Previous month:
January 2016
Next month:
March 2016

February 2016

Button, Button, Where is the Button?

Plastic Buttons

Yes, I know the actual (very ancient) game is “Button,  Button, Who Has the Button?” but bear with me.

There are two kinds of people in this world: People who lose things and people who find them.

That may be a bit harsh. I lose my reading glasses regularly. I also find them. EW rarely finds anything I’ve lost. EW rarely or never finds anything he has lost. Heck, EW can’t find the jar of pickles in our tiny boat fridge. Witness a conversation on the night in question:

EW, as he paws in the fridge: What are the pickles in?

Me, from the master stateroom: The clear glass canning jar.

EW, only slightly sheepish: Oh. There they are.

Did I say our fridge was tiny? It’s a boat fridge. There is a top door in the counter and a bottom door for the lower section. EW was correctly looking in the top section. It’s probably 2X2X1.5 – if that deep. We aren’t talking a lot of space here. Yet, he couldn’t find the pickles.

But this isn’t about pickles. This is about our strengths and weaknesses, and about belief. I believe that I can find anything EW has lost. He believes that something he can’t find, is lost forever. This is not new. I have been finding things for EW for over 30 years. You think he’d believe in my abilities by now. But no, if he can’t find it, it can’t be found.

I was out of sorts on the evening in question. I’d hadn’t accomplished much on my “To-Do” list and was feeling uninspired. Technology had foiled me again and again. I was a bit grumpy, a little chilled, and had a stuffy nose due to spring pollen on this cold February in Florida. EW has a thumb drive (do we still call them that?) that includes guitar picking lessons he has been anxious to try. Due to some of the technology issues, he can only view that drive on the Dell—the same Dell upon which I write. Since I was pissy and not writing, he opted to practice Lesson One.

IMG_3888

 

Afterward, he put away the guitar, his massive notebook with pockets, his tuner, and his capo…and lost the all important thumb drive. I heard him huffing and puffing and exclaiming under his breath. I let it go for a while, but couldn’t ignore it as there is no peace on a boat when one of those aboard is huffing and puffing. (Or sneezing, or snoring for that matter). “What’s wrong?” I asked from my comfy nest. “I just put everything away and I can’t find the thumb drive!” I was not in the mood. “You’ll find it. If not, I’ll find it tomorrow.”

A couple of hours later I was more sociable and enjoying a glass of wine with EW in the main salon, and he started up again, looking in improbable spots for the drive. This is what always gets me. When he looks for something he looks in the places in which it is less likely to be. It’s painful to watch. Or he looks exactly where it should be, as in the pickles in the tiny fridge, and can’t see it because he isn’t looking for a clear glass jar with pickles in it. (To be fair, these are refrigerator pickles that I made and first put in a LockLock. But we had an actual conversation about my moving them to the clear glass jar through which one can SEE THE PICKLES!)

OK, maybe that doesn’t sound as fair as I intended. EW wants me to inform you that the top wasn’t clear. Whatever. He can get his own blog.

Moving on. There I was, curled up under a fleece blankie, sipping wine and reading and he starts searching in all the wrong places for his thumb drive. “Stop,” I said flatly. “Just stop. I’ll find it.” And I flung the fleece from my body and flew off the settee. (That may be my all-time favorite sentence.)

“Don’t trouble yourself,” EW said with not a little exasperation. “Really.” I said, nearly as exasperated. “ I’ll find it in less than five minutes and we can move on with our evening.”

I started the search first with EW’s awesome music notebook that has pockets and a couple of thumb drive holders. He hovered and huffed. “I’ve already looked  there!”

This is a common theme to our (my) search missions. EW has a searching disability. It’s not his fault. If something is not exactly where and how he expects it to be, he doesn’t see it. (Remember the pickles in the clear glass jar?) This is not a male/female thing, or a Hart/Huff thing (like being on time), or an age thing. As long as I’ve known him, he hasn’t been able to find things. Fortunately he married a woman who is really great at finding things.

Back to the search when EW was hovering.

“Don’t hover,” I said. “It doesn’t help. You know I search by starting where you’ve looked. Go away.” (Remember, I wasn’t feeling up to par and perky.)

So he went away, and I searched. He was right, it wasn’t in the red notebook. I moved to the forward cabin and his guitar case, where I was surprised not to find the capo and tuner in the little cubby under the guitar neck. Those were perched atop some of his music books in his blue music book tote. Aha! A clue!

I pulled the tote into the light of the main salon, and dug into spaces around the bottom of the books, pulling out the tragically lost thumb drive. “Here you go.” I didn’t expect much of a response beyond  the normal, “Where was it?” followed by his sincere thanks. I got both, but first he said, and I quote, “I need to stop the timer.”

Yep. Once I had grouchily stated that I would find the damn thing in five minutes, he stalked three paces to the galley and set the kitchen timer. This is a noisy, beeping, process that I missed while I was digging in the red notebook.

“You timed me?!” I may have screeched.

‘Well yeah. You said you could find it in less than five minutes” He grinned, winningly. ”You did. You had one minute and forty-seven seconds left.”

After thirty years, he may not be able to find anything but he can still surprise me and make me laugh so hard I have to cross my legs.

I love EW.


As Winter Ebbs in St. Augustine (We Hope)

Capture Frost MapIt’s been an interesting winter in St. Augustine. When we arrived before Christmas, we enjoyed 80-degree temperatures. In January, as regular readers know, things went north. EW had to buy blankets, and we both needed more long pants. Getting out of bed in the morning was shocking. Don’t even mention using the head.

Well, it must be mentioned. You know when you have to get  up in the middle of the night and you shuffle to the head, half awake, take care of business and shuffle back to bed to fall immediately asleep? Yeah, well that didn’t happen during our two months of winter. That cold seat would wake the dead if the dead have to use heads. This phenomenon was the topic of discussion. I began to huddle under the warmth of our Jaguars blanket 10 or 15 minutes after EW, who noted my lack of bounding out of bed, by saying one morning, “It’s safe to get up, I’ve warmed the seat up for you.”

Busted.

One cold night, he suggested bringing the seat into bed with us. NOT going to happen.

We ate more, and accomplished less.

We wore knit hats while preparing breakfast.

Our few pairs of wool socks were worn more and washed less as we just couldn’t do laundry often enough to keep up.

And then, there was the day. when our early morning trip to shore gave me the opportunity to see something I haven’t seen in a while….frost. In Northeastern Florida, frost happens. Those of you who haven’t read the early years of this blog, may not know that we lived aboard for 8 years prior to cruising. We lived aboard in Maine. Year round. Of course back then, the furnace worked, we had a fluffy duvet, and boots. Here, at least we could congratulate ourselves for having stored many of our fleece jackets, tops, and vests. I may have worn all of mine at one time the coldest days.

I’ve seen many cruisers wearing Keens with socks, and here it’s acceptable. (Unlike when tourists wear socks with sandals during a Maine summer. That is just wrong.)

We have been assured by natives and those who’ve lived here for a while, that Valentine’s Day marks the end of cold weather. I’ll let you know. We’ll be going to an Oyster Roast in the afternoon and hope the two-day heat wave continues and we have another 70-degree day. (Looks like that's a hope not to be realized.) The map at the top of the page represents the average “last frost” according to a local weather source; and the lovely teal color suggests we could have a frost as late as the 21st.

Looks like this year St. Augustine will be above average, as the upcoming week shows lows in the 40’s and daily highs reaching into the 70’s most days—just not on Valentine's Day.

Capture

It’s springtime in St. Augustine. We’ve survived our two months of winter, and send condolences to those of you in the Northeast US during your current cold wave. Hope you have plenty of wood, gas, or oil at home. I strongly recommend hot chocolate and cuddling. During the worst days we enjoyed hot chocolate with a “nudge” of rum. Sure beats marshmallows! As for the cuddling, EW and I slept each night entwined, moving practically in unison as we spooned first on one side and then on the other, wrapped in each other’s arms all night long.

Winter in St. Augustine isn’t all bad.

By the way, EW has promised me pancakes for Valentine's Day and he found real maple syrup. We have both agreed to accept Vermont syrup, but it was a big discussion in the store. 

.


Women Who Cruise

IMG_0415We have met women who are solo sailors. We’ve met women couples who cruise. And we’ve been very lucky to meet Maria and Cathy, an intrepid couple of thirty-something sailing women who decided not to wait for the “right” man, but to buy a boat together and go cruising. I have such respect for all of those women (and am delighted to call many of them friends).

It is no secret that I sail because EW is a sailor, and that I cruise because I adopted and fully embraced his dream, and this is true of biggest majority of cruising couples we meet.  In some cases they learned to sail together, and in some cases they formed the dream together, but most we meet who are our age are cruising because the guy wanted to cruise.

P8100785So women adapt. Some keep their home or a cottage to call home. Others opt to leave the boat during the summer to visit friends and family (especially grandchildren), and others like me are “all-In”. Our home is the boat and we stick with it for most, if not all, of the year.

IMG_3456Some folks chug their way down the inland waterway. Others sail outside, hopping from port to port and waiting for the best weather to sail to the Bahamas. Intrepid sailors head straight from New England or Virginia to the Virgin Islands, while others opt to put their boat on a ship and send her down alone.

We all make it work, and we all sail until it doesn’t work for us.

P8100730I still love this life. Sure, we’ve made mistakes, we’ve been caught in bad weather, and boat parts have failed, and we need to make some money to fill the cruising kitty and to fix the boat. But I love this life. So far, I’ve loved living in St. Augustine on the boat, where I’ve gotten to meet many women who sail: Women from Alaska and Santa Cruz, and Maine, and nearly every state down the Eastern seaboard; women from Australia, Germany, and Belgium; women who are retired, women who have taken a sabbatical, or women who are still working as they cruise. In short, I’ve met women from all walks of life who may have nothing else in common but the dream to travel aboard a small sail or power vessel..

IMG_8768PA070063

 

 

 

 

 

We never run out of things to say to each other. We can never do enough to help each other. We never run out of questions to ask each other. And if we are lucky, we form strong friendships, nurtured via email and Facebook and the occasional phone call—and the dream of meeting up once again in another port.

This was not why I embraced cruising. This is my bonus.

IMG_0072

P3300174