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Showing posts from 2017

The frustrations of Jack Klompus. Plus, another winter is headed for Chicago.

Remember the character Jack Klompus from Seinfeld?  He was the guy that Jerry's dad Morty was always having problems with in the Del Boca Vista retirement community.  No matter what Morty said, Jack always said the opposite.  He was the type of guy that nobody could get along with, someone who thought that -no matter what- he was right, and even if he had an inkling that he was wrong would never admit to it.

We have a Jack Klompus at River City Marina and it makes life shitty.  Many of you reading this probably have a Jack Klompus near you, whether you have a guy or girl as part of your condo association that's always mucking up the works, or a neighbor who likes to cut his tree branches down and leave the mess in your yard.  Maybe there is that guy at work that you just can't stand dealing with because he's such a pompous ass.  Our Jack is a guy who thinks he's the king of the marina, someone who is involved in every aspect of the place and is such a pain to deal w…

You Live On a Boat? You Must Be RICH! Nope. Here is how to live aboard for cheap.

We've written before about how many people ask us private things just because we live on a boat. Since our lifestyle is a bit different than most people there seems to be an idea that we want everyone knowing about our financial lives and personal habits.  Here are some questions we get:

How much does it cost?What do you do in the winter?How do you heat/cool the boat?Do you ever leave the marina?Why are you doing this?Do you miss your house?How do you shower?How do you poop?
Those last two come up a lot more often than you'd think.  Let's face it, most of us are a bit crude. Kevin has spent a lot of time with "proper" people, businesspersons, met many CEOs of large global companies or other folks you might think are high class.  Most of them turn into 14 year olds after a few cocktails.  That's when the real questions come out.  A lot of people are just curious, and their curiosity can overwhelm their sense of society, privacy, and politeness.  So we often hav…

The Trouble With Boating.

We might be tempting fate here, but Cygnet has been pretty reliable lately.  We took our first cruise of 2017 on a beautiful but cool evening and found the river and lake to be nearly glass conditions.  With a small group of friends we took Cygnet up river (down actually) and through the lock onto what might be the smoothest Lake Michigan we've encountered.  We took a ride north as far as Montrose harbor and back again.  At Cygnet's cruising speed it takes a good 45 minutes to get from the lock to Montrose Harbor and we enjoyed the short cruise up and back.


Other friends have not been as fortunate this year.  Our liveaboard houseboat friends are still stuck on the Chicago River, waiting for a calm day when they are available to take their boat out to 31st Street Harbor for the summer.  They aren't in a hurry, but they are docked on the outside wall of the marina on the river side.  The amateur and immature boaters we get on the river make large wakes and their boat has got…

The Brightening, or Spring is Coming!

When we spring ahead and change to daylight savings time here in Illinois it gives us an extra hour of sunshine in the evening.  Through the winter the sun sets as early as 4:30PM and working normal hours makes it tough to get home before dark.  Now that we are experiencing the longer days it is getting obvious why we live on a boat.  Spending time on the back deck with a cocktail in hand after a stressful day is about the best thing you can ask for.

With the sun warming the still wrapped Cygnet it gets awfully warm inside and our mornings are spent figuring out a heating solution for the day.  With five electric space heaters going we keep the boat warm inside when the temps are well below freezing, but when the temperature hits the 50s it's tougher to figure out how much heat is enough.  Sunny days and mild winds mean Cygnet can get well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2C) inside with two heaters on low, but a breezy day and clouds mean two heaters might not be enough to keep it…

Not Again Again! This doesn't look good.

Woke up this morning to this.


The new SmartPlugs are now DumbPlugs.  Here we are again without power mid-January.  The most interesting thing is that the plug in the middle wasn't actually plugged into power, we'd unplugged it a few weeks ago.  These inlets also have a thermostat that is supposed to shut the power down if there is too much resistance to avoid these problems.  We also were running a very light load last night, not pulling many amps since it has been unseasonably mild and we have heaters powered through other cords.

We did have a thunderstorm last night, with some nearby lightning (super-rare for Chicago in January) but we see no signs of a lightning strike anywhere.  All the pedestals, where the power comes from, are fine and the cords are fine on the other ends.  The inlets are also covered from the rain, so it isn't a water issue.  We talked to SmartPlug this morning and they seem like they'll stand by their product and honor the warranty claim.  We o…

Baby, It's Cold Outside. Let's Move to Florida!

Nope, not moving to Florida.

Chicago has hit us with some cold weather pretty early this year with December temperatures below zero Fahrenheit (-20C) and now January is doing the same thing.  Our first winter aboard Cygnet was 2014/15 and we had one of the toughest winters in Chicago history.  We survived on Cygnet and thought if we can tough it out through that one we'd be good.  Well here we are not halfway through 2016/17 and we are having to tough it out again.  When December's cold days hit we hadn't wrapped the boat yet and it was cold.  Now the boat is wrapped tightly and we are still cold.  One reason is because we are missing a window.

This past Spring we had our mechanic (well, our ex-mechanic as you'll learn) doing a bunch of work for us, number one being a six month! rebuild of our generator.  He assured us he could also fix a glass window on Cygnet that was missing and the previous owner had replaced with a plastic one.  So in late summer he took the plast…