Tuesday, May 5

below decks

Toilets and sail boats don't go terribly well together. And why should they?!? You're in the middle of a giant body of water, just hang your ass over the edge and do your business where God intended it to be done. So much more hygienic than squatting below deck, in a slanted closet, trying to pee on a plastic box that turns out to not even be assembled properly.

The saga of the mini-porta potty from here on in dubbed the pee box.

I am sure I am slowly loosing my memory, because I KNOW I've used one of these things before but I had NO IDEA whatsoever as to how to operate this one. At the moment, all I really needed to do, desperately, was to pee.

Below decks, I wedge my six foot frame into the "bathroom" setting my ass into the sink as I'm trying to wiggle my pants off and open the pee box. It's latched shut.

Why? Because everything on a sail boat gets strapped, latched, locked and stowed. Nothing can wiggle. Except when I try to open the pee box, the entire box lifts up.

I should really fix this situation first, but man alive, I've got to go. So I figure out how to unlatch the lid, pray that M doesn't decide to be funny and tack or jibe, and do my business.

Now I've done it. I've filled the upper, open portion of the pee box and I have no idea how to get the pee into the lower part where it won't slosh out and baptize us all.

One convenience of being in a bathroom so small that you can brace your body on all four walls simply by exhaling is that you don't fall and hurt yourself as the wind and waves toss your little boat (and your pee) around.

Assessing what I've got to work with on this box: There's a plastic push thingy on the left and a twisty knob on the right. Well, being a PhD, I could grasp that the knob wasn't going to help me, but perhaps it made sense to pump on the push thingy?

(slosh slosh)

A couple of pumps are given, but the pee is not disappearing. The push thingy is not the flusher. Where the hell is the flusher?!?!

I try to get a look at other sides of the pee box and find the magic thing that will take this pee away. I lower the lid and latch it (like that's going to help) so I can lean in and look at the front. As I brace myself on the top edge of the now "closed" (hermetically sealed) pee box, I realize that it wasn't the whole pee box that lifted up earlier, but just the top section. This is not good. Not at all good.

Can you guess where the pee goes?

Anyway, the geniuses that designed sailboat bathrooms make the space for the pee box fit into a very shallow tub. So, now I have the pee box sitting in a pan filled with pee. As I am turning green from being below decks on high seas, I decide there is nothing more that can be done to help the situation and decide to let M deal with it later.

Me to M: I think the pee box leaks (playing the totally clueless woman... hey, sometimes it comes in handy)

M: Why do you think that?

Me: Because I see pee running out of it.

M: (cringe) Oh, well, I'll look at it later.

M doesn't have a stomach for these things, but being the captain of the ship and leaving the child wrangling to me, he later, valiantly, tackles the pee box problem. It was, as I suspected, not put together right and it took a manly man like M to right the situation.

M: (looking at the pee left in the tray) Who's pee is that?

Basically, M decided that the owner of the pee has to clean it up. There was no convincing him that this also fell under the category of Manly Men jobs even given the fact that the pee was in contact with an important key component of a beastly sail boat. And pretty darn close to the engine even.

Now that we have an assembled pee box (and understand it's complicated inner workings), we still want to keep it's usage to a minimum as M and I are keenly aware that we will have to properly empty it at the end of the weekend. So, We declare: only for extreme circumstances (ie. we'd rather you pee in the box than on the floor of the cabin) and keep true to it's title - PEE box.

Well, I don't want to get gross (it's not been gross up to now, has it?), but the contract was breached. The one about pee only. Yea, Punkette is apparently so comfortable with her bodily functions that she does not suffer in the least from travelers constipation. And when it came time to return the boat, M paid the 50 euros to NOT empty the something-other-than-just-Pee box. It's a good thing they didn't ask for 100.


  1. oh the wind in your face the rhythm of the waves. wish i was there. i enjoyed all the sailing posts, the pee-box was just hilarious.

  2. ROTFL ! Hilarious ! Hilarious ! We had such a roll reading this !


  3. I will answer David´s question (...same as it ever was...I have a link to his public Journal on my blog.)

    I came over from Oasis Writing Link to thank you for following. What a funny post...I enjoyed the problem and solution both...too bad you had to clean up the mess. (It was you wasn`t it?)

    When we lived in San Diego (Coronado) we used to know people who lived on boats...they would travel around and deal with similar situations. I always found their lifestyle fascinating.

    My sister has a boat there now...but it´s mainly for fishing. (Her husband fishes...she enjoys the outdoors!) Take care...great read! <3

  4. As long as the pee box hassle still makes it worth going out on the water. I can understand paying, I'm not particularly excited about handling other peoples pee (or poop).

  5. I would have peed over the edge, but I can.

  6. Oh my gah..... I despise "the head" on a boat. I mean, I'm glad it is there and that it can be used, but all the dire warnings from the captain KILL me. Of course, your M is admirable for not just talking you through the problem and making you fix it yourself!

    When we were last in the BVI, one of our heads OVERFLOWED overnight and we had to use the our dirty towels to soak up the mess and clean the place out....DOWN WITH MARINE TOILETS!

    Aside from my rant--- very funny post!

  7. We've lived on our boat here in Waikiki since 1992, and ah the sanitary machinations!

  8. Too funny, Woman. Ah, the indignities of the great outdoors...

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Loved it! My husband is squeamish when it comes to bodily functions. He also hates bugs.

    Come to think of it, my husband is kind of girly.

    (And that was me before. My husband was signed in and I don't think he would appreciate it if I was leaving comments all about him being girly under his profile.)

  11. aaaahhhhhhhh.a woman not afraid of mentioning urine in her post is a woman i must follow relentlessly........Lisa xx

  12. Us Taxi drivers learn day one to carry a large empty gatorade bottle because there is NO place to pee or park in NYC !! LOL


...and you may ask yourself, well...how did I get here?