Sunday, June 24, 2012

Am I a Salt Wife Yet?

So as many readers know - we have a sailboat.  She's a 30 foot Ericson, lovely boat. (this is me when we picked her up on Long Island - behind the sunglasses is complete surprise that we really went ahead and actually got a sailboat)  Most of you also know I am a very committed JAP - more likely to go into paradoxms of pleasure over a shoe sale at Bergdof's than over a weekend at sea.  But my lovely and patient WASP husband is a true boater - loving (almost) nothing more than being out on the water and as I really enjoy spending time with him, I try to find my way.  In my own fashion.

The sailboat has been a challenge for me and a blessing.  A challenge because I really am a know-absolutely-bloody-nothing, heaven helps us if he falls overboard, because while I am learning, right now I'm not sure I even know how to drop the sails and call for help,  and a blessing because she's an amazing entertainment platform - I can chill out, tan, get drinks, get hors d'oeuvers, play music, invite our friends for dinner...unlike our motorboat (did I mention my lovely and patient husband loves boats?) where I really can't do a damn thing but make squeaky noises whenever we hit a particularly nasty wake and sit there hoping we make it home alive once more.  So I like the sailboat better (it's like a play house underneath - there is a tiny little kitchen and a tiny little bathroom and a table that drops down to form the base of a bed) but over the last couple of days, it seems like she's been trying to see what it takes to make me say "Uncle."

Yesterday we had friends out and the ladder down to below came out of its fastenings (while I was on it!!!!) and collapsed to the floor.  Bumps, bruises and a bit of injured pride, but no real harm done.  We need to figure out a solution to hold it in place (since this is the second time this has happened to me) but this is a problem easily fixed.  We just have to get around to it.  Today, however was a whole 'nother story in our continuing adventures.

Today we had P's stepbrothers and kids out, along with his mom, we had such a lovely sail, P and I decided to stay out on the boat when everyone else went back.  It was the perfect summer day, felt like a little mini-vacation.  Sun, tunes, wine, lunch.  Both kids are busy - and even better busy elsewhere!  Life is good. We had been out for a good long while, luxuriating in no kids, no phone calls, no worries, when  P went down below to use the head (which is  a very silly name for toilet, but sailboats are full of silly names).  Now at this point in all fairness, I do have to mention that last night we both said we really ought to bring the boat into the work dock because it's probably about time to pump out the holding tank (gross but true, you have to go to a pump station and pump out the toilet's holding tank, which is still way less gross than just dumping it overboard, which people did for YEARS!!!!!) but it was a vacation day and we hadn't gotten around to it yet.

All of a sudden there was a lot of yelling, swearing and consternation coming from below decks, "Shit, shit, shit....paper towels!!!!! Do we have paper towels?"  Yes gentle readers, the holding tank was interrupting my perfect summer day by overflowing - so that was super, super, super gross, but P got the small overflow cleaned up and we decide we have to head in to the work dock to get this pumped out PRONTO.

So we do.  We get to the work dock and I manage to throw the line to the dock attendant without missing or hitting myself in the face with it, or any other sort of embarrassing mishap.  I'm feeling pretty good about this whole boaty thing.  I've got this.  P jumps on to the dock and tries to start up the Pump-A-Head.  He uncoils the hose, presses all the buttons in the order prescribed on the sticker, but nothing seems to be happening.  He asks me to go in to the head and flip the switch from dry bowl to intake, maybe that's the problem?  I try it, but no.  That doesn't do anything at all.   So I flip it back.  He's standing on the dock, holding the stupid hose, after pressing the buttons all over again, with nothing he says "Here, hold this.  I'll check the inside."  And shows me how to keep one hand on the boat and one on the suction hose that is supposed to be sucking sewage out of our tank.

He goes below and I swear, not two seconds later the pump decides to start working with great force and  an incomplete seal - covering our boat and me, (in my super-cute white and silver sequined bathing suit cover-up) with raw sewage.  Now, to be fair, not with a lot of sewage - the pump automatically shuts off when the seal is broken, but really how much sewage do you need?  "HONEY!!!!!!" was about all I could muster.  He came outside, looked at me, looked at the pump. looked at the boat, looked at me again and said, "OK, I'll take care of this, why don't you go up and shower."  So smelling horrific the whole way, I toddled up to our pool locker, showered, changed and came back to a sparkling clean boat and a sparkling clean head.  He'd gotten the pump fixed (better late than never?) gotten the boat hosed off, and gotten the floor (there's probably a silly boat word for that too, I just don't know what it is) next to the head cleaned up.  We headed back out to our mooring and continued on having a great lazy Sunday.  We were having a nice peaceful summer day together and I was damned if a little raw sewage was gonna get in the way of my enjoying the day.

I still love my boat even if she is testing me - but still once we got out there I sprinkled little bits of salt on every hatch and porthole (doorway and window) to shoo the evil spirits away - no sense taking any chances. I think I've proved myself as seaworthy now.  And I really hope she thinks so too.

The moral of my very long winded story?  When life throws poop at you, take a shower and move on as if nothing had ever gone wrong.  It's a beautiful day, what else can you possibly do?