Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whoa, Midwesterners are on the water!

We welcomed Grandma and Grandpa Katrein to Everett from Illinois over the weekend and loved sharing our water-based life with them. They also got lots of time with the munchkins!

Despite a deluge Friday night and some showers Saturday, we got underway Saturday afternoon for a mostly dry cruise/sail. After a bit of fishing we circled Hat Island and headed home. The kids slept most of the time allowing me more time above deck than I think I've ever had underway!
Anyone that knows me should be scared!
The kids also showed their potty-training skills to the grandparents. It cracks me up that they love to go two-at-a-time.
Katreina is very proud to show Trent how it's done.

Trent knows where the TP is!

Sunday was nice and lazy, with breakfast at Kate's, a walk through the marina, and a trip to the Farmer's Market. I even gave Mom & Dad a ride back to the Inn in the dinghy and they liked it! The real treat of Sunday was Date Night! Mom & Dad handled the kiddos for dinner and some fun in their hotel while Frank and I hit Anthony's for beers, apps, and Sunday Night Football! It was an awesome date!

I skipped out of work Monday so the g-parents could get more time with the kids. We shopped, lunched, I took Mom on a dinghy tour of the marina, and we played in the park. We ended the night with a big burgers and corn cook-out on the boat. As the cook, I must say it was wonderful!

I think my folks had a pretty good time and I'm glad that someone from my hometown can now comment on my living situation based on first-hand knowledge!

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Keurig, meet Boat. Boat, meet Keurig."

Coffee has a special place in our lives. Probably just because we're American workers who are/were in the Navy, but also because we are on our second tour through the PacNorWest, home to wonderful coffee businesses. Ever since we moved aboard I've been struggling with making our own.

French press was ok, but even with the coarsest grind from the grocery store it was a mess and I wasn't a big fan of boiling water in one container, then having to dirty another to actually make the coffee.

Percolator was nice and reminded us a bit of camping, but it, too, was full of grounds with even the coarsest grind. And as the galley slave I am not a fan of cleaning it, either.

Instant was, well, instant. Great for "anytime" and reminded me of our trip to Patagonia, but let's be honest--it sucks. Even blending it with some International Coffee foo-foo stuff couldn't really rescue it.

Enter Keurig! I've had the joy of using this handy contraption at Navy Lodges for the past few years and like it a lot. And as our coffee at work has been about 50% grounds lately I folded! I ran to Target today and picked one up. Figured we could try it out on the boat and maybe solve our greatest problem yet! Now, to get Frank onboard...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Will there be a doctor in the family???

This post is a little bit of catch-up...last week, pretty much exactly one week ago, I made a last-minute decision to put my hat in for a Navy PhD program. Translation? One week to take a GRE, get some letters of recommendation, track down my transcripts, get the whole thing endorsed by the Admiral, and get it in the mail. Yep, I was busy.

Why the procrastination? I don't know, really. Part of me doesn't want to go through all the work of a doctorate if I'm not really going to use it. I know plenty of great METOC officers that don't have PhDs--they are great leaders, an attribute that does not come from years in academia. Part of me thinks "Dr. Powers" sounds silly! Frank's work prospects in Monterey aren't that great and I don't want to hurt him. And I wonder if it will be rough on the kids at all. And even the bit of me that was thinking it might be fun to get back into research and an insane amount of academic toiling wasn't sure the timing would be good for my career and my current billet since I'd have to leave right as deployment is kicking off. In the end, I realized if I don't go for it I'll just never know if I could do it. I talked to my mentor and we decided the timing wasn't horrible and that since my desired field of study isn't offered every year (but is this year!), I needed to jump.

So the "boat" experience this weekend was a Saturday of salmon fishing (and catching!) while I attempted to study for the GRE. That didn't go well for me so Frank gave me a few hours alone Sunday to cram--much better!

Today I took the GRE and am happy to report that it seems I've gotten a smidge smarter than when I took it a decade ago! The whole thing miraculously came together this afternoon and I can finally relax. I'm sure that I'm up against some great competition so if I don't get it, at least I can say that I tried. I think this calls for a movie night!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Adventure

So what if "adventure" = "lazy weekend amongst 30kt winds"???

We got underway Friday night with our eyes on Hope Island as a final destination in hopes of some luck on this last crabbing weekend of the season. Small craft advisories were in the forecast for almost the entire weekend, but we figured we'd give it a shot. With strong winds from the south on Friday night, we headed to Penn Cove for anchorage right off Coupeville. We dropped the crab pot nearby and came in after dark which afforded a bit of excitement considering we "found" a few boats anchored without lights on. Set the hook easily and rode out a rather exciting gusty night there!

Saturday we got underway thinking we could make it up to Hope Island. First things first though--we had to retrieve the crab pot in 20+ kt winds. Took 2 tries, but we got it--empty. By then we realized the wind was going to kick out butts. Not impossible, but not fun when you have two little kids onboard. We headed back to our anchorage, or rather next to our anchorage as someone had slipped in while we were out. Still a good spot and 20kts sure will help you set the hook!

By the afternoon the winds had died down enough for us to venture into town. We walked the small downtown and found a few things to do...

Trent and Katreina walk the main street.

Ice cream!!! Yummy shop right by the marina.

The Coupeville Public Dock.

The kids play ball by the museum.

We stumbled upon a cute little park at the end of a trail along the bluff.

On our way home after a fun Saturday afternoon. That's Lehe Paine to the right of Katreina.

The forecast for Sunday was looking pretty rainy and windy, too, with some troughs passing through the area so we decided we'd just stay put at our nice anchorage. Saturday night and Sunday morning were both pretty rough with some good showers here and there. We never saw gusts over 33kts, though. We had a lazy Sunday morning of pancakes, movies, toys...Daddy got to fish. The skies cleared a bit and we rode into town for lunch at Kim's Cafe on the public pier--good Pho and Thai! We also decided to sample the coffee at Local Grown--yummy! Then it was back home for nap time. Of course by now the wind had picked up and I got absolutely drenched on the ride back. Trent did, too, but he looked like he was having a blast!

Katreina crashed out for the better part of Sunday afternoon.

I swear the kids are going through growth spurts as they've been sleeping in all weekend and taking ridiculously long naps. Once we finally got everyone awake we went back to town to try to burn some energy. We hit the park for a while then decided to just stay there for dinner (I'm starting to think the family doesn't really like my cooking!). After considering a few good looking options in town, we headed back to Kim's as it was the most kid-friendly place we saw. Sunday night was very peaceful...

Today I sent Frank in to the pier to grab lattes before getting underway. That was pure genius! Way better than instant or percolator coffee! Now we're at the fishing grounds south of Everett in hopes of bringing home a few fresh salmon.

Somewhat lazy, somewhat exciting, perfect long weekend with my family!