May 19, 2016

The Snake Story. First Post in the Series: Things My Dad Has Taught Me.

I spent the weekend with my parents and my dad gave me lots of good blogging and business advice... and being retired, I figured maybe he needed in on this gig. I know he gets bored from time to time (kidding, and he's really only "semi-retired"). And in that advice he offered to let me start sharing some of his stories. Stories that he randomly emails our family, that have me cracking up out loud. So I'm starting a new series... maybe weekly, maybe biweekly, entitled "Things My Dad Has Taught Me".


So here you have it, my dad's own words from an experience a few weeks ago.

"The Snake Story"

Yes, my brother, Scott gives great Christmas Presents.

I will get to the Christmas Present later in the story, but Brother Scott, Thank you very much. 

I bought a newer bass boat this week, I didn't plan on buying another boat, but have a friend that needed to sell due to health reasons. I love my current bass boat, bought it new in 2001, have an awesome remote control trolling motor on it, and have never had a single problem with it, it still runs good, doesnt leak and everything on the boat works and works well. I have also caught thousands of fish out of it in the last 15 years. But I digress, I am now the owner of a 2014 Tracker Pro Guide Combo Deep V 17.5 foot bass boat, ski boat. It is a beautiful boat, runs over 40 MPH courtesy of the 115 HP Mercury 4 Stroke it totes, so while maybe not as convenient for fishing, it is gonna be great for pulling people in a tube. 

I really like the new boat, except I liked the 24 volt remote controlled trolling motor on my old boat better than the 12 volt trolling motor on the new boat. So I decided before selling the old boat on craigs list, I would swap out the trolling motors. I also noticed the carpet on the old boat had some holes in it that the wood was showing thru, so decided it would sell better if I replaced the worn areas. So off to Lowes I go, purchase some new outdoor marine carpeting, some water proof carpet glue, and a box cutter with a lot of blades. I cut, pulled, jerked, laying on the floor cramped the whole time cutting out the old carpet, this little project took about 6 hours of laying in the floor of my old boat. I eventually got the old stuff out, cut the new stuff in and glued it down, and it looks a lot better. Really needed my buddy Lew and his Carpet experience, but think he would be proud of the job I did, except for the little one inch gap where the knife took on a mind of its own. Gives it Character is what I say. 

So now time for the trolling motor switch. I came to the realization as I started the project, removing both trolling motors seemed like an appropriate first step, that I didnt know how to convert a boat from 12 volts to 24 volts, or from 24 volts to 12 volts. So off to the internet I went. After watching several videos, and reading reams of articles on how to, I finally broke down and bought a 12 to 24 volt conversion kit, as this seemed the easiest way. And easy sounded good after laying in both boats and reaching farther than a human should have to reach in all sorts of cracks and crevices to remove both trolling motors, this was another 8 hours of laying on the floor of the boats. 

Anyway, was so happy yesterday when my conversion kit arrived via UPS. I took my prize TRAC conversion kit, bought from a company(TRAC) out of Tennessee, to the basement and opened it like it was Christmas Day. Lots of pieces, some made sense, others looked like something from NASA, but I knew the big instruction manual would help me sort it all out. I start reading the instruction manual, and it was the foreign language part, so I skipped forward looking for the English part. Well, I would still be looking, the instruction manual they sent was in French, the entire thing was in French. French, out of Tennessee, not English, not even Spanish that I could have at least mostly read.

So off to Cabela's I go this morning. Right to the trolling motor counter where the experts reside. I even took a few of the pieces with me that I had taken off the boat, as I knew I needed something different, but didnt know what. The guy behind the counter acted like I was speaking Chinese, or maybe French and had no idea what I needed. But, he said Mark was the expert, so he paged Mark to the counter. Well, Mark started to answer, I think his answer was, yeah those look like the parts you need. I said these? This is what I took off the boat, they dont work to convert from 24 to 12 and 12 to 24. He says, oh, You know what you need to do, we have a service center just down the road where they actually do this kind of stuff, why dont you go down there and talk to John. Oh boy, well at least I get to talk to someone that does this for a living. 

So me and my arm full of parts head down the road to the service center. I walk inside toting my stuff, and see a guy who has a big smile on his face. I think Mark called and warned him I was coming. I said are you John, he says yes. I then tell him my story, bought a new boat, converting it to 24 volt and moving my good trolling motor to it, moving the other trolling motor to the other boat and converting it from 24 volt to 12 volt, then selling it, and thought it would be something I could do myself but couldnt figure out what parts I needed. Well John laughed, and I mean he laughed hard. He laughed like a redneck listening to Jeff Foxworthy for the very first time, he belly laughed, his face turned red from laughing, I thought I might have to call the paramedics, and he hadnt even heard about the French instruction manual. He finally gathered himself, and said you are doing what? Except he didnt get it all out as he started laughing again. 

Well to make a long story shorter, he started telling me all the stuff I needed, and how I had to run new 8 gauge wire the whole length of the boat, I need a crimper, and needed to strip wires and connect them with splicers. I finally stopped him and asked what he would charge if I just brought the boats to him and had them do it. He laughed even harder this time, said he would love to help me, but they were 3 weeks out. I told him that was probably quicker than I was gonna get it done, and it would at least work when they did it. He laughed even harder yet, I will tell you this John guy had a sense of humor. Well, in the end I walked out with a couple hundred dollars of parts and a migraine. 

Again in the interest of time, and to get back to Scotts Christmas gift, yes that is really what the story is about, I started working on the old boat first. Figured if I messed it up, I would just push it to deep water and sink it. 6 more hours of laying in the old boat, running wires in nooks and crevices, drilling holes in my boat, which seemed like a bad idea, hoping it wouldnt sink, but secretly not caring if it did, 4 trips to Lowes to buys parts that John forgot I needed, or maybe I only needed because of my method of assembly, I completed the project on boat number 1. 

I took it for a test drive, and amazingly enough, everything worked. Proud of my amazing accomplishment, I took a bunch of pictures, and immediately came inside and listed it on Craigslist. Well not immediately, as for me listing something on Craigslist took over an hour. But I got that sucker listed, and no one has ever been more proud of a Craigslist listing than I was. 

Went and watched Huddy play soccer, and forgot my phone. When I got home, I had multiple calls from people "wanting" my boat. Thought it is amazing they all want to know if I will take less, and they havent even seen the boat in person. Maybe they talked to John? 

Well one guy was insistent, so we reached a verbal agreement for him to buy my boat tomorrow, and at only a slight discount from my list price. He said he was coming over at 9 am to pick it up after a test drive. Well there was about 10 minutes left before pitch dark, so I decided I better go out and test the navigational lights as I haven't used them in a couple of years. 

This is where the story gets interesting, this boat has a ton of storage area, and I knew I had seen the lights somewhere during the day, but I couldnt find them. Finally found the light for the back of the boat, and continued my search for the small light that goes up front. There is a storage area under the passenger seat, the whole bench lifts forward. I opened it up, no light, but did find the piece that braces up the motor when you have it on the trailer, so it was good to know where that was. I reached to pick it up, and stopped as there was a shed snake skin stuck to it. Being deathly afraid of snakes, I know that wasn't there when I put it away. But, I didn't figure the prospective buyer was going to be real excited to see it when he inspected the boat tomorrow. So I gritted my teeth and reached in and grabbed the shed and pulled on it. My intent was to jerk it out quick and toss it overboard, kind of a 5 second rule thing. Well as I jerked on it, I saw movement from the back corner of the storage area, movement as in the snake wasn't totally done shedding his skin and I had jerked it off of him/her and he/she tried to bite me. Only my quick tug and toss kept me from getting bit. 

I have mentioned I am scared of snakes, really really scared? Well now I have a huge ticked off snake, in my boat, the one I am supposed to sell and take for a test drive in 12 hours. Several things went thru my mind in about a half second, jump in the water, no the snake may come in the water too. Did I mention it was now pretty much dark? Run.....where do you run in a boat. Shut the storage bench, trap the snake and move to Canada, Well the snake got in there somehow with it shut, so I am guessing he can get out, I would rather be able to see where he goes so I can go somewhere else, and Canada is cold. My cell phone, aha, the one I almost left inside, but took in case someone else called about the boat, I can call 911. Wait, that would be an awkward conversation, and not sure of their response time, even if I could talk them into coming. Mary, yeah thats it call Mary, she is inside within 40 feet of me, probably already heard me crap my pants, I will call her. She can bring the shotgun, or the deer rifle. Wait, that won't work, she doesnt know how to load either one, probably doesnt know the difference between the two, and shooting the snake is going to sink the boat with me in it, with the snake. I get her on the phone, Tell her to immediately bring me a flashlight, the hoe, and.......wait for it........The huge Machete size knife that Scott got me for Christmas. She says, where is the knife, I say it is in the office closet with my guns, its the only place it would fit, you cant miss it. 

So here she comes, Flashlight in hand, hoe in hand, struggling under the weight of the worlds largest knife. She stops 10 feet from the boat, and says ok now what? She wanted no part of this at all. I felt like the guy that plays the drums, the harmonica and cymbals at the same time. Flashlight and hoe in one hand, worlds largest knife in the other, Only adrenaline giving me the ability to use all 3 at once. I shined the flashlight on the snake that is now coiled in the very far corner, it did not like having a flashlight in its eyes, it got real active, well it moved anyway. I couldnt get to it with the hoe, so flashlight in my mouth, hoe in the left hand and WLK (worlds largest knife) in the other, I raked (hoed) the snake from the corner, pinned it down with the hoe, and took a shot at cutting its head off with WLK. Well WLK is not WSN (Worlds Sharpest Knife) and smacking a large ticked off snake with a dull knife makes the snake much more angry. Change of tactics is called for, I stabbed the snake in the head, the point must have been very sharp as I pinned the snake to the bottom with the WLK and held it there until it bled to death, and sawed most of its head off. After making sure it was dead, no I didnt take a pulse, I then tossed it in the water. IT WAS A 4 FOOT LONG COPPERHEAD, VENEMOUS. 

So to wrap up this book. I now have a huge blood stain on the carpet in the storage area that looks like I have been transporting dead bodies and sinking them in the lake. No biggie, except I have to explain it somehow to the potential buyer tomorrow. Snakes stink, A half can of lysol and my boat still smells like a porta potty. I laid in the boat for the better part of 2 days that snake could have done bad things to me, I may not sleep for a month. Oh, and after all of that, the lights didnt work. I really don't care, as the price of the boat is very negotiable at this point. I no longer like my old boat.

So brother Scott, thanks for the Christmas Present, it saved my life. As soon as I figure out how to get the snake blood off of it, it will be sharpened in case of future need. 

Oh, and tomorrow I have to finish boat number 2. Unless I sell it as well. 
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So the moral of the story is, I come by my fear of snakes naturally. And my dad has always gotten over his fear to take care of the situation when it needs to be taken care of. Thing number one my dad has taught me: never give up, be inventive and think outside the box and that a really big Machete could come in handy some day. (Oh and my mom says the story is 98% true... ish)...

Happy Thursday! 

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