Cabin Fever

What does cabin fever look like? This:

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The kitchen table is dropped down 90% of the time now, our navigation station is for diaper changes, and despite all the coffee I’m drinking, I can’t seem to get anything done on the manuscript I’m trying to edit. There’s laundry piling up, Scout is going stir-crazy, and W won’t nap. I’m not even going to show you the v-berth. If anyone has any survival tips, now is the time to give them!

Today marks 1 week of ridiculous winds, and I am officially going insane. This Nor’easter is kicking our butts. Literally, the butt of our boat is taking the brunt of this weather and loudly drops up and down all day and night. Gale force winds last weekend and now high seas/chop have rendered it difficult to leave the boat.

At least I can find solace in the fact that this past week has been abnormal for the region. One of the other liveaboards told me that in all his years, he had never seen the wind blow so hard for so long here. Abnormal seems to be the theme for our first year on the boat: a fearsome hurricane season, a freakish bomb cyclone in January, and now a blustery March. Fingers crossed that next year will be milder on all accounts!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Mini Vacation in a Tiny Home

We took our first family ‘vacation’ over Valentine’s Day, and we stayed in a remodeled shipping container for two nights. Conor found a great deal on Airbnb (I LOVE Airbnb) and I had always wanted to see what this type of tiny home was really like. It seemed to be a good idea at the time… until you factor in a tiny baby as well!

We headed down to the Carolina Beach area, a bit south of Wilmington. We just needed to escape from the Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune area for a while (anyone who has lived here will understand) to enjoy the last few days of Conor’s paternity leave.

The shipping container home was SO COOL, take a look:

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The reality of traveling with an infant and a dog

The beach was beautiful, the restaurants were awesome, but OMG our boat baby would not sleep. Having spent every night of her short life surrounded by marina sounds, the shipping container felt too open, too echo-y, and too stationary! Without any gentle rocking, the sound of waves slapping the hull, the creak of straining lines, and the musical tap of a neighboring halyard, Baby W was VERY cranky. As soon as we got back home, Baby W passed out for a 4 hour nap. I told Conor that the next vacation we go on, we are taking the boat with us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Of course she slept through her first trip to the beach!

Book Contract

Ahem! I have an announcement, and it is one that doesn’t have to do with sailing, living aboard, or military life (shocking!).

For those of you that don’t know, I have been trying to become a traditionally published author for the past three years. So far, I’ve written four books and been rejected countless times by literary agents and publishing houses alike (I should go through my email and get an exact number, it is in the hundreds). My stubbornness finally paid off, though.

Last week I signed a book contract with romance publisher The Wild Rose Press for my third novel, Cloaked. I am so excited to work with an incredible team of editors and marketing staff to realize this dream. More details to come, but for now I’m just pinching myself to make sure it is all real. Sending love and thanks to all who have supported me through this, and told me never to give up. The many hours spent banging my head against the keyboard turned out to be worth it.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and Baby W

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I took this pic on the day I finished the rough draft of Cloaked way back in California (September, 2016). Yes, I ate that donut to celebrate. 

Daddy’s Home!

This blog is about sailing and living aboard, but it is also about military life too, and how sometimes, it can all be really, REALLY hard.

Conor deployed a week after our baby was born. He’s back now, and was only gone a month, but it was still a rather sudden and unexpected departure. The possibility of the training exercise had been tossed around since September, and had been definitively called off around Thanksgiving. We had both breathed a huge sigh of relief, until halfway through December when all of the sudden it was back on. It threw us for a loop and added so much stress on top of, you know, having a baby. I am so thankful he was there for the birth, as I know many other spouses are not so lucky, but it was SO hard to see him go and say goodbye to our little one.

This was the reason I had rotating help with my parents, who both flew across the country to be with me for two weeks. My sister also came out for a long weekend. Boat life added another layer of complication to the situation, but at least I had babysitters! At three weeks post-partum, I did a pumpout and dragged the cart down the docks, through the snow, and up the parking lot hill. Our water tanks had to be filled, and because of the freezing weather, hoses had to be connected from the dockhouse and run all the way back to our slip. This was all doable with an extra set of hands to watch the baby while I did it all, and set us up for the next two weeks while baby and I were mostly on our own.

All told, Baby and I were alone for ten days total while Conor was gone. I learned to never leave the boat for just one thing. If I was going through the effort of loading baby up in the stroller or wrapping her in the babywear wrap, I needed to get stuff done. I’m sure I made quite a sight stomping around the marina, baby strapped to my chest, bag of laundry in one hand, and leash in the other. Or pushing the stroller, all of our PO box mail shoved into the diaper bag, dragging a dock cart full of groceries behind me.

Respect to all military moms, and moms in general. You work hard and get sh*t done, all while being the adult in charge of keeping one of Earth’s newest members alive. I am proud to join your ranks.

Conor’s homecoming was one of the sweetest moments I’d ever witnessed. We are very happy to have him back. We survived January!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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An Interview With My Parents

The title says it all. Both my parents visited for a week to live on the boat and help out with the new baby. They tag-teamed it–my dad came out first (during that horrific freeze), and then basically high-fived my mom at the airport as she started her week-long shift. I am so, so grateful for all of their help. They dove right into caring for their grandchild and the boat life all at once. I thought readers might be interested to hear their perspective on the whole experience:

What was the most surprising thing about living aboard for a week?

Dad: How cozy it all is.

Mom: It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! It was roomier than expected and light–a pleasant surprise!

What were the hardest challenges for you?

Dad: Navigating in such a small space. I’m sure it takes awhile to get into a good groove. Also, in the dead of winter, it’s too dark.

Mom: Water! Using it, conserving it, disposing it, and refilling it.

What were your major likes and dislikes about marina life?

Dad: Chilling up in the cockpit is amazing. I could stay out there all day, as there is lots of activity, critters, and craft to look at. The only thing better would be doing it from a moving boat! However, when the river is frozen, it is BAC (butt-ass cold), and since there’s nowhere to go, it is sometimes a little too cozy.

Mom: Had it been warm enough to spend a lot of time outside, it is a stunning, relaxing environment. Marina people are the best ever! It is a family that takes care of each other. However, in 28 degree temperatures and 35 mph wind, you had to walk to shower, do laundry, and even use the bathroom!

How did it feel to return to your house?

Dad: Like I was in some resort. Everything is sooooo far away. The trek from the fridge to the sink took about an hour and a half. It was also great to sleep in my own bed.

Mom: CONVENIENT!

What did you miss about the boat after returning home?

Dad: This one is easy. No Tay or Miss [W] are at home.

Mom: Miss [W]

What did you learn during your week here?

Dad: That I’m so proud of both of you. You are really forward-thinking and also way out of the box. Plus you really nailed the grandkid-o-meter.

Mom: That there is value in living with less.

Any additional thoughts?

Mom: There is something so nice about being rocked to sleep. There is something not so nice about being blown heavily around at night, lines squeaking and wind howling. Oh yeah, and never take a sleeping pill offered by your child!

 

Major kudos to my parents for embracing everything in the middle of winter. To be honest, there were a few times these past weeks where I questioned our sanity for doing this. It is SO much harder when the weather won’t cooperate. But, the other 10 months out of the year, there is nowhere else I’d rather be! I’m so happy that my family got to experience a little slice of our life. And, btw, they ROCK as grandparents! Thanks YaYa and Padre!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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The Big Chill

How are all my east coast liveaboards out there faring during this crazy cold weather? The summer humidity seems like a lifetime ago. We were not expecting it to ever get this cold in coastal North Carolina, and the past few days have been quite the experience as we scrambled to figure out how to balance heat and available power on the boat.

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Anyone for a swim?

Our central air was working wonderfully until two days ago, when the river got too cold. Because our Marine Mermaid AC/heat relies on water intake, the system couldn’t extract enough heat to warm the boat above the low 60s. So, we turned that off (takes up too much power) and bought two space heaters. Thankfully our space is small! They are a big energy suck and we tripped the breakers more than once figuring out what appliances we could have running simultaneously. The balancing act includes unplugging the smaller heater in order to run the microwave, and god forbid we turn on the hot water at all!

For the past two days, we’ve just moved the heaters into whatever space we are occupying and shut off the rest of the boat. The v-berth has the worst insulation in the boat, so that door has been shut for a few days. We keep our bedroom door shut as well during the day and move everything for Baby W out into the main area. At night, the whole family goes into the aft cabin for a snuggly night’s sleep (or as much sleep as you can get with a newborn)!

I know that boaters up north have it wayyyy tougher than we do, and one frozen week out of the year isn’t too bad. Still, I’m really looking forward to Monday, when it is supposed to heat back up into the 60s and we can get back into our routine. The good news is that day-to-day challenges on the boat won’t seem nearly as tough after getting through this weather!

Hope you all are staying warm and dry.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Happy New Year!

Even though I am sleep deprived and beyond exhausted, I just couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the New Year and what 2017 brought us. This has been the craziest adventure, and I can’t believe how much changed in just one year.

Last January 1st, we were living in a house in California, trying to figure out our next step. Conor didn’t have orders, we had no real plan, and were realllllyyyy ready to say goodbye to a difficult 2016. Since then, we’ve gotten rid of (almost) everything we owned, road-tripped across the country, embraced life on the east coast, bought a sailboat, learned how to live on it and sail it, made wonderful friends at two different marinas, Conor kicked butt at his new job, I finished my fourth novel, and we had a BABY!

So I sit here with the newest member of our family, in our own little boat, marveling how I got here. It took one year of pushing ourselves toward new things at every opportunity, and throwing fear out the window, but we did it. Gosh dang it, I’m proud of us.

2017 will be hard to top, but 2018 is already shaping up to be another incredible adventure—parenting! Baby W, Conor, Scout, and I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. May you persevere and accomplish all your resolutions, dreams, and goals—we will be cheering you on!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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