The Trouble with Houseboats

If I am not working, you will often find me on my boat, a Catalina I call Nordic Breeze. Sailing is the love of my life, next to my wife of course. It brings me great joy while I have simultaneously made so many new friends. We share the wonders of the pastime and fantasize about where we would like to go alone or together. We can wile away hours on our respective boats. We are true sailing buddies and when there is a need, we pitch in to help. Boats always need painting, staining or some kind of upgrade. Recently, I visited a friend on his houseboat with the goal of installing the best kitchen faucet available that day. He couldn’t find a plumber willing to come to the dock for a reasonable price. No problem. I have done it before—actually more than a few times over the years.

In a little under an hour, the new faucet was in place, ensuring that a drip-free and hands-free experience was in the making. My job was done so I could now relax and enjoy the view. Houseboats are almost all windows. I was sitting there thinking: you can’t imagine the pleasure people get out of modern fixtures and appliances. The houseboat is rather old, and I am surprised that he spent the money. Small things mean a lot, he said. Okay, I get it. Meanwhile I took a gander around the houseboat and noticed so many things that needed repair or replacement. While I like the idea of this vessel, I would not want to live on it full time. For one thing, you are moored most of the time except for the rare move to a new location. There is no question of sailing. Thus, to me it isn’t a true boat. More of a cool place to live near other boats like mine.

If I had to make a list of what this houseboat needed, it would be more than a faucet. In fact, all the kitchen cabinets were worn and crooked. How about a new tile or granite countertop? There was some old butcherblock with many a knife scar in it. The window trim was peeling, and the floor could use a good wax. It looked lived in for sure. I liked the built-in furniture because it saved space, but I would choose another upholstery fabric. I wasn’t being judgmental but more practical. I would be happy to help convert the space into a modern environment. Everything is so spic and span on my boat so why not give my friend a taste of luxury. I had to find out if it was his style in case I would offend him with my suggestions. I could gather some other friends and a few tools and go to town on the renovation. Of course, it would be no surprise as he would have to move out for a few days at least.