Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shift focus?

Given recent events, maybe I should shift the focus of this blog to a medical rag of some sort. Why, you may ask? Well, Trent went to the ER again yesterday! He and Dad were holding hands walking down the ramp to the pier, he stumbled a little, stopped, and cried like crazy. We got him on the boat and noticed he was particularly cranky when we touched his left wrist and wasn't really moving his left arm. Off to medical we went, only to find we were too late so the family took a field trip to the ER. Thankfully the whole ordeal took just over an hour and a half and the little guy only had "nurse-maid's elbow," a dislocation caused when he fell and was still holding on to Dad. The physician's assistant had him back to normal within a few minutes of seeing him. He's fine now...wait, is that my phone ringing???

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The grind kind of stinks!

Yesterday Frank started work while I hung out doing laundry, running errands, and cleaning. Not so bad... Then I started work today. Throw in a toddler's swim lessons and suddenly we're busy! I really enjoyed the time off during the move! Surviving still, but I'll admit that there was no cooking onboard Lehe Paine tonight! Fish tacos at Taco del Mar, baby!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh my God, is that blood???

I'd tell you that's how the day started, but I'd be lying. Rewind a was a rainy morning, but we had high hopes for the day. As I checked the weather, the princess awoke. "Katreina, what's that in your hair?"

"Um, I dunno. A sticker." She woke up with one of her wall stickers in her hair. Then in the process of trying to claim ownership of her room, Trent's fingers got mashed in the door. Tears and yelling ensued.

We made it through breakfast and the rain had stopped. We planned to take the dinghy on a short hop to Jetty Island to grab a few geocaches so Frank went topside to dry it out while I got ready and the kids played in their rooms. I was just finishing brushing my teeth when Trent came in behind me. He fiddled around a bit (like any good toddler) and that's when I looked down and saw it. Oh my God, is that blood??? Yep! His toe was bleeding like crazy! I followed the trail through the boat all the way back to Katreina's room. I saw that he had a huge, deep splinter in it, but couldn't fathom where in the room it came from. Frank came in to perform minor surgery on the poor guy's big toe and succeeded in removing the offending objects (there were actually 2!).

We patched him up and headed to Jetty Island and were indeed successful at nabbing 2 geocaches there. By the end of that trip is was clear the kids were tired and hungry so we took our cranky gang back to the marina for some lunch. After the kids went down for nap, we decided there was no time like the present to get underway. Just had to get dinghy back on board...easy, right? Heck no! That thing is heavier than she looks! After Frank cut his finger, we got the lifelines unhooked, wrestled the bohemith onto the deck, and strapped it down. Getting underway was a breeze this time...

After cutting through a regatta we enjoyed a little sail and saw whale #1 of the day. The wind left pretty shortly after that and we realized we'd have to power up to get to an anchorage for the night. Katreina joined us while Trent slept. It was an amazing day, just wish we had more wind. Once Trent was up it was snack time for the kiddos...yummy Cheetos!

Frank scoped out the area and found whale #2. As we approached the anchorage (Honeymoon Bay), the kids settled in for a little movie action. Nothing like Cinderella at sea!

Just for a little excitement, we couldn't get the anchor windlass to power up as we were coming in. Seems you need to have the main engine keys in to make it work... After I sliced my finger wide open on a piece of wire, we anchored with ease. I patched myself up and got to cooking dinner in the expansive kitchen. Burgers (grilled on deck by the Captain), asparagus, chips, grapes, and beer!

So surely that's the end of the day, right? I wish! After some discipline issues with Katreina we all headed below and started up one of our favorite family activities--tickle time! We had fun, but it came to an abrupt halt when Trent (a.k.a. Vampire) took a serious hold of my leg with his teeth! Little monster left some pretty deep marks through my thickest jeans! Now the kids are in bed and the boat is silent. So let's see, that's injuries to Trent, Frank, and Jody (though Trent had 2 so that could transfer over to Katreina so that we would all have a war wound from today...), 2 technical difficulties, 2 geocaches, 2 whales, and 2 tired parents. Lonnnnnnnng day, but I loved it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quintessential PNW

Yep, it was a gorgeous day in the PacNorWest. Got off the hook easily this morning from Honeymoon Bay and headed out to enjoy great views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. Spent most of the day under peaceful Frank thought he heard a whale coming up for a breath. Sure enough, there was a humpback off our port quarter. Then a bald eagle was sailing over head...perfect!

The only not-so-great part of the day was the return to port. Honestly I was already nervous since I'd never docked this boat and it was wicked windy out. First we hit the fuel dock. Pretty easy there as the wind was blowing us right on to the dock. Next we used the lines to walk the boat around to the pump out station. I don't know if it was the wind or what, but this girl is a beast! We made it though and went through our first pump out. Think the tank gauges may need some calibration... Then with a screaming infant below decks we got underway to head to our slip. We're in the first dock at the marina which means there is NO protection from the wind during the afternoon sea breeze. It was sooooo clear that we were rookies. Frank made a few passes to get a feel for it and tweek his technique, then we went for it. I hopped off with just the stern line--that proved to be our most fatal error. The wind grabbed the bow and swung it away from me and towards the boat next to us. Frank fended off of it while I tried to walk the stern back. Finally got ahold of another line (midships) and a passer-by to help before getting the bow line and really getting the control we needed. Tense, tense, TENSE! And to top it off, as we were thanking the gent that came to our aid, Trent fell from the ladder in the cabin and scraped his head. Bottom line--we made it back, though a little battered and bruised.

1. Get the right length of lines on the cleats for docking.
2. Jump off with BOTH bow and stern lines in hand.
3. Raise our boat-to-boat fenders in case we have to bump a neighbor again!
4. Buy more fenders (this is a Jody being overly cautious one, but I'd like a few more!).
5. Don't try to dock around the kids' dinner time. Shoot for when they are napping or occupied by a snack.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

[tweet, tweet] Underway! Shift colors!

Had a great day at sea today! After a little tense underway event just after 10 a.m. (let's face it--I haven't been on a boat this big as one of two crew and wasn't 100% familiar with everything on deck yet!), we motored out and started checking things out. I'll admit the first few swells caught me off guard and being below decks got me a touch queasy!

First issue--GPS/depth/all inputs weren't getting into our nav display. Frank pushed enough buttons to resolve that. Then we wondered about how to empty the holding tanks (just checking the mechanics, too close to land pretty much all around here) and honestly are not sure if there is a way to actually pump the tanks overboard (though surely there is, hubby is reading up on it right now!). I made my first pot of coffee after Frank reminded me to hold down the knob on the stove while hitting the pilot light (very rookie move). The kids amazingly went down for naps very well. Made calls to all the grandparents so they'd know for sure that we were putting their grandchildren in grave danger, then hauled out the genoa and cut the engines. We were sailing! Not much wind today. Only topped out at about 3.8 kts once we had the main up, but the silence was blissful.
After tooling around a bit we decided to head in to Honeymoon Bay to anchor for the night. In the process of pulling in the genoa I whacked Trent on the temple with the winch crank (does it matter if I told him to stay back???). Then I couldn't get the electric anchor windlass to run, but after cleaning the contacts it came to life and we anchored with ease. We settled in for our first real, full, hot dinner on the boat--the classic Italian delicacy, spaghetti with salad and bread. I used the pressure cooker for the first time and boy was all that steam entertaining! But the pasta was good, the kids were pretty good, and the box sangria was especially yummy. After dinner we all hung out in the cockpit and got to see 2 beautiful bald eagles take up their roost atop a tree on the shore. After a little snack of mini-cupcakes outside, the kids were ready to head to bed.

And now, it's silent! The final issue of the day? Anchor light is burned out! Making due with the deck light...

Gorgeous day for an underway!

After 2 1/2 days onboard, I think we're ready to pull in the lines and get underway. Just need to get those pesky registration stickers in place first...

Friday, April 17, 2009


We had our first casualty today so now all the nay-sayers can say, "I knew it was dangerous!" Yep, that's right--we lost a shoe off the ramp to the dock. Anyone who's ever eaten with Trent knows he can't keep his shoes on through a whole meal. So Frank was carrying him and he kicked it off as we were going up the ramp (low tide, of course). Frank did an impressive jump-over-fence-scramble-down-rip-rap rescue of the shoe and we were back on our way to a dinner of fish tacos at Taco del Mar. Hah hah!

Today was a full day of moving, getting stuff into storage, getting kids set for daycare, getting this nifty air card for the computer, and doing laundry. Just a few more "details" and we'll be able to get underway!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We're here!

Arrived today after lunch and were quite thrilled to see the boat was still afloat after over 2 months! So far the only system not working is the heat, but we have a back up there. Moved about 4 carts of stuff on today and managed to get the kids to sleep--I'd say that's a good day! Oh, Trent ended up with a huge scrape on his face and it had NOTHING to do with being on the boat! The kid tripped in the parking lot on the way to dinner and has a big 'ole knot over his left eye and a bloodied left cheek. Kids...


5 days of driving, lots of miles, some pretty cool geocaches, and one poop-tastrophy have led us to this--we're in Washington! Trent must be pretty excited as he was up at 6 a.m. this morning. Less than 300 miles to go and we'll be at the boat! I think I'm going to enjoy plenty of this yummy PacNorWest coffee today so I'll be all set to unpack the cars. I can't believe how well the trip went, really. Ok, time to pack up and hit the road!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Farewell, NOAC. Hello, road trip!

Today was beyond bitter-sweet. Really, the last few weeks have been that way. It all started three weeks ago--that's when I got my end-of-tour award. I was shocked to get it then and wasn't sure what to say. It really got me thinking about "the end." I have the best job I've ever had. A year ago the thought of being "XO" scared the crap out of me. I wasn't ready for it, cut out for it, old enough for it, you name it. I didn't think I was the right gal for the job, just a gal that was in the right place at the right time, with the right rank, and with a relief on station.

Now a year later I love it! On the 24th was my farewell from the wardroom and I was lucky enough to have most of the chief's mess present as well. I only made it through about 3 gag gifts before I was in tears. The movers came the next day to get all the stuff we're putting in storage. After a busy week at work we spent the weekend busting our butts to empty the house, cram all we plan to take to the cabin and boat into a Prius and a Silverado, and move the family into a hotel. Emotion kept building as I started turnover with my relief, wrestled with the joys of Navy medical BS and a recurrence of the hernia I JUST had surgery on, tried hard to get time in with our neighbors and friends, and got ready to leave a job I was happy to go to every day. The command got together yesterday and had cake and a card for me. That may not seem like much to some folks out there, but I hated a few of my XO's so this was awesome in my book! The Sailors at NOAC are awesome. And yes, I cried.

Today was bound to be full of emotion. I woke up knowing that I needed to rush to get to Gulfport and wrap up my check-out and then bust back to Stennis to get to a Chief's retirement. Laying low at quarters didn't work--the Skipper called me out again and I managed to bawl in front of my command plus about 3 others. I finally had success at medical and got all checked out but it took longer than I was planning. I got back onto Stennis 35 minutes after the retirement began. By the time I got to the site, it would probably be 45 minutes...I would miss it. That made me sad. Back at the office there was more sadness as I packed up the last few items. I told the Skipper I was out of tears.

Or was I? A Chief came in and asked if he could see me for a minute. Strange...after a retirement usually everyone heads home. But there was one more farewell, one amazing honor. Thanks, Chiefs. The details of this one are for me for now...but yes, I cried again. Cried a ton.

Finally I was ready to go and had to say bye to the boss. I learned so much from this man and this command. He never held my lack of experience against me. He gave me enough room to make mistakes and learn. He understood the importance of family. He cared about his people. And I am going to miss working with him come Monday. Another hug, more tears. XO is one of the best names I've ever had right behind Mom and Wife, and walking out of that building stung.

Just when I thought it would be over I headed to daycare to grab the kids. More tears! This was their first daycare, the place that helped me cope with being a working mom, the ladies that had raised my kids for the past 2 years, their friends. We will miss them all terribly.

The long day is over. We're in Batesville, MS and will be at my sister's house tomorrow. We're on the way to our new life on our new boat. I am thrilled! I am sad! And I have very puffy eyes!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Blue Water" it is!

Thanks to all who voted on the boat's new name! It looks like we'll probably go with the crowd and rechristen her "Lehe Paine," which is "Blue Water" in the Tehuelche language. This is special to Frank and I as it is an ancestral Patagonian language, and we thoroughly enjoyed our travels in the Patagonia region. Can't wait to break a bottle of bubbly on her bow!