Weather Helmed

an adventure in renewing the spirit and living the dream…on a sailboat

Weather Helmed

Love is in the Hair

September 4th, 2009 · No Comments · Boat Work, First Mates, Our Route, The Crew

These last few days, there’s been love in the hair.  Yes, you read that right – love in the hair.  Specifically, my hair and Matt’s hair, and the “love” looks and feels very much like paint primer because that’s what it is.  What it represents, though, is my willingness to work on the boat and Matt’s giddiness that I am there working beside him – hence, the love.

Matt has been asking me to help on the boat for, um, at least a year and a half now.  I have always had great excuses why I couldn’t do it.  One, I had two jobs! How could I be expected to work all day, get home and work some more and then work on the boat on the weekend??  Then, there was a wedding to plan!  How could I start some massive project on the boat and yet still make wedding invitations and decorations from scratch?  But, the truth is that working on the boat, until the last couple of months, did not appeal to me AT ALL.  Even though I knew I would be going on the trip, that I would be sailing on it over the summer, that I would be enjoying all the perks without the work, I just couldn’t stand the thought of getting into its nitty-and-gritty parts.

Just about every night since Syzygy arrived, Matt has come home smelling “like boat” –  a grimy mix of epoxy residue, engine oil, mildew, who knows how many different solvents, “5200”, lots of sweat, and tears.  The stink is diluted some when he washes his hands and arms with an orangy-smelling substance called Gojo, but that’s now just another aspect of the distinctive boat odor.  Even lying in bed at night, after he’s taken a shower and brushed his teeth, and should smell only like Dove and Pantene, the boat scent still lingers on his skin.  I’m used to it now – on HIM – but it’s not MY perfume of choice.  Alas, I think the time has come to embrace my inner mechanic and get intimately familiar with the big, dirty, smelly lady.

Baby steps, though…  Let’s start on deck first.  I spent last weekend sanding and priming the foredeck for painting.  When it came time to do the first coat of primer, Matt appeared beside me, showing me how to mix the paint and then rolling it over the gelcoat while I followed behind with the brush.  We worked quickly, compatibly, and I could feel a quiet joy pulsing through him as we – finally – worked on the boat together.

Sunday night, we wrapped up our work on the boat and headed home.   As I got ready to shower, he touched my cheek lightly – “You’ve got paint right there by your eye… almost IN your eye!  And a little bit here… and here…”  He smoothed my hair back gently, tugging lightly at those hardened white strands.
I looked up at him, noticing little bits of paint in his hair, too.  “I really liked having you there on the boat with me this weekend,” He says softly, his eyes warm.   My insides start to get all swirly and my mind goes cloudy and my muscles turn to mush and I feel myself falling into him and thinking (for the first time in, ok, a while) oh my God, if I don’t kiss him right now, I’M GOING TO DIE…

Maybe it’s the fumes or fiberglass dust in my brain, but when he asked me if I wanted to work on the boat again this weekend, I immediately – and happily – said yes, it’s a date.

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