April 21, 2021 – Boating Adventures

Life is full of surprises. My husband and I bought our first boat in 2015. Boy, did we get fleeced! It’s not the first time we’ve been taken advantage of because we didn’t do our homework and were totally unprepared. With most purchases, especially the ‘big ones’, I research the hell out of them before I make a move. Of course, this hasn’t always been the case. I cannot tell you how many cars and motorcycles and houses we have purchased (at full value) and then realized (after the adrenaline rush) that we got snookered! It has happened so many times that I have lost count. The most recent time, 6 years ago, was the last time it happened (unless you count the Harley). You’d think we’d know better by now but I have a suspicion we’re going to get reeled in again (at some point). Anyway, let’s hope not. Aren’t we supposed to ‘grow wiser’ as we grow older?

The ‘story’ of the boat is one that initially involved great haste and later involved much delay. We discovered it on Craigslist while perusing through their recent listings. It was priced at Blue Book (not above or below) and from the singular photo provided, it seemed like a decent boat. We had just decided the day prior to actually buy a boat and it was one of the few that fell within our price range (which wasn’t a lot but it was a lot to us). Aside from looking up the value on Blue Book, we had done no other research on the boat. And because we’d never owned a boat before, we really didn’t know what to look for or what questions to ask. After contacting the owner and agreeing to head over immediately in order to give it a good ‘once over’, we hopped in our truck. About 10 minutes later, we arrived at the residence. The boat was on a trailer and parked in the driveway. About three ‘good ol’ boys’ were communing nearby.

After we introduced ourselves, we looked it over but never once stepped foot in it or tried any of the controls. The only thing the current owner did was lower the motor into a garbage can full of water and run it for us. To be honest, it didn’t look too fantastic. It had definitely seen better days. My husband and I were on the fence about buying it until the owner, with a cellphone held up to his ear, walked over and said that if we weren’t interested, he had another guy on the line that really wanted it and was on his way over. One thing I have learned about myself is that I don’t work well ‘under pressure’, neither does my husband. When I make hasty decisions, I usually regret them. After the owner made the comment about the ‘other guy’, that should have been our cue to make a graceful exit; however, we chose to ignore it. We fell for the ‘if you don’t buy it right now, somebody else will’ ruse.

I’m not sure why, but my brain short-circuits whenever I find myself in that situation. Seriously. I feel like I’m nearly having a stroke! My heart starts racing and I can hardly catch my breath and my thinking becomes clouded. Before I had time to think the matter over adequately, my husband and I gave each other ‘the nod’ and then he pulled out the wad of bills and handed them to the owner. After the owner ponied up the title and keys, we hooked the boat and trailer up to our truck and off we went! Were we ever excited!! Wow, our first boat. What a thrill! Sad to say, but the ‘thrill’ didn’t last long once we pulled into our driveway and got a chance to properly inspect our purchase. Holy smokes! The thing was a junk heap! Apart from the fact that the motor worked, little else did. The most glaring thing we missed was right under our noses, the entire deck was rotten. Once we realized what we had gotten ourselves into, I wanted to cry. I really did.

My husband was beyond disappointed. He knew we had really stepped in it that time! Regardless, he got to work trying to make it ‘seaworthy’. Step one involved gutting the entire boat. Little by little, everything was removed and either set on a shelf in the garage for safekeeping or tossed in a heap (destined for the landfill). Step two involved assessing what needed to happen next and ordering the necessary supplies. We needed a lot of stuff! In addition to all of the wood that had to be replaced, we needed resin and fiberglass and marine carpet and paint and seats and lights and windshields and deep-cycle batteries and state-mandated safety equipment and, and, and. After the fiberglass and resin arrived, he got to work on step three, rebuilding and reinforcing the very bottom (floor portion) part of the boat. It wasn’t easy and he tired of it quickly.

It didn’t take him long to determine that putting the boat back together wasn’t going to happen in a matter of weeks (what he initially ascertained). It was going to take a lot of time and energy, of which he had little. I believe it took him a week or two, once he’d hollowed out the hull, to redo the floor and ensure it was structurally sound. When he was done, the bottom of the boat was solid. It no longer ‘bounced’ or ‘gave way’. With that first project knocked out, he decided to take a ‘little break’. During the ‘little break’, several seasons came and went (about 20). Summer turned to fall and fall to winter and winter to spring and spring to summer (5 times). The sad little hollowed-out boat sat and waited patiently. And as it did, it became covered in dust and cobwebs and bird sh*t. I’m not sure what the birds had against this boat but I got the impression they were having a contest to see which bird could sh*t on it the most!

That boat was quite the sight! I actually considered paying to dispose of it at the dump. What stopped me? All I had to do was step into the garage and look at all of the ‘stuff’ we had purchased to restore the boat. We spent at least the equivalent in ‘stuff’ as we did on the actual boat, a sizable investment. If I ‘junked’ the boat, I had no idea what I was going to do with a bunch of marine carpet and fiberglass and, and, and. There was no way I was going to simply give it away, but trying to sell it off bit by bit seemed time consuming and overwhelming. I wasn’t sure where to turn or how to proceed and then something crazy happened, the pandemic! Suddenly, my husband had all the time in the world to do whatever he wanted and he had become just as tired as I had looking at the ‘eyesore’ stored under the carport. I’m not sure what got into him, but one day (in late spring) he finally decided it ‘was time’.

Eight to ten hours a day for nearly three months solid, he worked on that boat. He redid everything that could be redone. Brand new 3/4 inch plywood was used to rebuild all of the decking. Each piece of wood, once cut out, would be coated in resin and then wrapped in fiberglass and then coated in resin again. It would then be coated in waterproof paint and lastly wrapped in marine carpet. Everything was done with diligence and great care. Nothing was overlooked, he went over the entire boat ‘with a fine tooth comb’. It was quite stunning once it was all said and done. When the day finally arrived that he could get it in the water, he didn’t waste any time. He actually brought me along and while I did find it exhilarating, especially with the motor at full throttle, I wound up becoming ‘seasick’. He had hoped the boat would be something we both could enjoy but after that happened, I let him know that he’d be going solo from then on.

Every single time I get on a boat, I get sick. I always think that maybe ‘this time will be different’ but it never is. My husband was disappointed that I wouldn’t be joining him for future boating adventures, but he understood. He took the boat out three more times on his own before he had a realization. What did he realize? What comes to mind are as follows, 1) The boat was too big to launch by himself, 2) The cockpit was WAY too small, 3) It wasn’t fun boating alone, 4) Spending $75 on gasoline in order to fill the tank (after 2 times on the water) was a little ridiculous (considering we were both unemployed at the time), and 5) He really wanted a boat with a different configuration because it didn’t work so well for the type of fishing he wanted to do. What happened then? It ended up back on Craigslist. Oh, yes! In fact, now that it’s completely restored and working like a champ, we’re going to sell it!!

Why? Because that’s what we do. We love to buy people’s crap for top dollar and then spend a bunch of money fixing it up and once it’s all done and looking like a million bucks, we sell it. Do we ever profit off our sales? Oh, no. If we can make just enough to cover our expenses, we’re happy. Why is that? Because we’re nuts, that’s why! I have to tell you, I’m pretty excited at the moment. We’ve had it listed for a week and a half with only a couple of ‘nibbles’, but tonight a husband and wife stopped by and they appeared to really love it. If everything goes as planned, they’re supposed to stop by tomorrow with the ‘Benjamins’ and haul it out of here. I sure hope they return. It’ll be one less thing for us to worry about and having the extra cash won’t hurt either. If we actually sell it tomorrow, I’ll post a photo of it. If you look up my blog tomorrow and it doesn’t include a picture of the boat, you’ll know the deal fell through and I will probably be feeling quite disappointed. Anyway, wish us luck!

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