An Unplanned Row - or Two - or Three
Married for Life, But Not for Lunch? What 24/7 Really Means

Showering Naked - At Last

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Oh, the joy of showering in one’s own shower. The feel of skin on skin. The aroma of my favorite shower gel, the joy of shaving my legs without an audience. Don’t try to picture this in your mind – I’m over 50 and jiggly with it. And don’t for a minute imagine EW and I showering together. Not saying that hasn’t happened, but that’s not the kind of blog I write – and this is a really small shower. Do feel free to imagine my euphoria when, after six weeks of showering on deck,  I finally was once again able to take a private shower in our floating home.

EW had to undertake a major shower repair, so to keep clean, and maintain our friendships, we would jump into the Caribbean Ocean, climb back on deck, soap up the bared parts and over our swimsuits, shampoo our hair, jump back into the ocean for a swim and rinse, then climb out on deck for a fresh water rinse. Alternatively, we could simply use the fresh water hose on deck, but if we were washing in public in swimsuits we decided we might as well save water by showering the cruisers’ way. At least once during the week I’d be soaped up or even shaving my legs to see one of the tourists boats enter or leave the beach along our starboard side. I do not  want to see those vacation photos.

The Shower Project started out as Another Project when I discovered a hole in the fiberglass while cleaning. I knew right away that this wasn’t a good thing. We have a traditional boat shower stall, with fiberglass over a wood frame, and a teak grate on top. More modern boats have a home-like all fiberglass shower stall – some of those in the catamarans are huge and I get shower envy. But I digress. I was scrubbing the shower, but not overly hard, and my fingers sound this irregular section that hadn’t been there before. It was a hole, about the diameter of a penny. I hated to break the news to EW, but someone had to and I’m the only other person on board. He took it well.

Thus began Shower Project. He could have completed it sooner, but in the midst of the project, Cousin Jeff asked EW to fill in at his carpentry shop for a month. EW also wanted to take his time to analyze the situation and even had Jeff out to the boat for a consult. Of course, no boat project remains a one-task project, and this one fell into the “As Long As We’re Doing Blank, Let’s Do Blank-Plus, Too” category of projects.

SIDE NOTE: I am very familiar with this category because in our “normal” life EW and I renovated a home. As long as we are taking of the siding, let’s put in new windows. As long as we are redoing the wiring, let’s put in an attic floor. As long as we’re renovating the kitchen, let’s move the downstairs bath. You get the idea. I have come to understand that a couple who survived nine years of on-again/off-again full house restoration can easily survive living on a small boat at sea. In fact, it’s excellent training.

So, as long as EW was going to rip apart the shower floor, he was also going to re-plumb the shower, install a new shower sump, and change the path of the through-hull hose so that it bends far above the waterline. It was a big project. It created a bit of a mess, but that was mostly confined to the aft head and pilot berth area. I elected not to undertake more of my big project while his was going on. It just gets too confusing, and there’s not enough room for two big projects at once. EW kept apologizing for the mess and for the time the project was taking – but none of it bothered me. Even the showers on deck aren’t horrible, and I’ll continue to do so some days for the joy of swimming and to conserve water. I just would like to have the option of showering below in private when I want to.

So, here’s what my hero did:

  1. Once he determined how to take care of the wood, he started in – first working in the bilges to remove the shower plumbing. That proved to be a challenge, so he had to go to the hardware store and find a special tool. He was so excited when he came home. “I was thinking about the kind of tool that would work best for this, and found that exact tool in the store. I didn’t know they made these!” A happy project manager is one who is easier to live with.
  2. Got rid of the old coating over the shower floor. It was a Dynel Fabric and some kind of resin. EW discovered that the manufacturer hadn’t sealed the wood prior to putting on the coating. He was not pleased, but we’ve had very few complaints about La Luna's construction, so he moved on. Still, removing this stuff wasn’t as easy as it sounds and involved many sharp tools and some swear words. No injuries, though.
  3. Cut out all of the rotted wood.  P1050067
  4. Shaped new pieces out of plywood.
  5. Sealed all of the old wood and all sides of the new pieces with epoxy resin. Next, he fit all the new pieces in place, and fared it in with an epoxy powder mixture to make a putty.
  6. He covered the whole shower pan in cloth and pigmented epoxy resin.
  7. Caulked all the seams, around the shower pan and up the sides of stall.
  8. And – another “As Long As ..” project, decided to clean and paint the bilge under the head and under the pilot berth area – where the shower sump is located.  This turned into a real mess when he discovered a noxious substance under the head sole (That’s floor to you landlubbers – if any landlubbers are still reading this.) It is never good to find a noxious liquid substance under your head. He was only somewhat mollified to discover it was a mixture of oil and wine. One of our stored oil bottles had lost a cap, months ago. I thought I’d cleaned it all up but didn’t follow through enough sections of the bilge and some of it had settled under the head sole/floor.  More recently, we had purchased boxes of wine in Trinidad, removed them from their boxes and stored the bagged wine in plastic bags under my drawers. One bag sprang a leak – as did all of the extra bags and a whole 3 liter bag of wine joined the oil in the head. EW was not happy. It was not a fun cleaning project. It took two half days of labor to clean and sand that area so that it would accept paint. I worked very hard to stay out of his way. Anyway, ultimately, he painted the bilge.
  9. Installed the new wiring and plumbing, including running that hose up higher under the cabinet. P1120006 When cruising and healing to starboard, we haven’t been able to shower or even brush our teeth in the aft head sink, because it wouldn’t drain. EW thinks he’s fixed this. I love EW.
  10. Installed a new shower sump. As I mentioned in one of the posts about making the decision to do this, I was very surprised to find that EW had purchased a new shower sump over two years ago, before we left Maine. Wow. Talk about being prepared. This one has a cover. If I’d known that, I’d have pushed for earlier installation. Our old sump was open to the floorboards and attracted dog hair and dirt and sand. The cover over the new sump can be removed for cleaning hair out of the sump, but the sump won’t collect other icky stuff. Cool.
  11. Took a shower. Actually, I’m sorry to say that I took the first shower. I did ask him if he’d mind, but we had plans for the evening and my hair needs more time to dry than his does. He was gracious about it. He strutted a bit when I told him how excellent the shower was and how much I appreciated all of his work.

So, it’s the little things, like a working shower,  that make this lifestyle work for us. More than that, it’s EW’s ability and willingness to tackle the big projects. Thank you, EW. Kisses. Wanna take a shower?

PS. You all know that EW tolerates being “The Topic”. Please understand that he often delights in it. Throughout this project, I’d hear – “Come take a photo of this for the blog.”

Yes, Dear. 

There are 67 photos of the Shower Job, which are a testament to my love and respect for EW.

I only posted 7 of them, which is my testament to my love and respect for you.

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Above left, clean, but unpainted head bilge.           Above right, drilled hole, installing vented loop.          

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Left, top to bottom, painted bilge in pilot berth area, fixed shower, unpainted head bilge.

Right, new shower sump, with cover.

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