Monday, March 29, 2010

Big News

Justin mentioned in the last post that we *may* have some big news to share. Indeed we do.

After much deliberation, number crunching and researching I have decided to resign from my job. I gave them my notice today. It was a very difficult decision, but in the end it was something I had to do.

Jigsaw Indexing has taken off in ways I could never have imagined, and now I am essentially working two full time jobs. It's been a stress on every aspect of my life, including my health. I just couldn't do it anymore.

We sorted out money, health insurance, and all of the other important things before making the final decision. Something had to give and when it came down to it, it was either taking on far less indexing jobs or leaving the library. It has been a great place to work (I'll never forget how excited I was to start there!), but the time has come to move on.

One of the greatest things about leaving is the incredible freedom we will have and I'm still getting used to this fact. I've decided I don't want to come up with too many assumptions on how this new life will be, but that is certain - there will be a greater amount of freedom granted to both Justin and I (and we'll get more than 1 day off together each week, which will be nice too).

I am looking forward to this new adventure in life. I am happy, sad and scared, but downright excited for this new life of ours to begin, and I can't wait to see what's in store for us.

And just to show you all how busy I've been...

A stack of pages from SOME of the books indexed over the past month or two...PHEW. Moonlighting is hard work.

Wish me luck!

repeat performance

Wait a minute.... Didn't we just do this post a couple times? Boston is apparently the new Seattle. Seriously though, the weather has been weird. It gets BEAUTIFUL out for 2 or 3 days... 65 and sunny, like spring has sprung, and then it goes back to 35 to 40 degrees for 3 or 4 days of pouring rain. Bizarre.

I literally had to drag Willie out of bed at 6:30 this morning.
He would NOT get up when he heard the rain. Haha.

Nonetheless, I've been able to use the good days to get lots of deckwork done. All the holes are patched up. The entire deck is sanded down smooth and we're just about ready to paint. I have 3 days at the end of this week, forecasted for sunshine and lollipops, and hopefully I can finish it up. If so, that means unwrapping (!) next week.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, we may be brooding on an important announcement.... check back soon to see :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

bug screens, epoxy, and sandpaper

When we bought Madrigal, the previous owner had just replaced all of the portlights with nice new opening ports. All of them came with bug screens that you can insert when the port is open. That's a nice perk, but the companionway and the two cabintop hatches are all wide open to bugs. Luckily, bugs aren't a problem in downtown Boston. We've never needed a single screen. Although, as you may already know, we are planning to move the boat to Weymouth this summer. We'll be a good ways up a river with brackish water and quite possibly many more bugs than we are used to. With that in mind, Jenny has set to work making bug screens.

We've asked around on different methods for how to do this, and it seems that the best method is to use flexible screen and sew a border around it with weights. Then you just open the hatch and throw the weighted screen over it. Neat. Simple. Effective. We like it.

It was nice and warm out under the shrink wrap over the weekend, so Jenny was able to work outside and hang out with Willie and me.

Here she is looking very pretty.

And then there is the project I've been working on for weeks. Our decks are in rough, very rough, cosmetic shape. They are solid, with no core rot, but the gel coat is scratched and worn away. Somebody had put a primer coat on it years ago but never painted it. The nonskid squares are all worn down and ugly. There seems to be spraypaint(!) around the mast boot. The list goes on. Well, since we intend to epoxypaint it soon, I want to take care of all the blemishes first.

Here are a couple pictures of an old chainplate hole. I'm not sure what that chainplate was ever used for, but it is certainly not necessary anymore and they were beginning to leak (there is one on both sides of the boat). So I ground the holes out, filled them with some hardwood and then fiberglassed the remaining gap until it was flush with the deck.

here's a close up of one.

Then, the biggest part of the project is the cockpit. All the seams were starting to get stress cracks and a couple were even beginning to leak. I ground them all out a few inches and have been in the process of fiberglass reinforcing all the seams. You can also see in the top right corner of the picture below where there were some gauges in the wall (what is the boat term for that part of the bulkhead next to the companionway?). I took those 3 old wind and speed gauges out and had to grind huge holes so that new fiberglass has something to hold on to. (Thanks to Dave from the Fitzcarraldo for the fiberglassing lessons)
Anyhow, I have most everything glassed now. It just needs to be sanded down smooth. Faired in with fairing putty, and then I can start to paint. It is supposed to be nice this weekend. If all goes well I can get the first coat of paint on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Columbia Bicycles

It turns out that Jenny and I are not the only boaters excited for bicycle season to begin. Our friend Christina, who bought the Fitzcarraldo from us, found herself an old gem of a cruiser bike on craigslist this weekend. It's such a neat bike I wanted to post it here. Some sort of old Columbia brand bike, probably 1960's era. Neat. As you can tell, she is very proud of it. Yay boats and bikes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bicycle Time

Springtime is the time to break our bikes back out. I've read lots of things about boats and bikes and the compatibility (or lack thereof) the two. Well, Jenny and I both like biking for exercise, and I like commuting (it's only 4.5 miles from the boat to the museum I work at). Luckily, we are at a marina which has a nice big bike rack inside the marina gates. It is safe and out of the way. On the other hand, Jenny and I don't plan on being here forever. This creates a lot of dilemmas:

Dilemma 1) We are both tired of cheap crappy wal-mart bikes that breakdown after a year of moderate use- yet we wish to keep them in a marine environment.

Dilemma 2) How to store the bike on board during passages.

Dilemma 3) How to store the bike if we are somewhere we can't safely leave them.

This led us to the conclusion that, like so many things on boats, the bikes will have to be a compromise. We started looking at folding bikes and through gobs of research we each managed to find ones that suit us perfectly.

Last spring I purchased a Dahon Matrix, as seen here and in the picture below.

Shortly after that, Jenny opted to go old school and get a Raleigh 20 as seen at this rather eccentric gentleman's homepage here. and also pictured below.

Yes, mine is a little flashier and more expensive but I use it for commuting and didn't want to sacrifice tons of speed in order for it to fold. On the other hand Jenny's is very cute, has a nice 70's feel, and suits her leisurely riding style perfectly. We love both these bikes.

They both fold down quickly and neatly and we can then strap them to the stern rail, or if need be store them in the quarterberth... or under the cockpit... or in the lazarette... or wherever we choose. They are both made with good quality metals and nice paints. They have good gears made by quality companies. If any bikes can survive a life at sea, we think it is these two.

That said, I had a nice ride in to work today and it is a great sign of the approaching summer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Willie doesn't want to go outside...

Day 3 of downpours. Willie has been one grumpy puppy.
The forecast for the rest of the week is sunny and 58 degrees!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

disturbing images

Right after the storm that blew the docks apart, I noticed that there was an insane amount of trash build up in the marina. How gross. It was bad enough to take some pictures of it. The marina (of course) is not to blame at all for this, as it was just trash that had blown in from the entire city of Boston (and beyond?) but it was sad to see.

Also, I came across this report the other day - the Ocean Conservancy's "Marine Debris" Report and Index. It's really interesting to compare trash bits, countries, states and more...

Anyway, here are the two pictures of the trash at the marina. There was a lot of pink stuff floating about. I have no idea what that was...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Madrigal Photos

A few weeks ago, someone was asking me to see photos of Madrigal. I am always happy to show off our boat. As I waded through the thousands of pictures I have on flickr, I realized something incredibly embarassing - I didn't have any GOOD photos of the interior! Not really, anyway.

That set me on a mission to at least get a few good shots of the boat, and I will make a point of taking more soon.

In the meantime, here are the shots that I did take.

Our Dickinson Propane Heater, and Gollum.

Facing aft and starboard. You can see the galley, just barely.

The galley has changed many times over the past two years...but this is its most current state.

Facing Aft. Galley to starboard, quarterberth to port. BIG plate of nachos and a seltzer right in the middle.

Another shot of the galley. Not sure why it's so bleached out.

A fairly bad picture of the head.

Anyway, that's a start. I still want to take some better photos of the v-berth, the quarterberth, the head and the port side...but it's a start.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nantasket Beach, Kite Flying, and Spring Fever!

The weather has been beautiful here the past couple of days. Really feels like spring, 50+ degrees and bright sunshine is great for lifting the spirits a bit. My old college roommate and best friend Jason was out here for the weekend as well. He is from Indiana but every once in a while comes to Boston for work and gets to take the spare weekend to hang out.

Jenny, Jason and I decided to drive out to Hull Massachusetts and visit Nantasket Beach on Saturday.

Nantasket beach is somewhat steep with a ton of rocks. The waves were rolling in pretty heavy and it made the best sound ever when a big wave would come in and drag all the rocks back toward the ocean... Just a big giant crunching grading sound that was also so strangely soothing. Really neat.

Skipping rocks in big waves is fun. Jason and I were trying to see if we could get get rocks to skip right over the breakers.

There were also some brave souls in wet suits out there surfing the cold Massachusetts waters. I think it looks like great fun. If I had the sparetime and cash for a board I'd love to try it sometime.... we'll see.

After the beach we went and had lunch at a place called Barefoot Bob's on the beach. The food was great but the service was SO SLOW. No matter. A good time was had by all.

Then, I know that the highlight of Jenny's weekend is that we went to a kite shop in Hull. We have both wanted a kite for some time-- Jenny especially. We spend so much time on beaches and whatnot that it just makes sense to have one. Well, usually they take up too much space to keep on our small boat, but we found the Parafoil Sunburst. The owner of the shop was really nice and that link is for the same store. If you live on a boat and want a kite, buy that one. It is a 2 foot parafoil made of ripstop nylon (spinnaker material) that uses no sticks and folds down into a small baggie that it comes with. Perfect!

The next day Jenny was able to fly it a bit by our marina. It flies fantastic. So easy to launch and stays in the air quite well.

In the meantime, our friends Dave and Keith brushed up on their juggling pin skills. Sometimes, our marina really is a circus.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Seth and Boat Babies

Just last week we got some great news - I'm going to be an aunt and Justin an uncle! Hooray! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting in mid-September and so of course we're trying to get them to come visit soon so that they can enjoy one last Boston visit pre-baby! If not that's ok too - they'll just have to get the baby used to flying!

Speaking of which, Kelly and Jon live in our marina (until it gets too cold, in which they travel around the US in search of warmer weather...generally they fail!) They have a 3 year old, Seth. Seth is awesome in so many ways, especially in the fact that he has great parents that trust him on a boat (and trust me to babysit him every so often!) They've been away for quite some time now but we're expecting them back SOON. They're living on a Carver (much like the one we used to own) but are looking at Westsail 32s, as they also quickly caught the sailing bug!

So cheers to us having a new niece/nephew in the near future who will someday come to visit to play endless games of Marco Polo with Seth!!