Halloween fright

I am slowly working on a new kayak. I’ve been working on this particular kayak for several years. Other chores and jobs keep taking precedence and my boatbuilding projects are a hobby that sometimes has to take a back seat to more pressing needs. However, from time to time I do get to work on it and there is visible progress. I have a completed hull and a completed deck and, after some outfitting, I’m getting pretty close to mating the two. Once that happens, it will look like a kayak as I finish the bulkheads, hatches, coaming and outfit it with a seat. It will be ready to slide into the water next spring. On Monday, I had a little time, so I had the deck upside down and was making sure that everything was in place. The inside of the deck is not visible once the boat is assembled. The work on it is not for appearance, but rather for strength and balance. However, the wood is the back side of what shows on the surface of the boat, so it is carefully pieced together and it looks vey nice. The wood is sealed with epoxy, so no water can penetrate and cause rot. I have a home-built kayak that is almost 20 years old and still looks quite good and paddles very well. It could easily last long beyond the span of my lifetime. So I want the work to be done right and the boat to perform well.

On Monday it was warm, so I was able to work epoxy, something that I will not be able to do in my unheated garage when winter makes everything out there cold. I carefully prepared my surfaces, vacuumed up the sawdust, scrubbed the wood to make sure everything was clean, mixed the epoxy and spread it carefully. It looked great when I was finished. Later that evening I went out to check my work and discovered that a fly had managed to land on the epoxy, flail around a bit and expire. Epoxy is pretty toxic. Last night, when I had a little time after supper, I went out and sanded out the area where the fly had messed up my handiwork. I won’t have time to work on the boat for a couple of days, but when I return, I will have to find a time when I can get the boat up to 65 degrees for a couple of hours to re-do the epoxy in that area.

I don’t like sanding epoxy. I have to wear a respirator and the sawdust is very fine. The epoxy is hard and it takes quite a bit of work to get everything smooth. But when epoxy is applied correctly there is little sanding required. Flies just don’t help the process.

On the other hand, the mess isn’t as big, nor as complicated to correct as the time the cat decided to jump up onto a boat with wet epoxy. The poor cat had to make an emergency trip to the vet to get its fur clipped before I could tackle sanding and repairing the boat.

Still the fly was a disappointment. When the sun shines through our south-facing patio window these days, I can usually find three or flies to kill. It is that time of year. Our house is really weather tight, and I can’t figure out where the flies are getting in. I suppose they come in when we open the doors. On Monday I had to dispatch a large yellow jacket that somehow made its way to an east-facing window in the basement.

I mention the wasps and flies because they are probably the fiercest monsters that we’ll see around our house this Halloween. I will be a work until after 8 pm, so I won’t be around to greet trick-or-treaters. Susan may get home early enough to hand out a few treats, but the kids in our neighborhood, even when wearing costumes aren’t frightening. They’re friendly. And, for the most part, they are polite and careful about safety as they wander around the neighborhood.

I know enough to avoid West Boulevard, a street not far from the church, if I need to run an errand in the late afternoon or early evening. That is one of the most popular areas for trick-or-treaters in our town. 1,500 or more children with their parents will be going house to house for treats and it is best to be walking rather than trying to get through the crowds in a car.

Halloween doesn’t disrupt my life in any way. I’m not afraid of the black cat that likes to hunt mice in the church yard. I’ll be the one to lock up the church building tonight after everyone else has left. As I turn off the lights and lock the doors, I won’t be surprised by any ghosts. As far as I know our church has none.

I’m not really afraid of the various insects who find their way into our house. Flies are just annoying, and it has been a long time since I’ve been bit by a wasp. The occasional one that makes its way into our house doesn’t have much of a career left and the general rule in our house is that spiders outside are left alone. Those that come inside have forfeited their rights. When I see a particularly interesting spider, I might trap it and release it outside, but what we see are mostly common spiders who end up getting stepped on, I try not to kill crickets, but they are generally fairly easy to catch and release and it has been years since we’ve had one of those inside the house.

Halloween won’t be very scary around our house. I haven’t invested in a new costume since my family gave me a gorilla suit 15 years ago. It isn’t close to being worn out. I don’t put it on very often. My daughter doesn’t like it and I’ve not been around my grandchildren at the right time to give them a start. Most Halloweens I just go as myself. In fact I find it a bit strange when I encounter professionals at the bank or at a doctor’s office who are wearing costumes at work.

If you want to feel really scared, all you have to do is read the news. That’s way more frightening than spiders, flies, wasps and Halloween combined.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!