Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mold War II

They're back...

While we were away having a jolly good time in NY, our unwanted guests decided to squat in our home again. Upon opening our hatches, Frank immediately had a respiratory attack that forced him to stay in the car for 2 nights. His symptoms came on so suddenly that it lead us to believe that there was some serious mold growing in the nooks and crannies of Moitessier.   Since living in the car for a week while I remedied the situation was not an option, we decided that we needed to get a hotel room. I immediately went on to wage an all out war on the hobos.  I began to feel like I was on the losing team since I didn't have Frank, who was sick as a dog, as my usual ally. Research on the net was sparse with many people claiming that bleach and water would do the trick, but after more extensive reading, I discovered that bleach only kills mold on the surface. I needed to find a solution that gets  to the root and destroys them permanently.  With the interior of our boat made mostly of wood, Lysol was also not going to cut it. Lysol only kills mold on nonporous surfaces (i.e. tile, ceramic, blah, blah, blah).  To destroy mold in wood, you have to get to the core and penetrate the pores.   The next weapon to try was tea tree oil. I had spent a couple of days taking everything out of drawers and cabinets, and treating the moldy surfaces with a mixture of tea tree oil and water.  After spending days with a dinky ass spray bottle, I had been about ready to give up. Though I admit I enjoyed the smell of the oil, an aromatherapy spa session was not what I was after.  

On my way to the bathroom one morning, I bumped into Nancy who works at the yard. She had asked where Frank was and after telling her our predicament, she told me about this stuff from Home Depot called Concrobium. I guess someone else had had this problem a few years back and the yard was hired out to resolve this. For $30 for a gallon, you basically spray the stuff on and let it dry and it kills the mold.  It's non-toxic, so you don't have harsh fumes; the active ingredient is baking soda and what it does is it bond to the mold and suffocates it so that it could no longer reproduce. Not only that, but you can rent a fogger from Home Depot that fogs up the area that you are treating so that you can get into every crevice of the boat. Well, game on. I blasted the shit out of the boat, being sure to protect our electronics and books. When I uncovered the floorboards to blast the bilges, I discovered their home base. Our water tanks were covered! They looked like they were wearing warm fuzzy sweaters.  After recovering from my panic attack, I decided I needed to be strong and continue on with my biological warfare. I noticed that there was mold in some areas in the bilge that I couldn't reach, even with the fogger, so off to Home Depot I went again.  With some sound advice from a Home Depot representative, I purchased one of those hand pump pressure sprayers. This thing was awesome, it had a 4' tube with a 26" wand that allowed me to reach into some pretty tight spots and spray away. After days of doing this, I ended up getting sick as well, but I feel confident that I have won MWII. 

The battlefield....
The weapons of mass destruction...
The Fogger
The poison

A few words of wisdom:

1) When leaving the boat for an extended period of time, leave a dehumidifier or AC on.  Duh!  

2) Don't ever feel hesitant to ask your yard professionals for advice. Had I thought to do that, I wouldn’t have wasted my time hippie spraying with the tea tree oil.

3) Home Depot reps sometimes, I repeat SOMETIMES, know what they are talking about. 

4) The Black Keys makes for good mold destroying music. 

5) If you catch yourself on the floor crying for no good reason at some point during this process, don't feel stupid, it's simply the mold attacking the insular cortex of your brain. 

And last but not least... when renting a room at a hotel, get one with a pool so at least after your rough day of murder, you can lounge and go for a nice swim. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

upState of Mind

Upon returning upstate, we visited Frank's grandparents, his Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Leroy.  Frank's grandparents are like his second set of parents.  He grew up next door to them, two houses away, and has fond memories of spending time there.  His grandfather taught him to work with his hands at a young age, giving him the foundation for the skill set he now has.   He also taught Frank how to fish and hunt.  His grandfather grew up in extreme poverty and was forced to be self-sufficient.  Him and his brothers often had to rely only on what they caught or killed for food, whether it be squirrels or robins eggs.  His stories of living in poverty makes me grateful for the luxuries I take for granted.  

His grandma and Aunt Shirley prepared a Thanksgiving-esque feast of turkey, ham and cabbage, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other goodies. Since neither one of us celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving this year, it was great to get to spend some time with family over a nice meal.

Since we've been running back and forth between the city and upstate trying to see everyone we can, we have been utterly exhausted.  We decided to treat ourselves to some alone time after dinner to something we used to do all the time...go to a Drive-In movie.  2 of the only 356 Drive-Ins in the US are located close to where Frank's mother lives.  Before knowing Frank, I had never been to one.  The greatest thing about these is not only do you get to enjoy a movie from the comfort of your car, be it curled up in a blanket lounging in the back or simply reclining in the front seats; but you also get TWO movies for the price of one.  We watched Red 2 (meh...) and Wolverine (I have a soft spot for Marvel Comics).  The sound for the movie is broadcast from a designated radio station nowadays, however when Frank was little, he remembers there being posts with speakers that you would hang inside your window.  Drive-Ins are a novel thing these days with a steep decline from the 4000+ active drive-in theaters in the 50s.   The first theater opened in New Jersey in 1933, which may be the only good thing besides, Bruce Springsteen, to come out of there :P  

Foot long Hot Dog!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dim Sum

Dim Sum is essentially a Cantonese brunch.  In Chinese, it is called “yum cha” which literally means, “to drink tea.”  This comes from back in day, when rural farmers would travel along the Silk Road and stop to rest at tea houses.  Eventually, the tea houses started to serve food and thus came the tradition of yum cha.   It is served from morning til about 3 in the afternoon and it consists of assorted steamed and fried snacks, such as watercress dumplings, shrimp dumplings, Shu mai (pork and mushroom dumplings), chicken feet, beef tripe, and congee (which is a savory rice porridge).  The food is served in steamer baskets and usually pushed around in steam carts and servers offer the dishes to the table.  The pricing is categorized by Small, Medium, Large, and Special, depending on the item, and is recorded on a grid (which is your check) by each server that brings you your food.  The total is then calculated at the end of your meal.  In our culture, going to dim sum is something families treat as a family weekend day.  In most places in Chinatown and Flushing, dim sum is a little pricier specifically on Saturdays and Sundays for this reason.   

The drinking of tea also plays a big role in dim sum.  When you first arrive, you are asked what type of tea you’d like.  Choices include Chrysanthemum, Oolong, Bo-Lei, or Green tea.  This is served in a pot and the proper etiquette is that you always pour tea for others before you pour for yourself.  In Cantonese tradition, you thank the person pour your tea by tapping the bent index finger if you are single, or by tapping both the index and middle finger if you are married, which symbolizes ‘bowing’ to them.  We were always taught that the kids should pour the tea for the adults as part of having good manners.  I have found that places in Flushing (the Chinatown of Queens) offer a wider selection of dim sum than a lot of places in the Chinatown in Manhattan.  Wherever you decide to go, going to tea is certainly an experience.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crif Dogs

While I have been gallivanting around town trying to satiate my cravings for raw meat, tripe, intestines, sea urchin, and angler liver.  Frank has made it a point to satisfy his craving for deep fried bacon covered hot dogs. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, that does exist.  Frank's favorite eatery in all of Manhattan is Crif Dogs in the East Village.  This place serves only hot dogs and tater tots. Our favorites include the "Jon-Jon Deragon", which is a hot dog served with a smear of cream cheese, scallions, and everything bagel seeds; and the "Chihuahua," a deep fried bacon wrapped hot dog served with sour cream and avocado.

Crif Dogs also houses one of NYC's "secret" bars.  In the space itself, there is a telephone booth, you go in, pick up the phone, and it connects you to the host at Please Don't Tell.  You ask the host if there is room to accommodate you, and if so the back wall of the phone booth opens up, and you enter into a dark bar adorned with deer heads and random taxidermy. The bar itself is a mixology bar so the cocktails you get here are not your everyday average cocktails.  You can get anything from a Old Fashioned made with bacon infused bourbon and maple syrup to a Scotch based drink doused with smoked cardamon syrup and fresh pineapple juice.  It's a nice bar to check out, though you wouldn't want to frequent it as a cocktail costs $14, but if you've never had a mixologist-concocted beverage, it's well worth a try.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baby Cynthia

Meet my niece, Cynthia.  She’s my brother’s first daughter, my parents’ first grandchild, and she is one of the reasons why leaving to go cruising will be hard for me.  To think that I would miss watching her grow up breaks my heart.  I will miss her first steps, her first words, and she will only know me as the fun aunt who buys her stuff whenever I come around ;)  It was love at first sight, and there is not much I can do about it….  

My brother & his wife
Her first petting zoo