Wednesday, May 30

Until We Meet Again

This is "Schroeder Boy", as we affectionately call him.  Isn't he just the cutest black cat?!  We think so. Today marked yet another big milestone in our quest for adventure.  Probably the most difficult one too.  It was extremely tough watching grandma Kathie take him home (on a plane to California).  It was more like slow torture for all of us.  We knew this day was coming.  The weather was gloomy and rainy with thunder and lightning.  Schroeder's cat carrier sat by the stairs all day.  Nobody wanted to talk about it, so we kept busy until it was time to go.  My mom and I corralled Schroeder to give him his nice "relaxing" pill, which he took without any blood shed.   Maggie lost it when we put Schroeder in his carrier and into the car.  We watched with nervousness and long faces as grandma went through security (taking Schroeder out of his carrier and back in again).  Once she was out of sight, the tears began to flow.  Olivia, who was so non-chellant about the whole idea, broke down and cried all the way home.  All the while, Kate was rubbing everyone's back and holding hands in comfort.  My stomach was in knots partly because my heart was breaking for the girls but also because it was the last time I would see my mom before we depart.  It was an emotional day and if we can make it through the bedtime routine, where Schroeder was so proudly a participant, we will be in good shape.  Good-bye Schroeder Boy, until we meet again, next year!  We love you!

Tuesday, May 29

Tick Tock

Simply put:  Time is running out!  It’s getting down to the wire.  Eeeek!  Less than 2 weeks now.  We are plugging away, going down the list one by one, trying to keep our heads above water.  Who am I kidding, it’s actually more like mayhem or random hits on the list, but we are getting it done.  We have so many lists in fact; I can’t keep the lists straight or even remember where I put ‘the’ list.  I have hand written lists, lists on the computer, lists on my phone and Craig has 4 lists of his own.  I need a list just to keep all the lists straight! 
Thank goodness my mom has been here for a week helping pack boxes, finish the restoration job on the patio furniture (why did I start that again), spend time with the girls and help me remember more things that need to go on the LIST!!
On the bright side, though, we are making great progress.  There are more boxes piled in each room.  Closets and drawers are empty.   The garage is empty and neatly packed in the attic.  We have secured two storage units and movers.  Maggie’s braces came off.  Doctor appointments have been completed.  The repairs have begun on the boat.  The trampoline has moved to it’s new home.  Sounds impressive, huh.  Somehow, the list is still very long with so much to do.  How will it all get done, you ask?  Are you biting your nails yet, cuz mine are all gone…long gone.  Well, it doesn’t ALL have to.  Really, the number one priority is to make sure the boat is safe and sailable.  The rest can get done along the way.   That sounds easy enough, right?!  Here is yet another list of the priority items that will make our very first passage a safe one:
Buy Satellite phone
Buy tethers and harnesses for kids
Buy charts for the east coast (need one more)
Buy 2 batteries and install
Buy pelican box (fire/waterproof/floats)
Check out wind direction indicator – fix or replace
Order and replace seacock
Paint propellers
Investigate plugged lines to macerator pump
Install smoke detectors/carbon monoxide (4)
Replace hailing port stickers
Replace steaming light
Change zincs
Change engine oil/fuel filters (buy spares)
Unpickle water maker
Replace bulb in compass light
Practice man overboard drills
Make a map of where emergency equipment/medical kit/boat repair stuff is
Teach kids how to call for help on the radio and sat phone

There is no rest for the weary folks!  We are proud we have come this far in such a short time span.  Let me just put this into perspective for you.  This takes some people/most people, years to accomplish what we have accomplished in less than a year (10 months to be exact).  Big smile here!

Sunday, May 27

School is OUT!

Kate stands proudly next to our decorated car
Kate and her teacher Mrs. Thompson

In our district, the 4th graders are the big kids on campus and move up to the intermediate school for 5th grade.  We have many traditions to celebrate this rite of passage.  One of them is having your car decorated in your honor.  Since Kate is not actually going to MIS (McCulough Intermediate School), I thought it was fitting to wish her Bon Voyage!  If you look closely, there is a picture (the best I could do with window paint) of Kate in her sailboat that says "Anything Goes".   Congratulations Kate!

So the end of school is here.  Do I dare say finally?  I don't want to wish my children's lives away, but this  is a huge milestone for us.  We have been telling everyone we are leaving "when school gets out".   I can't believe we are here already!   

Thursday, May 10

On the radio!

Click here for a link to our interview on the radio.  Paige, the reporter that interviewed Craig on Good Morning Texas, wanted us to be on her radio show "The Not So Perfect Parent".

It was very cool to go to the CBS Radio station and put the headphones on and 'talk' on the radio.

Friday, May 4

The Best Laid Plans

"The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men often go Awry"  
John Steinback

If there is one lesson we have learned from all our reading from forums, articles, books and blogs, it's never plan to be somewhere on a specific date.  This is a downright no-no for sailors and will most certainly get you in a whole heap of trouble.  Sailors must go when the weather is good, when the wind is blowing from the right direction, for how ever many consecutive days necessary.  This is referred to as a "weather window".  Planning is a good thing for all intensive purposes, but they can not dictate your schedule.  You might be stuck in one particular spot for a week or two, just waiting for your window of opportunity.  We must be patient and go with the flow.  How does that saying go? Expect the unexpected.

With that said, we have come up with a PLAN!  Shhhh, say it softly, so it's not heard far and wide.  But I just can't help myself.  Craig is definitely a 'fly by the seat of his pants' kind of guy.  His ADD type personality (I say that in the most kind, loving way) allows him not to care about details until they are absolutely necessary.  I, on the other hand, want to know the 'plan', as far in advance as possible.  It makes me feel better to have a plan, a purpose, a goal shall we say.  I don't fly by the seat of my pants very well (ask Craig). it is....the PLAN for all it's worth - for our east coast jaunt anyway.  We haven't planned past Florida.  You can rest assured that I am working on it.   I feel the need to put a disclaimer here though.  Even though I am a planner at heart, I do realize it will take time to travel from one location to the next.  These are guidelines people, work with me.

June 9 - Craig and Maggie drive to St. Augustine Florida.  
June 11 - Kate, Olivia and I fly to Florida.  
June 12-16 -  Provision, unpack and stow all our personal belongings, food and beverages.  Prepare meals that can be heated up quickly by any member of the crew in case the cook (that's me) is sea sick or hallucinating from the scopolamine patch! 
June 17-26 - Point the bow north to Rhode Island and head out into the Gulf Stream.  Dan, our captain, will be with us for this 5-6 day trip of 24/7 sailing.  This date, of course, is dependent on our weather window.  Remember?  So we have a big cushion of time to get us north just in case the weather does not cooperate.  Once we make it to Rhode Island, we'll drop off Dan (he says he can swim...) and head to Boston on our own.
June 26-July 1 - But first we want to watch the America's Cup in Newport Rhode Island.  
July 2 -Anchor in Boston Harbor, meet up with some Seattle friends, tour some historical sites and revel in the fact that we made it (hopefully unscathed) and our trip has begun!
July 4th - Enjoy the Boston Pops Concert and fireworks on the Charles River (known as one of the top places to see fireworks in the US)
July 5th - Sail up the coast of Maine.  This is still a questionable event for us at this point.  And, where our "plan" could take a major detour.  You see, there are a bazillion (no exaggeration here) lobster pots in the waters off the coast of Maine.  Lobster pots and boat props don't mix well.  And since we have 2 that are 21 feet apart, this makes us really nervous.  If we do make it to Maine, we will stop by and spend a few days with our boat broker Pete and his family (who will be vacationing on land).
July 13 - 25 - Back to Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard
July 26 - Craig is scheduled to take his recertification test in Warwick Rhode Island.  Anesthesiologists have to take this test (essentially another board exam) every 10 years.  A necessary evil!
July 27 - August 17 - Back to Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard - yeah baby!
August 18 - 25 - New York
August 26 - 30 - Philadelphia
August 31 - September 30 - Chesapeake Bay and Washington DC
October 1 - November 1 - North & South Carolina, Georgia
November 2 - 15 - Florida - Head to the Bahamas with a good weather window! does that sound?

Tuesday, May 1

Look at you now!

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be famous?  Well, let me tell you, it's exhausting trying to keep up with all the media. And the paparazzi - don't get me started.  The phone is ringing off the hook for t.v. segments, newspaper articles and now radio interviews!  Geez, can we get some rest around here.  The latest media frenzy happened this morning when Craig was on Good Morning Texas.  Woo Hoo!  He was promoting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Regatta that is being held this weekend (and last).  In fact, he is the honored hero for the LLS Cup Regatta this year.  Click on the link below to see the story.
 Good Morning Texas/LLS Cup Regatta
Below are some photos from last weekends Regatta, held at the Corinthian Sailing Club on White Rock Lake.  By the way, NONE of this media stuff would be happening without Libby from LLS.  She is the one behind all the media and paparazzi (thanks a lot).  Without her, nobody would care about our story.  The real story is LLS!
 Craig with Ann Ramsey and Ralph "Red Dog" Jones from The Corinthian Sailing Club
 Craig, Kate and Ann sailing on Red Dog's Flying Scot boat
 Maggie with her friend Kaitlyn racing on a butterfly

  Kaitlyn's dad worked hard to get the girls out there racing - Thank You Mr. Rowland!