Monday, April 11, 2016

The Square Peg - Oh No... Itchy Fingers Too??



The Square Peg - Oh No... Itchy Fingers Too??
© S. Bradley Stoner

Well, my lawn is mowed, this year’s seedlings started, everything is trimmed... what the heck am I supposed to do now? Watch the grass grow? I don’t think so. It does just fine on its own, thank you very much. It doesn’t need any help from me just at the moment. What to do? More importantly, what to do that won’t get me in trouble with my better half. Hmmmm....

I’ve had itchy feet for the last couple of months. I’ve planned and replanned trips to the coast with my favorite fishing tackle. There are problems with this. First, I’m a goer, not a planner. It seems things always go awry when I plan. When I just pick up and go... no problems. But, it was giving me something to do in my spare time, and I did get all my tackle repacked. Heck, I could be an advertisement for one of those fishing shows now... well at least my tackle box could be. I did have to get rid of some of my plastic frogs, though. Texas heat melted their legs together and they no longer “swim” right. A fellow might as well plunk a chunk of green cheese in the water as use leg-welded frogs.

Back to the planning part. After weeks of rather unsettled weather, the good old weatherman confidently reported that a high-pressure system was settling over the state after predicted storms on Wednesday this week. The weather this weekend was going to be “GREAT!” Perfect for Fiesta, which started this week, and for a three-day trip to the coast and my favorite fishing spots. Right. Thunderstorms hit last night. Not predicted. I looked at the weather... the predictions had suddenly changed. Today will be nice... at least until around midnight. Then thunderstorms Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Same on the coast. So much for the itchy feet. Crap.

This leaves me with time on my hands... and that makes them itch. Itchy feet and hands? Oh man, that’s a dangerous combination. That’s about the time my itchy feet walk my itchy fingers to the computer keyboard and, voila!, as if by magic boat plans appear on my monitor. And they’re free! My mind runs wild. Pontoon boat... that looks interesting, but it’s no good on the bay. There’s a small cabin cruiser that looks interesting, but where the heck am I going to get a 1953 Ford engine? Yeah, folks... the free plans are old plans. Plans from a time before consumer driven boat builders started pumping out fiberglass, aluminum, and plastic cookie cutter craft.

I really do like that cabin cruiser. Granted it isn’t a luxury boat, but it has a Vee hull, room to sleep four, a cool looking wheelhouse, and room for a fighting chair on the fantail. I check out the materials list. This little sucker is economical... at least it was in 1960. I cross check with current prices. WHOA! Inflation. What cost a mere $900.00 in 1960’s dollars now runs a whopping $4,389.86, not counting tax. Geez. Maybe I need to set my sights a little lower. Well, there was that modified punt. I could do that for about $250.00. I pulled up those plans. Yeah, it might not handle the bays along the gulf, but, hey, there’s plenty of lakes in Texas. And, I could build this in a mere week and a half. I printed out the plans and made a list of materials I’d need from the Home Depot.

I was happy... right until my better half spied the plans on my desk. “You know,” she said, “I need to park my car in the garage. Where were you planning on building this thing?”

Damn. All my tools are in the garage. If I built it on the back porch, I’d have to carry them around the house and then back every night. “It’d only take a week and a half,” I plead.

“You could use that money to build me a new bookcase... and it could be built in the garage with enough room to spare for my car.”

“But you can’t use a bookcase for fishing,” I protested.

“On the other hand, I wouldn’t have to stack my books on the floor,” she countered. “And, it would do wonders for those itchy hands of yours. It is woodworking.”

Hoisted on my own petard. She had me there. I guess the boat will have to wait. I still have the plans for that Tardis bookcase... hmmm. Maybe when I get it done, the weather will be nice enough to go fishing.