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Mistakes you've made but can now laugh about...
Old 06-03-2016, 06:29 PM   #1
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Mistakes you've made but can now laugh about...

Memories of the Blue Water Wanderer ...

My three brothers, a brother in law and my sister left early in the morning, as it it was a long drive. We found the boat moored in the marina as per the directions. I looked at the old Chris Craft and thought to myself -it is a terrible thing that water, time and neglect can do to a wood boat. My older brother must has sensed what I was thinking and said "it looks fishy" The unkept looking Captain and Mate arrived a good 45 minutes late. Had they just come from a bar? The mate was sporting a black eye and quite a severe limp. The captain asked us to step back as he opened the deck hatch to expose one of the motors. Immediately my eyes fixed on the depth of the water in the bilge - too much water I thought. The captain finally cajoled the first motor to start with a burst of blue smoke.. They were a well worn a pair of v8 gas engines. The knock I could hear wasn't right and what worse could see concern it my mechanic brother's face. Eventually the second motor started and we were on our way and all the bad signs seemed to fade into memory as we slipped out of the inlet on a calm day. Perhaps an hour or two later they turned the engines off and tossed the frozen chum over the side. A couple of not new rods were produced, baited and lowered to various depths facilitated by ballon floats. Slowly the chum, a mixture of ground fish would melt and create and oily slick for our quarry to follow: sharks.

In a hour and a half a second bucket of chum was added to the first. The wind had picked up and now there was a grayness to both sea and sky. One brother slept in a dramamine induced stupor. The rest of us starred at the floats hoping that there might be a good point to this great mistake. The sea continued to build and I began to curse myself for getting on this leaky barge. The captain announced it was time to go - "sorry but you know fishing". Then he tried the first engine- it would not start. By this time the sister and brother in law had retreated below decks and were in a "death embrace" (the final goodbye). It took what seemed to be an eternity for him to get a motor started. We set off for home albeit at a slow pace. I doubt, even had there been two engines, we could have gone any faster as the sea had continued to build. Soon there was water breaking over the bow -some of it was deep enough to have color. My sister and husband were miserable below as there wasn't a dry spot below - everything leaked. It took hours. There is an odd irony - just when we saw the inlet and said a silent 'thank you God' reality sets in as the risk is the greatest - rocks and a swift current. Then the one running engine died as if the lesson wasn't quite complete. We had learned when the captain lifted the microphone to use the radio and the wires dangled freely that there would be no calling for help. Oh my god sabotage too! We were alone in this twilight zone nightmare and there would be no calling for help. The current grabbed us, it didn't look good but luckily the other engine started and we limped back to the dock.

Stress is a funny thing - I went home and slept deeply. I did not hear from any of them for quite a while. Finally my brother called me and said he went fishing in the sound. Your sister and brother in law were supposed to come but into the parking lot and saw some ripples on the water in the harbor and turned around and went home...

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Old 06-04-2016, 08:28 AM   #2
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:02 AM   #3
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:14 AM   #4
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We took my little fiberglass 14' runabout from the marina in Sarnia up the Michigan coast for a picnic. Had a great time and all was calm and sunny. My mother was visiting and so we had to be extra careful because she was a worrier.

About 3 pm, we set off to return and soon discovered a strong wind had arisen from the northwest. So there were heavy seas and waves crashing over the stern. The boat was overloaded for the conditions. The biggest problem was how vocal Mom was about our pending demise. We did get pretty wet and had to do some bailing, but we made it back to the marina with nothing worse than bruised egos. 80% of the trip had been fantastic. It is all about perspective.

(Mom never had another ride in our boat, and no one was unhappy about that! Dad was much more stoic. He admitted that he enjoyed the day and felt sorry for the abuse we endured.)
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:48 AM   #5
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:17 PM   #6
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:40 PM   #7
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First cross-country flight in a J-3 Cub. Landed at Winchester, VA airport, got the requisite signature in my logbook, and asked for someone to help start the airplane (it has to be started by hand, there is no electric starter). I'm a bit stressed and made two mistakes I soon regretted; didn't visit the men's room and drank a Coke. Okay, you can see this one coming.

The flight back was going to be about 30 minutes or so and the engine was fussy about starting, that took about 15 minutes and about the time it started I was wishing I'd visited the men's room but since the guy who was propping the engine put so much time in it I didn't want to shut down again. So I take off, and in 20 minutes or so I am really, really, really wishing I had stopped in the men's room and I'm starting to think about alternatives.

The Piper Cub can be flown with the window and door open. As you can see in the photo the window folds up and clips to the wing and the door just flops down and hangs there. Since it was a warm summer day I had those open, it's actually nice to fly that way. And I'm thinking, well, maybe I could lean out far enough, maybe brace my foot on the strut.... But then I also note that I'm not wearing a parachute and there is a risk I'd fall out. And the phrase "Don't pee into the wind" is very much in mind because there is lots of wind blowing into the cabin. And will I be able to control the airplane with one hand while half in and half out of the airplane? Finally I decide this is a really dumb idea and resolve to just suffer the consequences of my mistake back to the airport in MD. I made it, but barely.

To this day every time I get on an airplane, no matter how short the flight is to be, the last thing I do is visit the men's room....
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:17 PM   #8
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Don't ice skate on thin ice. On New Year's Eve about 5-6 years ago, I went ice skating on the lake behind my house. On a cold afternoon following a few days of above freezing temps. Ice seemed thick enough. But something happened and I fell through the ice. Luckily the water was only nose deep. I broke the ice with my hands and got to shore. I took off my skates and walked the 1/2 mile home in my socks. I was cold and my knee was killing me. Numb from the knee down. DW brought me to ER. They thawed me out and found that I broke my ankle and sprained my knee in the ordeal. Spent the winter on crutches. Haven't been skating or even walked on a frozen lake since.

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Old 06-04-2016, 04:04 PM   #9
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When I was around 35 years old and living in Connecticut (Southbury area) I was training for running a marathon. It was a Saturday in the Fall of the year and myself, DW and our infant daughter were visiting friends in Naugatuck, CT which was about 10 miles as the crow files from our home in Southbury.

It was pouring rain and I had not had my daily run in and felt a 10 miler was on the menu for the day. I remembered a fire road was behind my friend’s home that led to Southbury and it was all wooded. Thinking, I could run the fire road and have DW meet me at the other end (a mile or so from our house), I explained to DW where the fire road exited the woods and to meet me there in an hour and 15 minutes. So the plan was hatched and I started the run. She hung out with the friends for a while and was to leave in time to meet me.

About way through the woods on the dirt road covered with fallen tree leaves, my right foot landed on a fist sized round rock which was hidden under a maple leaf. I remember landing flat on my back on the muddy road. I lay there for a long minute, wondering if I hurt anything. Trying to get up and soaking wet of course, my right ankle was killing me and was about the size of a grapefruit. Of course, now, you have to realize that this was a time before cell phones so I had no way to call for help, which I clearly needed. And the fire road was uninhabited land along the side of a small mountain.

It was clear that I could not run at all and even putting pressure on the ankle was very painful. Realizing I was 5 miles from either end, I felt helpless and looked around for a log or branch to use as a crutch. I found one and then didn’t know which way to go….back to my friend’s house or to the other end where DW and our infant daughter would be sitting in a VW Beetle in pouring rain. So I decide to go towards DW and eventually got there about the time the Connecticut State Police arrived at the entrance to the fire road. DW had headed back to Naugatuck to see if I had changed my mind and since I was not there, figured I was hurt or lost in the woods so she called the troopers.

Well, all was eventually good, especially after I was scolded by the trooper and DW. Then I went to the ER and had a cast put on my ankle and was on crutches for the next six weeks or so. I never did run the marathon that year as it took several months to get the torn ligaments healed and then to get back in competitive running condition.
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:18 PM   #10
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Many years ago when I was younger and full of energy I was adding on a large addition to our home. In the process of sheathing the new roof I had laid a stack of plywood on the existing roof which had a very small pitch. For whatever reason I stepped on the stack of plywood and the top sheet took of with me on it, like a flying carpet ride! Needless to say as soon as it sailed off the edge of the roof I fell about 8 feet onto the cement patio slab and then rolled off into the excavation for the foundation wall that hadn't been backfilled yet.

Spent a few months hobbling around on crutches while my shattered heel was healing. I was lucky that it wasn't worse as it could have been so much more than a shattered heel. The guys at work pitched and got the roof finished for me while I was layed up.😁

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Old 06-04-2016, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quit being so afraid of rejection -- maybe she *does* want you to ask her out.

That said, though I was a late bloomer I wound up winning the marriage lottery, so I guess I shouldn't want to make this sound like a complaint or a long-term lament. But yeah, at the time...
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:29 PM   #12
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Should have known better, much better, but the euphoria of reaching the coast diminished the brain cells - 1962, three of us finished working at a dam in northern Western Australia, where Johnstone crocodiles, ('freshies', the relatively harmless/unaggressive ones), were frequently seen. Across the centre of Australia to the east coast.

We drove slowly on potholed dirt roads, oftentimes covered with bulldust so fine that (with no a/c) even with the car windows wound up, (we wore only our underwear because it was so hot), we looked like mudmen.

'Bathing' in cattle troughs whenever we could find them, (one large metal reservoir had a dead crow floating in it...bath time anyway), we finally reached the outskirts of Cairns and the mouth of a river - time for real baths, laundry.

Even though we saw snakes in the water, for some reason none of us thought of anything but long delayed ablutions.

Thus cleansed we drove into 'town'....Cairns was, at that time, a far cry from today's tourist Mecca.....first pub...."Three beers please".....asked the bartender if there was anywhere we could camp...."Go wherever you like along the beach" he said "nobody will bother you....but there's a river mouth about three miles outside town....whatever you do, stay away from it....there are 'salties' (the nasty ones), and sharks are frequently seen".

"Three more beers please" Gulp.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:16 PM   #13
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As a professional Boy Scout I didn't give it a thought when I walked into the bank in Spring, 2002 wearing my uniform.

20 minutes early, I placed my tattered old brief case on the conference room and walked across the street to get a sub sandwich.

As I returned I noticed a crowd of people, and a cop car pulling up. Lights on.

Seems banks don't like it when "weird looking guys in uniforms" drop off a "trashed briefcase" and quickly depart.

Who would've thought that?

Thank God the responding cop had a son I knew in the local Scout troop! He quickly cancelled the call to the bomb squad.
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But you can hit'em upside the head a few times to make sure they are really out...
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:40 AM   #14
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Set the parking brake on the rental car when stopping on a switchback road for a scenic overlook in the Rockies.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:51 AM   #15
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We are at a company sales convention in Honolulu, and had a day off to do whatever. So a bunch of us decide to go body-surfing We discovered that Sandy Beach was the place to go. Our wives all took to the sand to sunbath. The guys took turns catching the waves.

After about half hour and several memorable rides, one of our guys got caught in a rip tide (we had no idea). The life guard rescued him and we all took a break and returned to shore. In conversation with the life guard, I asked him if he had to rescue many people. He said No that most injuries were broken necks and backs at the shoreline. I asked how often that happened and he said once a day!

We spent the remainder of the day sunbathing on the beach.

(Apparently this is Obama's favorite body-surfing spot. But we discovered it 35 years ahead of him.)
For the fun of it...Keith
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:45 PM   #16
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When I bought my first house back in 1991 (suburban Chicago), I took out a $100k mortgage (30 year / fixed rate). I paid 3 points to get a lower interest rate (about 7.75%). I ended up paying off the loan in 4 years. Not the best use of that $3k.

A few months after obtaining the loan, I used my personal computer to generate an amortization schedule. I was disgusted how little of each mortgage payment went to principal reduction during the early years of the loan, and decided that I was out of there, points paid or not.
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Old 06-05-2016, 03:00 PM   #17
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In the early 2000's interest rates had dropped so far that I was able to refi down to the unbelievably low interest rate of 6 1/4% : ) This was my 4th, and hopefully final home, and compared to my 1st house mortgage of 10 1/2%, a screaming deal of a mortgage!

So far not a mistake, awesome new interest rate had a pre-payment penalty which, of course, was not a big deal because interest rates were at a long time low. No chance I'd ever refi again

Yep, just a few years later I was able to halve that interest rate and found some great 10 year rates that would save me a bundle. Oh what a bitter pill that $8,000 pre-payment penalty was to swallow
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:45 PM   #18
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No doubt a continuous prosperity, though spendthrift, is preferable to an economy thriftily moral, though lean. Nevertheless, that prosperity would seem more soundly shored if, by a saving grace, more of us had the grace to save.

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Old 06-05-2016, 10:59 PM   #19
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Dirt bike trip in Baja California plus margaritas at a rest stop. I ended up being "The shapeless heap on the curb."

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"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest." --Mark Twain
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:26 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
That was a great yarn!
Consider putting a link in the "Mistakes....." thread!

Yeah... really belonged here... prompted by the boat stories.

Gator-Boat Adventure:

Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

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