Nits, notes, bits and pieces

Sal’s little skateboard of a boat has been ‘dead-in-the-water’ for a year – ever since she had her knee surgery. At first it just wouldn’t run right so I took the motor up to the shop and, when I was done, it would not run at all. I put it back on the boat. So, then Sal got on it. She must have stripped the carb down (in situ which is impossible for me) at least four times and each time found something wrong – even got it firing up again – but it was still just back to ‘not running right’.

Enter the dragon in the form of J the outboard mechanic. J whipped everything off as well as the carb and went at it. Got some new parts. Found more ills. Spent four hours at least. Maybe six. “Can’t seem to get it right. It almost feels as if you are towing a ton of bottom growth.”

“Nah, said Sal, I cleaned most of it off. I can reach under. Should be good enough.”

“Well, I’ll continue to think about it but I don’t know what more I can do. Maybe time for another motor?

Sal is very good with her boat. She knows it well. But she kinda forgot how long it had stayed in the water and, despite her protestations, she cannot reach far enough under the boat. Last week we hauled it up the little marine ways we built. Under her boat was the equivalent of the Sargasso Sea. We scraped off pounds of mussels and barnacles. Her boat looked like a White Portuguese Man-o-War (a huge jellyfish).

We cleaned and painted the bottom over the next few days. Sal was under the boat the whole time. I attended to the top and sides. She was covered in crap, marine creature bits and slime. Then marine bottom paint. Sal was not a happy camper.

We launched it the other night, when the tide was up high enough to get it off the ways, and she gave it a test spin. It went like a scalded cat! Woohoo!!! Sal had a grin as wide as her boat. It was a beautiful sight.

Our ‘funicular’ was acting up. The ‘track’ was catching up the cart. It was all covered in barnacles and crap. It was time to clean and check the tracks (first real effort in 15 years). So, we did. Lo and behold! A bolt had rusted and one track was almost fully disengaged. So, we went at it using my portable grinder (what a great tool) and some pry bars, sledge hammer and such. A few hours later and the track was fixed. Much more to do, tho. Got a few seized wheels on the cart, too. We’ll get at that stuff later.

Some buttons wouldn’t work on the upper and lower control panel, others ‘buttoned’ the wrong thing. So, we opened up the black box and started to diagnose which wires did what and which ones led to which buttons and so on. And, consistent with our skills, we got nowhere, despite more than a few hours over several days cleaning connections, replacing switches and some buttons and checking all the wires. Enter dragon #2 in the form of my techie/nerd/engineer/Gyro Gearloose friend, B. B originally programmed the Siemens motor controller (which can only be done in German which he does not speak). The three of us were on several hour-long conference calls. He would instruct me, I would relay to Sal and then back to B. After awhile, thanks to B, we got it working. It would still not ‘button’ right but, with some toggling, I could get it to work well enough. We were happy.

Then, about a week later, I was working the cart up and down the hill and, when unconsciously using the buttons, I discovered that it was all working as it should. The buttoning was all right! Funicular miracle!

A lesson was emerging……...”Try not to touch anything, sweetie…”

Which segues poorly into the government NOT touching………..

Once again the media and the government are either lying to us or they are simply totally out of touch with reality. Inflation is already back. It is back with a bullet. It is not just a possibility (which is the tiny bit of information they are sharing infrequently and on the back pages). It is raging.

Admittedly, it is raging in my world and maybe not so much in someone else’s but my expenses have risen in excess of 20%. Food, fuel and gasoline up at least 15%. Building supplies up as much as 100%. Used boats up 100%. Used cars up 35%. And everything we look at is up. A contractor friend in Vancouver reported that, “Everyone knows lumber has gone up as much as 300% but what they don’t know is that all building supplies have risen with it. We are paying vast amounts more for everything from nails and screws to wire and outlets, from plumbing pipe and faucets to subtrade-supplied cabinets and counters. Building costs also increase as the labour and contractors start to increase their labour cost, too. Lumber may go down but everything will stay more expensive. It’s insane!”

Property OTG was never really cheap but it was a lot less expensive a year ago. That is now changing, too. Properties are snapped up now where before they might linger on the market for as long as two or even three years. There has been a huge up-tick in sales and prices. Of course, that means little to us (we aren’t selling) but the added ‘value’ increases taxes at the very least. So, we’ll pay more one way or the other.

I guess sustainable is no longer fashionable…….

14 thoughts on “Nits, notes, bits and pieces

  1. Damn! Do you find that as you mellow/mature you’re much less inclined to ‘repair’ when all you really want to do is ‘use’?
    I find that as I ‘reduce my life expectancy’ my inclination to ‘repair’ dissipates with the length of time it has been in disrepair. Often times I’ll conclude that I didn’t really need to ‘use’ and find some other method to get by, thus avoiding ‘repair’, sometimes for months.
    But then, I don’t have a barnacle encrusted boat that is required to get from A to B. Thank goodness!


    • I had the curse even when I was young and it has only gotten worse. I’d rather build something new than fix anything old. Boats are a little different, as you point out. We use ’em every day. Boats gotta go when you need ’em to. Plain and simple. Mind you, anything on a boat that is NOT required for movement can and is ignored.


  2. Inflation is roaring back as everyone goes blithely on with their lives.
    Canada’s Real estate ponzie is about to get a rude awakening.
    If commodities shortages and prices are any indication, construction and labor cost should be the nail in the ponzie coffin.
    12 months from now should be interesting.


    • I know. And no one is even putting out the clarion call! Mind you, this inflation has to be short-lived. Prices may never go back to what they were but you can’t just crank prices after a year or more of economic listlessness and expect everyone to cough up. A large percentage of Americans and Canadians live month to month and couldn’t absorb a surprise $400 bill, they say. Those folks will simply cut back and, by doing so, dampen this recent greed-grab. This inflation is mostly fear/greed/shortage/scarcity inspired, not gradual ramp-up of demand – I think.


      • Economists are also noting that with the US economy ramping up……there are hundreds of thousands of missing workers……?
        People are not interested in working.
        Perhaps CERB and or the US cash handouts were too much, too soon, too often?

        It wont take interest rates to climb very high ( 5%.? 7% ?) to watch a generation of Millennials and Gen X squeal like pigs at the unfairness of it all.
        But that still wont stop the Banks from demanding more money.
        When I remind people of the !8% and 22% rates in the early 1980’s they stare at me in horror.
        At the rate we are seeing the prices rise on everything….
        Higher interest rates to cool off economies ….. is inevitable.


      • Yep. I have railed against the rat race ever since I got out (the full benefit of escape only becomes really clear in the rear-view mirror). Many were introduced to a work-life balance due to Covid and lay-offs. But so did their burn-rate (spending) reduce. They earned less, spent less and saw their families more. Many left the kitchen altogether, finally realizing that it was too hot in there. They repopulated small towns and moved into vans and such. Some even went OTG. If you are 50+ and living in a van, are you seriously going to be looking to further your career? Nomadland (the documentary) accurately portrayed those who were pushed out but now prefer it. Sal and I have run with the rats, hung with the vagabonds and floated on liveaboard boats. We’ve traveled extensively and lived OTG. Of everything we have done, working to get ahead was the stupidest. Being anchored to your house by a ginormous mortgage is akin to incarceration. Workin’ 9 to 5 is no way to make a living (Dolly). And every job I ever had was more than 9 to 5!
        Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living
        Barely getting by, it’s all taking and no giving
        They just use your mind, and they never give you credit
        It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it


  3. Wages are always the last to rise but they eventually do and we get a piecemeal ‘equalization’ process with the lower end of the labour pool dropping away into ‘living below the poverty line’ category. And that category is getting bigger every year. Inflation erodes the lower classes and buries them. Mind you, I do not think inflation is so much the evil in the system as it is the system itself. Capitalism too easily favours capital if, for no other reason than because capital can sleep in safely in banks and doesn’t need to eat. Labour gets hungry and needs to pay the rent. Capital can be choosy and labour cannot.


  4. I read stat today in the Financial Post.
    Shipping rates are skyrocketing.
    A container from Shanghai to New York….up 220% in 12 months.
    A container from Shanghai to Rotterdam …up 450% in 12 months.
    I spoke to a company that imports containers direct from the manufacturer in China.
    2019 $1800 US per container.
    2020 $6000 US per container.
    Now…$15,000 US per container.
    EVERYTHING is going to get jacked up in price to cover these price increases.
    I buy stuff from the EU.
    2019 $45/bag
    2020 $58/bag
    2021 $62/bag

    Inflation is here.
    Wait until Summer is over to see the look of horror on everyone’s face as all the necessities like food, fuel, clothes, everything is jacked 15 to 20%.
    Cars, stereos, tv’s, fridges, and washing machines are still waiting for the backlog in chips to REALLY get things marked up.


    • You see it. I see it. Most of the readers (all 6 of them) see it. So, why is there not a hue and cry? Why is all that ‘increase’ considered OK? I know, I know, wage and price controls do not work…fine…I agree….but still, Joe Sixpack cannot absorb all that extra cost. And Barbara Baglady is already doomed. She’ll be dead by the end of the year. The way I cynically see it, those corporations that survived the pandemic captured MORE market share (others went bankrupt or cut back to the bone) and they are now flexing their pricing muscle while they can. Imagine the poor working jerk who just stretched to buy a piece of crap for two million dollars and will NOW see all his other costs mushroom!? Then, to curb inflation, the governments will increase interest rates. Result: Working Jerk joins Baglady under a bridge (his wife left him because of money problems).


      • “Why is there not a hue and cry?”

        Sadly the average “Joe Sixpack” has the attention span of a fruit fly over a bowl of rotten cherries.
        They won’t realize the water they’re sitting in as it begins to boil in the pot is too hot until the lid is on.
        Try talking to anyone about “inflation” and their eyes glaze over.


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