Monday, November 16, 2009

The Proposal: An Engagement Story begins at 6:30am with our alarm going off...we are getting up early to make the drive to Detroit for Scott's niece Nycole's 5th birthday party and we have to hit the road early.  Ugh.

"Should I shower?" I wonder out loud, deciding against it since a) it buys me a couple more minutes in bed and b) we'll be sitting in the car for 5 hours.

We get ready, throw a few things into our bags and get into the car.

"Oh!" exclaims Scott, "Let's swing by the boat and get those measurements for my mom" he looks at me, and sees a faint look of 'lets just hit the road' - and says, "It's on the way, and we've put it off so long". Okay, no biggie. We do keep forgetting those measurements.
The "measurements" are for cockpit cushions that his mom (bless her!) wants to have made for us.  She has been asking for them all summer, and we KEEP forgetting to get them to her. So this is a legit "excuse".

On to the boat we go.

Once we get to the boat yard, I tell Scott, "I'll just wait in the car" (as he knew I would - am I so predictable?) and he proceeds in without me (after a few unsuccessful and frantic tries to unlock the gate, he finally gets it - phew!). I just sit back and flip my way through my new Women's Health, basking in the November sunlight as I read about excersizes that are sure to keep my butt in shape over the holidays.

About 5 minutes later, my phone rings. It is Scott. "Hon, I need help with these measurements, can you just come up here quick and help me?"

I do think it odd that he needs help with something as simple as measuring, but it raises no suspicions, and I reply "Sure, be right up!" and to the boat I go.

Let me preface this by saying I could not have ordered a more beautiful day. There is not a cloud in the sky, the sun is casting that perfect golden morning light across everything, and already the temperature is 60 degrees!!  It is only 8am!! Heaven!

I climb up the scaffolding to our boat and see a smiling Scott.  I clamor up and over the life lines and onto the deck and immediately see rose petals EVERYWHERE.

Then I knew.  Holy crap.  This is really happening!

I gasp because I did NOT see this coming.  (I mean we have very seriously talked about marriage and knew it'd happen, but I didn't suspect this day, this morning).  Scott gets down on one knee, procurs a box with a ring, and with a little quiver in his voice says, "Brittany, I am so in love with you and cannot imagine spending my life with anyone other than you. Will you marry me?"

With tears of joy in my eyes I throw my arms around Scott's neck and exclaim, "Yes!".

Aside from trying to put the ring on my right finger, it goes off without a hitch. It is perfect. I couldn't have dreamt a more appropriate way for us to get engaged; in a boat yard next to the river, on our boat, on pretty much the most perfect day that 2009 has given Chicago. Scott brings out a bottle of champagne (the good stuff!!) and, true to form, we drink the whole thing.  Bliss.

We sit in the cockpit - hugging, kissing and making excited phone calls to close friends and family.  All with giant grins plastered on our faces.

About an hour later, we drive to Michigan (we still had a 5th birthday party to attend at Chuck E. Cheese's). We play one game of "Deal or No Deal", choosing the case that represents our special day, 14. We win.  The crowd of tweens and toddlers go wild as 50 whole tickets spew out of the machine.  High fives all around.  We think we have hit the jackpot but apparently, at Chuck E. Cheese, 50 tickets will get you little more than a few stickers or a plastic commemorative spoon. 

Either way, we think its a good sign.


Brittany and Scott

Friday, November 13, 2009

To Do List - Good GOD.

Well – here is a list of what I can think of that we need to do to our boat this winter/next spring. Is there anything I am missing!?! For the love of Jesus I hope not. Krikey.  I am posting it here so we can add to it and check things off as neccessary.


1. Replace/rebuild engine
2. Replace engine mounts
3. Replace Seacocks to Gate Valves
4. Replace ALL hoses
5. Figure out steering system – hydraulic vs. cable!?! And fix or replace (currently hydraulic)
6. Install 2 self tailing winches
7. Reconfigure propane tank in forward locker
8. Buy/Install windlass
9. Rewire all electric to single panel at nav station
10. Install outlet system according to ABYC E-11 standards
11. Replace GPS/Chart-plotter
12. Replace/fix instruments (wind speed, boat speed...etc)
13. Fix FM radio
14. Make sure we can shower in head (bilge pump in proper position - does it even work?)
15. Fix leaky faucet in galley
16. Water-proof the engine hatch
17. Fix boom vang
18. Fix DC outlet in cockpit
19. Forward light doesn’t work in v-berth (figure out what kind of bulbs we have throughout might need to replace as I feel they are strange and European)
20. Figure out why the autopilot has a life of it's own - fix or replace
21. Strip and re-paint the bottom (anti-fouling)
22. Replace forward hatch?
23. Zincs?
24. Life lines?
25. New sails??


1. Replace curtains
2. Sand/Varnish – Bright work
3. Carpeting cleaned
4. Build additional teak shelving for galley/v-berth/saloon


1.  Win lottery or actually run into a legit Nigerian banker scam thing


1. Remain sane

For the love of all things holy,

Brittany & Scott

Monday, November 09, 2009

Engine Haul Out 101

You will need:
a) A lot of time (approximately 6 hours, give or take)
b) About 4-6 able-bodied (and patient) people (In our case, us, my Dad, my uncles Bill and Bob and my two cousins Austin and Zack)
c) A litany of tools including (but not limited to):  Every size wrench (original and socket), every size screw driver (both flat head and Phillips), hand saw, heat gun, label tags and electrical tape (to label the hoses and wires you remove - do NOT make the assumption that you will remember, because you will not), digital camera (to take photos as back up to the labels you create), 2-3 feet of pipe (to use as a handle extension/lever when dealing with very stubborn bolts), a hammer (regular and sledge), extra line or "rope", 5+ feet of chain, at least 2 VERY STRONG straps (1000+ lb weight), tape measure, cardboard (to cover seats and surrounding area), duct tape (because what job doesn't require this!?), WD40 (to loosen stubborn bolts and screws), ratchet, wire cutters, pliers (needle nose and regular),  and lots of ziplock baggies.
I am probably missing a few things here - but you get the idea.  Basically, you need a local ACE Hardware's worth of tools.
d)  Coffee, donuts and bagels
e)  A giant "cherry picker" crane capable of lifting thousands of pounds (this is ideal, you can remove an engine without this - but I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy)
f)  A few pre-cut 4x4 pieces of wood to place over engine compartment for safety (once the engine is out)
g)  A skid to put the engine on once it is out of the boat.
h)  LOTS AND LOTS of paper towels, a bucket, sponges, scrub brushes, rubber gloves and grease-combating soap (we like Simple Green) to clean up afterward.
i)  Beer.  Don't ever forget to bring the beer.

What to do:
Step 1:  Remove all doors, panels and associated hinges that encase said engine and cover surrounding area with protective layer (like cardboard) - secure with duct tape.
Step 2:  Get down and dirty in the "engine room" and unhook all hoses, electric wires and pipes.  Be prepared for interesting liquids and goos to come from the cut hoses. (It is highly advisable to have a very flexible person do this as Cirque du Soleil type moves are required in order to get to some bolts)
Step 3:  Depending on your engine and engine compartment - remove all extra "things" that make the engine "big" (like the prop shaft, cooling compartment, fuel filters, throttle cables, gear box...etc)*
Step 4:  Remove all the engine mounts (ours has 4 - waaaaay down under the engine)
Step 5:  Position hoist above the engine and gently lower crane down
Step 6:  Place at least 2 VERY STRONG straps around the engine, both forward and aft (the engine will pitch one way or another)
Step 7:  Secure straps to the crane (this might need some creative engineering as every engine and engine compartment are different - we needed to lift ours out awkwardly because it was bigger than the actual engine opening)
Step 8:  Hoist engine from its housing (this might require some elbow grease and nudging to get it off its mounts - especially if it has been there for 35 years as ours has)
Step 9:  Lower engine to the skid
Step 10:  Clean up the bilge and engine room.  You will have dropped MANY tools, bolts, screws and washers down there and you DO NOT want to find them clogging the bilge pump next season.

*If you do not know your engine like the back of your hand and don't have your engine manual on hand (wince), be prepared to spend over an hour trying to remove something that you discover cannot in fact be removed at all. This is an exercise in patience.

Piece of cake, right?  We simply can NOT wait to put it back in!! (Insert huge toothy sarcastic smile)

Getting closer!
Brittany & Scott

PS.  This is NOT an official engine removal guide.  Please DO NOT treat it as such.  Thank you in advance.
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