It feels weird to me sometimes to be writing a blog that’s ostensibly about preparing for our cruising life but there are entries like “I Planted a Garden” and “Graduation” and “Road Trip Conversations”. I post photos on Instagram, all with the hashtag “cruisingprep”, of lakeside kayaks on a rock or a kitchen in various stages of destruction or construction. What in the world do any of those items have to do with cruising anyway?
Nothing, if you think of cruising as just “getting on your boat and casting off the lines.”
Living in Vermont for the summer, working like fiends on the house, is like cruising in so many ways, though. It’s like being on a boat that never moves - only we don’t need to worry about the anchor dragging or someone dragging into us.
Project creep. Jeremy replaced all the plumbing feed lines in the house our first week up there. Hooking up the new lines to the well accumulator tank had the tank (literally) falling down - it was hung from rusted hangers onto the joists; the hangers gave way. Quick trip to the hardware store to get cinder blocks on which to put the tank. When he tested the new plumbing, the (very ancient) cast-iron drain pipe for the sink in my aunt Sue’s room (our room now) crumbled. “Replace all cast iron drain pipe in the house” slid way far up the priority list.
Sunsets. One of my favorite things about the cruising life is the way we honor and celebrate the sunset every night. It’s time to stop, slow down, check out the scenery, and lift a glass. There is always gratitude built right in. We do this at the lake, too, either on a kayak or on the deck or piling into the back of a pickup truck to drive (5 minutes, max) to the nearby mountain (Brousseau) to watch the sun drop behind the mountains.
“What people think” vs “What it really is”. I started my day the other day with a delicious skinny dip (sorry if TMI), wrapping myself in a towel for the short walk across the grass to the rock where we can get in the lake. I dried off on the porch while listening to the loons call, then went inside for my coffee. And then, after my coffee, I went back to the rock armed with a scrub brush to take care of the copiously green goose poop that I’d (mostly) avoided on my way down. Yes, there is magic in the moments. There’s also the stuff nobody wants to think about.
The slowing down of time. I love that cruising is expansive in terms of time. Want to take a gander around the anchorage and stop and talk to 5 people on the way back to the boat? Generally, that’s fine (okay, not if you have to pull up anchor to start a passage that’s predicated on tide/current timing). In Vermont, if someone walks past while I’m watering the garden, we stop for a chat. The first sunset kayak ride we took, back in June, we met people who were also sunset-watching from the water - and we wound up drifting and chatting for almost an hour. So what if dinner was a little late that night?
Square? What’s square? Boat interiors are notoriously not square. You have to measure and adjust and realize that there’s not a lot of plumb lines in there. It’s best to build in place, or at the very least build the last details in place. Jeremy was filled with optimism when he started on the OPO, sure he’d have a much easier time with a house. Hah. Between swelling wood, shifting foundations, and turn-of-the-century construction, there is nothing square about this house we are falling more and more in love with every day.
Cruising has a piece of our hearts. So does this house. How lucky are we to be able to have them both.