Monday, July 27, 2015

Back in the Stall Again



















  It runs in my mind that there is an old western song that talks about being back in the saddle again. I'm not sure, but  I assume it's because whoever was singing it was away from their  horse for awhile and had finally returned. I can really relate. Back on March 29th, when I hauled out the boat for some plank work, I had no idea that I wouldn't be returning the Bonnie J back to her assigned stall for almost four months. It's been years since I've missed this much time during the fishing season. I've been chomping at the bit to get out for quite some time. Unfortunately I missed the king salmon season and though historically there is a little mop up for the remaining quota in August, this year there will be no mop up. Part of it is politics and part science I guess. I won't be able to catch another king this year until the winter season starts on October 11. I may be down south then, so chances are I won't catch any kings this year at all. Bummer. If there is any silver lining at all, it's that the season hasn't been very good. The prices are low and there aren't many fish around, with the exception of Humpies. That's fine with me, I need some for halibut bait and to sell to the two stores in town who carry Tom's Halibaits for sport's fishermen. Personally, I think salmon is one of the best baits a person can use for halibut. It stays on the hook well, and has enough scent to attract them. Even with all the work I've done, I'm still dealing with a small leak around the rudder post. I thought I had it fixed, but this morning when I launched, my friend, Vince, said it was leaking. He put an extra strand of packing in the packing nut, but then he couldn't get it to tighten down. Right now I'm not too concerned about it, but I may take a little time and deal with it tomorrow. Little problems have a way of becoming big problems if you don't deal with them, especially on a boat. The time to take care of a problem is when you're tied up at your stall- not when you're battling six foot seas. Having spent the last four months on dry land, the boat really dried out badly. The red bottom paint that is showing is testimony to how dry it got. I need to get some fuel tomorrow, and that will help to bring it down a little, and as the wood swells it will take on some water weight. I'm glad that the wood does swell, it helps to close the seams and make the boat water tight. I like that. I want to keep the water on the outside of the boat- much less stressful that way. Anyway, for those who may be following this blog, I just thought I'd let you know, she's back where she belongs. Hopefully when I go to check on her tomorrow I won't see  just the mast and poles sticking up out of the water.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

You Know You're Getting Old When....



















    There are certain things in life that are indicators that perhaps you've entered the "golden years". One is when you have a cupboard specifically designated for holding all of your medicines. I'm not talking about the medicine cabinet in the bathroom where the tweezers, band-aids and Neosporin are located. I'm talking about all the pills you need just to keep life at some semblance of normal. Things like blood pressure meds, prostate pills, thyroid medicine, calcium supplements, Vitamin D tablets and assorted and sundry other things. The container  that separates all of my pills into daily doses is so full that I can hardly close the lid anymore. Between my wife and I, we could probably open a pharmacy. We have pills, ointments and creams for everything from hemorrhoids to shingles; high blood pressure to Padget's disease. Holy cats! When we order our medicine from Juneau it comes in a bag the size of a small suitcase. One of the other more common issues that we of the older generation faces, is the inability to see very well without the aid of glasses. I'm fortunate in that I can still see without them for  things at a distance. The last time I had my eyes checked they were 20/15. Pretty good for an old guy. However, for reading and work that requires a little closer inspection,  I have to have glasses to see. This past Friday my oldest granddaughter got married- a sure sign that you're getting on in years, unless of course you were married when you were seven. Anyway, in all the rush to get ready for the wedding, or perhaps it was because the tie I was wearing was choking off blood to my brain, I forgot to grab a pair of glasses to take with me. I did remember the camera, but without any specs, I couldn't see the settings on the dial. Consequently, some of the pictures I took came out rather blurry. Otherwise I would have included more in this post. As further proof that I'm on the back side of life, my oldest son, Ben and his wife just had a baby. That makes eleven grand kids- I think. It's hard to keep up with them all. We'll have to get one of those reverse mortgages just to send a little cash for all the birthdays. I guess we'll never be able to retire. Oh well.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Surgery Was A Success?

























  Well, I just returned from Anchorage this morning. I wasn't sure I was going to make it home today. Last night when the jet was making the final approach to Juneau, it suddenly increased speed and started a rapid accent into the air. It was really foggy and rainy and we couldn't really see much out the windows. It's the kind of thing that makes the heart beat a little faster. Anyway, the captain explained that visibility wasn't good enough to land going that direction so we had to approach from the other end of the runway. Then today, it was still overcast with low hanging clouds and I wondered if I'd make it back or spend the day in Juneau. Fortunately it cleared up and we made it here.  I had gone up to Anchorage to have surgery on my prostate. As you recall, a few weeks ago I had written about not being able to pee after a urinary tract infection. I flew up to see what could be done at the Alaska Urological Institute  and met with Dr. Clark. Anyway, to make a long story short, I had to fly up on Sunday and had surgery yesterday at the clinic. It only took an hour or less. I'm peeing like a Russian race horse right now, although there is some pain associated with it, as one would expect after having a mini camera shoved up an orifice that is only supposed to flow in one direction, to say nothing of the tools necessary to perform the operation. Fortunately I was knocked out for the procedure, which was really good. I didn't want to suffer the humiliation of the remarks that I might have heard from the three females who were assisting Dr. Clark. There's nothing like introducing your genitals to a complete stranger of the opposite sex. However, as the saying goes, desperate times require desperate measures. Prior to the surgery, after the first visit, the doctor was asking what I was taking to relieve the swelling of the prostate. I told him Flo- Max and something else. He was surprised that I wasn't taking Rapa-flow, so he prescribed it, and it really helped, so much so that I almost cancelled the surgery, but thought better of it. The third med that I was taking didn't have a very cool name like Flo-max or Rapa-flow, and it had the unpleasant side effect of making one of my testicles sore. I was telling my friend, John, the shipwright about it while we were working on the boat. He happened to be mixing up a can of Dolphonite, a bedding compound to put on the guards of the boat to seal them. As he shoved the putty knife in the can and pulled it out he said the I should try Dr. John's Testicle Salve, which also happened to be the bedding compound. I guess it's multi- purpose. I declined but thanked him for opportunity to try a new ointment.Though it was tempting if it indeed offered relief of the pain, I opted to just stop taking the less glamorous sounding pills. Of course I can't very well share any pictures of the prostate surgery. Even if I had some, I think enough strangers have seen more than they could stomach, so instead I'm showing some pictures from a bridge up in Anchorage. The potted Begonias were hanging from holders made up to look like fishing rods. I was tempted to lower a few down and reel them back up. It would be the closest thing to fishing that I have done all year so far. I wanted to include a picture of my daughter Autumn who was so generous with her time, running me back and forth for multiple appointments, as well  as feeding and housing me in a grand manner. I don't have a picture of my other daughter, Liz who went out of her way, as always, to pick me up and house me in Juneau. It's at times like these that you realize how blessed it is to  have a loving family. In any event, it appears that everything is free flowing at the moment. One of the (hopefully) temporary side effects of the surgery is that when the urge to go hits, you can't ignore it- there's no putting it off, so if you see me rushing off for the nearest bathroom, please don't stand in my way, otherwise your shoes may get soaked.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Still Waiting



















  No doubt 2015 will go down for me as one of the most difficult and unpleasant years that I can remember. Not only have I had to deal with a number of physical ailments requiring multitudes of trips to and from Juneau, as well as Anchorage at a fair amount of expense, but I've been waiting for months to get the boat done so I can go fishing. As you can see from the above pictures, the shipwright finally got the planks all put on. That was accomplished on Sunday. I was able to finish painting it, and got it ready to launch on Monday. Unfortunately, as I had mentioned previously, we had a very hot, dry spring.Almost every day in May was hot, sunny and windy, as well as a good bit of June. Wood, being what it is, has a tendency to dry out when exposed to sunny, hot, dry weather, as evidenced by all the wild fires in Alaska and the north west. Well, the old Bonnie J is made of wood planks, with cotton caulking in between and sealed with cement on the bottom. There was a problem with cement falling out of some of the seams, so I was systematically going around and reefing out the old cement and re-caulking and sealing the seams where I saw the need. Unfortunately, the work that I did wasn't sufficient. When I launched the boat on Monday, water started pouring in like someone had turned on a fire hose. I had three bilge pumps going and still couldn't  keep up. Fortunately I was still in the slings of the hoist, so it was a simple matter of hauling me back out. I don't doubt that the city will of course charge me again for hauling me out, a tidy little five or six hundred dollar expense. Governments seem to think that it's citizens are there to support them instead of the other way around. There is little room for compassion or compromise. As of now, I'm in the process of trying to find all the leaks and plugging them with new caulking. Its a very time consuming and painful process that requires me to lay on my back looking up or kneeling on my arthritic knees and trying to drive in the cotton with a caulking iron and a mallet. So much fun! I'm not sure how anyone is doing out fishing- today is the first day of the summer king salmon season. I used to have night mares that I was missing opening day. Like Job said- what I feared has come upon me. Oh well, there's little that I can do about it. At this point I'm just hoping that I can find all the leaks and fix them in a timely manner so that I can possibly salvage this season. If there is a silver lining in all of this hoo- haw, it's that I have spent so much money on medical bills, and on the boat, that I may not owe any taxes this year! Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants!