Friday, February 25, 2011

What is Normal anyway?

Kitty sails too, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
Maura informed me yesterday that she wished we were a normal family. When pressed, it seems that not one of her friends have parents who plan on sailing to who knows where. Not one of her friends have parents who ask them to do chores and help out on big projects. No one she knows is planning on homeschooling so they can travel as a family. No one she knows pulls out a globe and says "all the blue parts are like a highway. Where would you like to go"?

I asked Maura if she really, really understood what was considered normal. When she asked me to elaborate, I told her that normal was for both parents to spend 50-60 hours a week commuting and working. Normal is living in a gated community where you do not speak to your neighbors. Normal is shuttling your children to soccer, karate, music all instructed by people other than your parents. Normal is seeing your family for maybe an occasional dinner, then all going your own way. Normal is working for 45 years to afford that gated community, after which you retire to live in another gated community until you die. She then reconsidered and then decided that being in a "weird" family might just be ok.

Rather than think of ourselves as weirdos, I prefer to glamorize our tendency to do things in our own, unique way and call us "Rugged Individuals". Kitty is already showing signs of fitting in perfectly. At 10 months, she walks. Not upright on two feet as tiny feet do not provide the most stability. No, our little rugged individual has decided that walking on your knees provides a more stable base while allowing you to be upright.She does this at home, outside on grass, the boat, even concrete. Its hell on her clothes and I fear she might be arthritic by age 3 but despite my attempts to coax her up on her feet, she just continues to do things in her own unique way.
Yep. She fits right in.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holy Guacamole!!! This is insane!!

I was told by a reader that my previous title "updates coming soon" well, to save bandwidth we'll just say he said it sucked. So now I have retitled this post with a NEW! EXTREME!! title. Its still a post about upcoming changes though. Anyway...

I know I've been a bit slack in regaling you with tales of deck recoring, deck hardware bedding and how really insanely adorable Kitty is just now. Its all for a good cause though! I'm rearranging a few things, sorting out some new software that will hopefully improve the enjoyment factor for you dear readers. (and by dear readers I do mean all 18 and 1/2 of you ;) ). I know I have a short attention span and I'm thinking maybe a few of you do as well so in an effort to allow you to waste time in a less boring manner, I'm going to be changing a few things.

Hang in there. It might not actually be worth the wait, but it will be a change and they say a change is as good as a rest. Think of Our Life with Ceol Mor as a rest from doing what you really should be doing...

In other exciting news, I managed to get the Sewing Machine of Doom fired up and made 8 actual chafe guards! They work and everything! Buoyed by my great success at sewing 2 seams on each chafe guard approximately 9 inches long, I then tried my hand at making fender covers. No, its not a silly Martha inspired fender cozy with no real purpose. Our hull is painted and we need to protect the finish from abrasion.

In another example of the Universe keeping me humble, it went all pear shaped rather quickly. I am growing though. I did not smash the damned Sewing Machine of Doom with a temptingly close at hand hammer, I merely packed it away and decided to deal with it when I had more time and a lot more cocktails.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maura sails....

On Saturday, I was feeling pretty despondent over the state of the boat. The boat has plywood and plastic bolted over two of her removed portlights while we wait for the weather to warm up enough to rebed them. Her handrails on deck have been removed for revarnishing and tape covers the old screw holes. The headliner from the entire cabin has been removed to allow for rewiring, etc. She looks a right mess. My uncle came by to visit for the first time and upon seeing the interior of the boat said "When exactly are you guys planning on leaving?"

In order to prevent me from becoming a morose little Eyeore, Mark suggested we go for a sail on Sunday. Even though she looks a state, she is operational and can be sailed- all though you wouldn't want to take her offshore. This was a brilliant move on Mark's part because despite her appearance, it reminded me why we fell in love with her in the first place. She sails so, so beautifully and comfortably. 19 knots of wind, beam reach and a boat speed of 7 knots on main alone. For all of you who hard core salty peeps who want to know how well she points- 25 degrees easy.

I've got lots of pictures of Kitty who was a bit cranky, but that's probably to do with the appearance of her new tooth. I'm opting not to post them just now because this next bit is all about Maura.

Maura is finally able to see over the cabin top and now that she's a bit older, was allowed/asked to do more while preparing the boat to go out. She really liked having more responsibility for the boat but what really made her day was that for the first time she was given complete control of the boat. This was an enormous deal to her, very similar to being allowed to drive the family car for the first time. She did a great job and we are enormously proud of her. Sail on Maura, sail on.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Metals, Meticulous Methodology and a Man Crush...

Why is this man smiling? He is similing because he got to have an "I told you so" moment. He loves those moments.

 While undertaking the rebedding of the portlights, Mark was of the opinion that while the stainless steel frames were in good shape, they were something less than pristine. I was of the opinion that so long as they were rust free and water tight they were functioning as intended and we should just get them rebedded because how much of a difference would laborously polishing every nook and cranny of the frames make? In 2 weeks time they would once again have water spots. Mark lives for perfection, so of course he carefully took all the frames apart and carefully polished and inspected every centimeter.

 Here we see him gleefully showing me that polishing by machine does in fact make a difference. Our boat might have plastic covering the holes where the portlights ought to be but man- are those portlights going to be shiny when they are bedded. For 2 days...

While Mark handles the hands on work, I am in charge of research. You'd think that with the hundreds of how to books on the market that every question you could possibly ask would have been answered. You would be wrong. This is where online sailing communities fill in the gaps. I'm in charge of online discussion/research for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Mark is not as quick a reader as I am. Secondly, and most importantly Mark finds the necessary online sorting of opinions to be impossibly tedious.

Here's the thing about online communities- for every one sailor/adventurer who has a clue you have to sort through 100 opinions from people who have no freaking grip on reality. Planning on going cruising with kids on a sailboat? You'll get 50 people who will tell you you will die a horrible, watery death (these people like to make sailing sound like a deathly proposition in order to thrill the guys at their local watering hole on Friday nights), 40 people who will say "Great! Just bring some duct tape", 9 people who will tell you your boat sucks (because they don't have one, nor have they ever) and then the 1 person who will say that yes, your plans while challenging are doable and you probably won't die or scar your children for life. It can be a task to find that one voice of reason.

I like to ask questions. This is how I learn best. When Mark and I are flummoxed by a needed repair, I can go and ask questions and I know which peeps are duffers and which ones have a good handle on what to do and how to do it. Usually, Mark will narrow his eyes suspicously because being such a Left Brain, it is rare that a person will conduct repairs  in a Mark like, laser precisie manner. Which brings me to Mark's Man Crush.

It started with a discussion as to how to properly bed deck hardware. I knew from time online, the one guy in all the world who does things the way Mark likes things to be done- carefully, with precision and do it over and over until it is perfect. His online nickname is MaineSail. Mark was suspicious until I showed him MaineSail's online how to galleries. It was love at first click for Mark. "Now that is how you do a proper job!". I was right. Thanks to me, Mark has found his online, refit soul mate. Since I will never, ever document how we effect repairs in as thorough a manner as MaineSail (being a Right brain and easily distracted by butterflies) I'll just post a link here. If you want to know how to do things 'properly" here is the place find out how. MaineSail's Boat Projects Mark puffy heart loves his galleries.

And now for some portlight polishing pictures...WHEEE!