Tropical Storm Bonnie

Tropical Storm Bonnie

2016-05-26 18.12.18“A tropical storm is headed right towards us the weekend we launch the boat, I feel this is appropriate.” I’m texting with a techie friend of mine. He agrees its appropriate, “TS Bonnie.”

I stayed up almost all night Wednesday, nervous. Why? Change is in the air and as much as I seek it out, it also scares me. Thursday morning bright and early we lift the boat and put her on the trailer and by mid-day, we are following the truck down the road. My car is loaded down with house stuff Geoff swears will not fit anywhere on the boat (he is wrong, it all fits). By Thursday afternoon, the boat is floating peacefully at dock and we’ve checked all the new thru hulls and confirmed there are no leaks (on the bottom, the portholes still leak).

Then we start unloading and packing. Clothes are folded and put into plastic storage bags underneath benches, the bed is made with pillows and sheets and blankets. I attempt to set up the wireless range extender and mifi which results in an hour spent on phone with tech support. Geoff re-wires the bilge and puts in a new bilge pump (while the bottom doesn’t leak, we will still get water in the bilge until we finish sealing up the topside). Skye pulls her toys off the bench and scatters them across the floor. I suggest the next blog post will be titled “How to Rescue Belle from the Bilge.”

We crawl into bed exhausted, hatches open, covers kicked off. A security light at the marina shines right through the window on my face. I go to bed thinking that tomorrow  we need to get the AC rigged up, get the head working, and preferably go to the beach.

But Friday the storm is confirmed and headed our way. I go on a run first thing in the morning and am happy. Not nervous any more. The change has happened and it is ok. Of course it is ok, it was all well planned. The bilge is finished and we strap a tarp-tent over top of the boat (also good for cooling). Skye and I run about town trying to find the parts we need (we rig up the AC so the boat is no longer miserably hot). Somewhere in this both Geoff and I try to get a few hours of work in and discover we can’t find the power cord for our portable printer. By evening, I’m ready to open the bottle of wine the ice box has managed to keep cold (yay! one thing working!).

Saturday morning is dreary, the storm is coming. We clean and clear off our decks, storing as much as possible down below out of the rain. By mid-morning we have on-and-off drizzle. Skye feeds baby ducks off the back of the boat with much enthusiasm. As the rain increases, we’re glad the tarp is working and the cabin in dry. We’re settling in.

A Blue Bottom

A Blue Bottom

“It’s looks like we’re about 1/3 done!” Geoff and I are standing in front of the boat. The keel is painted with blue bottom paint. The brand new white thru hulls are installed (and wiped clean, unlike the photo on Instagram). We’ve totally re-built and re-glassed the entire bilge. I’ve just pulled the painter’s tape off from around the bottom. He’s right, from the waterline down, the boat is in great condition.

2016-05-21 17.10.35“Well, I think…”

“No, it’s 1/3. If you count the keel maybe even 1/2!”

“Ok, but when we put the mast up…”

“No! Don’t think like that! Then we’ll only be like 1/10 done!”

“Well, it wouldn’t look much like a sailboat without it’s mast up. Besides, I think 1/10 is about right…” I have a four-page long to-do list in my bag, with the next major task being to install an engine.

We’ve been having a lot of fun lately starting to plan the trip instead of the boat work. All the fun things we want to see and do along the way. There’s so much to explore in each place.

When I explain our trip to people, one of the first questions I get is “how long will this take?” My answer, 2-3 years, generally surprises people. I explain that we still have to work, so we spend a lot less time sailing than people imagine and a lot more time sitting on our computers working. It’s just that every week or so we change where that is. And when the work is done, we try to focus on stepping off our boat and exploring what’s around us.

Even where we are now, where I grew up, there are still neat adventures to be had. A few weeks ago, we went to Landsford Canal State Park where we canoed through spider lilies in full bloom. The water raced around rocks and the park ranger gave Geoff a detailed description of the rapids. But once we got out there, the canal was so shallow, we barely had enough water to scooch over the rocks. Every time we went through a rapid we shouted “wheee!” to try and get Skye excited. She just looked at us, through her green cat-eyed sunglasses, like we were nuts. There was nothing “wheee!” about a rapid where your canoe gets stuck half-way through.

Geoff bought a new GPS and announced one evening we needed to try geocaching. I wasn’t interested but he was jazzed so we went to a local geocache and tromped through the woods for an hour before finding a beat up Tupperware box with a bent fork in it. Yay. Some people love geocaching, but I’d personally rather hike to a view or waterfall. Skye tried to answer the GPS “Allo?” and hold a conversation with it.

So even in the midst of boat-work, we’ve been making time to explore. And perhaps more importantly, spending time as a family doing fun things together.

Childhood Fears

Childhood Fears

One of Skye’s babysitters recently brought her a book, which is now her favorite, Llama Llama Red Pajama. She asks me to read it to her at least once a day and loves the cadence of the words and the bright pictures. The story, in short, is about a baby llama who is put to bed, decides he wants his mama, calls out for her, then goes into a panic attack when she does not quickly come to his call. And as I read this, I am wondering, what is this book teaching her? To holler out at night? To be afraid I might not come? Am I planting these fears by suggesting they even exist?

2016-05-04 10.57.37Right now she’s afraid of nothing. We were on a playground yesterday morning with a handful of other similar-age toddlers, all of whom were shy. Except Skye, who climbed right among them with no pause and no qualms. She’s always been an extroverted child, stealing food off other babies plates at 9 months old, much to my embarrassment. But she’s also not afraid. She’s fallen plenty, and has the scratches to prove it, but just keeps up and keeps going. I want her to stay friendly and open with other children. It will help her make new friends as we travel. And one down-side to the lifestyle we’ve chosen is that she won’t grow up with one set of kids and always have good friends.

Geoff’s favorite book to read to her is Don’t Push the Button, which he says teaches civil disobedience. (“Don’t push the button. Don’t even think about it.”) And I wonder what that teaches her, to decide for herself whether to follow directions or not?

My only conclusion from all this is that raising a human is a complex process and there’s no one right way to do it. Two more of my close friends have announced pregnancies and are now stumbling through all the conflicting advice and old-wives-tales poured on them by well-meaning individuals. You must be attachment parents, says one set of friends. How dare you consider giving birth out of a hospital, says another. We still in our lives, creating these little individuals we must guide, get conflicting advice. (Don’t push the button! Push the button, it will be fun! Holler out for mama! Don’t panic!) So maybe we need to focus on raising thinking individuals. Problem solving individuals.

Skye, do you understand why putting that piece of trash in your mouth is a bad idea?