Archive:  Year 4 - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 "The Arc"

It has been weeks since I have had the time to settle in here.  It’s been a whirlwind of constant activity - some good, some bad - work, home, family...  The weeks have been, if nothing else, dynamic since the New Year.

We had over a week of below-zero temperatures and the pipes froze solid - throughout the boat - and did not thaw until two days ago.  22 days without running water isn’t bad, but doesn’t come close to the record set last Winter - 48 days.  

It is surprising to me how quickly the process of hauling water becomes easy routine.  I’ve gotten very good at showering at the gym, and making day-old hair look presentable.  What is a raging nightmare, however, is breaking the ice around the hull.

Last Winter was also cold and terrible, and by February, I found myself beaten and exhausted.  After weeks of ice-breaking and water hauling, I vowed never to do it again.  ‘Mark my words:  I will not live aboard another Winter!’

And here we are.  Again.

The major renovations over the Summer were, theoretically, supposed to prevent the plumbing from freezing.  They did not.  I think I know why, and it has to do with insulating so well that we insulated the plumbing from the interior heat of the room.  In any event, once they’re frozen, they stay that way until the temperature reaches at least 32 degrees, and stays there for a day or two.  It is perfectly conceivable that such conditions are not met until March.  

However, about five days ago the weather broke, and the ice around the hull gratefully retreated.  When it happened, my hands were in knots, my back a constant-hump, and I was - yet again - shaking my fist at heaven making promises I did not intend to keep.  Although melting snow and a lot of slushy roads followed, my plumbing thawed out and I haven’t had to break ice in weeks.  Even if the temperatures plunge again – and they’re almost sure to – I feel like I could face it renewed.  I am looking at the dwindling days of January, after all. The finish line is in sight.

And speaking of finish lines – yesterday was the forth and final performance of A Candid World at the Illusion Theater.  I began to write this play about three years ago and after a couple of workshops and two and a half weeks of rehearsal – I had the unparalleled opportunity of seeing it staged.  ‘Lights Up!’was an incredible experience and I learned more than I could have imagined.  There were challenges and elation, hiccups and solutions – and now I have a whole new mess of material with which to forge a final draft.  

The most exciting thing for me, from the beginning, was the incredible eye of Ellen Fenster, the director; and Nathan Christopher, the designer.  I was positively giddy when I saw the characters walking and talking in a world that had been conceptual mere weeks ago.  Whatta kick in the teeth. 

Now, after shaking the confetti from my hair and putting the good dress back in the closet, I’ll go to work.  The plan is to take my feedback, notes, and ideas back into the workshop (after a few days of NOT LOOKING AT IT) and…  Well… Make it better.  This is a really good thing – an exciting prospect, and one of my favorite parts.  I look forward to seeing it on stage again.  Here’s hoping.

And in the meantime, perhaps the biggest development aboard has been Melby.  As of February 1st, Melby and his two cats, Chruch and Fuzzy Cat, will be joining Grace and I as permanent residents aboard The Road.  Although hardly a stranger here, I am warmly encouraged by Melby’s immediate taking to life on the River.  He has cracked ice, hauled water, filled tanks, and wired a bilge pump like it all came naturally to him.  The cats have been meowing comfortably aboard for a couple of days and Grace thinks it’s all rather amusing. 

The biggest and most obvious hurdle to going from just Gracie and I living aboard, to a veritable arc, is space.  Where in the hell are we gonna put all our shit - let alone ourselves?  I have never had enough room aboard, and the idea of stretching it was laughable.  And yet, we’ve been working on it for days, Melby’s apartment is empty, and it’s working.  It’s working so well, as a matter of fact, I think I’m going to get a turtle.  I wish I was kidding.

I’ve had my eye on a Russian Tortoise since April.  I would name him General George Washington and let him sit in the sunshine while I drove the Boat down the River.  He’d eat vegetables and if I do a really good job, outlive me.  There is one in particular I’ve watched for long stretches at Pet Smart while I’m picking up Grace’s food.  He’s hilarious with great comic timing and a smirk…  Then again, there is also the chance that I continue to talk sense into myself.  I have not brought home General George Washington because of my constant reminder that it may not be a wise choice.  

Too much, right?

The next few weeks are forecasted to be cold, but not punishing.  The water is running, the Boat is floating unfrozen in her slip, and all is well.  

Next Post: February 21, 2010 "Little Turns"

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