On Belay

Yesterday I decided to send Natalie up the mast because God knows I wasn’t going up there!  We strapped her into a bosun’s chair, a climbing harness and two ropes.  I gave her 2 rags, a bucket of water, some Dawn dish detergent, a camera and up she went!  While up there, Natalie was instructed to clean the mainsail track, inspect the rigging, take pictures of everything and look like a badass at the top of the mast.  She definitely accomplished at least one of the objectives…

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The view from 60 feet above the water!

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Brrrrrrr

How we are keeping warm on a boat with no heater?  Currently we are using a little space heater since we are plugged into shore power at the dock.  Surprisingly it does a great job of keeping the whole space down below warm!

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Another option (which will work when we are at anchor and don’t have access to shore power) is to turn on the propane stove.  Anytime that we cook, it throws off a ton of heat.  (Yes mom- we do have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on board.) So the other day I found a recipe for potpourri.  That way we can leave the stove on in the evening and have the boat smelling nice!  Here is the link– give it a try!

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Our newest plan (given to us by the harbormaster), is to put a Terracotta pot upside down on the stove.  He claims that it will produce a ton of heat. This is the method that he and his wife used in the same situation when sailing down to the Bahamas.

What Now?

You might be wondering why there haven’t been any blog posts lately.  Well, let me tell you why… because I have been busy chipping away at the ‘To Do’ list that I left Mitchell while I was back in OH for 2 weeks.

When I returned to the boat last Monday, I discovered that Mitchell had completed 6 of the 36 items on our ‘To Do’ list.  Not bad- but not exactly what I had envisioned.  🙂  So for the past week, we have both been working on getting the boat ready for its upcoming voyage to the Caribbean.

Mitchell has been working on installing our new best friend (the autopilot) while I have been scraping the non-skid off the deck.  (Let me tell you- scraping and then sanding the deck will probably go down in history as my least favorite job EVER.)

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Other than that, we have been avoiding working on the boat visiting with Mitchell’s sister and her family.

Our plan is to leave NJ in a week (or two).  We will then head down the Delaware Bay; through the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal; and down the Chesapeake Bay (map).   That will take us as far as Virginia without dealing with the Atlantic Ocean!

Bittersweet

Having been home now for over a week, I have come to realize what I will  miss (and not miss) over the next 2 years.

1. family – I will truly miss watching my nephews and nieces grow and change while we are gone.  It is amazing how much they have changed in just the 4 months since we have set out on this journey.  I will miss spending time with each one of them (Sylvia, Elliot, Eli, Annie, Lucy and Leah) and seeing how they change each month.   And of course, I will miss spending time with our siblings, parents, grandparents and extended family too!

2. friends– I have been very fortunate to have many wonderful groups of friends.  I will miss my grade/high school girlfriends and our monthly dinners.  Every time we get together we end up turning heads in the restaurant with all the laughter and colorful topics of conversations.

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I will also miss my friends from work.  Over the past four years I was very fortunate to have taught with such a wonderful staff.  I will really miss working with all of them!

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And of course I will miss all the fun I’ve had with the “Denison group” of friends.  I have created so many memories with them over the past 5 or so years.  Those memories will last a lifetime!

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3. teaching– I will definitely miss being in the classroom with my students everyday.  Seeing the progress that each child made brought great joy and meaning to my life.  It will be hard not having that in my life over the next couple of years.

4. water– When you live on a boat, you quickly learn that you don’t have unlimited access to fresh water.  I will miss not worrying about running out of water.

5. my cat–  You are probably shaking your head right now … but I  will really miss my cat.  She is so pretty and very fun to play with.  I loved coming home from work and seeing Mitchell “fishing” for Muna in the living room.  He would have a cat toy tied onto the end of his Barbie fishing pole and be casting it into the kitchen.  Muna would then frantically run after it and pounce on the toy while Mitchell would try to reel it back in.

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6. pay checks– There’s nothing quite like watching the money in your bank account dwindle and knowing that that is all you have for the next two years.  

7. two-ply toilet paper– One-ply just isn’t the same.

8. my hair dryer– The boat can’t take the amount of watts it requires … so hair cuts were inevitable for both Mitchell and me.

I won’t miss…

1. the stress of work

2. TV, phones, movies, etc.

3. shopping

New Beginnings

Today marked the first of four days that I am playing ‘mommy.’   Megan (my sister) and Erik left me in charge of watching their 4 year old son, Eli, and 2 year old daughter, Annie, while they went on vacation to the hospital to welcome the newest member of their family.   The day went pretty smoothly and Aunt Nac (as Annie calls me) didn’t screw up too much!   (That is probably due to the 4 page typed-up instructions that Megan graciously left me!)

We started the day at the toy store (as a distraction) so Eli and Annie could pick out their own birthday gifts since their Aunt Nat was/will be MIA on their real birthdays.  After selecting the perfect toys (a ruby red dragon, semi-truck and baby doll) we made our way to Target to pick out gifts for the new baby.  Eli and Annie each picked out a toy and clothing item for the baby, while I chose an outfit and Auntie bibs.   We then rushed home for some much needed lunch and naps.  Once everyone was well rested, Eli and Annie decorated gift bags to put their purchases in for the baby.  We ended the day with dinner, brought to us by Nini and Papaul (since Aunt Nat SUCKS at cooking), baths and bedtime stories.

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During dinner, baths and stories, Aunt Nat was allowed to leave to go meet her new niece.  Baby ____ Hiss was 7 pounds and 19.5 inches!  She is super cute and has the blackest hair I’ve ever seen on a baby.   Congratulations Megan, Erik, Eli and Annie – Baby Hiss is lucky to have such a wonderful family!

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Letting Go

For the past 2 years, Mitchell and I have been “cleaning house.”  We have sold the majority of all that we own in order to make this dream a reality.  The only things we held onto are gifts we got at our wedding, my childhood dresser (that I can’t part with), the books from my classroom and memory items that have accumulated over the years.  All of these (except for the books) fit in a closet at my dad’s house (mind you- its a rather big closet).

The only remaining item that still needs to go is our vehicle.  So after a long day at the car wash and more cleaning in my sister’s driveway (with help from my mom, nephew and brother-in-law) Marcus James (that’s its name) is ready for a new family!

Having said that … if you or someone you know is in need of a SUPER clean SUV, please view the listing on craigslist.  (listing)

 

 Marcus James