I feel it's necessary for me to tell people this.
I feel it's necessary to tell "people from the hard
Because I know they don't appreciate
"Are you this organized at home?" I was asked.
I turned from my chore and looked up into the askee's face and said, "Lisle, I live on 42 feet! "
Oh, you'd have to be", Lisle said in a slightly startled voice and we continued on with our business.
The logistics of three people and an aging constantly shedding dog living on 42 feet is a challenge. There's the "stuff" challenge and the maintenance challenge. There's the joy of discovering every cable at the bottom of every anchorage challenge. There's the privacy challenge and the boat smell challenge. There's the simple balance challenge from time to time and the not so simple challenge of listing all the challenges challenge.
A few years ago I started to dye my gray/white hair. I was looking for work and kept being told I couldn't possibly understand the intricacies of the business world these days and therefor was not qualified for the job. (Why'd you call me in for an interview then?) I'd leave the interview baffled and shaken wondering which particular intricacies I was missing. In a move not short of desperation, I consulted with my daughters and bought a box of chocolate cherry hair dye and took the plunge. One week later carefully avoiding any reference to where I live and with a shining head of chocolate cherry hair I got a job. Go figure.
I dyed my hair on the boat for several months but a very small space coupled with chocolate cherry hair dye produced a fascinating display of Rorschach Tests in spots I was sure I'd never been near. I'd touch up my hair, then spend three weeks touching up the paint job in the head, the galley, the engine room, the salon and then it'd be time to touch up my hair again. These days I gather up hair dye, a clock, a short stool to sit on, a razor (might as well shave my legs while I'm at it) and my book and head off to the public bathrooms at the marina.
"Running away from home?" is often gleefully shouted at me by the endlessly witty fishermen as I trudge down the dock with my bundle, remembering just as I get to the bathroom door that I'd forgotten my comb.
In the bathroom I spread my science experiment out on the double sink in front of the large mirror and commence the process. Rubber gloves on, mixing and measuring, a nasty smell fills the room as I examine my aging face, not discontented, merely baffled, and try not to miss any spots on my head. Thoroughly gooped up, wearing an army camouflage shirt, my eyes watering from the chemicals, I wind my clock, pull out my book, set up my stool and settle in to read for the requisite 25 minutes. Almost always I get a visitor or two. One lady thought I was the bathroom attendant! "No tips please". Most throw me curious looks on their way to the head and then we discuss the merits of the brand of dye I use ("My daughter recommended it to me."), the weather, small places and boats and the smell in the bathroom, while they wash their hands, brush their hair and cast glances at me in my camouflage shirt, perched on my stool, holding my book.
The recommended 25 minutes later I gather my "equipment" and shut myself in one of the two ladies showers. There's the "good" shower and the "not so good" shower. The good shower is almost hot and has a solid wide arched spray. The not so good shower requires a fair bit of maneuvering to wet all the parts of your body you want to wet in it's pencil spray luke-warm effort. They both require a loony for five minutes of water that is not icy cold.
I place my equipment on the small bench provided, remove my camouflage shirt, my pants and underwear and hang my clothes on a hook on the door. If I've remembered to wear my flip-flops I'm pleased with myself. If I've forgotten my flip-flops I try to keep my toes away from the floor. It wasn't until I moved onto a boat and started using "public" showers that I discovered the fascinating world of fungus and the interesting things fungus can do when joined to your body.
"Naked as a blue jay", as my Daddy was fond of saying, locked in the "good" shower stall, I normally then plop my first loony into the coin box and proceed. The good shower cleanly takes the dye down the drain and out into the ocean I live on and with. I am secure in the knowledge my "footprint" is so small compared to most this minor rape is acceptable.
It's not easy living on a boat.
Once after my requisite 25 minute wait I found the "good" shower shut down with a hand written sign advising me it was out of order. Stoically (I live on a boat) I proceeded to the "not so good" shower, stripped and stuck in my first loony. The not so good shower peed on my hair, spreading the dye over my shoulders, down my breasts and across my stomach. Rivulets of chocolate cherry in fascinating patterns dripped down my legs and onto my up-turned toes. The music from that old Hitchcock Movie ran through my head. Panic producing only nausea when you're out on the sea caught in a storm, I eyed myself, eyed my remaining loony and made decision.
With the time remaining on my first loony I abandoned my hair and maneuvered my body through the pitiful stream, cleaning up as best I could. Stepping out of the shower I wrapped my camouflage shirt around my shoulders, a towel around my waist and headed to the marina office.
"Looks good on you Sigred!" shouted the marina guard, friendly smile on his face, as I stood in front of him dripping chocolate cherry.
"Bill!" I put on my most winning smile. "I've got myself into a ridiculous situation. You have to go into the men's washroom and warn anybody there I'm coming in."
I quickly explained my situation and Bill immediately rose from his smoke break and headed for the men's washroom. Me close behind. A fisherman was in there having a shower.
"Sigred's coming in" advised Bill. "The good shower's broken in the ladies and she needs to use the showers in here."
"My wife won't like that", was the resigned replied from the fisherman within.
Bill turned around, beckoned me to enter and escorted me to one of the four men's showers, all of which I am advised shoot healthy bombardments of luke-warm water. Locked in my stall I proceeded to disrobe and clean myself up while Bill left to stand guard at the entrance doorway. While I was showering he re-entered the bathroom escorting one of the marina's more disreputable characters and remained while the character did his business.
"Is it OK for me to leave now?" I asked once I was dressed and ready.
Bill escorted me out. "Have a good day!" that veteran soldier, proven fighting machine giggled at me as I walked away with my bundle and uncombed damp hair.
I live on a boat for many reasons. Some just all my own and others given and taken. What I want understood by "the people on the hard" is that it's not easy! Easy is not why we do it.
We live on Boats for other reasons.