Thursday, April 4, 2013

Making Lemonade – Getting Published!

PriorityMail… ETA from March 21st send date?  March 28th.
Didn’t happen

March 18, 2013 we set sail for the “Spanish Virgins”; the smaller islands off the coast of Puerto Rico.  Our diesel motor, however had other plans (read more about that by clicking Stuck. Diary of a Shi—y Day).

We sent the part we believe is the culprit out for bench testing, potential rebuilding and return for re-installation.  That was March 21st, sent USPS Priority Mail, tracking number and all.

USPS tracking… but it just shows when it left, the day it left.
It’s MIA. 
Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Not patiently.  Our part is still AWOL, with no record of its whereabouts other than its tracking number, which in theory means it was sent out by the post office.  But it never arrived at its destination. Nor is there any indication where along the way it got stuck.  Let's just say I’ve learned a bit about the Postal Service and Customs bureaucracy with polite, persistent follow-up…. The Post Office doesn’t lose packages often, but when they do, it’s a black hole.

Meanwhile, we are actively pursuing alternatives.  More about that when there’s concrete news of an imminent fix.

Come hell or high water, we are meeting my best friend in the Abacos May 3rd.  That’s nearly 1,000 miles away; our boat averages 5 miles / hour.  We want to make sure we don’t plan a last minute arrival in case the weather between here and there really is hell and high water for sailing.

The good news?

It’s a good time to get other projects done.

These folks just bought my unsolicited article
for a future edition.  (Past Crusing World
cover shown here).
Wayne is a rock star when it comes to boatwork.  Among his accomplishments in the last two weeks?  Cetol "varnish" in our cockpit -- done (just hatchboards and cockpit table awaiting traditional varnish).  The ability to fill both our tanks and our galley drinking water jug from our watermaker -- done.  Our galley foot pump’s switched to a fawcett capable of reaching dishes further than an inch away from the sink rim -- done.

Thanks to some winged inspiration (click here to learn more about that), our pantries were scoured, foodstuffs carefully inspected and in most cases repacked into canisters or in other cases tossed.  Our fridge was also the recipient of some unplanned Spring cleaning – more about that in a future post.  I also cleared up a chunk of lazarette space by selling our inflatable kayak.  We sent in our 2012 tax payment.

Misadventures make for great storytelling.  We’ve had that… and time for introspection, research and writing.  

The result?

Cruising World snapped up my first unsolicited article manuscript for a future edition.  Who-hoo!
We’ve got lemons; we know how to make lemonade!

Wayne and I are still hell-bent to move on.  But while we wait, I’ll use this down time to get more queries and articles out for prospective paid publication. 

Still, I'm all for less Angry Birds and more sailing; the sooner, the better. 


  1. Very cool about the Cruising World story!Congrats! What's it about?

    1. Thanks, Deborah. It's a very short article (filler?) about something in our galley. Respecting Cruising World's contractual right to the scoop that's all I'll say about it for now. Looks like it will run in September.

      By the way, continues to provide excellent traffic to this blog. Thank you!

  2. One sentence - government employees.

    1. Sad. We definitely felt the phrase "going postal" might apply as well to frustrated USPS customers like us as well as postal service employees. Some folks in the process really were excellent; others a complete lack of urgency, empathy or personal responsibility.

      To be fair, it is a very small percentage of packages that go AWOL. Most of the time things go right. We just happen to care pretty passionately about this particular package.

      Once we do have the part we need rebuilt, we are seriously considering a hand carry back due to all the delays to this point! It may not be much more costly than any kind of urgent delivery. We need to confirm the airline, or, more specifically, TSA, will let it through.

      Had we known this would happen, we would have flown up with it, too. Hindsight.