Monday, October 10, 2011

Out for a Stroll

Willie has a pretty good English vocabulary for a dog from Puerto Rico. First and foremost of the words he understands is "Walk". For Ivy's six month birthday that just passed we finally bought a stroller, which means our frequency of going for walks has increased dramatically. However, energetic dog, stroller, baby, and traffic don't always mix well, so unless we are going to a big park we tend to leave Willie behind (sorry buddy!). Thus, it has become common language for Jenny and I to use the phrase "go for a stroll" when we want to go with the stroller and leave Willie behind. The language change is just enough to save him the roller coaster of emotions at hearing the word "walk" and then be left behind. Ahh, the difficult life of a dog.

Willie, asleep sitting up.

Buying a stroller is a huge deal for us. This little boat of ours is completely out of space. We really can't put anything more into it. Our car is a Kia Soul. I love the Soul. It is incredibly safe and has made a surprisingly good boatwork vehicle. Nonetheless, it is not the biggest thing on the road--at all. That means, in shopping for a stroller we are far more limited, size-wise, than most people. Most strollers that have any substance to them are of enormous size. Seriously, have you ever looked at one of those JEEP strollers? Or the giant Graco pieces of junk? They are huge, and their "folding" hardly makes them smaller... really just changes the shape of the space they take up. So, casting out all those huge strollers really left us looking at some umbrella strollers... you know, little ones that fold up like an umbrella. The MacLaren Volo is the gold standard of umbrellas (its amazing what I now know about strollers). But in all seriousness, those tiny little wheels just suck. We go to parks and beaches regularly. Just to get home we have to go down gangways and walk boat docks. Those tiny wheels going klangity-klangity-klangity on the docks would drive me crazy, not to mention getting stuck on every root and rock we come across in the parks.

Lucky for us, we discovered the City Mini, from BabyJogger. It's a bit of an odd stroller, with midsize wheels, but it folds down quick and easy and it gets seriously small considering how big the stroller is when it's in go-mode. It folds down flat enough that it fits nicely in the trunk space of the Kia or tucks nicely under the nav station on Madrigal.

I just happen to have a pic of
the Kia and the Stroller all at once.

So far, we couldn't be happier with it. We've been on all sorts of terrain and we've only had a wheel catch and stop maybe twice. Ivy thinks its the greatest thing ever. She falls asleep in it easily and reclines nice and smooth so she can keep sleeping.

As an added bonus, we sent a picture of Ivy to the BabyJogger company and she won their monthly photo contest! The prize is a free rain cover (which would otherwise cost us $45 we weren't looking forward to spending). That's awesome for us. We'll really need that cover as it gets colder out and we take Ivy for walks around the Charlestown Navy Yard. Go Ivy go, thanks for being so cute.

Here is a copy of the picture for when they remove
it from the BabyJogger website

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Summer 2011

Wow, where to start? It was such a... different summer. There were opposing forces at work: Ivy and Creeky. That made it particularly difficult. I love this little girl like I love no other, and I find it strange that I still manage to grow more attached to her each and every day. Creeky, as we've affectionately come to know our Creekmore 45 project boat as, owns a love of a different sort. Creeky stokes a fire in me that keeps a dream alive: we can live on a boat, as a family, having enough personal space to move around and live comfortably and we can do it on a budget while raising a family and enjoying ourselves. That is something we really believe in. Making that dream come true is a mightily oppressive task. The dilemma is that in order to work on Creeky, I (Justin) have to spend time away from Ivy. Time away from Ivy is a sad thing. To make it worse, time away from Ivy equals time away from Jenny. As one last bummer, all of that time away from them is being spent on a project that eats a tremendous amount of money, which means I have to work full time plus overtime in order to make it happen. All told, I lose a lot of time at home.
This is what time with Ivy looks like

This is what time with Creeky looks like

We know all the headache and hardships are worth it though. If all goes well this boat is going to provide a beautiful and lovely home for DECADES. And it will be a home we can take anywhere, even back to Michigan to live near family for a while. That is something we would really enjoy. So, we plod on, with me in the boatyard and Jenny at home watching Ivy by herself.

Now, I know I'm painting a pretty bleak picture here, and it just isn't true. Things aren't all that bad, I just want to make sure the blogger world knows what all this entails. I don't want to gloss it over and make it look easy for any would be amateur boat builders. However, I certainly take days off of the boat. We simply can't afford to have me work on it every day. That means I can kind of take my time. We get plenty of weekend days together, and very often we have splendid mornings together before I go in to work my afternoon shift at 3pm. When Ivy wakes us up at 6am and I don't leave for work til 2pm it makes for a very long morning--in a good way. We go to various parks and beaches. We take walks around Weymouth. And one of the great bonuses of this year is that we seem to have acquired our very own back yard.

The Yard at Thayer's Landing

Thayer's Landing is great for many reasons. This year, it improved mightily over last year. Jeff, the ever gracious and generous marina owner decided to make a few improvements. First, he purchased a 10 foot picnic table with a large umbrella. Shortly after that he went and purchased a huge Weber grill. On top of that, our friends Jon, Kelli, and Seth docked here this year. So any time I did get to stay home was great. It was a strange sort of achievement of the standard American dream: We had lovely place on the water with a fenced in back yard complete with all the picnic and BBQ equipment one could want. Many many hours were spent in the lawn enjoying a beer and eating at the picnic table. Ivy learned to crawl in this yard. That means a lot to me. Mind you, she's still a sloppy crawler, and it is really more of a belly flop/scootch/clamber/fall/crawl/giggle/wiggle and scoot. Nonetheless, we'd spread a blanket on the grass and set her down and she'd do her best to get across the blanket and pet Willie. Very cute, and a very effective learning method. After all, with such a small boat, a blanket on the grass really is the biggest crawl space we have.

This is the exact spot where Ivy spent hours trying to make her limbs propel her forward :)

And now fall is in the air. In between the boatwork and playing in the lawn with our sweet little girl, the summer has slipped away. In 2 weeks time we'll be back at Constitution, ordering shrink wrap and tying the boat in for the winter.

The picture doesn't show it, but it is cold and crisp,
with stiff north breeze. It's beautiful this time of year.

It'll be a very good winter, I'm sure. Creeky will be down on the South shore, too far away to run to every morning. And we really have to save our pennies for lead ballast, so I'll get to stay home a lot. Ivy will be walking soon, I have no doubt, at least by midwinter. We'll get to plod through the snow and chase Willie as he runs after snowballs...