Category Archives: Life on the Boat

First Sail! (Sept 7-9, 2013)

We got the sails back up yesterday and went out for our first sail as a family today. Matt and I were both a little nervous (it’s a Saturday and there are always regattas) so we took it easy. We motored out and just hoisted the main and had a nice easy sail back in. There is something they call ‘dock glue’ which is essentially that the longer you are at the dock, the harder it is to get out there. We wanted to get it done as soon as the sails were back up so that felt like some small accomplishment. Joshua lost his second tooth today. After it fell out, he spent time brushing it for the tooth fairy and then was admiring it on deck in the sunlight. He then dropped it and it bounced and fell into the water. The poor kid – he has yet to have a visit from the tooth fairy because he literally has lost both of the teeth that have fallen out. Despite my pleas to immediately put it in an envelope and under his pillow, he insists on carrying them around all day. I told him that we might be able to write the tooth fairy a note and explain the extenuating circumstances. We went out to dinner with L&C to celebrate the day’s accomplishments.


The saga of the smelly head (i.e., toilet) continues. Matt and George worked on it all day (09.09) – changing pipes and taking out anything that might be the culprit. Matt said he is going to start crying if this doesn’t fix the problem … stay tuned!

An Electrifying Experience (Sept. 5, 2013)

Matt was working on the electrical outlet in the galley (i.e., the kitchen) to make it GFCI (GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – it’s an electrical device that detects hazardous ground faults and quickly disconnects power from the circuit. And no, I had no idea what it stood for or what it did and just had to look it up online). All I really knew what that Matt was doing something to the electrical outlet. During this time, Joshua was doing artwork, Malachi was making a hammock for his stuffed animals, and I was getting things together to go do laundry. All of a sudden, Matt lets out a yell. “Oh my gosh, did you get shocked?” I asked. The boys stared open-mouthed. Once Matt recovered, he said that he had turned off the port-side lights and didn’t understand why the power was still connected. I looked at the instrument panel and said, “This is true but the ‘outlets’ switch is still on – and you are working on an outlet, not a light.” Matt paused to consider this and then looked at me and said, “You know that I’m an electrical engineer from Virginia Tech, don’t you?” “Yep,” I nodded as I reached for the camera. “You’re going to post this on the blog, aren’t you?” he asked. I laughed and said, “Smile for the camera, honey.” Click!


Getting the Boat Ready (August 23, 2013)

We decided that our daily routine would be to exercise in the morning, get some breakfast, get some work done, have lunch, have quiet time (i.e., everyone has their own space and there is no talking; Joshua usually naps), and then have some fun. This morning we started cleaning out the berths to get ready to actually move things on the boat. The boys did a great job in vacuuming out their berths and wiping them down. In the afternoon, I took the boys to the library and then we had an early dinner. The boat place across the street had a small pool set up where one could demo a kayak or a paddleboard. We tried everything, Joshua fell in and it was an overall hysterical time. And, yes, we bought a kayak! It’s a small one but it was so much fun. I can fit in it with one of the boys and they can probably fit in it together.



Trying to knock Malachi off the paddleboard


Moving the Boat / Lowering Expectations (July 31, 2013).

We decided to move the boat from one marina to another. The other one has a pool for the kids, a playground and is generally better suited for a family. Although I liked the quiet and solitude of the first one, Matt is more social and he is the one doing more work on the boat (and spending more time in the marina). Matt’s mom, C, came down and was a wonderful help with the boys. I was able to unload both vans and completely re-pack them to make living out of them easier (although we’ve been sleeping on the boat, we still haven’t really moved onto it because it makes getting the work done a lot more difficult).


Matt was feeling a lot of pressure about the amount of repairs needed, the fact that summer is rapidly sliding by, and that we want to get going but need to balance the desire with the safety of the boat. I finally said to Matt that one of the reasons we are doing this is to stop feeling we ‘have’ to do certain things. I suggested that maybe a better goal is just to get to the point where we can move onto the boat – and that when it’s time to set sail, we’ll know it and it will happen.



More Boat Issues (July 30, 2013)

After another late night last night, one of our over-tired boys fell on a hatch (i.e., the window above our berth) and broke it. This morning Matt realized that the toilet he had spent a week working on in 90-degree heat just broke (again!). He is so frustrated that he said something about selling the boat. He then took the boys for a bike ride to get some exercise and find breakfast. He called me a while ago to check in. ‘I put up the sign,’ I said. ‘What sign?’ he asked. “The ‘for sale’ sign on the boat.” He started laughing and asked how much. I said, “$20 or best offer.” He said he was starting to question everything and then he looked up at the sky and saw the early morning moon (I sign my pots with a moon stamp). He said it reminded him that he needs to lean on me. I told him we would figure it out and that it was all new and being overwhelmed for a while was to be expected.

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Back on the Boat (July 28, 2012)

We just arrived down to MD on Saturday night. The boat is a wreck because people have been working on it. All of the cushions and huge bumpers were in our berth and we were trying to get the boys’ beds made up in the darkness. The boat stinks of diesel and worse. When Matt and I finally crashed into our tiny little bunk, after climbing over everything to get into it, I looked at him and said, “I think this is the stupidest thing we’ve ever done.” We both started laughing and fell asleep.



A Night Out (10 pm)

Matt and I are sitting on the deck with our iPads. A wondrous blend of
old world and new. Hearing the lap of the waves against the boat but typing on
this screen. The evening was a little stressful – the boys were tired, the
refrigeration doesn’t work – and we are still uncertain how the lights, water
and head (toilet) work. For now, we just walk to the marina. We were supposed
to leave tomorrow to sail up to Chestertown for my sailing class but we still
don’t know if the bilge pump works (the thing that would pump water out of the
boat if it suddenly started filling up with water – kind of critical). I
finally said to Matt that we don’t need to be in a rush. If we need a few more
days here, we can take them. That’s the whole point of this trip – to stop
rushing around! I think we both felt better after I said that – it created some
space, which is more of what we are after in life. As I type this, there is a
heron on the dock chasing some mallard ducks away from its territory – they
squawk in protest as they waddle away.