It’s Just an Update

This is day 3 of trying to be okay with not getting our outdoor projects done. We are trying to be gracious hosts, but Ana has overstayed her welcome.

Luckily, we had dinner with a couple on Saturday night who just got back from 7 months of cruising.  (Thanks, Mike and Nancy for introducing us.)  We spend the last two days reading their blog – – giving us something fun to do.  We TOTALLY relate to their experiences with boat projects and are looking forward to seeing some of the same sights when we set sail in June.  Carol and Monty are talking about spending some time in the Chesapeake this summer before heading south again in the fall so, who knows? Our paths may cross again.

That’s another reason why this “who knows” journey is so cool.  Our itinerary is ever-evolving, always-changing, and we’re learning that if you’re patient, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be.

When I first started blogging, Steve told me I needed to decide if I was going to write a sailboat blog or a zen blog and then target my audience accordingly. I wrestle with that because there are some readers who really like the sailboat stuff and others who seem to enjoy the zen stuff. I always get Steve to read my blogs before I post them. Sometimes, he helps me explain the sailboat stuff better but most of the time he just says, “That’s good, honey.” However, when he read “C’mon Ana”, our conversation went something like this:

S: That’s good, honey, but it’s not one of your best blogs. You’re just giving everybody an update.

M: Isn’t that what sailboat bloggers do every once in a while? Not a whole lot going on, so they just update everybody?

S: Yes, but all I’m saying is that this is not one of your best blogs. There’s no zen.

AHA! Remember, Steve saying that FNR is a name for all people? Well, Zen on a Boat is a blog for all people and has been re-named accordingly. It has ended up where it is supposed to be…for now.

Switching gears back to not getting our outdoor projects done, I decide to do laundry today. Normally, Wednesday is laundry day, but since Wednesday’s forecast is for clear skies and 80⁰, we want to spend the whole day on outdoor projects.

I imagine every cruiser has one thing that they would change if they could about living aboard. Mine is not about doing laundry but about the dimensions of the V-berth.

I’ve commented a couple of times about how comfy our mattress is. We replaced an old mattress with two 3” layers of foam glued together and topped with 3” of memory foam. That’s 9” of mattress in a space that is about 36” high, leaving us with roughly 25” of head clearance. I sit up in bed after a good night’s sleep to do a few yoga stretches and BANG. I knock the mess out of my head. I glare at Steve and tell him if there’s one thing that is going to make me swallow the anchor, it’s banging my head in the V-berth every morning.

Now, when I do laundry, I wash the sheets. When I wash the sheets, I have to put them back on our v-shaped mattress in a space with only about 25” of head clearance and zero wall clearance. NOT my favorite thing to do and Steve often disappears when I do it.

Children, beware.  Steve has always wanted a video of me in the bedroom.  Today, he gets it.  Luckily, I didn’t bang my head so maybe I won’t be swallowing that anchor, after all.

C’mon Ana

Subtropical Storm Ana will drift slowly west toward the South Carolina coast through this weekend. Gusty east-northeast winds and rough surf are likely from Cape Lookout south. Locally heavy rain will be possible along with the threat for isolated tornadoes through Monday.Subtropical_Storm_Ana

Well, you have to hand it to Subtropical Storm Ana. Meandering North-Northwest at 1 MPH, she’s a master at puttering. We’re slightly north of Cape Lookout so all we’ll probably see in Oriental is a little rain and gusty winds.

I’m happy that Ana is going easy on us, but I have to admit that I am a little put out with her. She’s tampering with our to-do list.

I spent a couple of days at my old job earlier this week training my replacement. The Oriental 7-day forecast was for upper 70’s and low 80’s with clear skies and we planned to clean the teak and get started on the full enclosure when we got back to Oriental on Wednesday. Perfect weather for those projects until Ana started forming.

Thursday is spent puttering.

I go to yoga class. Oriental has a great yoga studio with lots of dedicated yogis. Worth checking out if you’re ever down this way.  C’mon Ana.

Steve has a new tablet that connects to the GPS, chart plotter, etc. so he can see them from anywhere on the boat. That’s lots of fun to play with.  C’mon Ana.

The mirrors in the head are bowing out so we head to the hardware store to get the parts we need to fix them. We spend quite a bit of time in the hardware store. Hardware stores have lots of cool stuff to look at.  C’mon Ana.

We try to install a fan on my side of the V-berth, but it’s missing a part. Not a problem thanks to Google.  C’mon Ana.

For our daily walk, we walk the docks. That way, if one of those isolated showers pops up, we are close to the boat.  C’mon Ana.

Next thing we know, it’s time to shower and start fixing dinner.  C’mon Ana.

We picked up two bacon–wrapped fillet mignons from Triad Meat Company while in Greensboro. (Also worth checking out.  Good meat and great prices.) Normally, we grill on our onboard grill, but it’s too windy so Steve breaks out our cooktop grill.  C’mon Ana.

Cooktop grill. A must for all cruisers!
Cooktop grill. A must for all cruisers!
Chef Steve. Note the ponytail!
Chef Steve. Note the ponytail!

Friday is overcast, but there’s no rain in the forecast.  Ana, if you don’t mind we are going to work on FNR’s teak.

FNR’s teak has been sorely neglected. It needs a good cleaning and sanding before it can be treated with Cetol. Looking at her, you wouldn’t think FNR had much teak. However, you think otherwise after cleaning, sanding and applying the requisite 3 coats of Cetol.

This is how we clean it!
This is how we clean it!
This teak has never been so clean.
This teak has never been so clean.
A little teak TLC.
A little teak TLC.
Thank God for knee pads!!
Thank God for knee pads!!

We make progress though and since Ana is in no hurry to get here, we may very well make more progress tomorrow.

Winds aren’t as bad today. We have drinks in the cockpit.  Steve cooks chicken on the onboard grill.  C’mon Ana.

Wait, Ana.  I take it back.  Come whenever.  I am not put out with you. This is Zen on a Boat.

C'mon Ana. You have to admit. It's a beautiful day.
Even Ana can’t ruin this beautiful day.

How We Met FNR

Steve and I start boat shopping in the fall of 2013. Steve looks at online sailboat listings daily and sometimes I look over his shoulder while he surfs. New Bern and Oriental are only a 3 ½ hour drive so we can get up early and go see three or four boats in a day. Steve wants a boat that is completely depreciated so that means we look at boats made in the 1970’s. We look at Pearsons, Hunters, Morgans, Catalinas and Cape Dory’s, all in the 30 to 36 foot range. I know we are looking at fixer-uppers but I am not impressed. Inside, they are narrow and dark with a lot of teak. If the living space is adequate, then sleeping quarters are tight, and vice versa. A lot of them smell like diesel or sewage or, heaven forbid, both. And, if they smell like both, then nine times out of ten they are really dirty. I can handle normal dirty but we’re talking really dirty. Dirtier than even I can clean.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

On one of our trips to New Bern, we see a Cal 31. It is not on our “list” of boats to see but the broker wants to show it to us because he thinks we’ll like it. He is wrong. I LOVE it!! Beamy, well-laid out, and clean. I can smell a little diesel but Steve says a good flushing of the bilge will take care of that. The downside? It doesn’t have a quarter berth and since it’s an early 80’s boat it’s at the upper end of our price range .

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

There’s a Cal 34 we want to see in Deltaville, MD so we decide to go boat shopping over New Year’s. Steve really likes it but I don’t. Boats built in the 1970’s have a lot of teak inside. They are dark and narrow and usually smell like diesel. I am sorry but I don’t want to live in a dark, narrow, smelly boat.

Next on the list to see while we’re in DC is an Islander 36. This particular boat has a lot of structural issues.  We don’t want it but we like the layout. It’s beamy with less teak than other boats built in the 70’s so it’s not quite as dark.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

An Islander 36 comes up for sale in Oriental. Off we go. We get to the boat yard a little early. Mike Draughan at Deaton Yacht Sales tells us to go ahead and look at the Islander and then to make ourselves at home in the office. He is on his way.

The Islander disappoints both of us. It’s in really bad shape, but we don’t want to leave without seeing Mike so we go into the office. I start looking at other boats that Deaton’s has listed. I see Maker’s Mark, a 1987 Cal 33. I show the listing to Steve.

M: Why in the world are we not looking at this boat?

S: It’s out of our price range.

M: I don’t care. I want to go look at this boat.

Mike takes us to see Maker’s Mark. It is gorgeous! I love, love, LOVE this boat. It is clean and well-cared for, a turnkey boat. But, it is pricey and even in as good of shape as it is, we think it’s a little overpriced.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like, but we are not finding anything I like better than Maker’s Mark.

We make an offer. Yes, we can spend more on Maker’s Mark up front because we’re not going to spend as much fixing her up. Our offer is rejected. Our counter offer is rejected. We are not getting Maker’s Mark.

We keep looking, and we’re looking for a Cal. We’ve learned what I like.

We ask Mike to show us a 1986 Cal 33 that is also for sale in Oriental. He says it doesn’t show well compared to Maker’s Mark but we still want to see it. The boat needs some cosmetic work but, structurally, it’s in good shape. It doesn’t smell bad and it’s not filthy. Her owner had plans to fix her up, but unfortunately, he got sick and passed away before getting much done. Having seen how good Maker’s Mark looks, we know this boat can look as good or better. Our offer is accepted and despite two tows during sea trials, we purchase her on March 22, 2014.

Second tow of the day. Life's always an adventure with Steve Fisher.
Second tow of the day. Life’s always an adventure with Steve Fisher.

We start fixing FNR up. Some things have to be fixed…NOW.

Air conditioner dies. New Marine Air HVAC system installed.

Our Electro Scan Waste Treatment System cracks on first flush. We replace it with a Raritan PHC Manual Toilet. (I wanted an electric toilet but believe it or not, I don’t always get what I want.) We also replace all the raw water intake lines and the “outtake” hoses are replaced with 5 year guarantee odor free sanitation hose that is so expensive that we order it by the foot. (Steve is tired of hearing me complain about the things I smell.)  A new holding tank and Whale Gulper Toilet Pump completes that project.

If you’re wondering what the Whale Gulper Toilet Pump does, check out this video. It’s rather long so feel free to fast forward to 2:56 for the Virtual Poop Experiment. You will be impressed.

Now, we get to work on our “want-to-do” list.

Boat gets hauled so the bottom can be painted. I clean. Steve and his brother use Fiberglass Reinforced Wall Panel to make a new headliner.

No headliner.
No headliner.
New headliner. Well done, boys. Very well done!
New headliner. Well done, boys. Very well done!

I clean. We make a new V-berth mattress. Two 3” layers of foam glued together and topped with 3” of memory foam. Very comfy. I clean. We make a new mainsail cover and bimini. Sailrite has great how-to videos! I clean. Floors get sanded and polyurethaned.

All shiny!!
All shiny!!

I clean. Water tanks are taken out, and surprise, cleaned. All water lines are replaced so the tanks can stay clean. Steve installs a Raymarine autopilot, chartplotter, and sailing instrument package. They are integrated so they talk to each other. (I don’t understand all of that yet but it sounds good.)  Steve is determined that we are NOT going to drag when we anchor out so we add a Rocna anchor.  And, of course, there’s the recently completed head and galley renovations.

It took us a while to find her and we are still working on her, but FNR is the perfect boat for us. She’s fast. She’s safe. She’s clean. She’s home.

Learning to Putter

My father was a putterer. I used to think that he wasted lots of time puttering, doing mindless things and that he spent an inordinate amount of time doing them. But now, I think that what he was actually doing was being mindful. Daddy lived life in the present moment and intentionally enjoyed simple things. Simple things like a nightly bowl of ice cream gave him great joy.

I don’t remember the exact sequence of events but I do remember that Daddy’s nightly bowl of ice cream WAS an event.  I imagine that this mindful process started before dinner, with Daddy getting his bowl out of the cabinet and sitting it on the kitchen countertop. I imagine him glancing at that bowl sitting on the countertop during dinner. It’s not a furtive, anticipatory glance. It’s matter-of-fact. Yes, ice cream bowl, I see you sitting there on the countertop. You are not distracting me. I am enjoying my dinner.

Yes, ice cream bowl, I see you sitting there.
Yes, ice cream bowl, I see you sitting there.

After the dinner dishes are done, Daddy fills his bowl with 3, maybe 4 scoops of cheap vanilla ice cream. (My mom bought it by the 5-gallon buckets.) Next, he crumbles two homemade oatmeal raisin cookies over his ice cream, making sure the crumbles aren’t too big or too small. (Daddy was the only one in the family who liked oatmeal raisin cookies so my mom made them just for him to eat with his cheap vanilla ice cream.) After that, the bowl of ice cream goes into the freezer while he watches a TV show or two. When, in his mind, it is time, he gets that bowl of ice cream out of the freezer and microwaves it for the precise number of seconds it takes for the ice cream to get just melty enough. And then? Then, he mindfully eats his ice cream. Every. Single. Drop.

I learned lots of things from my father. Some lessons were easy to learn, like baiting a fish hook or doing a 3-point road turn. But sometimes, the lessons were rather obscure. I mean, really? What can you learn from watching your father’s nightly ice cream ritual?

Well, last week while visiting family, I realized that maybe you can learn to putter. Perhaps you can learn to be mindful. And…if you’re lucky, you can learn to be in the present moment.

We left FNR a week ago Friday and enjoyed an evening with Steve’s brother. Then, it was on to Raleigh to spend quality time with the kids, granddaughter and dogs. In Greensboro, we visited with my sister and brother-in-law before celebrating with my mom and stepdad in Burlington as they tied the knot.

It's official!  They are Mr. and Mrs.
It’s official! They are Mr. and Mrs.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am nowhere near as good at puttering as my father was, but since moving aboard FNR, I know I have gotten better. I know this because the pre-FNR me would worry and obsess about all the boat projects Steve and I weren’t getting done during the 10 days we were gone. I know this because instead of worrying and obsessing, I mindfully savored those 10 days. Every. Single. One.

Daddy and Me
Daddy and Me

Thanks to my Daddy I’m learning that life aboard FNR might, just might, be as good as a bowl of ice cream.

Renovating FNR’s Galley

We finished the galley renovation today. We wanted to get it done this week because tomorrow, we are heading west for a week or so. It was a bigger job than we thought it would be so this break from boat projects is a welcome one. We’re looking forward to seeing family and friends and are especially excited about babysitting our granddaughter and seeing Finley and Rootie. We’re also looking forward to celebrating my mom and future stepdad when they tie the knot on April 25.

Enjoy the video and please keep reading the blog. We’re just getting started on this adventure!!

Retiring is Hard Work

We are in our retirement years, the portion of our life during which we are retired. We are retirees. We are retired. We sure are tired. Why are we so tired? Because retiring is hard work.

Once Steve and I finally decide we really can retire, our workload seems to double. We need to sell the house and there are a few things that need to be done around the house before putting it on the market. Once on the market, we sell it quick – on the market on Friday, under contract on Monday.

One step closer to cruising!
One step closer to cruising!

Whew, no rest for the weary.

We turn in our notices, start transitioning our responsibilities to those who are replacing us and have lots of last minute deadlines to meet.

We start packing once we get past the due diligence date. We have a packing plan that consists of six different “packing” piles.

  1. Give away pile
  2. Yard sale pile
  3. Big storage building pile. That’s for the stuff we want to keep but can’t take on the boat.
  4. Small storage building in Oriental pile. That’s for stuff that we need to complete boat projects but that won’t fit on the boat and will end up back in the big storage building once we start cruising.
  5. Going on the boat pile
  6. Trash pile

We memorize a new address and update our address EVERYWHERE. Thank you, L and CB for letting us use your mailing address.

We close accounts, consolidate accounts, and open some joint accounts.

We turn off utilities. The Time Warner Cable rep is at a loss for words when I tell him that I am moving on a sailboat and NO, there isn’t anything he can do to keep my business. LOL, I don’t think he was prepared him for that answer.

We cancel insurance policies.

We agonize about not taking Finley and Rootie on the boat.

We sign up for Social Security benefits.

Once moving aboard FNR, the projects start and the act of retiring continues.

We research and purchase health insurance through the Marketplace.

We transfer our 401k’s to IRA’s.

We create a retirement budget. (Since Steve is the COO, I get to be the CFO!)

Today, Steve works on the galley renovation.

And, I go to work in my new office.

A good internet connection and I can work from anywhere!
A good internet connection and I can work from anywhere!

Retirement. We’ve never worked harder and we LOVE it!!

Steve, we have a problem.

Hatches are like sunroofs in cars. They let light in and open, you get lots of fresh air.  FNR has three hatches – one in the main salon, one in the head and one in the V-berth. When we were boat shopping, Steve spent quite a bit of time looking at the hatches, running his fingers around their frames and inspecting them for leaks. Sometimes, he’d say something about one needing to be rebedded or gaskets needing to be replaced. I was more focused on the boat’s beam and whether or not I smelled diesel.

None of FNR’s hatches leaked when we bought her. We did have a leaky portlight and Steve had to replace its gasket. He got a little aggravated getting the seal tight but it was not a boat project.

Boat projects are what we spend most of our time doing. We’ve learned that if we expect to complete a boat project in 2 days, then we need to plan on at least 4 and not be surprised when it turns into 6. “A” boat project often turns into multiple boat projects. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve said, “Might as well deal with this while we’re in this deep.” Boat projects are what keep you from getting other boat projects completed.

We had planned on renovating the galley this week but the hatch in our main salon started leaking and Steve was worried that moisture was penetrating the core of the deck. We had planned on rebedding all our hatches eventually. A leaky one just moved this project up on the list. So much for renovating the galley. We’re rebedding a hatch.

Reminder, we ARE retired. That means, it’s close to 10:00 by the time we drink coffee, piddle around on our computers, and take a walk. After taking an hour for lunch, we knock off for the day between 3:00 and 4:00. Yes, a 4 to 5 hour workday does limit what we accomplish in a day, but we have lots of days so we’ll get it done.

Day 1: I want to talk about getting new lenses in our hatches. Thirty years of dinging and crazing makes for unsightly lenses. Steve doesn’t want to tackle replacing the lens himself. We look into sending the hatch off to be re-lensed but an 8-week backlog means 8 weeks with a hole in our deck. Also, 8 weeks is getting awful close to our departure date and that makes us a little uncomfortable.

Maybe a whole new hatch then? No such luck. We can’t find an exact replacement for our existing hatch. We’ll have to get one a little bigger which means cutting a bigger hole in our deck.

Nope, they don't make this one anymore.
Nope, they don’t make this one anymore.

Cutting fiberglass is messy.  Fiberglass dust gets everywhere and you clean it up forever. Maybe our lenses aren’t so unsightly after all. And besides, both re-lensing and replacing a hatch are expensive and we’d rather spend that money on something else.

It takes us half a day to decide that we’re just going to rebed the hatch and by the time Steve gets the hatch out, it’s quitting time. We use trash bags – one on the deck and one on the headliner – to cover the hole.

Our garbage bag barrier still lets in light!
Our garbage bag barrier still lets in light!
Think we need a garbage bag on this side, too?
Think we need a garbage bag on this side, too?

Day 2: Steve is right. Water has penetrated one corner of the hatch. The wet balsa wood in the core of the deck needs to be scrapped out. Wet balsa wood is still surprisingly strong so that’s quite the chore. After that, Steve spends the rest of the day scrapping the sealant used to hold the rim of the hatch in place on the deck.

Day 3: After talking to the West Marine guy, Steve decides to use a router to remove about ¼” to ½” facing of balsa wood so he can apply a barrier of epoxy. That way, if water does get in, it should not erode the balsa wood.

~Yes, I am afflicted with Vertical Video Syndrome.  Sorry, son, it’s a hard habit to break.~

Epoxy is applied and left to dry overnight. It’s supposed to rain tonight so we use our companionway cover to reinforce our garbage bag barriers. I spend the rest of the day doing laundry, blogging, and cleaning up balsa wood chippings.

Somebody made a mess.
Somebody made a mess.

Day 4: Along about our second cup of coffee, I look up and notice that our inside garage bag is distended.  It’s full of water. Steve, we have a problem!  Thank goodness for Glad ForceFlex garbage bags!

I grab a bucket.  Steve grabs his marlin spike and punches a hole in the plastic. We set the bucket on a TV tray under the hole and watch it fill up with water.

Water, water everywhere.
Water, water NOT everywhere, thank goodness!

Disaster averted, I go to yoga class. By the time class is over, it has stopped raining and the sun is out. Steve re-applies epoxy to some areas that need it. End of day 4.

Day 5: Butyl tape applied. Holes drilled. Hatch back in. Hatch trim still needs some work but that can wait. Project complete and unless it leaks, it’s zen on a boat.


The Zen of Rubber Mallets

Before we retired, Steve and I talk about how we wanted our daily routine to look when we retired. We want to wake up naturally – not to an alarm clock – drink one, two, maybe three cups of coffee, and piddle around on our computers before getting started on the day’s chores. We plan to go for long walks and eat healthier. So far, we’ve settled right into the routine we imagined.

I have a couple of personal retirement goals.  Blogging is one.  Reading more is another. I used to love to read for pleasure, but one day I stopped. I think it was because I HAD to read a lot at work. TONS of emails and lots of technical stuff. I guess I was all read out by the end of the work day.

As an aside, I did read a few blogs on a regular basis but I wouldn’t have read them if I hadn’t of gotten an email every time something was posted.  If you’re so inclined, checking out one of my favorite pre-retirement, yes-I-read-him-at-work bloggers may give you a feel for why this blog is called Zen on a Boat.

Steve has always read a lot, at least he has since I’ve known him. You name it, he reads it. Books, magazines, newspapers, Yahoo headlines, blogs, especially sailboat blogs. Since I didn’t read much before moving aboard FNR, Steve would tell me about things he read in those sailing blogs. It was his way of preparing me for cruising. One day, he shared how we weren’t the only ones who used a rubber mallet to break up ice. Apparently, no self-respecting cruiser sets sail without one and I am starting to understand why.

Remember, one of the things Steve and I want to do is eat healthier. I consider nutrition my avocation so I am taking responsibility for meeting this retirement goal. I know what healthy eating looks like. Problem is, I love eating non-healthy foods and so does Steve. A good cheeseburger can make my eyes cross.  Steve thinks that if something doesn’t taste good, then it has to be good for you.

Since they say you should only attempt so much change at once, I don’t want to set us up to fail when it comes to eating healthier. We’re changing our eating habits, but not drastically.  We’ve starting eating sandwich thins and yogurt, and there’s light mayo, 2% cheese, and non-fat milk in the refrig. Healthier choices, a few at a time.

I don’t love to cook.  As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t have to cook it, then it’s delicious.  But when I do cook, I have been known to substitute healthier ingredients when preparing traditional comfort foods. However, there’s one meal I haven’t been able to mess with too much and that’s spaghetti with meat sauce. A good spaghetti with meat sauce makes Steve’s eyes cross.

Luckily, marina sauce is not too bad for you and if I can sneak in lean ground beef, my meat sauce doesn’t clog our arteries too terribly bad. Switching to a healthier pasta is NOT on Steve’s radar screen so I don’t even go there.

Last night, spaghetti with meat sauce was on the menu. No salad though so no veggies. What if I could get an extra helping of veggies in that meat sauce, I wondered?  I used to try that with my kids, sneaking smushed cauliflower and spinach into foods they would eat. I really like Del Monte Zucchini with Italian Style Tomato Sauce.  Adding that to my meat sauce would make for a tasty and healthier meal.  But, how to smush it? Well, I think you know what I came up with…

Smush, smush, smush
Smush, smush, smush.

Add smushing zucchini to the list of things a rubber mallet can be used for.

All smushed!
All smushed and one other thing to note. No self-respecting cruiser sets sail without Ziploc bags either!

Was it edible?  Perhaps Steve should answer that question.

It wasn't awful!
This can’t good for you.

AHA!  Zen. Very zen.

What’s in a Name?

My kids grew up in the 90’s before everything was electronic. PDA’s were being introduced but cell phones weren’t in every pocket. We used a paper calendar to keep up with our schedules. I wrote EVERYTHING on that calendar and with a busy family of 5, that was a lot of writing. So, I shorthanded it, kind of like texting shortcuts. L – SP was soccer practice for my son. C – GS was Girl Scouts for my older daughter. R – PD w/ DGS was a play date with my younger daughter’s best friend. This worked so well that I started referring to my kids and their friends by their initials. (HR3you know who you are!)  As texting became the norm, I started leaving cryptic notes for my kids. TAN was “taking a nap”. YMLY was “your mommy loves you”. It drove them crazy, but they had fun with it with, too. They still do.  I’ll get a cryptic text every once in a while and will have to decipher what they are telling me.

So to us, it’s not odd for our boat to be named FNR. Many of you have asked what FNR stands for. Well, it depends on who you ask…

Steve says it’s a name for all people. Meaning that, if you’re a radio enthusiast, it stands for Frequency Noise Response. If you’re a microbiologist, you probably know all about Fumarate Nitrate Reductase. If you’re a car enthusiast, you’re ready for a Friday Night Ride. If you’re a professor, perhaps you teach in the College of Forestry and Natural Resources. But, he says, if you’re an asshole like him, it’s For No Reason.

Ask me and I’ll tell you that what FNR really stands for is Finley aNd Rootie. Most of you know that Finley and Rootie are our dogs, and that I love those dogs dearly.

They love riding in the back of the truck!
F & R are ready for a Friday Night Ride!

When we talk about going cruising, I just assume the dogs will go with us. Steve says lots of people take their dogs with them. Yes, we’ll have to make some accommodations for them, but dogs do live on boats. Besides, we’ve taken them on a powerboat before and they did just fine. So I am excited to take F & R to Oriental when we close on our boat. They are excited, too!!  But, as we head down the dock, I realize that getting on and off a sailboat can be rather problematic for a dog. Boats move back and forth and up and down along with the water. It’s not just a little hop for them to get on and off. They have to think about when they jump and where they land. F & R are a little intimidated so I jump on with Finley in my arms and Steve carries Rootie on board. Once down below, they make themselves at home.  Yep.  This is going to work out just fine!!

All settled in!
All settled in!

We practice going up and down the companionway steps. They figure out how to go up, but down is another story.

Come on, Finley! You can do it!
Come on, Finley! You can do it!

And, poor Rootie. He has another issue. A medium-sized dog, weighing about 55 pounds, he’s the sweetest dog ever, but a major klutz. I don’t know, maybe his center of gravity is off, because he sure has trouble standing up when he is out on deck. Steve calls him shark bait, meaning it’s just a matter of time before he falls overboard.

It takes me a few months, but I finally decide that cruising with two dogs is not going to be the best idea nor it is going to be particularly enjoyable for me or the dogs. I am going to need time to settle into the cruising lifestyle and it’s going to be lots harder if I have two dogs trying to adjust, as well. Besides, F & R are getting older and I can’t bear the thought of something happening to them on the boat.

Finley and Rootie are going to stay behind. Steve knows how hard that is for me, and while he won’t admit it if you ask him, that’s why we named our boat FNR.

Luckily, both dogs are with family. Each daughter took one. They get together for play dates and the girls share lots of pictures.

Yes, this is MY ride!
Yes, this is MY ride!
Who can say no to that face?
Isn’t that the sweetest face EVER?

Steve and I plan to cruise for 2 years so F & R will be 9 years old when we return. I miss them but I am about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and I feel very certain that it won’t be for no reason!

Renovating FNR’s Head

There are lots of projects we hope to complete over the next 3 months. I say “we” but I really mean Steve. He’s the handiest man I know. I help occasionally when he needs an extra set of hands but I can’t take credit for any of the finished projects. Steve started the head renovation on Monday. He finished it today. There are a few finishing touches to add, but to quote my girls, it’s SO fancy! Enjoy the show!!

A shout out to the father of my granddaughter, I mean my son, for the “techy” tutorials.  Having an Instructional Technology Facilitator in the family is coming in quite handy!  Bear with us as I learn and he teaches.