August 10th, 2003

don't fear death

i have power!

i am a bit disappointed. i made a plea to the NOBLE list to see if someone would come help me install a new battery. see, my battery weighs about 70 pounds, the hatch is heavy and things that spark when you connect them frighten me. it isn't that i am a weak woman. i can manage to do a lot of things on my own. but, the point is, why should i when i have friends who are better at that kind of thing? anyway, i got exactly one offer to help.
the NOBLE community is a bit different than other communities with which i have been involved in the past. i know i don't go so much anymore at all, but i've always known i could walk back in to welcoming faces. there isn't a lot of giving in this group. when i do my condom outreaches in the quarter or other charitable events, i often post there asking for volunteers. rarely does anyone respond. when anyone posts for help, whether it be needing volunteers for something or assistance moving, i almost always respond and try to help. something about that sense of community. of helping one another when in need or able to give. it is for sure, a different kind of group of people. not that there is anything wrong with not helping when others ask.....there are tons of valid reasons for not doing so, but i am surprised, time after time, that this is the case each and every time. especially when an event, like condom stuffing, is somewhat lifestyle related. interesting....and sad.
anyway, i did get one response and i am grateful that he came over to help. i'm a bit embarrassed about how it turned out....
i considered taking the battery, temporarily, from my sailboat to see if it would give the houseboat just enough power to get through to monday. it is dead too. nice. i went to west marine and bought a new battery. not just any battery, mind you, but the best, most powerful, most expensive deep cycle battery they had. i didn't want to risk not being able to use my pumps again anytime in the near future. lugged it out to my car and drove it home, secured safely in the passenger seat. timing couldn't have been better. my friend arrived to help just after i pulled into the marina. work. little did i know when we would lift the hatch there would be three batteries! there would have been four had one not exploded about a month ago. i need to remember to keep two connected back there should one die again!
when i lift my hatch i am a stranger in a strange land. there are wires and switches and engines and generators and....batteries. i am clueless. i do plan to learn what all this machinery does, especially after yesterday. i picked a battery. the one that looked most likely to be connected to all the secret little electrical things it controls on board.
my friend hooked the new one up just as he unhooked the old one. i realized i could have done this. red to red, black to black. but when there was a spark i was ever so grateful that it was not my hands anywhere near power that has the capacity to curl my hair. nothing. not a drop of juice. now, this didn't sound good at all. it indicated that something is amiss in the wiring and that is not only way more daunting that replacing a battery, but potentially more expensive. a bit more fiddling and flipping of switches and my friend reluctantly gives up.
so, here it is a saturday afternoon and i am left with a tub full of bath water that i can't drain (the drain is electrical that runs on that battery), a toilet i can't flush and a few other things that don't work, including a bilge pump. it isn't raining and my boat has yet to take on water in the worst storm so the bilge shouldn't be an issue, but it makes me nervous not to have it nonetheless. i begin to make calls. no one can come out on a saturday after 4:00, but everyone can come out on monday. i don’t mind walking down to the bathhouse to use normal land pumps, but my mother has arrived to spend the night (that is a story in itself for later!). mom suggests i call carlo.
carlo was an old boyfriend of my mother's when i was in high school. the only one i ever adored. we've always been close though they broke up when i was about 13. he is kind and true and fun. he was the only boyfriend who always took my side over my evil sister's. the only one who saw through my sister's lying and manipulation. he is a dear. she should have married that man. probably still could if she would lose the one with whom she has been living with the last ten years or so.
carlo, my knight with shining pliers, fixed by battery problem right away. and here is the embarrassing part.... when i looked, really looked, at the batteries connected down there, i should have been able to tell what was what. the battery we removed and replaced earlier said "starting battery" on it. hmmmm....... i had taken out a perfectly good engine starting battery and replaced it with a perfectly good other battery that didn't belong there! carlo traced the right battery and had me up and flushing in no time! and he told my mom i made his day by calling and asking for his help.
i can do that more often, i'm sure! :)
don't fear death

(no subject)

the other story.....
my mother is a trip. i love her to death, but she is nuts. not in a need to be committed as soon as possible kind of nuts, but in a sometimes she should be kind of way. briarroseno went out with us last night to the yacht club. now, i had reservations about going to the club once mommy dearest started drinking. it is better to pick a little neighborhood bar, rather than my own backyard. she gets a little obnoxious when she has been drinking. but, to get into the events of last night, i need to tell you about my old neighbor, W.
W lived next to me when i moved to the marina. he had a beautiful houseboat in the slip on my starboard side and owns a 40-something foot, equally beautiful sailboat a few piers down. he didn't talk to me much. i hated that and went out of my way to be friendly. knowing and being friendly to my neighbors, for some reason, has always been important to me. he finally came around and would hold conversations with me over the finger pier, even once asking me if i dated. at christmas time i hung white lights around my boat. after christmas, as many new orleaneans do, i decided to leave them up and turned them on from time to time. one night, as i was coming home, W came out of his boat and asked me, in his heavy german accent if i intended to leave my lights up year round.
"i'm not sure, probably." i told him.
"it lights up my whole house," he says, raising his arms as if to demonstrate a big, bright sun.
not wanting to bother my new, somewhat friendly neighbor, i took down all the lights on my starboard side and rarely turned on the remainders. he sold his boat and moved. one night as i was sitting outside sipping a good pinot noir with briarroseno i turned on the lights. i like the ambience of white lights on the water.
a couple of weeks later i was in the club and W approached me.
" i see you still have the white lights on."
i looked at him. "i do. i like them. why do you care? you are gone. it gives me more light than the regular one."
"it looks like a cheap trailer."
i glared at him. convinced now that i really don't like this man. i shrug my shoulders and walk away. later, i am sitting at the bar with a couple of men who are talking about taking me out on my sailboat to show me the ropes lines. he comes up behind us and asks them if they are going to take me out.
"ya, they are taking this trailer trash out." i tell him, smiling ever so sweetly, but hardly hiding the fact that i do not like him. when he leaves they tell me that is W's way of flirting with me. what charm....ya, that will go far with me.
a couple of weeks later i find a boat light on the finger pier by my boat. i assume it has fallen off the new boat next door to me and for two days i pick it up and put it by their lines. when they leave i finally tire of picking it up all the time throw it away. the other day W catches me in the parking lot.
"did you get the light i left for you?"
ahhhhh......that is what that was.
"light?" i innocently ask.
he explains that he left a new light for me because it was a bright one and if i used it i wouldn't need the white lights. what the hell is it with him and his deep aversion to white lights??? sheeeeesh. i found it, i tell him, explaining that i thought it belonged to my neighbor. i tell him i threw it away. he rolls his eyes and drives away.
i've told this story to my mother....the german who hates my white lights. he is in the club last night and my mother is revved up to fuck with him. she invites him to come sit with us. she tells him that, because he is german, he doesn't understand white lights and proceeds to tell him some tale about white lights warding off evil spirits in irish folklore. i interrupt for just a moment.
"yes, it works," i say. "You left."
oh, not nice, maia.......
he just smiles.
within half an hour my mother, with the most finely tuned skills of manipulation known to women (next to my sister) has this man wrapped around her pinkie. i'm feeling a wee bit uncomfy. i don't like manipulation, in any form.
i, on the other hand, still do not care for him, but, for the most part, i've curbed my finely tuned skills of sarcasm. i'm dying here.....turning my bright red face away and hiding laughter to the point of tears more than once.
my mother is more domme than she will ever admit. she has him ordering and buying drinks and has taken complete control of his evening. he invites us to his sailboat for a drink. i only go because i want to see the inside of his boat. he has shown me pictures before, but i haven't been on board. some women are suckers for flowers and chocolate. me, i am a sucker for a boat. but....i still don't like him.
he puts his arm around my mother and helps her on board.
she is bossy and controls the conversation. when he turns the tv on she tells him to turn it off and play some music.
as we are having drinks and they are talking, i am watching W. i see something i've not seen before. i see the vulnerability of a little boy. there is something soft and child-like about him that strikes my sensitive side. i think i have read him wrong and i am feeling guilty. guilty because my mother is toying with him. i want to go home.
as we leave my mother tells him to keep an eye out for me and take care of his daughter. i roll my eyes and tell her i live in a marina not in another third world country and i am fine. he promises to watch out for me.
i will look at W differently now. i will be more compassionate.
but i won't take down my white lights.
don't fear death

(no subject)

awesome sailing day!!
and i don't think W will be giving me a hard time about my lights....
and i am sure we will be going sailing again....
evil grins....