Don’t peel back the wallpaper!

That’s just an expression, of course. If the wallpaper shows a problem then you know you HAVE a problem but, if you don’t peel it back, everything looks normal for awhile longer. But, well, as my daughter is visiting and she wanted to help, and so I peeled back the deck. I shouldn’t have.

Peeling back the deck means, in fact, lifting boards. Deck boards. When you lift deck boards, deck joists are revealed and, when the joists are revealed so are the main structural beams. The reveal was not pretty. We live in a rain forest. I should have known better.

Plus I upset a lot of bugs.

Anyway, long story short, my son-in-law and I went to the local building supply and bought $500 worth of treated lumber, put it into his nice, big Ford pick-up (large enough to live in), drove down the logging road (irony) and loaded up the boat. Then we came home at low tide but later in the day, when the tide had come up, I unloaded it onto the funicular and lifted it all up to the house deck.

The next day we got at it. “Dad. You should see this!” “Oh. That’s not good. We are gonna have to take all that out.” Dad! You should now see this!” “Oh, that’s even worse. It all has to come out. At least the post looks good.” “Dad! The post just split in two. It’s rotten, too!” “Well, good thing I have an extra post or two, eh?” “Dad! You said we just had to replace a few deck boards!”

Maintenance is a crap-shoot. Sometimes it just needs a squirt of oil, sometimes it needs $500.00 worth of lumber and sometimes you just advertise a fixer-upper for sale.

When Sal and I built this house, we started out knowing nothing except that we needed to get into a liveable home as soon as possible. We managed to do it in 18 months but it took another 18 months to make it comfortable and another two years to ‘make it a home’. Five years from start-to-finish was a local record. We know some folks forty years later still walking on bare plywood floors in a bare plywood room.

But, that works, too.

When we were building, I would say to Sal, “Don’t worry about that gap you see, no one will see it. We live remote. Who’s gonna see? And, anyway, we are only building to the 30-year rule”. Sal asked what the 30 year rule was. “Just simple math. I’ll be dead in 30 years. You’ll get life insurance and can fix it all back up!”

That was the plan. That plan is now almost 20 years old.

Let me do the math for you…..we are 2/3’s of the way into the 30 year rule. That means the deck was 2/3 rotten (hadn’t factored that in). To be fair to us, our deck was only half rotten but, well, you know….do you really want to measure the rot and then try fixing it when it all goes to hell when you are 84?

The 30 year rule has some flaws.

So did our building skills.

Still, this, too, got done. Daughter was a huge help. The others? Well, you know……’other things to do’ and ‘Geez, I gotta get this done right now. I’ll help later.’ That kind of thing. Are they bad? No. It all started started out as replacing a few deck boards. And maintenance is a crap shoot. And then we discovered crap. No one plans for crap!

But crap happens when you peel back the facade.

Sobering observations

My daughter, her husband and a friend (plus dog) have come to visit us for a week. They are Albertans (you can NOW see why I cut the right-wing a little bit of slack). They, themselves, are not right-wingy, of course, but, if you live amongst dogs, you can come away with a flea or two. Peer group and neighbours are a strong influence. My daughter et al scratched themselves with their legs and said a few things ‘Albertan’.

The biggest topic was Covid related. The SiL (son-in-law) was hit the hardest and there have been some lingering complications. He has long Covid (LC). LC, in his case, meant heart abnormalities, like a runaway heartbeat and extreme fatigue. He had tests. The doctors claimed that they could not (as in prohibited-by-law) tell him that it was his heart, vaccine or Covid related. That, alone, is weird. In addition, when he attended a community meeting, he mentioned his LC and immediately was surrounded by others with ‘the exact same symptoms’, followed by the exact same tests and explained in the same oblique way “No one will actually SAY anything!” That, too, is weird.

There is no question in my mind that Covid did, in fact, alter the world considerably from the one we previously knew and it is still doing so. ATWAWKI – altered the world as we knew it.

I have another friend who is and always has been rather conservative. But sanely so. As he ages, he is trending toward CONservative. He now reads the Epoch Times and follows Fox News. He does not believe 100% in all the conspiracy theories but he ‘just knows’ that some of them are true. He’s anti-abortion, anti-George Soros and Bill Gates and believes doctors are willy-nilly altering the gender of babies. “We gotta drain the swamp, Dave! Look at Hunter Biden!” He’s quite incensed about all the Libs. And he is a Canadian!

OMG! That is weird!

Another friend cracked a joke at a small public gathering about the well-recognized penchant for the Chinese to copy/counterfeit Western products. Everyone laughed save for a woman of Asian descent who demanded the administration require this friend to make a public apology. And so a board of something summoned him and demanded an apology – the same people who laughed at the joke! C’mon! That is just plain nuts!

And so it goes. If I had to put a single word to all this other than ‘weird’, it would be ‘prickly’. Everyone is acting prickly, overly sensitive to mild infractions and interactions……..even that of the doctors who ‘would not say’ because of ‘legal’ issues. Weird. It is almost as if we have adopted yet another barrier to communicating well and deleted what tolerance, patience and understanding we had previously. More weirdness. My mother used to use the phrase, “Walking on eggshells.” when referring to someone who was prickly but it was never used in the sense of ‘all of society or the community’.

When it applies generally, overall, everyone, universally, globally….that is a weird trend.

And our community is trending a bit weird that way, too. At first any divisive prickliness was generally limited to those against any kind of community improvement projects vs those who were in favour. Not unusual, really. Then it graduated to those who were anti-vaxxers vs those who were Bill Gate’s Guinea pigs (pro-vaxxers). That got a little intense at times. That was weird. And lately it has notched up again because the local government will be administering $2M in dock and wharf improvements and self interest is looming like mold. We are getting prickly. We are divided. We are showing greed. We are showing paranoia and suspicion…… the extent that it starts to enter the weird category.

“Dave! What’s your point?”

I dunno….old people, it seems, always tend to say, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” And, so, maybe it is just the natural evolution of the senior’s viewpoint. Old guys get grouchy. So, maybe it is ‘same ol’, same ol’. NOT weird. Normal. I dunno.

But, if I had to make an observation on this, it would be: we are all (as a species) acting with less tolerance, more judgment and we are only creating more divisiveness. And I am looking to try and figure out why. What is gained by that? Are we unconsciously trying to de-globalize? Are we reverting to tribalism? Is increasing racism a denial of the greater trend to homogenize? If so, why? Are we all trying to be perfect? Perfectly what? And if so, why…who are we trying to impress? Or, instead, are we evolving too quickly and are subconsciously trying to put the brakes on? What is the collective result from this growing divisiveness and how would that be of any kind of benefit?

Put more succinctly: why would a doctor be prohibited by law from answering questions from their patient? Why would people demand public apologies for jokes? Why are people so inclined to believing plots and conspiracies?

Any ideas?

Twenty five years ago…

….when my father was still alive, I’d call him and ask if he wanted to play golf sometime in the coming week. My schedule was usually flexible enough. He’d start by saying, “Well, this Monday, I gotta get my haircut. And Tuesday is when the girl comes in to clean up. I have to get my dry cleaning on Wednesday, Thursday I go to your sisters for dinner and I am having lunch with John on Friday. Neither of us likes golf on the weekends so, well, how ’bout next week, maybe?”

I’d laugh and say, “OK. Great! Let me know when it works.” I know that he was not brushing me off in a rejection sense. He was just getting old. Seventy four, 75, 76. One thing a day was all he was up for. And his routine was important to him. It was not a problem for us but it was kind of amusing. Both Sally and I could have done all his weekly chores in one day, gone to work, socialize, shop and still have time for a renta-movie in the evening. Well, Sal, anyway.

I am now 74 goin’ on 75 and and am now reducing my activities to one or two (a really busy day is 3 or four ‘commitments’) a day, too. I am in better shape than my dad was. I have a helping partner (my mom died years prior) and just about everything I do is on site, in situ, or within walking distance. But age catches up with all of us. I am no longer amused at my dad’s old-man ways. I get it.

Having said that, my one or two chores a day are much more physical than ‘picking up the dry-cleaning’ or ‘getting a haircut’. Today I will fix the lower funicular cart, build a window frame and trek about the property some. I might even chainsaw a log. (OK. I am kidding myself, but I will do some of that.)

Jus’ livin’ is a chore, too. There’s breakfast, ablutions, dogs, house cleaning, dinner prep, dishes, wine-time and, of course, NetFlix. Throw in a nap now and then and it is amazing anything gets done at all.

“Dave! What’s your point!?”

Don’t really have one…..jus’ thinkin’….thinkin’ ’bout Trump, actually. Here’s an out of shape, old guy who is suffering incredible stresses and dealing with that by throwing gobs of money (that he stole) at his mounting problems with increasingly bad lawyers. Jail looms in his future. All he does is watch TV, eat MacDonald’s burgers and kinda play-at golf (with a cart and cheating alla time) anyway. Melania is no fun. He really should be dead from a massive heart attack soon.

Having said that, Joe Biden is no spring chicken either. He’s got stresses, too. If I or my father are anything to go by, both those guys either nap a lot, are in much better shape than they look or they just do NOT do very much despite the situation they are in. Makes ya wonder who is doing most of their heavy lifting…..

Epilogue: went down to the lower funicular to examine why it seemed to be a bit of a drag….turns out rust (it goes into the sea to rest at boat deck level for unloading stuff) was worse than the cursory ‘eyeball’ check I give it as a rule. I knew it was rusting away, I just did not know that it had completely rusted away. So the fix was gonna be bigger than a bolt or a grease job. Got tools. Then I ground all the crap away and brought down the welder. I ‘custom-cut’ some steel and welded it in situ, the ocean lapping at my feet. My assistant passed me bits of ‘patching steel’, grinders, cutters, tools and changed the bits in the drill and replaced the cutting disc as needed. We worked like a well-oiled machine (with a totally kaput black box). The dogs frolicked. Then they got in the way. But, when the welder or the grinder fired up, they high-tailed it. While we were there, we examined the wheels for greasing…..both the front axle wheels had lost their nut. Seems all the rage. Replaced nuts. Added Loctite and grease. And we were good to go. At 4:30, I poured the wine….no sense waiting ’til five if you got ‘er done early.

Myth or just legend?

Sal the salvager

Sal is a smidge focused on logs. She likes havin’ ’em. To her, a cache of logs is like money-in-the-bank or future wood-in-the-shed. Logs make Sal feel warm and secure from the minute she sees ’em. Even tho we have a full wood-shed that will last us all through next winter even if it is cold, Sal keeps an eye out for any irresistible, ‘good logs’ floating by.

Her motto: “If one is good, two is better. And 60 are needed!”

Me? I tend to wait until I feel like it before I go log-hunting and that chore is not really a pressing issue when I see a full wood shed. Call me a lazy butt-head.

This morning, she got up, fed the dogs and gave ’em a ten minute bathroom break. Instead of watching them poop, she looked out on the sea and saw three attractive logs trying to lure her. Sally sent the dogs home, climbed down the cliff and immediately scrambled her craft. She was on a mission, a sortie, as it were. “Gonna get ’em!” She headed out like a fighter jet defending the homeland.

In this case, the most easily accessed vessel was her beached kayak. Grabbing some ropes, a heavy hand-sledge and some log-dogs, she jumped in, paddled out, secured her prizes and slowly paddle-dragged them all back to shore. Then she tied them up for me to ‘process’ later and haul up the hill on the high-line.

Me? I’ll probably let ’em ripen a bit, get settled in. Yeah, I am sure….no rush….

Sal is North of 70. The ‘beach’ is uneven, large boulders. She is the only one I know who can jump in her kayak from an easy, stable and level dock. From large rocks? Most would not even attempt it.

Me? I would have trouble getting in her kayak even if I was naked and vasalened up.

The retrieval process requires driving special spikes with a small sledge into a free-floating, rolling, bobbing, sea-slimy log, tying ropes to ’em and then dragging those wanting-to-escape, heavy burdens to the same rocky shore. Three logs is harder than one by a factor of more-than-three. It ain’t an easy task using a small boat. It is a real challenge dragging three of them with a kayak.

Me? I was reading emails and having tea. Then I had a piece of toast. It was only 8:00 am, after all.

She got ’em home and tied ’em up. And, amazingly, she was dry! Trust me – myth or legend, Sal gets wet a lot. A lot! Easily once week. If there is water anywhere, she’ll get wet. “Ooops, I fell in, again.” Doing the log salvage in a kayak and staying dry is a super fluke.

A half hour later, she was buzzing out in her boat, accompanied by Gus and Daisy, to meet up with the food delivering water taxi up at the community dock. She is one of the volunteers helping to distribute the boxes to the individual residents after unloading the taxi. After that, she’ll likely deliver some of those deliveries to our neighbours. She’ll be home by 10:30.

Me? I just wrote it all up.

Cara Mund-o

A young, moderate Republican-ish woman has chosen to run for Congress. She is running as an Independent. She will likely win. She is smart, well-spoken and quite beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that she was Miss America in 2018. Her name is Cara Mund. She is 28. With the possible exception of smiling alla damn time, she seems to have her head on right. She’s a graduate of Harvard Law school and Brown University and she has put herself out there all her life being smart, nice and pretty.

North Dakota has been a very red Republican state for a long time and a big supporter of the real-life Don in 2016 and 2020. Cara identified as a Republican and even briefly interned for one, I believe, in the Senate. But Cara rejects Trump, Trumpism and now the entire Republican party. She is really a moderate/centre/political candidate and, by choosing to run as an Independent, she is putting herself out there once again. Historically, being an Independent in North Dakota is worse than being a Democrat. They like their brand names there.

Surprisingly, even the Democrats are somewhat conservative there. The guy running for the Dems is a Pro-lifer and supported the SCOTUS reversal/transfer of Roe v Wade. It was that and the corrupt Republicans and their overall, pro-corporate, anti-people position that prompted Mund to run without party affiliation. The general reception to her decision has been so supportive that the Democratic candidate, Mark Haugen, has even dropped out.

Like I said, she is likely to win.

Is that a good thing? On the plus side, more young women suggest that fresh views and approaches are looming. She and others (Dems, Omar and AOC) do not have long-in-the-tooth party roots or debts. Mary Peltola of Alaska might be another. All of those mentioned are also smart and have principles. In fact, they all agree on the error of the Supreme Court so there is a hint of possible bi-partisan cooperation again on at least that one issue.

Unbelievable that Roe v Wade is still the biggest game-changer while so many other things like Climate Change are not.

On the negative side, despite a lot of exposure in the media, they are not really all that experienced. It will be an uphill slog to influence much of anything so long as the ‘establishment’ and the established idiots are still there.

So, does it mean anything? My hope is that it does. It may be an harbinger. It ‘feels’ a bit different. My cynicism is that they are there because they are attractive first, smile a lot second and being intelligent and good is way down the list. ‘Mericans love their pretty celebrities but don’t much care about brains.

The one thing it does mean to me is the possible emergence of that one aspect of politics I have wanted for over 40 years – the independent being a viable contender and NOT being relegated to the sidelines. Mund was very clear in her debut speech: the parties are corrupt (well, she referenced the GOP, anyway). They are designed to keep the commoner out. They are designed to punish any real, grass-root advocate for the people who does not put the party first.

THAT message is absolutely the right one at the right time.

Admittedly, she is NOT a commoner either but only because of her Miss America and Harvard qualifications (exceptional advantages). But, other than those, she is quite believably ‘ordinary’ and down to earth. If she gets in because she is beautiful, I will puke. If she gets in because both Red and Blue voters heard common sense, I will rejoice.

And, if she and other Independents continue to emerge as contenders, there may still be hope for US democracy after all.

Jus’ sayin’………..

T-t-talkin’ ’bout m-m-my generation…..

Well, to be fair, I am gonna talk about approximately 8 generations…maybe throw in the Camel story…anyway, here goes…

Firstly, the word ‘generation’ when applied to a time span is bizarrely inaccurate. Some people consider it to be 20 years and some 30 and some even 35 depending on the application. The Iroquois, apparently considered it to be 75 years. For the sake of Dave’s convenience, I am going to use 30 years. Why? Well, 30 divided into 240 results neatly at 8. And also because modern reproductive cycles have edged upwards towards thirty year old first-time mothers rather than the previous generations 20 year old first time mothers.

Contradicting hugely what I just said is the list of the last seven named generations:

  • The Greatest Generation (born 1901–1927)….26 years
  • The Silent Generation (born 1928–1945)………17 years
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)………………..18years
  • Generation X (born 1965–1980)…………………..15 years
  • Millennials (born 1981–1995)……………………….14 years
  • Generation Z (born 1996–2010)……………………14 years
  • Generation Alpha (born 2011–2025)………………14 years

That 14/15 year span, again, kinda flies in the face of the so-called ‘generations’ definition but I suspect that this modern shorter-term version is based somewhat on buying power and economics but who the hell really knows?

“So why write about it, then?”

Because of the camels. According to a friend who heard a story about the generations, an old Arab told his son: “My great, great grandfather rode a camel. My great grandfather rode a camel. My grandfather rode a camel and my father rode a camel. I drive a Mercedes Benz. My son drives a Lexus and his son is planning on a Tesla. But the next generation after that will ride a camel again.”

“Why, oh, great Mercedes driver, God willing……will the last one ride a camel?

“Ah, my little fig eater, it has always been thus. The first few generations build up empires complete with institutions and wealth. But they had to deal with trouble, strife, hard work, obstacles and invention to achieve that. And, eventually, their children benefitted with riches, entitlement, softness and a Mercedes Benz, S-class, with all the bells and whistles. After fewer generations of indulgence and decadence, the empire collapses and the next new generation has to learn to ride camels again.”

It has also been noted by historians (H.Cox-Richardson) that empires prevail for approximately (on average) 240 years. Interesting, don’t you think? The USA (1776 to 2022) is 246 years years old and showing some fraying around the edges. But, again with the contradictions: The Qing Dynasty lasted 350 years, the British Empire reportedly lasted 400 years and the Ottoman Empire lasted 600.

“So, the point is….?”

Empires come and go. Change is inevitable. Sometimes TEOTWAWKI sets us back to more primal times. And then some group, tribe, society eventually comes along to overcome the setback, work hard, invent, and set a new, higher standard……but…well, it seems to require hitting the bottom first and then a lot of hard work and creativity to get out.

And all that cycle requires at least 8 generations (using 30 as the length) or 16 generations if you use 15 (as has the last few listed generations). We may be approaching the end of the Western/American Empire (according to historians and the average) but we may just be half way through another 400-600 year reign. Who the hell knows?

The only hard truth I can find in all that mental meandering is that I was lucky enough to live at the apex of the latest empire rather than at the harder beginning. Or, if not the apex, at least on the ascendancy, the upside. I may be the Mercedes Benz driver. And I have been very, very lucky.

Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP

I said I was bored with US politics and that is a good thing, really. Boring is good. Politics should be boring, uneventful, administration that just keeps the trains and buses running.

Biden and gang are doing rather well and, compared to the former guy, exceptionally well. I know Trump is still a topic but, well, not for me, not right now. I am tired of the fool. However, today some news on that side of Congress shocked me. I did not think it was possible to do that anymore with Trump and the Maggots. But it did.

Heather Cox Richardson is an historian and blogger. She has been a news source for me. She recently commented on Biden’s debt reduction plan for student debt. Student debt in the US is a huge issue (as it is here). It seems the debt relief program implemented by Biden is getting a lot of flack and pushback from the Republicans. That kind of idiocy is to be expected from the GOP but the following hyper-hypocrisy blew my mind.

A bit of background info to bring you up to speed: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a $953-billion business loan program established by the US government during the Trump administration in 2020 through the CARES Act to help certain businesses, self-employed workers, sole proprietors, certain nonprofit organizations, and tribal businesses to continue paying their workers during Covid.

Heather Cox Richardson reported: Criticising Biden’s student relief plan, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said: “For our government just to say ok your debt is completely forgiven.. it’s completely unfair.” Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) said: “Biden’s reckless, unilateral student loan giveaway is unfair to the 87 percent of Americans without student loan debt and those who played by the rules.” Buchanan had more than $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) said: “We do not need farmers and ranchers, small business owners, and teachers in Oklahoma paying the debts of Ivy League lawyers and doctors across the U.S.” Mullin had more than $1.4 million in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) said: “To recap, in the last two weeks, the ‘Party of the People’ has supercharged the IRS to go after working-class Americans, raised their taxes, and forced them to pay for other people’s college degrees.” Hern had more than $1 million in PPP loans forgiven and that statement is NOT true.

Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) said: “Asking plumbers and carpenters to pay off the loans of Wall Street advisors and lawyers isn’t just unfair. It’s also bad policy.” Kelly had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL): ….” Gaetz had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven. 

For the record, Gaetz and MTG have never worked a day in their life.

I should not be surprised. But I was. Corruption, crime, lying, sexual shenanigans and treason on the so-called CONSERVATIVE side of politics is consistent and constant. The biggest hypocrites and liars are always CONSERVATIVES. Well, CONSERVATIVES and Christian fundamentalists of the evangelical Swaggart and Baker type. It is unbelievable.

Yeah, I know….a political rant…..sorry

Adrift in place

This blog is supposed to be mostly about OTG’ing and what is currently of interest to me on the odd other topic. I occasionally go off on some hormonal rant but my excuse for that is easily explained: whatever the rant topic is, I am currently interested in it! But today’s topic is a weird one: there is little-to-nothing of major interest for me right now. I am somewhat adrift in place.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not bored. Not in the least. There are topics a’flying and all hold some interest. It is just that none of them warrants much of a blog. They are just ‘life’ issues, for the most part. When that has happened in the past, I went to an omni-blog, a collection of topics lightly dealt with. And, I suppose, that should be today’s type of blog.

But then there is Trump. OMG! How a monstrous buffoon has taken centre stage and kept it! It is like a very bad Broadway play that never ends. It is a political soap opera and the cast of characters are almost too fantastical to be believed. But, like all soap operas, I do get bored and I am totally bored of Trump despite the magnificence of his debauchery and treachery. In fact, I am totally bored of the United States. What a gong show!

Climate Change is looming larger. A LOT larger. We are just shy of the 1.5C threshold for the tipping point. But it feels as if we have already tipped over the edge to me. I think those who are still preaching solution are now in denial. We should be preaching survival… in pockets of human survival in a world that is trying to kill us all. I may be over-reacting. We’ll see.

Democracy has always been a sacred cow for me. My vote counted. Mind you, I was programmed to think that way by those who benefitted by the charade of it all. I still think ‘the people’ should rule the people but there is considerable evidence that the system we have deployed is the wrong one and that a benevolent King or Queen is a better model. Preferably one with a 3 digit IQ. Mind you, the number of benevolent, intelligent monarchs has been historically low. Maybe we are just all like cats – impossible to manage. But one thing is for sure, a corrupt democracy is not better than a corrupt dictator and, at least the corrupt dictators are fewer than a Congress or Parliament of slime-balls.

Our fauna is suffering. Fewer everything. Fewer birds, fewer fish, fewer mammals. Do I count them? Of course not. This is inferred from casual observation. Not scientific at all except that the scientists are saying the same thing. Mind you, the last two days has had us watching big ol’ Humpback whales slowly meandering past our front door but still…..

I left the island for a day last week. I owed a bunch of guys a beer and some chicken wings. So we all went and did ‘old guy stuff (drinking beer, trading insults, lies and fantastical stories). It was fun. But we are pretty old. Average age: 70+. Eight septuagenarians with their wife’s permission drank beer for 90 minutes and then went home for a nap…..I dunno…

The dogs are getting easier to live with. They are sleeping to our hours, starting to swim, slowing their growth, learning how to be ‘good dogs’. But they are still growing some. Gus is humongous. When they both jump on Sal to greet her, she disappears. Literally. It’s pretty funny….all you can see is Sal’s legs flailing, her arms in the air and a lot of dog tongues a’licking all to the shrieking sounds of Sal’s laughter.

On a more sober note, some of my contemporaries are not doing so well….a bit of Parkinson’s here, a bit of heart trouble there, here a limp, there a disease, everywhere a litany of physical ailments. It is NOT good. No one is headed for the farm just yet but there are shades of lingering and demise where there were dreams and energies before. That is not so good. It may even be infectious…..

The boat is coming along. I installed an inverter the other day. That means I can use the batteries to power the tools I need to finish some things off. Of course, the first chore after the inverter is the installation of the solar panels needed to keep the batteries up so that is job ONE for today and the next day until system is installed.

Sal and I have some dock work to do as well. Another anchor line to add, some deck repairs, some additional floats to install, some cleats to install. A wharfinger and his wife’s work is never done.

Ooooh…one more thing: The liquor distribution arm of the provincial government is on strike. Booze is drying up. A friend was in town and asked us for a list. She bought everything she could under the limits imposed. It was still a lot. We have more scotch than Edinburgh right now. I have 5 Laphroaigs!

Just another blog in the chronicle of our life OTG with a bit of eclectic observation thrown in for fun.

What a difference a couple of inches makes……

….in propellers, I mean. The 22′, semi-displacement John R currently sports an 11 x 14 prop. Way too much pitch. It really needs more like an 11 x 11 or even an 11 x 10. I am going to change over to an 11 x 11 ’cause I already have one but 11 x 10 (maybe even an 11 x 9) would be better. For every inch in pitch I drop, I gain 200 rpms and, right now, I need to gain about 800 to 1000 rpms to maximize the engine’s efficiencies. It seems it runs at it’s best between 5000 and 5500 rpms. Right now, I cannot get past 4500.

We have lately been using the new boat more and more. Grand total of 14 hours on the clock but most of those in the last two or so weeks. It is great! Really great. Our last batch of guests (a family of four plus their 100 pound dog) with all their luggage and Sally, me and our two dogs (our two 8 month old puppies currently together weighing in at 160 plus pounds!) all loaded in and went only a couple of miles but the performance was still very good. I estimate the variable load to have been around 1100 plus pounds. Fixed load (gasoline, equipment, ropes, fenders, pike pole, tools, anchor, etc) maybe another 200 pounds. Quite possibly as much as 1500 pounds of payload all in. We burned 3 liters an hour. That is amazing!

OK, we were not planing at 20 knots like Pumpkin (our 17′ Double Eagle with a Yamaha 50), but I guesstimated that we were easily doing 9 knots and, with a ‘push’, I could have hit 12. Empty-ish, we seem to be capable of close to 18 knots.

This may not seem like news to you and, perhaps, it should NOT be news to me since I kinda planned it this way but, honestly, this boat burns less fuel and carries twice as much as did good ol’ Pumpkin, our previous main but now secondary boat. Basically, the John R is twice as big and yet twice as efficient. Given that gasoline – out here – is $10.00 a gallon, that is a BIG deal!

I love it when a plan comes together but, well, none have ever done that before, so I am gobsmacked actually.

A few days later: I am still plugging away at affixing the new roof. That is not easy for me (given the success ratio I have with woodworking) but I am encouraged. The pieces kinda ‘seem’ right when I dry-fit them. But, as we all know, a dry-fit on the back deck near the shop is not the same as a perma-fit on the curved-but-fixed shapes of the actual boat located 250 yards away along a winding an undulating path. I confess I am still a bit apprehensive about the two scenes being shuffled together.

While making the new roof for the new boat, I also made a new roof for the old boat (Pumpkin) and Sal and I affixed that one the other day. It’s good. It will work out just fine. It is not a curved, pretty roof like the John R but it is effective and pretty enough. Sal is pleased. And that is what counts.


And Sal is also making some new cushions for the fixed seats of the John R and reupholstering the two folding deck chairs we found in the trash. That kind of sounds a smidge pathetic but, actually, the trashed chairs are exceptionally well made and no shopping or deliveries were required. Win-win.

Oh? And the prop? Brilliant!! Bloody marvelous, dahling. With the 11.6 x 11.1 I hit 6000 rpms easily. The boat was flying! I cut ‘er back to 5000 rpms (fast cruising speed) and it just purred while I did at least 16 knots, probably 18 when I pushed it to 5500. The prop pitch made a much bigger difference than the internet suggested.

I would like to use this blog as just another day-in-the-life kinda blog but, to be honest, we have been plugging away like worker-bees for over two months. Think of it, instead, as a busy summer month-or-so-in-the-life of old people with a new wooden boat, puppies, a ridiculous schedule and a bazillion chores.

And NOW, as of today: It happened. Roof is on the boat. Did it fit? Yes! Did it fit perfectly like a hand in a glove? No. It fit a bit more like OJ Simpson’s glove. But a little shaving here, a bit of a nudge and lever there and then, yes it did. Is it beautiful? As a boat building friend said, “It looks great from 200 feet!” Normally, that would be good enough for me. It is strong and functional and aesthetics are NOT my strong suit. Still, I am gonna sand and shave and chip and polish then add some more paint and I think I will achieve the 100 foot critical appraisal. Nothing closer, please.

Here’s hoping…..

Well, well, wouldn’t you just KNOW it!

I am disinclined to formal religion. I think it is archaic, formulaic, unconscious and corrupt. But that’s just me. I know a lot of nice people who are religious but, well, church isn’t for me. Do not get me wrong. I have a faith. It’s just not in religion. I have a faith in God or, better put, a higher being, a spirit of sorts…..well, we’ll just let it go at that, shall we…..just a belief in something much bigger than me, ya know? The universe unfolding as it should, maybe?

My go-to statement on religion is: Religion is to God what Safeway is to food. Just a marketing arm.

But I must admit, the more I read the current news, the more Revelations and Ezekiel come to mind (never having read them, of course). Revelations is in the New Testament and Ezekiel and Zechariah are in the Old Testament and neither of them seemed relevant to me….until, well, lately. Both those Testaments posited that there would be an Apocalypse of sorts. An End of Days kind of thing. TEOTWAWKI.

The New Testament lists the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as conquest, war, famine and death, while in the Old Testament, it’s the Book of Ezekiel and Zechariah that threaten with the sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence or plague.

It still seems pretty far-fetched and typically Wrath-of-God, magical thinking kind of stuff but we are definitely feeling some kind of apprehension. Aren’t we? To be honest, if four guys on horses showed up, I’d freak out (bear in mind I live on an island). And if I had lived through the mouse and rat plague of Australia, I’d have been hysterical!

“So, what’s the point, Dave?”

One of those horsemen is pestilence. Another is War. A third is famine and the fourth is Death which seems kind of redundant to me. Wouldn’t the first three combined kill you dead? Whatever. And the devil, of course, is the Prince of Lies. Haven’t y’all noticed the ascendancy of lying lately?

I think you know where I am going with this……

Covid is being followed by Monkeypox and now, get this: Polio! Polio was eradicated in the US but it is now a clear and present danger in New York state. Seems two counties in upper New York are largely anti-vaxxers and they got hit hard by Covid and now their waste water is testing positive for Polio (tested because somebody recently became paralyzed by the disease there).

And then you got your China flexing their missiles over Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan. And Ukraine is fighting Russia and Russia is now fighting the West in every other way. And the good ol’ USA is always good for a little gunfire home and abroad.

I suppose not being able to get dried sour cherries, lemon grass, avocadoes or cauliflower does not really qualify as famine but famine is happening again in Africa and, of course, the Russian conflict closed the ‘Breadbasket’ of the world in Ukraine’s wheat. That is still hardly world famine but, with Climate Change a lot of large commercial gardens are going dry. California is literally toast. Rivers are drying up in Europe and the US. Plus the oceans are going dead. NO fish. NO avocadoes. NO mustard. NO wheat. Jus’ sayin’….

….and the biggest all-time liar in history NOT in a mental asylum was recently the president of the United states. And Alex Jones, a dissembler and racist and bully and supporter of the January 6th insurrection is worth over $300 million – all from being good at bad stuff.

Am I sayin’ anything important? No, not really. I am just sayin’ that a guy who doesn’t put much store in the bible, has maybe read 5% of it (I was much younger when I made a stab at it and the language was just too boring) and can’t accept that a bunch of scholars hundreds of years after Christ died wrote God’s word is NOW, of all times, having those weird thoughts.

I’d consider starting the Church of Dave but I fear it is too late…………………………….