Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29, 2014.

I've been discreetly keeping tabs on my friends as they make their annual migration southward towards warmer climes. Fortunately, the house has kept us too busy to get too melancholy over our new land based lifestyle.  I might be exaggerating a bit as I do really enjoy being here but you get the idea.

The laundry room used to be in a nook off the garage. So I put up a wall and now it lives in its own room that's part of the house. While we were at it we opted to significantly increase the size of the master closet.

The obligatory raised garden was built in time to take advantage of this years planting season.
Not quite Babylon but close enough for us

The galley is old but in very good shape so it'll be a few years before we update everything but it had this ridiculous little leg holding up a section of the countertop.
Christy has a shit ton of cookbooks so I ripped out the leg and fabricated a bookshelf for all those guides to culinary delight.
The haven for the cookbooks

Of course, as everybody knows, land livin' costs money so I had to get a job. The majority of the boats I've seen around here are fishing boats powered by huge outboards. Unfortunately, I don't know shit about bigger outboards. I had to find myself a sailboat/ trawler oriented place.

Then I got to thinking “What else would be important to me?” So I took a little trip down my very own nautical repair memory lane. About a year and a half before Christy and I jumped aboard the Veranda and left, I got a job at Silver Cloud Harbor Marina on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey.
Yes Dave, I still have one of the shirts.

I wanted to pick up as much nautical boat repair knowledge as I could before departing on our own adventure. I worked in the yard crew hauling and splashing about 350 boats twice per year. In the rare slow times I often was utilized as a spare set of hands by the staff mechanics so I was able to pick up quite a bit. The biggest thing about the job was that in spite of the hard work, I loved going there. The place was a family business and the work force was treated like they mattered. They knew that if the employees succeeded the business would flourish and the family would reap the rewards.

After a few years aimlessly floating about we started working during the summer months. Due to the combination of numerous boats and people with loads of money, Annapolis was the logical choice.

I took a job with Viking Marine Services. I worked for Bjorn and Dullard and the big draw was since the company was a mobile repair business that the gig came with a company truck. Having the truck on the weekends made laundry and grocery shopping sooo much easier. Bjorn was one of the most knowledgeable repairmen I’ve ever met.
Always loved that longboat....
Working alongside Bjorn was an education. Working with Dullard was something quite different. He seemed to be completely inept at everything he did. (One of my favorite Dullard in the spotlight moments) His contribution to the company seemed to be that he knew everyone in Annapolis. He was a bullshitters bullshitter. At first he was the foot in the door for Bjorn but he became more of a millstone around Bjorns neck than anything. After 2 seasons of working for them, we came back to Annapolis from a winter down south to find that they had parted ways and the company had folded. Working with Bjorn was great, while Dullard caused a lot of friction. Not quite the family business like Silver Cloud had been.

So that season I started at Annapolis Harbor Boat Yard. That was a pretty big place with about 16 employees. The crew and management were close, with one unfortunate exception. The owner. We had several frank discussions where he bitched about feeling uncomfortable coming to work at his own business because he felt like an outsider. Yet he ran the place like it was a mega corporation rather than a family business.
No, its not me
A company that size has to have a good repoire between the owner and his employees and at best it was awkward. Why anyone would go out of their way to create distance between them and their underlings is beyond me. If any place had the opportunity to be run like a family business this was it since rumor had it that his Mommy had bought him the place. Treating people like children does not make it a family business.

After a few seasons at Annapolis Horror Boatyard working for Pete and Michelle at Lunbar Marine was a dream come true. Lunbar was also a mobile marine repair business. Pete was an airframe and powerplant technician in the aviation industry in his previous life and he brings that “quality first” mindset to the job with him every day.
If you need work done in Naptown call them....
He's another one of those people that employees would do anything for because they know he'd do anything he could to help them. His employees really are treated like family.

So after my reflections I realized I wanted to find a family business. So after some word of mouth I got a referral to a place only a few miles down the road from us. It's at the end of a long stretch of road and when I came around the last bend I was excited to see a field of mastheads sticking up towards the sky.

The place has been run by the same family for more than 60 years. Twenty employees, 2 big travel lifts running all day and a lot almost the size of Jabins up in Annapolis. I've been at the job for 8 days now and things are feeling pretty good. I think I might get adopted....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Eagle has Landed

November 10, 2014.

The circle is officially closed. The Veranda has been gone for 5 months and we closed on our “new to us” house this past week. Once the closing was complete we loaded up the car, left Annapolis and headed up to my Mom's house in Jersey to pick up the rest of our stuff that's been sitting there for 9 years.

I wanted to rent a large truck and pick up all our shit and drive it to Florida ourselves. But finding our way through the realities of shore-side life have left me a little confused. We could actually have a mover pick up all our shit, drive it to Florida and drop it off, cheaper than we could rent a truck and do it ourselves. Alrighty then, man of leisure it is. Although it does bother me.

So we met the movers and watched as 3 dudes we didn't know from Adam took everything we owned and drove away. We drove back down to Naptown on Saturday morning and picked up the last of our belongings and set off southward at 70 knots. The car was so full that Bob the Boat Plant had to be left behind. He's been with us through thick and thin for our entire life afloat so we lopped off a few sprigs to replant later. It's not the same but it'll have to do. Tucker's bed was on top of everything in the back seat so when I looked in the rearview mirror we were eye to eye. He looked relieved that it was Bob that we opted to leave behind.

He settled in for a series of long naps as we barreled south. We decided to stop for the night at at a Days Inn in Manning, South Carolina. It was a little seedy but bargained priced so we made due and did our best to settle in. Early on in our stay it became apparent that several of the other nearby units were rented out to permanent residents. Not the Trumps either. I'm pretty sure I could have scored either crack or a hooker with no trouble at all had I been so inclined. I'm almost positive I’ve seen this place on multiple episodes of COPS.

I'm not digging the scene at all and I start having this weird premonition about someone breaking into the car at 0300. Crap. I need some rest but its Saturday night and the locals are fidgety. I convince Christy to turn in and we're asleep by 8 PM. At around 0100 I’m awakened by a noise outside and I get up to check the car.

There are 2 guys just getting home from the bar. I know because they were still carrying their bottles. The first guy stopped directly in front of our car and said something over his shoulder to his buddy. The second guy stopped and looked for a while and then moved on towards their room. WTF could be so interesting about our car? Crap. Now I'm up at every hint of a noise whether real or imagined.

So I'm bug eyed and awake and by 0200 I have Christy up as well. I go out to pack our crap into the car and there on the ground is a pair of 6 inch heeled hooker shoes. They must have been the object of the boozers conversation. I can't believe that I slept thru the hooker losing her shoes but whatever, I'm awake now. I'm sure that room was last rented by the hour so I know the clerk was impressed with my stamina when we checked out after having the room for 6 hours. Its 0230 and hey look, the Verandas are once again up and underway southward. It was the same morning that our friends on First Edition were planning to pull their hook in North Carolina at 0300 so once again we're not the last one out of an anchorage. The whole 70 knot thing is getting to be awesome and we pulled into our new neighborhood at 1000 hours on Sunday morning.

I spent Monday morning painting a pantry that was evidently the wrong color. And on Monday afternoon I ripped out 7 hibiscus bushes so I could install a raised garden for the Admiral. I'm a little bit jealous as we read about our friends heading for tropical locations but keeping busy at the new hacienda is helping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 08, 2014.

One of the biggest downsides to selling the boat was something we never considered. We'd be leaving Annapolis for good.

It was boatshow time and some of our friends called to say that they were in town. Shane and Maryvonne on s/v Gem 1 were in town and wanted to get together. We planned to meet them at Pussers during the sail boat shows break down party. During the party the sailboats all leave the show and the docks are reconfigured and the powerboats arrive for their stint of boat showiness.

It's a pretty popular scene and one that we had never attended before while staying here in Annapolis. So we parked the car in Eastport and walked over the Spa Creek bridge into town. And then we started running into people that we've met during our years of summering here in Annapolis.

We had to encounter 30 or so people that went out of their way to say hello. Some folks I see on a weekly basis while others I haven't seen in more than a year. And yet they were all so happy to run into us this night. Some were customers who I couldn't believe remembered our names yet on that night they treated us like long lost friends.

I hadn't really considered the roots we had put down while here. There were a lot more ramifications to selling the boat than either one of us had ever considered. We were only here because of the boat. The Veranda enabled us to create so many friendships and to become part of this wonderful community. We'll so miss the locals who have accepted us into their lives and have become such good friends.   After a few cocktails and saying our goodnights we walked back across the bridge towards home.

We were arm in arm when Christy said it best. “I'm really going to miss Annapolis”. Thats just something we had never considered. Crossing the bridge in the dark of night the lights in the harbor were never so beautiful. Although the tear in our eyes might have lent something to the beauty.

We really are going to miss this place....