Saturday, March 16, 2013

Co-conspirators in The Escape

Without a doubt the most fun part of rebuilding Oceanus is working with my wife. She is smart and hard working with skills that complement my own. She is constantly coming up with ideas that will make the boat more livable and beautiful  -- and then helping me bring them to life.

Jobs that I hate, or I'm not good at, she tackles with aplomb. It was such a relief to be able to turn over all of the painting to her. She is fast and good at it. She kept me racing along with the filling, sanding and other prep work so she would have things to paint during our weekends together working on the boat.

Popping plugs: The Plug Queen at work. More than 800 plugs so far and counting.
When I grumbled about all the screw holes that needed to be plugged after installing the ceiling, she volunteered to do it. She soon became the Plug Queen, spending hours gluing more than 800 (so far) plugs in place. Then, she learned to use a chisel to pare the plugs off flush. Now, she claims to love plugging screw holes. Another tedious job I don't have to worry about.

All 78 pounds of Virginia's new sewing machine.
A huge job she shouldered is the many sewing projects on the boat. Since the boat has an entirely new layout, it will need all new cushions. She picked out fabric (Sumbrella) and foam to make the new cushions and bought a heavy-duty sewing machine to sew them.

She is experienced with sewing, having made many of her own clothes over the years and even sewing covers for our other sailboats. But sewing a new dodger, bimini, cockpit enclosure and other boat-canvas projects will stretch her abilities. She is also learning to do sail repair and even make new sails.

She also thinks of ways to incorporate our favorite things into the boat to make it ours. For instance, she pasted old park passes, Fast Passes and other memorabilia from trips with our kids and grandkids to Disneyland onto the insulation before we covered it up with the ceiling. We won't (I hope) ever see it again, but it's fun just knowing they are there. We did the same kind of thing by incorporating an old paperweight of mine into the wood trim.

Mementos soon to be buried behind the ceiling. 
More than anything, Virginia is my inspiration on this project. Whenever the thought creeps into my mind to take a shortcut in the work I'm doing I think, "No. I want this to be the best work I can do because it will be Virginia's home." I would hate myself if, for instance, I failed to round over a sharp edge and she banged into it and hurt herself.

While she has always been supportive of my sailing obsession -- including three years when I disappeared into the garage to build a faering -- this time is different. This time she is fully engaged. She usually works with me two days a week on the boat. When I work alone, she always asks for a full report on "our escape-pod project." She spends hours watching how-to videos on making all the canvas work needed for our sailboat and carefully selecting fabric and just the right fasteners.

The result is that we are closer and more in tune as a couple than ever before in our 37 years of marriage. Working together on the boat and planning for our New Life is about the most fun we've had with our clothes on. I tell people that we are doing this project because I can't stand to be more than 40 feet away from my wife. And that's no joke.

Now, if I could just talk her into doing the plumbing....