Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year End Review

I love New Years Day. Its like the first day of school, the beginning of a new adventure, a brand new book who's pages have yet to be turned,a clean slate where anything is possible. I cant believe how much my life has changed since this time last year.

Last January I was living in a house I hated, working at a job I was tired of and running out of ideas to inspire me. For years I had wanted to move, preferably back to Europe if possible. Because of all my uncertainty, I hadnt done much to the house to make it very livable. After a trip to England the year before, where I realized I couldnt afford to move to Europe, I decided to revamp the house with better furnishings found on Craigslist. I threw myself into my work , not taking a single day off for over 4 months. I spent thousands buying stuff for the house, with the thought that once I had all the nice stuff I wanted, I would look for better ( and most likely way more expensive) accomadation. I have wanted to live on the water for years and had looked into it in the past, but thought it would be out of my reach, just another dream. Well just goes to show you the power of dreams. It took me awhile but here I am!

So last April as the weather was starting to warm up, and thoughts turned to getting out and being more sociable, I decided to take a look at the personal ads on Craigslist. Its funny , I had been shopping on there for about a year, but had never once thought to look at the dating ads. Well within a few minutes I had come across an ad that David had posted. He was quite specific about what he was looking for, it sounded like we had tons in common and I was sure we would get along great but I didnt fit all his criteria so decided not to answer his ad.

A few days later it was April 13th, the 21st anniversary of my Mothers death. I was driving along in the car and thinking about her, having a conversation with her in my head. Told her how much I missed her and wondered what she would think of all the changes in the world and my life since she's been gone. In closing I sent out a plea to her, that if she had any pull with the cosmos, if she could PLEASE send me a nice guy that I could relate to.

The next night I attended a party at a friends house. I arrived wearing a red cape and the band started playing a funny song about Red Riding Hood. I made a joke about how all I need now was my big bad wolf and turned to see David with a grin from ear to ear,looking ready to gobble me up on the spot. We ended up chatting throughout the night and he invited me back to the Bowie for a hottub. The next day I got to thinking, something about him seemed so familiar, but I couldnt put my finger on it. Finally I remembered the ad I had read and went back to look at it again. OMG, it was the same guy. I couldnt believe it!! What were the chances I would meet him in this huge city. Well as I suspected we got along great and nine months later, here we are and both our lives have changed so much. Thanks Mom, you did good :)

As we got to know each other better, I was spending more and more time down here at the shipyard. I loved the lifestyle and the people that I met here. For the first time in 15 years of living in Vancouver, I finally felt part of a community.I was spending lots of time on Craigslist, looking for stuff for Davids floathome that he was building. I had also started looking in the boat section, just to keep my eyes open for any possibilities. I loved Tana's houseboat and would give anything to have a place like hers.

I quit my job at the hotels in June. I loved the work but was getting so burnt out being on call all the time. I couldnt plan anything and it was draining me. I had a few home clients that just payed the bills and spent most of the summer helping David put his house together. I learned so much and enjoyed all the different tasks we were doing. I do love a project and his had lots to keep us very busy.

One of the floathomes down here came up for sale and I spent about a month and a half researching everything about floathomes and trying to get a loan to buy it. It was proving to be very difficult to get the backing I needed, but I felt sure it would happen. It just seemed I was meant to be here, to have this opportunity. Then one day, just as I was about to walk out the door to leave for a weekend job at a Rafting resort, I decided to take one last quick look on Craigslist. Why I did tht, Ill never know as I was running late as it was, but look I did and boy am I glad! I found the ad for my boat and asked David to follow up on it for me as I would be in the bush and no access to phones ect for a few days. When I got back, we talked to the owner and set things up. The rest as they say is history. I was now the proud new owner of my first boat(and home!) and all for free( not to mention , the moorage is cheaper than my very cheap rent at the old house).Could life get any better? The best part is this isnt just any boat but the boat of my dreams , all hobbitt housey and cute as a button. Im proud to have such a cool historic boat and have every intention of restoring it to it's full glory.

I went back to working full time in the fall. Now that I had the boat, I had a million things I wanted to buy and fix and cash flow was required for that. I love my work and the money is great, but after 15 years , Ive had enough. I want a change so bad I can taste it, but had no idea what I could do that would make this kind of money. I dont really want to go back to school at my age and get another degree, but Im not really qualified to do anything else. I have had some interesting jobs in my life. I was a bartender for 13 years in all kinds of establishments. I was a chimney sweep on Vancouver Island for 4 years, did a stint as a roofer, picked up car parts for a garage.Im not afraid of hard work and love being outdoors. David and I have been talking about starting a log salvaging business together. Now that he has the tugboat and the use of a smaller skiff, we are putting together a plan to make that happen. Just waiting now on the salvadge licence to come through and we can get started. I cant wait to see what 2008 brings!

My horoscope says that this will be a very lucky year for me. I cant see how things could get any better but Im excited as hell to see how it will unfold.Im hoping a tropical vacation is in the cards, that would be the icing on my cake.

I wish you all the very best in 2008, may all your dreams come true for you

Happy New Years one and all!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Festivus Everyone

Hi everyone, hope your holidays were awesome. I slept through most of them myself. I had been working 6 days a week for the last few months and just barely made it to the last day. I had 6 glorious days off in a row. Of course I had a million things I wanted to do , but in the end was so exhausted, I just went to bed and stayed there.

Christmas Eve, David and I made the rounds of all the boats down here, stopped in and had a visit with all our neighbors. Its funny, they live right here but sometimes weeks go by and I hardly see anyone. Christmas Day we went to Todd and Shelleys house for dinner. She outdid herself as usual and put on a beautiful feast for us complete with yummy homemade blackberry wine and all kinds of treats. We had a splendid day and came home with enough turkey leftovers to make a wonderful pot of soup the next day. This was good as we spent the whole entire day in bed, only getting up long enough to make and eat the soup. A nicer Christmas I couldnt have asked for.

We finally got the shower curtain rod installed and a bracket for the shower head, so I now have a tub and shower with screaming hot water, its wonderful. Another thing on my wishlist was a propane stove with an oven. Ive been looking everyday on Craigslist for something suitable but wasnt having any luck. Yesterday, I decided to place my own ad on Craigslist in the wanted section to see if anyone had one kicking around. Boy did I luck out. Tonight I got an email from a guy in Maple Ridge that had just gutted a camper and had a stove for me. At 11 pm he offered to drive it over here. He showed up around midnight with the perfect stove for here and threw in a water holding tank and a hand pump to boot. As luck would have it, he turns out to be a gasfitter, so I showed him my on-demand water heater and propane furnace and got all kinds of good advice on how to get them hooked up. Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. It doesnt sound to difficult to get what I need, so I should have endless hot water soon. The water tank is great for showers but doesnt produce enough water to totaly fill the tub. And if someone has a shower, you need to wait a few hours before anyone else can.The on-demand heater will take care of all of that.

He was also very interested in my potbellied wood stove. Apparently its very old, predating World War One. He refurbishes old stoves and wants to trade me wood stoves. Im all for that. I love the stove but it has limitations in the size of wood I can fit in it, and a lid that slides off every time we get hit with a big wave. I want something safer, bigger and with a flat surface so I can put a pot of water on it. He will call back in a few days when he finds the right one for me.

And as if this wasnt already the most awesome day, I also got a Kayak tonight!! Ive wanted one for years now, but couldnt find one cheap enough. Good ole Craigslist came through for me again. I saw an ad yesterday for two at $300 apiece. One is pink and one is red, too perfect. They are small river kayaks meant for white water, but Im sure they will be fine for puttering around here on. I could only afford to buy one tonight, will go back in a week or two when the coffers are refilled to get the other one. I cant wait to go for a midnight paddle under the full moon.I just have to watch out I dont get swept out to sea on the tides, we get some crazy fast water going past here some days.

I think Im going to have to write an ode to Craigslist, pretty much everything in my life , I found on there, from David, to the boat and most of the stuff on it, not to mention all the helpful people Ive met. Craig, whoever you are, Thanks from the bottom of my heart, this was a most excellent year, and all thanks to you.xxoo

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Whats in a Number?

I find myself attracted to certain numbers. I always seem to look at the clock when it reads 11:11 or 2:22 ect. I met David on April 14th, got my boat home on August 14th,got running water on December 14th, coincidence, I think not. The boats name is Lucky 7, 7 being a component of 14!!

Well after looking at the water heater, David thought it looked pretty bad so we looked on Craigslist and found a 30 gallon electric water tank, brand new for $100. He hooked it up at his place and ran some hoses over to my boat, so (drum roll please....) I now have running water, hot and cold! I'm soo happy!

Today I did my dishes in the sink, and tonight had my first bubble bath, complete with candles and a glass of Grand Marnier to celebrate. What a luxery, I will never take running water for granted again. I spent the day finishing up my Christmas shopping and buying some stuff to get my tub ready. I still need to hang up my shower curtain rod which is proving to be a supreme hassle, but I will prevail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa Came Early

Today was a lovely day. I slept in till 1 pm. Ive been working like crazy and just needed some down time to rest. David decided to fix my kitchen cupboard that had to be ripped out to fit in the new fridge. When you only have inches of counter space , every inch counts. Im so thrilled to have it back. While he worked on that, I hung up some Christmas decorations. My first Christmas on my boat, Im so excited!!Later David got the new satellite receiver hooked up, so Im back in business again.

Greig has offered me the use of a small electric water heater. David is going to hook it up at his place and run a hose over here, so I will finally have running water. That equals even more counter and floor space as I will be able to get rid of the water jugs and the box I store my dirty dishes in, Yahoo!

"It's a good thing" as Martha would say

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back and Mind Your Toes

Well I've scared off another gas-fitter today.I had finally gotten my water heater back from Mike and the metal plates he made to mount it to the wall a few weeks later. I called another gas-fitter and made an appointment for him to come by this morning and get me hooked up. He started off all positive but as he took a better look at the situation, he backpedaled right out the door. All full of apologies about his "bad feeling " about the whole setup and his woefull inadequacies when it comes to working on boats. DAMN! I get different advice from everyone who looks at this. One says I need a pipe with an elbow to reduce condensation,another says no, a straight pipe is fine. One says I need copper pipe, another says your not supposed to use copper pipes on boats anymore.WTF???

Just when I had given up all hope, I got a call from Kim, he is the guy that took my propane furnace months ago. I had all but given up on him. He dropped by this afternoon with my furnace all repaired and looking brand spanking new. He gave me a bunch of copper pipe and various copper joints and elbows so I could get it hooked up. I would like to vent it through the woodstove chimney but he is concerned that if the pipe isnt hot it wouldnt draw and the smoke(fumes?) would pour back into the boat.If anyone has tried something like this, I like to hear how it worked out.It will be a bit of a procedure to get this hooked up as I have to loosen off the tarp on the water side of the boat, thread the gas hose through a cleat hole, and drill a hole somewhere to vent it. A project for another day, today I rest!!

Kim has said he can get me a vent pipe for the water heater, so back to playing the waiting game again. At this rate, I should be good to go by next winter! Speaking of which we had our first snow storm last week, followed immediately by the pineapple express which dumped a ton of rain. This resulted in an interesting few days. We tacked down chicken wire while the snow fell to make the docks less treacherous. I went off to work all proud of my ability to do battle with mother nature to come back to such a high tide from all the flooding, that I was walking up a ramp that usally only has various shades of down. The water was inching dangerously close to the buildings on shore but receded before it got too scary. Another storm weathered and Im still here. The next day, I went shopping for more tools of survival. I picked up a 1000 watt gas generator, brand new for $95 and a gas water pump for the same price. I also picked up another bilge pump and a marine battery. Alot of money I hadnt planned on spending, but feel better knowing I am ready for any emergency.

David managed to drop the big marine battery on his foot bringing it down to the boat, so we spent 2 days trying to get him in for xrays at the local hospital. After an excruitiating 6 hour wait in which I threw my back out trying to stay upright in the chair, he fianlly got looked at. No broken bones, just a bad crushing of a few toes. This has slowed him down quite abit and he finally took a few days off and just relaxed. Ive never seen him sit still for more than 5 minutes, this is a treat.

We have had all kinds of issues with the sattelite tv. All the reafing on the piling its attached to when bringing the tug back up, knocked it off its course and ripped out my line. In the meantime , my reciever decided to pack it in altogether. Poor David had spent hours on the phone with them trying to get it sorted out, but they are complete morons. He spends half an hour telling them what is wrong, what we need done and giving them all kinds of info about the account, and then they start all over asking him all the same questions and putting him on hold forever and ever.If you could kill someone over the phone, I think there would be a few people having a bad day. We did get a guy here to repostion the sattelite dish so we have a signal again, and David brought his reciever and wire over here and got it hooked up. In two months we have had about 2 weeks of service. The worst part is , even when its working , there really isnt much on anyway.