In sailing they say “The highs are high, and the lows are low”. There are those days where you wake up and everything about the boating life seems grey and difficult. It is all too easy to get caught up on the negatives of it all. It’s too hot, your water tanks empty half way through taking a shower, you spot a cockroach running across your countertop, something else has broken and added itself to your to-do list, you’ve banged and bruised your hip, again, on some oddly shaped boat furniture. It’s only natural that some days you question your sanity for choosing the salty life. But then, as often is the case, the clouds part, you pour yourself a drink, and you are rewarded with a beautiful tropical beach view that surrounds your home, and the world seems right again.
On those days when it all seems way too overwhelming, try casting those negative thoughts aside and restore your faith in this crazy lifestyle by giving yourself a nice pat of the back for the things that you have succeeded in; the boat accomplishments (no matter how big or small) that put a smile on your face.
Here are a few little things that I feel are worth celebrating:
- After almost a year with major ant issues, MAJOR, we finally destroyed them. That in itself is worth a huge hooray. We didn’t have your standard little ants, oh no, somehow our boat had become infested with these monstrous ones that showed no fear whatsoever. Imagine, you’re trying to host a nice cockpit dinner with your friends when all of a sudden an ant the size of your thumbnail casual walks across your guest’s hand. It was mortifyingly embarrassing. We had tried so many different approaches to killing these things but they just kept reappearing. It had gotten to the point where we were either going to sail the boat back to Canada just to freezer those f@$kers to death or we were going to have to learn to co-exist with them. (Which gaging by some of the ant bites our girls were waking up with, was not an option.) That was until our friend Brittany mentioned that she was pretty sure the company that makes the roach killer she raves about makes an ant one too. I was immediately on amazon ordering the stuff. One month later, those suckers were gone. Booyah! (Now we have those cute little ants who have decided to try and give our boat a go, grumble grumble.)
- I have been flushing our manual toilet enough now that I am built up calluses in my palms. Although this may not seem like a victory to most, for myself I am so happy to finally have a thick layer of skin in my hands, protecting me against the evil toilet handle. How did I manage to grow these calluses? Well we have two kids onboard whom we do not let flush the toilets in fear that they will break them and we would have to replace them. Instead, I spend a 1/3 of my day walking between the two heads flushing them after their business. Not only have I built up strong man hands now, but I also giggle at myself when I turn toilet flushing into an abs/obliques workout! Two birds with one stone.
- I definitely smile at the fact that we are finally sailing in gentler waters where I feel we may no longer need the puke buckets in our cockpit! Yes we are a sailing family, yes we have been doing this for six year, but no we do not have iron stomachs. Quite the opposite! On longer crossings we would always make sure to have at least two kids’ sand buckets in the cockpit because during any crossing we were sure to have at least 1 of the four of us (if not more) throwing up. Eben found a remedy for his seasickness in Transderm V (scopolamine patches), I have only thrown up during the Mona crossings (which unfortunately we have done three of), and the girls we kept hoping would grow out of it. But now, in the Virgin Islands, where the waters make for much easier sailing, I feel like those buckets may be a thing of the past!
- It is strange to find happiness in realizing that those roosters, the very confused island ones that crow at ungodly hours of the night, no longer even register on my radar. Being able to have a full night’s sleep without being woken up by our feathered friends is a huge success. These roosters, that feel that 3am is the best time to wake up the island neighbourhood somehow have figured out how to amplify their noise so that they even resonate into the nearby anchorages. But my brain has managed to unregister their sound, and now their annoying calls just blend in with all those other disturbing ones to create the music of the island (up there with the semi-trucks, subwoofer cars blasting gangsta rap, and the islanders yelling at each other for who knows what reason).
- No matter how often I see it, finding one of my most drank wines on the grocery store shelves for $4.75 brings a real big smile to my face. In our home country of Canada alcohol is not cheap, but I am French Canadian…and a mother of two girls…and a sailor, so booze may or may not flow through my veins. Having a glass of wine while watching the sunset helps melt away all of those grey days, and to know that my one glass of wine is only costing our bank account about $1.20 makes it taste that much better.
Boating is not easy. Boating is not for everyone. So if you are succeeding, or even if you feel you are not succeeding with grace, there are still several small things that are worth celebrating. Don’t disregard the little things. Let them bring a smile to your face and some sunshine into your day. If you still feel glum then come on over and come enjoy some of my cheap wine with me!
This is a great post! It’s fun to hear about the challenges associated with the boating life (or “nontraditional” life in general).
Yes I could see how this post would work for any type of non traditional living. The whole “grass is greener” concept often overlooks some of the hardships.