Drugs & Musings
One word. Meclazine! A very special little pill that you only have to take once every 24 hours for sea sickness and IT WORKS...really well! I feel like I have my life back! I have no idea if I even need to take it anymore, but I'm not about to find out! It doesn't cause drowsiness for me and I haven't had even the faintest bout of nausea since leaving Crescent City, CA. I'm not big on taking pills of any kind, but these are necessary for my sanity. On our first stretch of sailing, I could only take a half tablet of Gravol because it...ummm... makes me hallucinate! Like really bizarre, drug induced hallucinations from just 50mg of the stuff! So I'd been reduced to taking 25mg, still feeling nauseous, and struggling to keep my eyelids open. But now, because of meclazine, I take a pill a few hours before leaving the anchorage and then I just feel excitement and boredom out in the deep blue. No more nausea! We also bought Sea Bands for the kids and I which may or may not be helping. It's hard to say what is working and what isn't when you change up a bunch of variables at the same time. They actually kind of hurt,though! After a 3 day trip from Crescent City to Half Moon Bay, our wrists felt bruised and achy. Riley said the feel of them on her wrists made her gag. Love that kid!
I sat in the cockpit tonight, talking to mom on the phone, watching the pelicans dive into the moonbeam on the water. This is the coolest life! Our anchorage here in Santa Cruz is quite rolly, but it is protected and the view is incredible. The pier is decorated underneath with lazy sea lions barking long into the evenings. The surf is peppered with wetsuit-clad surfers. The water is still cold, too cold for this Canadian to be tempted to jump in. On the other side of the pier, there is an amusement park, right on the beach, that has been running since 1907. We haven't gone on any of the rides, but it was fun to walk through! The friendliness of the people here are on par with small town Saskatchewan folks! We met another sailing family (s/v Willow) with 3 girls who have been so amazing, sharing their life with us, even picking up supplies for us as we don't have a vehicle. Kindness for the sake of kindness is something we have experienced many times in the sailing community and we are so thankful to be a part of such a caring group of wanderers! We wish this awesome family all the best in their travels and hope to see them again in Mexico!
If I'm going to be honest though, this hasn't been the easiest transition for us. While we're stoked to be living our dream, the stress of weather and boat issues and even the simple things like raising a family ;) cause anxiety. Voices carry really well over water and I wonder how many other anchored homes have had the privilege of hearing me speak 'passionately and assertively' towards my children. Every piece of Lego that gets stuck in my heel, every banana peel that I find on the floor beside the compost, every single pencil, piece of paper, and pair of underwear just laying around makes me frustrated! Laundry is an issue. Fresh water is more valuable than gold. The weather makes me nervous. Jamie is checking weather at regular intervals and the results of that latest download governs our life and our decisions! Arena is such a solid vessel, but she requires maintenance and upkeep. We're supposed to be having the time of our life and sometimes I find myself wondering how great it might feel to pull up into our driveway in our vehicle, open up the trunk and walk our groceries into the house, a bag or 2 at a time! Or maybe what it might feel like to grab a pile of laundry off the floor and stick it in the washing machine that's right down the hall and turn it on without having to make sure I have enough quarters for a wash AND a dry! Such a privileged life we've known! The kids have their moments too. Yesterday after we had been walking a few hours to do errands, one of them mentioned "I sort of wish we lived like normal people". Ahhh, how about some perspective. We aren't normal! Even when we lived like normal people, we weren't normal. We didn't belong because we were striving for this! Time with daddy comes at a cost. Those years of waiting for a simple existence are over. As we walked in the heat, we had time to talk to each other. We looked at the art in people's front yards. We got to eat free fruit that was set out for passers-by. We switched up our choice of company. We went into shops that we wouldn't have ever stopped at otherwise. Our only timeline revolved around getting groceries back to the boat before they spoiled.
I like my mental space. I have a LOT of activity going on in my head, tons of stories and conversations happening solely up in my brain and I like it that way. Living on Arena was never a problem before when we had land to step out onto and escape. Now I cannot solve any of the world's problems because it seems that someone is always talking to me, interupting the movie or scenario I was conjuring up and I can't seem to escape. If I hide up on deck, all of a sudden it'll become the most popular place to practice annoying accents and blow on a harmonica. We trip over each other constantly and it feels like we're a swarming soccer team. I get annoyed, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't change this for the world, even though it's hard. Jamie and I have a lifetime to solve the world's problems. I have many years ahead that will be filled with silence. These are the days that I really want to start embracing. I want to just be in the moment. We just have to figure out how to all do that without going insane. It won't be like this forever, I don't think. The cool place to be will eventually be anywhere that I am not! These reflections keep me grounded. They help to keep me from wanting to pack up and resume the busyness of "normal" life. We get incredibly frustrated with each other! We fight. We bicker. But we're doing this together! We've watched all 4 of the kids soften towards each other, bonded by blood and circumstance. Those special friendships we see forming and strengthening between them is such an incredible gift! I miss my own sisters something fierce these days...
I've pulled out the school books for another year. We are beginning our 8th year of home/boat learning. The goals list has been made and the chore lists have been doled out. This will be Lochlan's first year, Kindergarten! We are eclectic learners and tend to use a variety of methods for learning, often without school books! Ada would love nothing more than for me to hand her a neatly outlined, traditional curriculum in which she could just check the boxes as she completes the objectives. Yesterday as I put the books on a shelf in the salon, I caught her mocking smile as she commented "but we don't actually use those, do we?". Ha! There are so many other ways to enjoy the concepts in those books that it is difficult to stick to them as the bones of our day. There are some tough decisions to be made this year though, especially with limited resources. I'm not a fan of giving the kids free reign on the internet, but now that we don't have it at our fingertips, I notice that we had used it more than I thought we did! We used it for researching curious questions, relevant videos, assistance for me, crafts and baking ideas....the list goes on! Maybe I should start using the books! The kids have definitely spent the majority of their time roaming the forests and beaches in the past, but now that Ada wants to settle into some "serious studies", it seems that it is time to accommodate her. She is driven by something I know nothing of! I think I'd have liked to live deep in the abyss of imagination and adventure when I was her age. She is her own wonderful self and I admire that! Hopefully, we'll be able to make some decisions soon so that everyone is happy.
Our days here are relaxed. The fog rolls away by late morning and the skies are faithfully blue. The kids all love the big waves and warmer water. They spend hours on end getting slammed into the waves, sometimes head up, sometimes feet up and I end up brushing copious amounts of sand out their hair at night. The kids got a bit (or a lot) too much sun the other day, so we made the decision to have an in-boat day, which turned into an Anne of Green Gables marathon for us girls while Jamie and Lochlan spent hours building Lego, reading, and napping! Have I mentioned how much I love our home?? It's so cozy, so comfortable, so safe.
Jamie got the water maker working which means a bit more freedom with fresh water! We can now have showers in the boat without measuring each drop! It's the most amazing machine, separating the salt from the rest. While the water maker fills our tanks, we've chosen to continue to wash our clothes with ocean water. The clothes definitely take longer to dry, but they smell good and feel clean! The process for washing our clothes is, however, a bit arduous. We start off by adding water to the laundry bucket off the side of the boat, then a small amount of detergent is mixed in. It doesn't get very sudsy because of the saltwater, but we know it's doing it's job! The clothes are then added and the stomping begins. Holding onto the inner forestay, those clothes get agitated by jumping feet for about 15 minutes. The clothes are quickly wrung out, and the water is exchanged for clean saltwater. More agitating, about 10 minutes (or until someone starts whining), then the clothes are taken out in small bunches, wrung out and added to the Laundry Pod to be spun with the drainage hose over the side of the boat. It's definitely work, but it beats making the trek to the laundromat with heavy bags all the time and, quite frankly, it saves $$. Occasionally, we splurge at a laundromat. After a few days out at sea, everyone is just all done and welcomes a laundromat, but otherwise, we make do with washing on the boat. Seeing the little clothes hanging on the safety lines brings a lot of joy to my heart!
Food is definitely our biggest expense here and we are looking forward to the markets in Mexico! We never planned to spend so much time in the States, but I also didn't think we'd enjoy it as much as we have. Letting go of expectations and plans hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be. We have enjoyed some aspect of every place we've stayed, but we are itching to go south.
We plan to leave Santa Cruz later this week and hoping to make it to Ensenada to celebrate Lochlan's 5th birthday early next week. 5 YEARS ago, this kid knocked our world upside down and brought a whole lot of joy with him. Once September 15th rolls by, that'll be the last of our 2019 birthdays...everyone a little older, a little wiser, a little closer, and a whole lot blessed!
P.S. - Ada and Bronwyn would like to say a very special thank you to GG and Gpa Leland for their special birthday cards! They have chosen to wait for Mexico to find a special gift! Gracias, Abuela y Abuelo!