Friday, February 25

Hot and Cold

As soon as we get the heater working, guess what breaks next? The refrigerator. One second our boat is too cold, and the next we’re worried about too much heat. Can the porridge ever be just right?

Tom called numerous fridge mechanics who – can you believe this – don’t do house calls! They wanted us to take our fridge off the boat and bring it in to the shop. Um, excuse me, but our fridge doesn’t even fit through the door. We’d literally have to remove windows to get it out. When we finally found a company that would make house calls, they informed us that our fridge is installed illegally because it uses propane as a back-up power source, and therefore they couldn’t help us. Argh (and, uh oh!). Finally, we found a repair guy who agreed to come over and check things out. After two hours of poking around, he told us what we feared: it would cost almost as much to repair our 20 yr. old fridge as it would to buy a new one.

Here’s where we’re also running hot and cold… Part of us is pretty excited for a new refrigerator. Our old one was a Norcold (a.k.a. No-Cold) made of 1970’s off-white plastic with flimsy rusted shelves in all the wrong places.

Disco-era old fridge

When we fantasize about renovating the interior of the boat, we always talk about re-doing the galley first, and a new fridge would be a huge step in the right direction. But the key word in that sentence is "fantasize." We really can't afford a new fridge. The cost of fridge plus installation is going to be about 2 b.u.'s. And that’s when we start to run cold... It really is one thing after another with this boat, and the credit card debt isn’t getting any smaller. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it. Let’s say, worst-case-scenario, we decide we simply can’t afford the boat anymore. We’d still have to replace the fridge before we tried to sell it.

So for now, it’s time to go fridge shopping! We’ve got a model picked out, and the good news is that when you’re paying 2 b.u.’s, it’s no longer your job to worry about removing windows and moving large appliances – that’s all part of the installation fee.

Fancy new fridge

Almost full-size, and no rusty shelves!


Wednesday, February 16

The heat is on (soon!)

So, back in December, out heater stopped working. Since it was just getting into winter and we were tired of seeing the steam from our food mingle with the vapor from our breath, we decided to have it fixed. A guy from "Undisclosed Heater Fixing Company #1" came down and took a look and estimated 1500 bucks to fix it. I was willing to shell out for a little comfort.

He should have applied our time estimation rule, because 2.3 bu's later he left. The heater seemed to be working great (as it should be after 2300 dollars are poured into it.) It was my impression that he had removed part of our heater, rebuilt it, and then reinstalled it. But six weeks later we come to find out that he actually put a brand new heater in there! We used to have a "Webasto Heater." I'd say most everyone in the boating community knows them to be pretty darn good heaters. Apparently, though, he replaced it with a brand I'd never heard of before. It's a "Gahdamm Heater."

This "Gahdamm Heater" has a couple of features I really don't like. First of all, and the biggest pain, is that it has a "Gahdamm Leak (tm)" in the coolant system. While it's really a great "self flushing" feature, it gets expensive and dirty. It turns out he installed this "Gahdamm Leak (tm)" right below the coolant expansion tank, which happens to be above our bed. So, now, as it flushes itself clean we get "Gahdamm Coolant" everywhere, including dripping onto my pillow. The second feature is the ignition system. I guess they outsourced that part, because Gahdamm doesn't seem to do ignition. It does save you a lot of fuel, which is really nice, but it's only because the "Friggin Ignition" only lights off 1 of every 5 tries. I think in this case I'd trade reliability for fuel savings.

So we called "Undisclosed Heater Fixing Company #1" to ask them if they could maybe put our Webasto back in there, and remove the "Gahdamm Leak (tm)" and make sure the "Friggin Ignition" is removed and replaced with a more reliable one. "Undisclosed Heater Fixing Company #1" was very apologetic, and has been extremely accomodating, even lending us a different heater while they repair our Webasto. And actually they should be on the boat right now removing the "Gohdamm Leak (tm)." Hopefully it'll all be done soon and we can enjoy our heater again.


Wednesday, February 9

There goes the neighborhood

Other than an old Chris Craft in the midst of restoration, we are the cheap house on the block. We’re the ones with tarp covering a leaky window and a do-it-yourself epoxy job on the transom. We’re not exactly ghetto, but we’re not nearly as nice as some of the luxury yachts nearby.

And for the first time ever, we’re kinda glad that we aren’t a luxury yacht with all the latest toys. There are thieves about, and these are thieves with expensive tastes. In the past couple weeks, there have been 8 burglaries on luxury yachts on Lake Union. The only things stolen are plasma screen TVs. Several flat-screens were stolen from display boats during Boats Afloat, another TV was stolen from the boat moored just across the dock from us, and two more at different docks in our marina. Apparently, the TVs aren’t the biggest loss – it’s the woodwork that the thieves rip up when they’re removing the TVs, and the damage they do when they break in. Some yachts estimate over 60K in damage.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but theft just makes me sick – it’s a personal violation and I hate it. Along with being infuriated, I’m also a little scared. We don't have anything these thieves would want, but do they know that? Hopefully they're smart enough to realize the exterior of our boat is a good representation of the interior. But suddenly, living behind the locked gate of the marina doesn’t seem so safe. The thieves come by water, which is especially creepy (and also makes me wonder what exactly caused our boat to rock and roll that one night). I try to reassure myself that we’re not a good target because we liveaboard full-time, but that just makes me more creeped out: if they know we're full-time liveaboards, it's because they've been watching us.

On the plus side, last night we heard a motor outside, and when Tom got up to check he saw exactly what we were hoping for: a police boat cruising the area.