The past few days we were dealing with a number of problems around the house. First, while we had some friends over, our furnace suddenly shut down with a loud crash. Then, our hot water heater rusted through, sending water into the basement and, obviously, leaving us without hot water. Finally, our kitchen faucet decided to run constantly, regardless of whether the knobs were on or off. As I tried to fix these issues, making eight trips to Lowe’s, it almost felt like the first week on the boat. However, while there might be more frequent boat problems (though our old house seems to give Bear a real run in this regard), solving issues on the boat was actually simpler and more rewarding than on land. After my experiences the last three days, here are some of my thoughts on repairs on the boat verse in the house:
1. On a boat, professional help is not easy to come by, forcing you to actually solve the problem on your own.
2. The systems on the boat are almost always simpler…compare a Dickinson heater to our computer-driven furnace.
3. Alongside the last one, the systems on the boat are meant to be repairable by average cruisers; the systems in your home are not designed to be serviced by the average homeowner.
4. If you are unable to immediately fix something on the boat, it does not feel as much like you are living in a broken down hovel. After all, people are living on boats without whatever system is broken on your boat while very few people are living in a house without heat, hot water, or a working kitchen faucet.
5. When you need to take a break, a beautiful view is just a few steps away – or maybe no steps at all – when you are on the boat. In the house, I can stare at the walls.
6. When you get stinky and dirty on the boat, you can always just jump overboard. When working on your hot water heater in the house, there is no such option and taking a cold shower pales in comparison (added bonus – going to the doctor without having showered for three days).
7. On a boat, you can always find people to commiserate with you about your problems. If you mention your problems fixing your house, people just laugh and chastise you for not immediately hiring a professional.
I am sure there are other favorable comparisons between the boat and the house. But these are seven things that immediately occurred to me. And, to be fair, there is at least one thing about working on a house that is easier: whatever I am working on is usually clearly visible and completely accessible in the house as opposed to on the boat.
And for those who care, the furnace is working and the new hot water heater is also going strong. The kitchen faucet, on the other hand, still needs to be dealt with.