Sunday, November 28, 2010

Boat Baby Christmas shopping

Photo courtesy of Hearth Song.
I know so many Boat kids who would love this!

The best part of having kids during the holidays is seeing their eyes light up when they receive that perfect gift. The giving of gifts is fun, the procuring of said gifts- not so much. If you are like me and abhor actually leaving your home or boat to battle crowds of impatient people throwing money away on the latest plastic piece of junk which will require batteries, emit obnoxious sound effects and be forgotten in 2 weeks time this post is for you.

My favorite toy store is online and open for business. Not only do you not have to trudge to a brick and mortar store, the items this particular retailer sells are quality toys which have lasting play value and are durable enough to survive life in a marine environment.

Hearth Song
I've been a fan of theirs for about 15 years or so. Really great quality toys and crafting kits, excellent customer service and reasonable shipping. That's my Christmas shopping done and I did not even have to deal with one single, surly shopper.

*I get no compensation from Hearthsong and have no affiliation with them what so ever. If they wanted to send ME an Incred-a-Ball as a thank you I would gladly accept!(I would even share with the kids!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mark up to his knees in fiberglass mat

We went from hot and humid with swarms of mosquitos on Thursday to bitingly cold, rainy but with no mosquitos on Friday. Mark valiantly continued to reglass the bulkhead.

You are so beautiful, to me...

You are so beautiful, to me..., originally uploaded by CidnieC.
This is a beautiful photo. Ok, maybe the beauty of this shot is not apparent but this is a shot of our punky bulkhead right before the last layer of fiberglass was applied.

Mark tried to explain to me what the last bit of glassing was but what I heard was " Blah, blah, structural integrity, blah blah forces, blah , blah , blah web for strengthblah, blah the soft deck is repaired, blah, blah butyl tape, blah once the chain plate is reinstalled this one is finished!"

See how beautiful this shot is now?

Epoxy mixing fools

Epoxy mixing fools, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

We have become frightfully good at working with epoxy. This not a skill we WANTED to become quite so good at but what can you do? Sometimes boats need a bit more than just spit and polish.

Father Christmas in Kemah

Father Christmas in Kemah, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

As Kitty and I were walking to the boat with tools in hand, who should we come across but Father Christmas himself. This was no faux Santa, this was the real deal. I could tell it was really and truly Kris Kringle by certain give away clues.

First of all, no fake beard here. Fake beards are a dead giveaway. Also, he had the requisite "crazy" eyebrows. Everyone knows Santa has crazy eyebrows. He had a gentle smile and a warm chuckle. Those fake Santas who emit "HO HO HO!" are a Christmas Fail. We are on to you! Futher proof of his authenticity were his sea blue eyes which did, in fact twinkle. What sealed the deal though was that he brought some of his reindeer. You ever see a reindeer with a fake beard Santa? I think not.

We did not stop to have Kitty's photo taken as we were dressed in our best boat refurbishing attire- disheveled, covered in dust and epoxy. I do plan on taking Kitty and Maura by beofre Father Christmas heads back to the North Pole. I also plan on letting Santa know that I have been very good this year so please move me from the naughty list and this year I would like a new main sail.

St. Nick in Texas

St. Nick in Texas, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Santa Claus is really a Texan at heart. That must be the reason he has chosen to take a little breather in Kemah before his Christmas duties. You can tell he is a Texan at heart by his cowboy boots...

Comet stops by

Comet stops by, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Comet was on hand with Saint Nick. He is a very well mannered reindeer. Happy to snuffle the kiddies gently and pose for photos. I used to say I wanted a pony for the boat, now I think I want a reindeer. Think how handy those antlers would be for use as a cockpit line organizer...

Thankful for roses

Thankful for roses, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

And what awaited me as I returned to our little house on the prairie? A garden full of pink, papery roses. Roses blooming despite the cold are a gift, one for which I am thankful. I will miss my roses when we are cruising. They've been wonderful. I stuck them in the ground and have offered them nothing more than benign neglect and yet they bloom and bloom and perfume the air with their heady scent- even in late November.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update coming soon...

I know I have not entered a new post but I have a very good excuse. Mark has been offshore for work for the vast majority of October. He is home now and we have some catching up to do. Please forgive me for not posting for the next few days. I am just so happy to have my best friend back. We will enjoyy each others company for a bit, then I will crack the whip and send him back into the belly of the boat to continue the refit.

Photos of an epoxy, fiberglass coated Scot to follow.

*edited to add- He was gone for a good portion of November as well. Lookslike he will be home for quite some time now. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday in the park

Maura, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

While Mark slaved away on the chainplates on the boat, I took the girls to the park. Mark is in a rather messy part of the job- there's lots of sawdust flying and sharp tools scattered here and there so its best to keep little fingers out of the way.

The weather was perfection- cool and sunny. We stopped by a toy store and picked up a kite for $1. You would be amazed at how happy the kids were with this kite. Maura enjoyed putting it together and attempting flight. Kitty liked watching her sister run back and forth and laughed hysterically every time the kite made a crash landing. Who says you have to spend big bucks to have fun? Not us.

Saturday in the park

Kitty, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

There is nothing quite as lovely as the golden sunlight of autumn, except perhaps a roly poly baby sitting on the grass in golden autumn sunlight.

Saturday in the park

Kite, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

How much fun can $1 buy you these days? 3 hours for 3 people. The kite we procured at the toy store survived and is ready to go again. Hopefully next time with a bit more wind.

Maura and the enormous snail 11/2010

Maura has never been afraid to pick up the slimy. This snail was enormous. Unfortunately, I think he may have met his demise due to Maura's curiousity. Maura asked if I had ever eaten snails. When I replied "yes", she further queried what they tasted like. When I told her "garlic" you could see the wheels turning... She did not eat snail sushi.

Saturday in the park

Fiona, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

What does a giraffe say? Kitty was determined to find out. It turns out rubber giraffes say exactly the same things as real ones- not a whole lot.

Saturday in the park

Maura, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Maura was disappointed at the lack of wind but she was game to fly the kite all the same. Its a lot like sailing for us. If we get perfectly lovely weather, there is usually no wind....

Saturday in the Park

Kitty, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Kitty was happy to work on pulling herself up and teething. Her favorite teething toy at this point in time is any accessible part of my leg.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The galley- yet another work site

Galley, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

While I await the arrival of the crucial part for the girls berth, my focus has turned to the galley. As you can see from the photo, we aren't ready to actually begin refitting it as it is currently yet another worksite. We are making a plan of attack and hope to have it finished by early spring.

The stove/oven combo that we have is original to the boat and lacks thermocouples on the top burners and a latch on the oven door. We are also lacking a vented propane locker. These items must be addressed and currently, I am leaning towards just replacing the stove with a non-pressurized alcohol Origo stove.

In an effort to keep costs down, I'm even considering foregoing an oven at all and just getting the stove. This will save around $1,000. The beauty of the alcohol stove is that we do not need to build a propane locker and replumb the gas lines which saves time and a not insignificant amount of money.

I like that refilling the Origo stove only requires decanting fuel into Sterno like containers. You don't have the issues with explosion that you can have with propane, no having to haul around heavy propane tanks and no replumbing of the boat. Its a simple refit as you just drop in the stove and call it done. We would add a solar vent in the cabin roof because alcohol stoves can be smelly but it really is the simplest method.

Of course, Mark wants to make it more complex than necessary because it will be "better" if he builds and plumbs in an alcohol storage tank that will perpetually keep the stove supplied with fuel...ARGH! Engineers! If we do go with alcohol there will be no replumbing of the boat. The whole point of the Origo is simplicity. Are you listening Mark?

The other issue to address is the countertops. Ceol Mor currently has laminate which is original to the boat and is therefore, cracked. Cracked laminate attracts moisture and continues to crack and delaminate. There is also the issue of not being able to set a hot pan down on laminate for fear or scorching

After looking at the lovely tiled countertops on SV Estrellita and SV Mellifera, my first instinct was to use tile. In a fit of girlieness I was attracted to the shiny sparkle of glass tile. "OOH! Pretty!". Then I realized what would happen the first time I dropped something on it and I promise you- I will drop something at some point. Its rather spendy and I would absolutely shatter it within the the first 3 months. Then there is the issue of glass tiles weight- its heavy. I next considered ceramic tile but once again- I will break it and it is heavy.

I picked up a piece of Corian and thought "Hey! This stuff is really light". And impervious to shattering. And scorch resistant. And able to be cut to accomodate the reefer hatchs. And able to have a sink built in with no gaps for water to seep in. A HA! We have our answer.

Not so fast Cowboy. It seems that every place I speak with regarding having Corian countertops made play along until I explain that I want a raised fiddle edge and only a small amount of countertops and oh, I'd like to install it myself. "Can't be done! Impossible! You don't meet the minimum order size! You must be certified by Corian to install it" And on and on... I know that many boats are being outfitted with Corian with fiddles and small orders so my question is- where are people getting their countertops made? Someone somewhere has to be making them. I will almost bet that there are people out there installing Corian in their boats themselves, even without being 'Corain certified'.

Corian certified my left hiney cheek. Its a resin based countertop, not an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ain't necessary to have a point, to have yourself a point

We love getting reader email, even if we don't necessarily agree with the writer. (ceol_ mor at yahoo dot com) Someone has taken the time to not only read our little blog but the time to send an email as well. For that, thanks!

We received the following email from a reader: "I understand that you are involved with rebulding your boat but until you are actually out cruising, your blog is pointless. I'm not trying to be harsh, but if you try to start a blog about cruising before you are actually doing it, you will lose readers. I look forward to reading about your cruising once you are out cruising. TY!

I'm not certain if the writer meant TY as short hand for thank you or if his name is Ty. I prefer to think of him as being named Ty, possessing an enthusiastic nature and if his last name is Fighter, his parents get nerdy cool points from me. Anyway...

Dear TY!
Thanks for taking the time to write. While I understand that reading about a family getting a boat ready to cruise while trying to live life is not exciting, it is reality. There are people who manage to buy a boat, throw their gear onboard and take off. There are also people like us, who buy a boat to go cruising, get surprise problems which must be resolved, add a new crew member unexpectedly and have work commitments that extend a year and a half beyond what was planned. That's not only cruising, that's life!

We could look at things from a negative perspective. The forecasted refit has extended beyond what we had planned for in terms of time and money. Systems we thought were okay have to be rectified and that takes time and a not insignificant amount of money. The space issues we are dealing with the addition of Kitty to the crew are taking some thought and time to work out. Mark's job commitments were supposed to have been wrapped up last year and yet, it looks as if things won't wind down on that front until December or January.

We prefer to look at things optimistically. The fact that every system needs attention means that Mark and I will have a very thorough understanding of Ceol Mor and will be better equipped to deal with the inevitable break downs. As Mark says " Once you take a part an engine and put it back together, it is no longer so intimidating." The space issues caused by the addition of Kitty is not a big deal. Maura now has a little buddy and we have an additional source of amusement and fun. Mark's work continuing longer than expected means that we have funds coming in to pay for the extra boat refit expenses. It all hinges on how you chose to look at life.

In closing TY! , I'll leave you with some profound words from one of my favorite philosophers- The Rockman. Firstly, "You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear". Oh, and as to the blog being "pointless"? "There ain't nothing pointless about this gig. Ain't necessary to posess a point, to have yourself a point. Dig"

Monday, November 1, 2010

What is this Halloween thing and why am I dressed as a monkey?

Kitty's first Halloween, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

We celebrated Halloween in typical American fashion. I love Halloween because it really serves no other purpose than to be fun.

Kitty was less than enthusiastic about the whole thing but she did enjoy seeing her sister transformed. Kitty was a monkey. We added a little bow to her ensemble because everyone refers to her as a little guy. I don't mind and neither does Kitty but Maura takes offense.

We traipsed about door to door and Kitty managed to stay awake for the first 30 minutes. Maura got an impressive haul of goodies which she is usually forbidden so she is happy enough.

I'm looking forward to Halloween next year on the boat. It will be different for certain but I plan on making it special all the same. Maybe we won't go door to door but we will definitely have costumes and cake and merriment. That's all you really need anyway.

Bellatrix Le Strange

Bellatrix Le Strange, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

I think I may have disappointed our little Bellatrix with her mother's less than stellar rendering of a Dark Mark tattoo. Its not my fault! I can barely manage stick figures on a good day.

Maura threw herself whole heartedly into her character. She perfected Bellatrix's "mad, evil laugh" and made use of it at Every. Single. House. One of the parents asked her if she was involved in drama to which Maura replied "Yes, I've always had a flair for the dramatic". Truer words were never spoken.

Fiona's First Halloween

Fiona's First Halloween, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Kitty was a bit unsure as to what all this fuss was about. I suppose if you have no teeth and are not allowed to have any candy, Halloween loses some of its appeal.

Bellatrix LeStrange

Bellatrix LeStrange, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Maura was so into the creation of her Halloween persona as Bellatrix LeStrange that she tried to convince me that hair extensions were necessary. I informed her that Bellatrix would have to make do with a wig. I think she made a terrific Bellatrix but I'm glad to have my Maura back.