Blah, blah….meh…

It is the 18th and I last wrote on the 12th.  Long time between blah-blah for me. Usually, I have plenty to say but this week, not so much.  We had a nice Easter weekend with my son and his wife.  And, with his help, we got some really hard stuff done. That was good. We pushed a seven-foot diameter water tank out from under the house where the widest spot was only 6′ 6″ .  That was a chore.

We also drilled holes in rocks to support the soon-to-be-built marine ways but that was held up somewhat by the hammer-drill refusing to hammer after the first few holes.  It still spun, just wouldn’t hammer.  In other words, it did NOT get the final half of the holes drilled.  But we’ll get it done.

It rained.  That’s my main excuse.  It rained.

Greenhouse performing well, tho.  Solar-powered fan works a charm – when there is a solar presence.  We’re getting happy with that addition to the empire.

Basically, it is all same ol’, same ol’….but slightly different ol’ stuff.  Which is nice, really. For me.  OK, the boat sinks, guests keep arriving, drills break, water stops flowing (but we got it half-back) and outside demands must be addressed but, honestly, that is just life and you keep on keeping on….right?

And I must admit that such a deep ambivalence is the only thing I am concerned about right now. That status-quo-ness.  That same ol’……ho hum….blah, blah….

The provincial election is looming and there is about as much excitement in the air as at a funeral. Gawd almighty!  It’s like, ‘After Trump, no act can follow.’  I mean; how do you generate political suspense when some plump, middle-aged, smiling cheerleader runs her cliche-ridden corruption-party against a dim, half-invisible pablum-peddling, boring-as-hell do-nothing NDP while, at the same time, Trump dangles the third world war in your face?

It’s M-O-A-B.    

Trump has the Mother of all bombs.  We have the mother of all bores.

Admittedly, boring is good in politics but it also portends the status quo.  And the status quo is criminal-level corruption and mismanagement by the current gang of sleaze bags, the Liberals. So, in this case, boring is bad.  NOT causing a fuss over their entrenched evil is likely gonna result in same ol’, same ol’.  More of it.

For evil to be done, good people only have to get bored of it.

 

 

 

Ethical dissent part 2

As stated in the last blog, I do not endorse all of that which Snyder promotes (ON TYRANNY by Timothy Snyder) but I respect his thinking process and especially his attempt to put words to the feelings I think we all have to some extent. I have a few more suggestions, actually.  And I might delete a few of his on my own list.  But the point is: there is something we can all do in an effort to limit the increasing tyranny in our lives.

“Dave!  WHAT Tyranny?  I am feeling no sense of being controlled, manipulated or lied to.  I don’t see bogeymen or tyrants around every corner.  I feel free.  I feel happy.  I do not see any reason whatsoever for getting off Facebook or NOT watching TV.  I love pizza delivery, man!  In fact, I applaud the government’s attempts at keeping me safe by monitoring and restricting some of the freedoms that are being exploited by terrorists.”

I understand.  You may be right.  Snyder doesn’t think so.  I don’t think so.  He and I think it is prudent to resist at least at a passive, civil, legal level.  But, maybe it is all OK.  Maybe the government is nothing but good and maybe they will not ever err or sweep you up in some police-action or control net. Maybe the real threat is somewhere else.

But that kind of thing has happened before.  It is happening now in the USA to people-with-foreign-sounding names or darker skin and many other countries as well. If you feel really free and safe, why not run a short test.  Get a tan, call yourself Ishmael and say Allahu Akbar as your standard greeting when dealing with the authorities.  Yell it in airports.  Leave bail money with your loved ones and buy life insurance before you do this.

Snyder further advises:

11. Investigate.  Figure things out for yourself.  Take responsibility for what you communicate.  Make the news your own (search out your own sources).  Snyder is attempting to dissuade the reader from the spoon-fed news sources and, by implication, spoon-fed, so-called education.  Learning is personal.  Make it so.

12.Make eye contact and small talk.  Lessen the emailing.  Intimate and personal is good.  It provides the fabric of real society and breaks down the fears of the unknown.

13. Practice corporeal politics.  Get your bum out of the chair.  Put yourself in unfamiliar places.  Seek out new life forms and boldly go where no one has gone before.  The corrupt power-holders prefer you to eat and sit and get fat while watching a screen.  Do the opposite.

14. Consciously create a private life.  Avoid the same institutions you otherwise support because they are used by power to KNOW you and how to find you. Minimize internet use.  Be less Facebook and more ‘personal journal’, preferably in handwriting.

15. Contribute to good causes.  Support organizations that reflect your values.

16. Learn from peers in other countries.  Keep up your friendships abroad.  Make sure you have a valid passport. Maybe get a bug-out bag?

17. Listen for dangerous words.  Be alert to the increasing use of ‘dramatic’ words like: threat, extremist, terror, restricted, security check, emergency, warning, danger, etc.).  They are the word-tools of corruption and tyranny.  Resist the treachery of dire warnings and patriotic rhetoric.  Write to BC Ferries and tell ’em to drop that stupid Mar-sec designation.  I always ask them if they ever experienced a change from Mar-sec 1 to Mar-sec 2.  The answer: “Never.”  So why have it?  When a Mar-sec (marine security) event happens, there will be no time to change the signs at the ticket counter and, even if there was, who is going to buy a ticket on a ferry sitting in a Mar-sec 5 situation?  It’s just fear mongering and providing a false sense of them providing security. Just another institutional lie.

18. Know that real threats and terrorism will be used to escalate and concentrate power.  Be calm during such events because uniformed tyranny will be present and ready to ‘control’ you!

19. BE a good patriot (presumably without resorting to rhetoric) and set a good example for your fellow citizens by exercising your Constitutional rights.  Without good patriots, patriotism will be exploited and corrupted by tyranny.

20. Be as courageous as you can be speaking truth to power and ACTING freely.

I would add to his list:

A. pay cash whenever possible.  The digital money trail will always find you.

B. Consider moving away from the city.

C. Consider having a place to go to in an emergency.  It does not have to be a better-homes-and-garden fortress in Idaho or the Rockies.  Just identify a place you can go to…..?  Why not?

D. Develop a skill.  Get in shape.  Buy some tools. Do more of your own work. Grow some food. Fill your pantry.  In small increments, become more independent.

The list could go on forever and, sadly, it would include increasingly dramatic suggestions like stockpiling, bug-out vehicles, arms and such nonsense.  I do NOT think that the threat has increased to that level and I hope it never does.  But Snyder’s list and my own four additions are NOT extreme in any way.  They are simply ‘positioning’ and ‘attitudinal’ suggestions that, at the very least, would make you a better and more powerful citizen.  No bullets or camo required.

 

I occasionally stray….

….from OTG stuff.  I admit that, freely (and obviously somewhat regularly).  I kinda do my own twisted version of political commentary now and again and I know that it it is not always well received by my readers. I apologize to those who see it as simply politics but it is not – at least politics is NOT the primary motivation. Protest is the primary motivation. I feel the need to speak my truth to power.  I call it ethical dissent.

I am a stated GREENIE but, honestly, I am mostly and largely non-partisan.  I don’t like career politicians, political parties, the party system, the structure of government and, of course, the inevitable corruption of all of those so I am not a fan of any of them, really.  I am a GREEN for obvious reasons but one of them is that a vote for the GREENs is a legitimate protest vote. They won’t likely ever win.  Not in my lifetime, anyway. And so, for me, a vote for the GREENs is a middle finger gesture to the others.

I mention all this because a middle finger salute is not enough.  I know that.  You know that.  The system is broken and not voting or protest-voting is simply not changing things at all.  In fact, it is all getting worse despite what I/we do.

I suppose ‘contradictory-voting’ is the next thing. Some are advocating for it.   If you normally vote Liberal, then try the NDP.  If you normally vote Conservative, then try the Greens. Basically, those people are not voting for the ‘opposite’ party so much as voting for changing their own party.  A prominent Liberal party member in Langley, BC, (the mayor) has recently come out with that.  He said, “Well, I guess Hell has frozen over because I am going to vote for the NDP this May!”

I applaud that.  He shows an honesty, a truth-telling, an open-mind.  He does not like the NDP but now he thinks HIS party has gone rotten and needs a major cleansing.  Change gotta happen!  And he’s right.  100% right!

But, even that is still not enough.

What we, the voters, are trying to do is not just change the corrupt system but also to reject the overt and subtle tyranny that such corruption masks.  Corrupt politics not only cheats the public, it lies to them, manipulates them, manages them and controls them. In the extreme, they will harass, restrict, persecute, incarcerate and execute the public if they get in the way. We can all see it when it is extreme AND in another country (see: the USA today vs thirty years ago.  See Russia and China anytime.  See Mexico – if it isn’t the government there, it is the resulting corrupt drug cartels doing it).

Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The point is: anything short of pure, good government verges on some degree of tyranny inflicted on the people.  Usually someone is getting royally screwed all the time by powerful government and more and more and now, most of us, are being overly screwed these days. (see: Canadian millennials, the poor, indigenous, immigrants, rural-folks).

So, what is the solution?  Timothy Snyder’s book, ON TYRANNY, suggests 20 ways to ethically dissent.  1. Do not obey in advance.  In other words, we tend to go along to get along and, in so doing, do NOT protest when we should. Do not walk willingly to the orders of the powers-that-be.  Resistance is a virtue.  It’s also easier to do in the beginning.

2.  Defend Institutions.  As flawed as they are, they are the first line of defense. Obey the law, queue for buses, pay your bills, say, ‘have a nice day’.  The reason: the institution’s stated values are good ones and they need our support.

3.Beware the one-party state (and, by inference, the two-party state is only somewhat better).

4.  Take responsibility for the face of the world.  DO NOT accept swastikas and ugly graffiti as the new norm.  Clean up your yard.  Looking ugly and being ugly are kissing cousins.  Beautify your neighbourhood.  Look after things.  Beauty is as beauty does.

5. Remember your professional and personal ethics.  Live up to the values you respect and hold dear.  Manifest them daily.

6. Beware paramilitaries and, by extension, paramilitary behaviours.  Ditch the camo.

7.  If you are in the paramilitaries (police, security, etc.) be reflective.  Be kind. Be aware that you are in a position of power and exercise it extremely consciously and cautiously.

8. Stand up.  Get counted.  Speak your mind.  Let them know how you feel. Write to the editor.  Tweet.  Talk to people.  Gossip and yak….it’s all glue for the society.

9. Be kind to your language.  Speak your own phrases.  Do not use jargon, cliche and vulgarities.  Think before you speak and then speak articulately what you think. Like, duh!

10. Believe (and exercise) the truth.  Work for it.  Say it.  Check it.  Review it.  Truth is real power.  We all want it.  Tell the truth.

There are 10 more suggested ‘actions’ from Snyder.  I will do the others later.  My readers don’t read more than 750 words at a time willingly and much more than 1000 is simply ‘not on.’

But, in summary, I am, personally, supportive of his suggestions on the whole but I do NOT see them as ‘the wisdom of the ages’.  Still, he is ethically dissenting and putting words to it.  THAT is good.  He is making positive suggestions for ‘doing more’ than just voting contra or not voting at all.  Or worse, like me, complaining all the live long day in a blog.  He is advocating for constructive but corrective behaviours that WILL make a difference.  And I applaud that.

I try to do some of that already and will seriously consider his other suggestions. But the point is: he is making suggestions as to how to ethically dissent and how to stand up to the beginnings of tyranny.

I am pretty sure it is much, much harder to stand up to well-entrenched tyranny.  Ask a Mainland Chinese or a Russian….

In fact, by the time tyranny has risen to even just Trumpian levels, it may be too late. We’ll see.  Harper’s Canada never got anywhere near as bad as even Bush’s America but it was bad enough for us to balk. Canada stood up.  Harper gone. But the US now has Trump.  It may already be too late to stand up but many there are trying.

It’s ironic and tragic that those who voted for Trump were, in fact, trying to stand up to ‘established power’ and thought they were voting for an ethical dissenter. Sad.    

Maybe Americans just need to be pushed a little further.  We’ll see.  Tomahawking Syria got their attention.  Maybe Trump nuking North Korea will make them stand up. I wish them luck in that.  We all need it.

Indicators

If you were in a coal mine and there was a dead canary lying in his cage, wouldn’t you recognize that as an ‘indicator’ of danger?  At the very least, would you not at least recognize the old metaphor/adage/cliche regarding canaries and coal mines?

Of course you would.  But what about indicators that are NOT cliche metaphors? What of indicators, harbingers, signs and omens telling you something in a language you are entirely unfamiliar with?  Do you still listen to the little voice that usually whispers at such times?  Do you stare at such signs-o’-the-times and try to read ’em?  Do you stop to think?  ‘Hmmmmm….what’s wrong with this picture?’

As a rule, I am a bit oblivious to that sort of thing, myself.  And Sal is usually focused on squirrels or shoes so I don’t rely on her observational skills.  Neither of us has a sixth sense and, at our age, we are starting to wonder about the first five, actually.

I am not much better than Sal.  A bit. Not much.  No interest in shoes or squirrels allows me time to scan for other things but I don’t do that as much anymore.  I could easily get 100 feet into a busy mall that was vacant and not really notice the absence of people as quickly as I should.  I am just not all that observant anymore. But I still NOTICE. Eventually.  It might take me a few steps into the mall before I wondered what ‘was wrong’, but I would still see the absence of people…in a few seconds….under a minute…I hope.  I am not blind.

Well, I just noticed something wrong.  Stupidly late, actually.  Especially since I cracked a joke about it last January:  “One thing about Trump that is for sure, book sales will continue if not increase. Any sane person will at least consider getting out. They have to!”

And we both laughed.

Sal checked sales figures today.  We are selling at twice the rate as the two previous years for the same period reviewed.  Admittedly two-times minuscule is still insignificant and hardly a dead canary or a candlestick in the library but it has been a remarkably consistent double-the-fun-run since January.  I think Trump really HAS boosted sales.

I am looking for the cruise missile attack on Syria to boost sales even further. Hey! If you can’t add boobs, guns and rock and roll to the title of the book, scaring the hell out of people with the threat of WW3 is a good motivator for off-the-grid books.

Jus’ sayin’.

“Man, oh man!  When they nuke Kim Jong-un, we’ll make out like bandits!” 

You think I am kidding?  That is the precise conversation that the US military industrial complex is having around their boardroom tables right now.  Probably have been since January 20th….I was just too busy to notice til now.

 

 

A change?

I am considering making a ‘hosting server’ change for the blog.  If I do, the site will be down for a bit…a day or so….not unlike the porn-hack interruption.  I do NOT think the change will alter anything for the reader.  Same URL, address, name, whatever. Just a different ‘host’.  But…if I move….it should be less prone to whacked-out hackers.

I have also deleted all the ‘plug-ins’ like the Facebook ‘like’ button.  I may have deleted too much.  But I can add them back as it is determined they are ‘safe’ or not.  Seems the hackers ride in on plug-ins…or something… who knows?

So….out to meet the barge with the too-late-ordered wood to build the too-late marine ways so as to too-late fix the holes in the boat which still weep a smidge but should be a slow enough leak to allow me to build the haul-out.

Barge broke it’s hy-ab arm but it was broke in a way they could still drop our load of lumber….made it a little ‘haywire’ but we got it.  Didn’t help that it was blowing like hell and the barge had to make two passes.  After they left, Sal and I took the lumber over to the marine-ways site and dragged each piece up the slippery rocks. Sixteen foot six-by-six treated beams weigh a lot!  And we only had four of them. Might have been better to get 6.  No room on the ‘lift’ for extra 6×6’s.  We’ll see how this goes.  But we also had a bunch of 2×8’s to go with ’em.  And 2×12’s.  We will be busy.

Sheeesh……..and people wonder what we do all day…

Trump, sex, crime and ignorance.

I got nothing (ignorance) on any of that……

But I needed the headline (the crime).  Why?  Because no comments are coming in (Trump gets ALL the attention).

And my sex life is none of your business but it is safe to say, nothing much to write novels about but it has to be included in the headline to get the numbers.

I am still on the beach, still weaseling my way around the logs, the boat and the rocks trying not to get too wet while always lying on a board in a small stream of run-off from the constant rain. As per one of my OWN comments on the last blog, the patches all still ‘weep’ a smidge like a fat man’s sweat but that is a 97% improvement on gaping holes. I will attempt to fix the cry-babies today.

Squeezing under the boat

It’s NOT raining right now but the tide is up.  When it falls away, it may rain.  That seems to be the pattern.

Halfway there

I am not a religious person but if someone started the Church of St. Murphy, I would have to join.  How could I not?  I believe in Murphy.

Positioned for grinding and glassing

The book is delayed a couple of weeks.  Waiting on the cover and a few bureaucratic processes – like ISBN numbers and that sort of thing.  We have two beta readers unaccounted for but not being accounted for kinda means they are accounted for – they aren’t doing it. That says something.

I have been feeling (about the book) that I have missed something that I wanted to say…..but I couldn’t put my finger on it…..still can’t…but the feeling is dissipating anyway.  I am starting to feel as if I may have said it, after all.  I think I am good. Rotten book but I am now good with that.  So, I am good.

For the last little while I have been doing some research on OTG living (It’s not my style to do research.  I am now fully onside with post-truth and alt-facts.  That kind of ADHD insanity actually works well for me).  But I got side-tracked into focusing for a bit and actually went and learned something.  Accidental student, that I am.

Seems the book addresses a series of issues that other authors and documentarians have also identified and attempted.  Basically this: “Why the hell do it in the first place?”

In this second, monkey-on-my-back book I try to answer that while, at the same time, describing my own, personal way of defining OTG. In other words, it is entirely subjective and I step into that subjective breach like the know-it-all OTG’er I am pretending to be.  I mention this because some of my research has revealed others who have half-addressed it, others who have fully-but-erroneously addressed it and still others who simply went about describing and listing the mechanics and logistics of it without any self-awareness of the whys and why-nots.  I hope to do a smidge better in the motivation category at least.

‘Cept for one category that I do not fully embrace anyway: the lone wolf (or pair) of eccentrics in the crazy-remote areas like Deadhorse, Alaska (on the Arctic ocean) or the wilds of Tasmania.  I do not believe living OTG requires a mad-trapper mentality and so I am not including that branch of OTG mutants in my book.  They are a category unto themselves. The rest of us are sane.

So, after breakfast I will go back under the logs and work on an old boat and contemplate my own sanity.

Doesn’t portend well for the book, does it?

 

Spelunking boat repairs

Spelunking?

Because I have to exhale to get under the logs on which the boat is resting so as to insert myself under the hull to get at the hole in the hull.  And it’s dark under there. Even doing that, I am like toothpaste squeezed out of a tube as I wriggle and wrestle to get into position.

The position?  Face to face with the bottom of a boat at way too intimate a distance for my personal preference.  Then I grind off the under-crap and try to get at the clean f’glass underneath.  There is not enough room to turn the grinder except one way and it is just enough to get at the spot. Lots of crap-in-the-face doing this kind of fine finishing work.

But the ugliest part of the prepping got done a few days ago.  Then we waited for a dry day to put on the patch. Today.  I went under and cleaned the area with acetone and cleaned inside the hole, too. Everything dry and clean, we proceeded.  Sal mixed the resin and hardener and passed it under to me with some f’glass cloth and I covered and smoothed and let resin fall on my face.  It was a lovely thing to see the hole get covered and the patch take form – from the eye without resin in it.

Beautiful.

A drip formed on the downside end of the patch.  I wiped it away.  Cursed the dripping resin.  A few seconds later another drip.  I wiped it away.  And again. Hmmmmmm…..these drips don’t seem like resin…?  They were not!  They were water drips!!

Where the hell did the water come from?

The boat has been high and dry for a few days…..I checked the hole…..I cleaned the hole….I acetoned the hole…..nada…no water when I checked and cleaned…not then…..?

But there is water now, now that that the patch is in place.  Water is leaking from the trailing end of the patch that is intended to keep the water out.  This is NOT beautiful.  Worse, the stream of water seems to be increasing….?  How is that possible?  Murphy?  You there?

Outcome: I formed the patch anyway.  I’ll let it harden up to cover the majority of the hole. Let the channel that the drip formed drip away.  Guess what?  The hole left by the dripping water will be the size of a cocktail straw.  Where have I heard that before?

Tomorrow, after the patch has set up, I’ll grind the straw-sized channel out leaving a small cocktail-straw-sized hole that will get plugged with Sikaflex and then, when NOT dripping, glassed over again.

“Dave!  Isn’t glasswork supposed to be done when the old surface is dry?”

Yes.  Yes it is.  That would be a good thing, that would.  But, in this case some magic water appeared and so I have had to adjust.  It must be holy water….it came from a hole….

Fortunately, I was using cold cure.  Cold cure is an epoxy that will set up under water.  This is NOT under water but there is magic water appearing where no water was supposed to be and so I am glad I used cold cure.  Blessed holy cold cure. The patch I put on today will be good for the bulk of the problem.  If there is a God in heaven!

The straw-hole will be a patch-on-a-patch and done tomorrow.

Nothing is simple.  Not even a patch on a hole.

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Job is done!  Patches holding.  Wasabi is afloat and dry inside.  We caught the trailing edge of the ebbing tide and hauled it off the beach logs back into the water.  It was touch and go…literally…the makeshift ramp was disintegrating as we winched it back into the almost-too-shallow water (boat and motor just touching the bottom), spun it on the last of the log and floated it back to it’s rightful place in our lives.  Happy is the man whose boat gets floated.  Happier is the woman freed up for quilting.

A day in the life….

Previous blog (PROJECT ONE) has had an ‘epilogue added.  Pictures will also be added to it. I will keep you posted as project one proceeds.  But THIS blog is the one I wanted to write and I do not want to ‘sit on it’ any longer.  This is what our people are like… 

……….a day in the life of our local school teacher.

It was winter out here (we were doing hard-time in Arizona at the time).  Cold.  Two feet of snow in most places, as much as three or four in others.  She works out here teaching in the two-room school to about twelve (on a full day) students.  Grades 1 to 7.  Winter rarely finds a full day of attendance.  The boat-arrivals can make it but the children of same-island residents have to come by cross-island logging road and it is impassable with more than two feet of snow for the few old, wrecked vehicles on the island.

Because getting to school is such a trek, the kids stay longer on the days they attend.  That means they have only a 3 day week.  The teacher stays at the ‘teacherage’ for the nights she is here (a small mini-shack of 150 sft about 50 yards from the school).  She leaves by her own small 16-foot boat Friday night or Saturday morning to return home to the other island – and she subsequently returns Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning the following week.  She travels alone. All weather.

This winter she had a few problems.

On one occasion, she had called her other-island partner ahead of time to ‘suss’ out the road conditions on their home island.  Seemed the twenty-mile road (half of it dirt logging road) over there was also snowed under and, of course, the island’s single road plow was busy on the paved roads and would not be getting to the lesser-used and deeper-snowed-in outer logging roads any time soon.  The two agreed to make equal efforts to meet up from their respective directions.

That agreement  – once made – is cast in stone.

Teacher got in her small boat and proceeded down channel to the community dock on the other island where her car was parked.  It was snowing and it was damn cold because she had stayed over the previous night so as to leave with a full day in which to get home. Later after school in the winter is deep dusk – too dark to leave as a rule. She got in her car and pointed it towards the ‘civilized’ end of the logging road from the ‘uncivilized’ end. She didn’t get far.  Her partner did the same from the other end but also didn’t get far.

There is no cell phone service on the ‘civilized’ island.  Nor, of course, on the uncivilized end.  They did not carry walkie-talkies.  Both vehicles were stuck in the snow miles from one another.  Each knew the other was trekking through the snow alone in the forest.  They were committed.

Both left their vehicles and began pushing through the heavy going towards one another following the barely distinguishable clearing-space that was the blanketed logging road. Hours of hiking ensued.

They eventually met up.  Both exhausted.  Both wet.  Both overjoyed to see the other.  They had left from their respective places early that morning.  They got home at 3:00.  Well in excess of six hours of snow-hiking, most of it alone.

Bonus challenge: our teacher is short.  Five feet in heels.  A three foot snowdrift is almost belly-button high. She was in it thigh-high most of the time. It was somewhat shallower on the road trail but still heavy going.  Their schlep was arduous.

City teachers don’t do that.

But she does.  And she was at school the next week, on time and ready for action. Bonus: she is also a great teacher.  Our local kids do well, stay healthy, stay engaged and learn.  It does NOT get any better.

Project one with epilogue

 

Our boat is sinking.  Slowly.  But surely.  Only the bilge pump is keeping old Wasabi afloat and 12 volt bilge pumps are the least dependable piece of a small boat.  We could be doomed.

Probably not, though. The leak is slow.  Less than a cocktail drinking straw.  But, of course, it is relentless.  I have to address it.

It’s not easy.

The first issue is not the boat, it’s where to haul it out.  I need to haul it out where I can work on it and our recent tidal grid gets wet every tide change.  So, my window of opportunity on the go-to, paint-the-bottom grid is too short for the fibre-glassing I need to do.

I have been meaning to re-build the old haul-out I used for ‘winter boat storage’ – a few logs laid out at an angle that allowed me to drag the boat up to a dry part of the beach.  But that is not a good long term plan (the last ten years notwithstanding).

When the logs are used, they remain partly in the water and, if there is a rough sea (as there always is in winter) then the logs get moved around a bit and the boat is sitting on them….and, well,….two years ago the logs moved enough that the boat and the logs were imperiled.  As it was, the logs collapsed off their rock pedestals and fell a foot or so.  The boat was fine and I put it back in the water easily enough but my faith in jerry-rigged log ramps was eroded.  I am planning on a proper deck next time.

This time.

And therein lies the problem.  Building a skookum haul-out deck in the early days of spring, at an awkward distance from my tool shop and doing so while the boat it is intended for is sinking, puts a bit of pressure into the equation.  Plus the specs for a haul-out capable of taking a boat weighing a ton are not light.  I have to work with cement and 6×6 treated beams and use heavy steel fastenings and such.  This is NOT a one-day chore.

Logic says it will take me a week of good weather.

Logic also says, “there is unlikely to be a week of good weather.”

So, it may take three weeks of sporadic weather.

Murphy says, “You are forgetting about me!”

I will need a generator down there for the tools.  So, when our latest guests were here last week, I dragged out the old, neglected, heavy-duty genset that had not been started for two years and was full of stale gas and started the ‘boat haul-out’ chore by first trying to get the genset started.  After a bit of cleaning and fiddling, that work was rewarded and we had a good running genset to drag down a cliff.

The best way to do that was to use the high-line that I use for hauling logs up.  But that had broken just before Arizona so job #2 was getting that puppy up and working so that the genset could be lowered to the beach.  But Trev and I got that done, too.  So, we can now get crap up and down the hill.

Which is good.  Because cement is heavy crap.  And I need to get wheelbarrows and Reddi-mix bags and rock drills and heavy steel down there, too.  That’s 120 feet at a 35 degree angle.

And, once again, a lesson is hammered home.  Getting prepared and in position to do a job is just as much work as actually doing the damn job, especially if you factor in the after-job clean-up and tool return.

Now, if it would only stop raining…..

Prescient epilogue: the boat sank!  Fortunately, it was noticed by a passing friend while doing so and it only plunged in neck deep.  Two thirds of the engine was covered and that meant water in it.  That’s bad.  But we are blessed.  J, another friend and neighbour, is a marine mechanic. He came to the rescue.  Did all the right things and quickly, too.  Quick is essential when dealing with salt water.  Once that was done, Sal and I dragged ol’ Wasabi up the aforementioned broken logs from yesteryear. That was a huge job.  Took us til 8:00 pm to get that done.

Wasabe on the rickety old marine ways

Today we moved repair materials down to the bech.  Assessed the damage.  It will take me a few days to do the work but it is not a hard job except for the fact that I have to squeeze between two logs to get to the bottom of the boat. Worst part: I am rounder than the logs. That’s gonna be tight – already was.  That’s how the assessment was done. Doubly worse: the logs are lying over small trickle stream so, when Sal had the first look, she was half in the water doing so.  I managed to put some planks in and avoided much of that but doing the actual job will be wet work.

David readying one of the pallets of supplies and equipment

Will it be a good job?  No.  Too hard to do it right.  I really need the boat higher and drier than I can manage on the beach.  But it should be good enough to get the new haul-out deck built and then…well, we’ll see.

Pallet attached to highline heads downhill

 

I have another boat with a better hull but a rotten floor that I was gonna rebuild to replace ol’ Wasabi.  I’ll likely stick with that plan.

Pallet of supplies nearing the bottom of the hill

 

Lesson: no lesson.  Not really. Should have listened to Murphy, maybe?  He’s gonna get ya…one way or another…and he did.  Moved the plan up two weeks or so, the bastard.  Timing is everything.

 

 

Getting educated a bit too late

I am 69.  Sal is a few years younger.  We both acknowledge we are well into ‘middle-age’ and I may be creeping up on ‘old’.  Maybe.  The government already thinks so, anyway. We both get old age pensions.  We both get discounts on the ferry.  If we remember, (which we never do) we are eligible for other ‘senior’ discounts at stores and services as well. Somewhere, I am sure.  I just never remember to ask.

Overall, I would say that, with decreased consuming, increased discounts and ‘free money’ in the way of old age pensions, we are doing fine financially.  We are still at or below the official urban (2015) poverty line of approximately $22,000 per person ($19,000 if you live rurally), but we have never had it so good. $40,000+ per couple per annum is a good life off the grid.

The key, of course, is no debt.  We owe nothing except the monthly outstanding Visa bill and that gets paid off every month so ‘interest’ at usurious mobster rates is not a factor.  And the key to no debt is no mortgage, rent or the parasitical ‘umbilicals’ of cable, hydro, strata fees and the like.  And mortgages and rent are prohibitively expensive in the city.  Everything is.  But that is not so in small towns and even less so in cottage country (during the off-season, anyway).  Go off the grid altogether and the extortions become minimal to non-existent.

And that’s the point of this blog.  As of this writing the BC minimum wage is $10.85, soon to reach $11.25.  That hourly wage equates to about $20K a year.  If earned in a small town, it is pleasantly liveable.  If earned off the grid, it is more than enough.

Of course, off the grid work is seasonal at best but, then again, the work is not always at minimum wage and, if one was to work at least 600-700 hours during say, the tourist season (3 or 4 months), then wages plus ‘pogey’ is enough to live much better than a full time job in the city at similar or better wages.

The second book we are still wrestling with makes this point as well.  Why the hell would anyone live in the city and go into debt while renting a rat-hole and hating their job when a ‘regular’ and more pleasant job in a small town results in a much more pleasant and healthy existence?

I understand why I did it….I didn’t know any better.  I had an urban-centric bias. But, now that the city is totally unaffordable for young people, immigrants, single mothers, the ill-educated and elderly, why is there not a constant exodus to small towns?  And consider this: Sal and I did OK by city standards.  We bought a house. We walked away with some ‘equity’.  But, really…?  What did we do with that equity?  We just bought outright our own OTG home.  We still needed to supply the labour.  We did not sell Trump tower. We sold a cul-de-sac house.  We came away with just enough to build our own modest house.

That could have been achieved in half the time had we started in say, Campbell River or Comox.  The point: you come away with more money after a life in the city but it only serves to buy what you would have already had if you had started out in a small town.

So, why are small towns not blooming?  Why is the city growing?  Why are there NOT more people moving OTG?  Part of the answer, of course, is that OTG is physically harder.  I get that – especially if you are older.  But small towns aren’t any more physically challenging. Small towns have it all and you can commute in five minutes, park for free and still be a five minute walk from nature.

Seriously?  Except for a larger gene pool when you are younger, what does the city really have to offer?