I have the best partner in the world but that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t happen…..even regularly scheduled ones. ‘Cause they do.
When we lived in the city, I would stop every month to pick up a box of a dozen crystal wine glasses to supplement the always diminishing inventory in our cupboard. Living with Sal is a delight, a lot of fun…not unlike a Greek wedding, if you get my drift. Every day and evening, something crashed. She just drops things.
The other day we were hauling her admittedly heavy (100 pounds) Suzuki outboard up on the highline (like a kid’s zipline). It needed some servicing and it hadn’t been running for some time. She maneuvered her little boat into place, unbolted the motor and she sat down beside it. It just sat there safely on the transom awaiting me to lower the pulling line that rode on the fixed highline. Attached to the pulling line was the chainhoist. One would simply attach the hoist, haul the motor up off the back of the boat and I would take care of the rest. But before the pull line had finished lowering the hoist and with my back turned, I heard a splash and then more than just a few expletives. I turned to see the outboard lying on the bottom of the sea (shallow – about three or four feet under the boat).
Sal first looked around for help but there wasn’t any. I was 150 feet up the steep hill operating the winch. She cursed some more and then jumped in. Chest high. But then she bent at the waist so that she then had her face just breaking the surface of the water. With a Herculean grunt, she grabbed the outboard and lifted it on to a shallow rock. It was still wet but some of it was out. She grabbed the end of the chainhoist, connected it to the motor and hauled it up in the air. I winched it up. The motor, on the verge of being ruined, drained spitting and leaking as it came up the hill. Sal followed spitting, leaking and ruining the English language.
When the two of them were at the top, there stood Sal clad in shades of black and grey and soaking wet beside her similar hued black and grey outboard both showing the effects of an extremely recent complete immersion. Two drowned rats.
I got the motor over to the shop while Sal squidged and slopped her spongy self to the house to change. Then we did what we could to save the motor – drained all the water out. Dried everything off. Drained, flushed and changed the contaminated oil from the sump, dried the electrics (hair dryer) and drained the carb. Then I had to remove the starter motor but, of course, nothing is that simple. First you remove the top flywheel/pull-start assembly so that starter motor bolts are accessible and, of course, you have to first remove the carb, too….same reason.
Within a few hours, we had the motor dry, fluids changed and the big stuff largely disassembled. The cylinders had also been oiled (with some varsol first, new oil after) and the plugs removed so that the pistons could be pulled up and down to spit out what they might have drunk. By then it was dark.
A new motor is $4000 to $5,000. This could be a total loss. No matter what I did, I could not get electricity into the motor. Strong battery, cleaned, dried and well attached wires directly from the battery to the starter and it clicked over – a good sign for the starter (one of the more vulnerable parts) but, as soon as the starter was mounted onto the motor, nothing. It was as if the juice just disappeared. There may be a black box somewhere. I am gonna be on YouTube for a while.
“What happened down there?”
“Nothing! I swear. It just fell in. I did nothing. Honest.”
“So, you are saying that a 100 plus pound motor sitting on the transom and hooked on by it’s motor clamp just upped itself four inches and jumped in?”
“Well, I don’t know. But it must have. I just know I didn’t drop it.”
“Inanimate objects are not, generally speaking, suicidal. Right? And you do know how gravity works, right? I am pretty sure you know all-too-well how denial works. Now you just may have to learn how rowing works.”
“I hate you.”
PS. This is not an unusual dialogue for us. We’ve been together for over 50 years. We have gone through thousands of crystal glasses, and maybe millions of assorted other ‘fragiles’ no longer with us. This is simply the price paid for living with an angel suffering from Tourettes and Carpal Tunnel. I am a saint!