Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tense times--my first haul out!

Today was built to be insane! Work, class, lunch, haul out, climbing, dinner, red-eye to the east coast... Wait, haul out? You read that right! Since we're heading out of town for a long weekend we decided there was no better time to get the bottom paint, zincs, and some detailing attended to. Easy, right? Sure, only I am wicked nervous since I've never done this before, I saw a boat slip out of the slings once, and, oh yeah, this is my house! And just for fun, the forecast was for rain and 20-25kt winds. YIKES!

After pounding way more Taco Bell than any human really needs, Frank and I got the boat prepped with plenty of time to spare. Then we waited. And the wind sounded ferocious. And I felt like I was going to throw up (from nerves, not lunch!). Finally we saw the Travelift in position so we headed up to chat to the guys. They told us to just back her in. Ok. Sure. Back her in. Our original slip in this marina had been so painful because we had to back the boat in and she has crazy prop walk. Did I mention the wind?

In the end, Frank backed it all the way from our slip to the lift so she had some good way on. We made it over there fine and the lift operators were able to manhandle the lines and get her in the slings. The wind pushed us around a little, but the rain had stopped just long enough and the whole deal was honestly pretty painless. Kind of fun, actually! It was so weird seeing our home out of the water. She looks good, though! Definitely needs bottom paint and there is some fishing line around the prop, but the zincs looked pretty good as did all the through-hulls. Finally, I can breathe. Heck, I'm so chill now I'm treating myself to a mani/pedi!

In the slings and getting a bath.

On the move through the parking lot at the marina.

Next adventure--overnight flights en route to South Carolina!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Loss

This blog was to be as much about my life in the Navy and what it's meant to my family as it was about living on a sailboat. This entry is geared toward the Navy, and one of the great people I met along my Navy journey.

Today I learned of the passing of Elwood "Ellie" Eldridge. I met Ellie while I was dating his son, shortly after my commissioning in the Navy. While in ROTC I had met many veterans and was frequently confronted with older men that kind of told me they didn't think I should be in the Navy. "This is a hard life, honey...a hard job." "Have you thought about nursing? I bet you'd make a nice nurse." "Ships? Are you sure?" Though disappointed by their comments, I accepted them as part of our generational differences. Then I met Elwood, a WW II veteran. He didn't say anything like that. He listened as I told him about the path I was taking in the Navy. He excitedly pulled out a photo from Fleet Week in New York, describing all the ships on the Hudson and pointing out where he was. He told me about how great it was to be out in the city, and sounded so proud of his service and excited about the experiences he had had. And he shared it all with the underlying tone of "you, too, will have a great time." I loved that.

The entire time I lived near Ellie and his wife they were wonderful to me. I felt like family with them all...cared for...and while I didn't entirely realize how important that was early in my career, I now greatly value the handful of friends I have scattered about the country who do genuinely care about me. Even as the relationship that introduced me to them changed, the Eldridges remained a part of my life. We exchanged letters and emails, and they even welcomed me to their home with my husband and infant daughter years after I'd last seen them.

I don't think he ever knew how his tiny gesture of sharing his story with me impacted me, and I'm saddened that I didn't tell him so. I don't want to make that mistake again. I hope the rest of the family knows that they were and are still part of my world and that I grew through my experiences with them. And they are at the front of my thoughts tonight.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Arrrr! Happy Halloween!


Such a great day! We had lots of errands to take care of in the morning, but had a GREAT time carving pumpkins with our friends Michelle and Doug in the afternoon. They let us get pumpkin goo all over their dining room and Michelle roasted up lots of yummy pumpkin seeds--the kids loved them! But candy was calling...

To go along with our boating life, the kids were pirates for Halloween this year! Katreina was a sassy pirate and Trent was a traditional "Captain Jack Sparrow" type. The lovely WA weather killed our plan of cruising in the dinghy as a pirate family (Frank and I even had eye patches!), but we did go out trick-or-treating. We managed to stay dry until the last block and a half, and then we got soaked! Still lots of fun. And now we know that Trent really likes m&m's!