Goodbye to Friends and a Mini Project

It’s that time of the season when friends start to move on. Some are heading north towards home and some are heading south towards the islands. Either way, it doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. I’m still trying to understand how it’s possible to develop such deep friendships in such a short amount of time while cruising. Do we all share that special bond knowing what it took each of us to get where we’re going? It’s not all peaches and cream bringing a boat down to the Keys and beyond. Most of us have traveled well over a thousand miles to get here. We’ve weathered storms, breakdowns, and just plain bad luck. Or is it because we all dreamed a dream and then sacrificed and  made that dream happen? All I know is that goodbyes are hard, tear-filled things that don’t get easier with time.

Our friends Tim and Jill on Links, along with Bud and Jen on Sea Quest left the harbor a couple of days ago and we still miss them. But, the great thing is we’ll all meet up again somewhere, sometime this coming winter with new stories to tell and start the cycle again.

Before we left Myrtle Beach this year, we purchased a small TV for our cabin so we (Michele)  could watch TV at bedtime. It was a fantastic little TV. Great picture, great sound and a built in DVD player ta boot. Loved the thing. It lasted all of two months. Just wouldn’t turn on any more. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal, just return the thing to Walmart and exchange it. But, when the nearest Walmart is 100 miles away and all you have are folding bikes for transportation, returning the thing is out of the question. So what to do? Mini project! I let Google be my friend and found out that 90% of the time when this happens to a LED TV, the culprit is usually the capacitors. So, with that knowledge in hand I headed off to Ebay and purchased the capacitors in a kit. They have kits for almost every make and model. Who woulda known? Twelve bucks and six days later I had the grubby little things in hand. Double checked the contents of the kit and oh man, wrong ones. Called the seller and five days later had the right ones. The pics and result of the project are below.

On a side note, it seems there may be a problem now with the comments. I think I solved it, but let me know if you cannot comment. Also, let me know what device you’re using to try and comment.

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Saying goodbye to Links and Sea Quest. See ya next year!

 

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Our little nautical flea market here at Boot Key..

 

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Got the patient opened up and ready to operate on…

 

P1050785Here’s three of the five capacitors that have to be replaced.. They’re the black things..

 

P1050788The new ones to be soldered in…

 

P1050791Here’s the first transplant…patient still doing fine…

 

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Transplanted the rest of the capacitors and powered the unit up. This is the result. Not the one I was hoping for. Opened her back up and inspected everything, jiggled all the plugs and turned her back on. This time, nothing. Blank screen. So, even though the operation was a success, the patient died and was buried without ceremony in the big blue dumpster in the sky. Can’t win them all, can you? :)

 

Until then…….

 

 

From The Snow to The Rain…And That’s OK

After getting the car dug out of the snow, I flew out of Baltimore on Monday and I’m now back in the Keys, Marathon, to be exact. Michele will follow that path February 8th and man, will it ever be great to be together again on El Camino. Paradise is just not the same without her in it. Ok, back to the snow.

You would assume that a large joint base such as Andrews Air Force Base would have the capabilities to clear all the roads after a snow storm such as the one that hit this weekend. You would assume wrong. Halfway through the storm, a backhoe came through and made one pass down the street and that was it. Never saw another attempt to clear the road after that. When the snow finally stopped, a guy in a Jeep made several trips up and down the street, making tracks and trying to pack the snow down. This guy was the hero of the day! Without those tracks no way would I have made my flight on Monday and most of the rest of the neighborhood would have been stuck as well. Even with the tracks, it was still dicey as to whether we could make it out or not. Michele was worried we may get stuck, after all he was in a Jeep and we were going to try and make it in a Fusion. I gave it a 80% chance of success, but I’m an optimist.

Monday morning came and it was time leave or get stuck trying. The neighbors asked us if we were really going to go for it, we said yes, and they kinda shook their heads and wished us luck. Joseph and his wife Bo had snow shovels ready just in case. I eased the car out from it’s snow cocoon and lined her up on the street. Working the throttle as if an egg was under the pedal we started down the road. The spot I was really worried about was an almost 90 degree turn about midway down the street. I figured if we made that then we were home free. Entering the turn, the tires began to slip a little and then bite a little, alternating between traction and no traction. Our hopes of getting through were alternating in time with the slips and grabs. We finally made it through the corner and up the street where we stopped before the main road. I turned and looked at Michele and said “piece of cake baby.” And being her prudent self and bringing me back down to earth, said, “we still have to make the airport in time”. And we did, with time left over.

Back in Marathon I was never so glad to see 65 degrees and rain. And, even stuck inside today because of the rain is so much better then digging and shoveling snow. No contest. The pictures below I took from the plane and apologize in advance for the not so clear shots. The window was dirty or foggy or something.

You can see the main roads are pretty clear.

You can see the main roads are pretty clear.

 

Here you can see the neighborhood roads are not touched and this was taken two days after the storm

Here you can see the neighborhood roads are not touched and this was taken two days after the storm

Lot's and lot's of the white stuff

Lot’s and lot’s of the white stuff

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And todays current weather...

And todays current weather…

 

Until then…..

I Love Lucy….But Really Hate The Snow

Wednesday, I flew out of the Keys complaining how cold it was. Little did I know what was to come. Michele had already flown out a couple of weeks before me and would be picking me up at the airport. The reason for heading north to Baltimore was our daughter, Marla, was having a baby and we both wanted to be there for that very special occasion. After picking me up we spent the night in Annapolis waiting for Marla’s call. The call from Marla came early the next morning while we were getting ready to leave. Of course, the next few minutes looked like a scene right out of a Keystone Cops movie.

I ran down the stairs to get the car ready and to clear the snow and ice off the windows. In the middle of clearing the front windshield the rain sensing wipers came on and managed to get tangled up in my brush/scraper. The result was horrific, as I watched the wiper blade break off and fall to the ground. Should I risk the drive to PA without wipers was the question I asked myself. The answer was no. After explaining to Michele what happened and enduring the ensuing “look”, we took off for the auto parts store, which thankfully, was right down the street.

Turns out we had plenty of time to get there. The labor lasted about 7 hours or so and boom, we had another granddaughter! Baby Lucy weighed in at 9lbs 6ozs and was 22 inches long. She had a full head of hair and looked perfect. Marla was fine afterwards and baby and mom were sent home the next day. When I leave, Michele will be staying behind to help out for a couple of weeks.

After spending the night in PA, we left the next morning headed back to Baltimore for an appointment we had to keep, all the while realizing the snow storm was slowly closing in on us. After the appointment, Michele insisted on stopping at the doctors office so they could look at my left knee. For some reason it had swollen up and was starting to hurt and I had no idea why. After the exam and a few x-rays the doctor said maybe it was a bone spur and gave me some heavy duty antibiotics and something for inflammation.  By this time the snow has started coming down and we still had 50 some miles to drive to Andrews Air Force Base where we were staying for the weekend.

Needless to say, it was a long stressful drive and the tires didn’t touch bare payment the whole trip down. This morning was dig the car out time and hope the plows come by. If the plows don’t come by, then I may miss my flight back to the keys on Monday. We got the car dug out, but with no passible rode to go down, we’re stuck. Oh man, 65 degrees in the Keys is looking so good right now…

 

20160120_200059The little flurries on Wednesday night…Below are the results of what they’re calling Snowzilla…

 

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And here is baby Lucy, our newest granddaughter!

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I thought this was a cool picture because it shows how times have changed. Here’s Marla well into active labor video chatting with her sister Genne and her niece Eliana. Amazing stuff…

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Ok, until then….

 

 

 

 

 

Here Comes the Sun…Or Maybe Not…

Yep, I know its been a while since the last update, but there’s only so much to say about the rain and even less to do when it does rain. And rain it has. Not to mention the storms that have rolled through. Your day starts by looking into that crystal ball called radar. The plan is to find a break in the bands of rain in order to make a dash for the dock and not get soaked in the process. Why do you need to get off the boat you may ask? Oh, little things like doing the laundry, walking the dog, taking the trash in, grocery shopping and well, you get the drift. However,the most important reason to leave the boat is Happy Hour! Whether it’s at a local restaurant or on someone’s boat, Happy Hour is not to be taken lightly. It’s a chance to get together with friends and share food, drinks, and stories. And oh the stories, let’s just say you have to be there to truly appreciate.

I’ve managed to create a pretty good project list that keeps ever expanding, so I figured as long as I was stuck onboard, might as well knock a few out. And so I finally finished cleaning up the wiring on the house battery bank and installed a solar panel monitor. The previous owner had left the battery wiring a total mess and even thought it still could use some further organization, it’s much better then it was. Now that the monitor for the solar panels is installed I can track how many amps the panels are producing at any given time. The nice thing though, is the monitor keeps a running total of the amps the panels have produced in any given time period. Having the number of amps produced, along with the number of amps consumed, can give you an idea of how long you have to use the generator, if at all, to charge the battery bank back up. Anytime you can cut back on using the generator is a good thing.

Other projects included changing the both the primary and secondary fuel filters on both engines. The raw water strainer baskets for the engine cooling water were cleaned along with a general wipe down of the engines. Since the belts for the alternator and water pump were three years old, I went ahead and changed them too. All the fluids were topped up as well. I still have some time for the oil changes so left that for a later day, probably back in Myrtle Beach. Still on the project list are fixing the starboard engine room blower, repairing a small leak in a hanging locker, repairing the port tachometer, repairing a small tear in a salon cushion and installing temp sensors on both engines. As projects are completed more projects are added so the list is always very fluid.

Another rainy day project I enjoy doing is making wristlets for friends and various rope projects for around the boat. They’re fun to make and I like the idea of a little personal gift for friends. And then there’s the Kindle app on my phone. I subscribe to eReaderIQ and BookBub, both of which send you an email when books become free or highly discounted. The most I’ve spent on a book has been 2.99. You can specify the genre or genre’s you’re interested in and that’s all they’ll send. The links in the emails send you straight to Amazon so you can check out the reviews and purchase from there.

And there you have it. Yes, when it rains for days and you live on a boat it can get boring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. By the way, rain is better then snow!

 

Here’s what the battery bank looked like before organization. Pretty messy to say the least.

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And after organizing. Better, but not perfect..

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In the middle of the projects..

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One of the wristlets and some of the knotted pulls..

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The Wounded Warrior Bike ride to Key West..

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Until then….