Anchors aweigh-ing on my mind


Who buys a boat at a garage sale?

This is not an idle question. This is what is known as a burning question and I am the one smelling smoke here. Not literally. At least not yet. It’s just a matter of time, though.

As you might have guessed, the answer to the above query is my beloved. The man who already owns, you know, a boat. The man who regards garage sales just slightly below being asked his opinion about my hair on the list of things he despises. The man who promised to love, honor, and row the boat ashore (alleluia), is now the proud owner of two of them.

While two boats may not seem like a lot to someone who owns a lake or lives on the ocean, two boats is a large number for people who do not own a body of water or even a boat trailer for that matter. We do spend a few weeks a year on a lake in Florida and this is where the madness hit. I was feeling like a big spendthrift because I blew fifty cents on a box of staples. Soon thereafter, Steve sauntered down the street and announced he had bought a boat. You remember the line from the song, “You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht.” ? Now I know what that walk looks like, except substitute ”18-foot pontoon” for “yacht.”

Loving a little challenge, he did not buy a boat that is pristine. He did not buy a boat that is ready for the regatta. He did not buy a boat that is remotely presentable. It does, fortunately, float. He says brokered a great deal on this questionably worthy vessel that needs the floor replaced and the upholstery redone and the Bimini top repaired. This, of course, is part of the fun.

So far, the work schedule has looked like this:

Day One: As soon as he tied the boat up, he took his entire tool box out on the dock and went to work. After approximately ten seconds he discovered he did not have the necessary equipment to fix the boat. The first surprise of the day was learning we possessed a second boat. The second surprise of the day was learning we did not have adequate boat-fixing implements because I was so certain we owned every tool ever made. Surprise number two was much larger than surprise number one. Naturally, not having the right paraphernalia meant a lengthy trip to the “Tools R Us” store.

When he returned, the anchor holder was the first victim. Following almost immediately were the frayed lines, the battery box, and other vaguely nautical parts. He tilted the motor up and decided it needed a good scrub. There is enough dirt under our couch to grow potatoes, but the new-to-him motor is sparkling. He performed all these tasks while standing in the lake. The lake, you understand, has alligators in it. All lakes in Florida have alligators in them, no matter what the realtors tell you.

Day Two: He has started watching videos with intriguing/horrifying titles such as “Replacing Your Boat Deck in One Hundred Twenty-Seven Easy Steps” and “Pontoon Welding for Beginners.” The boat came with a trolling motor. We already had a trolling motor. Now, mysteriously, there is a third trolling motor lying in the shop. It might have come from “Boat Motors R Us” which is a store to avoid if you hope to have any money left for retirement.

Day Three: We took the aptly dubbed Boondoggle out for a shake-down cruise. The shake-down cruise was quickly renamed the “Why-won’t-the-motor-go-into-reverse?” cruise.

I can see all this preliminary work is just the tip of the iceberg, if you will excuse an ominous maritime metaphor. This thing has Titanic written all over it. The next day’s job list included transferring the title (as though anyone would admit ownership), finding spark plugs, replacing a fuse, pricing marine-grade plywood, and, most importantly, installing a cup holder for me. I have a feeling I’m going to need all the liquid courage I can get.

As soon as these little tasks are completed, we’ll take it out for another test run. Assuming we can get the motor to go into reverse.

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