A week or so ago, I got a great surprise from my neighbor.
I was in my shop (garage) wishing my body was up to working on some projects today, but alas it wasn't.
Suddenly my neighbor stopped by and asked if I had a bandsaw. I thought he was asking if he could use mine and felt bad as he's helped me out so much already with tools and advice. I didn't have one and said no. He simply asked me to follow him over to his shop where he offered me a bandsaw for free. It works, but needs a blade.
Big thanks to my awesome neighbor! This will be a great addition to my shop and opens up a number of projects I can do, including making the boat build easier!
I even took it for a quick spin and created a few things once I purchased a blade. Looking forward to working with it more!
A few months ago, March, was Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month. I had planned on releasing a blog post documenting many of the struggles that I face in dealing with my TBI. It was supposed to be a way to show the drive I have to move beyond being disabled and never giving up.
No. You didn't miss it. I ended up deleting the entire document. While my intentions for the piece were good, the actual product failed to inspire the emotions I was hoping. In fact, it helped usher me into a deep funk that had me step back while I evaluated my situation.
The blog post itself wasn't enough to drop me into a depression. Don't get me wrong, being reminded of all the hardships I've faced since I began this TBI journey 14+ years ago is hard. But on it's own it wouldn't have brought me into the funk I found myself in. It just added to the stress of family fallout over the boat, financial stress of living on a pretty fixed income, and having an ever growing list of tasks that I found myself unable to accomplish. However, the real clincher was not seeing a path for me to complete my dream project, F/V Escape Hatch.
My plan relied on social networks to help me get the word out in order to help raise funds. I knew that I couldn't just write up a plan and send a request for likes, shares, and money and that's it, though I had high hopes that I would be further along than I currently am. So my vehicle was to document sailing and fishing adventures, woodworking and other house projects, and learning the craft of blacksmithing. I would post these adventures through YouTube videos, Instagram and my blog.
It sounded like a good enough plan. But real life showed the flaws.
1. Sailing Plan - Other than gas, some beverages and maybe a few snacks, sailing on someone else's boat is free.
Sailing Reality - It's a little more complicated for me due to my TBI. Namely, traveling to and from and the cost of the support items that would make it all manageable.
2. Fishing Plan - I had a few offers from people to take me fishing. Some for free, others for just my share of gas, ice, and bait. Sounded reasonable.
Fishing Reality - But again, my TBI made things much more complicated. Namely the difficulty I have in being able to go fishing with just one or two days notice. Usually what happens is I get 1 or 2 invites and than they ghost me. The last guy was "nice" enough to tell me that I'm just not reliable enough for him and he will no longer be calling. So needless to say, this is appearing to be a dead end.
3. Woodworking Plan - Fine woodworking seemed like a viable craft to learn.
Woodworking Reality - But the unpredictable nature of my TBI may mean that I have unplanned delays in a project. Of course during that time the wood moved enough that the joints no longer line up. Which can mean I have to redesign on the fly or scrap a costly piece and redo it. All the projects I had lined up were dependent on very fine joints and I had little ability to make them.
4. House Projects Reality. The basic maintenance isn't good content and the better content stuff is too expensive at the moment.
So I was at the point where no content may mean no fundraising and that means no project. That was just unacceptable. I refused to give up. After so long I found something I want and need to accomplish, taking other veterans out for a fun learning experience on the water.
I am now focused on beginning to blacksmith at home and will soon be creating more content. I will elaborate more on this in the next blog post.
For now, I'm in a better place and moving forward towards my goal. For ways you can help me, please check out this blog post.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help crew "Forgiveness", which is a 40' J-120, for the first day of SCYA 2018 Mid-Winter Regatta. For last years regatta, I traveled all the way to San Diego to crew a 10M Flying Tiger named "Ruckus". This year I only had to drive to Marina Del Rey.
The weather was gorgeous. Temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70's with clear skies. Wind was a steady 5-7 kts with occassional gusts to 10-12 kts. Seas were pretty calm, with little to no chop. All-in-all a beautiful day on the water.
I met the crew shortly after 10:30am. Skipper Scott manned the helm and had one of his most experienced crew, Lemy, assign positions. The Joe's were to handle the headsail, there was another crewman named Joe. Kiki did a bit of everything since she had a decent amount of experience but mainly focused on Pit. Lemy took on the bow while Rutter handled the main. We were a little short-handed so we all helped out where we were needed and got to experience a little of everything.
We motored out of the harbor towards the race area. As we went past the jetty into open ocean we raised our mainsail. Now motorsailing, we went over our plans for different procedures once more. All lines were flaked, winches had handles nearby, and the spinnaker sail was ready below. It's time to race!
We were supposed to have 2 or 3 races. Instead we had 4. Our boat wasn't 100% sure on why but we know there was some confusion due to an error by the race committee getting the times for the other 2 boats in our class during race 2. Fortunately, that is something that I don't have to worry about. I will leave that to the Organizing Authority.
I'm not 100% on how the scoring goes. These weren't 1 design races so adjustments to finish times are made depending on the rating of each boat. I also didn't go out for the second days races so am unsure how we finished overall. But, win or lose, it was a great time and I look forward to more as the sailing season gets into gear!
A big thanks goes out to Capt Scott of the Forgiveness for taking me aboard for the day and to Rutter for making the introduction. Another big thanks to the rest of the crew. Lemy, Kiki, and Joe were great to work with and they helped me out during race 4 as my pain was increasing making it tough to grind the winch. They did so without complaint and were very understanding. I wouldn't hesitate to sail with any of them again as they were great teammates.
I also want to give a huge thanks to the Warrior Sailing Program. Without the training they gave me at the Basic Sailing Camp of 2016 in San Diego I would not have had the skills or the confidence to hop on a boat and go racing. They have also been working to get more sailing opportunities on the west coast. Because of all of that hard work I and many others have been able to continue progressing as sailors. I have personally had the chance to go aboard a few different boats, experienced both racing (Ruckus/Bravura/Forgiveness) and cruising (S/V Happy Together) and have met some really amazing people.
While I definitely encourage and welcome donations to my Project through my GoFundMe page (Sorry, not tax-deductible), I hope you will also consider donating to the Warrior Sailing Program (Tax-Deductible!)! You can also show your support by purchasing Warrior Sailing Program apparel through Coral Reef Sailing Apparel. The incredible group of people at the Warrior Sailing Program are helping out other veterans like me and I can't thank them enough.
Waking up, it's cold and dark. I really want to just stay under the covers and go back to sleep. But that is impossible. My body sends me into a quiet rush to gather some clothes and carefully make my way down the dark hallway with my hands on the wall for balance. I barely make it before the pain in my head caused my stomach to heave up what little was in there. During a brief respite I take my medicine that dissolves under my tongue and use the pain relieving cream and hope they work. I have a few more short moments of "fun" but eventually things settle down. That's good as I have been able to stay out of the ER for years now and I don't want to break my streak.
This is not the first time this happened, nor will it be the last. Often I am surprised by these days, but not this time. Yesterday was a day where my pain just seemed to increase from the moment I awoke. So I am not at all surprised that it has been a rough morning today. Hopefully as the day goes on I will begin to feel better.
Physical labor will be postponed for the day, but I still have lots of computer and planning work that I can complete as I feel up to it. I hope to get back to work on the mantle soon, but in the meantime I will be working on the footage I have so far. One thing I know after living with a TBI for so long, days like this are temporary and i'll be back to it soon as long as I let myself recover.
Til next time, take care all!
With all of the ways to stay in touch and share my projects with everyone I may have neglected my blog while working on my YouTube channel amongst other projects. I may have to re-evaluate what forms of communication I use and when to make sure I keep everybody updated on what is happening with FV-Escape-Hatch.Com.
In the meantime, here is a rundown of what I've been up to since the last blog post.
I am continuing work on my Boat Building project. Lots of time has been spent figuring out the design of my layout table. Soon I will have a design locked in and will begin to build it. I have my GoFundMe account fully set up so I can begin accepting donations to make the boat build happen faster.
I am working on the backyard as well. The last gopher has been removed so I have been preparing to tear up the back yard to repair the damage. While repairing we are going to make a few changes to the irrigation and layout to add a garden and a space for the workshop. To prepare I have been designing and cleaning up the backyard of debris and the plastic netting that sod is grown on.
I have also begun work on the mantle building project I had hoped to have completed by the holidays LAST year. It's coming along and I will be turning this into another episode for my channel.
That's pretty much what I have been up to with projects.
On the personal side things were busy as well. We had a couple dogs boarded with us for over a week, which while they are very sweet they are a lot of work since they're still puppies like Bodhi. He sure had a good time with them though, which was nice. And I have to admit, those pups are a lot of fun too.
We also had a Birthday dinner for my wife with some friends and family. The house was packed as we had almost 20 people invited(and still unfortunately had to leave some out) and most came. It was a great time but I do wish we had more space to entertain inside for winter gatherings. Had the weather been a little tamer we could have easily invited all the friends and family over and set tables up outside.
I think I hit the highlights, except for this one little tidbit. No more rib pain!
Until next time everyone!