There’s no such thing as a typical day in our life. Schedules vary according to season, homeschool routines, Alex’s work schedule, and our own ever changing whims. This is a fair representation of how we roll.
3:50 I wake up to meowing, and squawking. Peter has brought home a sparrow for Wendy to play with. Alex and I hop out of bed, he grabs a flashlight and I grab a yogurt container. Less than a minute later the bird is off the boat, we’ve practiced this routine too many times in the past month. Together we close the hatches to keep the mighty hunter on the boat for the rest of the night. I read for a while, trying to fall back to sleep.
6:00 I’ve finally drifted off to sleep when one of our neighbors fires up their engine, making an early start. Bow thrusters are noisy, especially when the sound is carried underwater.
6:15 Construction starts on the office building next door, I swear into my pillow about stupid cats and stupid people who won’t let me sleep.
7:05 “Mommy, wake up time!” Kinsley wakes up anywhere between 6 and 8 but has to wait until her clock says 7 before waking me up. We start the day with a snuggle on the couch. She moves on to breakfast and a show on the iPad, I head for tea and cereal.
7:45 Alex is up. I take five minute to hang up yesterday’s bathing suits and towels on the lines. There were thunderstorms last night so I didn’t hang anything up after our trip to the lake and there’s nowhere to hang sandy dripping towels inside without them being completely in the way. From there I head to the YMCA to swim. The down side of living at a dock, you might be surrounded by water but you don’t want to swim in it.
9:00 I return to the boat. Owen is awake and having breakfast and his show. Alex heads up the marina shower, Kinsley plays with her dollhouse. I fill the water tanks, we ran out last night and since it was raining and I had enough to make tea in the morning, procrastination won. I set the timer and fill the tanks for 7 minutes. The timer is needed because the tank has no window or gauge of any kind so it’s a bit of a guessing game to know when the tank full. Once that’s done, I wash the breakfast dishes.
9:30 Alex settles in to work, despite the rest of us chatting and moving in the main room of the boat.
More tea for me while I pack lunches for Owen, Kinsey and I. The kids begin playing with Owen’s potion kit. I’m told they are working on an invisibility potion. I pause lunch prep to help grind beetle eggs. Then the potion needs time to stew before they can complete the next steps.
10:00 Owen moves on to Khan Academy to work on some math skills. He’s determined to get 6th grade 100% completed but the program has updated and added some new skills so he has more work than expected. Kinsley pulls out her 100 numbers chart for a while and then switches to writing Kinsley’s Book About Cats. I alternate between one step of lunch prep and one page of taking dictation. The book is four pages long when it’s time to go.
10:20 Shoes and life jackets on, down the docks we go to the car. Owen has sword fighting this morning with a group of homeschool kids in Cambridge. It’s a 20 minute drive so I get us going 40 minutes ahead of time. It continues to amaze me how long it takes us to get from the boat to buckled in the car. I double check that we have everything before we head out, forgetting anything back on the boat leads to long mental debates to decide if the forgotten item is worth the walk back to the boat or not. Today we make it out without any mistakes.
11:00 Owen battles with five other kids while Kinsley and I work more on her book. We are up to eight pages. She’s trilled to share her work with some of the other parents and cheerfully explains that some parts are real but most of it is fiction. We picnic for lunch and then head up the hill to watch the end of Owen’s class.
12:30 Owen eats lunch in the car on the way to Trader Joe’s. Owen and Kinsley are helping run a lemonade and cookie stand in the afternoon and we have no eggs. The anticipation for cheese crackers means everyone is willing to add an errand on the way home.
1:00 Back at the marina I quickly decide against stopping at the office to pick up packages. A backpack, two bags, and two tired kids is more than enough for one load.
1:30 Quiet Time! Owen retreats to his room to read though his stack of library books while listening to an audio book… I still haven’t figured that one out. Kinsley brings her dollhouse to my bed. Alex keeps working in the main room. The boat has no doors so everyone can still hear and see one another but this set-up adds some distance. The main rule of quiet time is that I get an hour without having to answer questions. I grab a cup of tea and settle in the cockpit to read email and write. Peter naps on the refrigerator. It’s cool there, which reminds me to look into adding more insulation.
2:30 Quiet time is over and cookie baking begins. I pull the cushions off the couch to gather the baking ingredients, open the cabinet below the stove for a bowl and pan, and start the propane. To light the oven first I have to light the rightmost burner and leave it on for a minute or two. Only then can I turn on the pilot light, grab my sparker, and light the oven. It doesn’t hold temperature well so I try and be sure to let it preheat well before baking. Two enthusiastic kids are hard to fit in the kitchen at the same time so I divide the steps of the recipe to give them each a chance to help.
3:00 I stay in the kitchen swapping batches of cookies. Kinsley plays school on the floor of the main room, asking “teacher mommy” to give her alphabet lessons to study.
4:15 Cookies are done. It takes four batches at twice the normal baking time. The oven is only 13″ wide so that severely limits the size of each batch.
4:30 Life jackets back on, shoes optional this time, we head out of the marina for a lemonade and cookie stand with Thalia and Naomi, boat neighbors. Last year we managed to run a stand every Thursday but this summer has been busier for all of us. This is the first time all four of them have the change to go into business together this summer. The kids have some regular customers as well as a steady stream of businessmen and women heading to the trains and tourists traveling the Freedom Trail. Tonight, one of the marina liveaboards offers them a deal, will they accept a wooden box with unknown contents in exchange for a cookie? No question, these kids love surprises. It turns out to be full of coins, the kids are squeeing with excitement.
6:00 Back to the boat for dinner in the cockpit. It’s been hot this week so we’re having salads. No lettuce or dressing for Owen. No peppers for Kinsley and I. No tomato for Alex. Why do I keep thinking this is a quick easy meal?
6:45 We divide and conquer for stories. I read to Kinsley on my bed, we are most of the way through an adorable series called The Lighthouse Family. Owen puts away the dishes and cleans up his room so there’s room for him to sleep. Alex and Owen settle into the cockpit for their book, currently Jurassic Park. Kinsley is usually in bed by 7:30, Owen heads to his room around 8:00. She falls asleep right away most nights but will sometimes play with stuffed animals for a while before drifting off. Owen hangs out in his room and reads for a few hours before going to bed.
7:15 I answer three calls for the “very absolutely the last” hug of the night from Kinsley while I wash the dishes. I leave them stacked in the sink for the drying fairies to take care of before Owen puts them away in the morning.
8:00 Alex and I have tea and chocolate on our bed while watching an episode of West Wing before reading ourselves to sleep. The hatches and portlights are all open, the breezes are blowing, and hopefully everyone will sleep well.
- Joy Weiss