Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

  2015 will be remembered by me as a year of trial and tribulation, a year when my patience has been stretched to the breaking point and seemingly beyond. We're half way through the month of June, and I'm still waiting for the remainder of the planks to be installed. A project that began at the end of March and was supposed to be finished over a month ago and has no finish date in sight. I'm pleased that we finally have some planks put back on the boat. It's progress that can be measured; however, the dog salmon are running and I'm not on the water taking advantage of them. The weather for the past six weeks has been hot dry and sunny, with an almost daily dose of wind. While it is nice to wake to sunny days, the unseasonably warm weather has melted almost all the snow on the surrounding mountains, which is a primary source of water for the streams that the salmon rely on to go up and spawn. Another ill effect of all this hot weather is that the wood on the boat is shrinking, so much so that the cement that covers the seams under the water line has dried out and is cracked and falling out, which means I have to go back through and caulk the seams again. I can't really blame the shipwright, he has a full time job that is taking almost all of his spare time. Nonetheless, I'm frustrated at the slow rate of progress and the money that seems to be flowing in the wrong direction. I can only hope that something is going to happen soon that will turn the tide and I'll be able to get back in the water and start fishing and hopefully start making some bucks. In the interim, all I can do is get the boat as ready as I can and pray that things will work out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

No Small Project

   I know that those of us who write a blog have a lot of competition for readers, and that one sure way to lose readers is to not update the posts regularly. I understand that it's been a while since my last post, but I've been dealing with an uncommon amount of problems this spring, and doing a blog post hasn't been at the top of my priority list. As I write this, I'm in a certain degree of pain, I won't go into the reasons, but suffice it to say, this may not be my most stellar post. As of this moment, the boat is still missing the vast majority of it's planks on the starboard stern. The shipwright was down on Friday and installed some oak frames, and said he couldn't make it back until Sunday. When I went down today to see if he had made any further progress, it appeared that he hadn't come down. Oh Joy! Last week, I needed to get my oil changed, which is usually a fairly minor job, however, because of a back issue, I can't do it myself, so I hired a neighbor who fancies himself a mechanic. He got the drain plug out ok, but couldn't get the filter off. After trying for over an hour, he declared that he would have to return the next day. I can't recall if he came back the next day or not, but the bottom line is, it took five days to change the oil. In the interim, I had to call a friend to drive me up to the clinic, twice in one day to deal with a medical issue. Not having a vehicle was not working out too good. In order to get the filter changed, the guy had to take off the skid plate under the engine, undo the oil cooler lines, and dis- assemble the filter housing. Now it appears that the engine is leaking some oil. Lovely! Last week was exceptionally busy and especially frustrating. I played telephone tag with my doctor in Juneau over the course of a few days, and it wasn't until I took matters into my own hand and made an appointment with a specialist that he called me and informed me that the guy I was going to see had multiple complaints. I cancelled the appointment and now I'm going to go to Anchorage instead. God knows how long I'll have to be there. First, of course, I have to consult with the doctors. Then, hopefully, they can schedule a surgery within a week. I'll be staying with my daughter and her husband while I'm there, for which I'm eternally grateful, but, I don't have the slightest idea what I'll do with my time while I'm waiting for an operation. When you don't feel good, you really just want to be home. However, I can guarantee with 100% certainty, that the specialist isn't going to come to my house to do an exam, and I most definitely don't have the right environment for any kind of surgery, although there is room in my living room to set up a massage table in case I ever want Alexis the Russian neighbor to come back and humiliate me in my own house. I can only hope and pray that the situation will be squared away quickly and completely, and that when I return, the boat will be ready to paint and launch, in time for the Chum salmon run. Now of course none of this history has anything to do with the pictures above, so let me explain. With all that was going on, my son Brian came for a visit. He really is a hands on kind of guy and loves to keep busy. Over a year ago I had been to Home Depot and picked up the necessary supplies to install a french drain in the back yard. With the removal of more and more trees on the hillside, runoff has been a real problem. As we all know, water flows to the point of least resistance, in this case, down hill, into MY yard. I had hoped to get the project done last year, but it just didn't work out. This year all the stars lined up. I had a friend who lent me his John Deere tractor, a son who knows how to use it and has a seemingly unending supply of energy, and I was able to get five yards of what was described as railroad rock dumped close by.  With Brian at the controls of the tractor we got the trench dug in one day and the rest of the project done the next, with help from my daughter Jen. I still have a mess to clean up, but it's not a priority at this point. I hate to lose my lawn for a season, but it's the price you have to pay for progress. Even with the yard in a state of disarray, we still had a tourist come by and take pictures of the house. That baffles me. What is so different about this house that they feel the need to remember it?  I just wish I could capitalize on it somehow, maybe sit out on the front porch with a coon skin cap like Daniel Boone and a rifle across my knees and offer pictures for five bucks a pop. I may not get rich, but at least they wouldn't be getting away scott free.