November 18, 1999 -- Can We Do It With The Right Tools?

We called Yvonne to see if she would have time to run us back to Sears so that we could pick up a new "enforcer" screwdriver. She said she could if we could complete what we needed to do before 11:30 as she needed to do something for a friend.

We were out to meet her at 9:15 so that we could be at Sears when it opened. We arrived at 9:30, but Sears didn't open until 10:00. We did not know this until we where in the store and everything was dark. It turns out we had walked in the employee doors. We thought we had just walked in through the pick up door. We found it hard to believe that no one stopped or questioned us, we turned around and walked back out. Fortunately, there was a grocery store by Sears, and we had not found everything we needed for dinner. We headed over there, and again I was accused of over shopping when I bought all of the enchilada sauce they had on the shelves! After that, it was back to Sears.

We arrived right at 10:00 am EST exactly. We ran in, found what we needed and were back at the van by 10:10 am! We had completed everything we needed to do with an hour to spare. When we arrived back at the boat, we stowed the supplies and Mike set to work on removing the chargers while I started checking the battery water level. I completed 6 of the 16 8D batteries using just about 1 gallon of water when Mike needed my help to lift the charger off its screws. I contorted myself inside the battery wiring closet to lift at the back of the charger while Mike lifted at the front and handled the 2 screwdrivers and a crowbar to help lift it. Now the access to the wiring closet is only about 1 ½ feet wide and about 2 feet tall. Needless to say I was going to need a crowbar myself to get out of it! After several attempts, the charger came loose and was supported by 2 screwdrivers, a crowbar, Mike and me. He started working the battery connection cables out. Unfortunately, there was not enough clearance to get the terminal ends out. Together, we slowly worked the battery charger forward until we could knock the terminals through.

Now came the real feat! We had to fit a charger that was 4 inches longer than the hole it was seated in through the wall. First we tried leaning the charger back. That did not work, we could not support the weight (about 75 pounds) of the charger at that angle. Next we tried sliding the back of the charger in while pulling down. This worked better except for the fact that the back of the charger hit a support beam. Once again, I contorted myself into the battery wiring closet to lift the charger to rest on the support beam. That did the trick! The charger came out easily and we set it on the floor. We took a quick break then I went back to checking battery water while Mike started working on the second battery charger. 2 gallons of water later, I was done with the batteries and Mike was ready to remove the second charger. This one proved much easier in ways and much more difficult in others. A support beam for the stairs going up to the pilot house prevented us from doing the same thing as we did on the last one. As we were working with charger, a support piece that had been jointed in to the wall worked loose. When we checked the other side, we discovered that removing a single screw would allow us to remove the support piece. While I held the support piece and the charger, Mike unscrewed the piece and then with a bit of effort we removed it. From there, we easily removed the charger.

By the time we finished, it was almost 3:00. Yvonne and the kids were coming over at 4:30 to see the boat and have dinner with us. We cleaned up the tools, the boat and ourselves, pulled out our boarding ladder then headed in to town to pick up our laundry.

At 4:30, we picked everyone up at the dingy dock and came back to have dinner on the boat. After the tour, the kids watched TV and the Rug Rats movie while we sat in the main saloon and had a relaxing evening.

Everyone packed it in around 7:30 PM EST after a great dinner and we enjoyed the rest of the evening lounging comfortably and vegging in front of the TV.