Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last blog entry.
When last I wrote I was in Baltimore, MD getting caught up on a few union-related things that will open up a few more options for shipping out. Among other things, I got myself a quick certification as a Medical Person-in-Charge, renewed my Radar Observer qualification, and got certified to administer DOT drug and alcohol tests. More on that separately.
More important than all of that, I got a chance to meet a whole bunch more folks in the union and get a feel for how much longer it will be before I'm back at sea. The short answer: I have no idea.
I flew back from Baltimore to LAX (narrowly missing a nightmare of weather-related delays threatening the Eastern seaboard) , found my car after a lengthy search of the wrong parking garage, and crashed out with Ana at the apartment in Long Beach. The next morning (a Saturday) we had a fairly laid-back day, went to check out a house for sale, caught a movie, helped my sister move, and enjoyed an otherwise laid-back day.
I don't remember what happened Sunday (a lot has gone on since then), but on Monday Ana flew up to Seattle for the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum where she got to catch up with her old Asian friends:
Meanwhile, I drove up to to Petaluma to get a few things done. Upon arrival I made the mistake of sitting down on the boat and almost couldn't get myself moving again. It was a nice place to stop for a moment:
When I finally got moving again, I caught up with my father just in time to go with him to get his ratrod project from the muffler shop:
We returned with time to spare and I got to help with a few other minor things around the house such as catching the neighbor's stray rabbit:
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in a whirlwind flurry of activity on the boat and in the workshop where I spun my wheels louder than ever and managed to accomplish nearly naught. If I recall correctly, the only thing that could be called a complete success was when I fixed a tiny leak in one of the freshwater hoses so I could use the shower. Then I found out that the shower drain is leaking into the bilges and I've got a whole host of new issues to deal with. Alas.
I did have a bit of help from my nephew Trey though. Among other things, he took pictures for me:
Anyhow, Wednesday night I drove through the night and arrived in Long Beach at about 0800 in preparation for a doctor's check-up at noon. That was Thursday. Thursday afternoon I picked up Ana at LAX. While I was getting a ticket for stopping in front of the passenger terminal, she showed up at the car wearing a monkey costume:
I guess it's our way.
Exhausted, it took me a little while to get moving on Friday. We ended up wasting the morning. In the afternoon we stopped for California's best burgers and fries (at a place called Cisco Burgers):
Next we drove up to the Firestone Winery where Rose had set up a small concert for the evening. We ended up running late and caught the tail end of the show, then we went back to Rose's place, met up with Sheryl, and then went out drinking at a dive bar in the middle of nowhere called "Maverick." There were pictures. Some were not flattering:
The next day Ana, Sheryl and I stopped for breakfast and I jammed a piece of bacon in Ana's ear.* Once we were done eating, we set out toward Petaluma and other points north.
On the way my car started to overheat. After a few spikes in the thermometer, I decided to stop and see if I was low on coolant. Unfortunately, I didn't wait long enough before opening the radiator cap. If you've ever looked closely at your radiator cap, you may have noticed a label which reads, "CAUTION! Do not open when hot." It turns out the folks who wrote that label weren't fucking around. I've got shiny new burn scars to prove it.
Back in Petaluma, I finally got a chance to get back to work on a few more projects here and there. I also had a bit more help:
After a couple of days of running around Petaluma, Ana headed back to Long Beach. This time around I stayed in Petaluma to do what I can to catch up on the projects stacking up in Northern California. I'm sure I'll end up posting details about many of these things pretty soon. I've got the re-rigging project, the leaking gunwale seams project, the HALO armor project, the Sherman tank project, and a whole host of other things I've been neglecting to write about.
Meanwhile, the job hunt continues. Stay tuned.
*Not a euphemism.