Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why I Write This Blog and Talk About Things You Probably Don't Care About But Are Kind Enough To Read About and Comment On

I think that there are three different kinds of blogs that are published by loopers and cruisers. The first is basically a travelogue that has a lot of pictures with comments. Those are great and enjoy them myself very much. The second is a log, with comments, of most of the details of an excursion. They tend to be technical. Again, I enjoy those too. The third kind, of which I believe this is, is a record of the experiences of the excursion; of not only photos and details but also the impressions and emotions that are created along the way. For me I have to write down how I feel about what has happened so that I, quite frankly, can't forget them. For me our cruising excursions are more about the emotional impact that they have had on me, even if it is about the mundane things that happen on shore leave.

And so I keep writing and publishing. Thank you for taking your valuable time to read them.

We miss our chosen lifestyle very much. At this writing the boat is still out of the water at Grand Harbor Marina. The cleaning and sanding of the bottom revealed about fifty nickel-sized blisters that had to be repaired. That work is complete. All that is left is the application of two coats of paint and then she'll be splashed and returned to Barefoot Marina where we have a slip waiting for her.

I must admit though that it is fun to be back in St. Louis for a period of time. For the last two years we have spent probably less than three weeks here. It had always been our first place to return to from the boat and to leave from to get back to her. But we would only spend a few days here before we would jet off to Denver. But this time we are here for a few months. At least we have actually unpacked our clothes instead of living out of our suitcases. We have been busy with a mutltitude of projects that have been deferred since we left for Florida in November of 2011. I have hung pictures. We have actually gone through a lot of the boxes that had yet been untouched since we moved in here.

These are exciting times in St. Louis. The Cardinals are marching to the World Series. At this writing they hold a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the LCS. People everywhere are wearing red clothing, most with the bird-on-the-bat graphic or the STL logo. The Blues are off to hot start also. The weather has been spectacular and we are enjoying the energy that is permeating every corner of town. (But then we always enjoy ourselves. The vibe of the city is a bonus.)

But, alas, the reason for us canceling our winter cruising season is still out there. If you remember we discovered a mold infestation in the drywall of one of our rooms in our finished basement. We got a wall guy in here and it was discovered that there was more than just mold. The flooring was shot and it too needs to be replaced. Also the source of the moisture has been discovered. We have a large covered front porch.

The ground under the porch settled considerably since the house was remodeled by the people that we bought it from. Water has been able to pool there and has caused moisture to seep down to the bottom of the foundation. All of that needs to be fixed before a new floor or walls can be put in.

We decided that instead of having a bunch of home remodeling salesmen tell us what needed to be done we would invest in hiring a structural engineer as an unbiased expert. And we're glad we did. The overall news was not as bad as we feared. The main thing is that the moisture getting to the walls in the basement was of a hydrostatic nature intead of being caused by a crack in the foundation itself. While this is still a challenge to be overcome it is not a big fat hairy deal and can be fixed with some new landscaping around the house to direct rain water away from the foundation more aggressively, having a dehumidifier permanently working in the area and installing ceramic tiles flooring with a looser more breathable grout so that moisture is whisked away more easily. The landscaping is mainly manual labor. He gave us good instructions as to what to do and Lisa and I have decided that we would do the work ourselves. It will be hard work but we're up for it. Frankly the hardest part is that we will have to buy a full thirteen cubic yards of dirt, an entire dumptruck's worth, that needs to be dumped in our driveway (off of the city street) and will have be carried around the house to the front where most of it will go. So be it.

The engineer was also concerned that a sump pump installed in an exterior stair well was not working.
The bilge pump
That needed to be checked. For some reason I couldn't get my mind wrapped around that. Would we have to call a plumber in at beau-coup bucks to fix it? Was this a big project?. Fortunately Lisa was able to settle my mind by saying, "Darrell, its a bilge pump." The engineer who was also a boater agreed. Well, snap and snap. My mind clicked into boat-mode. I opened the cover, pulled up the float switch and PRESTO! The bilge pump, er, the sump pump worked just fine. Check that off the list.

So the bottom line of all this work is, in boat-speak, a bottom job, checking the bilge pump and on board moisture control. The vessel in question is already on the hard.

Yes, our boat-minds are still in gear. Just this morning Lisa saw a spider building a web in the corner of the room. She immediately went to get a toilet cleaning brush, our tool of choice for this task on the boat, to clear the web out.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Shore Leave is Going to be Longer Than We Thought...But That's Okay.

When we set off on our Great Loop adventure back in November of 2011 we basically dropped everything. While we were certainly glad that we did, as our twenty-one months on Why Knot, as our home, was and is wonderful. But this current shore leave has presented us with a few new challenges and some wonderful opportunities.

On the down side...we just moved into our house shortly before we left for Florida and in our haste to get things put someplace we stacked some plastic bags filled with all kinds of things on the floor of our finished basement against a finished wall next to an outside wall. Unfortunately as Lisa was moving things around a few days ago she discovered that the plastic bags created some kind of moisture barrier that allowed a pretty substantial amount of mold to grow. It is a major repair and we really can't leave until that is fixed. Then we have to really finish moving in. That will take some time. Furthermore we have a lot of unfinished tasks that need to get done. I guess the best way to say it is that we have a bunch of things to be done that we have deferred in favor of our cruising. It is time to get them done.

As far as opportunities go there are a lot of them too. I am converting the blog of our Great Loop adventure into a memoir that will be available for purchase on Amazon (hint hint). I think it will be entertaining and interesting for boaters and lubbers alike. Lisa has a lot of really cool things to do too, that will make our cruising life a lot better.

So the bottom line is we are canceling our winter cruising season. The boat is safely at Barefoot Marina which has been terrific in being flexible to accommodate us. We are looking forward to being back out on the water starting in April 2013 where we plan on heading north on up to New England and the Down East Loop.

Besides the Cardinals are in the playoffs and Blues hockey is underway. We can't just pick-up and leave now!

Go Cards.