Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
PARADISE VILLAGE MARINA, Nayarit, Mexico -- The painters are supposed to arrive any minute to start dressing up Sabbatical for its new coat of topside cabin paint and green non-skid paint. I've already been to the ATM, trying to coax as many pesos out of it as possible because in Mexico, people work for cash, not checks or credit cards, and they always need money upfront to buy the materials. In this case, materials is about half of the total cost of the project.
David Barba, the foreman/owner on the job has said he can do the impossible -- paint Sabbatical's cabin top and decks without removing a single fitting, winch, window, or hatch. Don Tiffin, who built Sabbatical from dream to reality, is more than a little skeptical, but willing to see how they do it. I'm skeptical, too, but knowing that David will only be holding the money for the materials until the job is done to my satisfaction gives me a certain amount of serenity. Thanks to Don, I will miss all the gruesome details of the project: sanding, scraping, taping and eventually spray painting. Also, Don will move Sabbatical from her current slip to another location for the actual painting. The painters are worried that a little overspray of paint might not go well with my yachtie neighbors.
One thing they are NOT going to paint, unfortunately, is our rusty bow anchor (in the photo) that looks a lot worse than it really is. Mostly it needs some cleaning up and then a coat of good rustproof paint. It's on Don's agenda, he says, after he gets done supervising the deck project and gets his own teak fix-up finished.
Sunday a weather phenomenon called the Pineapple Express rolled in -- right when we went to the beach for our dose of physical therapy (boogie boarding). One minute it was bright sun and hot, the next, the cloud cover looked like Cleveland when the fog rolls in of Lake Erie. (God, was that a grim comparison or what?) We had stopped work on the deck of Sabbatical (getting loose things cleared off for David) because it was soooo damned hot with the sun beating down on the deck. Several of our sailing colleagues were leaving the beach as we arrived to surf, because they feared a storm approaching, and, well, they had left a few hatches open to cool things off. We had a 10-inch diameter hold in the main cabintop open, too, the hole from the chimney Don removed. But we decided that a little freshwater was not going to hurt the inside of Sabbatical.
No rain fell, of course, but the waves were magnificent, several being of the bone-jarring variety, smashing both Captain Don and myself into the sand beach numerous times (we are slow learners). I took a very long hot shower to get all the sand out of my bathing suit.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) I board an America Worst (sorry, America West) flight to San Diego late afternoon and then a Southwest Airlines flight to Sacratomato, where Admiral Fox daughter Anne and granddaughter Samantha await. The time change makes the trip pretty easy (my flight leaves here at 4:35 and gets into San Diego at 5:35). But I expect to get in at least an hour or so of boogie-board action in Tuesday morning before I leave for the airport, surf willing.