Saturday, October 6, 2007

Every Day its Something New

Well I never thought living on a boat would be easy, but with winter breathing down my neck, this is getting a bit daunting. Its looking like I will have to wait until spring to do the outside of the boat. A friend of Davids who is a wood boat restorer is supposed to come by someday , take a look and give me an estimate on the repairs. In the meantime my priority is to stay dry, warm and get some running water on the boat.

To that end I have covered the boat in a huge 30 ft x 40ft tarp. It was a rush job last week when we got a 24 hour squall with force 10 winds and torrential rain. I basically just threw the tarp over the boat and tacked it to Davids house. Not ideal as every time the boat moved it pulled on the tarp. At one point the tarp had come loose in the back and water pooled in it in the back. I got the fright of my life when I went out and found the equivalent of two full bathtubs of water sitting in the small deck in the back. If the tarp had slid down anymore, all that water would have poured into the boat under my bed. I spent 20 minutes bailing it out and realized I needed a better setup. Today, I installed metal brackets to hold long tent poles and built a frame over the boat to keep the tarp suspended and to give it a better pitch for the water to run off. Its supposed to be windy and rainy tonight so cant wait to see how it all holds up.

As far as keeping warm, I finally got the money together to order some stainless stove pipe for the woodstove. It took me 4 days of wrestling with it to get it to fit over the hole in the woodstove. A good smashing with a wood hammer and some rearranging of the bottom edge with some pliers and I finally got it on. I was thrilled until I got it all hooked up and realized I was still 8 1/2 inches short and needed two more elbows for the outside. I phoned and ordered it but with the long weekend I probably wont get it till late next week. Meanwhile the temperature continues to drop daily. A friend had given me a Force 10 Cozy Cabin propane furnace which he figures should heat this place nicely. I am having a heck of a time getting it hooked up tho. I must have called 50 places trying to find someone that knows how to do it. One place quoted me $1800 to do it, sheesh , not in this lifetime! I finally got a response for an ad I had placed on Craigslist for help. He has been working on it all week, finally got the parts to hook it up to test it, but it was spitting flames out the side, so took it in to get looked at. No word back yet.

The hot water heater is another story. There was a Paloma on -demand propane heater on board when I got the boat, but the seller took it with him. After weeks of searching, I finally found a used one for $250 , a new one is worth $1000 so thought I had got a good deal. It seems that the venting system to exhaust the gas has to be all one brand that comes in a kit. The one I need costs $500. There is an existing chimney but it looks way to big for the heater I have, so somehow I have to change it and make the hole in the ceiling smaller. That should be fun!

Ive been shifted around the marina several times now. I started out in between David and Tana's right up front. That was nice, good view, easy access to Tana's shower, and her cat Tobias used to come visit me all the time. I had to move so David could put his house on shore to get it foamed, so I got tucked behind his place between the dock and the Express. That was not so good. I was exposed to all the noise and dust from the cement factory across the road, got all the foot traffic going by on the docks and every wave that went by was crushing me into the Express which is about 10 times the size of my boat. We needed to have more dock access to work on the boat, so ended up putting a dock along the back of Davids house and tying me up in the corner. This is the safest and quietest spot I can be, so think I will stay put.

I didnt get hooked up to shore power until I got to the last spot. David was running two 50 foot extension cords from the shore to his house and I had an extension cord from my boat to a socket in his wall. I was hardly getting any juice, the toaster and microwave ect wouldnt work, so I bought a heavy duty cord which helped to some degree. When we got home the other night, the extension cords to the shore had pulled loose. We had just bought $200 worth of groceries and needed to get it refrigerated. When I plugged the cords back together, they started smoking and making popping noises, freaked me right out! David had some serious heavy duty wiring cable, so in the dark and cold, took several hours to splice it together and got his house rewired. Nothing ever easy here! We had a long soak in the hot tub after that, well deserved and needed.

Getting internet was another experience. We were having problems with our connection in general, its through a phone line and was down more than up. After a couple of weeks we finally got the Telus guy down here. He said we were too far from the base transmitter, boosted our signal as much as possible and said that was the best we could do, pay for high-speed but get a weaker signal. We cant get cable down here as this island is commercial, we are the only ones living here and thats not exactly on the grid. Anyway, he no sooner got us up again, then my hardrive died. It took me 3 weeks or so to come up with enough cash to get it fixed.Got it home and tried for a week to get my wireless modem to work. Finally gave up and spent another $70 on more computer cable so I could wire right into Tana's modem. It seems to be working ok now, so can cross that off my massive "to do " list.

The bedroom is about 20 degrees colder than the rest of the boat. Part of it is because it has a wall that blocks most of the heat from going into it and the door is much lower than the ceiling in the living room. Im contemplating a small ceiling fan to push the heat back down. The bed is a platform with a large drawer in the middle. However, there is a ton of open air space under it and a hole which goes out to the back lower deck. Ive tried plugging it with plastic bags filled with insulation but need to do a better job. I want to line the whole place with plastic, stuff it tight with pink insulation , more plastic on top. Today I took a caulking gun with silicone and did all the seams in the room trying to block any drafts.

The bed is a huge piece of foam that was resting on a piece of plywood. Because there was no airflow, it was making the foam sweat like crazy. The underneath of the bed was dripping wet and starting to make mold. I had to dry it all with a heater, spray it with Hydrogen Peroxide to kill the mold, take out the plywood and replace it with boards that were spaced apart. It seems to be working but its a bit colder now as the air below can get through. Hopefully, the plastic and insulation will take care of that.

Im really missing tv now that winter is here. I need to get one of those flat tv's that you can mount to the wall and a satellite dish. Might be next winter before I can do that, so curling up in bed with a good book these days. In the meantime I have my vcr set up over at Ricks to tape Survivor lol, I can relate to them these days.

As I spend time here, im finding out what works for me and what doesnt. I want to add alot more storage to the kitchen area. There is barely anywhere to store food and pots ect. Every time I want to get at something, I spend half an hour pulling everything out and putting back in again. I want to hinge the stairs so I can store my drum and guitar out of the way. The bathroom has a clawfoot tub that takes up 90 percent of the space. Im not much of a bath person, prefer a shower, so want to take the tub out and build a shower stall and add a sink. The ceiling in the bathroom is only about 5ft 4 inches tall so I cant just put in a regular shower stall. I will probaly have to build a form and fiberglass the whole thing or some such thing. The toilet has a manual pump that has a habit of backfiring on me. Nasty!! I wont say more. I want a plumber to come take a look and see if I can install a regular flush toilet. Oh the small things we take for granted in life.

Boy I thougth I was Macgiver before , this is taking things to a whole new level. On the whole , this has been an awesome experience. I dont regret it at all, but will definatly be happy when I have heat here. The rest will come in time.

I give Thanks for my new home, my family and friends who are supporting me with this, and for the opportunity to live my dream. Happy Thankgiving to all, Bless you, xxoo

1 comment:

Tim Zim said...

Dry and warm is everything:)

I love the story.

Good luck.