Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Quote Trevor's Dad: "What a Day!"

If you've read "The Hobbit", you've heard the expression "out of the frying pan, into the fire". Yes, that expression is found all over the place, but I wanted to put a Hobbit quote in my blog. I'm allowed.
I have a new take on it. Avoid hurricane season, and tornadoes will get you! One of the reasons for our nearing-on-ridiculously-cold-weather departure is to avoid hurricane season in the Gulf and Florida. Hurricane season officially ends November 30, which is right around when we'll be arriving in Mobile. Of course, hurricanes will do whatever they darn well please. If they want to form and bash up the coast in December, we can't do a thing to stop them, no matter what our calendars say. They're hurricanes, for Pete's sake! Right. Tangent. Where was I? We've avoiding hurricanes. Because they have a bad attitude and want to smash my boat (didn't know that about hurricanes, did you?). You know what we didn't count on? Tornadoes! They also have a bad attitude, but luckily didn't want to smash my boat. This time.
I know tornadoes in Tennessee are not a rare occurrence. In the Chattanooga area, however, they're slightly less common. In this glorious city, we're in a big bowl. The mountains around us buffer any storm systems that move through, takes the energy right out of them. Which has made for an overall disappointing showing of storms for the nine years I've lived here. Until yesterday.
I was sitting in the cockpit of the boat, watching the big storm roll in. I had just gotten off the phone with Trevor, who told me the storm was breaking in North Chatt. I could see the storm cell he was talking about. Very big and dark. And moving right toward me in a most spectacular show of height, wind, and lightning. I was going to stay in the cockpit until it started raining (because that's what I do, I love storms). Then I heard a freight train sound. Sorry, the freight train sound. But I thought "Nah, it couldn't be." Five seconds later, I saw swirling action. A few expletives (just one, really, repeated 3 times) burst from my mouth, and I flew into the boat, put the hatch boards in, and hunkered down. After 10 seconds of hunkering (the boat was rocking pretty wildly by now), I couldn't stand it any more. I had to see what was going on! So I peeked out of the window just in time to see the transformer by the bath house explode in a grand show of fireworks. "Wow!" Ten seconds later, it was over. There was some wind, and then there was just rain.
Naturally, I tweeted about it immediately, then poked my head outside to talk to the neighbors.
Everyone here was okay. Our boats came out unscathed. There was some damage to biminis and stuff like that. But most of the damage was done to trees. Poor, poor trees. I tried to drive out (had a Rock Band and pizza date), but was hopelessly trapped. To the immediate right was a huge tree down. To the left was a bigger tree down. Bugger. So I took the car back and went walking. You can see the exact path the tornado took when it came through. How it skipped right over the bath house, but decimated the huge trees past the dumpsters. Mighty big mess all around, and we were stranded in the middle of it. With no electricity. Fortunately, we're set up for no electricity, so I wasn't too phased by it. Just sat here and played some Solitaire. Until I saw the green lights of the next boat coming in.
Yep, my neighbor went out in this mess. His son, actually. He and two friends were getting the boat ready to go out a couple of hours earlier. They heard there was supposed to be a storm in a couple of hours, and maybe they could catch some wind. "I think you'll get more than you're bargaining for." But they were already putting in the reef points, so they'd be fine. That's what they told me. 20-year-old boys are silly, but mostly immortal. So they came back in after the storm, and I poked my head out. "I'm so glad to see you guys!" And I was. I was worried about them.
Them: "We saw 3 tornadoes! Did you see them?"
Me: "Yeah, we had one come through here."
Them: "We had one chasing us!"
They had one chasing them. Dude. Those tornadoes can be mean.
So we were all spared, luckily. There's a lot more to say, but I'm tired of repeating myself (I've told my story a few times today). This is the part where I spout out some poetic wisdom about life and how you never know what's going to happen. But it's almost midnight, and I've had a busy day.
Oh by the way, we're moved out of Trevor's apartment and onto the boat. That happened, too. Also, Trevor's dad had heart surgery. Pace maker. He's okay, too.
Busy couple of days, for sure.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Sandwich Incident

Captain's Log:
We're in the process of moving out of Trevor's apartment and onto the boat. I've already taken lots of clothes, dishes, food, and towels (omg, so many towels, but we probably still won't have enough) to the boat and have managed to find places for them. Go me! My years of Tetris are really paying off. Who says video games rot your brain? I managed to get all of our books (all of them!) into the two square ottomans (you know the ones from Wal-Mart and Target that are so awesome). Tetris at work, my friends.
So we're in the middle of moving out. We knew it would be an awkward time of transition, but so far it's gone pretty well. Until this morning. Last night we packed up most of the kitchen, some going to Trevor's parents' basement, some going to the boat, some going to my parents' basement.
Well, I decided this morning that instead of my usual bowl of cereal, I'd use our last tomato and have a sandwich. We also had a little bit of mozzarella left. I even broke out the jar of pesto: a caprese sandwich! I was psyched; this was going to be an awesome sandwich! Sadly, the mozzarella had gone all spotty. No caprese sandwich! Naturally, I started cursing that horrible refrigerator. Seriously, it's awful. I don't know how much food we've lost to it's inconsistent cooling (and dripping water, let's not forget that). I've blamed a lot of it on Aldi's cheap meats, but now I think that was unfair. It's the refrigerator. I won't miss it at all. Sometimes it's better to do without something completely (refrigeration) than put up with subpar quality. It's like Comcast internet. When the reliability of something is spotty, you'd rather just go without and have no expectations than always be disappointed in what you think you can count on. Bam! Slamming Comcast and this craptastic refrigerator all at once! Take that, disappointing things in my life!
Captain's rant: it was bound to happen eventually. This is a blog after all.
Back to the sandwich, which was already a disappointment due to lack of mozzarella. So I put away the pesto, because it would just make me think of what I couldn't have. Straight tomato and mayo sandwich: still always a good choice. I reach for the cutting board to slice up my tomato: no cutting board. It's packed away in a box in the trunk of my car. Ah well, I'll use a plastic plate, no problem. I go to the silverware drawer to get a knife. Empty! We packed up Trevor's silverware to go home and the knives are divided between boat stuff (in the car) and going home (some mystery box somewhere). Fortunately, I had my knives. Butter knives. But they're serrated, and a serrated knife can cut surprisingly well. (I've actually managed to cut my finger on a serrated plastic knife before; true talent I have.) So I hack this poor tomato into thick slices with my butter knife. Totally works! If it had been a yummy, ripe tomato, I think it would have turned into mush. But this was a crappy, tasteless, very firm, store-bought tomato, so it sliced beautifully. And I finally made my sandwich. A rather tasteless (Aldi tomatoes = not good at all) sandwich, but still a victory. I overcame all this adversity in my way and emerged (relatively) victorious.
Long blog about a sandwich, right?
Stay tuned for the next episode in The Adventures of Cap'n Rumslinger!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Less than Three Weeks to Departure

Captain's Log:
(Decided we need to identify which of us is updating the blog. Trevor said he would contribute, as I've really been slacking off with the updates lately. So he might pop in with an update sometimes.)
Just a month since the last update, so I'm getting better. Sort of. There just haven't been a lot of exciting developments lately. But here goes anyway.
Bottom step is now secure! It no longer slides out from under you when you step on it. Tricksey little thing, I showed it! Now it's a bit ugly, but definitely solid. Most of my carpentry work on the boat is ugly but solid. It's my specialty.
Speaking of carpentry work. I finished the shelf in the kitchen. It's sectioned off and has dowels on the front of each section to hold things in when the boat leans. A picture would show what I'm talking about, but I haven't bothered to take a picture yet. Also, it's not very pretty. And I've got the toilet secured in case of rough seas. Very important that the toilet not flip over! That would make for a bad day. What else? I've done tons of mediocre carpentry work over the last few weeks: mounted CD player and VHF radio, built a box for one of the stereo speakers (so we can take it outside), added a shelf in the galley cabinet, put up a door for the bathroom, fit a piece of wood into a hole in the galley counter (it had curved corners - extra degree of difficulty), and I made seat backs for the settee seats in the cabin. Lots of little things that took a lot of time, but don't look great and are not interesting to read about.
Oh, and we got the main sail repaired. Looks pretty good. Haven't taken it out sailing yet (we've been too busy working on the boat and visiting with people before we leave), but I think it'll hold up nicely. As long as we don't use it in really strong winds. I replaced the main sheet and made an eye splice in it (I'll get good at those one day).
Tried out the new hammock last week. It's awesome!
This week I have to finish all my little work projects. Then next week will be moving things onto the boat and finding creative ways of putting them away. There's a lot of storage space on the boat, but most of it isn't very convenient. I think it's going to take weeks (if not months) to get everything where we really like it. Trevor and I are both Tetris masters, so we'll be able to fit a ton of stuff into that tiny space. It's just a matter of getting it out again.
I think that's about all for now. We'll be heading out November 1, and I'll learn to put pictures on here before then. Almost adventure time!