Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Party Time

Saturday we had our "Andy Retired and we're sailing away party."  Very fun.  I wasn't as excited about it as I should have been.   Over the years, I've always imagined Andy's retirement and our going away party on the east coast.  That's where all of our oldest friends are and all of my family.   I shouldn't have worried.  I underestimated the good friends we've made here in CA and how much they care.  We've made tons of new friends here at the dock and most of them were able to join us.  A few folks from Andy's command were able to come but the best part was having my parents as well as our best friend Eric and his wife there.  They mean the world to us and to be lucky enough to have them close by is more than we could ask for.  As an added bonus, our friend Chris from Virginia just happened to be in town for work and was able to come hang out with us as well.

One of our dock friends, Dave gave us a cocktail burgee, and he was kind enough to explain the rules to it.  For those of you that don't know, a cocktail burgee is a little flag with a picture of a martini glass on it that you raise up your lines when you want to invite folks over for cocktails.  Of course we'll need one of those.  Evidently, if you raise it right side up, you're announcing that you're providing the cocktails.  If you raise it upside down, your telling everyone to bring their own.  Thank goodness he told us this!  It would never occur to me to raise it upside down and I can just hear our conversation now...

"Well, that was fun.  A lot of people showed up"
"Yeah, and they drank everything we had"
"No kidding.  What a bunch of moochers."

And that would be the end of our cocktail hours.

So with less than three weeks to go, we're getting close to being ready to leave.  The list of projects is getting smaller (well, priorities are moving around).
- Finish getting shots (this is the worst for Jake)
- Store everything on the boat (this is my biggest worry)
- Get new mattress.  It's in, but hanging out at Andy's command until we pick it up.
- Get cards with our name and website on it.  These are kind of like social cards.  Evidently it's a popular way to keep in touch with the folks you meet along the way.  They should be here today.
- Finish countertop in galley
- Buy new batteries and build battery box for them.  We have 4 already but Andy wants two more.  Our solar panels are making oodles of energy and we've become electrically fat, so we need more ways to run our computers (and blender).
- Finish installing all of the navigational software on the computers and get the SSB hooked up to our practor modem (this is for weather information as well as email when we're not near an internet hook up).
- Make sure water maker works.  More than likely, we can't do this until we leave.  The water here in the bay is less than desirable for our first run.
- Call banks and change addresses as well as let them know we'll be out of the country for a while.  I don't want my credit card cut off in the middle of nowhere.

Time's a tickin'!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Everyone makes sacrifices

As you've probably figured out by now, it's very important to limit the amount of things we bring onto the boat.  Not only is there limited space, but weight is an issue as well.  None of which I am ever allowed to forget, thanks to my conscientious husband.  Which is why what I'm about to describe makes me laugh and feel compelled to share.

Let me give a little background.  Andy is an underwater photographer.  It's not his hobby, it's his job (at least until the 31st).  And he's very good at it, even according to some folks who are not related.  And he's been doing it a very long time.  Google his name and see for yourself.

More of our first stops will be Isla Guadelupe, Mexico.  It's a very small island with two dormant volcanos and a population of about 15.  When the fishermen and their families arrive, population rises to about 90.  The main thing it's known for is it's great white shark population, presumably the reason Andy chose it as our first stop.  So a few months ago, he asks me if he can get a shark cage.  I rolled my eyes and said no.  He said please.  I said no.  He said pretty please.  I walked away.  I came back and gave a very long, passionate, drawn out speech of how he cannot go and get eaten on our first stop as I have to have at least a few months of experience under my belt before I can sail the kid back home by myself.  Oh yeah, and I love him and don't want to live without him.  He responded with a very logical "that's why I want a cage." Blah, blah, blah....the answer is no.

About three weeks later, we're sitting in front of the boob tube watching American Idol or something equally mindless and a commercial comes on.  He turns to me with something to say...the conversation goes kind of like this:

"Did you know that you can't actually buy a shark cage?"
"Really.  No one sells them.  You have to actually custom make them yourself."


"I looked it up"
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah.  I know how to weld...not very well, but I know people."

I gain composure and realize it's not a joke.  The tone and volume escalates slightly.

"Where exactly would this cage go?  You complain every time I bring a new pair of flip flops on board!"
"You can make them collapsable."
"That sounds stupid."

more blah, blah and lots of explaining.

"Really? 'Why?'"
"Yes, why?"

Tone and volume becomes lower and very serious.

"I don't ever say no.  Really, I don't.  Look where I'm living.  I just quit my job.  I never say no.  I'm saying no."
"Ask me in a year or so when I know how to sail better"

Do you know what's really sad about that exchange?  He looked so disappointed that I actually felt guilty and had to justify it to myself over and over.

Then I went and bought a new pair of flip flops.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Wonder Wash

Andy told me at Christmas that he had this fabulous gift picked out for me but that it was backordered.  Well, I was skeptical...who buys their wife a manual washing machine for christmas?

I got curious, looked it up and bought myself one last week.  I really think this thing is amazing! Not only does it actually get your clothes clean (I did the sniff test of the most delicate of laundry), but it's easy!  Jake can do it  (and likes it) :).

So you put your clothes in.  I'm a stuff all you can in kind of girl, so I would say , it's a 1/4 of a regular load.  Then you put in your water... I filled it about half way full of water.  Then put a tiny bit of soap.  Put the top on and twirl!   And twirl, and twirl, and twirl (approx 2 minutes).   Drain, Fill with fresh water, repeat twirl for thirty seconds or so...wring, hang to dry..done!

I was a skeptic, but this is pretty darn cool.  Saves water, saves soap, and my 4 year old likes to do it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cleaning tip - useful on land or on a boat

Jake and Andy at their best.  As you can see, I'm running out of interesting pictures.  This was taken last week on what is becoming a daily happy hour on the dock.  Soon enough these will be replaced with pictures of our various destinations and adventures, hopefully taken by my award winning professional photographer husband and all those new lenses he just bought (he promises that at least one of them will make me look good).  Until then, please bear with me and my happy snaps.

So I asked for interaction and I got...nothing.  As I always say, if you don't give your opinions, you can't complain.  Like when a group of people are going to lunch and you ask, "where would you like to go?"  And everyone says, "I don't care, you pick."  So you pick, and then you hear grumbles and groans.  I don't think those people have a right to grumble.  Since no one responded to my plea for what subjects interest you guys, I've decided I'm going to write about whatever I want.

Tonight, I was inspired by the head/toilet.  It's filthy.  I had to do a little research before I first cleaned the toilet to find out what kind of cleaner everyone used on their boats.  You can't use normal cleaners because you have to worry about various different parts corroding or getting eaten away by the chemicals.  I thought about chancing it and using some of the latest "green" products until I came across a suggestion that was just simple enough for me to try.  And it worked great.  So here goes....  Get yourself one of those squirt bottles you always think about buying but never know what you would use it for (unless you live in the south and don't have a pool, then you use it to squirt yourself in July and August).  Fill it with one part regular 'ole vinegar and one part hydrogen peroxide.  Then to help with the vinegar smell you can put any kind of smell good oil you like (I use lemon).  Shake and spray.  I got a toilet that hadn't been cleaned in literally over six months, sparkling clean with very little work.  Technically, my mother and four year old got it clean, but that's not the point.  I use this on my counters too.  Works great.

Side note: Andy is halfway to Atlanta with a budget rental truck full of our stuff and Jake and I will meet him there on Tuesday, so I won't be updating over the next week or so.  Maybe I'll have some more brilliant tips or sidesplitting stories for you when I get back...I know everyone will be holding thier breath...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More updates

More progress on Savannah... We finally got the little bitty part needed for our grill, so we're back in business there.  Although I will say, I managed to cook a pretty tasty steak on the stove/in the oven last week.

I've started a few sewing projects.  I shocked Andy so much, he took a picture.  I'm not very good, but as long as I'm sewing something that's made up of a few hems and straight lines, I can get it done.
Andy's air compressor came in yesterday.  He spent the afternoon loving, caressing and showing it off to our neighbor Scott.  Definitely a man thing... I scuba dive and all, but it seems like an ugly necessity, not a new accessory to display in the main salon (which is where he would put it if I let him).
The beloved compressor.

Our neighbors across the dock - Scott & Terri.  They were inviting Jake to go to a potluck with them, but he respectfully declined and chose to have pork chops with mom and dad.

There will be a day when I quit mentioning that I'm unemployed, but today is not that day.  I almost had an anxiety attack walking back from the shower the other day.  Normally, when I'm on my way back, I'm thinking of who I need to call, what meeting I need to prepare for, etc.  Monday, I had nothing on my mind.  That's when I panicked.  I had to actually stop, sit and calm myself down.  I'll have to find something else to identify myself with now.  Which led me to another thought.  I can't even imagine how Andy is coping with this.  Over the course of his life, he's been in the Navy longer than he's been out. Talk about identifying yourself by a job!

Now that I'm home, I find myself wanting to write more, but I'm not sure who is reading this and what you all are interested in hearing about.  So this is where we go interactive.  Post your comments about what you would like to read most (and sign up as a "Follower" while you're at it) by play accounts of what we're doing, boat projects, my intellectual pondering (not likely), preparation for leaving, what it's like to liveaboard/dock life....  for those that know me, I'm never at a loss for words, I just want to post words you want to read.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunny Sunday

We had a nice relaxing Sunday to kickoff our first full week of unemployment.  We woke up this morning and had breakfast with my parents before they headed back home.  We made our daily trip to Lowes and came back to the boat to work on some projects and organize some things.  

It turned out to be a beautiful day (after a really yucky, rainy day yesterday) and was perfect for just hanging out and socializing with our neighbors.  (One day I'm going to write about all these neighbors...they're real characters)  Andy worked on a few projects while Jake played and I organized.  Jake and I took time for a much needed paint job on his volcano.  It was looking pretty worn out and starting to fall apart.  Eventually, we took the dinghy out for an afternoon drive around the dock.  We managed to chat with our friend Amanda and give Jake a chance to show his stuff at the tiller.

We finished up the day with cocktails on the bow and a delicious, yet economical (becoming more important to us these days) meal of fried catfish and oysters with red beans and rice.  It was delicious if I do say so myself.

We've put Jake to bed and now we're settling down into a nice neat and clean boat (finally).  When it's time for bed, I will be overjoyed to skip a ritual I've done for more than 15 years....set my alarm clock.  I'm not real sure what I'm going to do with my first day off tomorrow.  Maybe I'll sew those mosquito nets I've been putting off.  Maybe I'll get our taxes done.  Maybe I'll work on Andy's website.  OR.... maybe I'll start on my tan :)