Aurora Restoration Project Part 16
by Christopher Wilson - Published February 25, 2016
Spring of 2009, The days were getting warmer. For the most part we had a good crew. I decided to see if I couldn't find more skilled help so I posted yet another ad on Craigslist. I found yet another promising volunteer, I will call him Cleo because he resembled Cleo from the Cosby show in both appearance and charm.
Cleo claimed to be very mechanically inclined and a trainer welder. We needed a welder so he was in. He was a very likable and well spoken person. His interest was having a place to both fish and work.
The next week was a beautiful week of solid work. Rod was working on scraping and painting the railing. Cleo was doing his best to patch leaky decks. Steve was working with me to light the engine room. Mike and Cathy were putting together the ships galley in order to serve up meals to the crew each afternoon and evening. Mike was a former navy chef.
Things were starting to look up.
Many people will say that a project of this scale would take many millions of dollars and years to bring back. I agree but yet disagree. If you want something bad enough then you can make it happen and many people will believe in you and your cause if your enthusiastic enough. People don't have a hope for you or your project. You have to give them hope and enthusiasm is the road to giving hope.
We have tools and resources this day and age that we didn't have ten or fifteen years ago. We have mass networking to start with. Tools like eBay and Craigslist. Anything you want you can now find for free or cheap.
We found free paint or at least enough to get started. We found tools and materials galore. For what we couldn't find I negotiated a deal with the local hardware store to give us discount pricing on tools and materials.
Still the demand for money to pay our massive rent and keep projects going was an issue. Both Jin and I had to put in extra time finding ways to fund this project. It was extremely difficult to keep up but we managed to find ways.
We had no donations or assistance of any kind. We just had the skills that I learned over the years and these had allowed me to stay aboard most of the time and work hard on the weekends.
My skill was shopping at the flea market.
Yes we were keeping a 300 ft ship project going with several crew on buying things at the flea market and selling on eBay. Things we didn't have fifteen years ago. I would buy and Jin would post and sell online.
Of course I am not your average shopper and I chose my flea markets carefully.
Storage locker auctions took America by storm a few years back. Television shows promoted this new trend and people thought this to be the way to get rich quick. Nothing could be further from the truth unless your educated in various fields. Most of the time you spend more on dump fees then you make.
My field was electronics. I was a walking price guide to anything electronic.
I spent the weekends with Jin at flea markets in the Silicon Valley area and specifically targeted the people who purchased storage locker auctions. Most of these folks had little idea of what they had and this was my advantage. I could walk though a market and pluck things that others had no idea what it was or what to do with it. I could negotiate a cheap price and sell for top dollar.
I had other sources of buying as well but flea market was the real savior.
While things were going great for most of the time there were incidents. Rod had locked himself in a cabin and couldn't get out. He panicked and I was not around so other members of the crew elected to cut the door open with a skill saw to find he was playing a joke. Apparently a joke at my expense. This did not go over well with me as I gave him a week to remove himself from the ship as he had nowhere to go.
The fallowing weekend Cleo decided to randomly go into town and break into a house that was unoccupied and steal some groceries. It gets even better. The police were alerted by a passer by and he hoped on his motorcycle and took off with the groceries. Where did he run to? You guessed it... He ran right back to the ship and found a place to hide onboard.
Of course I was out of town this day at the flea markets. The local police searched the ship and could not find him so they waited outside the property for a while.
Cleo tried to talk Rod into letting him hide in Rods van while Rod drove him through town. Rod said no way.
Cleo was forced to wait and leave later when he thought the coast was clear. He waited a couple hours and jumped on his bike and took off. The police spotted him in town and chased him clear out of town and lost him on a dirt road somewhere outside of town. I never seen Cleo again.
You can image how this might end. The fallowing Monday I thought it might be a good idea to speak with the City Manager about this incident. He understood the situation and chalked it up to being an isolated incident. But would the council feel the same way?
Next it was Rods turn to become a nightmare. He knew he only had a few days before he had to go because of his prank that destroyed an irreplaceable door. Rod had some time to think of his payback for getting kicked off from the project.
A few days later when it was Rods time to gather his things and go he instead took a drive into town and went to the local newspaper and found a reporter. He told the reporter that we locked him out and stole his property. Rod had another addition to his plan so the reporter fallowed him to City Hall where he told anyone that would listen that we were polluting and dumping sewage overboard and further we had massive amounts of water along with oil in our bilge that we were pumping out in the night. From what I heard he made an ass out of himself at City Hall.
This got the City's attention. Right away the City Manager jumped in his car with a couple of city employees to come inspect the ship. I just so happened to be there at the time. Back at the ship we had no idea what was going on in town. Minutes later we had a surprise visit.
I of course welcomed them on. They went strait to the bilges and found nothing. They inspected our sewage disposal system and found this up to par. Rod had bluffed them. Everything Rod told them was a lie in order to create problems. He left town with a bang.
What did the young reporter do with all of this information in order to get ratings? He took Rods story and ran with it. That week in the local paper we had the front page and we looked bad.
A city council meeting was coming up and we were now part of the agenda. There thought was how to deal with us.
More to come...