Today, I’m going to try to do something a little different for a person of my temperament. I’m going to try to celebrate. After two weeks here in Cambridge, MD, we finally appear to be in control of our daily lives aboard this boat.
Because since our arrival about two weeks ago, our days have been dominated by pesky but needful little tasks and errands for which our previous location left us little means and energy.
Two paragraphs in, and I feel my tone slipping already.
It only seemed like exile
Our previous location was the Virginia marina where we found, bought, moved onto and lived for three weeks aboard Meander. It was about twenty-five miles from the nearest town of any size, requiring an hour-long round trip in our rent-a-car just to do laundry.
So, OK, when we were still in Upstate New York, Pam used to take hour-long round trips to do our shopping—by bus.
But the marina was also down a hill six miles away from the area’s nearest cellular antennas. The remote possibility of uploading a blog post in the moment a lifting wave might put us in fleeting sight of two bars would have been something, but we didn’t have that. We had a digital blackout.
And that, for people grown accustomed to twenty-first century technology to locate boat supplies, figure out the tax implications of owning a boat, or stay connected with friends, family and readers, was a backbreaker.
In response to these conditions, the goals we set ourselves in Virginia were few and basic. We kept ourselves to learning the boat, equipping the boat, and training ourselves to run the boat to levels barely sufficient to get it and ourselves out of there. And, eventually, get out of there we did.
The (stupid) little things count
After a three-day trip to the free wifi of the Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin and the city’s more-or-less walkable grocery shopping (if you are used to long walks) and serviceable public transit, we set ourselves to the fine tuning needed to support a more comfortable routine on Meander.
Here are four stupid little things we’ve accomplished.
- Measure a galley drawer. Make a stacking set of cardboard dividers to separate the kitchen knives and the flatware in it.
- Measure the galley’s hopper-style plate locker. Make a cardboard insert to discourage the plates in it from getting hung up on its interior latch when closed.
- Measure the navigation table. Make another set of cardboard dividers to keep the charts in it from being crumpled and torn by all the other stuff we’ve stuffed in there with them.
- Measure the clothing shelf on Pam’s side of the V-berth. Make a cardboard, uh, thingy to hang from it to store her wristwatch and reading glasses.
Given that cardboard isn’t exactly marine-ready by nature, there’s suddenly a whole lot of it on this boat. But cutting up packing boxes is cheap, and mistakes therefore cost little. And I call my creations “prototypes” under the happy delusion that I might rebuild them with real materials one day.
Here’s another stupid thing, albeit a little larger.
- Retrieve the “family car” known as our dinghy from the garage of a supportive relative in town and get it onto Meander.
And another, larger still.
- Provide the Coast Guard, finally, the form that officially lets them know you legally own the boat you’re living on.
It’s funny how one piece of paper can cost you five weeks’ sleep.
- Clean up the place, for crying out loud.
So, with these and several similar stupidly small but oddly time-intensive tasks behind us, the interior of our home on the water is finally ready to be shown off.