So much news…none of it good

There will be some good news on the mini-local front next blog.  I am progressing with my funicular cart.

But, for today………………:

According to an open letter from the Haida Nation to Northern Gateway (Enbridge) the oil guys are now playing a little more dirty than before.  Frankly, I am shocked to hear that is even possible? The Haida Nation alleges that Northern Gateway representatives have been going door-to-door offering the older hereditary chiefs monetary incentives to submit written support letters intended for public distribution that would contradict the Haida’s official position of opposition to Northern Gateway. The band is, to say the least, not happy about this back-door approach to getting approval for an oil pipeline.  It DOES appear (from here) as if Enbridge is attempting to drive a wedge in the community.  I could be wrong. They may just being generous and kind to those who are in need but who coincidentally live in the place Enbridge wants to be.  Or not.  Regardless, it smells.

I am sure it is legal.  People getting money from corporations to sell out the local environment is not news.  Not anywhere.  And no one ever seems to go to jail.  So, it must be legal. Right?  Don’t our own politicians do that all the time?

The BC government recently allocated timber rights in Haida Gwaii as well.  Seems Weyerhauser is allowed to cut down a great chunk of forest.  A lot of first growth Cedar from what I understand.   Maybe a few guys will get some jobs, eh?  Oooh, oooh, oooh!

The Haida said no.  It’s before the courts.

And lumber prices are low.  So, who could benefit from that?  Well, government gets stumpage fees.  Weyerhauser sells to China.  I dunno…is that 1%?

Interesting, don’t you think?  Canada has just surpassed Brazil as the #1 deforesting violator-nation in the battle against climate change in the world.  We are well into the criminal rape and raze of Mother Nature now.  And then we give Weyerhauser a blank cheque on one of the most pristine environments in the world!?

Whose your premier?

Speaking of business, get this?  There is so much demand at this writing that BC Ferries is putting on extra runs.  But BC Ferries spokesperson, Deborah Marshall says, “There is a good chance the extra sailings will not break even.”  Think about that….they can’t make money when there are too few customers and they can’t make money when they have so many that they put on extra sailings. There may be something wrong with your business model when management can’t do well in either of those scenarios.  When people are lined up out the door, it is usually a sign that the popular business is doing well.  NOT so with BC Ferries.

Maybe they aren’t paying Mike Corrigan enough. What about a bonus to motivate him?

Business….the economy….what…..?  Greece?  Canada…?  Here’s the bottom line: The bank of Canada interest rate is at .75%.  They dropped it from 1% last January.  They don’t have much room to play with…3/4’s of one percent (and they tend to move the rate in 1/4 jumps).  The economy is not going anywhere.  It is stalled.  It may dip into recession. We are simply NOT doing much despite record low interest rates.  And Greece just may be the first of a few more dominoes.  Economic growth is so low, it feels like recession.

What will another recession feel like?

Record numbers of Canadian seniors are declaring bankruptcy and there has not yet been a recession since 2008/2009.  BC has Canada’s worst child poverty rates.  Food banks already proliferate.  Thousands are homeless.  No one but rich immigrants an afford to buy a home in Vancouver.  And this in one of the best ranked economies in the world!

China’s stock market lost more ‘value’ in one day than the entire Spanish stock market is worth in total.

Is the world economy and, more to the point, the local and national economy trying to whisper something in your ear?  Could we be teetering once again?

You ready for the next one?

In a stunning statement of optimism, Just-inTrudeau expressed a desire to tax carbon.  In effect, another tax regardless of the perceived moral value of it (and I don’t see how taxing carbon does anything except make the government a willing accomplice to pollution.  Isn’t it like any ‘sin’ tax?  Doesn’t the price of ‘sinning’ simply go up?).

Is everyone stupid or am I seeing writing on the wall that is NOT there?  


I pity the poor fools

Dean Del Mastro, the former close-to-Harper Conservative MP has gone to jail for electioneering violations.  He was also Harper’s Ethics secretary (which makes fitting sense, don’t you think?).  Dean Del Mastro, from all accounts was also a bully, an ambitious, take-no-prisoners, bull-headed imbecile riding a wave of power he probably never expected and certainly never deserved.  And he wielded his power without compassion or even consideration for any others but himself.  He was a political thug.  He was a man who simply was not worthy of the position he achieved.  And he kept good company in that regard.

As readers know, I am not a fan of any of the so-called Conservatives.  I think they are fascists-by-another-name.  I really should be happy about Dean’s fall from on high and, to a large extent, I am.  The Harper regime has to go and whether it goes down in pieces or all at once is not important.  It just has to go.

So why did I not take any pleasure at seeing Deano paraded in leg-irons and handcuffs? Why was that scene hard to watch?  Wasn’t his humiliation satisfying?

No.  No it was not.  Deano was his own worst enemy to be sure, a miserable, pathetic Canadian fool sacrificed up in that scene for our viewing pleasure.  We were supposed to enjoy his tragedy like the crowd at the Coliseum that watched the lions and the Christians. But, because of that, I did not.  It was ugly.  Shame and humiliation, it seems, affects the viewer almost as much as it does the subject.  It was a form of blood sport to me.  It was embarrassing to watch him duck-waddle towards the paddy wagon.  His shame diminished me.  As a viewer, I felt complicit in his humiliation.  It was not a good feeling.

Stephen Harper should feel guilt writ large when seeing that.

Because, more to the point about Harper, I was only watching the beginning of Del Mastro’s epic fail.  The jail term is just the first act in his likely life-long tragedy.  Up until the day he was sentenced, Dean Del Mastro just didn’t get it.  He didn’t see it coming.  He was a Harper stooge masquerading as a capo in the Conservative mafia.  The conviction was a shock, the sentencing a surprise and the prospect of never attaining his former heights again has yet to even be absorbed.  He’s alone.  Very, very alone.  And that is just sinking in.  A month in jail might do it.  A year in purgatory will.  Dean will probably never recover.  In effect, we are watching a slow execution where the prisoner is just beginning to feel the pain.

I predict reading about Dean Del Mastro several more times over the next decade or so. In much the same way as one reads about Steve Fonyo. It will be a serial spiral of self destruction enshrouded in a cloud of self-delusion.  It will be pathetic and sad.

Of course, we all have faults but some of them result in colossal life consequences.  And the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Ask Jian Ghomeshi.  Being human ain’t easy and being a successful one comes with a bulls-eye on the forehead, it seems.  If you are going to rise to the top, you’d better be cleaner than clean.  It’s hard up there.  But it is also true that some of the slime still manage to rise to the surface and stay there so disgrace is not inevitable. If it was, no one would be bad.  Basically, we just catch the stupid ones.

That is why I call Del Mastro a stooge.  A sacrifice, really.  He was just another stupid one in Harper’s army. We’ll likely get Duffy too, maybe Wallin.  We’ve already had Sona and Brazeau, Harb, Ford and Redford.  I am sure the list will grow. And when they all fall………?  Will happiness reign?  I doubt it.  We’ll likely just tune in for another four year episode of As the World Turns and a new cast of clowns will stumble and fall for our viewing pleasure.

I pity us poor fools.


Slow, easy-does-it, work output

We are slowing down.  In fact, the only thing speeding up around here these days is the rate at which we are slowing down*.  This is not news so much as a freshened realization, yet another reminder of our own mortality.  But still, such reminders are sometimes rude in their increasingly frequent manifestation.

I am reminded of this more and more, of course, but never so poignantly as just after finishing Chris Czajkowski’s latest book on wilderness dwelling, AND THE RIVER STILL SINGS.  Chris is the real deal.  She has been off the grid in BC for the last 35 years and doing so in a much more remote and harsher environment than we ever encountered.

Chris had bear invasions, meters of snow, wildfires and bugs galore plus she built everything herself and had barely enough money to buy the minimal parts she needed to get the job done.  But she did get it done.  She set the bar pretty high for OTG’ers.  She is a real inspiration if not just a tad too hard to follow for us.  I would have expired by now had I done it like Chris.

In her latest book, CC starts to slow down her pioneering ways.  Her knees won’t do the job anymore.  She has a few health challenges.  She is getting older and without a Sally or Dave to help maintain the pace. Chris recently moved down from her aerie in Nuk Tesli, a remote wilderness mini resort in the high Chilcotins to a lower, on-the grid (barely) residence that is easier to manage.  The impression given as the book ends is that her wilding days are over. Chris is roughly my age.

Her wilding days are over at the higher level she previously achieved.  No question.  But Chris is still doing ten times what most people do at her age and she just considers it normal living. That is one of the legacy benefits of living outdoors.  Living remote. Chopping wood when you are in your nineties is nothing to write a book about when you have been doing it your whole life.

Like I said, she is an inspiration.

But she is also a prolific writer.  She has written at least ten books on living remote.  I recommend that, if you have this kind of interest, you look her up.

As for us, well, we are playing in a lower, slo-pitch league.  The kind with happy hour now and then.  We can keep it up, as it were, at the pace we chose for another decade for sure.  Our softy wilding days still have some time to play out.  And, if Chris is anything to go by, we won’t have to leave our paradise even then; we will just have to get in a bit of help occasionally.  And, with a bit of luck, all the BIG projects will be done.

She inspired us, she reminded us of our age and she inspires us to keep at it.  And we will.  We’ll just break for tea more often is all.

*None of the above applies to quilting.  The quilting fever is still burning hot and calories are being expended prodigiously.  But, I for one, find it tiring just watching that activity and so I have taken to the occasional nap when the cloth bits start to fly.  There is an exception to every rule and quilting is NOT slowing down.  


As you know, the book was fun for us to do and continues to be.  Glad we did it.  We may even do another (feel free to suggest a topic because Sal does not want to do OTG ll). But here’s the reason for the title of the blog: books may be going the way of the Dodo.

We sell our books on Amazon.  Not from preference so much as from chintziness.  To ‘market’ a book is expensive and we are a niche market at best and are not likely to ever sell more than 1000 books or so.  Well, we may do a bit better…we have sold 500 so far this year so 1000 is do-able before the bloom goes off the rose.  Maybe.

We are marketing challenged.  Since our ‘take’ is $2.50 to $3.00, there is not much left to market with.  So, we leave it on the Amazon website (and my own) and leave it at that. Like I said, ‘fun’.

By the way, even tho we get more of the selling price if you order direct from us, you pay way, way more because of shipping.  Living remote means higher shipping charges.  If, in a moment of weakness, you are inclined to buy the book, I recommend Kindle first (cheapest) and Amazon second given the cost.  Seriously – our ‘cut’ is so small there is no real advantage for anyone (you or us) buying direct. Thanks, anyway.

But part of the fun is watching the numbers.  When we started, we sold maybe 30 books in a month.  Maybe.  We have not exceeded that number yet.  Thirty is a good month.  Do the math – that’s almost $100.00 to us.  Woohoo!  Which is fine.  No problem.  We’re good.

But here’s the punchline: month one sold maybe ten KINDLE e-books.  Month two: maybe 20.  In this, the sixth month, we will sell maybe 120 (we are at 106 on the 25th).  Every month has had more e-book sales.  By a considerable margin.  In fact, June did not even sell 30 paper books (ten, I think).

What does that say?  Who knows?

But here’s another take on the subject: there are a few independent book stores I pass in my travels (which is amazing since I hardly travel at all anymore).  And I have to go to the big smoke for a day or two in a few weeks so I’ll pass them.  I phoned ahead to see if they wanted to carry any of our books.  I make it easy.  I deliver.  Consignment.  No hard sell. “Sorry. We are closing our doors.  We have ‘going out of business’ signs on the window. We’re done.”  I called three such stores and all three said that they were closing or for sale.

From my limited, narrow point of view, hard, hold-in-your-hand books are going the way of the Dodo. Certainly the little independent book store is.  Reading is not.   But paper books on shelves in stores in little towns definitely are.

Which reminds me:  the other day I heard on the radio (of all places) that “…..some people are still rooted in the old ways of e-mail and blogging!”……………(sigh)………………..

……………I am having trouble with that, too.

If one is good, two is better….

….especially when talking about cisterns for water storage during a drought.

“I’m buying another cistern.”

“When you do, please order one for me”.

“Tow my tin boat down to the other island bay Saturday morning and we’ll load them both into it when I come over for this weekend.”

And so we did.  Took us awhile to get the big ol’ tin boat down to the loading dock.  Can’t plane.  So we just ‘skewed’ our way down.  Took an hour and a half.  The tanks were there waiting on the dock.  Sal and I pushed them around a bit to get a sense of how to handle them while we waited for my neighbour to arrive.

“I’ll go get gas for the boat. Maybe some milk. Want some ice cream to go with that berry pie?”

Off she went.  I waited.  Neighbour arrived.  “OK, let’s do this!”  We pushed the tanks over the edge of the dock and they fell nicely into the tin boat.  He then got his own boat started and Sal returned.  We headed out.  Weather was good.  Seas a smidge choppy.  The occasional NW gust to 15.


We were towing the tin boat for a bit but, when he caught up, we passed him the tow rope. His boat is bigger.  “See ya at home!”  And off we went.


Got home.  Had a bite to eat.  Waited.  Watched.  Used the walkie-talkie to no response. Waited some more.  “Sheesh, they should have been here by now.  And the wind’s up a bit.  Let’s get back in the boat and go look for ’em.”  And so we did.

We traveled almost 2/3 of the way back to the loading dock.  There they were.  Crawling along.  Two cisterns and a tin boat in tow.  Three separate tows.

“Wha’ happend?”

“Wind blew ’em out of the boat.  Then the wind took ’em and they were skimming off heading back to the dock where we loaded them.  We were running around for awhile gathering tanks and boats and corralling it all up again.”

We took a tank in tow and the two boats meandered home together.

I dunno….sometimes shopping gets pretty monotonous, don’t you think?

Sal waits for no tides

We took two young friends into the beach yesterday.  We were headed up to the old cabin to do a reconnoiter of the creek.  The purpose of the outing was to reassess our creek water supply and flow situation. The wet, west coast is uncharacteristically dry this year and the Gulf Islands are notoriously dry, even in typically wet seasons.  Essentially, the Gulf Islands are rocks, and granite does not hold water well.  Of course, there are some soil pockets and some wells and some creeks and lakes but, generally speaking, islanders have to be water savvy every year and this year it is even more of an issue.

By far. In fact, it is a drought by our standards.

June is also a time of year when low tide happens around mid-day and low tide is quite low. We can get zero tides around this time.  According to the tables, we were at low tide at 1:30. We misread that and concluded 12:30.  We were on the beach at 11:30 and calculated a two hour excursion hiking and adventuring.   Meaning the tide would go out for an hour and then come in for an hour and so, wherever we anchored off, the boat would be in the same place.  But, like I said, we misread the tables.  The tide would be receding for TWO hours and take two MORE hours to come back.

Off we went hiking and messing about in the creek.  Had some fun.  Did some work. Headed off to pick berries (at least we had thought ahead and brought containers) and when we had them filled we proceeded to the beach to go home.

The boat was high and dry.

A quick re-calculation determined that we would have a two hour wait.

Which should have been OK, don’t you think?  We had water to drink.  We had berries. We had company. The place is beautiful. We could even pick more berries.  ‘Ommmmmmmmmmmmm……..zennnnnnnnnnnn……….go with the flow fellow butterflies………………….’

“No way!  C’mon, let’s drag the boat to the water!”  And so a bit of dragging on a one ton boat stuck in the mud ensued until futility made it’s point much more pointedly.  I sat and went to my happy place. I figured to spend two hours there.


Not Sal.

“I can hike along the cliff edge and then swim back to the dock to get the other boat”, volunteered Sally

“Or, we can wait the same amount of time as that will take and the ocean will float our boat.”

“No.  I misread the tables (she didn’t, really, but I only heard the 12:30 part, not the later correction).  It is my responsibility.  I’m going.”  And, with that, Sally put on a life jacket, waded into the sea and swam and climbed her way along the shoreline (with Fiddich providing some motive power now and then) and she eventually scrambled and swam her way to the dock – about a 500 meter journey overall.  Twenty minutes later a wet Sal came into the bay with her boat and we all went home to get a cup of tea and wait until the other boat was floating and ready to go home soon after.


And we did that.

“Sorry about the mistake”, we said to the young couple, “but all’s well that ends well, eh?” 

“Don’t be sorry!  It was lots of fun.  Berries, oysters, creek-wading and a disaster-at-sea adventure all in one afternoon.  We had a blast!”

A friend of mine….

….lives and mostly hides out these days in Surrey.  She is just being cautious.  But she has to be.  She is  not alone.  Her neighbours are being cautious, too.  There have been a lot of shootings in Surrey and the last ones were on her street.  She doesn’t feel as if she can go for a stroll in her neighbourhood anymore without thinking twice.  Maybe three times.  She doesn’t even think about it in the evening.  Nobody does. She has to be really careful – even parting the curtains to look out the window.   Her kid can’t go out to play.

No one lets little kids go out to play in the streets and parks alone anymore anywhere it seems but her new level of security is a step up.  In fact, it is a form of ‘lockdown’ for her and her child.

Harper and the gang of idiots have concentrated on fear mongering to sell their C-51 legislation but it is ironic if not negligent to concentrate on fears of Muslims, immigrants and terrorists (apologies for the joint reference) when the real danger to Canadians is ordinary money-seeking, low-life, criminals.

I need to reiterate: no one in Canada has ever been attacked by a terrorist. That John Nuttal and Michael Zihaf-Bibeau are trotted out as so-called terrorists is asinine. They were born and bred Canadian nut-bars through and through.

But – you already know all that.  I am just re-stating the obvious.  But what is NOT obvious is what normal everyday negligence on the part of government is actually doing to the people. Aside from having to hide out (somewhat) in her own home, she is also powerless to move. No one will buy houses in that part of the lower mainland despite record high prices even in Vancouver’s Skid Row.  Surrey is deemed by the dollar-voters to be a worse environment than even the Dowtown Eastside.  Skid Row. That’s quite a statement.

An intelligent, law-abiding, major contributor to her community (and the province) with a young child has to hide out in her own home because of narco-criminals running pell mell and creating all hell around her.  Does C-51 do anything about that?  No.

The RCMP are supposed to curb that sort of thing………..but………..well………..maybe they are ………or not…not yet, anyway……………or……………maybe….who knows?

On the assumption that the RCMP is on the up-and-up (an assumption I make generously), why are they so impotent?  Why can they taser a teen almost to death or shoot an innocent senior, jump on the backs of traffic violators and occasionally get caught with their fingers in all the wrong places but they don’t seem to be able to catch the criminals who are obvious-by-their-colours, tattoos, cars and street-strutted gangsta behaviours?

I know you NEED proof but you need proof for a conviction, not an arrest.  Tasering Robt. Dziekanski to death proves they needed no evidence – just a well founded fear for their well-being even tho – in his case – they were armed and in the majority by 4 to 1.  In other words; why not hassle the bad guys instead of the hapless citizens?

Put bluntly: my friend is being hassled by the thugs.  Terrorized.  Trapped like a rat.  Her kid is being stifled in her growth.  My friend is losing money (that usually seems to matter) and the police and the government is failing her completely.  No Muslims involved.  No flag-carrying terrorists. Just the subtle influence of evil and insanity, greed and poverty, isolation and well, just punks-being-ugly, mostly.  Young, poor, ignorant and unemployed idiots with nowhere to put their misguided energy.

Some of the crooks are immigrants but just as many are Canadian citizens.  This government (Feds and Province) is failing her and them completely.  Being an unemployed, ignorant youth-out-of-culture is a recipe for this sort of thing.  The government knows that.  It is total dereliction of duty and responsibility.  Total absence of accountable, constructive presence for her and her neigbours.  AND the punks.  They are just NOT doing their job.  NOT in the least.

How can Harper harp about ISIL and Ukraine and other bloody distant nonsense when the kids next door can’t even play in the park?  That guy has to go and he should take Christy Clark with him.


I keep forgetting about happy hour

It’s that weird time in every summer.   Late afternoons.  You know, when everyone nearby gets together, has drinks and chips and used to flirt but now, instead, wax nostalgic about ‘remember-whens’ and try to recall names and dates that no longer have any relevance? These happy hours usually last about two hours.  We have an unspoken rule NOT to go past three for mental health reasons.

We are talking about that time when the short attention spans combine with loss of voice projection, memory loss, Early Onset, booze and deafness to cause six separate conversations among eight people.   Two hours of shake and bake trivia-laced topics, with most issues left unresolved for the next time — which will prompt memory challenges then so as to create our own version of the Never Ending Story.

It is the late sunset, social pleasantness at the end of the day. Confusion reigns.  I can do it once week.  But I prefer once every two.  My friends only want me once a month (and they are being generous of spirit to include me that much) so it’s all doable.

Happy Hour always leaves my head spinning from the influence of wine and chaos and endless conversations not finished, not heard, not remembered and no one even cares!

“Good to be back here.  Lovely day.  Nice to see you all again.”

“Yeah, when was the last time we were all together?  Wasn’t that the Labour Day weekend last year? Or was it Holly’s birthday?  No! I remember now.  It was when Bob came to visit and stayed for the festival.  Right?  He had that sombrero?  Had a red band on it. And Stone Mason or Mason Jar or Jarhead or something was playing….what was their name? They won a music award. Heard that on Q before Jian imploded.”

“No.  I remember that Labour Day because we were at….whose place were we at last Labour day, honey?  Honey?

“Place mats?  You want place mats?  Just a sec’ I’ll get some and some napkins, too”.

“No, you were here because I helped you do that step down to the lower level.  Used six bags of concrete and ten feet of re-bar.  Had to drill 10 six-inch holes.  We used cold cure to set them.  Remember? ”

“That was the year before when Bob was here.  What ever happened to Bob, anyway?”  

“He married that girl from the Philippines.  Seems some old guys are doing that now.  Their pensions make them attractive.  Bob would need three pensions to be attractive!”

“I think Phillipinas are attractive.”

“Not you!  Bob!”

“What about Bob?”

“Here’s the beer.  I forgot to get place mats.”

“That’s OK, honey.  Just remember…to put on the BBQ…OK?”

“Did someone say Bob was coming?  Should I put on extra chicken?”

“Heard you on the walkie-talkie today.  Pretty funny.”

“That’s ’cause I think mine is broken.  Can’t hear what’s being broadcast. I have the volume turned right up.”

“You can’t turn the volume up.  It’s digital.  You gotta go into the menu to adjust the volume.”

“What?  I didn’t catch that.”

“So is Bob coming or not?  I have to know.  Especially if he is bringing a date.”

“Would anyone like a place mat or a napkin?”  

Fun cannot come too soon

Eleven years.  Storms.  Snow. Darkness.  Huge loads.  Heavy, heavy things. Challenging?  Yes.  Impossible?  Not until yesterday.  Yesterday was too hard!

We bought a lot of food this town day.  Stocking up.  Costco.  $1000.00.  Then Save-On for another $100 or so.  Plus boxes of dog food, 5 heavy steel bars and a 4×8 sheet of expanded metal. And, finally, a garbage can full of odds and sods.  We were packed.

Don’t plan on going in again until late July.

Wind was up.  Maybe 25.  Seas had been working up all week.  Nothing scary.  A three foot swell-cum-chop is nothing to be afraid of but it can get wet in a small boat.  Plus it is bloody awkward at the rocky beach.  We were, of course, in a small boat.  Cowardice got the better of my valour and I dropped the 4×8 sheet of metal off at a nearby sheltered dock.  That was a fortuitous decision.  And then we headed to ‘our sea stairs’.

The bow was describing six foot arcs.

The cooler weighed close to or just over 100 pounds.  Sal couldn’t lift it. I got it on the bow of the boat and she perched just beside it.  When the wave rose, I nosed in and she leapt off on to the beach.  I circled around and, waiting to catch my wave, nipped in just so that she could one-arm a cooler she couldn’t previously two-arm.  It came off the bow of the boat and almost took Sally into the deep.  Somehow she gritted it out and got the beast onto the lowest step on the stairs.  It had taken a herculean effort.

“I’ll come around again.  I’ll go out, reload the bow and then surf in again.”

“No!  Don’t.  I can’t do that again.  And we have a lot of stuff and some of it is heavier.  Go around to the lee side and we’ll unload into J’s floatshed.  Get the rest of the stuff tomorrow.  I have the stuff that needs the freezer but I can’t get it up the stairs.”

“I’ll get it when we come back.  Just lift it up a step or two so the tide doesn’t get it.  And strap that rope around it ’cause the ravens will open it and steal.”

Just then, as I was keeping off, a wave washed over the whole of the back of the boat, engine and all.  For a second I heard no sound.  I thought  the engine had stalled.  That would have been a beach-crashing disaster.  But it was just muted by the sea and we were still good.  Sal’s idea to try again the next day was a good one.

And that effort was made today.  And, of course, the wind was way, way less.  We got smug.  Put everything into Sal’s little boat because loading/unloading is easier from it.  But the tide was way, way out.  So, I had to do the Sally leap onto the slimiest of rocks and barely made it.  As it was we were both completely ‘stretched out’ passing heavy goods and the seas were still enough to wash over her bow now and then.  She was standing in 3 inches of water as she tried passing things.

The 30 pound box of dog food was what got her.  She tried swinging it up to me but couldn’t.  So she just held on to it as the 30 pounds took her in it’s Newtonian way – a body in motion will take it’s friend into the sea. Next second she was knee deep in water and rapidly slipping deeper.  I grabbed her by her vest and she pulled herself back out and reclaimed the boat.  I had reclaimed the dog food.  No words were spoken.  When we were done, she went back to the other dock.  Then we carried a ton up to the existing fun cart and loaded it.

“So, how do you feel about the work-in-progress lower cart now?”

“Now?  Now I think you should have done it last year, you lazy butt-head!”

“But, didn’t you think I was obsessing over it just last week?  Didn’t you suggest I go to yoga instead of working on it?”

“I don’t remember.  But, regardless, that lower fun cart is now top priority.  Get on it!”

30 year rule

Sal and I built to the 30 year rule and we started when I was 55.   Whatever we built only had to last as long we were likely to last.  And most people are lucky to see 85.  Ergo – the 30 year rule.

They may still be here breathing but having good vision at that time is not a given (so they don’t see 85 as it zooms like a comet right by them).  Very few see 100 even fleetingly. Time flies after 65. The 30 year rule seemed logical at the time.  Hell, I even added supports and extra reinforcements on most things we constructed and so we probably made the 35 year rule without even knowing it.

A little maintenance and we might make 40.  Me?  95?  I don’t think so.

Problem: we are 11 years into it.  And I can still do the math.  We are working to the 20-ish year rule right now and, of course,  there’s a certain chill in the air when I think about that. So, I try not to.

Mind you and ironically, this is when I decided to make things out of heavy metal.  And make no mistake – when I make something out of metal, it is heavy.  My new funicular cart will be pushing 700 pounds.  My guess is that it will easily achieve the 300 year rule.  It is mostly heavy, double hot-dipped galvanized angle steel and it seems, at times, virtually indestructible.  Did I mention ‘heavy’?

In other words, I may be entering some sort of welding influenced denial stage in my life. I’m not sure.  I could build this damn thing out of Styrofoam (with epoxy and duct tape) and it might last 20 years!  Seriously, a cedar-strip funicular cart would definitely make it. What am I doing?

My kids will inherit after the last of us pass but, with Sal, that could be a long time.  She’s got genes and she knows how to use ’em.  Still, they can at least count on a double-hot-dipped funicular to comfort them when that time comes.

Geez, Dave, why so morbid?”

Not my fault.  I blame Mike. He’s 30.  He comes by and borrows tools now and then, talks, laughs at my jokes.  We’re friends.  Somehow the 30 year rule came up.  “I’m 30!”

“Yeah.  I know.  Seems like a long time, right?  Well, I am already down to the last twenty of MY 30.  You can see the math, right?  You just lived it.  Now imagine that you only get that same amount back.  Scary, right?”

Mike cracked up.  “You gotta do stand-up!  Man!  You are funnn-nneee.  Who talks like this?”

“Old guys talk like this.  Then they die.  Then there’s a bit of a lull and then you start talking like this.  Trust me, man.  Death is just around the corner.”

“So, does that mean I don’t have to bring your hammer-drill back?”

“Only if you want to meet him a lot sooner.”