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Sort it out later
  |  First Published: August 2016



My better third starts to get concerned when she sees me cleaning the boat. And I mean cleaning the boat, not taking the rods, cast nets and dead herring out of it. It’s not a common thing for me to do and once she sees it, she knows there are traumatic times ahead.

Now Boobies and Skipper are not the sort of boat owners that leave a mess in their boat. As soon as every trip ends, they’re out there cleaning the remains of the trip from the inside of the boat, while I tend to leave things for a while. Part of the reason for this, especially for Manboobs, is that unless he actually removes the empty cans and stubbies from his boat, it would be physically impossible to get into the boat on the next trip. In fact, after most trips there is more aluminium by weight needing to be thrown into the skip than is actually present in the hull. And I say skip, not bin, for a reason. A bin is like, only half a cubic metre. Not even close!

Skipper is like your grandpa when it comes to his boat and keeping it ordered and clean. He uses the Dewey Decimal system to keep his gear organised, and he builds those little wooden things to keep his gear straight and ordered; you know, the ones like your grandpa uses in the shed, where he leaves an outline so you know where to replace it when you use it. Mostly, if I’m on his boat I don’t bother using anything because you can sense the tension. The elephant on the boat is are you going to put it back into the same place you borrowed it from. It’s not worth the drama of getting it wrong.

So while Manboobs has to clean his boat, and Skipper doesn’t have to because the damn thing is cleaner than Peter Sterling’s hairbrush, I tend to let things go on for a while. The occasional beer can or lollywater bottle will sit there for a while, and things like caps, shirts, pliers, knives, hooks, sinkers, empty chip packets, plastic bags, lost PNG tribes and tea towels tend to accumulate over time.

They’re fine to stay there for a while. They’re not in my way, and so most cleaning up after a trip involves running fresh water through the motor and making sure the worst of the mud is washed off the floor. I don’t bother with the everyday stuff, and that leaves the boat looking a little, let’s say, ‘lived in’.

That is, of course, of little use when you have to take pictures of your boat to add to the ad you’re putting on the interwebs. Those pictures have to show a clean, well-presented hull, and most people wouldn’t understand that ‘lived in’ does not equal ‘run down’. So the extra baggage has to go.

So, the better third knows I’m going to be cranky about having to spend the better part of a fortnight wrestling rubbish into an overflowing wheelybin, but there’s also the drama of having to sell something that’s been your mistress. She knows you’re going to be in mourning and are likely to be cranky, unsettled and miserable.

So, actually, you’re going to be normal.

And also on the positive side, I also tend to find a couple of reels, some knives and a plethora of pliers, torches and headlights hiding in the side pockets and under the deck when the time comes to get down and dirty. The trick is not to let her catch a glimpse. There’s no use giving her ammunition. I’ve already spent considerable coin replacing those items I thought were lost. Maybe I need to copy Skipper and Boobies and clean up after every trip. Or maybe not.

After all, our motto is “sort it out later”. As far as I’m concerned, they’re letting the side down.

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