Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Adjusting to Life on the Hard

I'm woefully behind on my posts. I've yet to write about our return crossing from the Bahamas, our bizarre trip up the ICW where we put the Knotty Cat on the hard, and our road trip home. Since we've arrived here I've been busy beyond belief, but if only for my own reference I will surely get those posts written. Someday.

So, after living aboard our Knotty Cat for nearly four years at a marina in Florida (with a few small sailing excursions tossed in), and then actively cruising for 5 months, we've become northern landlubbers.

It's a temporary thing as we hope to get our girl back in the water this November and spend the winter, sans snow, in Florida, but in the meantime my son is getting married this weekend and we've neglected family for far too long. I love our boat and it is our real home, but I'm also excited to be back north where we have more than a couple of days to catch up with friends and family.

I discovered that after using a VHF radio for so long, it took a few days to get used to talking on a telephone. I found myself wanting to say, "Copy that," instead of, "Uh-huh," and, "Stand by," instead of, "Wait a second." It was also strange to not ask, upon awakening, "What's the weather like?" Many times during our drive north in our rental vehicle we commented on what we thought might be storm clouds and Hans would check the local weather info now that we had cell phone coverage.

We've both found ourselves still utilizing 'boat style' water consumption. Tooth brushing, dish washing, showering etc... water is turned on long enough to get whatever it is we're washing wet, turned off during the lathering process, then back on again for the final rinse. I'm able to take a full shower complete with washing my hair with a single gallon of water. And when we crossed back to the states and had no idea how much water was remaining in our tanks I took a shower with two cups of water. I certainly don't want to do this all the time but it does show how much water we can conserve if we really try.

One of the strangest adjustments we've dealt with has concerned Wilbur. Gone are the days where we sit below in the salon reading or watching TV with the companionway door open and Wilbur zips out into the cockpit, relieves himself on his potty patch, and then hops down below and puts himself to bed. We now have to leash him several times a day in order to take him out, and also just before bedtime (pajamas be damned). And if it's been raining... well, we have a little hot house flower on our hands and he doesn't like to get wet. We also make a point of wiping his paws every time he comes back in the house whether they need it or not. One downside though that I need to mention is the lack of doggy day care and boarding facilities here. We've traveled up and down the east coast with Wilbur and have stayed in many marinas and hotels along with taking him to parks and day care centers. He's always been welcome and he's never caused a problem. So you can imagine how stunned I was when Wilbur was turned down at a nearby day care center. They didn't like the expression on his face. I lucked out though when I found a kennel that doesn't mind pit bulls and I now have a place for him to stay during the wedding since for some reason he wasn't invited.

Yeah, that's a scary face.

Last night I took Wilbur out into the damp late evening and marveled at the sight of lightning bugs (or fire flies), and listened to the loud chirping of the tree peepers. How many times as a kid did I collect lightning bugs in a jar (only to find them all dead the next day)? And how could I have forgotten falling asleep to the sound of those little tree frogs? It's been a long time. When I told Hans about the hummingbird that flitted around Wilbur and me tonight, he was jealous. Hans has never seen a hummingbird 'in the wild' as he puts it. I hope that changes this summer.


We've landed in a small town with one stop light, houses with porch swings, sidewalks, and complete within walking distance; locally owned hardware and grocery stores, a library converted from a church, a dairy isle (our first local purchase took place here), a post office, a (really good) pizza place , a very clean laundromat, a family restaurant, a couple of bars, an excellent Chinese take out (set incongruously in a beautiful Victorian home), a thrift store, and be still our hearts; a liquor store and beer distributor. And there's even a lake close by where Hans has crewed a couple of times in some sailing races. I swear I'm gonna run into Beaver Cleaver and Eddie Haskell any time now.

Sailing dinghies

I consider ourselves fortunate that we're able to do this. It's nice to get off the boat for a while, explore a new town, and enjoy a summer away from the heat of Florida. I know when fall arrives and it starts to get cold here we'll be more than happy to move back aboard, but for now this is our life.


I guess Hans and I are officially snow birds.

A very common sight