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On Living Aboard

For a couple of weeks after we took delivery of our new washing machine, all I could think about was where we were going to mount it and how. I’d helped my friend Ritchie McGill install some kitchen cabinets he’d custom built on the third floor of a condo and for that, he was going to look at our 42-foot boat and see how the washer could be mounted. But we had to postpone that due to him having to re-visit one of his customers to take care of a problem. He builds custom furniture and I help him with the installation.

We decided the best place for the washer was in the forward cabin right up against the forward bulkhead, behind which is the chain locker, and it doesn’t require egress very often. But when it does you most likely need to get in there right now! That means mounting it secure, but the ability to get it out of the way in short order. Not an easy thing to do.
Ritchie got here and spent a while studying the problem. He looked at it from every angle with his chin in his hand while making strange sounds. He left without offering any solution. He returned that afternoon and after some discussion, we both decided that the best way would be to fabricate a platform that would move out of the way on hinges. Well, one pipe hinge anyway. The hinge would be mounted at the left rear of the platform and swing to the left. The problem would be that much weight hanging from one corner hinge would affect a large moment of force and we both doubted the fasteners at both the top and bottom would last very long.
The answer was to incorporate slots in the bottom of the platform to fit a small hydraulic jack that would lock in place and take the weight when no movement was needed. The washer would be secure but could be moved very quickly when access to the chain locker becomes necessary.
With that problem solved I was able to get a good night’s sleep.
Once we figured out how to mount the washer and I had collected all the parts, it took a morning’s worth of work to complete the installation.
Walking to my truck that afternoon to put away some tools, I met Ray, the yard foreman and he told me that the guy who had taken my slip while I was relaxing up the river a while back was suing for the day’s dockage. Ray had asked him to move and the guy became upset and left, even though he’d paid for the day. I guess he felt he was entitled even though he left on his own. I’m glad I had stayed out of that.
With my wife, the Blonde back from her work trip, we decided to take a few days and get away from it all. Due to COVID and the price of diesel we haven’t traveled much this summer. That and getting the Blonde set up for working from home. She is an architect who specializes in troubleshooting, which sometimes requires traveling to various parts of the country, which doesn’t always set well with her. Luckily, that doesn’t happen often, and she does make pretty good money. I took the so-called golden handshake some time ago, so we do live quite comfortably.
We live full-time in our forty-foot Huckins sedan cruiser that we’ve modified to suit our needs. She is made of wood, so she has the potential to last forever. She is in very good shape and it doesn’t take much effort to keep her there. About the same as any other boat, but you cannot neglect anything.
We decided to hang out for a few days at Flat Hammock, pronounced ‘Hummock’ by locals. It’s a small inlet tucked into the lee of Fishers Island, N.Y., and isn’t far from anywhere. There are usually several others anchored there as well, but most keep to themselves, like us, they too are getting away from it all.
We have a very good, albeit expensive, WIFI system and for the Blonde this makes working from the boat completely transparent to her clients.
This was one of the rare times that we didn’t bring Mustard, our little twenty-two foot runabout. With the COVID scare still hanging around, we weren’t planning on going anywhere else. I had gone shopping before we left and as a result, we certainly had enough groceries in stock to stay here for a couple of weeks if we wanted to.
Checking the weather report before hitting the sack, I saw that there was a line of thunderstorms to the west of us, some pretty strong ones at that, which meant I wasn’t going to sleep too well. Any time there is a weather event that has the potential to give us a nasty visit, I do not sleep well.
I got up early and had coffee made and scrambled eggs ready to go as soon as the Blonde appeared.
We were halfway through breakfast when my cell phone rang. Checking the number before answering, as I never answer my phone without seeing who it is. If I don’t recognize the number, I let it go to voice mail. It saves a lot of unnecessary talking. I did though, recognize this number, my friend Ritchie.
“It’s your dime.” I said.
“Gorgeous day.” He answered. “Hey, I’ve got a job to do this afternoon. Can you give me a hand?”
“Sure. I said. What time?”
“Any time after noon. The guy can’t get time off in the morning.”
“OK.” I said. Meet ya at your place at eleven.”
I didn’t tell Ritchie we were anchored up at Flat Hummock. He’d feel bad knowing we’d come back to the yard just for him. He does a lot for us, including letting us keep Mustard in his heated barn in the winter months, which is why I help him whenever he needs it.
Shortly after breakfast, we got underway for home. I was secretly hoping that we wouldn’t find anyone in our slip this time and there wasn’t. I saw Ray and he wondered why we were back so soon. I explained it to him and headed out to Ritchie’s at noon.
The job was to move an enormous sideboard Ritchie had built. It was so big that it was in three pieces. It had to go to the second floor, up two flights of very narrow outside stairs. Ritchie, as he always does, had checked everything out beforehand and we managed, with a great deal of effort, to get the sideboard in place in about two hours of intense labor. The hardest one I’ve helped him with.
Back at the boat, I threw my sweat-soaked clothes into our new washer to break it in. Then I took a long, cold shower.
When I got out of the shower, the Blonde had clean clothes all laid out for me and, laughingly, a note inviting me to the cockpit for cool drinks. It was signed, S.W.A.K., or sealed with a kiss.
I do enjoy a good life!