The top ten worst things about cruising:
1. Passages. We don’t enjoy traveling on Viatori. I don’t like the heel (the sideways tip of a sailboat) when we are underway. I don’t like things falling off of shelves or lunch things sliding all over the counter when I am trying to make lunch. We usually take in the sails and slow her down a bit, because our crew doesn’t do well with that sideways tip. It also makes it dangerous for the little boys to use the bathroom unattended as doors tend to fly open and then slam shut again. I also don’t like the roll of the boat as it travels over a swell or gets hit by a wave. The roll combined with the heel is what makes me nauseous.
Also, time seems to stand still when we are underway. The hours just crawl by and it seems to take a really long time to get to our destination. Our three little boys watch a lot of movies on a travel day, but even that gets old after a while. We are usually zombies by the time we get to where we are going, me in particular, especially if I have taken some gravol to help with motion sickness. Passages suck!
2. Marine heads aka the toilets. I have a permanent callous on the side of my thumb from pumping our toilets out. Not cool! Even oiling them doesn’t seem to last very long and my hand gets sore from pumping. For those of you not familiar with our particular model of marine heads, we do not have a flush handle or a button to vacuum suck it out of the bowl. We have a pumping handle with a lever to add water to the bowl, or to pump it out of the toilet. Honestly, I have worked up a sweat pumping our poopers out! I also find marine heads to be perpetually smelly, even after they have been cleaned. Especially after four boys (3 little and one big) have been in there!
3. A boat is constant maintenance and work. I know that owning a home also requires care and attention, but things on a boat are never simple or a quick, easy fix. You either have to have a very specific part that usually needs to be ordered from the Internet or bought at a premium price from West Marine or you do patch job until it can be fixed properly or else you scratch your head and wrack your brain trying to figure out how the heck this thing works, all the while sweating through your eyeballs and contorting your body like a pretzel in order to reach the area you will be working on. Our boat has strainers that need rinsing and filters that need cleaning, lines that need flushing, bottoms that need scraping and a thousand other “little” jobs.
4. It is hot…like all the time. I sweat when I get up and make pancakes for the boys because having the propane going really heats up the inside of Viatori. Any time I go outside, especially since we have come back to Florida, I am sweating. Now try doing a “little” boat job while being outside and the sweat is dripping into my eyes! I am not exaggerating. My glasses have literally slipped right off my face because of the sweat pouring off of it. I am scared I will lose them overboard to sweat slippage.
5. This is an intense lifestyle. We spend 24 hours a day with each other and sometimes there is no way we can even give each other more space! When we are underway, we are stuck on our 38 foot boat with very limited ways to have a time out from one another. I have busy, physical boys who like to wrestle and chase each other and throw balls and my “house” is not big enough for that. We also miss the support of family and friend as Richard and I are full time parents, every single day of the week. We don’t have a regular babysitter, we don’t have grandparents close by for a weekend sleepover and Richard and I don’t get many date nights. Now, I know what some of you will say. You chose this life, you moved away and I know, that but we still miss our external support system and not just for the free babysitting!
6. Not having a church family. Boy, do I miss Heartland and all that came with it. Great worship, hearing the Word, small group fellowship and all our other friends. We have not found another community of believers and not having a car has hindered us from visiting other churches if only for a Sunday morning.
7. Not having a schedule is very freeing at times, but sometimes it drives me crazy! I am a planner and a list maker and I like to know what is happening in the next to near future, but sometimes schedules and plans go flying out the window if the weather changes or if the wind picks up or if a storm is coming. Then we have to make a new plan! Even though I liked the old, original plan! You know what they say about the best laid plans (of mice and men)? They often go awry. So true.
8. My bed. I miss my bed. Richard and I went from a plush, overstuffed king sized mattress to this Pullman style V berth that measures 52 inches across the top and narrows down to 30 inches at the feet. That’s like a double at our heads, going to less than a twin at our feet. King it is not! Richard sleeps half under a shelf that runs the length of our bed and he gets to climb over me to get out. I miss my bed.
9. The occasion to look nice. I feel like a slumpy dump most of the time. Because it is so hot, you are forced to wear minimal clothing and most of the time that means sans some undergarments. It’s not a great look for me after having three kids. Most of my clothes are stained shorts and tank tops, as the salt water and sun are really hard on clothes. We have also discovered strange stains that show up on our things after they have been laundered just from being in a strange, public laundry facility. Most of current clothes and even some of the bedding will be thrown in the garbage when we enter back into a “regular, North American” lifestyle, but until then, I am feeling less than great about my appearance. I guess it will be a great excuse to go shopping!
10. Sometimes we/I feel really, really, far away. Especially when Internet is spotty and we can’t stay connected through emails or via the blog, then I start to feel homesick and very out of touch with my family and friends. Also saying goodbye to friends we have met along our journey has been really difficult. People who were complete strangers a week ago, tug at our heartstrings and cause us all to weep when we have to say good bye after only seven days. Being out of touch with family and friends is very hard sometimes.
Those are my top ten worst things about cruising. Some of you might say, that’s it? Get over it! But this is my reality and some days it feels like more than I can handle. The highs are high, but the lows are looooowwwwwww.