Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviving Our Tohatsu!

When we bought our Tohatsu & dinghy brand new, we didn't realize we'd use them one time then put them in storage for over 7 years! But, that's what happened. For the past few years, it seemed that we'd never see "Mr. T" and our dinghy again. Downsizing, becoming liveaboards, and continual boat projects never left time (or the need) for our dinghy and motor. Finally, the time had come to pull them out of storage! 

After hibernating for so many years, we knew it'd be best to give our Tohatsu some TLC. After loading "Mr. T" into our truck, we headed to our daughter's house to use her garage and water. Living at a marina with a condo association means no working in the parking lot!

Once we got to our daughter's place, Ken placed the Tohatsu in a tub of water to test it. As we figured ... it wouldn't start! We knew the carburetor needed a cleaning, the impeller needed to be replaced, and the fluids needed to be changed. The first thing Ken did was remove, disassemble and clean the float & jets of the carburetor. He then reassembled the carburetor, put it back on the motor, then tested the motor again. It ran fine .. whew! The next step was to remove the lower unit of the Tohatsu to replace the impeller.

From the lower unit, Ken then removed the impeller housing from the top ..

which revealed the impeller. The impeller looked pretty good, but after sitting for several years we replaced it anyway. This was a pretty simple process, as the old impeller easily came out of the housing. To install the new impeller, Ken coated the inside of it with gear lube then slid it onto the shaft. 

After the impeller was in place, Ken slid the housing over it while rotating the shaft to allow the housing to sit properly. We were feeling pretty good, as replacing the impeller went smoothly ...

but not so fast! After lubricating the shaft of the lower unit with gear lube, Ken tried replacing the lower unit back into the motor ... for over an hour! Ken and I both tried and tried to get the damn thing back in, but it just wasn't happening. We checked the gears to make sure the motor was in neutral, but nothing worked. We were having a hard time seeing where the shaft was going, and we were getting pretty frustrated. We decided to take a lunch break to get away. When we tried again with clear heads, full stomachs, and a flashlight borrowed from our daughter ... the lower unit went in on the first attempt! Being able to see with the flashlight made all the difference. Hallelujah! Getting the shaft aligned just right is critical in getting the lower unit back on.

After the lower unit was installed, Ken changed the engine & lower unit oil. This was pretty simple and he had no problems. For this maintenance, Ken used "lower unit gear lube" and Castrol 10W-40 .. both from Wal-Mart.

Once everything was back in place, Ken set "Mr. T" into the water and tested it out. Luckily, all went well with putting the motor back together and it ran great. It was such a relief to have "Mr. T" up and running again!

 The next step was getting it to our boat. I was able to help Ken lift the motor in & out of the truck, but carrying it across the parking lot, along the walkway, and down the dock had me nervous. The motor weighs almost 60 lbs. and is awkward to carry. Luckily, our dock neighbor noticed our "situation" and offered to help Ken carry the Tohatsu to our boat. Talk about relieved! It's always nice to be surrounded by such kind folks. I snapped a quick photo before they disappeared, so it's blurry. 

Once resting in Nirvana's cockpit, Ken and I were able to place "Mr. T" on our stern with the help of our new motor hoist. We can already tell the money spent on our hoist is well worth it!

Now that we had the motor and hoist on the boat, it was time to bring the ole (new) inflatable dinghy out of storage. Would it hold air after all this time?!

Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dodging Storms and Cancer!

I'm feeling pretty thankful this past week, as I've just dodged a storm and cancer! We celebrated this past Friday evening with beer overlooking another nearby marina. 

When you hear that a Tropical Storm is headed your way, it can put you on edge. When you also hear the "C" word, it can be pretty scary! However, I have to admit that my type of cancer is pretty common and I wasn't freaked out. What did I have? Skin cancer! Basal cell carcinoma to be exact.

Luckily, I didn't waste any time making an appointment with my dermatologist when I had noticed a tiny little spot on the front of my shoulder that sometimes itched. I wish I would have taken a photo of the spot, because it was so tiny! This is a good reminder to ya'll to know your body and its changes. I've worn sunscreen on my face since my teenage years, and I try to keep covered if I'm going to be in the sun a long time. There are no guarantees, so gotta be aware!

Anyway, as I suspected my dermatologist agreed that the spot looked suspicious. Before I knew it, she was sticking me with a needle and cutting out a piece of skin! It was no big deal and healed pretty fast. But .. just about when the scab healed I received a call from the doctor's office. The biopsy confirmed that I had basal cell carcinoma and I needed to have a larger piece of skin removed. This past Friday, I was back at the office. Again, the procedure was no big deal. There was a small amount of burning as the meds entered my shoulder, but then I couldn't feel a thing. The doctor cut deeper this time, which resulted in two layers of stitches. The deepest layer of stitches will dissolve in 3-4 months, and the outer layer of stitches will need to be removed in 10 days. Guess I can't do my push-ups anytime too soon!

The doctor said that this is a very slow-growing type of cancer and hopefully this next biopsy will show that we've gotten it all. I'm expecting good news, but keep your fingers crossed for me. I had been to my dermatologist two years ago for a skin cancer screening, and had missed seeing her last year. This is another reminder to visit a dermatologist every year for a check-up!

Last week another bullet was dodged .. Tropical Storm Gordon. It was predicted to head straight towards Louisiana, so we secured everything on the boat. Luckily, our aluminum bimini frame is at a shop to be duplicated in stainless steel. so we didn't have to worry about that. Our sails have yet to be back on Nirvana, so we didn't have to deal with that either. We really didn't have to do much, and we weren't at all concerned about Nirvana. We were concerned about one of our rentals that floods every year .. including this past April! When Gordon decided to head further East of us, we were so relieved. We really didn't wanna have to deal with restoring our rental again! Not only did we dodge the storm, but the weather was beautiful. We woke up to this the morning we were supposed to be in bad weather ...

Since I have stitches on my shoulder, I took it easy over the weekend. I wrote several blog posts about our recent projects, as well as a post about what we've been up to when not focused on the boat. I'll be posting these the next few weeks, and hopefully I can start finding the time to write at least once a week again .. without having to have stitches to keep me down!

This past Sunday we chilled in the boat and watched football. The best part was having our grandson chill with us! This was the first time that we had babysat him on our boat, and we really enjoyed his company. He's 7 months old already .. time is flying!

He is the "Best First Mate"!

It was nice to be able to lower our salon table and have plenty of room for crawling around!

I've been feeling really thankful lately .. life is good!

*As I post this today, I wanted to mention that our thoughts are with those on the East Coast that are in the path of Hurricane Florence. It's due to hit this Thursday, and so many people will be affected by this storm. We've been through many hurricanes, including Katrina. We know the anxiety these folks will experience, as well as the loss. Our hearts goes out to them! Today is also 9/11 .. we will never forget that day and our thoughts are also with the victims and heroes of that terrible day. Life can be so unfair sometimes, so embrace the good days!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!
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