Just when I thought it would be an easy week to move back onto Dolce Vento, we were overcome by events. They started last Sunday, Father’s Day. A five-year old, no matter how sweet and smiling she may be or how great it is to spend the afternoon with her and the family, can suck up every bit of your attention and energy. She and her family had made the day a special Father’s Day. They had given Pop-Pop boat safe plastic wine glasses, special instant coffee and solar-powered hanging lights for the boat. We collapsed when we arrived home after it all, leaving packing the last bits of off-boat storage for Monday.
Monday would have been ‘a piece of cake’ as there were only four boxes and two suitcases to pack and move to Annapolis. We were getting pretty good at ‘should it go or should it stay” decisions. However, the cake didn’t cook.
My grandson Ian’s graduation present, a 529 College Investment Plan disbursement check, failed to arrive for the 14th day. My daily calls to the Plan’s customer service team always resulted in nothing but “Have confidence, it’s in the mail. Just wait another day” conversations. Time was running out. After a rather heated telephone conversation, another check was promised to be sent to our apartment via FedEx overnight on Tuesday to arrive on Wednesday. It was the domino affect in action. We couldn’t move onto the boat Tuesday as planned and then drive up casually and sanely to New Jersey on Wednesday for the Thursday graduation. It was a ‘pull your hair’ cliff hanger event in the making.
I went into full command and control mode until Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 PM when the check finally arrived. With car packed up hours before, I could finally stop pacing and driving John deeper into his email. In the end, we arrived at the marina at 7:00 PM after inching our way through DC’s rush hour, unpacked until midnight, and stowed what we could in known empty cubbies.
To make the Thursday graduation lunch, we rose before light (old sailors should not have to do this unless it’s required for a timed crossing), and hit the road. Luckily, the traffic gods were kind, allowing us to arrive in New Jersey with time to shower the multiple layers of moving sweat from our bodies and present ourselves to family as sane elders, ready to partake in the sacred event of high school graduation.
The next morning, Friday, we once again hauled ourselves out of bed near the crack of dawn so we could get back to our boat mess by noon. In only four short hours, Cindy and her 12 year old granddaughter would arrive for their overnight and then on Saturday morning, the rest of her family would come aboard for a day sail on the Bay. Amazingly, it all went well.
We did have a new experience — six people, ages 11 to 60+ in our cockpit, talking, wiggling, snacking and participating in sailing at the same time. The crew, Cindy, John and I, proved to ourselves that if we can make it with that kind of chaos, we can make it anywhere! It was a fun day that ended in a grand dinner complete with John’s grilling of tuna and shrimp with all the fixings brought to us by the happy visitors.
Finally, on Sunday, yesterday, we were alone, quietly relaxing and getting a few things done at a much slower pace — John did several small projects and I defrosted the freezer (yes, the old-fashioned way), and went through another round of ‘find someplace to put this’. For example, Cindy can’t have tool bags in her shower or dinghy oars in her V-berth bed. I also prepared for a Monday AM meeting at the University of Baltimore where I took my doctorate. (Yes, after almost two years of retirement, I have a paying gig!)
This past week challenged our flexibility, but we did it. Also, we learned that moving onto Dolce Vento a second time was easier than the first. It was a ‘ground-hog day’ experience, given that I’ve probably moved about 80% of our stuff around the boat three times now in my ongoing attempt to keep below deck and above deck ‘ship-shape’. While many live-aboards sleep and sail amongst the clutter of tools, equipment, parts and cooking paraphernalia below deck and Jerry cans, cushions, fishing gear, fenders and safety equipment above deck, John and I and Cindy as well have a desperate need for organization. It’s a common case of OCD, I think. We know from experience that if you don’t know where something is or can’t to get to it quickly, it may result in damage to your person, the boat or the captain’s state of mind.