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Tuesday, August 11

Guest Post! “Making the Beds: Our bed is a tad sma...”

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Bio Blurb & Blog Summary: Cindy has lived aboard her sailboat for 11 years. She blogs about homeschooling, parenting, writing, boat life, and planning their next adventure at http;//www.zachaboard.blogspot.com

I hate doing housework. Or in my case, boat work. Well that's the problem, I actually love working on my boat doing boaty things. What I can't stand is trying to replicate the domesticity of house life on board the boat. But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Making the Beds:
Our bed is a tad smaller than a standard American queen size, but it's walled in on three sides. Making the bed on a boat is a bit like playing Twister. You need to climb on top of and thereby mess up the very thing you are trying to straighten out. My secret? I don't make the bed every day. No way, no how. And I use a nice, thick quilt that's easy to flop over the sheets and give the illusion of tidiness. If all else fails, I close the bedroom door and pretend not to care.

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Cooking: I don't enjoy cooking, though I do love to eat good and healthy foods. Often around 6pm time I close my eyes and click my heels and wish for a gnome to come and magically make a meal appear for my family. People joke that I probably don't like to cook because we have a tiny kitchen. Actually, by boat standards we have a fairly large galley. MajesticGalleyPortHullEven if we did live on land, I'd still be wishing for that kitchen gnome. The biggest challenge is keeping fresh food. Our refrigerator is 2 inches tall by 20 inches across by 15 inches deep. Sort of like a big version of a dorm room fridge. Arranging and finding food is like playing Jenga. Our freezer is actually larger than the fridge, but it's a top loading freezer, so the door doubles as counter space so there's often a clearing off that needs to happen before diving into the frost. We have a 3-burner propane stove with a small oven. I have boat friends on much smaller boats who whip up meals that would impress Martha Stewart. I invite myself over and offer to bring the wine.

Washing Dishes: I would love to do a scientific study to settle a debate between my husband and I. His method of doing dishes is the old fill up one side of the double basin with sudsy water for washing everything and rinsing carefully on the other side. I am more of the traditional wash by hand, but turning the faucet on and off between everything to save on April 04 2009 004water. Why does it matter? Because we're not hooked up to city water. We hold our fresh water in tanks under the floor boards by the keels. Two tanks, one on each side of the catamaran, at about 75 gallons each. When we run out, we need to get our hose, run it from the dock into our tank, and refill. It's a pain, so we're careful about water use. And in the winter, we don't have dockside water. December 1 2008 140We need to run about 5 hoses in the freezing cold from the marina office, often banging out ice chunks that form in the line from the last person not draining it properly. In the winter we're REALLY careful about water use. So which method uses less water for dishes? My stance is that because I often find food goo still stuck to the silverware after he's washed and then have to wash again, his method is inherently less efficient. When we're at sea, we wash in salt water (we have a pump that sucks it up to the sink) and rinse in fresh to save water. Our "grey water" (dirty dish water) goes down the drain into the water around us, so we're very mindful about using a biodegradable dish soap. Of course if the little gnomes would come and cook for me, I would assume they'd handle the dishes as well.

Laundry: We don't have a washer dryer on board. We have a coin operated laundry room at our marina and we schlep the body-sized bags of dirty clothes back and forth more often that I care to admit.

Cleaning The Toilet: We call it a head. And I call that job not mine. Marine heads flush with salt water into a holding tank that is pumped out when full by the marina. The unique chemical reaction that occurs when salt water and urine mix results in a scaly build up that looks like mortar and smells like a men's room. So I leave the job to the man in my life. The secret is lots of vinegar.

General Cleaning: When you live in a space this small, it gets dirty and cluttered fast. But it also cleans up fast. If we were more organized it would be even better, and I'm slowly getting there. Some things like toys are pretty well organized. We have bags under the salon (living room) table and each one has a different set of toys (blocks, animals, play silks, pirates, etc). My son knows which ones go with which bags and is great about putting March 4 2009 030them away most of the time. We have a container for art supplies, one for sewing stuff, one for seasonal books, etc. We have cloth bins for magazines and a little cabinet for mail and papers that is generally a mess. We also have the universal junk drawer. I vacuum with a handheld Dirt Devil and with a kid and pets, it happens once a day at least. I try like heck to give the place a once over every night after my son is sleeping because waking up to a mess is a crummy way to start the day. All told, even when the boat is at it's worst, I can tackle the whole thing in about an hour. Cleaning the OUTSIDE of the boat is a different story. Washing, waxing, ugh, why did we buy such a big boat? And where's that bloody gnome?Brownie
Sure it's difficult, but we love that it forces us to live simply and close to nature. We've been aboard full time for 11 years and wouldn't trade it for anything. We traveled on our former (smaller) boat before our son was born and plan to cast off again in a couple of years. So even though we may not have hospital corners or pressed clothes (whoever invented rayon gets a Nobel Prize in my book), we love that our son is learning first hand how to live simply and fully. And I get to spend my time soaking up the fresh air and sunshine on top of my home, rather than cooking and cleaning inside of it.

8 Stubborn Stains:

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

I have been following Cindy's blog for a while now and I love reading about their life aboard. I keep telling Mr. Dork I'd love to spend a year living on the water but I don't think he'd go for it. :P

And I hate to cook too. :P

Peterson Family said...

Wow. I wouldn't even know what to do if I was living on a boat. I would need someone to come and explain it all to me. (And stay with me to keep explaining it until I got the hang of it!)

Anonymous said...

Incredible! Hats off to Cindy!!! I don't think I could live in such an unique living space with the crazies I call my family.

MommyBrain said...

I am forwarding this post to my husband who has been talking about living aboard a boat for the past 10 years ... now, I am actually considering it! Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Kimberly said...

That's amazing, I could not live on a boat. By the way, I have plenty of room to easily make my bed, but why would I do that? I'm just going to get back in it at the end of the day!

Anonymous said...

Such a neat guest post!! What a cool adventure you are giving your young child - so neat.

boatbaby said...

Thanks for the comments and thank you Holly for the opportunity to be your guest!

Christie Burnett said...

Wow, it must take real talent and tolerance to live as a family on board a boat. I found a one bedroom apartment hard enough!

I really enjoyed this post, thank you


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