Monday, December 21, 2009

A Winter Day

I am not sure what the snow totals were in our area in exact inches. All I know is it set some records for this neck of the woods. The boy is blissed out. I, frankly, am hoping if I click my heels three times I'll wake up on a tropical island. Here's the problem. Boat life is not a life of convenience. But it's the life we choose and we love it, so I usually don't go in to how cumbersome everyday things can be for us. Like laundry and showers and such. But in the snow, forget it.

We wake up and spend the first hour or so checking everything. What's leaking? What shifted? What froze? (in this case, the port side water filter which I fixed while Doug did dishes).

Then we start getting everything warm and habitable. Crank the heaters, start cooking something, anything. Get everyone into their slippers. Breakfast done, it's time to get clean. Clean is not something we get to do everyday, especially in winter. And here's why. We can't shower aboard the boat because we can't heat the far corners of the boat and that's where the shower/ tub is. Also, the marina shuts off the water in the winter, so we ration water even more than normal, making bathing aboard an absolute no-no until spring. We've been known to keep our shampoo and towels in the trunk of our car in the hopes of catching a shower or bath when over at a play date. So this morning, we decide we NEED to bathe if you know what I mean.
(there is a winch theresomewhere, under Zach's gloved hand. He's sitting on deck which has about 2 feet of snow)

I start packing for the shower. Towels for everyone. Clean clothes for everyone. Our shower caddy with all the required soaps and scrubs. A few little toys for the boy. Next, packing for doing laundry. The laundry rooms are right near the showers, so we can get it all done in one outing. I dump out the coin jar and ask Zach to sort out and count all of the quarters. Decisions are made. We have enough quarters for 2 loads, that means daddy's work clothes and Zach's footy pajamas make the cut, our blanket does not. Oh well, maybe next time. Now the detergent. It's normally stored in the cockpit lockers. Uh-oh. Nobody brought it in last night. I put on a fleece and my boots to check the locker and sure enough, the liquid detergent is now a slushie. No worries, we'll bring it in the shower with us and let us thaw a bit. Ok, laundry bag is packed, shower bags are packed. Now it's time to dress the boy. Fleece everything, warm socks, snow pants, winter coat, hat, gloves (oh when will someone make little gloves that actually fit little hands?!), and boots. Same wardrobe minus the snow pants for mom and dad. And we're off.

It's about the equivalent of one block walk to the laundry/ shower rooms. In the summer, no problem. But now we're laden with baggage and trudging through 24+ inches of snow. The boy wants to stop and roll and jump in every drift while Doug and I strain under the weight of all of the bags. We finally herd him to the shower room, lights on, warm water running plentifully, we're all in our birthday suits and ready for a nice long shower.

"Mommy, I have to poopoo."

I lose the coin toss and so Doug gets to stay in the shower while I get Zach dressed all over again, get me dressed, snow clothes on, and out we go. The toilets are not in the same place as the showers. It's just a few doors down, but a few doors OUTdoors. Duty done, we shower, dress, pack, and trudge over to the laundry room. I sort and load and chat with a neighbor. It's time for the quarters, Zach's favorite job. He plinks them in one by one but the machine won't go. Huh? Return coin, try again, no luck. Upon returning the coins a second time I see the problem. One of the six coins is not a quarter. It's a Franc, old school French currency from who knows where. *sigh* Same size and shape, but the machine doesn't like it. The prospect of walking all the way back to the boat for one quarter makes me want to hibernate for 4 months. But our kind neighbor spots me and laundry proceeds. Basically, by the time we finished showers, 2 loads of laundry, and a meal the sun was getting low in the sky and it was time to think dinner.

We're just one day away from the Solstice, but it truly felt like the shortest day.

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Joy said...

Wow, Cindy, you wintertime boat-dwellers are a brave bunch. I was just as content to stay in my cozy house this weekend doing laundry of all the soggy winter clothes and baking warm goodies. I can't even imagine the scene you're describing. I hope the snow in your area melts soon for you, and that Z gets plenty of playtime in the meantime. :)

Lea said...

wow! I just had the pleasure of stumbling into your little world. i love making decisions on what's vital for washing and what can wait another day (week, month...). I shiver for you!

FrontierDreams said...

Wow! Can I say how jealous I am? I move away and NOW snow falls there :p No sno here in Oregon yet....

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

What a post...I never really thought about the nitty gritty details of life on a boat, especially during winter months. I won't complain about doing laundry again (at least not this week, I am sure the complaining will return soon enough:). Sending you some warm and sunny vibes all the way from Sicily.

Little Lovables said...

holy canoly! what a day! I am the type that needs a shower every stinkin day else I can't function. I've had to borrow showers before when plumbing was out and that was a nightmare... I couldn't imaging your routine! you have my applause :)

boatbaby said...

Joy - brave... or crazy-in-the-head?

Lea - welcome! those are good decisions to make no matter where one lives, true!

Nicole - i know! and so early for these parts. I am sure you'll get some!

DimSum - Sun from Italy? Now that's the best gift I've gotten this year! Thanks!

lisa - I am that type too. I just pretend I am not in the winter.

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