Wednesday, April 2, 2014


We're buying a house! It's 4 houses down from my father-in-law, so we had him check it out for us. He liked it, so we put in an offer without actually seeing it first.

It was the right choice. While the space needs some modernization and perhaps a little help to drag it into the 21st century, it's been loved and well-maintained, and the structure is sound.

And we're closing in 12 days.


It was build in 1976, and has a lot of the original accoutrements, but it has great bones. And all the colors of the rainbow. Don't believe me? Well, here's the basement: 

And the living room:

Lemon yellow bedroom, anyone?

A green office.

 A spearmint bathroom.

 And if that color offends your tastes, you could always use,the lavender master bath.

We should probably bring up the topic of the kitchen. Americana, anyone?

If you click on the full-sized image, you'll be able to see the bald eagle wall paper. BALD EAGLE WALLPAPER, FOLKS.


And I love it. I don't give a flying crap about what color carpet it has, or that it's basically a portal back into the 70s. Laugh at it all you want.

You know what else it has?


A two car garage. With heating. Winter woodworking, anyone?

And let's not ignore the fact that it comes with 2.5 acres. That's a lot of land.

My head is spinning with the possibilities. A garden with some beehives is an absolute must. But for the rest of the pasture? So many options.

It'll be a busy year for us, I think.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Displacement of Guilt

I've been getting a few emails from folks who read this blog with some concern that I may have ended in a ditch somewhere in Reno in a VW Bus.  Turns out I'm fine, the bus performed admirably.* I did manage to metaphorically drive into a ditch of discontent, however.  Here's what happened.

My father died on November 26, 2007. It's been a while. Long enough for the scar tissue to start fading. Or so I thought. 

Well, on August 9, 2013, my mom remarried.

No big deal, right?  But I had just witnessed my mother marry her sweetheart of 5 years. While it was a wonderful day, it did feel like a horrible betrayal to my father- and I know it wasn't- my mother deserves a life of joy and love. So I felt like I was betraying her, too, for not being 100% invested in her happiness. 

So I drove home, in our bus, feeling like I've betrayed both my parents- the living one, for not being happy enough. The dead one, for being too happy.

Rio brings me joy. Even in her unfinished state she brings me a sense of pride and causes me to puff up like a blowfish when anyone comes over. But building a boat was my father's dream, too. And working on the boat after 'betraying' my father seemed like the most cold-hearted thing I could do to him after attending my mother's wedding.

I'm a highly emotional person. It's not one of my better traits. My nerve endings grow past my body. 

And thus my heart just wasn't in it. I actually got a bit angry at that shabby looking boat, sitting in the yard, staring at me half-finished. It got to the point where I couldn't even stand to look at her. I got so angry that I threw a tarp over her, as some sort of guilt tourniquet. Selfish Julie. Building something her dead father couldn't. Shame, shame, shame.** 

My husband was suitably worried. The 'buildies' are a barometer for my emotional well-being. He started pestering me about it.  

"You're so close to finishing that boat."  
"I'm not touching it."
"I can help you if you'd li.."
"Fuck off."  

I couldn't be persuaded. I was angry. So there she stayed, over the remainder of summer, through autumn, and now through winter. I placed dehumidifiers under the tarp to keep the moisture low (I'm not completely self-sabotaging), and I'm in the process of reminding myself that life is for the living, that moving on is okay.

My father was always pushing me to do the things he couldn't- this boat would have made him puff up, too. And it's really time to finish the damn thing.

So we wait. The weather is currently a glorious 22F (or a balmy -2C, whichever you prefer) so it may be a few months. But I'm here. The scar itches occasionally. But I'm in the right place to finish what I've started. I'm antsy. And there's a pretty little boat in the backyard who is eager to taste saltwater that isn't made of tears. 

*admirably- meaning that the transmission started slipping when we left Reno, and only died completely once we drove it to our mechanic. 

**Bonus points if you've read this in the voice of Gollum. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rio's Being Neglected.

The deck was installed last Friday.  I haven't touched Rio since.   Well, other than cut out the portholes.

These will eventually be my portholes/deadlights. I bought a teak cutting board on Ebay for $20 and hacked it up.

Remember that VW Bus I was telling you about?  Welllll.... We decided to go on a road trip.  In early August.  1500 miles (round trip), 4 states, 5 days.   So, I've been planning, building, sanding, painting, crocheting, sewing, and giving myself the most epic of epic blisters I've ever had the honor of having working on that bus (click here to see said blister if you're weird like that).

In other words, I'm having a blast.  You all know how much I adore tiny living spaces, right? It's kind of my thing.  The smaller, more efficient the abode, the more excited I get.  That van checks all the boxes. I've got my hands full right now.  And the sad thing is that I only have 4 more pieces to glue onto that boat- and I have the material for my mast.  I. Am. So. Close.

And yet so far.  Even farther in a few days.  By about 750 miles. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Deck Has Been Dry Fitted!

Boat building by day, VW bus owner by night.

Feeling blessed and lucky.

Carlins and gunwales were steamed, bent, glued into submission.
Seats are permanently installed, along with the outboard motor doublers. 
Dry fit of the deck has been completed. 

Time to pull the deck off, give it three epoxy coats and get that sucker installed first thing tomorrow. 

Guessing that I'll have all the body parts to this boat glued on by the end of next week.  Am I dreaming?  Is the end near?  Bittersweet thinking about it, I get so misty-eyed and sentimental.   I'm going to be such a wreck on launch day.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Casa Rodante (AKA Blue II)

Watch out, Rio.  There's another lady in town.  Snub-nosed. Plenty of storage.  Meant for cruising AND camping. 

Meet Casa Rodante. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Busy weekend here. 

1.  Seats were fitted and adjusted.  My fillets were so thick in some areas that I had to widen the slots for everything to fit right.

2.  Under the seat doubler for the motor mount was cut out and installed (not shown is the doubler that'll go over the seat top).  Here's a shot of it before it was attached permanently.

3. I cut out and installed a curved cleat for bulkhead #2 for the deck to sit on.  I sanded (and sanded!) off the paint that I just put on to glue on the cleat- turns out that the enamel I used is really tough.  I used 80 grit with an orbital sander and it was still an exercise in patience. 

4.  Deck, cabin sides, cabin top (no hole for the mast yet), all cut out.  She looks a little silly at the moment- just add some curves and we'll be in business!

All the carlins and stringers have been cut/scarffed together.  Tomorrow I'll start painting the compartments under the seats, prepping the carlins to be installed, and cutting out seat top doublers for the hatches I'll be adding.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fast Forward..


It's me.  You know, the one with the sad little SCAMP tucked beneath a canopy?  If you haven't forgotten me completely you'll be glad to know that I'm still alive and I've made some version of progress on Rio.  The more time that sits between posts the more awkward it is to just suddenly catch up for me, and I've attempted to write this damn post three times now... So, what the hell, I'm just going to go for it.

Let's catch up!


Rio has paint, but not everywhere.  Just in the places that the sole covers and in the storage ahead of... ah, whatever, just look at the photo.

Said paint was a $20/gallon alkyd enamel from Ace Hardware.  I HAD intended to use Marshall's Cove paint, but they're not sold in the Seattle area (yet) so I decided to move forward with what I read would be a tolerable substitute.  The owner was very nice, offered to meet up in South Lake Union and everything, so I do hope to throw some business his way when I have a boat worthy (one that is built in a shop and not subject to bugs, pine needles, dirt, pollen, etc).

Paint was tinted as close as possible to Farrow & Ball's 'Pointing'- a beautiful, whipping cream white.  Farrow & Ball is my favorite paint company to steal colors from- their shades tend to be very subtle and very, very beautiful. I've read their paint is an absolute dream to use.  I would love to try it someday in my house (but they're not sold in Seattle- closest store is in Portland). 

Anyway, back to the boat.  So, three as-thin-as-I-could-possibly-roll-it coats later on thoroughly scuffed epoxy (no primer), with 24-36 hours between coats resulted in this:

Very pleased with it.  It's really tough paint.  I've scratched at it and attempted to scuff it, but it's on pretty well.  I did overpaint, though, as I'll have to actually remove some before glueing down the deck.

Notice the plug?  That's my backup drain plug, as I'm prone to losing stuff and I have a hunch that a water ballast plug is probably a bad thing to lose, and thus, guarantees that I WILL accidentally fling said plug overboard.  So, I'm carrying a backup.

2. COCKPIT SOLE HAS BEEN INSTALLED.  So, once the paint was dry and to my satisfaction, the cockpit sole was glued and screwed on: 

I have since filleted the sole.

And then it started raining.  And raining.  And raining.  Except on the days I was out of town- then it was sunny and, from what I've heard, quite lovely. 

It's supposed to be nice tomorrow, and through the next 10 days.  I'm so ready to move forward.


I had a chance to meet Wooden Boat Dan, nice guy- he's building a SCAMP, too. HE REGULARLY UPDATES HIS WEBSITE (unlike some of us *cough*) so be sure to check it out.

I celebrated another birthday, which means I blew past my goal of launching Rio on the 6th.  Regardless, I did get to be on the water-  I spent the day in a Flat Iron Skiff.   Also, my dear husband somehow conjured up John Welsford's book Backyard Boatbuilder as a birthday gift.  It is an amazing book, so if you can get your hands on it, grab it and keep it forever.

Val and I are going to be the stewards of a beautiful little land ship. Here's a sneak peek:

To give you a further hint, she would fit in this photo beautifully:

We'll be able to terrorize boating events by both land AND by sea.  We're beyond excited.

In summary:  I'm alive.  There's been some progress.  Weather will be changing soon to favorable building conditions, so you'll likely hear more from me.  Happy building!