Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two Weeks to Go

We are now under two weeks on our countdown to departure and the excitement - or is it the stress? - is beginning to build.

We plan to leave July 23, give or take a few days. We're not on a fixed schedule, so we'll let the weather - and the status of must-do items - dictate when we leave.

This past weekend, realizing we were about to hit the two-week mark, Phil went into panic mode as he had frittered away the Spring. All of a sudden, we had to get serious about completing our preparations. (As though we weren't serious enough already.) Since launching in the spring, here's an abbreviated list of the major things Bernie did while Phil "frittered away the Spring".

Bought and outfitted a dinghy.
We bought a 12 1/2 foot Sea Eagle inflatable on Craig's List from someone here in Chicago. It came with an electric trolling motor, battery, battery box (with meter, handle, external studs for easy hook-up), battery charger, and all the basics such as air pump, bags, seats, canvas cover, canvas top, oars, repair kit, etc. We had to buy navigation lights, safety kit, and davits to carry it on our swim platform. Even though it's a roll-up, Phil didn't want to have to deal with inflating it every time we wanted to use it (that takes away from valuable fritter time). So we got the Weaver Davits that allow you to bring the dinghy up alongside the swim platform, attach it to the davits, then tilt it up.

Practiced using the dinghy.
Never having used an inflatable before, we figured we should get familiar with it. We've spent a number of mornings in the dinghy, tooling around the harbor here in Chicago, practicing with the electric motor, learning how fast it goes (a whopping 3.2 mph in calm water, slower when it's choppy), learning how long the batteries last, and learning how to maneuver it so you don't hit every boat, buoy, pier, and goose that happens to be in the area. Bernie likes to get exercise by rowing, but Phil is more of a "if it has a motor, use it" kind of person. That means the folks out in Monroe harbor often see Bernie rowing "that lazy guy" around the harbor. She gets a lot more exercise than she realizes because she doesn't row very straight. Yet.

Bought and installed a new refrigerator.
Our old one conked out last fall (they just don't make things like they used to -- that one was only 25 years old), so we bought a new one. It actually took a lot of digging to find one with approximately the same dimensions to fit in the cut-out in the galley. And, of course, it couldn't be smaller than the old one! Getting it on the boat turned out to be quite the task. It wouldn't fit through the companionway door without removing the teak trim. There were about 40 wooden bungs covering up the screws that had to be removed (and new ones installed). As long as that was being done . . .

Refinished the companionway (and . . . )
This was one of those projects that was the result of another completely different one. But, as long as the companionway had to be disassembled, and since the varnish had seen its better days, we decided to refinish it. But, since this required removing the door, did we have to pick the one weekend when the temperature dropped to 50 degrees to do this? We decided to refinish the peeling handrail around the aft deck, too, since we had the sandpaper and varnish out anyway.

Installed an inverter and extra batteries
Bernie loves to cook (seasonal food that is locally and sustainably grown). Phil loves to eat the food that Bernie cooks. Put those together, and the following rule emerges: The Refrigerator Must Never Lack Electricity. Enough said.

Ok, so those were the major accomplishments. There were also lots of smaller projects that Phil frittered the Spring away doing. But, none of that seemed to matter this past weekend, when we realized We Only Have Two Weeks To Go!!!!! So now, there's a new project list. We'll be writing about some of our current preparations in upcoming days. (There he goes again - frittering his time away writing a blog entry instead of crossing projects off his to do list.)

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