Saturday, October 15, 2011

Home Sweet Boat...

...or is it Boat Sweet Home? I'm really not sure.

Anyway, even though the days are still pretty hot here in Florida, I can feel a slight shift as we move into autumn which has always been my favorite time of the year.

I believe Halloween is my all time favorite holiday, and I remember like it was yesterday how excited my sister and I were every year when it came time to carve our pumpkins. I also remember my sister's brainstorm that involved us stealing our mother's tin cookie cutters in order to make intricate and what she thought would be very original designs on our pumpkins. Her brilliant plan failed in a spectacular way and all we did was completely ruin the cookie cutters as they crumpled and collapsed under the pressure of us trying to shove them in to thick and unforgiving pumpkin flesh.

To this day I don't think my mother knows what we did. I think I'll spill the beans when we go back home for Christmas, especially since I can tell Mom it was Cindy's idea and not mine.

I'll take my points any way I can.

When I had kids I just assumed they'd love Halloween as much as I did. However, doing things like carving pumpkins lost a lot of its flavor with the advent of cable TV and video games. Therefore, I ended up doing all the carving myself and after awhile I just gave it up.

The kids never even noticed this small detail but they did appreciate the very detailed costumes I made for them. Someday I'll dig out some pictures and post them.

But now that we're living on a boat and are really restricted as to how much holiday decorating we can do, well, it bothered me. So I bought a pumpkin at Publix and a stencil kit at the Dollar Tree, and got to work.

Here is the stencil attached to my pumpkin with duct tape. Of course the tiny little serrated knife that came with the kit broke immediately so I ended up using one of mine.

I was busy carving ashore, and Wilbur, who was stuck on board, was not impressed.

"Mama, I don't like that big orange thing, and that ugly pink bird is taunting me!"

You see, in addition to the pumpkin, I also lucked upon a pink flamingo (and I absolutely was not going to feel like I was 'home' until I had my own tacky piece of home decor)!

So I now have an evil pumpkin and a flamingo that's artistically decked out in a Halloween themed kerchief and scarf.

Wilbur finally got up close and personal with his taunters.

"You talkin' to me??" He asks the flamingo.

"You talkin' to me??" He asks the pumpkin.

"Mama! Did you hear them? They was talkin' to the pitty and they was mean!"

Poor Wilbur.

Just wait until Thanksgiving. I can't even imagine what a flamingo, dressed as a pilgrim, will say to a poor little pit bull.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When I have time...

... I plan on posting about living aboard a boat in a marina.

But, just when I think I have a minute I realize there's something I forgot to take care of. Like filling our water tanks, and considering that we use the bath house for most of our showers we still manage to go through about 70 gallons of water in less than a week.

I've finally decided to save myself about a half hour of time by just waiting for Hans to get home from work and handing me the hose from the dock while I grab it with a boat hook. This is way more simple than me trying to get it in the boat without dropping it in the water (and dock water is gross!). This week after filling the tanks I couldn't help but notice how dirty our cockpit was and decided to hose it out. I'll give it a good cleaning some other day I told Hans, but then I decided to take advantage of the cooler temps and ended up scrubbing the whole thing. And then I saw grease spots on the outer deck that had dripped from our grill, and what is that stain up at the bow... ? I think I now have scrubbing elbow and sadly this will all have to be done again next week.

I'll think of something that makes our life interesting but remember I need to get to the office for ice and since Wilbur needs to take a walk I'll kill two birds with one stone and take him with me. And with Junior along that little job is guaranteed to take twice as long (I'm pretty sure a lusty blood hound once took unfair advantage of one of Wilbur's ancestors because there's not a blade of grass that goes un-sniffed during these excursions). Our mailbox is also over at the office but do I ever remember to take my key with me? And there goes another trip.

I'll go to sit down at the computer and remember I need to do my daily creative shuffling of our refrigerator's interior. We have a wonderful Adler Barber refrigerator with freezer. But everything on the bottom of the fridge ends up freezing and the stuff on the shelves up and away from the freezer don't get as cold as they probably should. This isn't a defect, it's just the way it is. So everyday I swap thawed out ice packs with frozen ones. I also have a couple of pliable sheets of stuff that look like bubble wrap and I lay our eggs and butter, sour cream etc... on these. I sit our milk and things like potato salad right on top of the freezer, they don't freeze but they stay very cold.

I take our bunk apart and convert it back to a sitting area (something we do everyday since it's too hot to sleep in our berth) and think, today I'll start a post but then notice our carpet is dirty again which is what happens when your carpet is one tone and you have a dog and feather pillows and you live on a boat! Not that sweeping these small areas is so time consuming but in order to get to the sweeper, I have to crawl over the obstacle course that's taken over our port berth to the locker where the sweeper resides.

I decide I don't feel like collecting all my shower stuff and then trek all the way to the bath house so I shower on the boat. Aha! with all the time I saved I'm going to take it easy and upload pictures that have been sitting on my camera for over a week. But then I realize I can't remember the last time I cleaned out the shower filter and after venturing into the engine room to dismantle it I'm completely grossed out over how filthy it is. And while I'm at it I should probably see if I can figure out why the sink is draining so slowly.

I swear I go to the grocery store every day. It's not that I buy tons of stuff but I try to watch for sales and now that we're within a stones throw of a lot of stores I don't need to keep tons of provisions on board and can actually use the cupboards in our berth for our clothes and not ten boxes of tuna helper.

Isn't this lovely?

We had to use tarps to cover the dead lights (or windows) in our cockpit in order to keep out the hot Florida sun. We've also re-purposed our cockpit cushions by covering our hatches with them. This also keeps out the sun and who cares if it seems like we're living in a cave? It's better than living in an oven.

Just try to get some sewing done with a pit bull lying at your feet. I pray he doesn't knock that support out from under my table. And the other day I had a heart stopping moment and nearly sent for a priest when my sewing machine started sewing all by itself. Then I realized Wilbur had flopped down on the foot peddle. He's mommy's little helper.

Now that Hans is gone all day long, someone misses his daddy!

This past Sunday we spent the day at the beach with some very new friends and watched speed boat races. This is the first time we've left Wilbur alone for more than a couple of hours and right before we left the boat we were a bit puzzled about the air conditioner. It didn't seem to be blowing cold air. But the day was very cool and the unit was very new so surely we were imagining things.

When we got home eight hours later we were horrified to realize we could smell our head from the dock and were even more horrified to enter a very stuffy and very warm boat!

Yes, our air conditioner was indeed on the fritz and our holding tank took advantage of the situation and developed a bizarre case of the vapors.

I'm just very thankful that it had to happen on the coolest day we've experienced since we've been here and never again will we leave Wilbur alone for this long unless the promised highs for the day won't go above the 70's!

I spent the next day getting a new unit (covered under warranty), calling our dentist's office in Pittsburgh (for the third time) and asking why they're still sending their bill to our old address, and making sure to buy a bottle of bourbon.

You see, after finally moving the now defunct air conditioner to our vehicle (which required said vehicle to be emptied of our winter stuff and ramming it all into our already overflowing port berth and now I'll never find that damn sweeper!), feeding and walking our neglected and bewildered baby, we sat down (in our very smelly boat) to a crappily thrown together dinner of tortilla chips, nacho cheese, and the tiny amount of salsa I was able to scrape out of the bottom of what I had thought was a full jar! I was looking forward to a well deserved drink, and realized I was out of bourbon! Talk about the straw that broke the camel's back!

So anyway, if and when I get some time, I fully intend to post about what it's like to live on a boat in a marina!