Thursday, September 24, 2009

Keep or Sell?

We've invented a new game in our house...Keep or Sell. Jake and I play every night. Monday we went through his books, Tuesday we did his stuffed animals, last night the toys in his room and tonight we did the big daddy...the play room! He's doing pretty good. The stacks are getting more and more even, although there will definitely be a Round 2.

After coming back from Mexico, I was recharged by being reminded that our lease is up 10/31. That leaves us 39 days to get rid of our stuff and move onto the boat. We're having our second yard sale this Saturday and I've started preparing by putting tiny pink price tags all over the house.

We had a yard sale about a month ago to start this process and basically just got rid of all the stuff you should probably get rid of regardless of whether you're going to live on a boat. My experience here on the west coast was quite overwhelming. This was not my first yard sale, mind you. We are notorious for practically giving things away (We sold brand new window unit air conditioners for $20 each, new clothes for $.25, new lawnmower for $20, you get the idea). So, imagine my frustration when I am met with CONSTANT negotiations. We had 4 basic bar stools and I was asking $30 for the set. They ended up going for $21. The same couple tried to get a 25 cent vase for 15 cents....I mean, come on, I only deal in quarters! If I had a dollar for how many times one woman told me she was spending her last dollar so could I please come down on the price, I could probably fund the first month of our trip (I actually made her borrow the last 20 cents from a total stranger). To add to the frustrations, most of the negotiations were in Spanish (note: I don't speak spanish...yet).

For this yard sale, we've decided to try and avoid this by putting stickers on everything and put a sign up that says "Price as Marked." If we've put too high of a price on it, then it will go back int he garage and come out with a lower price next time around. We'll see how it goal is to make at least $500. It's possible...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some Random Pictures that I'm too lazy to go back and add...

There really was a playground right behind the Cantina. Jake's favorite was the airplane swing that was entirely too small for him.
This Mariachi band sang Happy Birthday to Jake Mexican style!
An enormous Mexican flag welcomed us as we came into the port of Ensenada.
Jake took this one at one of the wineries.
Ensenada from above...our boat is in the dock behind the cruise ship. Busy town...very touristy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week 2 in Mexico

So, I’m not sure if my play by play is interesting to anyone but my mom and maybe Andy’s dad, so I apologize if this is getting old.  After we get home, I’ll put more thought into what should go into our blog long term, but for now, I hope everyone hangs in.
It’s been a few days and a lot has happened.  On Monday our new friends Robert and Nuria took us to the local Mercado in La Mission.  We bought some fruit, veggies and cheese and then they took us to a little hole in the wall (actually, they’re all hole in the walls down here) and we got some fantastic seafood while sitting by the ocean.  It was appropriately called Splash.

Tuesday we decided to sail down to Ensenada for a few days for a change of scenery.  The weather was beautiful and we had a nice relaxing sail down which took most of the day.  We saw more pilot whales and a Sunfish.  I’ve never seen a sunfish before…it basically looks like a giant fish head with a tail floating on it’s side.  Very strange.  Right as we were trying to call the port for a slip we realized we had two fish on our lines.  Two nice sized Bonita’s.  It occurred to me that probably the most inhumane form of hunting is fishing.  This occurred to me as Andy was bashing the fish’s head against the boat to kill it.  Apparently this is common practice if you don’t have a club.  Hmmm….  An old guy named Andy helped us with our lines so after Jake and Andy cleaned the fish, they gave him a few fillets.  He was a retired Alaskan fisherman who met a “little Senorita” in La Paz and never went home. 
Today we set out to explore the Mercado del Global (Global Market) and after a $10 cab ride (they saw us coming) we found out it was closed.  It’s probably important to point out that we picked the Mexican Independence day(s) to come down here so we’re lucky anything is open.  Mexico takes their holidays very seriously.  So…no one should be surprised that we took a cab to the wine country J.  Very fun.  We went to three different wineries and bought 6 bottles (our stores were low as you can imagine after 11 days away from home).  We had to stop at an ATM on the way home (to pay the cabbie) and we were duped.  Yep.  Andy went to get money and after he put in the card and typed our pin, apparently it didn’t work.  As soon as he walked out some guys started punching numbers and walked out with $375.  Seeing as I work for the bank, I thought it would be easy to make the claim.  4 collect calls, 2 hours later, I found out I have to call when the charge actually posts and “if they deem it’s fraud” we’ll get our money back.  What happened to Bank of Amigo?
Anyway, it’s just money right (that’s what we keep telling ourselves)?  So we’re back on the boat about to grill our shrimp we bought from the fish market this morning, our fish we caught fresh yesterday, and the chorizo that we bought from the market on Monday.  All while drinking our newly purchased wine…  typical McKaskle night. 
I’m posting this a few days after I wrote it….the shrimp  weren’t so nice to Jake and I…we spent a whole day recovering and doing boat maintenance (scrubbing the bottom, laundry, etc.).  Thursday we came back to Puerto Salina.  There was a lot of fog and the wind was from the wrong direction so we motored the whole way.  We took a shuttle back to the border today and walked back to the real world.  Andy and his family will come down next weekend and sail the boat back.

A few are probably asking..."So really, Monica, can you live on that little bitty boat?"  And the answer is.....  absolutely.  I didn't miss anything except my toenail clippers and another pair of long pants (It was a lot chillier at night than I expected).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Special Day in Mexico

Yesterday was Jake’s 4th birthday.  We had a leisurely morning of playing and attempting to make a cake.  I realized the night before that I didn’t have any eggs and mentioned it to one of the folks at the Cantina.  They told me to hold on and came out 10 minutes later with 2 eggs.  When we started making the cake this morning, I discovered that I needed 3 eggs…oops.  So I tried to do a little math and adjust all of the measurements.  I went to preheat the oven and of course it’s in Celsius.  Good thing I have a husband who carries around seemingly useless information.  I’ll ask him what to do.  What do you know…if you subtract 32 from the degrees, multiply it by 5 and then divide it by 9 you’ll get the exact temperature you need to cook on.   Seems like some of his information is not useless after all.   Now for the last challenge, the oven pretty much cooks from the back, so I had to go every 10 min or so and turn the pan.  While it wasn’t beautiful (Andy and Jake did the decorating), it was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.
We took Jake to a little party at a local resort thinking it would be a great “birthday” celebration.  It came up a little short of spectacular for him, but he managed to have fun none the less. 

We ended with a nice dinner and cake celebration on the boat with Alicia and Amanda and lots of presents. 
Today has been spent playing with lots of toys and trying to decide what to do.  I think Andy and I would both like to go to Ensenada but we have a trip planned to the farmers market tomorrow so we’re going to wait until Tuesday to go.  Puerto Salina has been nice but there’s not a whole lot to see.   Ensenada is a little town where we can walk around and see more even without a car.
We did manage to get in the dinghy and go out a little.  Andy went snorkling while Jake fished and I read my book.  He brought up a sand dollar for Jake and a sea urchin for him self...I still think they taste disgusting but now Andy's motivated to go and get some more.  Evidently there's a lobster condo down there too but it's not quite lobster season (3 more days)....
Other fun things over the last few days….Jake is learning to swim J

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Maiden Voyage

This the first of many posts to document our voyages.  We thought our first trip to Mexico would be a good place to start.  As expected, we've had trouble with connecting to the internet (and telephones for that matter) so you'll see a couple of days all posted together here.  I'll try to update regularly, but can't make any promises.

Here we are, fishing off the side of the boat after a long day of getting ready to go to Mexico for our 2 week vacation!   This is our first practice cruise before we head for our long term cruise to everywhere.  We (i.e. Andy) have spent a good month getting the boat ready but today was down to the wire….$360 at the grocery store, hours of vacuuming, storing drinks and beer, last minute trips to Walmart…now we’re ready.

After being delayed a day or two due to Hurricane Jimeca, we’ll leave tomorrow at 5:00 am, head out past Point Loma, then go south to Puerto Salina.  Our neighbors Amanda and Alicia are going with us to help with the sailing and assist with the check in.  Amanda speaks fluent Spanish so hopefully it will make our Customs experience a breeze.
So…what led up to today…Andy’s been working on the boat for pretty much the whole of a month and a half.  In true McKaskle style, he ripped out the entire Salon and reconfigured the seating area.  It looks fabulous!  We don’t have our cushions yet, but they should be done when we get back.  I’ve resurrected the sewing machine (that I used once 4 years ago) to practice making curtains (before I buy the really expensive fabric and have my mom make them).

Jake LOVES, LOVES, LOVES the boat.  We spend the night about once a week or more.  He has his own cabin and sleeps better in it than in any bed he’s ever had.  Today, he was the perfect helper, sorting the drinks, vacuuming, fabreezing, changing the sheets, you name it.
If I could freeze a day and bottle it, today would be the day.
p.s.  Jake caught a Shark


Underway 0500 with Andy, Jake, Amanda and Alicia.  We saw seals off of Point Loma.  Jake and I get “sleepy” (i.e. sea sick) around the Coronado Islands.  Not much help to Andy…thank goodness for Amanda.  I manage to sleep for an hour, Jake for four hours. We saw dolphins off of our stern early on, then later, we saw dolphins off of the bow swimming around the boat and then going under it in the opposite direction.  Very cool.  As we were pulling into the Marina around 5:00, people finally waved to Jake…”Mommy, I’m ready to start making friends”.  We hit the cantina at 5:05.   Is there anything wrong with letting your 4 year old son play in a Mexican playground (i.e. sandbox) while you drink cervesas and Margaritas?   Wooden seesaw, slide, airplane swings (way too small for Jake but that doesn't stop him from trying)…while watching the sun set over the Pacific.
His favorite thing today was “Sailing” and the “Binoculars”.  Very impressed with my kid spending 12 hours on a boat (albeit 5 asleep), with only a few stuffed animals, and a pair of old binoculars….no complaints, only smiles.

Just as mommy guilt was at it’s highest at the cantina, I asked Jake if he was ready to go and he gave me a big loud NOOOO……and I got my answer to my previous question, no, it’s not bad…he’s as happy as he’s been in ages…
Got back to the boat and hosed Jake down on the back of the boat…”we can shower here every night mommy”…later, I hosed down on the back of the boat, in the dark, bent over so no one can see (but I did shave my legs).  Wine with Amanda and Ali, planning both of our sailing trips around the world over our world map on the salon table... off to bed for check in to customs in the a.m.
OK.  So today was one of those days that starts off with you wanting to poke your eyeballs out with a stick and ends with you wanting to buy land in Mexico and never go home….
We woke up, had breakfast and were ready for Ali and Amanda when they showed up about 9 to go to “check in” in Ensanada….about 10:00 we all piled into a little bitty golf cart driven by the dude here at the marina and made our way to the “clubhouse”…it’s very nice with a pool, spa, tennis courts, volleyball courts and Juanita…the cook, waitress, bus boy/girl, you name it.  After breakfast, we piled into Ali’s LandRover, courtesy of Patty, from C Dock in Chula Vista…..and headed towards Ensanada.  Evidently, Andy made a great impression with the Customs folks being a very prepared US Navy guy and we go through in some sort of record time….3 ½ hours.  Ever tried to entertain a 4 year old in a 200 sq foot room for 3 ½ hours?    J  Seriously, I’m not sure how easy this would have been if it hadn’t have been for Amanda and her fluent Spanish helping us through the whole thing.  Go to window 1 and show your papers, pay in window 2, go back to window 1 to get your stamp, go back to window 2 to get your papers and pay some more…go to window 3….go to window 4 to push the button, red or green, boat inspected or not….you get the picture.
We came back to the Marina and had a few beers, watched Jake scuba dive in the cockpit and decided it was time to let the kid do something really fun instead of pretending to be fun.   We stopped by the Cantina up the road to see if Amanda was ready to make on her promise to Jake of finding sand crabs on the beach at sunset.  Luckily, she was up for it….  While we saw very few sand crabs, we found tons of mussels, sea anenomes, and even a few sea shells J.
After another hour or so we decided to go back to the boat and cook our steak dinner we’d planned for two days.  Invited Ali, Amanda and Patty but they didn’t sound too interested….Steak, mashed potatoes, snap peas and flat bread…right before Andy puts the steaks on, we are pleasantly surprised by the three ladies taking us up on our offer.  They stay for dinner and drinks and we all have a great time telling and listening to stories.  Jake goes to bed and we say a very reluctant good bye while they head back to California with a promise to come back next weekend for Jake’s 4th birthday party.  I was very touched by these two people….Jake took to them like I’ve never seen and even more importantly, they took to him too.  Amanda sat at breakfast this morning and listened to him jabber for at least half an hour about Volcanoes and who knows what else, then took the time to teach him about earthquakes….the little sponge he is, he was teaching me by 1:00. 
I know it won’t be this great all of the time, but we are off to a perfectly good start.  We even have someone who already offered to take us to the “market” Monday…it’s like they saw us coming J

I’m guessing everyone will get tired of my play by play eventually, but here it goes again… we woke up this morning and got in the dinghy and went fishing….Jake was a freak….no fish though….after that, we got all set up and went sailing…great day.  Pilot whales off the bow (huge, I've never seen anything like it)…hot dogs for lunch, nap for Jake, fishing lines all tangled, yellow fin watching and laughing as we untangled….great day.  When we go back, we went to the Cantina for a few Margharitas and for Jake to play in the playground again (seriously, it’s right outside the bar.)  We came home via the beach walk,…and ended with dinner of tuna sashimi (andy and jake got a few filets the night before from the fishing boat across the pier)….Jake eats way too much tuna…tried to fill him up on PB&J…didn’t work.  Another great day…..