Friday, November 19, 2010

A hole in the water

The mountain, unmoved
Ever since early October, the so-called music room in our house  has been filled with deck cushions, boat hooks, charts, logs, cruising guides, throw life rings, chafing gear, dock lines, bumpers, life vests, deck brushes, fishing gear, electronics, and even a large non-skid  mat that normally covers the floor of the pilot house. 

It gets worse. Underneath all these items is a very large blue plastic chest, a sort of monstrous Tupperware container the size of a Shetland pony. I don’t remember what it’s full of and it’s too late to find out now—there’s too much stuff piled on top. 

This minor mountain has been sitting there six or maybe seven weeks, ever since  a big Nor’easter came through and forced our boat (and many others), out of the water and up onto what’s known as “the hard.” (I’m charmed by this usage and deploy it in a showoffy way whenever I can. Like now, for instance.)

Of course we talk every now and then about putting  this great tangle of gear in the loft of the barn where it belongs, but we can’t seem to do it—for some reason we like it right where it is. 

It’s said that a boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money, and maybe that’s true. I have to add, though, that a boat, once purchased, costs quite a lot less than a horse, and the boat hardly ever goes lame or needs shoes more expensive than the ones I wear, and mine don't wear out every five to seven weeks.

I’ve also read that, when people are asked to name the one purchasing decision in their life that made them utterly miserable, buying a boat is invariably at the top of the list. 

I understand that—boats make you work hard, and you are often wet and anxious, sometimes hungry, and always  a long way from any sort of internet connection. Boats also attract insects at the dock and repel bass when you’re away from it. We have a fish finder, so I know this to be true. This instrument displays fish with great accuracy as they light out for the territories, and these vanishing edibles show up on the instrument display looking exactly like those little Pepperidge Farm cheese snacks; all that’s missing is the little baked-in smile. 

And yet we cannot move this pile of gear. 

It’s not laziness—we’re talking about two people who spent most of the past summer moving things in and out of storage boxes and up and down steep stairs to accommodate a major kitchen renovation. And it’s not sloppiness, either—my husband is as tidy as a cat, and the sort of person who unplugs toasters, alphabetizes sheet music, and folds laundry so swiftly and neatly I’m shamed by my lumpy halfwit efforts. (I do cook and wash dishes, but it seems inadequate penance.)

Here’s the honest truth: This mountain fills a hole in both of us, and the dimensions match  almost exactly the length and beam of Clancy's Jig. It seems likely that the mountain will not move until the boat comes off the hard and displaces the clean, sweet water of Champlain  again.

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