish plumbing the water maker, both entail working outside and it's bit brisk out there this morning. I've been itching to write this post and now that it's done, I have to admit that I've made a nice comfy spot in our second stateroom to use the computer and stay out of Rosie's way for a bit once in a while.
  Tomorrow we head back to the city for a doctor's visit for Rosie, as well as a visit to our lawyer's office to fine tune some legal matters. We'll make one more trip to the condo to pick up yet more clothes and button up what was our home for the last 12 years. Not sure where we'll put all these clothes, or when we plan on wearing them, but it's a good thing we raised the bottom paint on the boat when we had her painted a couple of weeks ago, but we're inching closer to the "full mark" on Swing Set's hull.


  1. It sounds like you have it all covered...and you were right, I missed the part of the blog about the WIFI installation, I back tracked, checked it out and I am back up to speed. :o)

  2. Might check out a UPS for the imac.

  3. I wish you would be more specific about what you mean by UPS. The only UPS I know is Big Brown and not looking to ship my computer anywhere.