John the Jenius

Editors Note: sorry, no pictures for this post.  Our new wifi router is in the mail : ) 

Today was one of those “I think we should just sell the boat” kind of days.  Not because anything in particular had gone wrong with the boat, but you know, everything else did.

I replaced the battery in my laptop last night.  Simple enough.  Remove the back, remove the battery, put in the new one.  Boot up.  This is what I did last night.  This morning I realized the laptop was not charging, with or without the battery.  And why might this be a dangerous situation on a boat? If you can’t charge your laptop, then you can’t get on Facebook, and if you can’t get on Facebook you can’t post pictures, and if you can’t post pictures it’s like it never happened, and if it never happened, well, what’s the point?

But seriously, if I couldn’t charge my laptop everything on it would be inaccessible once the battery drained all the way down; which was happening quickly, which is why I wanted to replace the battery in the first place.  The new battery was at 50%.  The old one was even lower, and both were dropping faster than a runway anchor. 

More to the point, this was a culmination of projects-that-should-have-been-easy-but-weren’t.  Ever have one of those?  At the risk of boring everyone with my list of first-world woes, here you go:

  • Back-up LaCie hard drive – stopped working; still coordinating a warranty replacement
  • Back-up Tour hard drive (purchased to replace the LaCie while waiting for the warranty replacement) – stopped working; being checked-out by technician over this holiday Easter weekend
  • VHF handheld radio – dropped in the lagoon; after 30 min of diving it was still not recovered
  • VHF handheld radio – fell off my back-pack walking down the street.  But we still have the belt clip : )
  • WiFi router – doused in the rain.  It was nice having decent WiFi on the boat, until we didn’t : (
  • I could go on, but I won’t.

So back to this laptop battery.  I’d been preparing for this for weeks.  I’d ordered it.  Our visiting friend brought it down with her on her flight.  I’d pre-ordered the special tri-wing screwdriver required to remove the battery.  Everything was queued up.  I revisited the YouTube tutorial.  I was ready.  It all went smoothly.  Until it didn’t.  Then it was time to sell the boat! 

You see the logic?  The laptop won’t charge, so it’s time to get off this boat!!! 

So what’s a guy to do in a situation like this?  Call John the Jenius, of course.  Who is John the Jenius?  He’s one of the smartest, most jenerous guys I’ve met in a long time.

“Hey John, I’ve got this problem.”

[Explain it briefly.  Fast forward a few seconds.]

“I’ll be over around 1-2pm.”

“Great!  See you then.”

John listened to my woes.  He commiserated with my sorrows.  Apparently, yesterday he felt the same way I was feeling today.  He’s owned nine boats.  This must be some sort of addiction thing.  We just can’t help ourselves.

So we rolled up our sleeves.  We dispatched with the laptop dilemma by determining we needed to double check the power cord.  That couldn’t possibly be it!  But okay.  We then continued to the other projects we’d started previously, but still needed completion.  Here is what we slashed off the boat projects list today:

  • Rewire all outlets to 220V inverter
  • Disconnect inverter remote control from port engine
  • Rewire fridge to run independently and with thermostat

I know none of these projects will make sense to anyone not living on or near Fezywig, and they didn’t make much sense to me, but thanks to John the Jenius, they do now.  As you might recall, I’m a budding electrician, still gathering my watts about me (see what I did there?).

John is a good teacher: he draws pictures, explains, repeats, draws more pictures, explains, jokes.  And before you know it, I don’t want to sell my boat, and I’m having a good time.  I’m learning and I’m not afraid of making mistakes and I’m enjoying good conversation to boot.  I offer anything I can to show appreciation: music lessons for his kids, graphic design services, one of my kids.  There you have it. 

John takes his kids back to his boat.  Emily and our kids come back and are amazed at all the things that have changed.  The outlets work, the circuit panel remote works, the fridge works, Dad isn’t shouting at anyone, Dad isn’t banging the table anymore, Dad is smiling and joking.  Jenius.  Speaking of geniuses.  My MacBook Pro: turns out it was the power cord.  Go figure.