Jan's Journal

The Countdown Begins...

[Home] [About Us] [About Mañana] [Cruising Plans] [Where Are We Now] [Jan's Journal] [The Crew] [Contact Us]

Jan. 1, 2007: Happy New Year everyone! I managed to stay up until 2230 last night but just couldn't keep my eyes open to see in the new year. The lower cabinets and drawers are looking good so I'm quitting at 4 coats of varnish (for the time being anyway). I'll start the upper cabinets next weekend. I had a burst of energy and decided it was as good a time as any to take inventory of what's in the galley cabinets. I counted 7 cans of Caribbean-style beans -- guess I don't need to buy any more of them for a while! Actually this was a good thing for me to do because we had unopened liquid soap in two different places, and 3 containers PLUS 1 large jug of liquid candle. Once I finished with the galley cupboards, I started on the refrigerator, tossing expired items, and then, because I was on a roll, I inventoried everything in the aft head! Now everything is sorted and I have a list of what we have and what we need. It really isn't too early for me to start stocking up on non-perishable items as I see them on sale. Jim and I talked -- he was feeling muscles he hadn't used in a while as he kneaded 8 lbs. of flour to make the pizza dough for the annual open house up on Orcas. Peter & Babs apparently had a full house of friends, despite a wet and windy day.

Jan. 2, 2007: Eugene is back on the job...hooray! He will replace the forward port bulwark allowing Jim to concentrate on finishing the air-conditioner installation, among other things. Our new generator will be delivered on 1/9. Little by little we're buying what we'll need to cruise Central America.

Jan. 6, 2007: Unfortunately I was only able to get one coat of varnish on the upper cabinets this weekend...still, it's amazing how much difference one coat makes. It only took Jim 5 years to install the manual high-volume "oh sh*t" bilge pump, but now it's in, although it's not hooked up. In fact, many items have been installed, but don't press any buttons because nothing works! However, having it in place means another box can come off the boat. We received email from Encanto saying that they will be arriving San Francisco on Jan. 21. Jim immediately wrote them back telling them we want to visit. After a few more email exchanges, we made reservations to fly to San Francisco the first weekend in February. Jim also made reservations to fly back to Boston for the week of Jan. 22. He needs to settle his mom's estate, close bank accounts, etc. Hopefully that won't be the week when winter decides to (finally) arrive in the northeast!

Jan. 9, 2007: I've started reading Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. In Chapter 2, he writes something that really hit home with me.

"However much I was affected by the beauty of the sea, the bright stars, and the clouds driven swiftly over them, I could not but remember that I was separating myself from all the social and intellectual enjoyments of life. Yet, strange as it may seem, I did then and afterwards take pleasure in these reflections, hoping by them to prevent my becoming insensible to the value of what I was leaving."

Jan. 18, 2007: Colleen called this evening with the news that she received an offer to work as a case manager for the AIDS Foundation in the Tacoma area. She is absolutely thrilled, as she received really good vibes about the group she interviewed with. And now maybe the snowstorms in Seattle will end -- it always seemed to snow on the days she had job interviews!

Jan. 19, 2007: I took a vacation day so I could attend the Road to California Quilt Show in Ontario with other guild members. Our Opportunity Quilt was selected as one of 6 that would be on display that day so that we could sell raffle tickets for it. In exchange, the Guild had to volunteer 20 hours of work at the show. The show was excellent; it's on a higher creative scale than the San Diego show, and I'm always charged up when I return home. This year's "in" item is fabric paint, nothing that I was particularly interested in. However, I did buy myself a small table light, a piece of fabric and a border design stencil. When I got home, Jim told me that a liveaboard on D dock was missing and it was assumed that he had fallen off the dock and drowned. He was last seen at the Galley Restaurant, very drunk, last night and his electronic gate key had him clocked through the gate at 6:00 pm. His hat was found on E dock (he frequently went down the wrong dock). Jim said that a posse was assembled Friday noon, and they walked the docks looking to see if they could spot "T" wedged under the slips, but it was suspected that it would take a couple of days for a body to surface because of the water temperature.

Jan. 20, 2007: A diver was called in and "T's" body was recovered late this morning. The marina is unusually quiet. Hopefully an autopsy will be performed to see if he had a stroke or heart attack rather than thinking he was so drunk that he fell off the dock.

Jan. 21, 2007: Varnishing, varnishing and more varnishing. I'm getting varnish on all the wood slowly but surely. Unfortunately I seem to be able to see all the holidays in the evening, rather than when I'm actually varnishing. Perhaps I'll try varnishing after work next week while Jim's out of town. I can't do any worse than I've been doing during the day! Eugene started removing the rotted bulwark, now that he has laminated and molded the replacement wood. It looks very strange to see a big hole where wood should be. DC's a bit confused too, not understanding why he can see out below the cap rail.

Jan. 27, 2007: Jim surprised me by announcing that he wants to return "home" rather than heading south. Several years ago we had made an agreement with one another that after one year of cruising, no questions would be asked if either of us decided that home was where we wanted to be. So in that spirit, I attempted to switch gears in my head from warm weather to COLD weather. Jim sees us living on Orcas, close to his dad, and I see us living on the mainland, perhaps in Anacortes. There are very few job opportunities on Orcas, but living in Anacortes would give us a broader area to search for jobs, and we would be a ferry ride away from his folks. As we've always said, "our plans are written in the sand at low tide"!

Feb. 2-4, 2007: We flew to San Francisco after work, where John met us and whisked off to the Chan family home in Portola Valley. Judy, Gaby and Sami were waiting for us. Judy had a large pot of oxtail stew on the stove (she knows it is one of Jim's favorites). We spent the next several hours talking, catching up with what has been going on and discussing the future. On Sat., we woke to a very frosty morning (so much for the morning walk!), so we sat at the kitchen table continuing our chat from the night before. Both Judy and John were extremely supportive of Jim's desire to go north instead of south. We split up on Sat. afternoon, with Ann, Judy and I headed to Palo Alto to the Travel Smith outlet and Jim and John to the Sony store. We returned at 1700 and had a quick "pick-me-up" before heading to Judy's parents' favorite Chinese restaurant in San Mateo, The Golden Wok. There we had a fabulous dinner consisting of seafood & tofu soup, Peking duck, steamed fish, sweet & sour pork, soya chicken, beef & broccoli, prawns, fried rice, red bean soup and fortune cookies for dessert. My fortune read "Boats and water are in your future." No kidding! Judy served us waffles and bacon for breakfast Sunday and we just sat around talking. We have the kind of friendship where we are able to pick up where we left off, regardless of whether it was 6 mos. or 6 hours ago. At 1330, the hugs and good-byes began and the cameras magically appeared. We know we will see each other again; we just don't know when. As we were flying over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Queen Elizabeth II was sailing under it, and we could make out the huge flotilla of boats around her, even from 10,000 feet! We were back at the boat by 1800, with the cats very happy to see us. Colleen called while we were at the San Francisco airport -- I gave her the news that we will be coming home this summer. She could not disguise the happiness in her voice.

Feb. 9, 2007: I know I should be excited at the prospect of going home...so why do I feel so indifferent? Lately I've been paying more attention to my surroundings and have decided that I will definitely miss the sunrises and sunsets and the 65 degree days in Feb. but I won't miss the terrible traffic, although I've been gone from WA for 5 years, so for all I know, it's just as bad up north. Perhaps my feelings come from the fact that we haven't decided where we'll settle, what we'll do for work, will we cruise to Alaska next year or will Jim attempt to start Starfish Marine up there, should I contact PACCAR to see if they can rehire me....just too many questions...and I feel too old to have to start from scratch, yet again. And on top of all the uncertainties, we've got an old wood boat that needs to be completed before we go anywhere, and leaving for "anywhere" has just been moved up one month. I'm really tired of sanding, varnishing and painting, and I'm really tired of Starfish Marine's paperwork spread all over, and parts for Starfish Marine customers here and there. A part of me cries out for a "normal" life, and another part of me cries out because I will no longer be considered a cruiser and will be expected to rejoin the main stream, which, having had a slight taste of main stream here in southern CA, I don't really want to do, but will have to do. And people think that cruisers, or people who live on boats, have a simple, noncomplicated life. Ha! Right now, Jim and I both hope that the future will sort itself out.

Feb. 12, 2007: Going north, south, or just plain crazy? Crazy is winning...hands down! We joke about flipping a coin when we get to buoy 4 to decide whether we'll go north or south, but that really won't work because if "north" wins, then I'd really like to know so I can load up the boat with all the Mexican foods we've come to love, and if "south" wins, I'll want to make sure that we have plenty of pretzels and tortellini on board. Lordy, lordy! We could make this more confusing, but we'd have to try really hard! In the meantime, we keep plugging away. Jim boxed in the air conditioner on Sat. and we spent all day yesterday sanding the varnish off the wall behind the stove, the window behind the sink and the area beneath the port door, plus Jim stripped the non-skid off the step. When Jim finished sealing the wood at 1600, the boat stunk to high heaven, so we put on our swimsuits, locked the boyz in the aft cabin and headed for the hot tub, leaving the boat wide open. No thief would have wanted to come on board. The smell wasn't much better when we returned (although we both felt wonderful), so we went out to dinner. Hopefully the boat won't remain in this state of confusion too long...I don't do chaos.

Feb. 17-19, 2007: The weather was SO nice on Sat. that it was difficult to focus on the interior of the boat. However, by day's end, we had the first finish coat of paint on the walls and I had varnished more areas. Unfortunately it was extremely windy on Sunday, so that ended any thoughts of varnishing the cabinet doors out on deck. But we sanded and pulled the old screw plugs on the forward and starboard exterior windows, and got a coat of CPES on them, plus we coated the shear rails that had previously been stripped. Thankfully we decided to do the laundry and food shopping Sun. afternoon, because we woke to high winds and heavy rain Monday morning. The storm lasted most of the day, so we made the most of being inside and put the galley back in order and a lot of the tools away (Eugene has finished the bulwarks so the tools no longer need to reside under the galley table). After lunch, I cut out the pieces for a baby quilt for my step-brother & sister-in-law. I decided on the Martha Washington star in 9 different colors on a white background -- a good way to lessen my stash. Jim commented on how much brighter the galley looks with a wall of Mañana beige. I decided that I will sand and varnish the grab rail this week, and then we can replace a few more ceiling tiles. Little by little...

Feb. 26, 2007: The grab rail is varnished and it has a lovely shine to it. Other support members were also varnished before I started stripping the varnish off the two windows over the settee. While I was working inside, Jim was working outside...he got another coat of varnish on the cabinet doors, put a coat of primer on the bulwarks and then epoxied and sanded the plug holes in the exterior windows. The muscles in my fore arms are screaming with pain from overuse, but I'm on a roll and don't want to stop. The interior was covered with a fine light brown dust from my sanding the varnish, so it took a while to wipe things down..what a mess. However, we can now replace all but two ceiling tiles. I'm feeling "naked" with the side curtains down and the front phifertex screen removed. Anyone walking down the dock can see in, and it's not a pretty site because Starfish paperwork and parts are over the "dashboard" and table and painting/sanding supplies are on the galley counter. Hopefully we'll be able to continue with our forward momentum and I'll be able to put things back together soon.

March 3, 2007: We had Santa Ana's this weekend, making temperatures warm enough to be able to wear shorts and a T-shirt. The Santa Ana's brought with them LOTS of lady bugs. Jim is down with a cold so not too much got done around the boat, other than I saturated the wood over the settee with CPES and Jim installed new latches on two doors. Jim borrowed a tile cutter and, 4 years later, cut and installed the last 2 corner back splash tiles! Now we can move forward and grout the tiles and finish off the area with a cap trim of some sort. Ah...mañana! I worked on the baby blanket yesterday and I have to say this is, technically, the worst item I have made. I don't think I sewed one seam on Sat. that I didn't end up "unsewing". I don't know why I had such a hard time with this one...I like the block and I like the fabrics. But Liza made her debut a couple weeks early, so I'm having to sew as fast as I can!

March 17, 2007: No sleeping in today -- the swap meet started at 0700 so we were up in the parking lot setting up at 0630. I stayed until 0930, at which time I headed out for the guild's annual sew-in. Jim stayed at the swap meet until the end (1300) and came home with a decent stash of $$. Unfortunately he'd been busy during the week and had been unable to get to the storage locker where the items that didn't sell at last October's swap meet were stored. So he will most likely start E-bay'ing some of the better items and we'll just have to get our act together for the June swap meet. I had a good time sewing with the ladies. I brought several projects with me (overly optimistic), but was only able to (mostly) finish Liza's blanket.

March 19, 2007: I got another coat of interior paint on the windows above the settee yesterday -- boy, it sure is looking good. While Jim was out running errands, I sanded and varnished the cabinet doors and touched up a few other spots inside. This evening we rehung the curtains and the place is looking more and more like home. The only thing now is that the curtains blend in with the wall. I don't know if that is particularly a bad thing, but the thought of new curtains is churning in the back of my mind!

March 24, 2007: As Jim and I sat at the table having our morning coffee, looking around at one absolute total disaster (which we call "home"), he said, "What on earth were you thinking when you invited someone to dinner tonight?" And my response was, "I have no idea!" But we had 8 hours to whip the boat into shape. Jim spent the day doing Starfish paperwork while I tied a bright red bandana around my face, armed myself with the Fein sander and went to work on the window above the refrigerator and the peep hole above the helm station. (They say a diamond is a woman's best friend, but in my case, I confess that the Fein sander is edging out diamonds!) Amazingly, though, by 1700, the boat had been transformed into something we haven't seen in months! The counters were clear of clutter and clean of wood dust, Starfish's paperwork was stashed in the garage and you could see the entire table, the rugs and cushions had been vacuumed -- this place was downright respectable! I had even BAKED! We enjoyed a pleasant evening with my co-worker. I like to show our home to landlubbers, especially to my co-workers, who hear me talk about our boat. This is "my" world.

April 1, 2007: April Fool's Day and we got a very rude surprise today. Jim was sanding the old blue paint off the bulwarks in preparation for putting a different (non-fading) paint on. He came across a "soft" spot and started digging. Guess what he found? Yup! ROT....AAARRRGGGHHH! This area was not replaced by Eugene because we were pinched for money and thought it was in okay condition. Well, guess again! Jim just wanted to find a corner and curl up and cry. This was NOT what we needed right now. His first thought was to ask Eugene to replace the bulwark, but Eugene is in the process of moving to North Carolina at the end of the month and doesn't have the time. So I guess Jim will cut out the worst of the rot (up to the hawse pipe), let it dry and then patch a piece of wood into the hole. We will obviously have to deal with it when we return to Seattle. In the meantime, we will not put on the expensive paint.

April 8, 2007: Ron could not make Josh Groban's concert Friday night so he offered his tickets to us. We met at America Plaza, had dinner in Old Town and then took the bus to the Sports Arena. Jim had never heard Josh sing and was pleasantly surprised at Josh's voice. It was a wonderful concert, well attended by all ages. We went to bed WAY past our bedtime and were dragging yesterday, but I managed to sand the side forward of the starboard door. I had previously decided that I was going to sew today, and I did, in fact, do so. However, I was finished by 1400 and felt guilty that I hadn't picked up a paintbrush all day. We installed the trim above the galley tiles and grouted. Murphy's Law...we ran out of grout with 2.5 tiles left! I don't know if we'll be able to find another tube of the same grout, as we purchased this in Seattle in 2003 (no sense rushing into anything). But we'll go to Plan B if need be. Once we were finished cleaning the tiles, I sanded and varnished around the starboard door and then gave all the window trims a second coat. Mañana is looking better and better every day.

April 15, 2007: Plan B for the grout turned out to be calling the tile store in Seattle to see if they still carried the grout. Luckily they did and a tube arrived mid-week. The grouting is now complete, and all headliner tiles are in place. The cabinet doors need to be taken down to see if we can figure out why they don't line up like before. Yesterday I put the first coat of primer on the 3 forward exterior windows, the cap rail, the interior bulwark and the covering board (all gibberish to you, I know). But the point is, forward progress is now taking place outside as well as inside, and that definitely is a good thing! Jim's new laptop computer arrived -- he's a "switcher" -- the new computer is a Mac. He says he's not totally lost, but his old brain is a bit challenged in comprehending Apple's way of doing things! Our "old" laptop (a Toshiba) really isn't very old but has been such a disappointment. The screen is developing lines through it and we weren't comfortable having all our vital folders on a slowly dying laptop while we travel a foreign country.

April 22, 2007: Crisis on Mañana!! Our stovetop drip coffee maker has sprung a leak and we haven't been able to find another one like it. Ideally we would like a stainless steel pot, but the only thing we can find are percolators, which we don't want. So if you are reading this and know of a place where we can find a stainless steel drip coffee maker (camp stove style), please let us know. We had another very productive weekend. By the end of the weekend, I had 2 coats of primer on ALL the exterior windows and the bulwarks, etc. plus 2 coats of primer and one finish coat on the interior. Jim began the chore of probing the rot in the bulwark. It's not quite as severe as we feared, but to fix it correctly, he must cut out and replace an entire section. From what he can see, it appears that the stanchions were not bedded correctly and the water was allowed to intrude into the wood. We have 3 1/3 months to go (but who's counting) -- this boat is leaving whether it is completely finished or not!

April 29, 2007: The forward and starboard exterior windows were painted with Sandtone-colored paint -- an experiment, really. Jim wasn't too sure of my idea of painting the exterior window trim a different color than the cabin, but it looks good and we are receiving compliments. We think we'll paint the cap rails Sandtone, too. The aft and port bulwarks were primed for a finish coat of royal blue paint, but only the port bulwarks received the paint. The shiny paint sure looks good! Jim should be able to install a couple of the hawse pipes later this week. It's so nice to have things getting secured back in place. The interior painting in the main salon is virtually finished, with the exception of two small spots. The heat gun made it onto the boat so I could start removing the varnish from the settee, but I ran out of steam. I'm not sure I'll have time to work on it during the week because work is hectic and we'll be getting things ready for our vacation next week. And a blast from my past...a friend who I worked with back in 1984 (!) sent an email to Starfish Marine asking for the whereabouts of the McCorisons. I responded back, received a phone call and plans have been made to have lunch in Anacortes next Sat. on our way to Orcas Island. How fun!!

May 5-12, 2007: We had a delightful vacation up in Washington. We spent a couple of hours catching up with Pamela on Sat. She told me she didn't think I'd recognize her because she was 20 years older -- I hated to break it to her but I, too, am 20 years older! Then we spent 5 days on Orcas with Jim's dad and step-mom. It rained on the first day -- sort of like Mother Nature giving us permission to just sit, chill and catch up with one another. From then on, we enjoyed sunny skies with temps in the mid 60s -- just like San Diego! Jim and his dad worked on various projects together, I got to visit with a couple of quilting friends (and see their new quilting studios) and we took Babs out for her birthday. On Thursday, we drove to University Place and spent 2 days with Colleen, Rachel, Karina (aka Bree),Adam (and Sweet Pea and Bruiser). This was the first time I got to meet the kids and Bruiser and see the apartment. The apartment is very tastefully decorated and it's clear that that Colleen and the kids adore one another. I can't verbalize my feelings at seeing Colleen in maternal mode -- truly, it is wonderful! We also took a few hours out of our visit and had an enjoyable lunch with Marty & Bill, Jim's aunt and uncle, on Friday. As we were saying our good-byes to everyone on Sat., Adam asked if it would be okay to call us Grandpa and Grandma -- I don't have to tell you that Jim and I both enthusiastically responded "YES!!" We had a good flight back to San Diego, but each time we head north, we find ourselves more and more homesick and looking forward to returning home.

May 13, 2007: Happy Mother's Day! No rest for the mother on Mañana today -- I did 3 loads of laundry (2 quilts and 2 rugs), started scraping the varnish off the settee and did the food shopping. Jim didn't sit idle either -- he worked on the transom, got primer on the starboard bulwarks, installed the covering boards around the air conditioner and started hooking up the tank tender for the fuel tank. We were delighted (if that's possible) to discover that the linoleum is peeling up with very little sticky residue on the floor. So, of course, I started tearing pieces willy-nilly and now the floor REALLY looks horrible! My thought, however, is that installing the new floor will happen sooner than later if the floor looks bad enough!

May 18-19, 2007: The Guild's annual quilt show was deemed to be a success. A lot of effort went into getting the word out to the public and as a result, our attendance was very good. Additionally, the selection of quilts on display was wonderful, making it difficult to choose a favorite. I had 4 entries on display this year, and when all the votes were tallied, I somehow managed to take 2nd place in the Wall Hanging category! Jim tells me I should not be surprised, but I know what the competition was and I still find it hard to believe that I beat some of the others. There is no predicting "people's choice". Many of the attendees couldn't tell a half-square triangle from flying geese -- they only know what they like and they apparently liked my "Cat with Attitude".

May 23, 2007: The new dinghy is on order (a catamaran style made by Advanced Marine Inflatables) and after work, the new Mercury outboard and 180' of new dock line were put in the back of the Volvo. I have a list a mile long of tasks that I'd like us to accomplish by the end of the holiday weekend; most of it entails sanding, painting and varnishing. Guess all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the weather holds!

Memorial Day, 2007: I am SO SICK of sanding, painting and varnishing. We started boat work early Sat. morning and kept on going until we both cried "UNCLE!" in unison at noon on Monday. The sad thing is that you really can't see any appreciable difference to the boat, other than a few more windows have tan paint around them and a couple pieces of the shear rail were installed. The excitement of the weekend came when Jim knocked his $250 Makita drill off the steps and into the drink. Supposedly it was an accident, but I had heard comments earlier that the clutch was sticking (or something like that), so maybe it wasn't a 100% accident! We cleaned the boat up (translate that to "hid everything in the forward cabin") and hosted Ron and Laurie for dinner. Jim made pasta with smoked marlin -- yum! A great time was had by all! I'm looking forward to going back to work tomorrow so I can rest!

June 6-11, 2007: Pat and Linda arrived together on June 6, starving! Per the norm, airlines no longer serve food, and even worse, Northwest Airlines was charging over $2 for the small bag of pretzels that the airlines offer. It then took, quite literally, another hour before their baggage arrived. I don't know how many miles we walked during the 5 day period -- it felt like 100! We toured the Hotel del Coronado and Coronado on Thursday, shopped till we dropped at Horton Plaza on Friday, and then checked into a hotel in the Gaslamp District. In our minds we were going to be "hip" and enjoy the nightlife of the District, but in reality, we filled up on appetizers from Moose McGillycuddy's during happy hour and waddled back to the hotel, taking the long way back. We three "hip" sisters were in our nightgowns by 7:30pm -- oink!! We toured the Gaslamp area a little more Sat. morning, before heading back to Chula Vista (and visiting the local quilt shop). We enjoyed a lovely dinner and visit with Tim & Elaine Sat. night. We were on the road bright and early Sunday headed for Point Loma and the Cabrillo monument. Unfortunately we got there before the sun broke through, so the scenery wasn't what it could have been, but it was still impressive. The sun was out by the time we got to Ocean Beach. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch and then walked the infamous OB Pier, which extends 1/3 mile out from shore (and then 1/3 mile back). We poked into the many antique shops before heading back to the boat. Ron joined us for a dinner of wahoo with tropical salsa. We may be (Miss Clairol) blonde and over 50, but it didn't take too many brains to figure out that it would be best for Pat & Linda to have some lunch before they boarded the plane on Monday. Pat also had a stash of crackers in her purse -- she thought she might be able to sell them and make a few pennies from the unsuspecting travelers. It was a wonderful mini vacation for me -- it felt so good to get away from boat work. I'm a very lucky person to have 2 sisters who are also my friends. Thank you, mom and dad, for raising us in such a manner that allowed all siblings to be friendsl

June 13, 2007: My last guild meeting as Madam President. The guild presented me with 22 - 10" blocks and a center medallion that measures 22 x 28. The medallion and 4 of the blocks are the mariner's compass block done in blues and yellows. The remaining 18 blocks have a nautical theme -- whales, octopus, sailboats, powerboats, lighthouses, dolphins, etc. Now comes the challenge of putting them all together to create a quilt. The prize for winning 2nd place in the wall hanging category was a gift certificate to Rosie's, a huge fabric store in La Mesa. I guess I'll be making a trip to La Mesa before we leave.

After 24 Years...Still

June 16-17, 2007: Jim and I renewed our wedding vows (24 years) at the Anglican church in Alpine, with (Father) Ron and Father Pannetti officiating, and John, Liz, Brian, Terry and Lori in attendance. We were Ron's first wedding as a minister and the first wedding to take place in the new church -- Ron was definitely more nervous than we were, but the ceremony went off without a hitch and no repeats of the wedding scene with Rowan Atkinson officiating in "Four Weddings and a Funeral"! Afterwards we took everyone to a Chinese buffet in Santee for lunch. Great food, selection and price. From there, Jim and I headed to Julian and spent the night at the Villa de Valor B&B (I highly recommend it). Valorie was in cohoots with Jim in making the stay a romantic one. While we were walking around town Sat. afternoon, Valorie snuck a beautiful vase of yellow and cranberry gerbera daisies with white baby's breath into our room. Then they surprised me by hiring a horse-drawn carriage to take us from the B&B to the restaurant with a mini tour on the side. Dinner at The Grille was delicious (another high recommendation). The next morning, Valerie served a souffle with fresh pico de gallo, sweet corn bread, potatoes and fresh strawberries and bananas with "secret sauce". The house mascot, a Bichon Frise named Voila, was the sweetest dog -- her idea of playing hostess was to climb in everyone's lap. We purchased an apple-cherry pie before leaving Julian and stopped at 3 wineries on the way home. When we returned to the boat at 1500, Jim realized that everything in our refrigerator was frozen solid (including the beer). He did some minor surgery on the temperature gage knob and we're hoping that will fix the problem. There's always something!

June 26, 2007: I'm down to less than 1 week left at the Airport. A few days ago I sent an email to coworkers asking for donations of paperbacks and have received almost 3 dozen books, with people promising to bring books in between now and next Tuesday. That should hold us for a couple of weeks! Jim & I are back to working on the boat whenever we can. Over the weekend we installed more of the shear rail but ran out of fasteners so cannot finish the job until the bronze screws come in. I pulled the old linoleum off the galley floor and 4 boxes of new vinyl wood-look planks are sitting on the side deck. If Jim did the math correctly, we'll have enough to do both the galley and forward cabin floors. With luck, the new floor will be installed by the end of the weekend. Ron has volunteered to sand and varnish Mañana's rails, although I don't know why anyone would volunteer for such a task! He has also said he will help us get the boat ready during July. Personally, I'm glad that he will be around. Jim and I have become extremely fond of Ron, and we know the feeling is mutual. It's going to be very tough to say good-bye to some people.

July 3, 2007: The Airport and DMJM sent me on my way after a terrific Bon Voyage party that was attended by about 50 coworkers. One of my coworkers spent the night before roasting 4 roast beefs, 4 salmon filets and making several salads. Needless to say, I was touched to the core that she would do this for me (thank you, Michelle). I received several extremely practical gifts. I can honestly say that I won't miss the bureaucracy and the political B.S. that abounds in a public/governmental company, but I will miss a good majority of the people. I wonder how long it will take me to realize that I no longer have to worry about the project's "to do" list? And where else but in the marina/cruising community can you tell someone you are now officially unemployed and receive an enthusiastic "congratulations!" as the reply!

New Salon Floor!

July 9, 2007: Chris and Lynn, friends from Orcas, came for dinner last night. They had seen the boat when we lived in Westsound, so they walked around admiring all the changes that have been made in the past 4 years. We had a lovely visit with them. It doesn't sound like Orcas has changed at all, and that is most definitely a good thing. We are cranking along making progress, but for every one item we cross off the list, two more items get added on. Some things don't need to be done before we leave, but we need to make sure that all the parts and supplies are on board. The floor was (finally!) installed over the weekend, with the exception of the area over the engine room hatch and the trim molding. The floor came out great -- what a difference it makes! I'm currently a very happy camper! I've been emptying and rearranging the drawers and lockers, tossing what we haven't used in order to make room for the new supplies. The dinghy arrived last Monday (we are referring to it as "the BMW" in honor of Jim's mom); unfortunately Jim discovered a problem with the tilt mechanism on the new motor, so that needs to go back to the store. As soon as the fog burns off, I'll begin work on the exterior -- painting and varnishing. Then I'll dig my sewing machine out so I can repair the flybridge cover, make some windshield wiper covers (to keep the sun from drying out the rubber blades) and covers to protect the new winches. There is no shortage of tasks; pick one, any one!

July 14, 2007: I think we spent more time last week purchasing supplies rather than doing boat work. I purchased the Mexican fishing licenses for both of us, the boat and the dinghy for one year -- total cost: $216.00. The stupid thing is that neither boat can fish without a human, and I try my darndest to avoid the sport, but licenses are required. New flares and emergency supplies are now on board, the refrigerator temperature thermostat is finally fixed (after several weeks of frozen, then thawed, foods), I have a new backpack, Jim has new Teva's, the dinghy has new dinghy wheels (not yet installed) and Mañana has new wiper arms and blades (not yet installed because we can't get the old corroded ones off). The new winches to raise the dinghy are on board but, you guessed it, are not yet installed. The new navigation computer arrived but the monitor has not, so that, too, is not yet installed. We've applied for health insurance -- affordable premium for catastrophic coverage now has the deductible up to $10,000; the emergency medicines have been purchased. The floor above the hatch is down, but we'll probably have to special order the T-molding to go around the edge. Measurements for the new muffler pipe were incorrect, so that chore went to the bottom of the list; the items on Ebay are not doing very well, we aren't sure what Plan B is for them. The painting on the port side is now complete -- yippee! Rain sprinkles this afternoon had us scurrying to bring in all the tools left on deck -- how we take sunny days for granted in San Diego! We'll begin tomorrow with a pancake breakfast over at the RV park and then we'll buckle down and hopefully cross a couple more items off the list. We are out of milk, wine, beer and clean underwear, so I'd better make time to do some grocery shopping and the laundry. I'm pretty sure that the corporate life was a lot easier than preparing the boat for cruising :-)

July 20, 2007: I don't know if this was a good week or not. It seems like for every one item that we take care of, two (or three) are still getting added to the list. I now have a list (at Jim's request) that is for items that can be done in the evening -- not that we have any energy left over do them! I keep kicking myself wondering why we continue our M.O. of killing ourselves to get things done at the last minute rather than spacing them out. Certainly, we've known for a long time that we are leaving on Aug. 1, but here we are, stressed to the max, running on empty, as we try to cross items off the list, while wondering what it is that we're forgetting. On the positive side, the monitor arrived and the new computer is gradually being converted; the new winches have been installed (and covers to protect the winches made), good progress has been made in repairing the rotted bulwark, our Mexican FM3 visas were issued, one Ebay item was shipped off, the holding tank sensor was cleaned (P-U! that was a stinky job), wire for a new electrical outlet for the new TV/DVD run, 4 cans of Inarizushi-No-Moto were purchased (seasoned fried bean curd cups -- fill with rice seasoned with rice wine vinegar & sugar -- serve with soy sauce -- yum!! -- great for potlucks!) and I cashed in my gift certificate for fabric. On the negative side, one of the new fabrics that I purchased somehow slipped out of the clothes pin and sunk (I prewash all my new fabric and hang them out to dry). DC and Jerry had their medical exams for their international health certificates. We only had one cat carrier, so Jerry got to ride in it and we put DC in Jim's back pack. He has to be the most laid back cat we've ever known!! We were told that DC has a heart murmur and Jerry may have a hyper thyroid. Full blood work was done on Jerry; we should have the results by Tuesday, and DC is scheduled for an echocardiogram next week. On the way home from the vets, our car, which is scheduled to be placed for sale on Craig's List next Weds, died. BOTH the power steering pump and the battery died. We were able to get a jump and make it back to the marina, but there was no joy in the engine turning over later in the day. It couldn't have waited one more week! So instead of working on the boat tomorrow morning, Jim will be working on the car and then two customers have asked him for help with "small" projects. Grrr!

July 24, 2007: The car is running just fine now, thanks to a new battery. The power steering pump is sitting on the passenger footwell floor; the steering hasn't acted up since the battery was replaced. We had a nice visit and dinner with Jamie ("Flying Cloud") on Sat. He was up from Loreto for a couple of days. Neighbors down the dock treated us to dinner Sun. evening. Jim (not my Jim) brought his notebook, asked my Jim questions and took notes! Again, a very nice dinner and evening. Yesterday I did a major provisioning run in one direction and Jim headed in a different direction for additional items. The boat looks like a bomb exploded and it is certainly trying my patience -- I don't do well with cluttered spaces. I spent $$ at Walmart and came home with 6 jugs of kitty litter, 11 cases of canned cat food, 3 large tubs of dry cat food, 2 new cat carriers, food/soda/plates, etc. for this weekend's farewell potluck plus miscellaneous foods. Then I headed to Albertsons for the weekly shopping trip and came home with (hopefully) enough beer and wine to last us a month, along with foods necessary for this week. Jim had his own errands to run, but stopped off at Trader Joe's for a couple of cases of "Two Buck Chuck" and other goodies. The new settee foam arrived and now sports a new cover. I learned lots of new words making the cover, none of which shall be repeated here! The new egg crate foam for the bed was cut to size. Jim has diagnosed and fixed the air compressor; we assume the horn now works. It turns out that two of the wiper arms purchased were the wrong size so only one was installed for the time being. The remaining hawse pipes were sand blasted and returned (but not installed). Jim took the injectors to the shop to be cleaned (or whatever one does with injectors). They should be ready on Thurs. The new electrical panel for the generator got installed last night. I ran to Home Depot this morning and purchased a new galley sink faucet. Just add that item to the list!! DC spent today at the vets waiting for his echocardiogram. It was supposed to take place this morning, but there were a few emergencies so DC had to wait, caged. The doctor said that DC was so wound up by the time the technician was ready that they had to sedate him. The technician indicated that he did not see anything alarming but we will wait for the full report. Jerry's blood work came back negative, which has the vet stumped. He's happy and healthy, but losing weight.

July 25-30, 2007: It's been a busy 6 days, but we will not be ready to leave here on the 1st. We still have several outstanding projects and our supplies have not arrived. Jim confirmed with the marina office that we can stay an additional two days. Right now it looks like we'll be out of here on Saturday. Both the old generator and the Volvo sold on the 27th. We thought it was our lucky day so Jim bought a lotto ticket, but it apparently wasn't THAT lucky a day! We got the boat ship shape for our farewell potluck on the 28th. We wish that the boat was as ready to go as we made it appear! There were about 30+ people who stopped by. Cousin Tim took photos and Ron performed the blessing ceremony, after which we played "The Prayer", sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban. As the song played, two colonies of pelicans flew overhead, headed south. We took this to be a good omen because we rarely see one pelican in Chula Vista, never mind two rows of pelicans in V-formation! The party officially ended at 2100, when it was too dark to see anything! The bulwark is finally complete. It took Jim a couple of tries to fair it smooth; it hasn't been painted yet, but that task should be crossed off the list by the time we leave here. The new injectors have been installed, but there is still more engine work to be done before we go anywhere. One thing that is not on the list is all the necessary paperwork to close down Starfish Marine. We've also been advised that we need to talk to the County Auditor's Dept. to let them know that we are leaving California -- otherwise, we will be hit up for taxes. We find our energy dwindling. We are pushing ourselves during the daylight hours, crashing into bed later than normal and then waking up at 0200 thinking about everything that still needs to be done. Last week I headed to the laundromat at 0615 -- I couldn't sleep. We know, however, that what we are going through is normal. We brought this on ourselves by not starting the tasks sooner, but at this point, that's neither here nor there! Life will calm down as soon as we leave Chula Vista. Friends/dock mates stop to chat with us when we are trying to get things done. They mean well, but we're constantly having to stop and start work. Ah, this, too, shall pass!

July 31-Aug 3, 2007: It's Friday, but we are still in no shape to take off tomorrow. Now we're saying "maybe Sunday or Monday". Dock friends are telling us we'll need to have another party if we don't leave soon! I suppose this really isn't bad. We were one year behind schedule on our first trip. If we end up being one week behind schedule this time around, I'll consider us to be in good shape. On Tues. Jim realized that we should probably replace our four AGM batteries. If we were heading north we would have kept what we had, but seeing as we're headed south, where it is a challenge to get anything in from the States and we anticipate putting more of a load on the batteries as we head into hotter weather, we decided to replace them, to the tune of about $1,900 -- definitely NOT what the cruising kitty wanted! So Tuesday was spent removing the old batteries and then bringing the new ones down to the boat. Mind you, each battery weighs 135 lbs. John stopped by at 0700 on Weds. to help get them into the engine room and Jim spent the rest of the morning modifying the battery boxes and connecting the batteries. At noon, another neighbor came by and helped him tune the engine; the remainder of the afternoon was spent in the engine room changing filters, adjusting things, etc. until 1700, when John and Brian returned and helped Jim relocate the new generator off the aft deck and into the lazarette. John and Liz then took us out to dinner -- thank goodness and thank you! On Thursday, other than my painting the bulwarks, we didn't have an opportunity to work on our boat. Instead, we both spent the afternoon working on a customer's boat, finishing up a few projects that had previously been started. I had hoped to prep both the starboard and port bulwarks and get a final coat of blue paint on them today, but the winds started early and the paint supervisor didn't approve of my prep work. Instead, we decided that I would just prep both sides and we'll paint bright and early in the morning before the winds start. This morning Jim had several errands to run, and while he was out he received a phone call saying that the transport company will be here tomorrow at 0900 to get the van (we are shipping it to WA state). At 1800, we began weeding items out of the van. Jim's thought was to put parts, tools, wire etc. on board so that he can earn $$ while cruising. However, I had serious doubts as to just where he was going to stock all this equipment (2 full dock carts). There comes a point where you have to say "whoa!" Are we going cruising to relax or to continue working? Somewhere deep inside, Jim feels an obligation to have every possible part on board so he can help other cruisers. So after me threatening to hightail it to the nearest hotel sans hubby, items were resorted and 2 semi-full dock carts were brought back to the van. The main salon is a total disaster; I'm doing what I can to keep Starfish's tools and paperwork off the galley counters (sort of like claiming my "territory"). He has promised to start sorting and stowing things tomorrow...the hotel is a 1.5 mile walk...

Aug. 4-6, 2007: We gave up telling people when we are leaving and started telling them we're leaving "soon'ish"! We got up early on Sat. and had the bulwarks painted by 0900. The boat looks great! The transport driver called us to say he had a mechanical problem and would not be down for the van until early afternoon. That gave Jim a chance to run a few more errands. The transport arrived around 1400, leaving us without wheels (so much for breaking our necks last night). On Sunday, Jim plugged away on the engine until he came to a stopping spot where he needed more supplies. We borrowed a friend's car late in the afternoon to run a few errands, including last-minute fresh grocery provisioning. I don't think I can squeeze anything else into our little refrigerator! On Monday another friend brought me to Costco while Jim continued working on the engine. While Liz and I were out, Jim called to tell me that the engine was running -- victory at last! We were up way past our bedtime; Jim was stowing tools while I did a final load of laundry at the RV park. We fell into bed at 2200. Tomorrow is the big day!

[Return to Jan's Journal]