Welcome aboard Flutterby

The first thing I did when I got on our new boat was take a nap. For years, I’ve dreamed of taking a nap on my very own boat. So I crawled into the v-berth with my brand-new pillow and closed my eyes for a well-deserved snooze.

The first thing Barry did when he got on our new boat was unpack the car (thump, bump, thud). Then he stomped around on the deck for a while. He opened a squeaky cockpit locker. He dug around until he found a scrub brush and a hose, and started cleaning. Then he sprayed water on the forward hatch, and it dripped down onto the v-berth.

Thus ended my first attempt to nap. And thus began our adventures with the new boat.

I’ve been calling the boat “it,” because I don’t particularly like the name (Falcon Rougue), and also because the boat didn’t seem to have a personality. But the lack of personality was due to neglect. Like a Sleeping Beauty, she was snoozing at the dock. Once we’d spent a few days poking her in the bilges and tickling her engine, she finally started to wake up. And I started calling her “she.”

Her name will be Flutterby, home port of Seattle, WA.

(If you missed all the fun and funny names suggested by friends, check them out — they’re in the comments on my last post)

Meanwhile, we’re learning about the acronym B.O.A.T.: Bring on another thousand. They call them “boat bucks,” those thousand-dollar increments. We prefer to spend “boat nickels” and “boat dimes,” but they’re still adding up fast.

Every time I pull out my poor, worn-out Visa card, I expect to get a phone call from the bank. “Excuse me, Ms. Schulte,” they’ll ask, politely, “There’s been some suspicious activity with your card lately. Have you been buying auto parts and an inflatable kayak on Hilton Head Island? Vessel towing insurance in Fort Pierce, Florida? What about these charges from the Vero Beach Goodwill store? And — gasp — household items from three different Wal-Marts on the Atlantic seaboard?”

Yep, that’s all me. Every receipt goes into my wallet, which goes in my back pocket. There’s no cash in there, but the wallet is so fat, it makes my butt look big.

On top of that, my card is beginning to wear out, along with the hand I use to sign the receipts. Lately, when it’s time to pay, I stall and look at Barry, hoping he’ll do it this time. He stalls and pretends not to notice. He doesn’t want his butt to look big.

Luckily, we’re eating cheap and gourmet. Just up the dock is a shrimp boat captain named Billy, a sunburnt, blue-eyed southern gentleman. There’s always a lot of activity around his boat, folks buying fresh-off-the-boat shrimp and or just stopping by to shoot the breeze with Billy and his crew. Yesterday, he sold me a pound and half of shrimp for $5. “Be sure and boil ’em with the heads on,” he told me.

Some of those giant bug-eyed shrimp had antennae a mile long! I had a hard time getting the antennae to fit in the saucepan, but it was worth the effort for perfect shrimp, with a little bit of cocktail sauce on the side. We took pictures of ourselves playing with our food.

Right now, we’re cozy in our floating nest, with Jimmy Buffett on the iPod and the thrift-store space heater keeping us toasty. The weather has been unbelievably variable, bringing bright squinty sunshine, rain sprinkles, distant thunderstorms, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. A little breeze keeps the skeeters at bay. And best of all, the diesel mechanic is scheduled to come tomorrow!

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