The monotony of sanding lulled me into a trance, and I methodically removed the top coat of varnish from every nook and cranny in the bow, folding the paper into origami shapes to reach the slots under the grating and the crevice beneath the mast step. Before I knew it the sun was setting, and I had only reached as far back as the bench seats. By now, my dad had come home, and I lured him into helping me take the shine off the grating. The foredeck grating is one of the focal points of the boat, and I get the feeling Dad didn't want me to screw it up. He stressed the importance of not sanding too much off the corners, where the varnish tends to run thin, and said to think of the sandpaper as a plane cutting off the top layer of the varnish. On flat surfaces, it's better to use long, even strokes rather than short, quick ones. I listened long enough for him to finish sanding the grating for me, then called it a day.