Monthly Archives: July 2015

When you don’t have a fridge door …

We don’t have a conventional stand alone fridge on Medina like what you find in most houses. I wish we did, ahhhh … the space, the shelves, the internal light – I do miss the strangest things.

Our fridge (next to the oven)

Our fridge (next to the oven)

Our fridge is built in and more like an large esky with a small generator on the side to keep things cool. It opens from the top and we have to ‘pack’ our food in the fridge in plastic containers to keep things organised.

One of the benefits of having a conventional fridge, is having a fridge door to put children’s artwork, awards on etc.

A good friend (who is also a primary school teacher) encouraged me to display Orbit’s artwork and awards, regardless of our lack of space and fridge door. She explained that displaying Orbit’s artwork and awards shows him that what he does is valued, helps to build his confidence and and shows him that we are proud of what he does.

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Orbit’s bulkhead

So, in lieu of having a fridge door, we have dedicated part of a bulkhead to Orbit’s efforts. We choose the starboard midships bulkhead because anyone who walks down below can see his work (as well as Orbit), its a prime location!

Sellotape seems to be the best medium to attach the work or awards as this doesn’t leave marks on the wood, is easy to remove and doesn’t mark the artwork or award. We just fold the ends over the corners once its finished being displayed.

I try to rotate Orbit’s artwork regularly. When something has been up for ‘too long’, it is a reminder for me to get the craft box out and get our creative juices flowing again. We leave his awards up until he gets a replacement, e.g. moving up to the next level of swimming lessons.

We do keep a selection of Orbit’s artwork on the boat, but unfortunately we can keep it all. I try to keep the pieces that have the highest sentimental value or something he may be interested in later on in life. In time I plan to take photos of all his work, as photos take up a lot less space, but its not the same as having an original.

I am sure as we travel around on our adventure the bulkhead won’t be big enough. Hopefully we’ll all be inspired to create some artwork to put up around Medina’s interior!

Tantrums on a sailing boat

As you may have guessed by now, Orbit is a pretty typical two year old. And being a typical two year old involves tantrums.

Toddlers throwing tantrums is challenging at the best of times, but a toddler throwing a tantrum on a sailing boat adds a unique dimension to parenting. Not only because of the small space, if the tantrum is occurring down below, but also the safety factor if there is a tantrum up on deck or on the floating marina.

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given (about tantrums) is to work out why Orbit is having the tantrum in the first place. The advice has been priceless and Orbit’s tantrums have become easier avoid or manage. By working out why he is having a tantrum has allowed me to be more objective about the situation, therefore more effective when managing the tantrum (most of the time).

Orbit’s tantrums usually come back to one thing, a power struggle. Essentially, I want Orbit to do something and he doesn’t want to; or Orbit wants to do something and I don’t want him to. Sometimes he pushes the boundaries by actively deciding not to do as I ask. You can see his brain ticking over as a wicked smile crosses his little face. For me, the resulting tantrum after I have physically restrained him, is the most annoying. The result is usually a monumental tantrum and sometimes I wonder who is throwing the biggest tantrum – Orbit or me!

I have found that one of the best ways to manage the garden variety tantrum (besides making sure he has enough sleep) is to give him choices. We share the “power” of decision making. The end goal is usually still achieved, but Orbit gets to make decisions along the way. An example might be Orbit deciding which pair of socks to wear, what he would like to take on our adventure with us, and/or deciding whether to ride in the trolley or wearing a harness when walking up to/from Medina. Sometimes we don’t achieve our end goal, Orbit ends up in bed throwing his tantrum and I end up on deck working out an alternative plan.

I am definitely learning the ‘battles to fight’ and learning to compromise. Being in such a small space and with the obvious safety issues, we can’t be fighting all the time. So I am leaving the ‘battles’ to the important things where there is a safety consequence.

Luckily Orbit’s tantrums don’t last too long and he is back to his usual happy self within about 15 minutes or until he has been distracted by something else.

Each sailing family is different and am curious to hear how other parents cope with tantrums on sailing boats.

I don’t have any photos of Orbit throwing a tantrum, so I thought I would share a photo of Orbit in his favourite spot on Medina at the moment – hanging out on top of the dodger looking into the cockpit.

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Orbit’s not a baby any more

I have been told, that as parents, we have light bulb moments when we realise our babies, our little babies, are not babies any more. I have already had a few of the moments, and I had another one this week.

Orbit in his backpack

Orbit in his backpack

When we are in the marina our usual daily routine of leaving Medina is for me to get everything organised, ‘neatly’ pack our bags on the side of the boat, then Orbit and I hop in the cockpit, put our shoes and socks on. After putting in the wash boards and locking up, we hop off and Orbit goes straight into his backpack. Next I complete the loading up process by picking up our bags, then its time head off on our adventure for the day.

But this week …

The process was going well, until I put Orbit into his backpack – ‘crack’, the stand in the backpack broke. I looked down to see Orbit sitting in an uncomfortable ‘reclined’ position with a bewildered look on his face.

It is official, my baby, my not so little baby, my 15kg baby, is too big for the backpack. It was another of those light bulb moments – Orbit is not a baby anymore.

That night, the Skipper made a temporary ‘fix’ for the backpack, that came with the instructions of ‘please be careful with it’. We have since re-broken the stand (the very next day), so I’ve decided to leave the backpack in the car for emergency use only. But this means I’ll have to come up with another way of getting us and our usual small mountain of gear off or back on to Medina.

My brain is screaming – let the little bugger walk, he is nearly 2 and a half and he does have common sense – time to start letting go. But I am not sure how I will go with Orbit walking and me carrying our ‘stuff’. The other part of my brain is saying, we ‘need’ to get to the car quickly because we’re usually running late.

My heart is saying – carry him (somehow), protect him from accidents, after all he could fall in the water … I am not ready (note “I am not ready” rather than “Orbit is not ready”) to have him walk along the floating marina without either a. holding my hand or b. in his harness with my hand firmly on the tether. Trying to do this while carrying bags just seems to much.

To put things into a bit of context, it is usually only Orbit and myself making the trek, during the week the Skipper leaves very early to go to work. So its Orbit and myself walking up to 250m from Medina to the car (or return), depending on where we can get a car park. Apart from the distance we have to cover, there are a lot of distractions for Orbit along the way – looking for fish, stopping in to see friends along the way (or sometimes, out of the way), the carpark, throwing stones from the car park into the water below, finding things that people have dropped along the walkways – it can be anything from a screw to a bit of electrical tape – oh and there is the little plastic signs that designate the pen number – he likes ‘reading’ them. So on a good day, when we are out for an afternoon ‘walk to stretch out legs’, (and no bags) it can take us about 30 minutes to cover the 250m distance from Medina to the car. Most days this is just not practical, particularly at the moment with the cold winter mornings.

Orbit in the marine trolley

Orbit in the marina trolley

So, the solution? To pop everything, i.e Orbit and our bags into a marina trolley. He’s been riding in the trolleys for some time now. Over time he has learnt not to try and touch the wheels, not to climb around or off the trolley, to hold on over the bumps – to essentially sit still (most of the time).

This process has worked ok, as long as Orbit is happy to sit in the trolley … otherwise its an interesting process of bribery and corruption!

I’ll also look at rationalising what ‘stuff’ I take with us, a good lesson to put into practice while we prepare for cruising!

An open letter to Poseidon

The crew of Medina

Moreton Bay, Queensland

Australia

 

Dear Poseidon

Medina has been in her pen since April. We have not raised a sail or lowered an anchor for over three months.

We haven’t been idly sitting by for three months. We have done a lot of work in preparing her and us to go cruising. We are currently focused on only the critical tasks required to go cruising – addressing Medina’s engine and anchor issues. This has been a good thing as the Skipper has learnt many things about our trusty blue engine and how many layers of paint were in the anchor well (and what was under them).

It won’t be long, we will be out there again. Medina’s engine, anchor well, chain and anchor are coming back together again (slowly, but better than before). And when they are, we will fulfil a number of promises …

We promise to take Medina for a sail, to stretch her halyards and sails, slowly at first, to let her (and us) warm up and then to let her fly. To feel the wind in her sails, at all points of sail.

We promise to get salt water over the deck, we may even leave a hatch open to tempt a rouge wave to come inside.

We promise for Medina not to feel the fenders on her waist for such a long time again.

We promise to let the water wash the slime off her hull and the wind to blow away the cobwebs that have started to grow.

We promise we will spill beer and rum on her decks as we toast the sunset, and look forward to another day.

We promise to put her mooring lines in such a safe place that we need 24 hours to find them again.

Dear Poseidon we promise all this and more, for who knows what adventures we are going to have and memories we are going to make.

[Poseidon is the god of the sea in greek mythology]

Just one more season?

Deck shoes aren’t just a sailing fashion statement for me, I genuinely need to wear them. As the ‘official deck hand’ on Medina, I tend to do most things outside the cockpit, and am very good at kicking everything on the deck, on the dock – anywhere really!

I love my Dubarry deck shoes (Dubarry didn’t pay me for this statement, but I wish they would!). My current pair have so far latest seven years.  Who knows for how many more years, if any, I will get out of them. I was fortunate enough to be given a new of Dubarry deck shoes for Christmas – they are now my ‘good shoes’, but I can’t seem to let go my old ones.

Maybe its because we are still getting everything ready to leave on our adventure. Maybe my ‘good shoes’ can become my everyday shoes when we leave on our adventure!

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