Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pittstown Point, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E 10-15 knots

This afternoon, Nappy arrived from the airport. While it’s good to see him, our little solo idyll is over. Nappy’s definitely the best friend we’ve made in the Bahamas, but it’s still nice to have some peaceful time alone. I was enjoying sewing up my undergarments in public, and I had no qualms about slouching on the bed and reading my new Iris Murdoch book for hours on end. (The Sea, The Sea. It’s fantastic. I can’t stop reading it. I’m dying of suspense.)

In fact, I think I’m making Karl a little bit jealous, which makes sense, considering that he has to work for hours on end while I blissfully read fiction. So today I started trying to help Karl with some of the turnbuckle work. It’s taking a lot more time than he thought (he thought it was a two-day job, tops), and I’ve asked repeatedly if I can do anything to help, which seems to just make him more frustrated. Before today, my only job has been opening up the little packages the turnbuckles come in and unscrewing them. I know that helps Karl move faster, but it doesn’t seem like much. I asked if I could try to help him put the turnbuckle heads onto the wire, but Karl said that was the hardest part. I didn’t really feel adequate to help with drilling or screwing, and hacksaw skills are not exactly on my resume. So when some sections of rigging were hanging out beside my little teak recliner, I decided to try my hand at attaching some turnbuckles. What do you know? I’m an expert! Not really--sometimes I screw them up unutterably, but I do think I’m helping it go a lot faster. It also gives me a feeling of satisfaction, like I’m contributing something to the family economy. It assuages my guilt for not sitting in the roller-coaster boat sauna and trying to write the great American novel.

We heard about Hurricane Dean for the first time today. We were at the little corner store with Nappy picking up some groceries and they had the Florida news on the satellite television. I don’t really know what to believe when I see the weather on TV--as Karl says, hurricanes sell advertising--but it does look pretty nasty. One of the drawbacks of us spending so much time over here is that I’ve gotten really lazy about the weather, and now it’s the heart of hurricane season. Based on the study I’ve done, I don’t think the Bahamas has to worry very much about hurricanes until September, and everyone keeps assuring us that Crooked Island doesn’t really get hit by hurricanes, which seems a sure way to tempt fate.

I am feeling a lot of angst for spending so little time at the boat. Every time we go back out there, poor little Secret is languishing in the sun, the flies are ever more rampant, the bathroom becomes more and more disgusting and difficult to use. And it makes everything harder to have such a beautiful and easy-to-spend-time-in living situation ashore. Some mornings I won’t even go into the head, waiting instead until we make our way to shore and then running to the bathroom. That’s not good. I can’t believe we’ve let our sanitation problems get to this level. It makes my skin crawl.

I’ve never been an adequate housekeeper, though. I remember my endless battles with fruit flies in my Oak Park apartment, the first time I found maggots in my trash can, the dreams I used to have about my cat’s litterbox because it haunted me so thoroughly. How do people do it? Or, more accurately, how do women do it? Most men I know seem perfectly content to let their surroundings dissolve into chaos without it affecting their sense of self-satisfaction one iota. I seem to be burdened with a man’s sanitation skills but a women’s self-consciousness. A brutal combination. Karl still seems completely oblivious to the state of the head and the icebox and the stove and the oven. He still spends an hour on the john every morning, Cruising World in hand. I can’t spend five minutes in there without feeling like I’m going crazy. Every day I resolve to clean it, and every day I put it off another day by dumping straight bleach down the dang thing. If someone would offer to come in today and completely replace our plumbing with brand new stuff without us ever having to look at it, I would pay them a lot of money. Probably as much as we paid for the boat.

I’m sorry to burden you with my disgusting travails. I feel so helpless in the face of such chaos. The bugs and the filth are winning the war. How do people do it? I’m 29 years old and I still can’t figure it out. I’m going to end up one of those HGTV shows where people get rescued from their decades of refuse.


Anonymous said...

Wow the toilet sounds terrible. I don't think I'll let Grandma J read this one.


Melissa said...

Yeah, it's okay if you don't! I could never live up to Grandma J's standards, except when it comes to love for food! Is Grandma J really reading?