Monday, August 31, 2009

I am Not an Animal

Apparently, I'm going to have to start sleeping in a beekeeper hat. Something nasty bit my face last night. Imagine waking up next to this. Worse, imagine being this. Now I know how the one-eyed Tilapia feels. Maybe wearing an eye patch around today will add to my allure. So far this morning, popular consensus says it's a spider bite. Popular consensus is two people drinking coffee on their boat and one guy carrying a new fish smoker down the dock.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now I have a Jewish mother and that's how it goes...

I was thinking about calamari all day. So I popped by Loblaw's on my way home and got some flour, panko crumbs, eggs, and canola oil but Loblaw's was out of calamari. I returned to the marina with everything I needed to make calamari, except the actual calamari and I couldn't get that squid off my mind. So I bummed a motorcycle ride from my friend Mark to the Chinese grocery store, TNT. Neither of us had any plans, so we stopped for beer and wings on the way to TNT. A couple beers and a pound of wings later, we finally headed to TNT to buy the calamari. Once there, I texted a friend to see if they were having dinner on the dock. A few minutes later, while I was staring at a one-eyed Tilapia in the live fish tank, my phone rang. It was Esther, our marina matriarch. She was animated and high pitched: "Where are you guys? What is taking you so long? Dinner is almost ready. Get back here right now." I was confused because we had not made any dinner plans. We rode back to the marina and found a group assembled ready to eat. We were gently admonished for being so late. While I was cooking my calamari in a frying pan on the BBQ, I said to Esther, "I don't understand how I can be an hour and a half late for a dinner I wasn't even invited to". Esther said, "Now you have a Jewish mother. That's how it goes."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On Dog Time

It must be the approaching autumnal equinox. I've been so sleepy the last couple of days that I've assumed dog time. That means sleeping for nine hours, getting up to pee, sip some water, and then back to bed for a two hour nap, possibly in a sunny spot. Then get up for a walk and eat some lunch. And that's when our schedules divert. I shower and go to work. They go back to sleep, naturally...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not Keeping Up Appearances

On my way into Canadian Tire to pick up some mosquito netting and a tarp for the boat, I noticed there was a sale at Mark's Work Wearhouse. I've bought winter boots and wooly socks there, but lo and behold, they had some nice looking summer clothes on their clearance rack. I guess retail marches into Fall despite daytime temperatures still reaching 27 degrees. I picked up a few tshirts, a pair of shorts and a dress. The dress is made of some miracle fabric resembling linen, patterned with brown flowers; a strappy number with a plunging neckline, an empire waist and a little ruffle around the bottom hem. I was surprised to find such a dress at Mark's Work Wearhouse, but the fact remains, the dress is from Mark's Work Wearhouse. It's hardly couture. But from the reactions I received dockside while wearing the dress, the ohhs and ahhhs, I might as well have been a debutante my at own cotillion. And my sad realization was not how great I looked, but how utterly awful I must look the rest of the time to ellicit such reactions of shock and surprise and amazement by wearing a simple dress from Mark's Work Wearhouse. I know my dockside fashion sense falls somewhere between second or third hand Nautica and homeless chic, but I had no idea wearing the dress would cause such a commotion. A couple days later, back in my cut off shorts and faded tshirt while doing laundry, one of our local bachelors asked me if I was carrying that smashing dress in my laundry bag. I had to laugh...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fill yer Cupholders

They say the happiest two days for a boater are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell your boat. About a week ago, Barb had a party. She sold her old Chris Craft after 15 years aboard because she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren. And I would certainly imagine that grandchildren are considerably lower maintenance than a 40 year old wooden boat. And a week later, Steve had a party because he bought Barb's boat. Suffice it to say that one boat has been responsible for a fair amount of revellry around here lately.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Death can go Suck It.

This is a shout out to one of my readers and condolences for the loss of your dear friend Iromi. In Iromi's honour, I'm posting two photos of a tenacious little Jack Russell named Big Al. I found him today in front of a local firehall loving it up with a stick 10 times his size.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh What a Night...

I wasn't even on board last night when the tornadoes finally did hit the Toronto area. It's probably for the best or I'd have some kind of mad adrenaline hangover today. But in an effort to keep the boat dry in the impending storm, I tied a nice white trash tarp over the cockpit and canvas before I left, thereby contravening both marina rules and the standard rules of good taste. I was impressed with my solid knots and engineering insomuch as the tarp was still attached when I got home. My neighbour warned against such a tarp in high winds, so I assume I just got lucky. However, when the rain blows sideways at 60 kilometres an hour, the tarp does little to keep the boat dry and off to a soggy bed it was. And with a steady breeze blowing, I looked forward to a cool mosquito-less sleep. At about 2am, I woke to a stampede of dogs running roughshod over me in the Vberth to get out the half open door. A creature had come aboard the boat to rummage in the wastebasket. I assume this creature is the same small raccoon who has been climbing in through other people's hatches in broad daylight to feast on chips and crackers, leaving messes akin to the aftermath of a frat party. If the door had been open all the way, methinks there would have been a serious commotion in the middle of the night. When I finally settled back into bed, I could hear the mosquitoes buzzing my ears. The breeze had disappeared, ergo, no more respite from the squitters. So I got up again to drape everything in mosquito netting and settled back into sleep around 3am. Another restful night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Scene of the Crime

I'm not embarrassed to admit that sometimes I cry; big fat tears of sheer frustration. The old girly tears start running down my face now and then when it just gets to be too much. Days when your hands and feet are swollen with bites, you are covered in sweat, crawling around in a hot tiny berth, retching, cleaning up dog diarrhea for the third time in 12 hours. Intellectually, you know it's not exactly the end of the world, but you just get beaten down sometimes. Every single thing is 10 times harder on a boat. At that moment, when the faucet turns on, you forget about the times you're out on the water with just blue skies, feeling absolute freedom, when nothing else matters. Or biking home in the dark down the long winding road to the marina when the bay is still and shiny, feeling lucky that you live here, every single time. And so you just cry it all out and keep scrubbing. Oy, the glamour.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gravity Creates Intimacy

With a bit of speed, the bow of the boat tips up, putting the whole boat on a slight incline, meaning the dogs actually have to touch when they're sitting in the only spot they can under power. The boat has been plagued by a series of mechanical problems this season. But touch wood, she's running now and made it over to the island for 24 hours of eating, drinking, sweating, swimming and swatting mosquitoes. No trip to the islands would be complete without a swim at Hanlan's nude beach. And with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees, going swimming was actually mandatory, not just a nice leisure time activity. While I was in the water, Sadie managed to wander off. The combination of knowing we were on an island and that Sadie was wearing my phone number on her tag meant I wasn't too worried. And sure enough, about 15 minutes after the old lady disappeared, I got a call from a woman who said she had my dog. The woman said her group was sitting by the lifeguard station so off I went to retrieve the nomadic canine. I couldn't fault Sadie's style once I spotted her. She had wandered right into some kind of Calvin Klein ad full of exceptionally bronzed and good looking naked people. And now I'm back at the marina, languishing in the heat on the boat, stained, burned and bitten, like some kind of ad for the Red Cross.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Banned in France

Ira, normally a fierce proponent of the secular model a la Sarkozy, is spotted sporting a head scarf late at night on the boat. Captain Ron was onboard drinking beer when he soiled his favourite t-shirt. I promised Captain Ron that if he left the shirt with me, I would use my super human stain fighting powers to return his shirt to its semi pristine state. In the meantime, Ira wrapped himself up in the shirt and said "Allahu Akbar. What's the fuss?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whisper This, Cesar

Ira's inner monologue: "Oy. The human got another Dog Whisperer video from the library. Here we go again with the 'ccchhhing' and the behavioural modifications for a week. Why do the humans revere this tiny Mexican man with wheels on his feet? When will the humans recognize me as their natural leader? Oy."

The Complexity of a Cocker

Sadie's Inner Monologue: "It's hot. I like kibble. Maybe I will spin in circles on my bum later. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Static."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sadie's Choice starring Meryl Streep

Yet another storm. Here's the weather warning on Environment Canada's website right before I hightailed it into the main bathroom with a quivering Yorkie tucked into my raincoat:

"A line of severe thunderstorms is moving through and may produce wind gusts of 100 km/h along with torrential downpours giving 50 millimetres or more in under an hour. Remember some severe thunderstorms produce tornadoes. Listen for updated warnings. Emergency management Ontario recommends taking cover immediately when threatening weather approaches. These storms have the potential to produce torrential downpours and damaging winds."

And my all time FAVOURITE QUOTE EVER from Environment Canada at the end: "An isolated tornado is not completely out of the question."

Leave it to a Canadian government employee to completely and politely understate TORNADO risk. I mean he's writing about a TORNADO, not how he replied when his grandma asked him if he'd like a cup of tea. I need to know if the END IS NEAR. And I'm not ashamed to say that when we bolted to the main bathroom (constructed out of cement) for cover, I left Sadie behind on the boat. She's heavier, not as fast or cooperative. She doesn't understand how to flee in terror. The Yorkie and I are more citified and highly strung creatures. I mean Sadie's tail was still wagging when it went black outside. You could Van Gogh Sadie's ear and she still wouldn't react. When she fell off the dock the other day and nearly drowned, she wagged her bloody tail after I hoisted her out of the water, not showing a hint of trauma. And after everything she's survived, how could a tornado be the end of her?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Permission to Buzz the Tower

Apparently we are deep in mosquito season now. Some nights I have to get out of bed when I hear that maddening high pitched squeal in my ear, the telltale flyby of a mosquito like Tom Cruise buzzing the tower in Top Gun. Nothing puts a girl in a sleeping kind of mood like a bit of swatting and killing before bed, except perhaps a glass of warm milk. I duct taped some screen over the hatch, but duct tape doesn't stick too well to the carpeted ceilings. I wake up to more bites and dogs with pieces of duct tape stuck in their fur. I have taken to wearing my Hunter boots, instead of Deet, to communal dinners when it's perfectly sunny, much to the amusement of my neighbours. Dusk is never far off once a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio go down the hatch. Let's see the mosquitoes try and bite through rubber.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Holy Heck Toto, Hang on Tight

Crikey. That was some kind of storm. When I first saw it tracking across the radar on NOAA, it looked small and mean, like a drunk little man itching for a bar fight. Lots of red in the centre of the blob moving across the screen, tracking right toward Toronto. And red never bodes well. I started getting nervous when Environment Canada began issuing Severe Thunderstorm warnings. Then I read about tornado warnings on another site. By the time the storm hit, we were all huddled in the aft berth hanging on for dear life. The wind was whipping the canvas right off the boat and all I could see out the window was white spray. In my mind, we were goners. Certainly a mast would come crashing across our bow when the tornado hit. Or the dock would fly through the air with the boat still attached, tossing us upside down in the middle of the lake, trapped and dramatically dead. I started composing my own tragic yet flattering eulogy. I honestly can't remember the last time I was scared of weather except driving through a very serious snowstorm in the Rockies in a tiny little Honda. During a lull, which I perceived to be the eye of the storm, I called our driver Fekadu, packed up the dogs and we got the hell out of dodge, favouring our odds on land. And what do you know, we survived.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Best. Mood. Ever.

After a long week working, you have to love a day that conspires with you like a single girlfriend at a party full of good looking available men. You wake up from a perfect nine hour sleep, sunlight beaming in through the hatch. Luxuriating in crisp and mostly clean cotton sheets as you roll back and forth, knowing you don't have to get up for any reason except to pee. After the business that cannot be denied any longer is taken care of, you sit in the cockpit, smoke a cigarette while the dogs lay flat out enjoying the heat. You flip through a Conde Nast magazine you found in the bathroom, reading about St. Lucia. On a day so full of promise, you promise yourself a visit there, whenever. And when it's time for a coffee, the best one you've had all week, you blare Luba's "Let it Go" on the speakers, dancing in the cabin by yourself. You don't really care about the family that just walked by and saw you dancing. Most of the dock already thinks you're an eccentric/hermit/lesbian/pothead/weirdo. Not that there's anything wrong with that... You spill said coffee all over your leg, but who cares, cause it's time to change into your swimsuit and head over to the island where anything goes...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hosing Down the Blonde

Sadie's affinity for rolling in the dead and the decayed knows no bounds. In order to save us all from smelling like a fetid seagull, it is frequently necessary to hose the old lady down on the dock. She elicits sad clucks of sympathy from humans walking by; her head is hung low while she is scrubbed and lathered, stripped of both her dignity and malodorousness. But she manages to shake it all off 3 minutes later, like any cheerful blond should...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Gentleman and A Scholar

"Oy, you should know from books. The New York Times is expecting my reviews by Monday."