Friday, February 19, 2016

The resort pool scene in Mexico.

I'll preface this post by letting you know that I have a phobia of public pools. Which is odd. I was on swim team all through high school. I think the only reason I was a somewhat  decent swimmer was wanting to get the hell out of the pool before I contracted anything.  I've never understood people who plan out extravagant seaside vacations with the intent of sitting the entire time in a resort pool. Ewwwww.

Just a quick photo of the resort we invited ourselves to for my 40th

I approach resort pools the way someone might approach a trash heap in the hot sun. I crinkle my nose and brace for the smell while scanning the  water looking for the eyesores, wads of hair floating around, light weight trash spinning near a filter,  possibly a slight oil slick from the sunscreen. Just last Christmas (Barra Navidad) while walking by the pool at night, I spotted it. "It" being the diaper clinging to the filter at the bottom of the pool. An entire diaper. The pool light showing it off against the darkness. The swim up bar covered with bloated beer bellies is the double whammy of all eyesores. Not one of those people has moved all day. My mind can't fathom the amount of urine swirling in the pool.

I almost hate how much our daughters love to swim in the resort pools. As we approach and I'm trying to control my "I smell shit look", they're ripping off clothes, hardly making the pool lounger as they toss everything into a huge heap and jump in. Like a pregancy test that turns blue once submerged, Jessica's hair turns green after an hour in one of these pools. This is a good sign. Her hair turning green means there's chlorine in the pool and lots of it, hopefully enough to kill whatever our daughters have been wading in for the past 8 hours. Me? Well, I flirt with the idea of cooling off and sometimes I bite the bullet and go in.

Often I like to find a lounger and play my favorite game, the one game so easily played at a seaside Mexican pool resort. I like to call it, Midwest Meets Mexico. I'm not bashing anyone from the Midwest, I like the midwest and have many friends from there.  But, like a turd in a punchbowl, Midwesterners are easy (for me) to spot near the resort pools. Not only can I spot them, I can tell just about how long they've been on vacation.

Day 1:  The cab can't get to the resort fast enough. There's a mad sprint from the hotel room where tags have just been plucked from newly purchased bathing suits. With a resort towel in hand, it's time to head to the pool or beach and practice the only Spanish they know, "un mas cervesa por favor".  A few cold beers into the day, and the idea of slathering sunscreen is hardly mentioned follwed by a, "we need a base tan anyways", there's never any sight of sunscreen being put on.

Day 2/3:  Day 2 reveals the ugly truth. Base tans are developed over weeks not hours. Writhing in pain, the Midwesterner is waddling around the pool as would a woman who's 20 months pregnant. Arms are all but straight out as not to touch any lobster red skin. It's painful to look at, literally, my eyes burn from the radiation.

Day 3/4: Thing are getting better for my Midwesterner friends. Tucked under a palapa, cold beer in hand, head bouncing to the beat of their "Mexico Vacation Mix", they seem to be having fun. Their bodies reek of coconut smelling sunscreen. The sunscreen they should have considered 3 days ago. I pass by and raise a cold beer to them as a "Cheers!" and think, base tan.

Day 5/6: A day before my Midwest friends are to go home and shed skin like a snake, they're braving the sun again and head for the oversized hottub. I've yet to approach an occupied hottub and not see it as a cauldron, boiling up some Midwesterners. This is when the game gets real fun. I'll sit on the side of the hottub with just a toe in the water or sometimes I throw caution to the wind and join them. With a friendly wide smile, I'll ask,

"So where you from?"


There really ought to be a prize for "winning" this game.

Again, I have absolutely nothing against anyone from the Midwest... I just get a good giggle out your sunburns.

A better place to the Sea of Cortez

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A look into the lives of cruising families.

Boat Kids enjoying another sunset
Like other cruising families, I remember getting ready to tell our friends and family that we had decided to sell our home, all of our belonging, buy a boat and set sail. For weeks, we discussed how we thought other's reactions were going to play out....who would be supportive, who would laugh in our faces, who was going to crap their pants or who would call us crazy. 

We decided to try our news first on our friends to see what type of questions we'd receive and what type of reactions we would get. We got a few, "sober up guys! that shit will never happen"!  No surprise there, till the next morning when a few of our friends could tell we were serious. Dead serious.  

Then came the task of telling the parents. Phil's family would be told over the phone and my parents in person over dinner.  What amazed us, was how wrong we had pegged their reactions. Those who we thought would disown us, were our greatest supporters and those who we thought would love our idea, all but organized a "Save the Children" campaign complete with Sally Struthers. 

A year later, we've come to find out, we're not alone. Not everyone supports the lives of a cruising family and funny thing, we're all still out here, doing what we support needed, we have each other.  A fun time for us cruising moms is to have a sundowner while exchanging some of the insults we have received by family members after announcing our decision to set sail as a family.

" you're one of them............homeless"

"you're crazy for doing this"

"your kids are going to hate you for this"

"why can't you just be normal"

Who the hell takes off with a family to go sailing anyway? If you were to ask our parents, it's over-educated, under-employed gypsies. If you were to ask our friends, it's people that are a few beers shy of a 6-pack. If you were to ask anyone off the street, they'd have no idea sailing with a family is even an option outside of a Disney Cruise.  There are enough cruising families to warrant an entire book on how to go about it. Our friends wrote Voyaging with Kids to help others make the leap, we even wrote a piece for the book, and highly recommend getting this book if you're wanting more insight on what it's like to cruise with kids. 

After a year of sailing Mexico, I have compiled some information as to the makeup of a cruising family. You might be surprised, as was I, of who makes up this amazing group. The following information is from families we have actually met or cruised with. There are many other families sailing Mexico that we, unfortunately, haven't had a chance to meet yet. 

25 Cruising Families

47 Children  and 1 "child" over 18

4 boats were catamarans

"Most" of us sold our homes and everything in it

3 of the boats were on a year-long sabbatical

Boat kid ages range between 2-14 years old

"Most" of us are from California

0% of us have won the lottery

1 boat decided that sailing wasn't for them and sold their boat

2 boats crossed the Pacific last year

6 boats are to cross the Pacific this year

5 boats are talking about crossing the Pacific next year

0% of us let naysayers hold us back

2 boats have retired grandparents nice enough to be sailing with a grandchild

3 boat kids were brought home to their boats from the hospital

Average ages of boat kid 10-12 years old

100% of the boat kids are homeschooled

All of us started with an idea and created a plan

Job Titles of some of the cruisers before leaving "reality"

*Chief Operating Officer of credit processing company
*Financial Analyst
*Commercial Airline Pilot
*Executive at Cisco Systems 
*Rocket Scientist (seriously!)
*Computer Engineer
*Construction Company owner
*Executive at American Express
*Senior Mechanical Engineer at Chevron
*Operations Manager at IBM
*Commercial Fisherman
*Nurse (4)
*Wine Maker
*Electrical Engineer (2)
*Occupational Therapist
*High School Teacher
*Research Scientist

Cruising requires brain power. Contrary to what some may think, we're not a group of floundering idiots (yes, some people think that of this group....we're all supposed to be working hard, 10 hours a day....that's the "American Way"). To cruise you need to be a plumber, electrician, engineer, chef, navigator, ....or have a bucket of money to pay someone else to do it all. We didn't all start out with the essential knowledge of how to do everything, most of us learn as we go and rely on the amazing sailing community to share what they know. 

If you're considering sailing with your family and like "safety in numbers", good news, your village is "out here" waiting for you.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cost to Cruise --January 2016

We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary of cruising! One of the many lessons we've learned along the way, is that spending money living on the ocean is just like living on land. It's all about the choices you make. People seem to think there's some magical number that needs to appear in your bank account before you can set sail. Not sure why that is. No one ever sits and ponders what magical number needs to appear in your account to exist on land. Anyone ever add up what you spend in a week on Starbucks, eating out for lunch, that gym membership you never use, all the money you spend to have 5000 channels only to bitch, "there's nothing on TV!" There's your cruising kitty!

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