Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Sweet Home!

Before and After photo time!  And news time.  We weren't approved for a slip agreement at the marina where the boat is currently residing because of our credit but the second marina we've been talking to, Marina Village Harbor, has slips available.  And, in meeting some of the locals, we were directed to a particular person at Marina Village to request live-aboard status even though there's a wait list.  The only difference between the wait list and status is an extra fee per month. We drove by on the way to work this morning and told the guy that we'd much rather pay more and be there full time rather than go by the rules and move between harbors twice a week so that we're respecting the rules of the harbors while not having live aboard status.  He said yes!  Kris is getting his travel reimbursement this week and we'll take care of the details on Friday so it's pretty much a done deal.  In the meantime, in and around the holidays and visiting home, we've gotten the boat to be nice and homey.  I finally found the other bath rug so most of the floor is covered and Chloe can jump down and not slide and it's a little extra cushioning for her, and for us when we wake up in the morning without socks on.  I also found our slippers so we can kick off our shoes at the end of the day and relax.  
Here are the before shots:
 Recessed quarter berth.
 View from the hatchway into the boat, galley on the port side.
Galley complete with stove-top oven, sink, fridge compartment.
And here's the after, with our our stuff moved in and mostly arranged!


 Chloe watching Mom take pictures.
 So the galley is a little messy, but only when I don't put away the electric tea kettle.  Or the extra water bottle.  Or the orange juice and the huge plastic cups....well, you get my drift!
The closet for our overflow of cold-weather layers!
I'd say the place is coming along, don't you think?  We still need to replace the window drapes, as they've fallen into some disarray, and Kris found an article about a couple who'd replaced theirs with mini-blinds so that's a project that's going to be coming up at some point.  But it's coming along fabulously!  DVD's are tucked onto shelves, extra sweatshirts have a place in the little closet and we found out that the fridge not only works but is on DC power so we can keep it on while we sail if we have a couple days for of steaks for the grill.  We're also thinking of getting a small microwave.  Those microwaveable Kraft Mac & Cheese cups?  Turns out thinking that using boiling water and letting them sit for the cooking time instead of following the directions with a microwave is not good thinking....The noodles mostly cooked but it was more like cheesy noodle soup instead of pasta.  Not so good.  A small one would suffice for that sort of thing and we can mix healthier meals with cheap meals.  We still haven't stored most of the clothing in our suitcases anywhere other than in our suitcases as we have a slight leak problem in the compartment behind the settee under the DVD's that we need to fix but otherwise everything else is pretty much squared away, and the suitcases fit in the recessed quarter berth.  We shift the suitcases out every couple days to put some clean clothing closer to hand, the shower bag stays in the trunk so it's easier to access, and we don't need any of it on the boat.  Kris found a manual online for the oven and so we now know how to clean it up and work it properly.  We made our first payment for it to Mark and got the pink slip, all sorts of manuals and all the papers that came with the boat on our trip last weekend to celebrate Kirby's birthday.  I've been scouring the internet for blogs from other live-aboards on how they manage their galley and their storage space and finding recipes for easy cooking when you've got a cache of canned and a few fresh ingredients.  Chloe has been settling in pretty well.  She's figured out that if she comes to the bow-end of the settee on the port side, she can jumped into the v-berth by herself, so she comes and goes in the middle of the night when she needs water or we're rolling over her.  When she wants to play, she brings me the ball and I throw it into the v-berth so she jumps and brings it back to me over and over again for about ten minutes or so, getting a little bout of doggie exercise while she plays.  I leave her to go take a shower and I don't go the same time every day, so she's never sure when I'll be back, but the past week or so, I've not heard any crying until I step back into the cockpit.  She's such a faker.  She did the same thing with Miami-she's figured out it's her home and that she's okay to be alone for a few minutes and that I will be back eventually.  Every time we sit and look around, we feel the boat to be roomier, homier, more comfortable, working better and better.  It's good to feel more at home in our space.  We were invited last week to join a group of locals who do a barbecue every Wednesday in one of the shop spaces up in the warehouse and so we scrambled up some cookies from Trader Joe's and took along the bottle of homemade lemoncello my mom sent us home with and met several of the locals, one of whom was a gal named Wendy who lives in Marina Village and lives on the dock we'll be moving onto and was the one who told us who to talk to in order to bypass the waiting list for the live-aboard status.  She's already offered to dog-watch Chloe if we need someone!  Looking forward to not having to move the boat every few days and to be in a permanent spot that's five minutes closer to Kris's work and our storage space, literally right down the street from a Lucky's grocery and CVS, and pizza.  Yup, pizza's important.  (And yes, a few seconds ago I mentioned homemade lemoncello.)  Mom's been making it and giving it as Christmas presents and I intend to make some with her at the end of February when I hang out with her for a couple weeks.  Kris is going to be doing some CRAY training in Wisconsin and so I'm going to take over her kitchen and help her make more.  I'm also interested in trying orangecello, raspberry infused vodka, etc.  I've been collecting recipes on my Pinterest board.  I'm all for trying new recipes and I'm looking forward to this one!  
Happy experiments, everyone!

Allie H.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year, and a Different Dream

It's the beginning of another year, and the dream of my adulthood has changed significantly over the past few years.  I used to dream, when I was a teenager, that I'd be highly successful in publishing a handful of novels by the time I was 25 and that breakfast would be enjoyed on a balcony table in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower off in the distance, having already traveled to exotic far off places like Egypt.  Today, I can imagine nothing better than wracking my brain over a piece of writing while the boat gently sways with the slightest of harbor currents, keeping hot water for tea and having new ideas while the sun begins to set in the early afternoon, sailing every possible weekend and becoming an expert at it all.  I'm still not published, I'm still working on second-drafts of things, but the fire is still there.  The scenery is new, the boat is a symbol of possibility, my husband is still the breadwinner while I search for employment opportunity, and the dog is curled up at my feet.  At fourteen or fifteen, I honestly didn't even imagine a dog.  I pictured a husband somewhere in the middle of it all, and I got the best one, ever, but the entertaining child/poodle is a daily delight I hadn't even pondered.  Now I can't imagine living without her.  A little furry face who loves us unconditionally because we fell in love with her and brought her home with us.  I could never have imagined that by the time I was 28, I would have gotten married and moved from one continent to another and back again within the first two years of marriage, not to mention relocating to another state by the end of the calender year.  A whirlwind that made me giddy; new sights, new places to explore, new people to call our friends.  We say it a lot, every time we move and get re-settled, but we're kind of amazing.  We truly rock at this whole “shift again” lifestyle.  When we decide that we're going somewhere, we shift into high gear.  Clothes get washes, sorted, packed into boxes or designated into suitcase piles, the apartment is half in limbo, our heart rates go up and every morning we wake up with a new “to-do” list but by the time we land where we're supposed to be, we're breathing again, we're excited, we've stopped worrying about half the little details and life is awesome.  We downshift, we acclimate, we get it together, and it works.  And yes, there are always little issues that come up and we somehow are blessed with the kind of good luck that gets us through them.  Knowing we're going to be settling in for a time is helping us to shift our focus on being thrifty and financially stable, and looking into the future a bit more definitively.  Being so close to home, being back in California, is the place to be.  In a few months we'll own the boat we're living on, in a year, we'll have a small apartment somewhere close by and I'm imagining go-bags constantly prepped and hanging out in the truck of the car so that we can spend a week on the boat at any given moment.  In Miami, it was good to be at least back on home soil.  Monterey is our heart and our home, and it's a wonderful feeling to be back near it as we settle here in the Bay Area.  Driving back and forth the couple times we've done in the past four weeks has been the most amazing feeling, knowing we can be there in a couple hours on a whim, if we like.  I'm no longer one to make New Year's Resolutions, as I hardly keep to them, like most human beings, but since we're back here and now living the boat lifestyle it's in my head to learn as much as I can about living aboard and figuring out as much as I can to make it as successful as possible.  I'm also wanting to work, at least part time, to keep writing, and spend more time with my family as I've been away from them for two years.  Life shifts in funny ways.  Kris is fond of saying that the universe gives you exactly what you ask for even though it never looks how you'd expect it to look.  That has certainly been true of our adventure thus far.  You can have dreams, and they will come true if you keep them in your heart.  You might not recognize them but if you find yourself happy one day, guess what, your dream has aligned with your life and your goals.  It's a nice feeling to be in a position to see that one of your milestones is just up ahead of you by a few paces.
Hope everyone's New Year is off to such a re-energized, positive start!
Happy 2013!

Allie H.