|A walk in the woods
Last night while making dinner I switched on the light over the counter and got, nothing. No, there was a faint glow, and if I squinted, I could chop carrots. Then, when I went to rinse the beans, I had another problem, no water. Our water pump has been cycling for no reason—so we need to turn it off when not using it. So up I went, across the cabin, into the other hull to turn on the water, then back to the sink to rinse the beans, then back to the other hull to turn off the water, then back to the beans, only to realize I’d forgot to put water in the pot to cook them. I called to Ev to flip on the water but he and Maia were dealing with a deflating dinghy so back I went…
There does seem to be some sort of law on boats that when one thing goes on the fritz, several more follow suit. On our first boat we had it happen many times, but the most significant occasion (read costly) was when we reached Panama. First the rigging needed replacing, and then the depth sounder died, then the windlass—but my breaking point was when the stereo stopped working. Using a lead line to find the depth and pulling up an anchor by hand are two old-school sailing traditions I can cope with if required—but I’m wasn't quite up for listening to Evan singing sea shanties.
|Afternoon entertainment--a play starring Charlie the Reluctant Reindeer
Last night’s breakdowns were not in the same league as Panama—a new light fixture, tinkering with the water pump, slapping a patch on the dinghy (if we could find the leak) are all affordable—just time consuming. But it made me realize how much of our boat chore time is spent in triage. Even when were not actually going anywhere, most of our efforts are spent just trying to keep things functioning and afloat. While Evan worked on the inflatable he had to step over the carcass of one engine, past the brand new one that’s waiting to be installed and fish for tools in the projects-under-way pile.
It’s no wonder really that heavily cruised boats go into refit every few years (or every few oceans). And last night as we tinkered and fixed, while trying to catch up on each other's day and actually eat dinner, it all felt frustratingly endless.
|Maia's school dance
But afterward when we turned on a Christmas movie (at least the computers still work), and started to hang up our lights and ornaments, and watched a quarter moon rise up over our current city, the small and not so small inconveniences began to feel manageable. The to-do list may grow at the same rate as mildew (time to add de-mildewing to the list again) and boat stuff may break at a rate that leaves us feeling we are always a few steps behind, but the reminders of why we live such a challenging life are always there: When we can stop fixing stuff long enough to lift our heads and look out past the bulkhead that needs painting and at the world we've made such an inconvenient journey to see…
|Maia's class performing at the end of year concert
*the pictures obviously don't match the post, they are just a few from life lately