Sunday, May 4, 2008

Treading Water

It doesn't matter that you don't feel well, the family still has to eat, clothes get dirty, dust accumulates, kids still need rides and so on and so on. Life goes on a full speed without you. Last week I felt as if I was treading water, just enough to keep from going under. Between the cold and my allergies it was a tough week.

My oldest son moved into his new place last week. What is it about rental property these days? I spent the evening Wednesday and most of the day Thursday helping him clean his new place. While the management company painted and replaced carpet and did repairs, there was no way that place was clean. At least, not the kind of clean I expect..."mom clean" as my children would say. I spent most of my time cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Does anyone else get grossed out cleaning other people's dirt? When it's my own family, it doesn't bother me, but strangers....icky! I pulled trash out from behind kitchen drawers and I won't even say anything about the bathrooms. I'm sure you are trying your best not to let those pictures creep into your mind's eye! The place is clean and I'm a walking advertisement for Tilex!

The weekend was busy too. Saturday was "put in" day for our sailboat. That means Friday night was pretty sleepless for both of us. As we were driving to the marina we both shared some of the dreams (more accurately, nightmares) that we'd had about what might happen that morning. A little background might help you understand our trepidation. We got hooked on sailing last year. We sailed with some friends in Galveston Bay last Thanksgiving and had such a wonderful time that we decided to take a class on a local lake. That "fun" class ended up being a certification class with written test and practical exam. One weekend of sailing and we both had basic keelboat certification. Our instructor just happened to have a boat for sale. Before we knew it we were the proud owners of a 22 foot Starwind sailboat. We spent the rest of the summer learning our boat and practicing our newly learned skills.
We're both comfortable on the water. We both grew up on lakes and have been in boats most of our lives. But not sailboats. Sailboats are a different animal altogether. We've pulled boats out of the water and onto trailers hundreds of times. After a fun summer and fall of sailing, it was time to have our new boat pulled to be put into winter storage. We assumed that pulling a sailboat was just like pulling a speedboat. Boy were we wrong. The guy who sold us our boat had a trailer built for it. The trailer was brand new. We assumed the pull would be no problem. We were so wrong. Who knew that sailboats have to be FIT to their trailers. Our pull time was 9:30 a.m. We finally pulled that boat at 5:00 p.m. after 7 tries, four bloody hands, 8 hours of advice from "experienced" sailors, more trailer adjustments than I can count, and countless scornful looks and impatient grunts from the puller. I think this man has been pulling sailboats since time began and he likes to remain on schedule and has no patience for greenhorns like us who don't have a clue what they are doing. He doesn't talk, he points, yells or grunts.

After our nightmare pulling experience we were both dreading putting the boat in for the season. You would think it would be no problem, back it down the ramp, boat slides off the trailer into the water, start the engine and drive the boat into the slip. Sounds easy, right? Both Steve and I were imagining all sorts of disaster scenarios. We spent the hour drive to the marina sharing stories...we predicted what we might look like as the ship went down...maybe it would tip over...did the trailer puncture the hull? We created a hundred scenarios all with some kind of disaster. We laughed uncontrollably and tried to relieve our stress. When we arrived at the marina we started preparing the boat. The wind was howling like crazy...probably 25 mph with 35 mph gusts. While the harbor is protected, it was WAY windier than I would have liked. Things were not looking up.

I glanced down at the ramp, the boat on the schedule right before ours was preparing to be launched. I thought it would be a good idea to watch how they did it, so we would know what to do. We stopped working and watched. The boat was backed down the ramp and into the water...nothing happened. The owner had forgotten to loosen the line so the boat just sat on the trailer in the water. No sliding off the trailer. He climbed to the bow and hung off as far as he could trying to loosen the luck. Then the yelling started. The boat had to be pulled back out. Second try...better. The boat slid into the water and the owner started the engine. A couple of other owners helped him shove off. I thought all was well. A sailboat under power doesn't have lots of steerage until you get some speed. With the wind blowing as hard as it was, this guy got in trouble within seconds. Before I knew it he was drifting to the rock breakwater. The helpers were sprinting to the breakwater, but they were too far away to help. He gunned his engine in reverse and just missed bumping the rocks. I thought again that he would be fine. He tried his best to turn that boat away from the rocks, but as he accelerlated forward he ran that boat right up onto the rocks. Thank goodness it wasn't very far. By then the helpers arrived and pushed the boat off the rocks. He made the turn and headed off to his slip. I never found out if he did any damage.

Now it was our turn. The tractor approached our boat and Steve was beckoned to come sign a document that released the club of any liability for damages during the launch. I wonder how many times that document has come into play. Steve hooked the hitch to the tractor and the boat was on its way out of it's winter parking spot, around the corner, down the hill and then it was backing down the ramp. We're walking along side the boat (who knows why, it's not like we were doing anything). Steve signaled John to stop so he could loosen the line (we weren't going to make the same mistake as the guy before us!) The boat slid off the trailer smooth as silk and we attached the dock lines and secured it so we could get the engine started and warmed up before we were at the mercy of the wind. One of the helpers asked if we would like him to ride along...Steve and I said in unison...absolutely. We warmed up the motor and when we were ready untied the lines and shoved off. Everything was going fine until we tried to get into the slip. Steve slowed down just a bit too much and we lost steerage and missed our slip and were heading on a collision course for the boats on the other side. Mark (our ride along helper) and I sprinted to the bow to help prevent a collision. Steve was able to aim for another empty slip on the opposite side of where we were supposed to be. At least we were in a slip and we could regroup and decide how to get where we belonged. Mark and I pushed us off and Steve deftly backed us into the slip next to ours. Thank goodness most boats were still in storage and there were lots of empty slips. At least we were on the right dock. Mark and I got off and using the lines we moved the boat into the correct slip and tied it up. We were done!

Both of us sighed huge sighs of relief. We thanked Mark over and over for his help. The folks in the sailing community are pretty helpful folks. Thank goodness. He shared with us that this is their 3rd year with their boat. His wife won't even come to the marina on pulling and launch days. We talked with a few other folks as we were cleaning and prepping the boat. Everyone seemed to have some kind of horror story about putting in or taking out their boat. Our boat is in the water. I'm happy!

Believe it or not I have some sewing that I need to do for the boat. The cushions for the seats in the cabin are old and need reupholstering. I'm hoping to find some bright sunbrella fabric on sale so I can spruce those up in the next month or so.

She's ready to sail, but alas she's nameless. When we bought her she was called the Voyager. We tried all last summer to think of a name that reflects us. We had lots of ideas, but nothing we could commit to. So, lets have a bit of us name our sailboat. Take a good look at her....what would you call her?


susan said...

goodness i think i would be the wife that stayed at home on those days! eek i am notoriously bad at coming up with names so i cant help you out

Purple and Paisley said...

true tests of a good marriage...wallpapering together and launching a sail boat!

how about "tall waters" for your gorgeous boat's name? kinda a spin on "tallgrass?"

QuiltedSimple said...

Sounds like you had a fun filled few days - it looks like so much fun to go sailing - you'll have to take pictures out on the water for us.

Names - oh.......whirlygiggles, tea party - name it after one of your quilts?


Leanne said...

I would call her "Freedom" I'm glad she is in the water safe and sound. I love the water my father was a professional fisherman I can remember being out with him with sails up.

Oiyi said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I was on pins and needles as I was reading it. So glad it was a happy ending!

Dawn said...

Yup, I was holding my breath while reading about your day--glad to see your boat is in water.

And, purple and paisley came up with a terrific name for your boat! I 'second' that.

Jody Sanders said...

She's beautiful! Even with the challenges I'm jealous as heck. You must share more pictures for the boat lacking rest of us! I can't wait to see the sewing you do for the boat.

BusybeeDebQuilts said...

A totally random thought on names ... Betty Sue. Not sure where that even came from!

She is beautiful! Enjoy you sailing days!


Anonymous said...

Sailboat, how I envy you, my land lover, farmer, scared of the water spouse is kind of standing between me and that dream.
As for a suggestion well I am certainly missing a good opportunity to hold my tongue, but for some reason I have had the Gilligan song in my head all week so here I go... the "Minnow" ? ;O) Thanks for sharing. Danielle

Regi said...

What a pretty sailboat...How about "SeaSprite" or perhaps "Zephyr"

susan said...

hehe i have been watching this thread and to be honest, so far i like the minnow!! hehe and of course tall water

Sara said...

Love the boat. Something me and Rich will never do! I can't swim (don't tell!LOL) I do like purple and paisley's name of tall waters? I thought "retirement" because it would be then that I would get to do something like that!

Anonymous said...

What a great boat, and a fantastic story. I hope you enjoy sailing this summer. :~)

Lisa said...

Okay. Hubby and I own a 6 unit apt. bldg and you will never guess what i did this morning... clean!!! UGH. I hate cleaning other people's dirt too, esp. the bathroom!!!! I know what you mean!

Happy sailing!!!!

Amanda Jean said...

I know all about that treading water feeling. and I am not even sick. and I know about cleaning other peoples dirt. ick. I cleaned out our apartment last fall by myself and I am certain that most of the grime that I cleaned was not our own. the kicker was, when we lived there, my daughter wasn't yet walking, so after a few minutes of crawling on the carpet the tops of her feet were black. it was gross. the good news, I cleaned the apt. good enough to get the entire deposit back. and if they would have tried to charge me for carpet cleaning, they would have gotten an earful!!!

Tristin said...

I loved the adventure (although I am sure it was terribly frustrating...) My husband and I are tossing around the idea of getting a small sailboat with a cabin for weekend trips(we live in FL so luckily the boats stay in the water year-round)... I am going to share this post with him so he can feel it, too!

Stephanie D said...

Ummm, "Prairie Dreams"?

Heck, I rarely name my quilts, so a boat is out of my league!

Rebekah said...

I remember those days of nasty college apartments! Yuck!

Your boat is so cool! I've always wanted to try sailing. Jon's aunt and uncle have a 29 foot boat that they have been wanting to sail from Detroit to France (his uncle is from France), but something always gets in their way. Last year when they were putting their boat in the water a crain or something hit the tall pole (a mast?) on their boat and broke it off so they were delayed for quite a bit.

I've always thought that if I was ever going to name a boat that I would give it a musical term: Adagio, Allegro, Rubato, or something like that. I bet your son could come up with a great musical term :)