Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Boating Dividend

Both of my parents were raised on farms during the Depression, so self-reliance and frugality were things I was raised with. I remember many weekends watching my dad tear apart the dishwasher or seeing his head under the hood of a car with wrenches and assorted tools. Calling a repairmen was a sign of defeat.

So imagine my horror when after a few months of marriage I came home to a dishwasher that wouldn't start and my husband's only response was, “Better call the plumber.”

Over the years I adjusted and developed a list of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other repair people. Then we bought a boat. The first boat was a 40 year old lobster boat, a tank we couldn't destroy even if we tried. Every Winter we turned the boat over to the the local boat yard for repairs and maintenance.

Next we bought a new Albin. Jeff had more trouble blindly putting this boat into the hands of another and started learning to do some of the work himself.

With our trawler we realized that self-reliance translated into independence. After 8 years of cruising there are few projects we don't dive into and complete ourselves - engine maintenance, new system installations, electronics, carpentry, finish work, and whatever else comes up.

Last week it was the washing machine – it wouldn't drain. It took about two hours for us to get the machine out of it's nook below and check all the hoses - which were clear. A quick search on the Internet led us to the pump with suggestions for what to check. Jeff changed a seal and cleaned it up although the pump was a little chewed up. Another couple hours to put it all back – it drained for 2 minutes and then stopped. We ordered a new pump online and two days later spent another few hours taking it all apart again (hey, we learned some lessons from the first time), replaced the pump, and we now have clean clothes again.

And the best part is these new found skills are finding their way to our land based home. Last time the refrigerator stopped making ice, my dear sweet husband said, “Let me take a look at it.” I call it The Boating Dividend.


September Song said...

Do I see a troubleshooting section on Active Captain in the future? How many pionts for a hat? Welcome to the handyman world Jeff.

MV Red Head said...

Handyman? It's more like let's-do-as-little-damage-as-possible.

Actually, there's not much difference between writing back-end software for a web service and changing an impeller, installing a water pump, fixing a door, or spraying gelcoat.

Although writing software keeps your hands cleaner...