Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday in Hades

I'm wet, choking, and can't breathe. Coughing, I jolt up to a sitting position, and a coin falls out of my mouth. I suck in fetid air and look around. I have been laying in a foul marsh next to a river. Bones stick out of the mud, and the river's surface is writhing with the dead. I struggle to my feet, and I can just barely stand. My tool bag feels like it weighs a thousand pounds, and I discover the strap has grown into my shoulder. Looking up I see Charon poling his boat towards me, and then I remembered. It was that damned speaker.

The job was simple. A Raymarine external speaker for its VHF was broken, and I said I would replace it with a new one. This was part two of a job being paid for by an insurance company. Part one was the replacement of a failing smart NMEA transducer with a new inhull unit. I had estimated three hours to do the transducer, and it was on the money. The speaker I had said would take one hour, I mean how hard could it be? A mere box with two wires with plugs on the end.
I opened the arch, and located the speaker cables, after doing some tugging. Ah, there they are, now where are the connectors? What, they're not here? Why they must be just below the arch pull hole. I'll just pull them up back up. I grab one of the cables, and it won't move. I try the other one and it won't pull up either. I scratched my head, and grabbed the screw gun. Under the seat is an small access plate. I stick my handy mirror in the hole, and look up. There are the cables, along with all of the other ones, passing through a bulkhead in a sea of gooey sealant.
For reasons that will never be clear to me, when the system was installed at the factory, the cables, with their connectors had just enough length to make it through the bulkhead. The extension cables were attached there. This was despite the fact that the extension cables had a lot of extra footage all wadded, and tie wrapped up in the coamings. My one hour install estimate has now turned into almost three hours trying to get at the connectors. How stupid was this? When the boat was being built, it was easy to attach the extension cables, access galore was everywhere. But now it isn't possible to get at them. I was furious, and raging. Why would they have done this? What to do? There has to be a way to get at the connectors. Maybe I could borrow the "Jaws of Life" from the fire department, or the Sawzall might work. I know, the angle grinder with the 8" blade will do the trick, and I have one. I dropped everything, hustled back to the truck, grabbed the grinder and ran back to the boat.

I jumped from the dock to the swim platform. My foot must have slipped off of it, and the last thing I remember was my head hitting the edge of the dock. Charon's here now. What in Hades did I do with that coin? There it is. I give the coin to the ferryman and sit down in the boat next to a dirty and disheveled man in a suit. He sticks out his and and says," I'm J. P. Grunion, president of Magnifico Yachts. this isn't the Vegas sales meeting is it?"

Nuts, I will call the insurance company on Monday, and grovel to get extra hours, and the money to by all new extension cables to do the job right. This time the connectors will be accessible at the bottom of the arch, like they should have been in the first place. Things do break you know, especially on a boat.

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