Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Someone told me once that women are not female men.  Truer words have never been spoken.  Having been married one month short of twenty five years, I feel I have earned the right to speak on the issue.  Knowing in advance the consequences of such actions, I nonetheless feel the need to vent.

Since we bought Maya about 18 months ago, we have been spending a fair amount of time cleaning, repairing and outfitting her.  Much of the effort has been focused on the engine room - the heart and soul of the ship.  Lets face it, if we can't get her off the dock, boating isn't going to be very much fun.  With that in mind, my contribution has been mostly mechanical in nature.  I've been down there sweating and bleeding, covered from head to toe with all kinds of fluids.  From hoses to filters,  from batteries to switches and from wiring to pumps, I have contributed a lot of sweat equity to this adventure.  While it has been a labor of love, it also has been a lot of work.  Knock on wood, we are coming down the home stretch on the mechanical rehabilitation of Maya.  It is my hope that in the future there will be more fun and less toil.

In my mind, the mechanical aspect of running the boat is by far the most important issue we have to deal with.  Since that part is just about behind us, I am ready to roll.  Anything else that needs done can wait for awhile.

Not so fast.  Since we have now completed the preliminary phase of boat ownership, it is time, I have been told, to move on to the secondary phase.


I have to be honest with you.  I do not understand a woman's need to decorate, redecorate, update and remodel.  It makes no sense to me.  When we purchased Maya, she was in great shape.  The previous owners had done a marvelous job with 'redecorating' and had just completed their project shortly before we signed the check.  Why we need to redo what they just redid is beyond me.  But after 25 years of wedded bliss,  I should know better than to ask questions like this.

First up is the curtains.... or should I say 'window treatments.'  Kim has had me hang lots of drapes over the years and I still cannot understand why they are now called 'window treatments'.  When did that happen?

So anyway, on my last visit to Maya, I had to remove the old 'treatments', count their pleats,  measure their height and width and then pack a sample from each cabin and bring them back home to Ohio.  I have been told that we need to do this in order to properly match the colors on the walls with the other fabrics throughout the boat.... fabrics which, no doubt are also going to be replaced.

Second up is the bedspread, although it is not called a "bedspread" anymore.  It now goes by one of several updated names such as "Comforter"  ...  "Duvet cover" ...  "Coverlets"  and  "Quilts."  It must be 'accessorized' with one or more "shams" "dust ruffles"  and "decorative pillows".  Coordination with all other aspects of color is the goal.

Kim dragged me a local department store a few weeks ago to look at possible alternatives.  "What do you think about the mauve?"  she asked me.

"The what?"  I asked.

"The mauve one.  Don't you know what that is?"

Just for the record, men can identify six or seven basic colors.  Red, blue, yellow, green, brown, purple, black and white are the colors in my world.  Mauve is not one of them.

So, in the interest of brevity, I said I liked the 'mauve', hoping to end the tortuous shopping trip as soon as humanly possible.  But it was not to be.  After a few seconds, Kim decided she didn't like the mauve either and we moved on.  Up and down the rainbow we went that day.  I learned about colors I didn't know existed.... and I read the newspaper everyday!

Here is a partial list of my new favorites:

Cinnabar     (red)
Fuscous      (brown)
Heliotrope   (purple)
Ochre          (light brown)
Periwinkle    (blue)
Primrose      (yellow)
Umber        (red)

In the end, we did buy something.  I am not sure if it is a coverlet or a duvet though.  I also don't know what color is it, although it looks light brown to me.  What I do know is that I hate shopping for fabrics and would give anything to not do it again.  I feel though that this is just the beginning.  We have many more rooms to go.  I am cyan just thinking about it.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

I should know by now that you get what you pay for.  I have
been burned enough over the years that you would think that lesson would have sunk in.  What must be happening is that when I see a good deal, the dollar signs that are floating around my eyes cloud the judgement part of my brain, thus rendering me unable to think clearly.

Such was the case with our new teak table and chair set..... the one I drove 900 miles one way from Cincinnati down to the boat.

As deals go, this was a goody!  Teak is not cheap.  It is weather proof and lasts forever.  The table and chairs were the perfect complement to the teak floors and cabinetry we have virtually all over Maya.  We bought this set at a local 'close-out' warehouse type store and were able to save nearly one boat unit over the prices on the internet.

When we saw it on display in the store, I became giddy with the prospect of another great deal coming our way.  It wasn't until we began to load our car with our newfound loot that the seeds of remorse were sown.  Two familiar phrases were emblazoned all over the packaging; phrases that put the fear of God into deal chasers like me. 

"Made in China"  ...... and ...... "Some assembly required"

Confucius says to "Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes".  Perhaps they should have printed that on the packaging too. If they had, I probably would have turned around and taken the entire set back into the store for a refund, because as I stood there loading my car, that little voice I tend to ignore with great peril (no, not Kim's..... the other voice) was telling me that this wasn't going to turn out good.  My past experience with imports that needed assembly have without exception, ended in disaster.

So if truth is the first casualty of war it might follow that pride is the first casualty of marriage.  I spent the drive home from the store extolling to Kim,  the virtues of our new furniture.  She, being the smart one, had her radar on from the git-go.  "Let's look at this a little closer before we buy it," was her advice.  

"While you are looking closer" I told her,  "I am going to go look for someone to help us out to the car with this."
With those few spoken words, I had just taken ownership of the table and chairs.  If any problems concerning the purchase came up in the future, it would be on my head.

So flash forward to our current location in Florida.  The moment had arrived when I would take the old worn aluminum table and chairs over to Goodwill and majestically replace them with my 'deal of the century'.  As I sat down to ponder the instructions and sort through the various nuts and bolts, it dawned on me that there was something missing.....namely assembly instructions.

Well, I guess I should correct that by saying there were no instructions that were in English.  There was this sheet of paper that I am guessing described what to do with the 60 odd nuts, bolts and screws that were in a pile at my feet but unfortunately it was printed in Chinese.

I wasn't as concerned about putting the puzzle together as I was seeing the look on Kim's face if this thing didn't piece together just right.  I knew that if I didn't make this work, I would never hear the end of it.  If the legs of the table were wobbly or the chairs were squeaky, it would forever be my baby.  So there I sat for the next three hours, trying different combinations of screws and bolts with chair arms and table feet.  It must have been amusing to watch as the older couple in the next house down came out with their evening cocktails to enjoy the show.  

"How's it going there young fella!" they called down once or twice.  "Fine, just fine," I replied. 

Eventually it all came together and I must say it looks rather nice.  While it took a bit longer to assemble than I had anticipated, I am quite proud of the job.  Whenever you come down to the boat and sit in one of the chairs, make sure you ask me to tell you the story of how we got this great deal on the set.  I would be happy to tell you all about it.   Although Confucius tells us that "real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance" I will probably be right there the next time I hear about a big sale on Chinese imports.