Monday, October 10, 2011

Bugs and Mold

Well it's been a while since I put up a post since I'm home in the US and Mark is in Australia. He has safely (finally!) made it and is enjoying Brisbane. While chatting with my mom the other day we were discussing some of the things that I do before closing up the boat that Mark will have to do this time around. When I told her three of the home remedies I have come across that, as far as we know, have worked wonderfully she asked why I hadn't ever told her about them so I thought maybe they would make for a good blog post. So my three things that I do to ensure we don't end up with bugs or mold while we are gone...

1. Cinnamon: I boil cinnamon sticks on the stove and then wipe down all the counters and especially around all the cabinets that have food in them. Ants supposedly won't cross a line of cinnamon and so far we haven't had an ant infiltration so I think I'll keep doing this one. Besides if it doesn't work it sure does make the boat smell good. I learned this from a woman in Puerto Rico while I stood in front of the spices in the Walmart mulling over which Bay Leaves I should buy - which brings me to #2.

2. Bay Leaves: As I've mentioned before I put them in everything that I repackage. I don't care what it is. I make sure they end up in all my pasta, rice, flour, pancake mix, etc. I vacuum seal them right in. I've never had a problem with anything taking on a funny taste but figure I'd rather have that than bugs. We haven't had many bug issues on the boat but the bugs we have gotten have only gotten into one bag of food on the boat and it was a bag of pasta that I had not repackaged or put bay leaves in. Most of the time I'll also throw a bay leave or two in my cabinets somewhere as well but definitely do it before we shut down the boat - even with our canned goods.

3. Bleach: The first time I did this I didn't really put enough. I came back to crystalized bleach in the cups I left in our sinks. Since then I have used our larger glasses and filled them a little over half full of bleach and left them in our three sinks. The purpose is for mold. The bleach attracts the mold so it goes to the bleach instead of to your walls or upholstery. I think this has worked for the most part. I did find that a couple of pairs of Mark's pants had gotten a little moldy in the closet but they washed right out and we haven't had issues with the walls or cushions.

Hopefully some of this will help even those of you who are living on land.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It'a a...


We found out a few days ago and are really excited about our new crew. It was good to have my mom at the ultrasound with me but sad that Mark couldn't be there. I'm really glad that we had a few in Fiji before I left and will probably do another one when Mark gets home just so that he can see the baby moving around in there. I can definitely feel him moving on a regular basis - mostly at night. He has also figured out that if he kicks me in the kidney I'll eat something so I have to make sure I don't go to long between meals. I'm totally overwhelmed with all the baby stuff out there. I went to BuyBuyBaby and Babies R Us just to take a look and see what they have. I have no idea what we need. There are so many options for everything. I mean seriously - how many different types of pacifiers can there be? Plus, I have to think about what we can transport to the boat and is boat friendly. They don't exactly make a line of baby boat products. We will be home for a few months and my mom will be setting up a permanent grand-baby area (my sister is pregnant too) in her house so there are some things that won't be good on a boat but will be good to have the first few months and not go to waist after we leave. I'm open to suggestions regarding anything baby.

I've also been keeping busy helping out my mom. She closed on a new house last week and we have been busy getting it together all weekend. I have to be careful what I work on but we purchased all natural cleaning products so that I can help with the cleaning and I am wearing a mask in the house so I don't breath in any dust. My mom's husband (Andy) will be putting in new flooring so I pulled all the floorboards off in preparation for that. My mom and Andy have been busy painting the house. I stopped by to drop off dinner earlier and it looks so great - amazing what a nice fresh (and decent color) paint can do to a house!

Mark and Roberta are still in Vanuatu doing boat projects and will hopefully get to head out within the next few days. I wish he would get moving so that he can get home!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fiji to?

We left Fiji on August 3rd for New Caledonia and ended up in Vanuatu. No matter how hard we tried the wind would not let us go as south as we wanted to and we had a lot of wind. It was a really hard sail, terribly uncomfortable and I was horribly seasick - by far the worst I've ever been. I became incredibly dehydrated and couldn't keep anything down. After about three days we decided that it was best to continue on the course we were and pull into Vanuatu. Had it just been Mark and I we probably would have continued to push toward New Cal but worrying about the baby we decided that it would be best to get to land as soon as possible. We also decided that it was probably time for me to return to the US for the remainder of the pregnancy. I had planned on returning in October after we got to Australia but after three hard crossings in a row it no longer seemed like the best plan. After pulling into Port Vila on Sunday (two days later) we booked a flight home for me for Tuesday. Vanuatu seemed like it would be a cool place to explore and I wish I could have seen it with Mark but we were skipping it for a very good reason. The country has Malaria and while it is said that Port Vila (the main city) is Malaria free the statistics for Malaria and pregnancy aren't good and we didn't want to take a chance. Pregnant women are 50% more likely to get Malaria and 80% of all Malaria deaths are pregnant women. It was difficult to make a decision, get a ticket, and fly out within a week knowing that we would be separated for awhile but it didn't really seem that there was another choice. So for now I am back in the US taking care of the baby and Mark is in Vanuatu taking care of the boat. Our friend Roberta joined him today. I'm glad he has some company and some help.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ready to go

Well Mark and I are still awaiting a weather window to get the heck out of Fiji. We have heard people say it'll be as late as next Saturday but we've also heard as early as Monday. All I know is we are ready to go. Well not really. I've pulled a bunch of stuff out and need to get it stowed away but I'd have this boat together in an hour if I thought we could go anywhere. This is probably one of the most annoying things about cruising. The weather dictates when and where you can go and doesn't really care what you want to do. I want to get to New Caledonia so that we have a little time to see it before we have to hurry off to Australia so that I can get home in time for the third trimester. Lord please push this coming high in another direction!

Monday, July 25, 2011

What kind of husband?

What kind of husband makes his pregnant wife scrub the bottom of a disgusting dinghy?  The kind that lives on a boat. Well actually I volunteered for the job. The thing is that the number of outside jobs I can do has become limited. I can't really help Mark with many projects because everything involves so many sprays and chemicals that I have to run away. That's probably one of the harder things about being pregnant on the boat. Whenever Mark is working on something I know it helps if I'm there just to run and get things or hold a piece while he works on it.  But I don't want to be breathing in anything that could be harmful for the baby. So I will have to stick to the girly jobs of cooking and dishes for now and servicing the winches will have to wait until after the baby arrives.

Duty Free

I always wondered what the big deal was with Duty Free. Every time I was in an airport with a duty free shop I'd check it out. Supposed to be a great deal right? But I never could see that. The prices always seemed higher than I could get the stuff at home. Now that I've been traveling a while and "lived" in different places I realize that duty free isn't for Americans. Our prices at home are less than most duty free shops and definitely less than most other places in the world. The prices (with crazy amount of taxes) for stuff in other parts of the world are so high it makes Nordstrom look like Walgreens in comparison. Think of the alcohol you can get at Costco. A handle of Jack is what $30-40US. Here in Fiji a bottle half that size is at least double if not triple. A case of Fiji Bitter (probably a Budweiser equivalent) is about $40US. It's totally crazy. Mark and I went into the Duty Free here the other day to check out the electronics. The cameras were all at least $500-600US. I just looked up the equivalents on Best Buy and none of the cameras were more than $150, they were more like $120. I just can't believe that the rest of the world puts up with this. It's just another reason I'm so proud to be an American and why we always max out our baggage limits when we leave the states to return to the boat. I now also understand why people actually take shopping vacations to the US.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's official...

...the baby belly is officially big enough that people feel comfortable asking when I'm due. I'm glad. I hated that feeling that people were looking at me wondering if I'd just been packing on a few pounds. Especially because I've been walking around without out my shorts buttoned for weeks and covering it with my tank top. I have officially switched to only wearing my cotton shorts with elastic bands in them. Luckily I have a number of them since they are what I do crossings in. They should get me through at least the next few weeks. I haven't found any maternity stores in Fiji. The tourist shops have a number of dresses that I could wear but I flat-out hate wearing dresses and the idea of heaving my growing belly wearing a dress in-and-out of the dinghy just isn't appealing at all. I'm sure I'd end up giving the whole anchorage a show. So for now I plan to stick with the cotton shorts and stretch this batch of Old Navy tank tops to the limit.

Mark and I have started to organize the stuff we plan to take home with us this round and I'm hoping it's going too be a lot so we can make some room for the baby. The good news is I won't be taking any clothes. Nothing will fit by the time I leave and most likely nothing will fit for a few months (or more) after the baby is born so no point in dragging it half-way around the world. I'll have lots of room in my luggage.

Last year we scanned all the manuals on the boat. It was a huge undertaking of 6 or 7 binders. It freed up a lot of space in the nav station area but we weren't ready to take them off the boat when we went home last August. We were worried we could have missed something but Mark hasn't needed to reference the binders at all. The digital copies have been great and this means that all the binders are going home with us this time and I will have the entire compartment under my bed free for whatever I choose. I probably will go through our clothes again. If I haven't worn it since we've been on the boat I'm probably not going to. And most likely by the time we move off the boat I won't want to wear it so I'll probably just give the stuff away. The big project for me is to decide what craft supplies are going to stay. Truth is I haven't used most of them. It's not that convenient since I have to pull everything out and put everything away and can't really leave projects sitting around to work on. So I haven't done much. But the idea of not having my stuff makes me sad. Plus with the baby coming I have a feeling I may just want to get crafty about some things. So I'll be going through what is currently 4 duffle bags of craft supplies to figure out what stays and what goes.

On the flip side I also have to figure out what will be coming back to the boat with us. I can tell you they'll be a lot of baby stuff I'm sure. I've been trying to research what babies need and what is nice to have and I'll tell you it isn't easy - Especially trying to keep the boat in mind. I know we'll need some type of stroller and it's all nice that there are websites that have reviews but none of them take into account living on a boat. No one says "oh this one would be easy to get in and out of a dinghy by yourself with a baby in your arms while the thing is bouncing around and moving away from the dock." So I think light and simple but that won't work on a lot of the gravel/dirt roads that many of these islands have. Granted we plan to be in Australia for the first year baby's life but we will probably be walking almost everywhere so it can't be flimsy. Then there is all the toys and educational stuff. Just because we have a limited amount of space doesn't mean I want baby to be deprived (okay maybe deprived isn't the right word I mean we will make sure the baby has everything it needs). It's all great that Mark and I can go digital with our books and entertainment. But we just can't do that with a child. They need to be touching and grabbing and exploring. We have the unique opportunity that both of us get to be with the child 24/7 and we need to be using that time to its fullest extent. So what are the best baby learning toys and games? Hell if I know. There are so many on the market I sure as heck can't bring them all back with me and buying a lot in Australia would be nuts since I know it's going to be much more expensive than buying stuff in the states. I do want to have a good range of stuff for the baby as it grows because once we leave Australia it could be a while again before we are in a place with stores that we can run and get something we are missing or would like to have. I also have a lot of stuff from when I was a kid - mostly books I'd like to have on the boat but I have a feeling they will be coming out of my storage unit and into grandma's house since there are definitely too many to bring to the boat. If you have kids and have any recommendations I'll take em.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oooh Pretty

Yesterday we finally got out and got our sails out. We were pretty happy with the results. We didn't spend too much time fine tuning them because we only had a few hours to play and we had a lot to test. We pulled out the mizzen and the main. All looked good and back in they went (much easier - no more baggy sails to fight into and out of the mast). Next we pulled out the Genoa and away it went. Then came the labor intensive test of deploying our two whisker polls. We pulled the Genoa out on the port side and then ran the new ballooner up and out on the starboard side. It looked great. We got to pick new colors for the ballooner and decided to go simple light and dark blue. It is much nicer than the old red, white, and blue because the red and blue had bled onto the white making it look awful. Mark also picked out the order of the colors on the sail and he did a great job. I was pretty happy with the whole excursion. It all went pretty smoothly and I think we are both starting to remember all the little details without reviewing the process before hand (we've only deployed the ballooner a handful of times).

As you can see Mark looks pretty happy standing there... with my Dr. Pepper. I say my DP because Mark never drank DP until I got pregnant. Overseas it isn't easy to find and usually expensive so when I found it at Gilmours in NZ for less than Coke I bought a case and Mark made me go back for a few more knowing that I enjoy the treat once in a while. I'm not a big pop drinker but I bought enough to have one a week till December. I didn't buy much other pop because I know that I can always get the other stuff that Mark drinks. Since I'm pregnant and can't drink it Mark has dug into it. I now fear my DP will never be safe again!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earthquake Update

We are still out of Christchurch. Hopefully our building inspection will be completed by this weekend and we can get the last of our things. We are extremely lucky and happy that we were able to get out of the city unharmed and are in part of the country where we do not need to be concerned for our safety. Are prayers continue to go out to the people left in Christchurch and for the families who have lost, or are still looking for, loved ones. Please continue to also pray for us and our ability to return to collect our things. Most can be replaced but there are a few things of sentimental value that we would like to get back.

We have contacted the US Consulate regarding our status. If you are a US Citizen in New Zealand please contact the Consulate and let them know that you are okay even if you were not in or near Christchurch. They are compiling a list so that if anyone worried about a loved one does contact them they have all information available. They have set up a special e-mail address to do so, it is:
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