Sunday Review (in honor of our last NYT Sunday delivery)

One more week down, two more weeks to go.

  • There are baby spiders hatching all over our boat. We have been killing them one by one. Consequently, there has been a lot of rain.

    That'll buff right out...

    That’ll buff right out…

  • So…a boat crashed into ours. That doesn’t happen too often on land. A boat right off our bow was being launched, and their pushpit got hung up on our anchor. The (brand new) bow roller was all tweaked. Fortunately, our boat neighbor saw it happening (thanks, Lars!); the yard guys were not fessing up. When asked about it, they said they’d just “straighten it out.” Uhm, no. New one on order, courtesy of the marina. We are very nervous about the proximity of another boat to our radar arch.
  • We’re sewing stuff. Curtains for the galley, sink skirt for the forward head, curtains for the saloon and nav station, hide-the-weird-stuff-on-the -top-of-the-holding-tank curtains. Am I doing this properly? Ha! Are the corners mitered? No! Am I squaring off the material? Sometimes! Is it still going to be an improvement of approximately 1000%? Absolutely. So glad I didn’t manage to get this work done in February. Where’s the fun in that? (Also–if we get to a point where I think I can make money from sewing stuff, please do not hire me. That way, we can still be friends.)
  • Many, many day trips to the boat. All projects between 40 and 85 percent done. We’re pushing for the point where all the messy, surface projects are done (ahem, cork in the v-berth), and Michu can just deal with hidden stuff (wiring, engine) while I clean and pack.
  • We have become very boring people. We expect every conversation to be centered around our departure, and expect to give the same answers over and over, so we become confused when that doesn’t happen. We are losing our ability to read social cues. We are very, very tired.
  • We are trying to keep our heads in the practical, day-to-day worklists–staying on task and on target. When we drift toward the philosophical, we get all freaked out. I had my first moment this week of waking up and sincerely disbelieving that we are making this change.

    And she left us flowers! Thanks, Aish!

    And she left us flowers! Thanks, Aish!

  • The hard drive died on our MacBook. At least, it was about to. Because of course it was. Replaced with a hybrid, hopefully for the duration…
  • Finally, Michu’s sister came and hung out with the kids all weekend. She totally won at Being An Aunt; swimming, ice cream, bookstore, sushi, board games–all the favorites. It’s helpful for us to be able to leave our kids, but their time with their Auntie was something they’ll remember and treasure. And thanks to all our other friends who’ve been lending us a hand with kid care!

    I look for this building every time we leave Milwaukee. The trees obscure the writing a bit; the sign reads, "Ride the pepper." Anyone know what that means?

    I look for this building every time we leave Milwaukee. It flashes by in an instant; I had to take this picture so Michu could see it for himself. The trees obscure the writing a bit; the sign reads, “RIDE THE PEPPER.”

It was not a good day.

It started well…Michu’s sister came to town to watch the kids! We were geared up on a variety of fronts! So much was going to be accomplished! Instead:

Yeah, that's an emergency room.

Yeah, that’s an emergency room.

There was a box cutter, and a slip of the wrist, and that was pretty much all she wrote. Michu’s fine–they decided to glue his thumb back together, although it could have probably used a couple of stitches; we continue to have insurance while we’re in the US, so it shouldn’t cost us too much; and he didn’t bleed on anything too important. Weekly round-up coming soon; meanwhile:

Totally fine!

Totally fine!

One more week frittered away…

…three more weeks left to fritter.

  • One seriously demoralizing day this week. We’ve been installing new fixed portlights (windows, to you land-based folks), as the old ones were what we call WINOs–Windows In Name Only. Michu’s been fabricating them in the garage from a large sheet of acrylic, and the installation of the first one went really smoothly. When we went to glue in the second window, though, Michu noticed two hairline cracks on one of the edges. Window ruined. In reality, it meant two additional hours fabricating a new window, and installing it on the next trip; but the psychological blow was HUGE. We were so close to being DONE with one project, and it was going to look awesome, and…no. We were hot, itchy and confident that everything was garbage. We’ve since recovered, but that’s how it’s been going–glorious anticipation quickly followed by crushing defeat. No in-betweens.

     Windows used to be bolted in; we’ve been trimming out the jagged edges and glueing in the new acrylic. It’s a mess.

  • Did you know you can serve your family nachos for dinner? Especially if you call it a Deconstructed Crispy Burrito. Haute.
  • Peak chaos. I hope.

    Peak chaos. I hope.

    I realized that if my husband had worked for me in a restaurant, I would have absolutely fired him. There’s a thing in restaurant work called “working clean”–you know, cleaning up your mess before you move on to the next thing, so your apples don’t taste like onions and the parsley doesn’t get into the ice cream. Michu…has a lot of really amazing qualities. Working clean is not one of them.

  • What do unrepentant hippies use to replace the headliner? Natural cork, obviously. The foam backing for the vinyl covering our ceiling and walls has degraded, leaving it hanging, so we’re pulling it off and putting up cork. Cozy, easy(ish) to install, hides all flaws, and–I get to work with contact cement!



  • We’ve reached the point of having to decline invitations from our lovely friends, which is making us a bit sad. We still have some dinners and parties coming up, but Evil Window Day has made us double down on work.
  • The kids have had a week of more “sad” than “excited”. They’ve started asking when specific pieces of furniture are going to exit to the attic–“How about the couch, mom? When is the rocking chair going upstairs?” I’ve still been trying to keep a thin veneer of normalcy around the house, but they know it’s just a ruse. On the bright side, they know they can get away with just about anything at the moment.

Overwhelmed, in a good way

We know we would be required to dedicate some time to good-byes as we got close to departure. Oh, force us to drink a beer with you or have some dinner–I guess we’ll shoehorn you in! But I don’t think either of us was prepared for the generosity and affection that’s been thrown our way in recent days.

We mentioned our friend Kevin helping us out at the boat; well, Kevin isn’t the only one offering to lend a hand. We have friends watching our kids, friends wanting to do the grossest jobs on the boat, and friends taking up the slack for us in our day-to-day life on a variety of fronts. I actually have an email in my inbox right now from someone I’ve never met–friends of a friend of my cousin–who want to come and help us out with final prep. How do you respond to generosity like that? It’s confounding.

One of the nurses at Michu's work made these cookies for his going away party. Amazing.

One of the nurses at Michu’s work made these cookies for his going away party. Amazing.

Departure parties and dinners are starting to pick up, as well. Yesterday, Michu and I went to a good-bye party at his work. Over the course of almost three hours, people from all over the hospital rolled through to say congratulations and good luck (and please for the love of god avoid the pirates), and we walked out with Wisconsin beer, a very stylish hat and enough sugary treats to take us all the way through departure. Also a toilet plunger. I mean, practical, I guess? We have a neighborhood party coming up on Friday, beer with friends tonight, and a slew of other dinners we’re trying to wedge in before the 12th.

She made these beautiful shell cookies, too!

She made these beautiful shell cookies, too!

Then there are the folks who are offering material support. There have been many, many friends who have stepped in with gifts ranging from SAM splints to straight-up cash–unasked for, but because they love us and are excited about our trip. I have been kind of wandering around bursting into tears a bit all day, thinking about this generosity, and this community that we’re leaving.

It is helpful to be planning our eventual return, and makes it less painful to leave these amazing friends, this family, this home of ours; it helps to temper the idea that we are completely insane to opt out of our current place in the world. But we are all wildly emotional right now, and the practical assistance being offered is paradoxically making it even harder to leave.

We are so, so grateful for all the help.

What kind of week it has been

“I believe great people do things before they are ready.” ― Amy Poehler. Let’s hope so, Amy. Let’s hope so. Here’s how the week has been:

  • This week in documents: scanning financial and identity papers; notarizing travel docs allowing either parent to travel solo with the kids; enrolling in health care and being annoyed with Badgercare; notifying credit card companies of travel plans; setting up absentee balloting for the general election; finalizing homeowners’ insurance. I feel like that should have been one day of work, but somehow it has taken up most of the week.
  • Most embarrassing purchasing mistake: paying $100 for two pieces of advertising while picking up an order at West Marine. They were supposed to be encircling some valves; I assumed we were buying some kind of required warning sticker (seriously–there are a lot of strange pieces of information you’re required to post “in a visible area” on a boat in the US, particularly about not dumping oil into the water). Neither the clerk nor I though the price was unusual, apparently. I mean, it was West Marine…

Which one would you pay $50 for?

  • Rain, rain, rain, followed by actual snow flurries Saturday morning–all of which is inhibiting painting projects. Chance of frost tonight. Not the May we were hoping for.
  • Low point: discovering the squirrel’s nest directly above Michu’s garage workstation, and the subsequent rain of squirrel pee.
  • Something missing from this area...

    Something missing from this area…

  • Sprint versus marathon: obviously, this refit has been a grueling marathon of multi-year projects. It’s a slow but steady pace. Sometimes, though, you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful friend gift you a day of sprinting. Our friend Kevin came to the boat on Friday on a mission to help; he and Michu powered through some bottom painting, window work and traveler removal. We will not speak here of his horror at Michu’s “system” of “organization.” Thanks for all your help, Kevin!!
Kevin learns about the joy of boat ownership

Kevin learns about the joy of boat ownership