Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring Spruce-up

Nice day to day - simultaneously productive, and very, very relaxing. How often does that happen?

Started with a little gardening - I'm afraid I have to report that the acorn squashes are suddenly looking quite peaked, I probably should have been nipping the buds because they went totally nuts having flowers, and now they're crashing. It's just that the flowers were so pretty I couldn't bring myself to nip them in the bud. Sigh. Anyways, I think that they need to get outside ASAP, they just look sick, I think the transplant will either finish them off or save 'em. I finished building up the rocks that support the boards today (I'd had the absolute bare minimum last week, left meaning to shore things up - stayed up through a pretty stormy week, though!) tomorrow more dirt & then I'm FINALLY ready to plant.

I keep finding myself thinking "I'm awfully glad that I don't actually have to grow food for survival". Even this little 4x6 bed is turning out to be a lot of work, and I'm nowhere close to actual food!

Main task today, though, was attending to the

As you may or may not recall, among the many things I had listed in that totally nutty schedule I've managed to make myself for spring to early summer is a Sebago Canoe Club-sponsored 2-star Coach training. I'm pretty excited about this - in fact I'm pretty excited about the way joining Sebago has re-opened the door to doing some more year-round kayak instruction in general, something I'd never managed to do after I dropped out of Manhattan Kayak & before the barge shutdown sent me to Canarsie - but it IS requiring a fair amount of preparation!

To-do list for 2 Star Coach Training:
Renew BCU Membership
Order replacement 1st Aid card from the Red Cross (done & got it today, they were pretty fast!)
Get CPR certification up to date
Get Canoe Safety certification up to date (since I've been teaching all along, Bill Lozano, the chair of the British Canoe Union North America would have been willing to talk extension, but the problem is that 90% pf the teaching I've been doing has been in pools in the wintertime, which doesn't really keep your open water safety skills up to snuff. I do practice rescues quite regularly (good excuse for a swim on a hot day), but I haven't broken out my towrope since last May, and I just feel like I could use the practice all around).
And last but not least - this poor boat of mine desperately needed some attention. First off - the water's been off all winter, which means I've been paddling all winter without the boat getting cleaned once - so I did a thorough scrubdown, inside & out,


and bottom!

doesn't this just remind you of a dog saying "Rub my tummy"?

Very rewarding, that first scrub-out of spring. The name decal is kind of indicative of the condition of the whole boat - it was secondhand when I got it, and I've added a lot of scratches - it's never going to gleam like a new boat, but the winter's grime is gone & it's such an improvement. I was working away on the hull with a couple of scouring pads & one of the guys at the yacht club next door asked me if I wanted to come over & work on his boat when I was done with mine. The yacht club was absolutely abuzz with people working on their motorboats, the lift was running all day putting boats in the water. Lot of work, getting a winterized yacht ready for summer!

Kayaks are nice...most of the time my spring prep consists of a good scrubdown, a spritzing of UV protectant spray, and a little WD-40 on the spring-loaded clips that hold the foot braces in place (and the carabiner on my tow belt while I'm at it).

This year I've also got long-frayed decklines to replace. I'm thinking the black with the Scotch-Bright reflective stuff braided in, I think that will look sharp & the more visible I can be at night, the happier I am - of course I'll still just assume I'm completely invisible, that's the safest course. Still have to get the line, though, so that wasn't on the list today.

What WAS was that functional, but heinously ugly, seat repair that I'd done back in '05 when I found myself in the situation of having the seat break loose (the Achilles' heel of every older Romany, I understand they've fixed that) RIGHT before I was about to go off sailing in the BVI's - which happened to be at a time of the year that meant that by the time I got back, there was a strong likelihood that the temperature would have dropped to too cold for any of your repair goops to cure. A shifty or off-kilter seat can really mess up your back, so in the interest of getting the blasted repair done in the very limited time I had, I just grabbed a can of that spray-in foam you can get at the hardware store & blasted away.

Came out looking...(oh, jeeze, am I gonna put this up again...oh well, why not...

But you know what? That seat hasn't budged since then. And me being me, and constantly having more things I want to do than time to do them - prettying up the ugly but serviceable seat repair job could wait.

But I couldn't face the Chairman of the BCU North America (who's the one who's coming down to train us - and from whom I bought the boat in the first place) with a seat repair that looked like a bleached-out petrified meadow muffin - so today, I finally got around to the trimming & sealing I'd been meaning to do for a year now and - there - doesn't that look better?

Aside from looking a lot nicer (still a little cleanup around the edges but so much better), there are now a lot fewer little spots for water to seep into & make yucky things happen. I'm much happier. The stupid thing is that it didn't really take that long at all - don't know why I procrastinated for so long.

Maybe because I needed proper supervision!


Actually I had a little human company, too - there's a gentleman who plans a whole lot of really fun-sounding trips (Key West most recently, next weekend a couple of days on the Delaware, all sorts of interesting places) and posts about them on our local NYCKayaker listserve - he's not a member of Sebago, but for some slightly complicated reasons he was down in NYC & decided to get out on Jamaica Bay. He saw me doing the on-the-shoulder boat carry over to the wash racks & called out "Gotta like a woman who can carry her own boat!", and came over to say hi & once we figured out we knew each other he hung out & told some stories about his trips. Really may have to see if I can join one of those sometime. Catch is, they all kind of require a car. But they sound like fun...

Finished off the day with a few tin-whistle tunes at the picnic table overlooking the Paerdegat. Look, our cherry tree is blossoming!

Sadly, with the intensity of the schedule (and less sadly, with the approaching visit with TQ to the folks in Hawaii), I think this is about as close to cherry blossom viewing as I'm getting this year. I usually make a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at this time of year - don't see when I'm going to have time to do that this year!

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