Seriously? There must be some mistake. I am Queen of Covid Avoidance and have followed all the CDC guidelines to stay healthy in this pandemic. I’ve been known to chide others to wear masks and stay socially distanced, and I avoid those who are unvaccinated like the plague that it is.
This result was from a Rapid test and was followed up by a call from a nurse at the testing site who recommended we both get a PCR-24 hour test as soon as possible as it is more accurate. I had already gotten a PCR test at Kaiser upon the advice of my doctor and Aaron suggested driving through the airport Rapid test site on our way home. As soon as I got the Rapid test results, he went and got a PCR test. His results came in before mine and he is positive. So there’s now no doubt that we are both infected.
This is no joke. My symptoms went from lethargy and a mild cough and low grade fever to a hacking/wheezing cough that leaves me completely exhausted, whole body aches and a raging headache. All I want to do is sleep. Oh, and I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell! I realized this when I put a drop of pure peppermint essential oil under my tongue to help with my congestion and didn’t taste a thing. I won’t go into detail on the stomach issues after eating a fast-food cheeseburger. Oy vey!
“Seriously, Heidi, do you really need 50 pairs of shoes?”
My girlfriend had dropped by for a chat and caught me in my bi-annual shoe-purge. I was sitting on the floor with a huge mound of leather, vinyl, rubber and sequins in front of me. “You don’t wear all of those, do you?” she asked incredulously.
“If the shoe fits,” I quipped, slipping a darling, light teal, bejeweled kitten heel sandal on my foot and waving it in the air. “And there’s not 50 pairs anymore. I’m down to 37.”
“You do realize that you live on a boat?” she laughed.
Yes, I live on a 42 ft sailboat. No, I don’t really have a shoe fetish; I only buy a few pairs a year but I take good care of my shoes and keep them forever. My husband gave up on lecturing me on the fact that high heels really don’t belong on a boat and installed a fabric shoe holder behind my hanging clothes, against the hull. So my collection doesn’t take up needed space and is out of sight. But I know they are there; and that makes me happy.
We are committed to crewing with our dockmates, Scott and Joanne, on the Baja Ha-Ha and, come Hell or high-water, we are going to be sailing south on their gorgeous Bavaria Vision 46 for the first three weeks of November 2021. (Please, God, don’t take this as a challenge to mess with our plans. We really, really need this sea time!)
What, pray-tell, is the Baja Ha-Ha? (Doesn’t it just make you smile to say it?!) It’s not a race … it’s a cruiser’s rally that starts in San Diego, makes a couple of stops along the coast for rest and partying, and ends in Cabo San Lucas. There’s no trophy for being first to an anchorage or to finish. The goal is to safely traverse the Baja Coast in the company of others. Basically, the Ha-Ha is a 10-day slow journey south buddy-boating with about 150 other vessels. Power boats are welcome, but since there’s really only one stop for fuel, it’s generally about 99 percent sailboats. It’s a great segue for folks looking to spend a winter (or a few years) in Mexico, prepare for the big Pacific Ocean crossing to the Marquesa Islands or Hawaii, or perhaps continue south to Central or South America or go through the Panama Canal to reach the Caribbean. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me yearn for our turn to go.
Deep breath. You can do this, Heidi. You can focus and get back into that groove, that happy place, where words come easily and you pull stories and recipes and musings about living aboard out of your brain and heart and soul (and yes, sometimes it seems, out of your ass!) and they flow into your lightning-fast typing fingers onto the page. You’ve faced far worse challenges where you felt like you were drowning and always burst through the waves for that big gulp of fresh air and a fin-flip to take you in a new direction. So why not NOW?
For two solid years I posted at least once a week on this Blog. If I knew I’d be busy, I’d write the posts and schedule them to go live so I wouldn’t miss a week. Not a single week for two years … over 100 posts and now at nearly 200. I had a nice following of people from around the world that read my writing and the feedback was always positive from friends and family. I would joke to my husband that I was an “International Blogger” and I had to keep up my Blog so as not to disappoint my “Fans.”
I wrote daily and scheduled time to write. I went on writing retreats, met with our writing group at local coffee shops, and found inspiration all around me. I submitted my work in competitions and read it aloud in front of live audiences. After not believing that I was good enough for decades, I proudly proclaimed myself a “WRITER.”
Then COVID-19 swept across the globe. Life turned upside down. Our plans to go cruising were put on hold. Again. I became the caregiver and Head Schoolmistress for my beloved grandchildren. I had to cease swimming at the gym and working out with my personal trainer. Grocery shopping was more for survival than for enjoyment so meals became boring. We watched the terrifying news of the infections and deaths as they rose and panic and fear were the prevailing emotions. Add the election, with so much hatred from the Trumpers, and there seemed to be very little light in the world.
In the past decade-plus of living on board I have learned to cook, at first by necessity and later because I enjoyed it. When the Captain and I moved aboard Cool Change (Aaron’s dad’s Freedom 32) in 2009 we ate simply. Mainly because neither of us knew how to cook very well and the space was also challenging. The galley is pretty teensy with only two burners, an oven about the size of a toaster-oven, and an ice-cooled refrigerator. Since it was summertime, we barbecued/grilled chicken, beef, fish and veggies the majority of evenings.
Growing up, my mother did all the cooking for the family and never invited my sister and I to participate. (And the rare time we did, the majority of the meals were from cans and boxes.) In my previous marriage to Brett he did all the cooking. I worked 60 hours a week and came home after long days and late meetings to a warm meal nightly. I rarely ventured into the kitchen and when I did it was mostly reheating. He enjoyed cooking so it wasn’t an issue and we hosted many dinner parties for family and friends with him in the kitchen and me doing the event coordinating. It wasn’t that I didn’t like cooking; it was more that I never really had the encouragement, motivation or opportunity until I was in my forties.
2020 flat out sucked. The pandemic changed everything. We went from anticipating our life on the open ocean and exploring foreign ports to basically locking down at the marina. Our busy social life and wide circle of friends closed to just family and dock neighbors.
Eleven people that had some form of effect on my life died. Of those, three were my husband’s family members (Uncle Bob, Uncle Bill, and his mother, Donna Perry), one was a dear childhood friend’s mother (Margaret Sloane), one was a much-loved sailor (Jim Hild), one was a special writing group friend (Catherine Phillips), and five were influential in my careers (Cliff Benson, Julian Polvorosa, Charlie Gilcrest, Dr. Marshall Mitzmann, and Tom Guarino). I have never experienced so much loss in one year.
I started this blog on April 16, 2018 … one year to the day we planned to cut the docklines and begin cruising the world on our floating home. This was already a delay from our original dream of retiring early and leaving in 2015. Life happened and we changed the departure to 2019. Family circumstances and necessary medical procedures for the Captain and First Mate didn’t allow us to leave the country then either. So being conservative, we readjusted to leave in the fall of 2020 and winter in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
This would give us the summer to put a bit more money aside, finish final boat projects and make sure our family was healthy, happy and settled. In Spring 2021 we’d decide what our next course would be and go from there.
Then COVID-19 rocked the world. Back in March, we all believed that we’d be through this and back to life as usual in a few months; six at tops. We’d wait until December or January and then head south.
Today is a significant date. First and foremost, it is my husband’s birthday. Aaron, the Captain of our boat and my heart, was born in 1964 and is 56 today. He unselfishly gives of his time and talent, and most of all, Love, to his friends and family. He is completely devoted to our three Grands and drops everything to care for them. He coaches Little League, builds props for my daughter’s photography business, mans the barbecue and is known as the “Tickle Monster” by the GrandBoys. He’s a great role model for Cody and Matthew, and Ellie is definitely a “Papy’s Girl.” This from a guy who never had children of his own and became a step-father when my kids were teens! We are blessed to have him in our lives.
When we purchased our 42 ft 1979 Tayana Vancouver sailboat in 2009 we had hoped to take a sabbatical from our jobs in 2015 to do some cruising. We chose to name our boat Sonho, as it means “Dream” in Portuguese and adopted the motto, “Vivo O Sonho” … Living the Dream.
But Life Happened: lay-offs and, most importantly, my care for my beloved Nana kept us tied to the dock. There was no way I’d leave her; we just didn’t expect her to live as long as she fortunately did. After Nana passed in the fall of 2017 just shy of her 99th birthday, my sister and I made the decision to sell her home that we had inherited. Aaron and I would use our share of the proceeds to finish the work on the boat and invest the rest to take early retirement.
You live on a boat?! How is that? Does it move all the time? How does the weather affect you? Where do you keep your stuff? Do you have electricity? How about fresh water? How’s the sleeping situation? How do you deal with waste? Are you connected to cable and WiFi? Does your dog like living on a boat? What happens when you go sailing?”
Yes, it’s true. Sleeping on a boat is like being rocked to sleep every night. We keep our stateroom hatch open a crack year-round and can hear the waves and seabirds as we drift off and awaken. When it’s stormy it can be a wild ride, but still so comfy to be cocooned in our bunk while Mother Nature and Father Neptune battle it out.
After nine years of doing the “mattress mambo” and changing out varieties of foam combinations, we made the investment in a real mattress for our bunk! This is not a “run down to the local mattress store, spend a few hours laying on samples, move a few pieces of furniture to clear a path for the delivery guys to set up” kind of situation. As everything else on a boat, it is more complicated and expensive than that.
To start with, boat beds are not like home beds. At all. Boat beds, called bunks or berths, are in staterooms (bedrooms) built into the superstructure of the boat. They are a wooden or fiberglass box frame usually built on top of drawers and/or storage space and are immobile.
I live aboard a 42 ft Tayana Vancouver sailboat, hull #5 laid in 1979, with my husband and little dog. We are preparing to circumnavigate the globe in Fall 2022 and I enjoy blogging about our preparations for our journey, cooking in my tiny kitchen and writing short stories.