Never Throw Anything Out

Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Sat 11 Jun 2016 15:48


OK, let’s get one thing straight right away. My wife, Margie, will disagree with everything I am going to write today. So, if you are a woman, you will probably not like this story. If you are a man, you might agree completely.

The reason I can say that men may agree with me is that this story is about a blue job on a boat. On Peregrina, blue jobs are all the non-pink jobs. They include mechanical, electrical, woodworking, fiberglass and heavy lifting jobs. Unfortunately, they also include plumbing jobs such as unclogging stuck head (toilets) which is an incredibly terrible job on a boat since the plumbing hoses have to be pulled out and cleaned. UGGGHHHH!

But, not to worry, this story is about a specific tool which proved to be a “blue” bonus on Peregrina. You see, I probably have 500 tools onboard since we need to be really self-sufficient.  My tools are all kept in the forward part of Peregrina in drawers, bins, toolboxes, cabinets, shelves or under floorboards  – essentially, in my “man-cave.”

This is my “man-cave” with tools needed for just one (1) three hour job.

Every once in a while, Margie will pick up a tool that I left in the main part of the boat and put it away for me. This is divorce action!  Margie does not comprehend my sophisticated CTPS (Cognitive Tool Placement System). CTPS is a combination of irrational, creative, far-flung and forgetful storage. For the most part, I have a general idea of where to look for my tools. So, when Margie puts a tool away in what would appear to be a logical place (because that’s what she does) it can often take me an hour to find it!

To illustrate the extent of the “stuff” on our boat, below you see a picture of Peregrina as she was hauled out at the marina in Chiapas, Mexico the first week in June.

Every time we do this, it seems like the boat has gotten lower in the water.  But, this time, when we lifted her out, a digital scale showed Peregrina weighed a ton more than we thought!

Much of that extra weight, without a doubt, is my wife’s fault. Why do we need so many towels? Why do I need to have a sports coat available … “just in case?” Why does she need 40 pounds of earrings, bracelets and necklaces plus textiles from every indigenous culture we’ve ever met? Do we really need 9 kinds of spices?

The fact that I have 10 types of saws, 75 sockets, 18 screw drivers, four electric sanders, over  a thousand feet of electric wire in 8 sizes, meters of hose, 135 hose clamps, heat guns, soldering irons, amp-meters, electric grinders, 4 drills, 31 extra stainless steel shackles etc. etc. should not matter!  Right???

From time to time, Margie says “get rid of anything you have not used in the past two years.”  Sounds reasonable?  So, I go forward into my work area and start looking for things to throw out or give away. After about an hour, I will come out with one bent, rusty screwdriver and say “Look, WOW, I found something.” You can imagine the response the Admiral gives to the Captain.

I am writing this story to show you why I am right and Margie is wrong. Why men have trouble getting rid of tools; why women should never tell men to get rid of tools and why keeping tools can save the day.

Yes, this is story of one item from my tool chest.  Here, I am proudly holding up a Come-Along which uses a long lever to ratchet a wheel around. On the wheel is a wire ending in a hook. The hook is pulled towards the wheel when the lever is ratcheted and this allows the user to pull something up or out using incredible brute strength – something we are a tad short on aboard Peregrina these days. 


Now, the irony of this story is that this Come-Along belonged to Margie’s father. Thus, it is a historical, family heirloom Come-Along!  SHAME on her for even entertaining the possibility of casting this valuable tool aside!

In May of this year, I found the Come-Along about 4 feet down in a bin. It took about 15 minutes to dig down that deep while I removed about 110 tools and 67 spare parts on top. The reason it was buried so deep was that the last time I had used the Come-Along was in late 2008 or about 7 ½  years ago. Obviously, this Come-Along had escaped Margie’s “if you haven’t used it in the last 2 years, throw it away rule.”

So, here we are, now, in May of 2016. Peregrina is stuck in Golfito, Costa Rica. The sea water pump is busted on Hercules, our mighty diesel engine. I am a bit angry because some idiot engineer, who designed Hercules sitting in his air conditioned office, made it impossible to remove the sea water pump without taking off one of the four motor mounts. These four motor mounts support the 500 pound engine.

This picture is our engine room where Hercules lives. OK, it is not really a room it is an engine space and, really, there is not a lot of space.

 Below is the broken sea water pump which is part of Hercules, You can see the rusty bolt at the bottom center next to the engine mount to the right. Thus, the engine mount has to be removed to take off the salt water pump rusty bolt. Stupid, isn’t it!

Why would anyone in their right mind, designing an engine, make it necessary to lift a 500 pound engine in order to remove the engine mount to get to a 1 lb sea water pump?

So you now have enough information to understand the absolutely hard hitting point of this story, the coup de grace of the pink point of view, the total vindication of my reason for not throwing away tools.

We needed to lift up the 500 lb engine to remove the motor mount to replace the sea water pump!

And, yes, there was one tool on Peregrina to do this job. It was (drum roll please!!!!!) the Come-Along which had lain unused for 7 ½  years.

Below you will see the Come-Along hanging over the engine and holding it up so that I can remove the engine mount and then the broken sea water pump. The Come-Along is suspended from two long pieces of wood. Now, I have also carried this wood around for 7 ½ years. The Admiral had wanted to throw away these pieces of wood in Year Three of our travels but I hid them!

So, dear readers, it is true that I hate to throw anything away.  It is also true that one day, who knows how far into the future, I will need one of my hidden treasures. And, at that time, a small, self-congratulatory smile will creep upon my face and I will say to Margie in a voice so low she will never hear it:  “Ah hah! I told you so!” 

Peter Benziger
I haven't been everywhere but it's on my list