Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flotsam fish lure art

I have been collection flotsam by kayak now going on three years. I had intended to make a huge outdoor “wall hanging” with flotsam items suspended from heavy netting I’d found. Instead, last month I was inspired to create a piece featuring only the most colorful fish lures (I removed all the hooks). Here it is, the lures suspended from a rusty metal piece of flotsam, all strung up with flotsam fishing line. It’s installed on my tenderhouse. As I was stringing up the lures, I was imagining a children’s story from the point of view of the fish who now would not get attracted and caught by these lures.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sinking in the snow

February 8, 2014
There are some houseboat house problems that are the same as for a land house. But there are others that are totally unique – like worrying about sinking from a heavy snow. This February we had three consecutive days of 4-inch snowfalls –the most accumulation I’d experienced in my 30 years of living in Portland.

On the third day, I had gone for a short x-country ski in the nearby park on my new knee with neighbor Monica. When we got back the moorage was in a flurry. My neighbor Tom’s son Tom told me that he’d climbed on the roof of my tenderhouse to get off the snow because one corner of the floating shed was sinking. Houseboats were tilting and there was worry that some of them would slowly sink into the river and fill up with water.

Everyone pitched in, and we went to work from houseboat to houseboat like a gang of marauders. Men climbed on roofs getting snow off, and women worked with shovels clearing decks, scooping the snow into the river. Mary wanted to help but she was sick and we convinced her to go inside – but she made hot chocolate and brought it out to us in steaming mugs to take a break. I think it was dark and around 8 p.m. when we finally stopped and I went home exhausted but marveling at my new knee.

The photos are of a houseboat on a neighboring moorage. The first one someone took took during the snowfall and spread around; the others I shot later from my kayak. In the last photo friends of the houseboat owner are taking things out of the houseboat and bringing in some heavy thing to try and balance it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

New knee, Lotsa Helping Hands

November-December, 2014.
I am after a long time away from this blog, getting back to posting stories. Last November I had total knee replacement surgery. Recuperation is a challenge anyway, but more so on a houseboat. It’s not like you can pull up in your driveway or garage and walk a few steps to the house. I was going to have to get up and down the ramp, and then the walkway.

Since it was winter and I heat with a wood-burning stove, there was wood to bring down from the parking lot to the outside deck, and then inside. (What was I thinking? Why didn’t I plan this for summer? I know – because by summer I would have a knee completely healed and have fun.) My dear friend Peg came out from Washington D.C. to help get me home from the hospital, and then my moorage neighbors were a great help.

Coming home from the hospital, Tim and Diana helped Peg get me down the ramp in a wheelchair. My 80-year-old neighbor Tom, himself the recipient of a new knee last October, came over twice a day to bring wood inside. Tim kept an eye out on the wood rack outside and filled it when the pile was getting low. Courtney brought milk and checked the mail. Lots of people came to visit. I used a website called LotsaHelpingHands to coordinate friends and what I needed. Trevor from Beyond the Clinic was the physical therapist who came to the houseboat to basically retrain me how to walk and to build up my leg muscles. In a week, I was able to get myself up and down the ramp. By January, I had gone on a four-mile hike.