Tuesday, January 07, 2014

baby it's cold outside

It takes a certain kind of crazy to winter aboard a boat. It's rather like camping, only more comfortable and a lot more wobbly. Maryland got sucked into what the weather stations are all now calling the Polar Vortex, which sounds more like a Star Trek episode than a freakish cold snap. For the past 48 hours we've been in the single digits and with the wind dare I say a bit below zero as well.

But the children! What about the children?! Honestly, they hardly notice it. I am not going to lie to you, it's cold in here. When I woke up this morning all the heaters were going full blast and yet the inside temp was 46F. Not pretty. But both kids were sleeping in wool long underwear with jammies on top and nice warm socks and more quilts and duvets than you'd believe we can even store on this boat. Naia of course has the extra advantage of body heat as she still sleeps with Doug and I, and Zach though on his own knows the door is always open if he needs to dog pile in for warmth. One of us wakes up well before them and starts baking and boiling water and cooking up a big hot breakfast. And soon as the sun creeps above the horizon and the muffins start to rise, the cabin temps in the boat rise too so that by the time the kids are up, it's cozy enough. They have yet to utter the words, "I'm cold," except when playing outside in the worst of it.

(Don't let that sunburst fool you. It's a big, fat, cold, lie!)

Wintering aboard is one part preparation and knowledge, one part psychology, and one part just plain gusto. We've been through so, so, so many winters aboard. Doug and I have been aboard full time since 1998. That's officially a long time. I was in my 20's! We have the routines down for getting water into the tanks, staying safe on icy docks, insulating the hulls and lockers, combating condensation, and winterizing systems. We have got down our little tricks like putting a jar lid over the galley sink drain to keep the cold wind from blowing through, keeping the cupboard closed so the cold air from the hull doesn't flow out, and our latest is hanging our movie screen over the sliding glass doors at night to keep the cold air from radiating off them into the main cabin.

And of course chilling beverages out the galley hatch for easy access. Key to winter survival.

The hardest part for me is the psychology. House, boat, apartment, RV, whatever... I just don't get along with winter. I so admire those people with wintry pluck who strap on their snow shoes and head out into the cold. I just get the blues. And I complain. And I literally hold my whole body in a tense ball of misery until the first 60 degree day with more than 12 hours of daylight. Back before I had kids, I was on the road all the time for work. I was fortunate enough to be in a position where I got to call the shots for the most part about where I went. I would book shoots all winter long in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, and so on. On the road, in the sunshine, with a week back home here and there. Then when Zach came along and I took a break from producing and directing, he and I would head to Hawaii every winter to see my dad. That only happened though because of the kindness of pilot friends who hooked us up with passes. That deal is no longer an option, and tickets for 4 or even 3 of us are just not affordable, so we haven't been to Hawaii Since Naia was in my belly. So we sit here, ticking off the days to when we can go back to our carefree outside life again. I guess that's it, we really just aren't inside people.

But the gusto is what keeps us here. It's not like I'd be any happier with this weather in  house. Sure my toes would be warmer, but winter is winter. We have icicles hanging from our fenders, but we have neighbors to chat with and laugh with as we all warm up in the laundry room taking extra long to dry our loads. We have ice bergs thudding against the hulls, but we have fox scurrying around the marina and seagulls bumming for treats. We have heaters that need to be turned down in order to run the vacuum or blender, but we also have good friends who will happily take us in if things get really bad or we lose power. The kids are happy, we have a roof over our heads, we have heat(ish), we have full bellies and each other. It's all a good adventure!

But seriously, if anyone has any airline connections that can get us to Hawaii...

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