I guess I have always been somewhat particular, maybe even a little bit meticulous, about my surroundings and the order of things. Just a little…..maybe.
Now my wonderful wife as most people know is a Clinical Psychologist and an exceptionally good one. She often treats patients who have an aversion to one thing or another, such as flying, where her treatment is to have the patient fly more, or maybe an aversion to dirty hands where they are continually cleaning them to make themselves feel better or maybe snakes – no, no, I don’t want to go there but you get the idea. The treatment exposes them to their fear to help overcome it and she has been highly successful with her patients.
What does this have to do with my little meticulous and neat behavior? Well, a long time ago my wife decided that I needed aversion therapy for what she labels my anal-retentive nature. It’s not easy being neat and tidy when your wife has gone full blown anal explosive on you to assist in your therapy, and then when the family as a whole joined in it became a very real challenge. Our two sons turned out to be experts in the mess and chaos field and provided years of aversion therapy to assist in my recovery. It’s important to note that in most instances their explosive nature was simply controlled on my behalf by closing their respective bedroom doors. Out of sight, out of mind! A wonderful therapeutic tactic.
Now, you would think that after so much aversion therapy I would be nearly bulletproof to mess. That after such extensive training I could just fob it all off like water off a duck’s back, but no – recently I discovered that the dreaded anal-retentive demon is still there, lingering in the darkest crevices waiting to break out. And boy, did the opportunity present itself in spades.
After 9 months away from our home, which had been sitting in the warm moist tropics, all the ingredients were there for a real anal-retentive challenge. Opening our sliding door brought the wonderful aroma of MOULD. God – lots of mould, opening the engine bay doors more mould and tools that seemed to be swimming in a rust-induced brew assaulted the eyes. It didn’t seem to matter where you looked you were assaulted with mould spores and absolute chaos. The sad reality is that a boat is not designed to live alone – much like people, a boat needs people to survive and without them quickly descends into the dark depths of disrepair. Two solid weeks of vinegar, tea tree oil, gallons of bleach and hard elbow grease gradually brought the insides back to life, albeit with a definite smell which over time will disappear. During this process we also discovered what penalty that time away had imposed on us. The first casualty we discovered was the washing machine. Over time the belt had hardened in the current shape and instead of being flexible simply snapped when the machine was started. As it turns out, although the machine was purchased in Australia, we had to eventually order a replacement from the UK. Go figure!
To find out the problem with the washing machine meant visiting the tool department in the port engine room. Opening the hatch provided a peek into a very humid sauna and a heartbreaking discovery as to the condition of my hand tools and cordless array of Ryobi creative implements. There will be a few tears shed at the burial service for my trusty, now extremely rusty, tools.
I guess you have to be philosophical about these matters and move on – until I discovered that the starboard engine alternator had died. Good god, what next. Well, as it turns out when trying to start the dinghy, the electric start battery was the next casualty. Not to worry we still have the manual start…. until we don’t. Bugger it’s jammed. I decide to sit down and think things through choosing the nose of the dinghy as a good spot only to discover that the seal around the valve and hull is leaking and the nose of the dinghy is rather flat. Oh well, another job for Sika and a new starter battery. Maybe some microwave popcorn will cheer me up – nope, the microwave oven has carked it too. Sadly, the combined heat and moisture have caused major havoc with everything including all our battery driven torches and electronics and, as a result, we’ve lost one of our iPads and the use of all our torches. Just our luck the style of batteries we use are not available here in Sorong. Talk about finding your way in the dark!
At this point I did the only thing an aversion-trained anal retentive could do……ran screaming down the dock in absolute terror. Bugger I guess I am back in therapy again.