Finishing the seats and wondering why I’m doing this

Over a long lunch hour, I finished attaching the stringers for the cockpit seats. After dinner, I ran back out to the garage and epoxied the previously cut seat backs into place. So a project begun in mid winter is finally finished. Total time: about three hours.

Stringers for the seat back.

By the end of the day, seat backs were epoxied in place.

As the photos illustrate, the seat backs create watertight compartments that, I suppose, are useful if (when?) the boat capsizes. Two large bubbles of air should help keep the hull afloat, right? But I also wondered about the wisdom of creating inaccessible spaces. What if the cavity isn’t watertight? How will I know if water is seeping in and rotting the wood? On this issue, the boat’s designer is silent so I decided to seal the seams as carefully as possible and assume everything will turn out fine.

But that’s the least of my worries right now. In fact, I walked away from the boat feeling a bit stressed and vaguely depressed. While I can see the finish line, there is still a great deal of work ahead of me and even with constant effort I now worry about completing the boat before autumn. It’s not hard to list the remaining tasks (motor mount, hatch, fiberglass, mast, sails, paint…) but it might take a week or two to complete each step, which means the finishing touches won’t be applied until mid or late summer, at the very earliest. That’s too close for comfort. Even a few delays can mean another year without sailing. And that’s unacceptable.

In an ideal world, I would be able to take off a week or two and work on the boat full time. A procession of eight hour days would allow me to have the boat ready for fiberglassing before Memorial Day, I am guessing. But I am also backed up with office work and, frankly, the house needs attention (I still need to plant the rest of the vegetable garden and large portions of the yard need to be weeded). And what about my wife and kids? Don’t they deserve attention? So I have to proceed as I have for the past year: an hour here, a few hours there—and always with the sense that I shouldn’t be playing with the boat when there is more urgent work to be done someplace else. Am I the only one who thinks this way?

And here's the whole thing. Hmm, the garage is looking a little messy...

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8 Responses to Finishing the seats and wondering why I’m doing this

  1. Jim says:

    Yeah, a lot of us feel this way.
    I have a family, a busy job, and I make things.
    You make things I think just to make things – or at least I do.
    Recently, I was feeling despondent in the same ways that your post talks about and here is how I fixed it.
    I scheduled what I will do each night of the week. That may sound simplistic or what have you but that did it.
    Monday – family game night
    Tues – extra work
    Wed – night off
    Thurs – work on boat
    When it is in front of me that way, the stress is absolved. I never feel like I should be doing something else – I know its night will come up and it will get the attention it deserves.
    Maybe you are just building the boat because you have to build something.
    Making things with your hands is one of the most amazing things you can do.
    One that many people have forgotten. It can be a way to stays sane.
    Who needs a $200 meditation\yoga\pilates class when they have a saw, wood, and some glue?
    -Jim

  2. Paul Boyer says:

    Thanks, Jim! So I’m not the crazy after all. I agree that schedules make sense. I think I need to develop a plan to avoid stress and burnout.

  3. Bob Denman says:

    It sure is good to see you posting again, I’ve watched every week all winter and was afraid that you had lost interest in the project, or been thrown off by some crisis. Keep at it a little at a time and before you know it, it will be on the water. The other poster here has the right idea about scheduling it in to eliminate the stress. That’s how I seem to work in the things I want to do. Welcome back!!!!

  4. Gilzmo says:

    The last photo. You used to see murky bay water gurgling by on a bright, clear day. Now it’s a lurking pile of painintheass in a dirty garage. Face it, dude. You are so over this project you might as well finish it right. Slap the name Albatross on the transom, launch it into the backyard and burn it…while sitting in your lawn chair sipping a nice Belgian beer, toasting away your bad dream.
    Or not.

    • Paul Boyer says:

      You’re trying some reverse psychology, right? “I’ll show him that he really still cares about the boat!” Well, it worked. No bonfires in my future. I still see the “murky bay water gurgling by on a bright, clear day.” Maybe I should just stop complaining.

      I like the Belgian beer idea, however.

  5. Gilzmo says:

    Man, I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no “reverse psychology,” whatever that is. No, I thought it was a beautiful–almost poetic–solution to a bad situation. But then again I’m a natural quitter; first one over the railing when there’s a little water in the hold. If my post helped you make up your mind to recommit to finishing her–and to find a little joy instead of so much despair in doing it–don’t blame me!

    The Belgian beer, yes. Even having earlier suffered from your vicious shots splayed against my Budweiser/NASCAR genus redneckious, I graciously put the correct family of brews in your hand for Albatross’s final voyage–light, crisp and refreshing to balance against the intense heat of the flames.

  6. Paul Boyer says:

    Man, oh, man, you absolutely deserve the last word in this conversation. That was great. All I can say is stay in touch.

  7. Gilzmo says:

    Will do. Have fun.

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