Friday, January 28, 2011

This kid goes to 11

While work continued apace on the bulkheads and portlights, we celebrated Maura's 11th birthday. Here you can see her sporting her birthday gifts- an ipod shuffle and a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker ( you remember Lip Smackers, don't you?). We've embarked on a new era. We've entered the tween years.

While she still loves her American Girl doll and books, she understands the appeal of Katy Perry and has more than a bit of Bieber fever. She still loves to play dress up, though she's just as likely now to sneak into my makeup and try to make herself look like a teenager as she is to dress up as a fairy princess. She has one foot firmly in childhood and one toe gently testing the big kid waters. Slow down Momo. Its going by all too quickly...

It was just a few short years ago that this was her normal attire.

Now we have fights over the reasons why she isn't allowed to wear makeup, or clothes that I deem to be too mature or what constitutes 'age appropriate' in general. Slow down my Momo, slow down.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Herding Cats...

One of the items on our to do list is to get Kitty her passports. Due to the fact that she has dual citizenship, she must carry both a US passport as well as one for the UK. It gets a bit tricky when traveling because if she is entering or leaving the US or its territories she must produce her US passport. If entering or leaving the UK or one of its territories she uses her UK passport. This should make any excursions to the Virgin Islands fun, trying to keep up with which country owns which island. If its Tuesday, it must be the United Kingdom.

Each country not only requires different documentation, but the photographic requirements of each application require different sized photographs with different facial ratios. No problem, just to go to Walgreens where they have kiosks to manipulate photos to each country's specifications. Not so fast cowboy.

I am married to the world's thriftiest Scot ever and when he found out that Walgreens would require the princely sum of $20 he stated that I had a wonderful camera and editing software so I should just do it all myself and print up the 2 different sized sheets which would cost $1.60 total. Now I am all for saving money but sometimes it is worth spending the extra cheese in order to make things easy. This is especially true since Kitty has figured out how to crawl with lightening speed and has not stopped moving since she made this discovery. Here are some of the attempts I made in order to do the simple task of getting the photos to attach to her applications.

Here we have a solo attempt by me to photograph Kitty against the required white background. Kitty thought the dangling camera strap looked very interesting and that she Must. Have. It. Now.

Another attempt against the required white background. Full credit to Kitty's lightening fast reflexes. The kid is getting quicker. This time I didn't even manage to get any part of her in frame before she took off.
We thought we'd get clever and restrain our little mover and shaker by placing her in a high chair. She rewarded our efforts by giving us approximately 20 frames with a similar expression. Isn't this fantastic? Doesn't she look  JUST like a celebutante in a pre rehab mug shot? I blame her father for trying to teach her to sing Amy Winehouses' 'Rehab".

In the end, I think it was a fit of compassion on Mark's part that caused him to say "Just take her to Walgreens already". Le sigh. I took her in just before her afternoon nap when she was too tired to do anything but sit very still in the little chair and stare blankly into the camera as the photo tech snapped her photo. 5 minutes pushing keys and we had the appropriate sized photos with the proper facial ratios. Best $20 I've spent in a long while.
Now we just wait for a few weeks and we should be able to travel where ever we like. Except Cuba. Well, some of us can go to Cuba but some of us can not. Never mind, I'm not going to get political. I'm just going to sip my tea from my Made in China mug and finish this post.
And finally, a photo that had too much shadow to be useful but this is such an accurate photo of our cheeky little monkey. We should have her passports in hand soon, which is a very good thing. At 9 months old, she has her first real word. Its not "mama" or "daddy", its "bye bye" complete with the appropriate hand gesture. This is a kid who was born to travel and she and I are on the same page. We are both really, really ready to lose the docklines and go "bye bye".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A wee bit of a ramble

I admit, this post is a bit of a ramble. This is due to the fact that while we are making progress (and by we, I mean Mark) on the chainplates the fact of the matter is that the 3rd chainplate repair is accomplished in exactly the same manner as the first chainplate. Also, the finished product of the third chainplate looks precisely like the first one so rather than posting yet more photos of chainplates and recounting in scintillating detail the process of rebuilding and reglassing bulkheads I've made the executive decision to bore you with other topics.

One of the coolest things about having a blog is getting to see the reader statistics. The world has in fact gotten smaller thanks to the internet. Maura loves seeing where our readers reside. We've gotten a strong contigency of readers from Greece which thrills Maura as she is currently obsessed with Greek history and mythology and is trying to teach herself to read Greek. She is also pretty excited about our many readers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. My mother is Norwegian so Maura is very interested in learning about the culture, history and customs of that region of the world. Its exciting for her to see the map lit up when a reader from a new country reads our little blog.

We are also able to see what search words were used to find us. We've gotten more than a few hits from the search "sexy sailing photos". How disappointed those people must have been upon stumbling on our blog to see bulkheads, babies and bilges. In order to appease those whom I have so thoroughly disappointed, here's a 'sexy sailor' for you. This photo has nothing what so ever to do with cruising, refitting or sailing but somehow I don't think that will matter to those who've found us through that particular search. Someday, I just might post some actual sexy sailing photos from our boat. Of course, my definition of sexy sailing is all about working toilets, strong chainplates, hot water and not running aground. Your mileage will probably vary.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I hate you Martha Stewart

Sewing Machine of Doom, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
I've been able to put off attempting to sew the girl's berth enclosure and the port light curtains for want of a sewing machine. I was going to borrow my mother's, but her's needs servicing. When Mark would ask "how are the sewing projects coming along?" I could answer truthfully that I was not able to get moving as I had no access to a machine. Truthfully, I was hoping that Mark ( who is a crafty, technical, DIY perfectionist super genius) would realize that the sensible thing to do is to hire out these little sewing jobs to someone more capable, I mean- someone with a working sewing machine.

Its not that I am lazy, its that I well remember my attempts at sewing garments for Barbie and her kid sister Skipper in my youth. It did not go well. They ended up wearing an assortment of togas and sarongs. Yes, I understand that basic sewing is simple. I understand that children are able to do it. I also know that I am horribly, irrevocably craft impaired. I've tried to teach myself sewing and knitting for years and the end result usually looks like something a kindergartner would have made. That is, if that kindergartner had free access to vodka and apple juice martinis and no adult supervision.

Mark called while out of town for work and told me "I've bought you a sewing machine. It should be here within the week". Ummm... would you believe that the machine arrived via the post the next day? Nothing ever ships that quickly. Nothing unless it is the Sewing Machine of Doom, then it will defy all the laws of physics and postal ineptitude and appear almost instantaneously upon my doorstep.

Mark called the next day. I told him that what I believed to be the sewing machine had arrived and was sitting in a large brown box on the table. He asked me if I had opened it up to check it out. "No. I am too scared to open it".Mark asked "Why on earth would you be scared? Open it up and get on with it". "I will", I replied " I just need some time".

It took me three days to open the box. Three days of reliving every painful detail of every failed crafty attempt I ever made. Memories of Barbie clothes fashioned out of fabric and embellished with duct tape and safety pins. Memories of the horrible skirt I made for myself in junior high and insisted on wearing because other, more stupid girls were sewing themselves beautiful things and Andie in Pretty In Pink managed to make her PROM dress so surely I could make a simple skirt.. I can still hear the snickers of the more craft abled girls as they appraised my lopsided, badly hemmed garment. which made me appear to have one leg approximately 7 inches shorter than the other.

Time marches forward, we grow up and learn to embrace challenges and we learn to overcome adversity. I opened the box. It was going well until I spotted HER on the box.

'Handpicked by Martha' was inscribed on the box right next to a smarmy, smiling photo of my arch nemesis, Martha Stewart. NOOOO!

Martha Stewart has been stalking me, mocking my ineptitude since the big kid was in preschool. All the other mom's would bring cookies to the holiday parties. Cookies that Martha had showed them how to make and decorate. "Look! I baked cookies in the shape of each child's head, adorned with a pre-Raphaelite likeness of each child executed in Royal Icing and for a little holiday flair, I knitted little cookie cozies from the wool I gathered from my own sheep. What did you bring?". My usual answer was "Doughnuts. Kids like doughnuts. Shipley's does them for $4 a dozen." I would hang my head in shame as Martha's Crafty Minions would prepare to carry out their Supreme Leader's directives at the' Its Springtime and Martha says thats a great time to embroider eggshells in celebration" party.

Cruising was supposed to offer me refuge from this kind of malarky. I am supposed to be involved in a pursuit that places value on my ability to navigate my quickly way to my desired destination no matter how lost I am (seriously, that's my super power). My inate ability to make do with what I have, to adapt, to figure out a solution with only the items on hand, to always be all right in the end- these were what cruising was supposed to value and most definitely, most assuredly THERE WAS TO BE NO MARTHA STEWART!!

I suppose the great lesson here is "that which does not kill us makes us stronger'. No one will be harmed if the berth enclosure is not exactly straight so long as it is strong and well attached. If the port light curtains have an uneven hem, no one will notice. If they do notice, they can unexpectedly meet the boom during a surprise jibe.

Ok. I can do this. I have to do this because I can not live with HER face, smiling from the box on my table. It is creeping me out. The box must go and the berth enclosure must be finished. If I can do this, I can do anything.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Where are the sexy sailing photos?

Handrail rebedding, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
And you thought getting ready to cruise on a boat meant buying bikinis and looking pretty in the cockpit with the wind gently blowing your hair...

Its more like crawling around a boat in jeans that could really use a wash and some patching, with fiberglass and sawdust in your hair. I suppose that's a good thing for us because we like to have something to do.

Mark and I once took a little 5 day cruise to Mexico on a huge cruise ship. Our sea days were well, boring. We aren't into karaoke or bingo, our fellow passengers weren't the most interesting of individuals and by day 2 we were so itching for something to do, we ended up befriending the workers and hanging out with them more than the passengers. I actually ended up helping the early morning crew clean the pool area. Yeah. Work for us is a good thing...

Anyway, we are working our way from the bow of the boat to the back. We've removed the teak handrail along the cabin top for refinishing. We are also checking for any rot or moisture and rebedding the hardware properly.

I use that word a lot. Properly. Actually, MARK uses it a lot and I just learned years ago that doing things properly is Mark's personal Nirvana.

Portlight removal

Portlight removal, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Mark's priority just now is to keep the water out of the boat. While work continues on the bulkheads, since we are currently knee deep in epoxy anyway it makes sense to pull the portlights, search out any and all deck that needs recoring and rebed those puppies properly We are making progress- slowly but surely.

We found a bit of rot on the forward port side deck just above the portlight. The area has been recored and is being glassed in before we rebed the portlights. I suppose we could skip it, but what's the point of having your boat torn apart if you aren't going to really address the issues and fix them properly?

Little Ceol Mor, I hope you appreciate all the blood, sweat, tears and love we are pouring into you and will thank us by keeping us safe and dry. Please?

Portlight Repair

Portlight Repair, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

The insides not looking too sexy just now either. What is guaranteed to happen as soon as you pull the portlights for rebedding? Rain. Lots and lots of rain. Continung with our glass half full way of looking at things, we've become really adept at sealing up holes in the boat with plastic. The interior is managing to stay dry, we just wish the rain had held off for a couple of days.

Oh well. Sunnier skies are on their way and we'll be able to finish the rebedding before you know it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boxing Day Renaming Ceremony

Mark Boxing Day Renaming, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
On Boxing Day, we hosted some good friends for non-burned Christmas cookies, merriment and the Official Boat Renaming Ceremony. We had six adults and six children. To quote Maura, the kids in attendance were " Maura, Kitty, Nora, Kitty, Chili and Shay". Say that 3 times fast. I think the hive mind was at work as we chose names for our kids.

Ok. So we were about a year and a half behind schedule in performing the necessary supplications to Neptune and the Four Winds to dot the i and cross the t on the renaming of the boat. We begged the forgiveness of Neptune for our lack of promptness with an extra measure of champagne for the ruler of the waves. Hopefully, the extra libations will encourage his benevolence towards our little boat.

Maura read the supplication to Neptune and offered libations to His Majesty and his court. Shay dropped the ingot inscribed with the previous name of our vessel into the briny deep. (Ok, it was a dogtag from Petsmart but we have vivid imaginations). Big Kitty offered libations to each of the rulers of the winds and implored them all to take it easy on us. Chili looked like a cool rockstar, mostly because at 13 all of the other kids aspire to one day be half as cool as she is. Little Kitty babbled through out the readings. Sadly, Nora didn't make it to the ceremony as her busy social calendar was full and she was only able to do a brief stop over. Such is the jet set life of the three year old set.

We all had fun and we earnestly hope that we observed protocol closely enough that we will have no more nasty little surprises on the boat. Would we still have had punky bulkheads and a good bit of necessary deck recoring had we paid a bit more close attention to the calendar? Hard to say but we sincerely hope that things from here on out go a bit more smoothly.

Boat Renaming 12/26/2010

Boxing Day Wolf & Shay, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
It just wouldn't be proper to christen a boat named Ceol Mor without a bit of whisky. My good friend of mumble-years Wolf- musician, sailor, husband to Christina and awesome Daddy to Big Kitty and Shay did a fine job of not spilling the whisky.

Boxing Day Renaming

Kitty L & Maura, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
Kitty L did a fantastic job of offering up a bit of bubbly to each of the 4 winds. Her pronunciation was perfect. Her voice was strong and confident. If you would like to hire an experienced boat renamer, you can contact her via me. I'll take 10% as a booking fee.

Shay Steers

Shay Steers, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
Shay was ready to go sailing. When we explained to him that we were not able to go sailing today, he took it in stride and was happy just to steer the boat while tied to the dock.

When Shay asked what we were doing, I told him we were onboard to rename the boat. "Lady Bug!" he piped up. 'We can name the boat Lady Bug!". My explainations that the Coast Guard had the boat registered as Ceol Mor and that we had already paid to have the new name painted on the transom did not sway his opinion that Lady Bug was a far superior name choice.

In order to prevent wasting such a fantastic suggestion for a name, our 2 man previously unnamed kayak is now known as the Good Ship Lady Bug. Far be it from me to ignore the great suggestion of such an awesome kindergartner.

Boxing Day Renaming

Christina L Boxing Day Renaming, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Christina- awesome mom to Kitty and Shay, wife to Wolf, voice of reason and yes- she really is that beautiful.

Boxing Day renaming

boat1 179, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

We made crowns and adorned them with shells as Maura and I thought that would be more 'Neptuney'. In typical fashion, I brought the wrong size glue sticks for the glue gun so there was not enough glue to really afix the shells firmly. The attrition rate of the shells was great. Never mind, the girls were happy enough all the same.

A Huddle of Girls

A Huddle of Girls, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
Chili, Maura and Big Kitty in a huddle. When I asked Maura why she had such a pained look on her face, she informed me that she was trying to emphasize how cold it was.

For the record, it wasn't that cold at all but we are family based in the subtropics so your mileage may vary.

Boxing Day Renaming

Boat naming, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Mark did a shift of Little Kitty minding. She loves being in her Beco, but if you sit, she wants to bounce.