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....


Steve said...

That sounds great. Of course, I never had a doubt you'd find a good opportunity, but to find it this fast is pretty cool. Good luck with it!

S/V Escapade said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
beachbumbob said...

Hi Bill and Christy,
Welcome to South Florida. Tall Oaks Corner Club member who has followed your blog for the duration.
Are you on the FL west coast and, if so, how far down did you go?
We are in Punta Gorda for the winter and still in Tall Oaks for the summer on the boat.

S/V Veranda said...

We settled in Bradenton and we're loving it.