Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shattered dreams

There comes a time when you have to make a decision.  As hard as it is....

We have been treading water, clinging to the destroyed remains of a dream.   We have been fighting to keep the pieces together for over a year.  They have drifted further and further apart and have started sinking beneath the waves.  We have to choose between drowning or striking out for an unseen shore.  Apparently, the Coast Guard is busy trying to rescue others.  If we wait our turn they will find only sunken dreams and bloated corpses drifting with the waves. It is terrifying to let go and swim away from the wreckage but...let go we must.

Things are about to change.  For the better?  For the worse?  One way or the other things will work out in the end.  It always does.  Tom and I are like rubber balls.  The harder we are thrown the higher we bounce. 

I will be incommunicado while we make some changes...

I don't know how long it will take.  We have to close the shop.  I have some work that I have to finish.  I will operate at a diminished capacity while I do it.

Unfortunately, we have to start over, again.  This broken dream has left us with nothing.  No money. No credit.  Thankfully, Tom is employed and we have each other and our wits.  That's all we need.

The journey begins now... 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Apparently, I have writer's block

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting.  I have writer's block (of a fashion).  I want to write here at my blog.  I have a ton of ideas/words jumbled up in my brain but; I have other writing to do.  I am on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and the BP fiasco damaged my business, tremendously.  I am in the midst of writing my final payment proposal.

If you, are one of those people, that believe the tragedy is over and everyone down here is a "spillionaire" I ask you to leave right now. Unless you live here, you haven't a clue.  AND, sometimes, not even then.  I'll wait for you to take your leave...


I am having to be lawyer, scientist, and swami for this proposal.  I have researched as the events unfolded.  I have saved snapshots of articles and research as they have been published because they tend to disappear.  I have studied environmental law, politics, economics, biology, and geology. 

Now, I have to use my swami powers (NOT) to determine how long my business will be affected.  I can tell you now that we are still  feeling the affects.  Pre-spill, I did a lot of work for charter boat captains, long-line fishermen, as well as, recreational fishermen.  I have had next to no blue water reels/rods come in.  Those that have haven't been on working boats. 

Most of the captains I know aren't booking trips.  Several haven't even re-upped their insurance this year.  Those that are fishing, are fishing inside the islands.  Considering that oil has been found coating the seafloor 20 miles south of the beach (just south of the islands), there isn't any wonder why. 

There are dead creatures still washing up to this day and no one knows why because the research is only now just beginning.  So many sick fish are being caught that a new study just started to determine the cause. 

The media isn't reporting on the aftermath because it's too "controversial".  So here we sit, basically cut off from everyone...

The media covers the hi-jinx of the celebretards and the REAL news is being shoved to the back burner, if not completely off the stove.  There is a pile of Hurricane Katrina renewal news here, BP oil leak news there, Japan radiation news drips off the side of the stove and the current flood information slides down the wall...all forgotten.  Instead I hear about Weinergate, Arnie's extramarital affairs, and who has/had a drug problem that cause(d) issues in their PERSONAL life.  Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about any of it. 

It is truly sad that, in order to chase down news that matters, I have to go to alternative news sites and backtrack to the articles published by scientists, lawyers, and others in the know. 

People, like you and me, are posting videos, of the things going on down here, to YouTube because no one gives a sh*t.  YouTube has become the new investigative reporting site.  Wanna know what is actually going on in the world?  Go surf the site.  There are people from all over the world posting updates on the news that gets thrown off the stove.  Sure, you have to use a little common sense to weed out the spoofers and kooks but; you have to do that, anywhere.

I am having a hard time finishing my proposal because I have to re-read the articles and look at all of the pictures, again.  I relive all of it again...

I am frankly sick to my stomach dealing with all of this.  To make matters worse, those that know the system are using it to their advantage, stealing from those of us that were actually affected by the whole thing.  Those that are screaming, "WOOHOO!" are those that have taken advantage of the situation.  It's all very Katrinaesque, and I hope that they catch all of them.  May they rot in jail. 

The hardest part of this whole thing is my research is showing that things are not right down here and it may be for a long while, if ever, before it will be back to "normal".  Exxon-Valdez is a prime example.  Twenty-five + years later oil still comes ashore, fishing hasn't returned to Prince William Sound, and the only reason litigation has stopped is because there was such an uproar when people found out (because of the BP scenario) that those people were still waiting...most of them died waiting. 

I fear the same thing will happen here.  Those that cleaned up the oil in Alaska have, for the most part, died from illness caused by the oil and the Corexit they used to "disperse" the oil.  Many people are sick down here, not that the media is talking about it.  There have been reports of skin problems, respiratory issues, internal organ maladies...etc.  My husband and I have sinus problems that arrived with the oil stench and hasn't been resolved, over a year later.  We are taking allergy meds everyday just to be able to breathe.  The meds clear the airways but do nothing for the "atomic" (hard, crusty, bloody) boogers or the constant drainage.  Most days, everyone sounds like they should be in a TB ward.  Coughing, sniffling, hacking...

BP wants to hurry everyone one along *nothing to see here folks* to avoid the majority of expenses.  A federal judge just mandated that the tax payer is responsible for the rest of the clean-up.  Yep, you and me are going to pay for the clean-up of BP's mess.  Yep, you and me.  On the plus side, the politicos are making sure that at least 80% of the minimal fines BP pays go toward the Gulf States.  Let's hope they use it wisely.

A way of life is dying a slow painful death.  We fish for recreation.  We fish for monetary gain.  We fish for sustenance.  Sometimes, we do all three.  Trade and barter lives on.  How do you put a monetary figure on the groceries you were saved from buying, the car repairs you traded for, the help you gave to a family in need,  or all the other multitude of things?  How do you put a monetary value on the loss of a whole way of life?  How do you put a monetary value on life?  wellness?  Somehow, we have to. 

I have to figure out all this without knowing the answers to a lot of questions.  Why have 379, and counting, dolphins died.  Why are fish coming up with lesions, fin-rot, and other diseases?  Why have 438, and counting, turtles come ashore dead, dying, or sick?  What will be the future affects of the oil and dispersant be as it moves up the food web?  Will people get sicker?  Will there be an increase of birth defects, spontaneous abortions, and infertility?  What affect will the methane that escaped along with the oil have?  For that matter how much oil has escaped?  Is it still seeping from the seafloor as it was reported?  What will happen when, God forbid, a tropical storm/hurricane comes ashore?

I have lots of questions and very few answers. Any answers I find lead to more questions.


Wish me luck as I delve deeper into my proposal and pray I don't lose what marbles I have...       

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I do a lot of restoration.  I can take a salt encrusted reel like this

and disassemble it,

do my thang...
and wahla!

Sometimes, this involves the dreaded wire brush...DUM DUM DUM DUMMMMM!

          Why so dramatic?  As soon as the infamous brush is pulled out, you can count on a splinter.  A splinter made of stainless steel or brass,depending on which you have to use.  Imagine if you will, little splinters of metal being thrown around the room all willy-nilly.   I protect my eyes but, even wearing an apron, I still end up with metal slivers in my clothes, including the bra *can you say ouch?*.  Invariably, I end up with a splinter in the foot because it was missed during clean-up.*Today, I got one in the top of my hand.*
I hate using it because of this.  Unfortunately, it is the best tool for the job. 
I am very grateful that I don't have to use it often.

Restoring Rods are, more often than not, easier to do.  
More time consuming, though.  
Take this rod...
it's a 9 foot long Calcutta Cane Blue Water Rod

This was the first time I actually had my hands on one.  My customer wanted to completely redo it for his Dad.   He chose a black twine handle and black/metallic gold twist thread.
Stripped rod

Old varnish removed and buffed within an inch of it's life

  After I cleaned it up I wrapped the handle in black twine
Wrapped base
            I was stuck here at this step because I had a thread issue.  The company that produced that particular thread went out of business.  I won't bore you with the details of the 45 day process of finding a thread that matched.  Let's just say there was much frustration and be done with it.  I ended up with a smaller diameter thread that worked out wonderfully.

wrapped guides with black trim band

Finished product.
 This was actually more than a restoration.  
He was very pleased when he finally picked it up.  
More than pleased, he "loved" it.  

"Love" is not a word I hear here at the shop. LOL  
"It looks great!", "awesome!", or "It looks brand new!" yes...but never, "love it!".  I guess it's not manly?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Treasure Trove

I build fishing rods and repair fishing reels. Typically, my day is pretty much the same.
  • 9 AM Walk into the front room, flip on the lights, turn the sign around and unlock the door.
  • Repairing reels can be rather frustrating particularly if a spring sproings off in directions unseen.     Reels can be as intricate as watches and challenging to diagnose. They can be filthy dirty.  Good thing I don't mind dirty hands.
  • Repairing rods, building rods and refurbishing rods give me a creative outlet and is my favorite part of my job. 
  • word, SUCKS. that is all.
  • 5 PM  Lock the door, turn the sign around, flip off the lights, and walk out of the front room.    
Today, however, was different.  I acquired these...


and these...

             and this...

These old tackle boxes are chock full of old lures, some quite old, and quite a few are in original boxes.  These pics are after we went through them and tossed the trash and organized (somewhat) the lures.  

Here are some of my favorites...


and...a whole passel of BINGO lures...

It has been a blast going through all these boxes.  They may not look like much to y'all but, these are a treasure trove of antique lures.  My next mission, research.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's official, I don't speak dog.

Meet Molly!  Say hello to everyone, Molly!  *Arf!*

She's a good dog and a better friend.  Unconditional love in a furry package.  She is our "Princess Poopy-doo" with enough personality for a whole kennel full of dogs (or people for that matter).  She is our bed-time alarm (on her schedule), door bell, canoe companion, and recently...wannabe service dog. 

A few months ago, I was told to take blood pressure medicine.  (Darn family history!) I am usually not one for taking pills.  I would much rather go a natural route.  These I don't mind because I did not realize how bad I felt until I felt good.  One problem...For the life of me, I CAN NOT REMEMBER TO TAKE THE DAMN THINGS.  I don't realize until I feel like crap.  By then it is too late, I will feel like crap the rest of the day.

Forgetfulness plagues me.  I spend about half my day looking for stuff that I just had (telephone, keys burnishing tool...etc., etc., etc. ad nausium) Yet, I can remember my address in 5th grade.  Funny, how the brain works.  Molly will tell me when she wants out or needs food/water.  She'll tell me when someone is at the door or when the neighborhood cats are tearing up something.  Recently, she has started telling me that I have forgotten my meds.   I don't speak dog.  I thought I did.  After all, I know what she wants and needs, most of the time. 

Most of the time she does it when I am working.  There I will be sitting at the reel desk, usually assembling a reel after I cleaned it.  She'll come over and look up at me with those big brown eyes and say, "Errrr".  To which I ask if she

     1.  wants to go potty dance so, no.
     2.  needs food/ immediate race to the bowl so, no.

at this point I see the frustration on her face.  "Whatcha want girly?"  She just stares at me and says, "Errrr".  I can almost see the forehead palm.  Most days, I eventually figure out that she wants me to go take my meds.  Usually, after she surgically attaches herself to my feet as I walk through the house trying to find a clue.  Once we reach the living room she alerts to the table where my blood pressure cuff is and says, "Errr, Arf".   

So, to avoid feeling like crap and walking around the house looking for a clue to Molly's "Errr" I got one of these babies...

Now to remember to fill it when it comes time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fast Horses and Accidental Photography

I am what you call agility challenged. I have fallen up, down, around and because of various things, including my own two feet. I have been sliced, bruised and blown up. All of my doing.

Imagine if you will a horseback/camping trip deep in the country.   We took a ride that ended with me hanging off the side of  a galloping horse, this close to the ground. One foot was hooked on the horn and other was stuck in the stirrups. Imagine horseback acrobatics.

I came off the horse the last day.

This is accidental photograph taken while falling off a horse, LOL

Ummm, forgot to post that this is for the GBE Follow this link to find more GBE'rs