I turn over, dislodging the cat from my hip. He cries and jumps down to be soothed by James. The clink and pour of coffee rouse me further and I consider getting up. I can lounge until 6am if I like, or I can get up earlier and have more coffee before the row into the marina. Today I laze a bit.
When I swing my legs around to dismount the v-berth, the cat chirps and vibrates at me from the companionway. He’s still our timid skitty and has barely made it onto the side decks as of yet. James, sitting in the cockpit, breaks off his contemplation of the S.V. Sophia Christina, late of Anacortes and salvaged after Hurricane Irene put her on a weather beach. He smiles at me and says, “Hey, baby.”
“Good morning,” I reply and stretch. It’s warm already. Days are getting into the mid-80’s. I pull a couple pieces of clothing on and pour myself a cup of coffee. I forget to thank him for making it. He gets up at 5am, grinds and brews the coffee before I’m conscious. Thanks, James.
Being moored along the ferry route means that we get tossed regularly. I sit cross-legged on the settee, coffee in hand, and James say, “Big wake.”
My response is a minimal nod. The boat starts rocking, settles, and rocks again, harder, the motion damping down slowly. I imagine the double-whammy being due to the bow wave, followed by the wake from the props at the stern.
Getting up at 6am gives me 15 minutes. I’m putting on my shoe a few minutes early. No rain, so we don’t have to allow time for bailing the dinghy. We get aboard, one of us swinging down from the rail of the big boat to the middle seat of the little boat then moving aft. The other moves forward and will be rowing.
A short row brings us to the scrap of dinghy dock that is all the marina has put in the water as of yet. We jockey for space among the other 4 dinghys – all inflatables with small motors – and James steps out of the dinghy. Sometimes I fill our 5 gallon water bottle; sometimes I leave that for later.
Back to the boat with me, and the rest of my day’s coffee. This is where things fracture. My days include dishes, biking to the coffee shop in order to work on my scifi manuscript, biking to the grocery story and gym, biking here and there around town for errands. The other day, I rode James’ fancy bike to the shop and walked back – soon he will have a working bicycle instead of the broken-down wreck he’s been on! Sometimes I sand and paint in the morning. Sometimes I wait a while, so the sun can burn off the morning dew.
My choices are constrained right now by an irritating lack. The trailer we love so much? Cheap piece of shit broke on me. Luckily, it happened at the marina itself, so I wasn’t stuck trundling the damn thing back by hand. Still, it puts an element of planning into my days that I had been able to avoid. I have one backpack and one strong back, but my computer is an entertainment PC with a 17″ screen. It’s heavy and not something that makes me want to hit the grocery store on the way back from writing.
So it’s writing, then back to the boat. Grocery shopping, then back to the boat. Water on one or more of these trips. The people around the marina, workers and boat owners alike, have taken to teasing me. “You should get a motor for that thing!” “No way! That would ruin it completely!” “Hey – give me a tow out of here!” “Toss me a line, then!”
Today, I rowed back into the marina right after finishing my coffee. On the way, I did ferocious battle with a pair of attack swans I didn’t see until I had almost hit their babies with my oar. Prepared to whack a bird, I kept rowing and hissed right back at them. Big damn birds! Wish I had had the camera, but I don’t know that I would have dared to put the oars down and leave myself defenseless like that.
I’ll stay here at the Bean and Leaf until my inspiration runs dry, then return to the boat. A project, cleaning, getting dinner started. Checking out the rapidly filling neighborhood.
Being as though I’m not fond of children’s playing noises, I’ve been keeping a wary eye on our local beach-cum-playground. So far, the sounds are distant and echoing, providing a rather enjoyable background to the birds, the splash of water on the hull, the dinghy bumping, the wind generator cycling up and cutting off as our batteries float, well-charged.
A much quieter park with more gravitas, Fort Trumbull squats between the mouth of the Thames River and the main docks of New London.
And, eventually, I get the message from James via gchat. He’s ready to leave work, and I have about a half hour to get dinner to a point where I can turn off the flames to row in and get him. Most of what we eat is robust and can sit on the stove, cooling a bit before we eat it. Black bean soup, yellow dal with rice. Or I plan something that takes almost no time to prepare – burritos, snausages and canned beans – and wait until we’re back to start.
I row in, for the 3rd or 4th time, a little early so I can shower before he arrives. Past the pier that I row to backward. I don’t look behind me often – I have found landmarks, positioning the tree on the trash island in front of the lower Electric Boat building.
Haven’t hit it yet.
Dinner, reading, watching, some sort of entertainment. I’ve bustled here and there, keeping busy on my own schedule. James, on the other hand, does a bad-ass ride on a schedule in order to get to his full-time job before doing the ride in reverse to get back to me. We leave the dishes for me to clean the next morning and go to bed, together.
Happy. Knowing that the routine will change mid-June when I start crewing on the Mystic Whaler, I savor the quiet, the ease.
It’s a good life.