After three days in the South Baltimore home of Mister Kitty, who never seemed to warm up to our presence, Ace and I are packing up for our next destination — a boat.
Since returning to visit Baltimore, we’ve already been bobbing around a lot — from Federal Hill to Dundalk to Federal Hill again. Next we’ll be bobbing in the Patapsco, in the sailboat of an old friend, who used to live on it himself.
I met up with Arnie last weekend, and was more than willing to help him work on his boat when he mentioned the possibility (or perhaps it was I who mentioned it) of living on it with Ace for a few days.
I agreed to help him install a cleat and a stanchion, having no idea what those things were.
But I was able to hand him tools, when I could find them.
“It’s behind the bulkhead,” he’d say.
“What’s a bulkhead?” I’d respond.
“Hold that screw on the aft side.”
“OK. What’s aft?”
I did help him make a little progress, though, on a boat that hasn’t been away from the dock for close to three years, one that, since he moved off it and into apartment a year ago, had become a bit of a mess, filled with tools and numerous parts I don’t know the names of. It had become sort of a floating toolbox.
I wasn’t entirely sure Ace — being 130 pounds — could get on board, or get down the ladder-like stairs into the cabin. Nor was I sure that we could squeeze in among all of the assorted tools and marine stuff tossed here and there.
Yesterday, we returned to make sure Ace would be willing and able to climb aboard. With a little maneuvering of the boat, named Grendel, he jumped right on. I followed and — after opening the mandatory can of beer — checked out the cabin upon Arnie’s advice.
We’re looking forward to a few days floating dockside at Nick’s Fish House, and reporting on the adventures that I expect will ensue — none of which will involve actually leaving the dock, as Arnie’s motor still needs work, and my skills as a mariner, while Titanic in some ways, don’t qualify me as an old salt, or even a salt substitute.
But, knowing Nick’s, and having met a few of the colorful characters anchored there, I’m sure that — in addition my own ineptitude as I make my first solo (except for Ace) overnight stay on a boat– there will be some grins ahead.
As for the cat we’ve been feeding, Mister did stick his head out from under the chair today, getting a little closer to Ace, who seems to be dying to meet him. But then he hurried to his other hiding place upstairs. Mister, unlike Ace, doesn’t want to rush into a relationship.
He sought my attention, it seemed, only when I went upstairs to use the bathroom. He would stick his big white paw underneath the crack at the bottom of door, get a grip, and tug and tug until it opened. Then, he’d come in and brush back and forth across my legs until my mission was completed.
Probably, were we to stay a few weeks longer, Ace and Mister would become good friends. But the occupant of this house (thanks, Tobey) is coming home, and we have a boat to board. Stay tuned for some dockside drama.