A Modest Proposal 4.5


Dan’s plan

“When we moved here from San Diego eight winter ago, the Bard of Bradenton offered one of his rather succinct analyses of life, love, and personal ambition. He called me an idiot. And, often I remember that prescription with a mixture of data points from all over the graph. Not today. “

Ok! Lucas was right.

When we moved here from San Diego eight winter ago, the Bard of Bradenton offered one of his rather succinct analyses of life, love, and personal ambition. He called me an idiot. And, often I remember that prescription with a mixture of data points from all over the graph. Not today.

Today, I can unequivocally say, that “idiot” was a bit mild. Another Lucasism comes closer to the point, Dumbass.

Poor Gypsy Wagon has been sitting outside, on her trailer, for almost two weeks.

During that time, temps have bounced from sub-zip up to the lower forties, and back again. Another foot and a half of snow has come pirouetting down onto her cabin top and environs. Then, we had a few days of moderating temps that seemed sure to lead to a trip to the launching ramp and a sea trial of some sort. What we got, instead, was several inches of ice on any horizontal surface, erstwhile considered something suitable for vehicular excursions. Our driveway, road, and county blacktop at the top of the hill are prime examples.

But, today really took the cake.

It’s been raining heavily since the day before. Our ground is still quite frozen. What we got was several inches of standing ice water on top of several inches of compact snow and ice. Not quite enough to float GW. But, durn close. But, what made Dave such a seer of truths today, had more to do with me working feverishly to cut channels and streams into the underlying ice to get the burgeoning floodwaters to leave where they had been accumulating to where I considered it more convenient.

This posed “action shot” came after most of the excavation was more or less complete. In fact, the cheery demeanor is all a complete act, brought on by hypothermia.

The term “drowned rat” does come to mind. But, Lucas’ term is reinforced by the fact I had been out there in the pouring rain, breaking up ice and herding an incipient pre-historic Lake Missoula from one impoundment to another. No wonder the dinosaurs died. Yep, dumbass for sure!

Then, the totally unforeseeable happened.

Alice, my faithful beast of burden, snow mover, and most importantly, BOAT MOVER, was doing my bidding to carve away a snow berm that we had laboriously piled up in the same exact spot, a week prior. Certainly, she had reservations. But, as the most-loyal employee here at the Frankenwerke, she was doing her very best to satisfy my increasingly bizarre demands.

I already mentioned that God’s Zamboni Machine has been working over this end of the rink, known as Almostcanada. Mr. Zamboni should really be proud. It’s simply an accident that I haven’t crashed and burned YET. Walking out there is a perfect reproduction of Bambi-with-skates. Anyhow.

We were turning and burning. Those 70-year-old drive wheels were spinning and clawing. Alice was acting more like a terrier pup with a chew toy. Slippin’ and slidin’. When, suddenly, the engine got louder, and the horizon tilted. Alice, either broke a hind leg, or at best threw a shoe.

I admit it. I was already cold, wet, and disgusted. Then, it got dark and colder. Time to jack her up and await the developments only morning can proffer. As I try to straighten my fingers out a bit, a seminal thought keeps circling my cranium.

No boating today. Probably. Damn. Lucas was right.

A Modest Proposal 4.5 Epilogue

Where chutzpah collides head-on with hubris.

With our recent spate of rain and snow and freeze and thaw, I’ve been thinking that it would be a good idea to simply put a tarp over Gypsy Wagon, and await a better opportunity to get in that sea trial. Every time that I’ve climbed aboard and looked around, she’s been dry as a whistle. No obvious window leaks. Nothing, apparently, to worry about. I just got to fretting that something might go sour.

So, I went off to town in a gawdawful snowstorm this afternoon. To get a tarp. You know. Just in case.

It was cold and rather unpleasant when I got home. About dark. At least it wasn’t raining. Much. Kate said dinner was in about 15 minutes. No sweat. Just gonna’ put the tarp over the cabin top and tie it off. Ten minutes max.

I wasn’t even gonna’ open up the door. But, since it’s a glass door; I furtively flashed my flash light – off of several inches of ice water covering the cabin floor. That, of course, meant that there had to be waaaay more in the bilge. It also meant, that all the partitions and berth risers and such would be saturated at their bases.

After about an hour of bailing ice water and pulling inspection covers and all that sort of futility, the proper course of action from here became quite obvious.

It can’t probably get much worse, overnight. Much. I’m late for dinner.

A Modest Proposal 4.5 Epi-Epilogue

“What a revoltin’ development, this is.”

We children of the fifties all watched The Life of Riley. William Bendix had a simple answer for just about everything. Chester A. Riley had a big heart, and he always meant well. But, you see.

Riley was on the crew today. Probably last night. It was a simple assignment. All he had to do was get the ice water inside the boat’s cabin to drain outside. Somehow. I didn’t really care how. Just get it outside. Before it does more damage.

Good Ol’ Riley.

To be fair to Riley, I should offer a few statements in extenuation – as I used to say when prosecuting ne’er-do – well individuals back during my navy days. Instead of a general warming trend, like the prior half dozen years here in Almostcanada, February has been decidedly winter-like. Starting the day I hauled Gypsy Wagon out of the shop and put her back aboard the trailer; it has snowed, froze, rained, and simply been cold and crummy in these parts. And, as I was saying, I sorta’ figured a tarp was in the offing. But, then every now and then, a weather window showed itself and I’d begin plans for a trip to the launch ramp. Can’t put her in the water with a tarp.

So, somehow, a whole bunch of water made its way inside; and really soaked up parts and places not really suitable for such a soaking.

And, then it froze. The drain(s) got blocked up with ice. So I called Riley in. He’d know what to do!

Riley showed up with a 24 inch drill bit and a drill with a dead battery. No flashlight. No kneeling pad. And a dustpan to use for bailing out the cabin. Like I was saying, Riley means well. The shot above is of a rather large ice flow blocking the transom drain. The bright spot in the background is where Riley drilled through the ice from the transom drain, last night. No water came out for pretty obvious reasons. But, not for lack of trying.

Now, here’s an innovative solution. Just cut a hole in the floor to let the water puddled on top of the floor run below the floor. NOT.

Riley was pretty sure that he stopped before hitting the hull with the pilot bit. I told him to climb down under and take a gander. When he came out, he asked me if that trailer roller was supposed to have fiberglass shavings and water dripping from it.

I answered him with a question of my own. “What are all those wood shavings INSIDE the boat??”

Poor Riley. He was just trying to help. But. What a revoltin’ development this is.

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