We have been in the boat yard for two weeks now. Things are moving along at the expected pace (slower than I would hope, but reasonable for this oppressive climate). The boat is covered, and has its first coat of primer. The propeller shaft is off, the old swim ladder (which has been held captive by the Monitor for years now) is being removed and welded over. While we have the hull exposed, we are also adding glass around the keel (about 6mm at the widest point) and removing some blisters.
One of the outcomes of all of this bustle is that we have reached peak chaos. Christmas may be 4 days away, but it feels like it exists only in a parallel universe. We’ve experienced this before. In fact, 2011 has become known as “the Christmas that wasn’t.” We were in Mexico, at the docks in La Cruz, getting ready to cross the Pacific. We did not realize that Christmas was coming until the 24th, and madly scurried around to collect gifts. The stockings (and some of the stuffers) came from a generous boat neighbor. We pulled it off, but it didn’t feel like Christmas.
We are doing slightly better this year. We have a few humble gifts (the kids think they are getting nothing except for their homemade gifts to each other, ssshhh), and we have a PLAN! Okay, that was a bit grandiose. We have a one way plane ticket to Kuala Lumpur and 4 bunks in a hostel for a week, but it will be something different, something to delineate this holiday from the drudgery of yard work.
We will still have to find gluten free (GF) groceries to provision for the Indian Ocean, and GF meals to feed ourselves each day. And do not forget the main event; renewing the kids’ passports. That should leave us with a few precious hours each day to find bookstores and museums, libraries and parks. The stuff that our memories are made of!
All of this is a little bittersweet for me. I am one who firmly believes in living intentionally, and owning my outcomes. Victoria and I have chosen experience and relationships over stuff. Most of the time this is a drop dead easy decision to live with but, at this time of year, when gift giving has such a high (cultural) importance, the thought of not buying the kids and Vick something shiny, something that would be wildly unobtainable on other days, skewers me with an unreconcilable regret.
At these moments, waist deep in construction; groping for two Ringgit to rub together, I’m grateful for Victoria’s pragmatic reassurance. The kids are happy. We are doing the leg work for another year and a half of magic making. And all we really need is food, water , sunglasses, a bucket to pee in, and each other to love.
Merry Christmas from our crew to yours!