Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Small Stuff

I'm Just Happy to Be Here
I'm Just Happy to Be Here
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
I’ve read many cruising books, magazine articles, blogs, and personal accounts. The authors talk about the challenges of provisioning, maintenance and navigation, weather and port authorities. They discuss overcoming your fear, learning how to do more with less, engaging your reluctant spouse in the endeavor, and adapting to strong personalities in tight quarters. What I don’t see anyone talking about is all the little things that happen as you travel.

Now, we all know the expression, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” which may explain the general silence on the subject. Alternatively, small stuff is just plain boring. My personal theory is that these small trials do not fit neatly into a chapter format. Even if you do shoehorn them into a single section, it would probably result in a chapter entitled “Miscellaneous Shit Happens.” As a technical writing exercise, let me outline this unit:

I. Things That Go Overboard
  A. Equipment
    1. Critical Equipment
      a) Kill the evil doer or recognize your time will come?
      b) How to recover using shock cord and carabiners
      c) Quick removal of a self-inflating life jacket before going overboard to recover stuff
    2. Things You Don’t Really Care About
      a) Is it pollution if the crabs will eat it?
      b) Consoling children regarding the loss of artwork you were planning on recycling anyway
    3. During Man Overboard Drills
  B. Clothing
    1. During a Wind Storm
    2. Randomly
    3. Shoe Recovery

II. Rotten Stuff
  A. Galley, Pantry, and Fridge
    1. Eating It Anyway
      a) Removing mold from bread and cheese
      b) Disguising the taste of boat
    2. Twenty Ways to Clean Your Refrigerator Without Water
    3. Cooking with Food Found in Unexpected Places
      a) Found at the back of the refrigerator
      b) Found in the forward lockers
      c) Found in Daddy’s backpack
  B. Head
    1. Used Toilet Paper
      a) Trying to coral it into a single bag
      b) Retrieving pieces lost between the wall and the bulkhead
      c) Unclogging the bilge pump without getting dysentery
      d) Transferring from head to a garbage bag destined for shore
    2. Spills and Drops
      a) Recovering from catastrophic spills of shampoo, conditioner, and hand lotion
      b) When medicines get mixed up in a pile of every flavor bean goodness
      c) Convincing someone else to get jiggy with the Simple Green on brown drops
  3. Toilet Bowl Scrub Brush

III. It Breaks
  A. When You’re Using It
    1. In the Dark of the Night
    2. In Winds Over 25
    3. When You’re Wet and Cold
  B. When Your Spouse is Using It

IV. Fights
  A. With Children
    1. Getting Dressed
    2. Cleaning Day
    3. Dead Things and Smelly Hands
    4. Where to Find the Prime Meridian
  B. With Spouse
    1. Anchoring
    2. Anchoring in Tight Spaces
    3. Anchoring in Windy Conditions
    4. While Tying a Stern Tie or Anchor

V. Laundry
  A. Doing It Ashore
    1. Taking Out a Second Mortgage
    2. Shlepping It Up the Dock Ramp
    3. Overturning the Dinghy
  B. Doing It Afloat
    1. Ways to String Socks
    2. Fun with Carabiners
    3. How to Hide Poop Stains from the Casual Observer

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