Posted on June 13, 2016
Empty versus full
After a very intense few final days that saw us running between boat fixes, shuttling gear and packing up the house, we were finally able to get out of Madison around 2 on Saturday. We were so extremely lucky to have the help of Michu’s mother, sister and boyfriend-in-law, to help us on Saturday morning. They were amazing–expecting to just drop by and pick up a couple of things, instead they ended up disassembling furniture, schlepping stuff to three cars, and moving tons of stuff into the sauna of an attic. Even with their help, we didn’t feel like we were going to be able to get the apartment cleaned out. Fortunately, we remembered–we now have staff! So we called the management company on Monday and asked to have it cleaned. A small price to pay to get us out the door.
Of course, out of the frying pan, into the fire; Saturday still saw us moving a final three carloads of stuff to the boat, throwing it all into the v-berh, and motoring the boat down the river to the Milwaukee harbor. We pulled into a berth at Lakeshore State Park and called it a night.
Milwaukee wasn’t exactly done with us, though. It was Pridefest this weekend, and we were treated to a fireworks show at 10:00 directly overhead. Pretty nice introduction to cruising life! Less nice was the techno music blaring until almost midnight. Coupled with the dramatic wind shift to the north and subsequent small craft warning, plus an injury to T’s foot thanks to the chaotic mess, we did not have a peaceful night’s sleep.
No rest for the weary, though–Sunday had us hosting a bon voyage party for over 100 people. After digging through four separate bins to find all the gear to make a cup of coffee, we moved the boat across the small harbor to the Discovery World pier and tried to get into a party mood. We gave up on getting the boat ready early on–there was just no way to stow everything, clean up all the boatyard grime and make her look her best. We figured our non-boating friends probably wouldn’t know the difference, and counted on the kindness of our fellow sailors not to say anything.
Our other strategy was to distract everyone with lots of flags. We have a full set of code flags, and decided we wouldn’t have a better chance to fly them. They attach to each other with toggles and loops, so of course the string on the bow separated as we hoisted. Fortunately, F. was waiting for her chance to go up the mast; we hoisted her to the first spreader, and she walked out and retrieved the flags for us. So much easier to yank her up there then to send the heavy old adults!
The party itself was wonderful and exhausting. We were right about our non-sailing friends; they all seemed to think the boat was incredible, and for the most part larger than the expected. We took over the dock, and the kids clambered all over the boat like little monkeys. Michu and I spent the whole time saying hello, check out our boat, we love you, goodbye–over and over for five hours. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of happiness and excitement. Even though we only expect to be gone for two years, the party felt like a real break from our land life to our cruising life.
And Pridefest rocked on. This time around, not even the thumpin’ bass could keep us awake.
So this morning, we enjoyed Michu’s sister ferrying us around for a last run to West Marine and Ace Hardware; we had some down time exploring Discovery World; we attempted to unpack; we enjoyed having just our family around. We are still wildly disorganized; I swear, I have about $500 worth of food on the boat at the moment, but all I could pull off for dinner was pasta with jarred tomato sauce. I mean, I bought the kids roller hot dogs for lunch. Roller dogs, people! What is going on?! We are out of time and space, letting the kids stay up too late and eating meals at very weird hours. We probably smell pretty bad–there’s no shower included with this fine pier, and it’s a bit public for a cockpit shower. We’ve obviously brought too much stuff with us. The kids would like to do all kinds of fun things, and we keep having to put them off while we work. We’ve only traveled a distance of about five miles. But we’re here! The cruising counter at the bottom of the page has started counting up instead of down. The cars are gone, the house is empty, and we’re officially cruisers.