The last 5% (in Bailey Island, Maine)

Zephyr enjoys sweet potatoes

This is how we feel about the last 5%

I’ve probably written this exact post on this blog before. The last 5%. The final push. The loose ends. The big hurrah. Call it what you want, the last 5% has never been my favorite.

I think to some degree it’s part of how I’m wired… I like deadlines and I do especially well under pressure, and there’s some law that says that projects will always expand to the time you allot them (especially true in boating??) but to some degree just the *idea* of packing up 4 years of life in Maine, adding in a baby, and disappearing into the sunset reallyΒ isΒ challenging! Even the last 5%!

Sometimes Zephyr helps with the Duraskim patterning plastic

One small story to illustrate the current state of affairs…

We’ve had one bimini hoop for six years (bought second-hand in Mexico, woot woot). It took approximately 5 minutes outside with Zephyr on a sunny day to realize that we needed more shade, stat. And we’d wanted to add more solar panels anyways, so a bimini project was in order!

New stamoid and strataglass weathercloths on Brio

The new bimini & weathercloths

We ordered a length of stainless. Jon drove to Portland and borrowed a tube-bending tool, to make a second hoop. We dragged that hoop out to the boat in the dinghy. We patterned the new bimini while Nancy, our amazing baby-sitter, watched Zephyr. I sewed the bimini over the course of a couple evenings, in that blessed 6:30-9:30 period when the baby was actually sleep (god bless sleep training) and we hadn’t entirely fallen asleep ourselves yet. We ordered industrial strength velcro, new solar panels, and some thin lexan sheets to go under the solar panels to give them an air gap. Cut out the lexan on my mother-in-law’s kitchen table while Zephyr slept 10′ away in her bedroom (have I mentioned I have the best MIL?? I do). Dragged that whole setup out to the boat. Installed all of it on a Monday. Went out the boat on Tuesday to finish wiring those solar panels, only to discover…

Installing solar panels on the dodger and bimini with a Makrolon windshield in between

The entire thing had blown away.

Gone.

Poof!

No more $500 solar panels that we just bought and installed.

I laughed when Jon told me.

Jolly jumper is the only reason we get anything done around here

Jolly Jumper: The secret to making any progress on projects with a baby!

Cuz what else can you do in the face of such a ridiculous setback?

***

Daddy's little helper - boat baby and boat projects are sometimes a challenging mix!

We went out to the boat to test fit the lee cloth for the vberth. Now that Zephyr has figured out how to string rolls together (“how’d you get all the way over there?!?”) the priority of lee cloths has gone wayyyy up and I’m not quite ready for him to sleep in the quarterberth yet (that’s a whole other lee cloth set up πŸ˜‰ ).

While I worked on the fit of my pattern inside, Jon was outside entertaining Zephyr in the cockpit. I stopped for a minute and watched Zephyr giggle as Jon sang him silly songs and danced him around in the crisp Maine air, and it hit me: this is it. This is literally the moment of perfection I have been dreaming of. The one where my sweet baby giggles on our boat as the sun sets on the day.

Living and cruising on a sailboat isn’t perfect, and it isn’t always easy, but if you’re really lucky you get these little pearls of perfection that make everything else fade away. The highest highs and the lowest lows. Kind of like life with a newborn, actually πŸ˜‰

***

Six months old with a pumpkin - Fall in Maine

Anyways, we’ve had lots of plans… one of which involved us leaving September 30th (that didn’t happen), another which involved us leaving this week (not happening) and the current one which involves us leaving at some point in the next 1-2 weeks. Still hopeful that one will happen πŸ™‚

Integral fibreglass watertanks on a Nor'West 33

Integral water tanks: One of the awesome projects on the “must finish” list!

People ask me if the constantly changing schedule drives me nuts, and of course it does… but it’s also a huge part of this life. You can’t rush the weather. You can’t always know exactly how boat projects will go. And leaving in a not-ready boat in not-perfect weather is never fun.

Mommy and Zephyr in the cockpit with the weathercloths (strataglass) and bimini (stamoid)

So that’s where we’re at. Adjusting to the latest situation, wrapping up projects, watching the weather, ordering more long underwear for everyone, and wondering just how this winter will turn out…

Guess we’ll find out when we do!

(Side note: Dad’s been reminding me since I was 6 years old that ‘life’s what happens when you’re making other plans’. So I try to remind myself of this too, and enjoy the unexpected extra time here in Maine, surrounded with friends who love us and our little boy, easy conveniences like cars and thermostats and unlimited hot water and Amazon Prime, while still holding on to hope for our winter plans and checking the 5 weather sources I have like a mad-woman.)

Mommy and Zephyr in the Cockpit - Boat Baby

You can take the girl out of the plan, but you can’t always take the plan out of the girl…

LMK

 

Sailing with a baby is a whole new world… (in The Basin, Maine)

So, truth time — as much as we’ve been *on* the boat and out motoring around, we hadn’t actually gone sailing until this past weekend. Turns out getting out sailing with a newborn is harder than you might imagine (who knew?? πŸ˜‰ ).

We did get to try out the carseat-as-cockpit-seat though, and that was mildly successful. “Mildly” because the little man definitely prefers to be strapped onto a human πŸ˜‰

Pretty much the only reason we made it out this weekend was because we told our great friends Bill & Kitsie that we’d meet them, so we HAD to leave. Kind of like inviting guests over so you have to clean your kitchen. Not that we ever do that either, right? πŸ˜›

Especially since Saturday started as a foggy mess!

Our other motivation for getting out was to try the new furler (Harken MKIV Unit 1, for those that care about these details). Turned out that the luff line on our old genoa was too big for the new furler (not a happy moment), so I spent Friday night madly sewing a new luff tape on the genoa. A boat job that was indeed easier than I expected (not something we say often around here!!).

The Basin is a mere 8 miles away from our mooring at Jon’s mom’s house, and stands as one of our favs no matter the time of year.

All that sailing wore little Z right out, so he had a nap in the big-people bed. Why are sleeping babies so irresistible??

I had literally been dreaming of waking up at anchor, with my baby asleep in the vberth and a hot cup of coffee in hand since we first found out we were expecting. So this was a VERY happy morning!

To add to the fun, I mentioned to our friends that The Basin was pretty much perfect, “except there isn’t anywhere to go for a walk”… to which they happily showed us the nice little trail that circles the bay!

On the baby front, Zephyr can now hold and examine toys (usually with his mouth) which makes life quite a bit more interesting for him.

And when toys get boring, there’s always time for a dinghy toot around the bay…

Brio has clearly been replaced as the primary focus of my photo-taking excursions πŸ˜‰

Post-dinghy-toot naps are an added bonus!

We were having such a nice time just hanging out as a little family on the hook, we decided to stay an extra night and come back super early Monday morning.

Best decision we could have made!

And a funny aside — we’re not actually sure that Zephyr understands most humans live indoors.

He loves being outside SO much (rain or shine) that we think he might think he’s an outdoor baby — like an outdoor cat but a little louder and definitely needier.

But given that he lives on a pretty open, breezy sailboat, that’s probably a good thing πŸ™‚

LMK

Oh hey! We had a (boat) baby!

I’m not usually at a loss for words, but in the case of Zephyr and all that has transpired in the last 13 weeks… it’s a little tough to know where to start!

How about with some basics? Zephyr was born 4/19 at 4:13 am after 7 hours of labor and a mere 14 minutes of pushing (a fact the delivering doctor encouraged me to not share with my friends, lest they kill me in annoyed rage).

He was 6lbs 4oz and 19.5″. (Someone said that the reason people are so obsessed with these stats is because it’s really the only thing you have to talk about for a while, and I think that’s pretty accurate πŸ™‚ )

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine

“Zephyr” was literally the *only* name that Jon and I agreed on, so it’s the name he got. For reference, Jon wanted to name him Ernest (cuz “Ernie” will definitely make you friends on the playground) and I wanted to name him Brio or Ocean or Bravery or something really out there. Which also probably doesn’t make you friends on the playground πŸ˜‰

So instead we settled on something kind of in the middle, a name that people will probably always struggle to spell (apparently “zed” is a Canadianism and not well understood in ‘merica — add it to my list of USA lessons!) but that felt and continues to feel absolutely perfect for this little breeze of a baby. (A ‘zephyr’ — for anyone who doesn’t know — is a gentle west wind, sometimes considered the harbinger of spring… so a perfect fit for our nautical little babe).

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro

^^He’s approximately 20 minutes old here.

I’ve made the joke that I wanted a baby just so I could dress him up and take a zillion cute pictures, and it’s really not far from the truth. I love this little man endlessly but I *especially* love taking his cute little picture. Dropbox is housing the 4,962 pictures I’ve taken since he was born to back this claim up.

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine

I hoped that having a baby on a boat would be similar to having a baby in a house, in that neither Jon nor I would have any idea what we were in for, so it really wouldn’t matter where we were!

And so far figuring out how to nurse the milk monster, get his teeny little fingers through impossible baby outfits, clip his frightening little claws, calm him down when he’s upset, soak in the early morning cuddles and learn to survive on not nearly enough sleep has been exactly the same on a boat as I imagine it would be in a house, except a) we can’t escape his sounds (and he was a NOISY newborn sleeper… no one warned me I was giving birth to a farm animal) and b) we have a built in noise machine / baby rocker.

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine

“Where does he sleep?” is probably in the top 3 of the most-asked questions, and I have to admit it was something I stressed about in the early days of pregnancy too. Brio has an offset vberth (to port) and there used to be a super deep sail locker to starboard, so we built a recessed shelf that I made a mattress for, and we’ve had the perfect little baby-bed ever since! The best part is that he’s literally within arms’ reach but also held in by a little wall of his own — so no rolling on the baby or worrying about him rolling out of bed when he’s napping!

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine - Baby bed

We came straight home to Brio from the hospital and spent the first 9 weeks in our DiMillos marina, surrounded by helpful family, friends, neighbors and marina staff. Then about a month ago we moved up to Harpswell, where we’re now living on a mooring off of Jon’s mom’s house. Zephyr gets the benefit of a full-time grandma (which he loves!) and we get the benefits of extra hands, laundry, and all the shore-side amenities that Brio sometimes lacks (bathtub, anyone?).

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine

Zephyr Alvah Kruger Tetro - Newborn baby living aboard on a sailboat in Portland, Maine

I could go on and on for hours about what it’s like to be a new mom (easier than I’d feared, exhausting and relentless, but also magical in a warm-your-toes, melt-your-heart, pull out all the cliches way) and how much fun we’ve had as a little family figuring out life over the last three months — not to mention share a few more hundred of the thousands of photos I’ve taken — but I think I’ll just leave it at this for now and go back to my baby instead πŸ™‚ )

Many more photos to come,

LMK

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