Thursday, December 31, 2009

Battery excitement!

So Frank came home early today and announced he'd done lots of research on batteries/power. "If we get a [something] for $1100 and a [something else] for about $900 and maybe a [not really needed but will make it all more efficient or something] for $250, I think we'll be all set!" Sadly I had my wife ears on instead of my interested-first-mate ears, so that's all I heard. There were a few other dollar values thrown about later in the day...perhaps he'll get on here and explain all of this in perfectly garbled boat-talk.

In other news, we got the new grill, a Magma Catalina, installed despite a biting cold wind. She's purrrrty!
Where in God's name is the champagne??? Happy New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A big education on batteries!

Last night Frank was expressing some concern over the level indicated by our batteries and after some research decided we should look into getting some new, beefier ones. Meanwhile we ran the engine for a little bit to give them a boost. He pulled the plug on our Christmas lights for a little conservation, then we headed to bed.

Sometime in the middle of the night warm air stopped coming from our vents--the fuel pump didn't have enough electrical juice to keep going. Then when we woke up (to a 50F house!), Frank went up to start the engine and all he got was that grinding, horrific sound--she wasn't turning over. After some debate, a little reading, and realizing that our start battery had not been isolated as he believed it had been, we decided the best thing to do would be to get a new start battery. We headed into town, got info on a cab company (that did NOT answer its phone on a Sunday morning!), and found a local auto parts store that was open. The kids were unruly and without transportation, we decided that Frank should go on a solo mission for the battery and I'd watch the kids.

The kids and I played around in the park and when they got cold we headed to Hot Shots Java for some cocoa and coffee. Frank, bless his heart, hiked down the hill with that god-awful heavy battery. We hit Sluys' for one last box of fat and sugar and headed back to the boat. Within minutes, the battery was replaced and we were good-to-go. With that, we were ready to head home.

The cruise home was uneventful (~2kts wind) and we got to the fuel dock at sunset. We had a thin layer of ice in some parts of the marina, but our slip was clear. We moored, off-loaded tons of Christmas trash, and settled in for the night.

Once again, I have to thank Frank for an amazing weekend. Despite the adventures along the way, it was absolutely wonderful! We have a long list of "things to buy" now, but for the moment I'm content to focus on a movie and relax... :)

The Powers family takes on Poulsbo!

Today we spent a nice, though cold, day in Poulsbo. Our morning trip to town took us to a geocache and the famous Sluys' Bakery for doughboy donuts. Then it was back to the boat for a little nap...

For our afternoon trip we pretty much just walked around town and did some window shopping. Frank tried to entice me with a stop at Blue Heron Jewelry, but I just don't get enough opportunity to wear that stuff. Instead we ducked in to the Cargo Hold, a great little nautical treasures shop. There we stumbled across a book set containing all the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels. After chatting with the shopkeeper briefly, he offered us 10% off the set and I said, "we'll take it!" Frank was very happy! From there we headed to Sluys' for an afternoon cookie and I ducked into Indigo Plum for some shoe shopping (Frank scores again with a replacement pair of his favs for 50% off!). As our bags were full and it was getting dark, we headed back to the boat. But...

Ready for a break from ham, we loaded back into the dinghy for one more trip to Poulsbo for dinner at That's A Some Italian. Good wine, good food, a waitress that Trent adored...a good evening to be sure! We tried to hit a bookstore, too, but Trent filled his diaper and Katreina had a meltdown, so back to the boat we went. A full, nice day!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, it was our first Christmas on the boat and I LOVED IT! Katreina was, of course, up before the sun. Heck, I hardly slept all night because I was so excited! She immediately started picking out which presents were hers, but I made her wait for her brother.

Katreina was very excited to see how many presents were under the tree!

Once they were both up it all went pretty quick! They got some great gifts and seemed to be very thrilled with their presents from Santa--a baby doll (with all the accessories!) for Katreina and a pirate ship for Trent.

The kids tear into their presents from Brandi and Nathan.

Trent practices aiming cannons right at Mommy.

After a little breakfast and the first round with all the new toys, we headed to the island to explore and geocache. It was such a beautiful day and the kids handled the really long hike reasonably well. Frank and I got a heck of a workout carrying them! We were back to the boat in time for a late lunch and some well-earned naps for the kids.

Then we got underway and sailed around Blake Island under a cloudless sky. The day was just perfect and the sailing was nice. The kids were pretty well entertained with their new toys, too, so I managed to get some time up on deck! We had the full push of the tide against us through Rich Pass but still managed to drop the anchor in Poulsbo right at sunset. From there I headed in to put the finishing touches on our big Christmas dinner. The ham didn't exactly fit in the oven, but with some reconfiguration of the rack I somehow wedged it in. And everyone seemed to like it!

The Christmas feast--ham, potatoes, green bean casserole, pineapple, and rolls. Nothing too fancy, but everything we like!

This was a most wonderful day. I miss seeing our families, but at the same time I really loved enjoying a relaxing day with just our little family. It's tough--I want it all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Then one foggy Christmas eve..."

What a day! After heading out for one last trip to the post office (where I got berated by the not-so-helpful clerk), a bag of ice, a horn, and some lattes, we were off! Destination--Blake Island State Park, which is just south of west of Seattle.

The first big excitement was that I drove us away from the dock! I'm usually the line handler, but today I took to the wheel and surprisingly got us underway without any problem. I drove us out of the marina before handing it back over to Frank. Then after a quick check on the kids, I headed to the bow to be a lookout as it was CRAZY foggy out. We were even compelled to use our fog signals. The real joy was hearing a large vessel report its underway from Everett, SOA 17kts, heading the same direction we were. We heard him, once very close, and could not see him at all! Then there was there were the ferries...we decided to go close to their piers at Clinton to try to minimize how many times we'd run across them. Well, just as we got there we heard the loud blast of their horn--close! And I couldn't see a damn thing. Frank saw the ferry briefly, but then nothing but white. I won't lie, it was scary! We could only see the coast off our starboard beam when we were like 200yds away from it. We decided to drop the anchor before getting to Possession Point and assess the situation...

After the kids got lunch and were down for naps, we decided we should go out a bit and see if it improved. I also installed the AIS app on my iPhone and we got a glimpse of the big traffic out in the sound. Seeing it was pretty light for traffic we headed out and I'm glad we did! Shortly after passing Possession Point we were out of the fog bank and were treated to a beautiful day! We could clearly see Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, the Olympics, the Cascades, Seattle...a truly glorious day!

Frank quickly got us moving and we had a great afternoon cruise. After the kids got up we made some cookies for Santa and watched Polar Express. We moored to a mooring ball for the first time ever, which I can say wasn't bad, but wasn't wicked easy either. Whatever, it was sunset on a beautiful night and we were one of 2 boats moored on that side of Blake Island.

Our home for Christmas Eve.

We made a call to the family in IL and got to hear some of the excitement there as our nieces and nephew opened their gifts. After dinner we let the kids open one present from us and exchange their presents from each other. Trent was very happy with his singing Thomas train car and Katreina loved her Silvermist doll! Then we lowered the table to make a fun place for Christmas morning, wrote a note to Santa, and left him some treats!

"We're ready for Santa and the reindeer!"

With the kids all snug in their beds we had a new to get all this stuff "under" the tree without waking them up! Somehow we pulled it off!

Our bathroom became the hiding spot for all the gifts!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What deployment really means:

As we get ready for Christmas on the boat, I've become all too aware of what next year will bring for me and the family. Due to deployment, I will miss Thanksgiving, Trent's 3rd birthday, my anniversay, Christmas, Frank's birthday, and Katreina's 5th birthday. 5th birthday! Ugh, to miss such a big one! And that's just from the deployment. I'll miss a lot more as we get busy with work-ups. I knew this was coming. We knew it before we even took the orders. But now, after celebrating Trent's birthday and getting set for the holidays, I'm just getting pretty down. I'm mom. I'm supposed to be here for these things! I think I may have gone a little overboard on gifts this year and this may be part of it.

Everyone seemed to be a little sick this weekend, so we didn't do much. Probably gave me too much time to think! This weekend should be better...will Santa visit us at anchor??? :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Goodbye, ice!

After a few days of 40F+ temps and some steady rain, the ice is all but gone. The fishing boats have made it out of their slips and our pump-out guy made it to us. I actually learned of the pump-out's presence as I was completely suds up in the shower, under a hatch that lies ~6 inches from where the forward holding tank gets pumped when I felt his boat lie to against ours. YIKES!!!! I slid the shade shut fast, hopefully in time! Ah, the excitement of living on a boat!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Break-in :(

On the way back from Leavenworth yesterday we decided to check on our cabin in Index. Good thing we did. For the first time since I acquired the property in 2002, our cabin was broken in to. Frank first noticed a broken step on his way up the walk, then turned the door knob and it was open. The jamb was busted and pretty quickly he noticed the stove was missing!

Busted door jamb.

Where's the stove???

Further investigation found that the stove, propane bottle, a comforter, a sleeping bag, and towels were missing from the main cabin. While cabinet had been searched, no furniture was damaged. The pots and pans had even been removed from the stove and left behind! Oh, 2 little hooks from the back of a quilt my mom had made were missing, too. That might be the strangest thing!
The shed out back had been broken into, too, and axes were missing. The table saw, mower, and tools were all still there. We called the police and headed west to try to find some stuff to reinforce the doors with.
In the end, the thief(s) only took stuff that was survivalistic in nature. We are torn between feeling sorry for them and being vengeful. The damage to our cabin could have been much worse and in no way was anyone in our family hurt. It was a big inconvenience to our plans for the day and our door is a bit of an eyesore now.
We've removed the antique Two Grey Hills rug and my mom's quilt. In the spring, we'll have to do real repairs (including some electrical work that was already on the list) and will likely put it up for sale. We were already heading that way before the break-in. Now we just have more work to do.

To Leavenworth we go!

Since the boat is locked in ice, we decided to head to Leavenworth, WA for the holiday lighting festival after somehow scoring a room there on short notice. It was a VERY cold weekend! Our room at the Alpine River Inn was cozy though, so after naps we headed into town. Cold, cold, cold, but it was great to see so many people out enjoying the season. We dined at the Renaissance Cafe and emerged after sundown to the joy of lights!

Front St., Leavenworth

K checking out the lights from Daddy's shoulders.

Trent and Dad taking in Front St.
We walked the streets for a bit then hit our favorite little bookstore there. Everyone scored new books except Mom! From there we watched kids sledding down the hill in the park and geared up to watch a school band perform, but suddenly the kids were a mess of tears! We tried hot chocolate to warm them up, but it didn't work. We threw in the towel and tried to hustle back to the hotel. The kids were painfully cold. It was about 15F outside and their little fleece gloves weren't cutting it. We got back, warmed up reading books, and finally had them warm enough to get them into the tub. I felt so bad for them. Thank goodness the next day they reported that they'd had fun!
Left Leavenworth after a morning geocache and got to see flurries through the pass...a pretty decent little trip!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "ice rink"

Figured a picture would do the situation justice. That is solid ice, and much of the marina looks this way. I'm definitely looking forward to the 40F and rain forecast for early next week.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lots of ice

I promise I won't give a daily ice report! But...when I woke this morning my moving about the boat caused crushing ice sounds outside. I could tell it was going to be ugly. Also, the heat had run straight through the night without shutting off and it was only 67F inside (the thermostat usually shuts off at 70F). I decided to leave the hydronic heat on during the day. We typically shut it off and just run a little space heater to keep it around 60F, but I really didn't think that would cut it. I'm honestly a little scared our water tanks/lines may freeze since it's been below freezing for so long! Probably a silly concern, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I came home for lunch today and found ice all around the boat, even locking the fenders in place. I broke up the ice that was right next to the boat with the boat hook (1/2" thick now), but by the time I got home with the kids it had all reformed. I'm losing the battle.

The boat feels different to me. She doesn't move under your foot like she used to. And the forecast doesn't have a big warming trend any time soon. How thick will it get?

Monday, December 7, 2009


It stayed below freezing last night and it's starting to show. I got off work early today and came back to find the boat almost completely locked in ice. It was just under 1/4" thick and I took to the dinghy to try to break it up some. It made horrible noises! I broke up about the 4' around the boat, but that was it. The forecast doesn't have us getting above freezing for a few days. I'm nervous about tomorrow. Oh, and I'm dealing with this SOLO!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Underway again!

I guess I should back up a little and list a "first" since our last post! Friday night, we had our first babysitter on the boat! She stayed for a few hours while we went to the Admiral's house for the command Christmas party. All went well! The only casualty was the DVD player on the TV--could be from Trent hitting it all the time!

Saturday morning we had breakfast with Santa on base. On the way back to the boat, we noticed a little ice forming in the shadows along the better time to get underway! This weekend's destination was Port Ludlow, just a few hours away on the other side of the sound. It was a great trip across, but it was COLD! A little above freezing all day so I'm sooo glad Frank likes to drive! We anchored with ease and bundled up the kids for a dinghy ride. Rode around "the twins" before heading to town. Wait, I meant the marina. That was pretty much all that was there. I can guess there's a little more draw in the summer when the resort is kickin', but for us it turned out to be a nice walk along the water and a geocache at a totem pole.

We returned to the boat and powered up the up-and-overs (the tree and wreath were already going strong on their batteries) to light up the bay. We used Pandora to get some great Christmas music on the iPhone and danced and sang! That was the best part of the weekend for me...all lit up at anchor and enjoying the season with the kids. :)

This morning was, well, chilly! And Happy Birthday to Trent! We headed to one of the twin islands to nab one last geocache before weighing anchor. Then the swells started. We knew there was a small craft advisory in the sound but I was impressed at how soon we felt the swells. Almost immediately we got kicked around. I was frantically trying to get the breakfast dishes cleaned before it got too rough when I turned and saw her. Katreina had just taken a drink of water and was bent over the bench seat staring at her hand. Poor girl had gotten sick, our first official case of sea-sickness on Lehe Paine! Trent just crashed on the bench and never got sick, but you could tell he was feeling it.

Poor girl!

It calmed down after noon and everyone was feeling better. We spent the afternoon watching football and getting ready to party. I still can't believe our little guy is 2!