boat part 2

by grace on June 17, 2018

on Wednesday, morning, june 13th, we unveiled the boat and got ready to launch her.  a very exciting morning!

yes, we’re very proud of the boat.

there are four levels of emissions, and we’re second from the top, at ultra-low.  I think the top one is ultra super stupendously low or something like tha.

here’s kevin, about to do everything to get the boat into the water.

I took a video, since there was nothing else for me to do while the boat was backing into the water.


and I soon set sail, whoo hoo!

it was an amazingly easy and quiet ride, and kevin was waiting at the dock to help me tie it up.  the water is so high!

we then called mom and took our first ride.  kevin drove for a bit and mom said “I won’t drive the boat for a while…

…and it took her about five minutes to decide she wanted to drive after all.

a good time was had by all.

we’ve been out on the boat every day, sometimes twice a day.  Friday night we took our first ride with a few guests, and were out til well after dark.  yesterday mom and I went for an hour-long ride in the morning before it got blistering hot, and we haven’t been out yet today.  is the whole summer going to be ridiculousy hot?  maybe so.

but it’s also going to rain quite a bit I think, which means the water level will remain high, which means we can keep the boat in for a good long time.  hopefully it’ll still be out on the water when it’s so chilly we have to wear jackets and hats; that’d be a novelty.

ok then,

mrs. really lazy on a sunday is it afternoon already? hughes


boat!!! part 1

by grace on June 14, 2018

part one, of many parts ongoing for a long time to come…

after mom and my perilous failed boat ride involving crashing and scraping along the shoreline, we bought a new boat.

nobody in springfield had a boat we wanted, so kevin found one at the marvelously-named Ted’s Boatarama in Rock Island.  it’s a 2018  20-foot Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX, charcoal grey with a charcoal bimini top.

I hadn’t been so excited about getting the boat because it all seemed a little surreal to me, plus a brand-new boat is not cheap.

we drove up to Rock Island on Tuesday and entered the huge store; they obviously do a whole lotta business, probably because they’re right alongside the Rock River and close to the mighty Mississippi.  they had lots of staff, and everybody we talked to was nice and unassuming and knowledgeable; it didn’t feel like they were a bunch of used-car salesman, which had been our experience at some of the boat  stores in springfield.

tim, the general manager, was a friendly older guy, and the woman in charge of all the paperwork was also very kind.  as kevin was busy signing many documents, I told her that we’d had a boat for about 12 years, and it never worked for an entire summer.  I said I couldn’t believe we were buying a new boat, and tears were welling up in my eyes.  I tried not to burst into tears, not wanting her to think i’m unbalanced (not wanting her to figure out that yeah, i’m pretty unbalanced).  I was just so very happy…

we went outside where they were lowering our new boat onto our own trailer that we’d brought with us.  I severely bent the front piece of it a couple years ago, but our boat repair guy told us a place that would fix it, so now the trailer is stronger than ever.

but as they were lowering it, suddenly they started bringing it back up and pulling the trailer away from the boat.

Uh oh.

our trailer is strong, but it was made in 1988, when they decided to put vertical bars on the inside of where the pontoons would go to stabilize them.  unfortunately our new pontoons were wide then the old ones, so the bars were about to scratch or puncture the pontoons.

everybody discussed our options and they finally concluded that they could bend the bars in using another fork lift.

whew.  but then they stressed the need for wrapping the bars with old carpet and securing them with lots of duct tape.  they asked how far we had to go, and se said “springfield,” and the guys said “Illinois??!!”  they said they’d take care of the carpet around the bars, and they’d use our straps to secure the boat into place.

while they did all that, we went off and had a tasty lunch.

we got back and it was all ready to go, and kevin pulled out a few pieces of equipment I don’t recall seeing before.  he had these two yellow tennis ball kind of things on top of long poles with magnets, and place one on the boat and the other on the back of the truck for ease of backing.

it worked so well that the one ball knocked the other one off.  done.

here’s the boat, ready for the ride home.

I kept an eye on it as we drove home, and it was just fine.

we’d seen this huge cover over a bridge around Peoria on our way up, and I was able to get a couple photos on our return trip.  that’d be quite a job, wouldn’t it, putting that giant thing over the bridge?  and wouldn’t it be awfully toasty in there for the workers?

we finally arrived home and amy came over to take a photo.  kevin and I waxed the pontoons and the outside of the boat and then jim came over and helped cover it with the giant white travel tarp that it came with.

we successfully launched the boat yesterday, more photos to follow.

yay, boat!

ok then,

mrs. h.




by grace on June 8, 2018

although it’s early june, it feels like august.  91 degrees right now, feels like 96.  might as well be time for the fair.

meanwhile, the end of may….this tiny fawn was curled up outside amy’s porch.  since then we’ve spotted it and its mom quite a few times – the tiny thing is smaller than the smallest of amy’s dogs.  we’ve seen then trotting through the yard, I saw them crossing the road the other evening, and when I was taking a short cut to walk to mom’s house, there was the baby sleeping under the camper.

and speaking of cute…riley is the most outside cat we’ve had.  he adores the back yard and we’re fortunate that he has no interest in trying to escape.  he does spend a lot of time peering out the fence at all the activity out there, but he’s very content.  he especially loves this hollow log.

the last successful boat ride on memorial day night, when most of the other boats had left.

amy brought her tiniest dog, Laz, on the boat, and he was a little bit scared at first, but then had a grand time.

kevin chillaxin’ in the fenced yard with riley.  that long stick next to riley is his special stick; whenever he come inside, if he can get my attention he hurries out to the back so we can play chase the stick.

les has a hard life.

I don’t have any photos of Winnie, but he continues to do all right, hanging in there, mostly hanging out on the hot front porch, or the even hotter driveway.  he only hates me twice a day, when I have to give him his anti-seizure medicine, but aside from that he seems content.

ok, this was our last successful boat ride, on may 30th.  there seem to be more ducklings around than ever before.

riley, stretched out happily with his very long legs.

herons don’t usually stand on the dock like this.

and that’s it for may.  whew. and it’s only the beginning of june!

although feels like august.

ok then,




a three hour tour (a three hour tour)

by grace on June 3, 2018

I don’t know why our boat ride Saturday morning reminds me of Gilligan’s island – we didn’t intend to go out for a three-hour tour, and we weren’t shipwrecked on a desert island…but still, it was tumultuous event.

I had high hopes for the boat this summer.  our new used motor was finally working right, we’ve been out a few times already…but the last couple of times it’d do a surging thing when I accelerated and then it’d slow down, and something was amiss. oh boy.  but then I noticed that gas was squirting out of the line when I pumped the ball thing that you have to pump to make the gas go into the tank.  kevin replaced that, and we thought, great, that was the problem.

yesterday morning, though, kevin and I took the boat out and it was doing it again.  but then we switched from the main tank to the spare tank and it was running great so kevin figured there must be something wrong with the main tank.

he went to the store to buy a new tank and mom and I set out in the boat.  for some reason I decided to heat us up a couple of frozen turkey sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches.

we went out at about 11:30.  it was a little bit cool and was supposed to start raining at 1:00, so I figured we could be out for maybe an hour.  we tootled along by the shore, weren’t in a hurry and got over near the motor boat club.  suddenly, there was a piercing, high-pitched screech from the motor.  oh boy.  mom and I looked at each other, and she asked if that was coming from my phone.  nope.  I shut off the motor and called kevin, who said the it must have overheated.

trouble.  he said to let it cool off for a while, so mom and I spent some minutes drifting away from the motor boat club, as the wind and waves started to pick up.  I tried the motor, and the noise was still there.  I impatiently waited another eight minutes and tried it, and the motor started again.  we got a little distance and then the noise came back.  I called kevin yet again and he said that since the wind was picking up so much I should just drive it home like that.

we crashed through some giant waves, got a little closer to home…and then the motor died and there was a bad smell.  oh boy.

kevin said the motor block might have cracked, and basically, we were screwed.  we were close to the shore and the boat got blown near somebody’s dock and we sort of banged and scraped along til we arrived at their dock.  I grabbed at a bar with my extended oar and yelled at mom to put a rope over it, and she did…but then it slid off and the waves carried us down along the shoreline.

we made a horrible scraping as we encountered somebody’s…some kind of hanging-over-the-water bar thing, and then we arrived at the next dock.  more horrible scraping, and I finally was able to tie a line to their dock.  the wind continued to bang us around and I had mom get another line from the front of the boat as I hung onto the dock, and she stood out there bobbing up and down and I yelled SIT DOWN!  SIT DOWN!  because I was pretty sure she was going to fall overboard.  she did finally sit, and she got the rope, and we were tied up.

we tried flagging down the very few boats that were out on the water but nobody came to our rescue.

whew.  I called kevin again and told him where we were, and meanwhile I had mom go knock on their door.  she looked nice, because she always looks nice, and I looked like a hooligan because I only look nice when absolutely necessary.

I asked kevin to look up the lake police number, and he sent that to me.  I called a neighbor with a boat but they didn’t answer, and then another neighbor, but her husband was out of town and he was the only one who knew how to drive the boat.  she gave me another neighbor’s number – I could see his kids in the water down the way, so if figured he might be home.  nope, no answer.  I called the lake police, who told me that because we were secured to a dock and the water was so rough, they wouldn’t be coming out to get us, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for anybody to get us.

oh boy.

I called kevin for the millionth time and told him the address where we were and said BRING PAPER AND A PEN AND SOME TAPE to put a note on the people’s door.

as we waited for him to show up the wind started to die down, and pretty soon the waves weren’t really bad at all.  an old pontoon boat that looked a lot like ours drove by and I honked and we waved and yelled, and they finally came on over.  by this time kevin showed up with two big containers of rope, and they hooked us up and away mom and I went, bobbing behind the nice people.

so nice of them!

kevin drove home and was waiting patiently as we got to shore.

it was more harrowing in retrospect.  we could have hurt ourselves, could easily have fallen overboard, could have smashed our heads…kevin thinks it’s time to get a new boat.  the whole thing is a bummer, because new boats are not cheap, but used motors are not reliable.  a new motor would be disproportionally expensive.


meanwhile, it’s a beautiful day today, and we’re supposed to have a couple more days break from the august-type heat we had in may.


ok then,

mrs. sunday evening hughes.



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