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Date: 02 Mar 2011 14:25:35
Title: A toast to all handymen

St. Martin, Tuesday, 01.03.2011, 10:00 UTC-4
 
This morning Henk left St. Martin to sail to Panama. After pondering the question for a few weeks he decided to sail around the world. I am in awe. At first glance saiing around the world might sound like the natural thing to do when you live on a boat. But you have to consider that, once started, it is a long-term commitment. Three to five years for most people, and many things can change in that time. So what if you half around and it turns out you can't go (damage, money, illness) or don't want to go on anymore? Turn around? Stay there? It might not be a nice place at all, or one where you are welcome, or where you can find work. Sell the boat and go back home? The world is big, but the places where you can sell a boat for good money are very few.
 
So my deepest respect for Henk. Go go go Henk! Enjoy your trip. And maybe we get to meet up again. His 26ft midget is not a very fast boot, so he can have a head start of a few months ;-). Not that I have made the decision myself yet. And with Liz coming it's also not mine to make alone. We'll take it very slowly.
 
One thing I didn't want to take slowly however was fixing the toilet. Three weeks without one is a testament to human adaptibility. That's our core competence - we get thrown into a situation and arrange ourselves with it until, biding our time until we can break free. And yesterday was that day for me, haha. I got up at four in the morning, dismantled the old one and made a shopping list. After breakfast and updating the blog I bought the necessary parts and Island Water World and went to work. Three hours later I was standing in 3cm of not nice smelling water, sweat dripping of my brow, abrasions on my arms, cuts on my hands, feeling exhausted and utterly miserable.
 
What had happened? Before I had started I had asked myself why the heck the previous owner hadn't done a proper job of installing the toilet in the first place. And I set out on a holy mission to install the toilet the way it is supposed to. Then, just like the previous owner, I encountered difficulty after difficulty. Tubes won't bend enough to take a corner, seacock outlets pointing in the wrong direction, incompatible diameters and no adapters available, load-bearing structures in the way, little things like that. And slowly it dawned on me why and how the installation had turned out to be like it was. And I felt a connection through space and time to the man that must have been swearing and sweating just as I did now.
 
But in the end it got done. And just in time to clean the boat again, wash, go shopping and start cooking. Because inveterate optimist that I am, I had invited Henk, Scott and Midge for dinner at seven. I was just done cutting the veggies when Henk arrived.
 
You can imagine that the cold beer I had then tasted incredibly good. A toast to all diy house- and boatowners!
 

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