December 18, 2008

CONFRONTATION and of course....Merry Christmas

I know I haven't written anything substantial in a while. Graham and I both feel mentally and physically exhausted. We have both lost almost 40 pounds between the two of us and we didn't have a whole lot of extra weight to begin with. Things have been challenging to say the least. We were getting up at the crack of dawn or even sometimes before and Graham was heading to the boat yard just after 7am and not returning until after 5pm. He would come home all dirty and his hands all cut up and most often he would return with stories of how something else went wrong or how there was no one working on the boat for another day or how the fellows who were on the boat didn't know what they were doing. The boat yard is dirty, the bathrooms are gross, it is muddy with puddles and muck everywhere. Lots of mosquito's from all the standing water. Not a nice place to be. You also have to walk a mile from the bus stop to get there.

The boatyard manager(Nicholas) told me awhile ago 5 weeks to completion, which would of put completion on November 19th. The 19th came and went and we could see there was WAY too much left. Nicholas is a nice guy but he is an optimist and he doesn't like confrontation. He would rather tell me soon, then tell me the truth, or he would rather just avoid me. They put just one guy on the boat so most days something would get done but just not that much or the work done would have to be redone the next day. Graham was feeling the pressure and finally one day when no one showed up he went looking for Nicholas. He didn't find Nicholas but he did find the yard owner "Jason". Jason is a Grenadian with a HUGE temper. He is very volatile. As Jason was walking past he said hello to Graham and ask how he was and Graham told him the truth. Anyone who knows Graham knows that he doesn't raise his voice or yell. He remained calm and explained the situation to Jason. Well Jason flew off the handle on Graham and said many many mean things. Graham said that some of the things he said he couldn't even make sense of and figure a response because they were so ludicrous. Regardless, Graham let him have his temper tantrum and then asked him quietly again to get the guys on the boat and get working. Luckily the end result was that the guys were on the boat asap and they even worked the weekend. I was ready to take a strip out of Jason when I heard this but Graham said it was not worth it, we got what we wanted so who cares. I love that about him. I am a little more HOT HEADED.

Unfortunately the effects of speaking with Jason didn't last long about a week later we had another day with no one on the boat. We were already well into December and realizing the list of items left was long. So on Wednesday, December 10th Graham and I left the kids with his Mom and Dad and we went to the boat yard with our list of items remaining. The first thing I did was I went to the office and photocopied the list. The next step was distribution. We left a copy for Jason and then we walked the boat yard until we found Nicholas. Nicholas was speaking to a few of the guys but he saw us standing and waiting for him. He must of been able to tell from my face, I was MAD!

Once he came over he tried to make small talk but I just couldn't muster it. I handed him the list which he reluctantly took (I had to actually push it towards him). I said that I was done, that this was crazy that we were still here, that I see people in the yard yell and scream at him and that it seems to get what they need done and that maybe that is what I needed to do. At the end of the speech, I was yelling and screaming. You could tell he was mad when I was finished and he began to blast me and tell me that I need to find more courage and take things in stride and then my final move........I began to cry. He started out his speech telling me that no one would be able to be on the boat for a week! By the end of our heated emotional discussion he was going to have them on the boat right away and start getting the items done. The talk was about 40 minutes and I was exhausted when it was finished.

Since that Wednesday confrontation we have had anywhere from 3 to 11 workers on the boat each day!!!! The boat is now OUT OF SHED, give me a hip hip hooray! The boat now has the mast and all the rigging up, give me a "Hoo0-RAHHH"! The boat has the steel arch up and attached, "DANCE A JIG". The woodworkers are working from 8am til after 4 quitting time on the final trim work on the coach roof and even worked SUNDAY, give me a "HOLY CRAP"! Things are moving and shaking and we couldn't be more happy. In amongst this craziness we decided it was time to leave the apartment and move on board and be close to the action. You can imagine the day we move aboard there are 9 men working on the deck of the boat, it was chaos, but it made me SO HAPPY.

Living on the boat while it is "on the hard" (not on the water) is not that great but still it is so much better than the apartment, it just feels like home. We spent Thursday unpacking and organizing and of course the kids played with other boat kids. Night time is a bit of a challenge because the bathrooms are so far away and the mosquito's are outrageous. The bites they leave are huge and swell up. We put bug nets over our beds but somehow they still find a way in. The other night I had to grab a fan in the middle of the night because it got so hot and as I was trying to hooked it up, I had my arm outside the net trying to plug it in, a mosquito was buzzing in my ear and I was swatting madly, Amelia said I looked like I had lost my marbles, she was laying behind me and thought she would help me out by swatting behind my ear to, well I felt something touch me and then totally freaked out. Graham was watching the whole thing play out and laughed himself silly.

The best news of all is that for the last two mornings I have woke up to Amelia's smiling face. It has been awhile since I have seen her smile so much. It makes me so happy. We all feel so much better seeing the progress. Today we flying to Curacao for Christmas. We really need a break. We need to be away from the boat for awhile and just relax and enjoy life. We are all excited. It will give us all a chance to like each other again.....:-)!

I have booked with the yard to have Artemo put in the water on Jan 2nd. The things we are waiting on is the final sealing and caulking after the trim work is done, and the bimini (cover above the cockpit). Graham and I have many other things to do but most can wait until we underway.

I wouldn't wish this experience away for anything. Challenges make you stronger and believe me, stronger we feel. I am amazed by what we have withstood and accomplished in the last few months. I have also learned alot about how we operate as a family under stress, we do pretty well but we all realize we need to work on not getting short with each other when we are stressed, hot and tired (I am probably the leader of this bad habit!).

There you have it the whole story. The Perry family is not defeated. We are still going strong and ready for what life has in store.

Miss you all more than you could possibly realize. Thank you for all your emails, comments, visits, cards and also for the packages! Such a treat to go to the post office and pick up a surprise! We feel your support and it means alot to us.

Merry Christmas.

Julie, Graham, Alex and Amelia


  1. Hey, sounds like you're really living the good life down there in the tropics:)
    Just kidding, sounds kind of stressful but I'm glad you took those boat guys to task. And I'm glad you'll be in the water soon!
    Miss you guys all a bunch.

  2. Hey, I am so happy that you guys are happier now and that you're getting a break in Curuaco! i really enjoyed this post and how in-depth it was. The details make me feel like we're just talking.
    Hope you have a great Christmas!
    Love, Chantelle.

  3. You two know how to handle yourselves, proud of you all.
    Have a fun holiday and I am sure you will have a very Merry Christmas.
    Love always

  4. We hope that in spite of all of the challenges, you all managed to have a great Christmas!

    Kayvon is really excited about the prospect of Alex coming back to Toronto soon - let us know if you are any closer to finalizing plans!

    Keep smiling - one beautiful sail will make it all worth it!