Month: December 2014

A new site! Almost! Kindo of!

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I started building a new website for the charter today. I started the other day but today their is something up. Not much but it is a start. northchannelcharters.com is the site.

I have had the old site findingpeace.info up for almost a year now and don’t like it much. It’s wonky… It never looks the same when I go to it. And I don’t know why it doesn’t… It should look concise page to page. I built it with the GoDady site builder. (It was my first site!) I’m not sure what went wrong wit it. As far as I could figure it was set up properly. How hard can it be to cut and paste stuff anyway…? It served it’s purpose.

On with the new site. You may have noticed a name change. northchannelcharters.com I own the URL and it is kind of descriptive. Well for the North Channel anyway. (That may be a problem in the future though. I have plans to grow the business but not just in the NC…) So what to do about a name?

I used to like the name Finding Peace Sail Charters but now am thinking about another name altogether. FPSC is too long and wonky sounding. And I know that if someone is chartering a sailboat they know how peaceful it is going to be. I may use the prospective new name as the main business and have NCC as the NC division. That way I can grow the business in other areas and not worry so much about different charter names for different areas.  So I could have a Fanshawe Lake charter if I wanted. (I can’t see that ever happening.)

I have a lot more work to do to the new site. A bunch of figuring out too. I set up a bunch of buttons that open different pages. Like About, etc… Well I can’t find them now. They are their in the control panel but not on the page itself… Odd. I will have to call GoDaddy and get them to walk me through putting buttons in the sidebar.

Speaking of GoDaddy. They are great! I don’t care much about what they offer in the way of site hosting. All the hosting places are the same… It’s the help people that are great thing. Always their and always very helpful. Super helpful! Over the top! (I’m taking notes for the charter business type of customer service!)

Tonight some guy walked me through everything I wanted to do. I even ended up with a $22 credit that I used to renew my sites for another year. (That doesn’t happen with the phone company! Last night I spent 1 hour fighting to get $330.92 in over charges credited back to me. Then they tried to put a “mystery” charge of $150 on for doing that! Ahh!)

I will be adding to the new site over the next while to get it where I want it. So pop by often to see the changes.

Emails… I will have a sign up thing on the site to sign up for a draw to win stuff. And a 1 week charter next year! So if you don’t see it come back the next day and try again. You don’t want to miss out on a chance for a free charter!

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Membership application.

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My Yacht club membership from came in the mail today. I did the math and am looking at $494 for the season again. That is the best deal in the world! $180 of that is park fees for the boat and car. That even lets us use the other parks in the Upper Thames Conservation Area. They are Pittock in Woodstock and Wildwood in St Marys. I think the one we would go to if we were to would be Wildwood. It’s a lot nicer than Pittock! Fanshawe is the nicest of the three. It has a bigger lake and land footprint and more stuff to do. We are lucky to have such a nice area so close to the city. (It’s actually in the city limits but kind of on the outskirts.)

I was thinking about the club on boxing day. I had went out to the lake on a test drive with the car after I replaced the alternator. I probably picked Fanshawe as a destination because of an email I  received earlier that week. The email came from the yacht club. It said that we could still be sailing because their was no ice on the lake… I got to thinking that we should keep the docks in longer. At least keep some of the tires and carpet on the main dock so we can tie up. (I’ll bring that up at the next club meeting.) I personally wouldn’t mind trailer sailing any of my boats. They are all really easy to launch and retrieve.

I made a quick video while I was looking at the water. It’s here: http://youtu.be/HxIEssOA07k

I am standing on the road going over the dam. The gate is locked so cars can’t get over to the other side. You can bike and walk all you want over there. You can drive over between 8-4 pm. Don’t think about being late getting out… Your car could get locked in for the night or weekend. You are free to walk in and out just not to use a vehicle after hours or on weekends.

Road Trip and Garage.

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I forgot to turn the ringer off on my phone last night. I was awoken by my buddy Knoal. (Not his real name.) He called to see if I wanted to go to the hardware store. I’m sure he said he wanted to go to Home Hardware… Their smaller stores around here so I recommended there big store in St Thomas. It’s about 25 min south of London. He doesn’t drive so it’s a big pain to get there by bus and bring materials home by bus. They kind of frown upon building materials on the bus… Not sure why…

We got coffees and drove to St Thomas. When I pulled into the big Home Hardware store he said “This isn’t Home Depot…” I said “You said Home Hardware.” I won’t got over the whole conversation suffice to say that their was some laughing…

I googled Home Depot in St Thomas. Guess what. Their seems to be one in St Thomas BVI. Not the town of 25000 that we were in…

We got more coffee and came back to London and went to Home Depot. He picked up a new tool pouch and fluffy weenie rollers. I just looked around. Even a couple years after I fired myself from contracting I still enjoy going to hardware stores to see all the tools and such. Don’t need any new tools though. I have almost everything you could imagine already. And i don’t plan on putting them to use on any construction projects that aren’t my own. (When I fired myself I also said.. “And don’t come back!” )

It’s funny but I used to absolutely hate fiberglass insulation. It was so itchy and drove me nuts. So I avoided it at all costs. (Usually sending the guys up into the attic…) Now with fiberglass boats I don’t mind the itchiness of it. Yes it still itches the same if not more when you get grinding and cutting it. But that’s alright. It’s for a better cause. One I have my hart invested in and not just my wallet invested. I can spend all day in the boat wearing gloves and a respirator and not complain once.

I guess I see the benefit that I am working toward. The ability to sail and offer that opportunity to others. I think that is what makes the itch seem manageable. I can even think of all the fiddly things that slow progress down and not be put off by them. (Like that water pump on the 6Hp… Others would have just got a new bottom end. I took the time to fix it properly and enjoyed every second of it.) The same goes for removing everything that is attached to to top of the cabin of each boat. It’s a lot of work to do that but it is really satisfying to know that it’s done right and will never leak.

After dropping Knoal (Not his real name.) off at his place I came home and started to clean out the garage. I have made some progress! One of the things I did was come across my gas powered leaf blower. I made a quick repair that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. The choke lever was broken and I can’t get a new one. So I made one out of flexible fuel line. I crazy glued it on to the plastic stump that used to be attached to the lever. it works great! (I used the leaf blower to sweep the garage after I fixed it.)

There still is a lot to do in the garage . I have yet to categorize things.

Water pump rebuild.

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I was awoken today by someone knocking on the front door! 10:30 am. So I did get to sleep in! I didn’t get to the door fast enough to answer it. I figured they would come back. They didn’t.

After breakfast I got to the water pump on the 6Hp Johnson. I had to drill the holes the correct size and then tap each. I used a #7 drill bit for the ¼” x 20 bolts I have.

I started by drilling the holes in the top of the pump housing a bit bigger than the bolts. This is a bit of a tricky thing to do as the aluminum around the pump is thin and if you mistakenly drill into the pump area… It’s done! So what I did was push away from the inside of the pump while drilling. Ideally I would have just used a smaller than the ¼ bolt size but didn’t have that size bolts.

Then I put the one original bolt in and holding the top of the pump down to the bottom of the pump so I knew things would be aligned properly. Then I drilled and tapped the other holes. I left the new bolt in each hole as I progressed.20141227_144711 All the holes went smoothly but one… The one with the original bolt in it was a little finicky. It was very close to the top of the water pump housing and I couldn’t use the tool to hold the tap. My solution was to get a wrench and turn it that way. (A great idea!) One thing… The square part of the tap was smaller than all the wrenches I have. And I wasn’t going to use and adjustable wrench… There just junk when it comes to using it for more than 2 turns of anything. I find they always change sizes when using them.

Off to Princess Auto. I took the tap so I could compare wrenches. I found one with the help of a staff member. It was in a pack of 8 (7 of what all ready have.) I also found a wood carving set for Jasmine. She has been on a wood carving kick lately and I couldn’t find a set before Christmas. I’m going to wrap it and put it under the tree. 20141227_162031

The wrench that ended up fitting was a 5 mm. It fit a little loose tough. I think 4.5mm would have fit best but it wasn’t available. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one that size or smaller. They must exist for jewelers and watchmakers. Princess Auto only goes down to 5mm. The last hole went well using the little wrench to turn the tap.

I had to make the head of the last bolt smaller to fit in so it didn’t hit the pump housing. I did that with the bench grinder.20141227_170954 It’s not the prettiest but it works.

After the tapping was done I cleaned everything with compressed air and got the Vaseline out and lubed the impeller. I use Vaseline to keep the impeller lubed so it doesn’t get misshapen when I go to start the motor the first time. It is also what I have always used to lube the pump. The impeller didn’t go on right away. I had to get rid of a bir on the shaft with emery paper to get it to slide down all the way. ( I must have hit the shaft with something during my repairs…?)

I spent longer than I expected on the taping and putting the water pump together than I thought. I finished around 5:30. Just in time for supper. (Not pizza or popcorn.) Split pea soup with smoked pork. (I smoked a pork butt a couple days back.)

I’ve been working on the new charter web page since. I also made a couple new business card designs. I need a bunch of new cards to hand out when I go to the boat shows. I figure I’d do them while I’m working with sailing images.

Tomorrow I’m going to do a bit of cleaning in the garage and more web site stuff.

I’m excited about the new site! It won’t be up until I have it done next week.

Sneaky wifey poo.

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My first full day of freedom from my loving family was cut short at 9 am. My lovely wife called and woke me up. She asked me a bunch questions. None of which I remember now. I diverted the line of questioning at one point by saying  “I got the date squares…” Put them in the freezer is the last thing I remember hearing…

It was her plan all along. I see it now.

It all started when my mom brought date squares and a lemon pie to my brothers place on the 24th. We also brought a desert. A yule log that Heidi had made. Well we only touched the log and not the other desserts. So Reg told mom to take the things she brought home and serve them the next day. She did that. On our way home Heidi told me that she would have loved to have a date square.

Well yesterday I was out at moms for dinner with 2 of the neighbors and one of them brought desert. (3 now.) So we ate the one that was brought. I told I had to take one home and was asked what I wanted. (Her is where it gets interesting…) I said the date squares…. My lovely wife had planted that in my head the night before. I see it clearly now! The wake up call was deliberately timed so I wouldn’t think I was programmed to get the date squares… She was just checking to see if her mission was successful… I know now. Sneaky.20141225_205242

After I put the date squares in the freezer I had breakfast and went to work on the SAAB.

I still had to install the alternator I got the other day as well as the seals for the timing chain tensioner. When I had the tensioner out I made a modification to it. I made the oil hole ⅛” instead of 1/32”. I think that will help the oil flow into it easier and not pressurize the outer jacket of the tensioner. (It’s tough to explain how the SAAB tensioner works. Or why you would have the tensioner lubricated under pressure through the oil channels in the head… There are 12 teeth on a rod that is pushed constantly by a spring against an oily timing chain. It’s a SAAB thing…) After drilling and cleaning the tensioner I installed it and the new crush washers. The rubber on both was as hard as metal. I used a screwdriver and a hammer to get one rubber washer to break!

After installing the tensioner I put the alternator back in and changed the oil. I figure that I may as well as it is 2500 km overdue. (By my standard changing rhythm of every 5000 Km. Saab recommends that the oil be changed every 10000 miles! So I figure that 7500 km wasn’t so bad.) I’ll let it go another 7500 Km this time to get back on my schedule. I like to know that the oil is clean and that it is running properly. No metal bits in the oil pan… (Small flecks of metal shows main and crank bearing wear. If I find some it’s time to change the bearings! A job that is easier than changing the alternator!

My total time working on the car to change the seals and alternator was 6 hours! I took the car for a drive out to Fanshawe lake ware I sail. No ice!20141226_172413 I could still have been sailing all this time! I’m going to have to talk to the conservation people about the pull out dates. I went for pizza afterwards. 20141226_174821

Tonight I’m turning the ringer off on my phone and sleeping in.

Whenever I get up I plan to work on the 6Hp Johnson OB water pump and get it back together.

After that I’m cleaning the garage a bit to fit the snow blower easier. (Make it so I can work in the garage while it’s in there too. It’s a small garage with shelves on one side and benches on the other. The snow blower is a huge 30” 10Hp! It demands a bit of space. )

Christmas day and no new sailboat under the tree.

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Christmas day. Looks like I’m eating popcorn with the pizza while the girls are away. They gave me a popcorn maker! And some popcorn flavoring. BBQ… (I can’t remember if I blogged about my $5000 broken tooth from eating popcorn… My dentist told me that popcorn is the real money maker for him! I asked if it was a conflict of interest if he was to invest in Orville Redenbacher’s company. OrvelHe hadn’t thought of that…) (Oh my! I just came across a new commercial when I was looking for his image… They have brought Orville back from the other side… https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MM124k2JU8c )

I love popcorn. I don’t eat the partly popped seeds anymore! ($5000…) I was also given a great hat with mittens and a scarf attached.20141225_075936 It will be handy as I don’t  have hair and winter is really cold if you don’t have hair and you live in Canada.

We got up at 7:30 when Heidi’s parents called… They thought we would have been up from 5:30/6… We had planned to get up at 8.

Jasmine was excited to see the Santa filled her stocking. (It’s actually the one I made for Heidi 10 years ago. I need to make another.) I gave her 3 shiny rocks and a box full of sand. Her mom gave her mittens and a board game. She is a happy little girl! So was her mom.20141225_080842 20141225_081001 I almost forgot the owl! 20141225_081059It’s a body wash thing given to Jasmine from Jean and Frank. (They don’t know about the owls…)

After we opened the gifts and had breakfast I packed them in the car and took them to the Robert Q Airbus station for their 10 am ride to Toronto airport. There plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 2:45 but the ticket said get their 3 hours early… (I think this is more for spending $ in the airport than security… Just my opinion…)

They arrived in Charlottetown safely before 6pm PEI time. Then were off to aunt Christina and uncle Shawn’s for dinner and to stay the night.

After I dropped them off I came home and puttered until noon then took off to my moms trailer in the woods for Christmas dinner.

I forgot that I have the roof racks on the SAAB and was reminded that at any speed over 200 they scream like a scared Bigfoot! It’s really loud and reverberates throughout the car.

At moms I was put to work right away. She made me cook the turkey. (A frozen Butterball breast.) I took it out of the plastic and put it in a baking dish then told mom to set the oven to 325F. She put it in the oven. Then make the gravy… That involved opening the can and pouring it into a pot. (This reminded me of what I had planned to get mom for Christmas but forgot. A new can opener! I’ll have to pick one up and surprise her next time I’m out to visit.) I hardly had time to wash my hands and I was tasked with helping the poor neighbor Mike install a new ceiling fan in the living room… ( I don’t know how he got suckered into helping. He gave her the fan…) He was working on top of the ladder while I installed the blades and found the screws that he dropped.

We got it up in about 30 min. It would have been quicker if the instructions were more clear. Ex: You can install it with the wires on one side of the hanger that doesn’t allow the cover to fit… We did that first. I moved the wires to the other side of the hanger and it fit nicely.) The fan works great. It will be helpful to keep the air moving throughout the trailer during the heating season. So hopefully no more cold rooms. Now mom wants a new fan in each room… (I think I’ve convinced Mike to talk her out of it.)

We had a nice dinner with Mike and Janice both from the trailer park.20141225_175500(0)

Janice gave my mom a pair of wool mittens she had made out of old sweaters… They are really cool looking mittens! I have to find out how they are made and whip some up for Heidi and Jasmine before they get home.

I’m working on my list of stuff to do for tomorrow. I’m going to be busy.

I hear reindeer!

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Jasmine and I were just on the computer checking where Santa is. She wants to know when he will be at our house. I told her I didn’t know exactly the time as it depended on a bunch of different variables. I shouldn’t have said that… She asked what variables were and what variables it depended on.

After I gave her a quick explanation of what a variable was I said that I thought it came down to how many children were bad or good. If more were bad he should be here faster… Right…

But if more were good he would be a bit longer.

She asked me if I knew how to tell if a child had been bad. I said yes. So does Santa.

We were over at my brothers for a get together tonight.20141224_183753 It was nice to get together with the kids. He has a 9 year old son named Lennon. (Named after some singer…)

Jasmine really looks up to him and likes playing with him.20141224_193916 I think he likes playing with her too from all the giggling and laughing they do when they get together.

The girls are all packed for tomorrows trip to PEI. I will miss them. But I will also like the time to myself. (I mentioned to Heidi that  should fill the freezer with a weeks worth of TV dinners.) It would be a lot easier than cooking and save a huge amount of time…

She doesn’t think that is a good idea. I capitulated… So I’ll just go out for pizza slices and email her selfies of me at different pizza shops. I’ll put as the title… Much better than TV dinners!20141129_131739

Got to go. There is a plate full of cookies with someones name on them…