Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Deck the boat..." Part 2!

Frank took the dinghy out after dinner to try to get some better pics of the lights. :)

"Deck the boat with boughs of holly..."

We made an epic trip to Target this morning to fetch some lights for the boat. While the kids napped, we got 'em all up! There are white up-and-overs, candy cane ropes around the top life line, a lit wreath, and a little lit tree. Not bad for our first boat decorating attempt!

The inside was decorated a little bit, too. Stockings and some window clings are up. Not much, but it sure is enough to get me in the mood!

May have to add some better "after dark" photos later...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pretty awesome day here aboard Lehe Paine as we prepared our first Thanksgiving meal on the boat. After the kids slept in (THANK YOU!), we had a lazy morning of a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and football. Katreina took a few moments to pick toys to give away this holiday season and I'm proud of her for making some very tough choices! Trent and I took a nice long walk outside before a light lunch and naps for the kids. Then I got down to business for our early dinner feast!

Getting to work on the deviled eggs first. Check out my new apron--thanks Mom!

I felt like I was always doing dishes, but with breakfast, lunch, and the need to keep the workspace free, I had to!

After the birds went in the oven, we all headed out for a little dinghy ride. The kids really wanted to see the ducks so we took some bread with us and gave them a little T-day feast of their own. We weren't out for long since I was a little anxious to get back and check on dinner. Katreina and I stayed put and drank some hot chocolate to go along with the "Hot, hot, hot, HOT CHOCOLATE!" song in Polar Express while the boys went on a little diesel run. It was all coming together!

In the home stretch...had to put the board over the sink as everything was coming out of the oven and off the stove. I can't believe it all worked out!

My awesome family! A 4pm dinner of Cornish game hens, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, corn, cranberry sauce, and cranberry rolls. Pumpkin pie came out way later!

Frank served up the birds and we all ate LOTS of food!

I seriously loved being here in our little boat as a family, enjoying a holiday tradition. Katreina sweetly recounted a LONG list of things she's thankful for, including her family, her friends, her Aunt Brandi, rock climbing, her cousins...and it went on and on! I'm very thankful for my wonderful family who so willingly embarks on adventures.

After watching a Christmas movie, we had some pumpkin pie and the kids played. We had an especially fun game of hide and seek. In one round, it took Katreina, no joke, at least 5 minutes to find me. Hello! Our boat is not that big! Their bathroom is apparently a really good place to hide. ;)

All quiet now...and for that I am very thankful!

Monday, November 16, 2009


It'd be funny if this wasn't true! So we moved back in Saturday morning and decided to celebrate with a yummy dinner of steaks. It was pretty windy and Frank had to babysit the grill to keep it going so he stayed up in the cockpit while cooking. All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see orange flames shooting out of the grill, almost licking the canvas dodger. YIKES! And there was Frank, hopping around, trying to get the gas to shut off. He had to shut it off at the actual propane bottle. The flames subsided and Jay-Z boomed from the iphone...quite a party!

Sunday night he worked on the grill a little, cleaning out some of the vents, then slapped our chicken drumsticks on. Wicked windy again and a little flare-up! Not as bad as the previous night, though.

Not sure if I really want to put those burgers on the grill tonight...I like our canvas!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

We're home!

We were up early this morning for a chilly 8:30am launch. The lift operators were awesome and hung the boat perfectly level with the ground so we could walk the kids on. They were happy to be back with their movies!

It took a few tries to get the engine was 34F outside! After a little warm-up we were off and about a minute later we were docked at the slip. Everything went so smoothly. I immediately fired up the space heater but after 2 hours we're only up to 47F in here and that's with the boost from the stove. Frank has just finished up installing the heater and, wait--yep, that's warm air blowing!

Time to get warm, get some cleaning done, and re-stock the fridge. We're home!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Slight setback

Now we're pushed to a 3:30pm hang (so they can paint where the stands were) and an early Saturday morning launch. Not a complete bust, but I am sick of moving between hotels! And honestly with the deluge we're getting today I'm not confident this schedule will hold either...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good news!

Got a call today while we were out walking with the kiddos--Harbor Marine is shooting for a 1:15pm launch on Friday! Work on the boat has moved along nicely. We even did about a dozen drive-bys after getting the call to check out the detailing work. She's perrrrrty! Keeping my fingers crossed that we can stick to this schedule!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BOAT=Bring On Another Thousand! (or 2...or 3...)

Made it back to WA safely today and upon landing found we had a message from Harbor Marine, the folks doing all the work on our boat. The message? "We need to talk about some things before we start the work on the bottom." Start? We've been gone for 4 days! Ok, so the weather sucked while we were gone, but it was still hard to hear.

Frank gave them a call--they found that essentially the primer between the hull and the old bottom paint was possibly not put on so great and that now the bottom paint was flaking off. We had 2 options for moving forward--a band-aid fix or sand it all down and start again. We went for the real fix of sanding it down and doing it all again. This adds not only something like $800 to the cost of the bottom work, but also delays our re-launch. That means more money on hotels and eating out. While he had them on the phone, we got the quote for the detailing, too. $500 for the hull, $800 if they did topside, too. Why not?!?! We are going for the full monty. What's another couple hundred bucks at this point? They are going to try to get it done quickly since they know we live-aboard, but this could be a lengthy hotel stay.

As we left the airport we decided to check in with Sure Marine, the guys that were working on our heater, to see if it was ready and low and behold, it was! We headed over to pick it up...after giving them $400. Seems the part that we thought was $100-ish was actually $290. That, plus labor...what does BOAT mean again? Hopefully this new burner does the trick.

After that we grabbed some $4 lattes (might as well!) and made it up to our home for the week, the Inn at Port Gardner. We're exhausted, and well on our way to broke, but we still love this damn boat!

Monday, November 9, 2009

El Cid Homecoming Weekend

What an amazing weekend! We flew overnight Thursday to get to Frank's 10-year at the Citadel. The flights didn't go that great with the kids, but we made it!

Friday we got freshened up in the hotel bathroom before heading over to the waterfront park to enjoy a perfect, low-key picnic lunch with some friends. Mmmm...fried chicken! We haven't seen any of these guys in 5 years so it was great to see them all (and I got to meet a few I hadn't met before!). The kids had a blast running up and down the pier, too. After a little nap (for everyone!), we took Frank downtown for the big alumni party before heading back for a calm night in for the kids and I. Thankfully Sticky Fingers delivered to our hotel room! :)

I have no idea what time Frank got in Saturday morning, but we somehow managed to get everyone up, ready, fed, and at the Citadel just minutes before the 0850 Summerall Guards performance. Frank was pretty anxious to show the kids what he used to do. After that we toured the barracks and heard all about how much worse it was back in '99... We toured campus a bit then, stopping by the chapel to relive a little of our wedding day. Crazy that we were married there almost 5 years ago! We met up with the usual Echo Company suspects before the parade and all us wives watched proudly as our fellas saluted their company as they marched past.

Next up was the CE cook-out. Food was good there and I really liked getting a chance to sit and chat with the girls for a bit. Mid-lunch Frank and Trent headed to the car to fetch a fresh diaper and the stroller. The rest of the gang decided to head toward the stadium and just pick up Frank along the way. This is where one of the best stories of the weekend comes the boys were walking along happily Trent said, "hey look!" To Frank's horror Trent was showing off a poop-covered hand! "Hey look" is now NOT a good phrase in our house! They got cleaned up just before we made it over to them and Frank was more than ready for a beer so we headed to the Class of '99 tent at the stadium.

More good food and lots of beer here. I tried desperately to entertain/contain the kids and encourage them to nap while Frank mingled. The guys did their march on while most of us ladies hung out in the tent. Eventually we all filtered in to the game. The kids were holding on by a thread by now so after halftime we headed out to get them some naps. Trent lasted until he was back in the stroller before passing out while Katreina hung on until she was in the car. They needed some sleep!

After a few hours on the pillows, we headed into downtown to meet up with Tyke and Shanna, Matt and Sarah, and Ryan and Jenny for dinner. The kids were reluctant at first, but Katreina perked up about the idea when she learned Matt would be there! We had a rough start to dinner as Trent fell and busted his lip open, but it ended up being an awesome night. Katreina was super well behaved (and played with my iphone most of the evening), and Trent and I spent most of the night out on the sidewalks around the restaurant. I would have preferred to be inside enjoying the company, but am happy that Frank got to spend the evening with his friends. It was great to see them all one last time.

Sunday was family day! We visited with Laurie, Jerrry, and Lyle in the morning and got to enjoy some yummy shrimp and grits before heading out for our last bit of Citadel fun. This included a trip to the gift shop for all sorts of important Bulldog gear, including a flag for the boat! Eventually the day was left to us and while the kids snoozed we drove around checking out the sites and visiting some key locations from our wedding. We even did a little geocaching in the park where our wedding pictures had been taken. And finally, we got to do a family dinner at Sticky Fingers.

Geocaching at Haygood Park

Recreating the kiss from our wedding day 5 years ago with Frank's new lady!

Our reception location. Ah, memories!

Stuffed, we are ready to head home! It was such a great weekend and we had a great time catching up with old friends. Wish we could have stayed longer!

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


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!