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Swing Set

Mar 6, 201301:47 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

More "Life on the Ball"

(page 1 of 2)

 For the Florida Keys, the weather lately has been chilly. There was a lot of rain last Sunday, but the inside of our boat stayed nice and dry thanks to the repair I did a few weeks ago.

We picked up a few ingredients at Winn-Dixie on our way to Advance Auto to pick up some engine oil I had ordered, so that we could make a big pot of ham 'n' beans, or in this case, Spam 'n' beans. I had soaked a half package of great northern beans in water and some baking soda overnight, so I rinsed them and put 'em in a small pot and got them to a boil for a few minutes. (The baking soda is supposed to help get the gas out of the beans, or reduce it at any rate. No one here wants to mess with the tried and true.) Then, I rinsed them again and put them in a bigger pot along with a can of sliced carrots, a can of diced potatoes, a can of chicken bullion, two cans of Spam that had been diced, and a can each of vegetable soup and bean with bacon soup, adding juice and all to the pot. The last two items were added only because they were about a year old and Rosie doesn't like to keep stuff that long. They didn't hurt the recipe; in fact, we like to make use of what we have. You'll notice that everything came from a can except for the beans, and in a pinch, I'd use canned beans, too. I added some water to cover the mix, plus salt and pepper, and let that big pot simmer, steaming up the windows and warming up the cabin as the sun went down. Not sure if the baking soda works, but I wouldn't have wanted to be around that night if it didn't.

On Monday morning, I called Sea Air Land Technologies (SALT)  to find out if we getting a visit from a technician. I received a return call about an hour later, and one of the owners of the company was coming to assess the problem with our wind generator. I picked up Bob from SALT in the dinghy and on the way gave him the history of our problems with the port wind generator. Before we had reached Swing Set, he said that it sounded like we had a bad circuit board. That's exactly what I had thought, initially.

Bob and I discussed a course of action, plus some ways to improve our system, one of which is to integrate both battery banks, something I wanted to do when the system was installed, but installing wind generators was new to Dave Ludwig at Bloch Marine and I don't fault him in the least. Bob, in fact, remarked at how nice the installation was. One hour and $95 later, I dropped Bob off again at the marina office and promised to come by their office the next day and give them my credit card information. I also wanted to see if they had success in ordering a new circuit board.

It was a nice day on Monday, but still chilly, so we walked to Winn-Dixie to stock up on our dwindling supply of canned goods. We are intent on reducing the contents of our freezer so that we can efficiently defrost it and then restock it before we get it hauled for bottom paint, so we didn't buy any fresh meat.

We had the dinghy stacked high with hundreds of dollars worth of canned goods and four cases of Bud Light, and when we stowed everything away in its proper place on the boat, Swing Set was sitting level in the water again, as the 12 gallons of oil brought aboard on the previous day had put her on a slight list to port.

We lounged in the salon for the rest of the afternoon and then heated up some of our bean soup for dinner; the added treat was some fresh Cuban bread we bought at Winn-Dixie, slathered with Country Crock margarine for a nice addition to our meal. Buttered bread is something we never eat much of.

I ate like I was going to the electric chair, but I could have no food after midnight due to my blood work I was scheduled for on Tuesday morning. We left the boat at 8 a.m. and then walked to the Community Health Center, about a mile from the City Marina. I was there for an annual physical, something I've always done, if not for anything else but a reality check.

After about an hour of filling out forms and waiting, I was finally able to see the doctor. He started to look into my eyes with that little flashlight of his before I suggested that I remove my Ray Bans. "Good idea," he said.

We talked a bit about the long questionnaire that patients had to fill out, with some questions having no relevance to any one's medical condition. I also remarked about the question asking if I was suicidal, and how anyone was supposed to answer the question about their past history with sexual partners while their mate was watching on, in an honest fashion, without being just a bit suicidal. He laughed at that, so I determined him to be a competent physician, based on him not being as dry as a popcorn fart.

The nurse took some blood on the first try, which is always good, and told us to call in two days for the results and to schedule a follow-up visit. Seems like doctors and veterinarians work on the same principal; get 'em in often and keep 'em coming in.

The offices for SALT were just across the street, so we went there next. I met Shawn, another one of the owners, and gave him my credit card info. They had no word on whether the circuit board had been ordered, but would learn something soon. They promised to keep us in the loop. There will be no trip to the Bahamas this spring if this wind generator isn't fixed.

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