Vitruvian crab, by Leonardo Da Pinchi.
Part-time wrencher, full-time geek.
A Volvo XC90 can carry up to six packs of R15 stone wool batting, three rolls of 3'x150' house wrap, a few tools, the winter coat that junior left behind, and a box of Girl Scout cookies*.
This was a public service announcement from the house of Aremmes. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
As of this afternoon, I'm no longer the owner of a Miata. The buyer came all the way from northern New Jersey with a Ram and a trailer to pick it up and give me a solid wad of cash in return. He's gonna try and fix up the rails and take it out racing, much like the Spec Miata he had before it got smooshed.
Seven years and ten months -- that's not a bad run, if I say so myself.
These are some of the photos I posted to Craigslist. I didn't bother cleaning the car up, figuring if I'm gonna sell a car with an unfavorable ratio of steel to iron oxide and be honest about it then there's not much point in making it look pretty.
Goodbye, little rust bucket. May your sends always be full.
Two weeks ago, I reported that I bought a sailboat in Massachusetts. Now, after what seemed like forever and change, the boat has finally been moved out of the seller's backyard, and delivered to my marina's boatyard in Middle River, MD. It went mostly trouble-free. Mostly.
See, between when I bought the boat and now we had this thing called "snow", which when sandwiched between vulcanized rubber and soil tends to act like a grease and prevent traction. The transport company called ahead of time to ask that the area leading to the boat was cleared, but when they got there on Wednesday they found quite a bit of snow on the ground.
That's the driveway leading out to the road, BTW.
The guy who went there to collect the boat, who I found out is one of the owners of the company, called me with some concern about the truck's inability to stride the snow-covered surface. Yeah, nah, he was right pissed that the property's owner had not cleared it up after confirming that he'd have it ready. I see the guy's point, though; that's a smallish single-axle truck with an open differential, that would have definitely gotten stuck. He rescheduled for Thursday, giving the property owner time to remove the snow, and brought extra help the next morning to grit the path leading out.
Forward just under 24 hours to this morning, and the boat was being dropped off, where I made myself present to witness the offloading and perform the ceremonial handover of the check.
For larger boats, the marina has a 40-ton travelift, however mine tips in under four so they used a chonky forklift and a couple of nylon saddle straps instead.
And then, just like that, she was sitting at her new home. Volvo shown for size comparison.
I then did a quick walkaround, went on deck and down below to confirm that everything was OK, and then went on my merry way.
Bonus DOTS. Not a car, but a leftover of previous times. Do people in that town also "tap the MAC"?
And a kitty for your time.
Ya like wood? How about wood on the walls? Sounds rather posh, innit? Well, how about entire walls covered in oriented strand board... and nothing else?
Yes, it appears that some interior designers have managed to convince their clients to eschew more common materials such as paint, drywall, tile, wainscoting, shiplap, etc. in favor of exposed OSB panels.
Some have gone as far as leaving concrete beams and columns exposed alongside the OSB panels for that touch of mid-20th-century brutalism, because if you're not gonna bother covering the chip board, who's gonna give a shit about bare concrete?
Another handy benefit of exposed OSB walls is that you can place very hot devices in close proximity in order to make up for not putting windows in those big-ass wall openings, ensuring that you'll be warm for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not. That's hot.
And you know what goes best with OSB? Water! So why not cover your bathroom walls with it? Don't forget to not put a blower in the ceiling, the moisture will punch a hole through all by itself. Now that's working smart.
More examples of galaxy-brain design in this article.
I heard some squirty noises coming from the room in the basement that houses the water heater and filter system this afternoon. I had no intention of peeking in there since watching plumbing do its work is as entertaining as an anonymous rock, but I was curious so I checked. And... there was a puddle on the floor. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.... I had plans to go to the store but my OCD kicked in so I grabbed the shop vac and collected as much water as I could, and then started to look for leaks.
Fortunately, that didn't take long --- I found the drain for the T&P valve on the heater was dripping quite steadily. And so was the bottom of the heater. FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...
Now, I don't know about youse, but my first thought when I saw the T&P valve leaking was to replace the valve, which obviously would've been cheaper. After seeing the wet bottom and given its age, though, I started looking online to see if anything was available for pickup. I found that Lowe's had a 55-gallon model in stock nearby, so I ordered it online, went to pick it up, loaded it into the XC90, and went back home.
Conveniently, there's a hose running from the water heater room to the basement sump to drain the dehumidifier, so I shanghai'd it to drain the old heater while I brought the new unit down through the bilco door and unboxed it. Eventually I managed to stand the new heater on a cart, so I set it aside to check on the drain progress. That was still not quite done, which in hindsight should've been expected for an 80-gallon tank, so I set out to disconnect the water and power lines that I had shut off previously. With that done, I tested the old tank's weight and figured out that I could roll it aside so I could install the new unit in its place, and after a few insistent shoves I got it out of the way so it could continue draining.
I got a pan for the new heater to catch any drip action, so I put that down first and then slid the new heater onto it. It looked fantastic, and the water lines lined up perfectly, but there was a problem -- the connector hoses were too short. It turns out that the fittings on the old tank are just a bit longer than those on the new one, just enough to make up the difference. I wasn't about to start pulling down on the lines to make them fit, so I went back to Lowe's to see if they had any longer connectors. No dice, the longest they had is 24" which is what I already have, but they had an 18" pipe with a male thread on one end and a female thread on the other, which I could use to extend the existing ones.
So I yoinked those, brought them home, went to install them, and DISASTER. Someone in the house must've opened a faucet elsewhere in the house, and sent water down the hot side and onto the new heater. It. Was. Soaked. On top. Around the sides. Down on the drip pan. Under the thermostat/heating element covers. And inside the junction box. More shopvacc'ing ensued, along with a good toweling to get everything dried up. I looked inside the thermostat covers and found them mostly dry, the foam having repelled most of the water that rolled over it. Once everything looked acceptably dry, I installed the water lines and wiring, opened the inlet valve to start filling the tank, tightened a water line that was seeping a bit, and went upstairs to let the air out. Then, once it was properly burped, I went to the breaker box, crossed my fingers, flipped the switch, and... nothing burned. Huzzaahhh.
And there they are, old and new. The old tank is still draining as I write this. Now excuse me while I go get a beer.
When working with a complicated piece of machinery, ensure that you become fully acquainted with said machinery before you begin any procedures. Specially, do not assume that the subject piece of kit has features similar to other equipment with which you are familiar. This way you can avoid situations like, oh, I don't know, pouring two quarts of GL-4 gear oil down the shifter turret of your transmission wondering why it doesn't fill up only to find out later that only the five-speed gearbox takes turret oil while the six-speed doesn't and then having to pop the fill plug to release said excess quantity of gear oil.
Don't be a fuckup. Read the instructions.
With the COVID-19 pandemic rendering my employment status as "all remote all the time", I've wanted to have something that would occupy my time and simultaneously provide an escape from the house without much exposure to people (an introvert's dream, natch). So naturally, last November I started looking for a thing that would take the place of the other thing that I sold a year and a half prior, along with a place to put it, and make plans for what to do with it. Today, I finally closed on the deal.
In other words, I bought a boat. A sailboat, to be more precise.
I owned an Endeavour 32 between 2011 and 2019, which was a fine boat but required more of my time than I could dedicate, and I figured I'd sell it before nature took its course. Who woulda thunk that not a year later the world would be sent into extended home stay, and since my employer provides the sorts of tools that enable remote work, it was only natural that we'd end up eating our own dog food.
I was initially looking for something trailerable in the 18-to-25-foot range that I'd be able to tow with the XC90, but either only found less than agreeable examples or the sellers didn't reply to my requests for information. Then in December something came up that caught my eye: a 33-foot slip in the Chesapeake for sale, and the owner had dropped the asking price to $3,850. Some quick mental math and a couple of trips later and I had a place to keep a boat. But I had to find a boat.
I got to trade emails with a few people, including one who was selling his liveaboard Ericson 27 who eventually ghosted on me. I got to see a made-in-Japan Mariner 31 ketch (pic below), which looked fine from the outside but felt cramped inside. I would've made an offer, but it had a split main mast and a rotten cockpit, and I didn't feel like dealing with any of that.
Not finding anything nearby at a decent price that'd fit in the slip, I started looking further away. That lead me to a Craigslist ad posted by a seller in Mattapoiset, MA offering the subject of this post, a boat that the now previous owner bought from a donate-your-boat program and immediately mothballed and put into storage for seven years, not having touched the water in that time. It's kept at his mother's house, and since her passing the heirs have wanted to get rid of it.
It's a Watkins 27, 27 feet long (obvs.), 10-foot beam, 3.6-foot draft, and 7,500 lbs. It's wide and shallow, with smaller sail area than its size would dictate, so it's expected to be slow, but I'm fine with that. The hull and gelcoat are in great shape, as is the interior. It's got old instruments: Signet depth and speed, a Garmin chartplotter with Cape Cod charts, and a Furuno radar. The ice box is refrigerated, there's a water pressure pump and a water heater, and the head has a shower and a manual toilet. The engine, a 13-hrsprs Yanmar diesel, is raw-water cooled, but appeared to be properly prepared for storage. The sails feel almost new. There's no delamination or core rot on the deck, cabin top, or hull, although the rudder seems to have had a close encounter with solid underwater objects and a subsequent shoddy repair.
In all, it seemed that the hard-to-fix stuff is in good shape, and the easy-to-fix things will not take a lot of work, and the surveyor's report supported that impression. The seller accepted my offer of $5,000, and I left a $1,000 deposit with a plan to return once I had arranged for transport. This weekend I went to prepare the boat for the upcoming trip, pay the remaining balance, and get the title. Unfortunately, the dinghy wasn't part of the deal, but oh well.
Now I have to wait until the middle of February to bring the boat to its new home so I can start taking care of the major things before putting it in the water. Should be fun!
@tophercrowder Why be mad? You woke up pants-less, isn't that a dream come true?
@Tekamul I grew up block-and-concrete house and very much enjoy a hard, solid floor with a smooth surface, as it gives a feeling of mass that a wood-framed house can't. However, I would not willingly put hard flooring, specially tile, on a wood subfloor or any other kind of substrate that can flex, that's just asking for problems with cracking over time.
@WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTInowA4 I took a gander at the website, and ooooh get ready for more disappointment.
It's laminate flooring, except that instead of MDF with speshul glue it uses a PVC/limestone substrate with stabilizers. If you took out the limestone you'd just have vinyl, and in that case you'd be better off getting SmartCore or LifeProof.
And I agree, if I'm going to call my floor medieval, it better have friggin' stones that I can pick up and bludgeon someone with. Just like the old days.