The time of financial austerity is over ...
For the past few years, Pat and I have been operating on an austerity budget. Part of that program has meant that I haven't had much in the way of new clothes for a very long time -- we've been shopping at thrift stores for most clothes. But now, at long last, I have the first pair of actual new shoes that I have had in about five years. And they're magnificent: delightful little black numbers that fit my feet like gloves, but with just enough extra stretch that in really cold conditions I can wear a pair of wool socks underneath.
Especially over on Facebook, many friends, including old high-school classmates, have reveled in their shoes -- how many they have, the special virtues of each pair, the stylishness, the excitement of finding just the right pair. Now, I can join them.
Meanwhile, it's not just my feet but also my boat, Black Magic, that is enjoying the end of austerity. We came down to Elephant Butte Friday with the hope of sailing with Zorro as well as working on boats. As it turned out, it was too windy to sail. First, I helped Zorro with patching some cracks in Constellation's deck and re-rigging the outhaul, which had been fouling far too often. Then Pat joined Zorro and me at the mast-up storage lot where Black Magic is, and we replaced a lot of the rigging: backstay control, mainsheet, jib sheet, traveler (including some blocks and other hardware), jib tack, mast block shock cords, and tiller tamer. Zorro also mixed up some epoxy filler, which he used to patch up some gouges in the keel as well as some dents in the deck.
Saturday, we had hoped that at least in the morning, we could get in some sailing; the weather forecasts predicted a breezy morning and a windy afternoon. But it was blustery from the get-go, much too windy for sailing. Zorro did some work on Constellation while Pat and I paid a visit to our favorite used-book store in the universe, Black Cat Books in Truth or Consequences. Gerald has a rule of thumb that a used-book store is not a proper used-book store unless there is a cat on the premises. I think I agree. Pat and I ended up getting a wide range of books, including a German grammar book, a collection of essays about what it means to be human in a technological environment, and a James Patterson (plus one of his more trustworthy co-authors, Maxine Paetro) thriller.
After that, Pat and I stopped by the hardware store to look for bolts to use when replacing the old cam cleats on the boat. In stainless steel, the longest bolts the store had were two inches, so we bought only four, two flathead and two pan-head, with the idea that whichever fit best, we could come back and buy more, and if neither fit, we weren't out much money.
Then Pat and I returned to Black Magic, where Pat set about working on replacing the old cam cleats on the console with the new ones that we had ordered. The old cleats were ancient and decaying even when we first got the boat, but we had never had time or money to replace them all -- when one of them failed, we put a new one in, and we kept saying that we needed to get them all replaced. It took Pat 20 minutes to remove just one cleat. We discovered that flathead bolts were the best for the new cam cleats, but two inches was too short -- we needed three-inch bolts.
Meanwhile, Zorro had done some more work on Constellation but had learned that the Sunday weather forecast was for even more wind, far too much to go sailing, so he decided to put his boat away and head back to El Paso. He stopped by Black Magic before heading south, and he and Pat worked on the shrouds -- we're looking at replacing turnbuckles at the very least and possibly at replacing the shrouds completely. We made plans to do more boat restoration next weekend, including new bottom paint at least on the parts of the keel that got patched. In the meantime, we can get the three-inch bolts and a few other bits of hardware we need. Top of the agenda for next weekend is completely redoing the outhaul on Black Magic so we can depower more effectively in a gust. There have been a lot of those lately.
Zorro is super-eager about all of these repairs and refurbishments, because he really, really wants to see Black Magic racing next weekend. And I do have to admit, I'm excited about seeing my boat finally getting back into a condition where she can sail well. But I'm feeling ambiguous about actually racing. I'm not sure I want to support the RGSC's current leadership -- the current commodore who, when he was vice commodore, tried to call meetings of the board even though the club constitution doesn't give him that power, and on shorter notice than even those who have the power are permitted to do; Zorro's replacement as race committee chairman to whom I gave the blog nickname "Space Invader" because of his creepy behavior toward me even before I learned of the New Mexico court records about him and the many restraining orders women have taken out against him; the club management that failed to notify one of our favorite restaurant owners that the sailing club was planning to hold a skippers' meeting in the restaurant's back room and thereby royally pissed off the restaurant owner ... I don't know that I want to race and thereby seem to support the current club leadership.
I think I'd rather just go sailing. And wear my new shoes.
Labels: boats, cats, friends, fun, geeks, new mexico, observations, racing, rants, sailing, t or c, tadpole, teaching, team zorro, work, writing