Boat Work with Kids Onboard – An oxymoron?

23 Jan

It's strange for me to look up out of the engine compartment and no longer just see one face staring down at me. I foresee having a lot of "help" on the boat projects soon. Today Ouest and I worked on a project that included both of us using our spanners at the same time. Soon it'll be time to get Lowe a set of tools too.

(Jan. 20) When I say I've got a list a mile long of little projects to get done this is the sort of project I'm referring to. It doesn't mean much in the functioning of the boat, but when it comes time to drop the anchor it means a lot. Was that a hundred feet or a hundred and fifty?

(Jan. 21) We rented a car and took off this morning to try and get a few things done around here. AutoZone, Wal-Mart, a different AutoZone, the marine store (closed), Home Depot, AutoZone a third time, and finally a late night Wal-Mart diaper stock-up. Phew.

The good news is that AutoZone tested our alternator for us. I watched them hook it up to the machine and then just seconds later watched as a series of red failure notices popped up on the screen. Basically nothing was working. Which I had pretty much deduced already as it had only been charging between eighteen and twenty-two amps and the voltage didn't seem to be being regulated properly either.
That doesn't sound like good news, but here it is, the guy took a look at his computer and said, "Did you know this is for an El Camino? We have one of these in the back." Now I realize that an auto alternator is not what we should really be using. Ideally we'd have a high output marine grade alternator on this engine. And I may have just gone and ordered one of those up today if it hadn't been for this El Camino alternator. The exact alternator that has been on our boat for the past fifteen, twenty years, only costing thirty-two dollars. Thirty-two bucks and we're charging again. Hey, if nothing else we just bought ourselves some time.
During one of the day's outings it was just Ouest and I. We were driving along when I noticed a group of cops up ahead in the median with an actual radar gun and speed display. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I've never seen traffic cops in Mexico doing actual traffic cop things like busting speeders. Even after all the driving we've done in Mexico I'm not sure I know what the speed limits are. But I was in a pack of cars cruising along at a slow speed as we had all seen the cops well ahead of time. Which is why it was so shocking to me when one of the cops suddenly burst out into the road screaming at me to pull over. Literally screaming.
It took me a while to get over and stop. Probably a hundred yards. And yes, I could have easily halved that, but why make it easy on them? He finally came puffing up all red faced and still yelling. I heard, "Blah, blah, blah, telefono, blah, blah, blah." He was claiming that I had been talking on a cell phone and driving.
This is funny in so many different ways. First off, as we all know, Ali and I despise telephones. Haven't owned one in nearly a decade. So right there you can be pretty darn sure I wasn't on a phone. Secondly, I may be a gringo, but I've dealt with so many road cops in my day that even if I had been talking on a phone this guy would have withered in the sun long before I gave up a single peso. And thirdly, talking on a phone is illegal? That's the funniest thing of all. Ninety nine percent of children under the age of ten can be found with their heads hanging out the car window like a poodle. A majority of pick-up trucks can be seen carrying passengers in the back on plastic picnic chairs. And every bus driver in town has his cell phone permanently glued to the palm of his hand. Talking on a phone is illegal. Yeah, and so is driving a car with a cracked windshield right?
This particular cop caved quickly when I told him I didn't have a phone. "No telefono?" Nope, nada. "Telefono?" he asked imploringly while holding his hand up to his ear. No, no telefono. He laughed and turned around. Next. 
While driving today I looked in the rearview mirror and caught Ouest staring at me. It took a second for our eyes to meet and then the smile that beamed from her hit me right in the chest. I could physically feel that smile in my heart. My girl is the best thing ever.
(Jan. 22) Finished the chain painting project today. Oh, who am I kidding, I finished painting, but three hundred feet of chain is still laid out on the deck. Maybe day four will see that one day project completed. Maybe.
Crawled down in the engine room today and got to work. Installed the alternator and took a look at the refrigeration. Oh, who am I kidding, The alternator is hanging there with me one bolt short of completion. Store will be open tomorrow. As for the refrigeration, I did look at it. Looked at it and then walked away from it. I did buy a boatload of refrigerant and a cheap little gauge, so we'll see what I can make of that thing on my own once I read the manual and figure out just where the hell I'm supposed to hook that gauge up to.
Welder should be out tomorrow to nail down our plans for the new davits. I'm pretty excited about having that project complete. A proper davit system makes my life soooooo much easier when we're out at sea.
I took Ouest to the pool this afternoon. I've mentioned how much she loves the long and incredibly fast water slide there. Today she started trying to get me to let her go down it by herself. This is what I mean by fearless. I half relented and let her sit on the slide itself instead of my lap, but still between my legs with me holding her. Then right before we hit the water I lift her up on to my lap. She screams with delight the entire time. And the second we pop up from our dunking at the bottom she starts yelling, "Me, me, me! More, more, more!" The whole pool crowd is usually watching by our second trip down.
I'm already feeling anxious to move on. Paradise Village is a necessary evil, but once the boat work is close to done I just want to get out of here. We've got two weeks before another family holiday, so hopefully we'll have things wrapped up and ready to roll by then.


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