Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One Year Anniversary!

Sunday was our one year anniversary living on Luv'n Life IV! We celebrated Saturday evening by having dinner with boating friends and on Sunday by waxing the transom. Apparently, boat waxing is a holiday tradition for us and it's the only thing the Easter Bunny left in our baskets.

Here's a quick recap of some of the things we've learned in the past year:

Things to learn in 2014:
  • How to dock the boat. Obviously we've been safely docking the boat for a year now. 2013 was Doug's year to learn. Now I need to try.
  • If it's possible for a 14 year old cat to get over motion sickness. We tried medication but trying to force him to take it stressed him out even more.
  • A whole wealth of things that I'm not ever aware of yet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Using Space Effectively

We all know there is limited space on a boat. Everything must have a space or things can get cluttered quickly. It's not like I can go buy a new storage cabinet so I have to use space creatively.

Making Best Use of the Space Provided
Boat designers are pretty good at making the most of every nook, cranny, and corner. If a space is available it is finished off and given a door.

Last week I showed you how we adjusted the stereo space in the master stateroom into a place for our printer. Underneath that spot is a very large space.
On the positive side it's a lot of space. On the negative side it's almost unruly. Clothes on the bottom would get lost in a mountainous pile. But I've figured out how to keep 23 pairs of shoes (relatively) organized in the space.
Both closets in the master stateroom have two bars on the inside of the doors.
Those bars are perfect for belts:
Or scarves:
Lastly, the large mirror in the guest stateroom...
Opens to reveal a cavernous "medicine cabinet" that holds our beach towels, extra bath towels, and toilet paper.

Repurposing Space
While boat designers have tons of great ideas some of them just don't fit our needs so we use some spaces a little differently than originally intended.

We have a little cabinet on the stairway into the master stateroom. It was originally used for the central vacuum but we use a dust buster instead. So this empty space:
Became the perfect linen closet.
You could say that I only need one set of sheets (the ones currently on the bed) but a girl needs flannel sheets! Remember how cold it got this winter.
The galley has a dedicated space for a coffee maker. They thought of everything -- there is an outlet inside the space.
Small problem - I don't drink coffee. Doug does but we rarely need an entire pot. Pull out the coffee maker, add a cabinet organizer.
And the space becomes a spice rack.
When we are underway, a cooling rack and bottle of dish detergent acts as a makeshift cabinet door.
The window wells in the salon could be seen as dead space but they are just the right size for storing my yoga mat.
Or for a cat sunning himself.
Additional Storage
We brought only two pieces of furniture with us onto the boat. Both pieces that made the cut have storage space. My hope chest serves double duty as coffee table and storage.
This little ottoman:
Holds tealights, votives, and a couple small games.

I'm open to new suggestions. What tricks have you found for making the best use of space in your home?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Home Improvements

Now that we've been aboard for almost a year, we are ready to start making subtle changes to Luv'n Life IV based on personal preference, practical use of space, and things that need fixed. For example, our master stateroom had this stereo under the TV:
I love music more than the average person but I do not own any cassettes or CDs so this unit was all but useless to me. And since space is at a premium we could surely find a better use for the space. We took off the cover...
And discovered that the stereo and speakers were glued and strapped down but managed to remove them. Yuck! 10 year old dust!
Once everything was cleaned up it was like a beautiful, expansive piece of new real estate...
That was just the perfect size for the printer.
But the project didn't quite look complete. So we took the old cover:
And cut out the middle to create a "frame."
Part entertainment, part office, all practical:
Things also break on a 10-year-old boat. Doug tried but the leaky cold water faucet in the master head did not want to be fixed. We got to the point where we would only use hot water so we wouldn't have to mess with it. I don't mind brushing my teeth in warm water but found it mighty difficult to wash my face in water so hot I could barely touch it. (Plus, I really didn't like the gold accents on the current faucet and couldn't wait to switch it out.)
Luckily it came out just like the faucet in a house and we have a lovely, new, fully functional faucet.
Living on a boat isn't that different from living on land.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Back on Land

No, this isn't an April Fools' joke. Luv'n Life IV is on land at Tidewater Yacht Service for routine maintenance -- just imagine how hard it would be to paint the bottom while she was still in the water.

Whenever we've had a boat pulled in the past, we've brought it to the boat yard, gone to work the next day, and returned to a boat up on land. I've often wondered about the process and I have to give a huge thanks to the Tidewater staff for being so nice about me taking tons of pictures yesterday morning.

The first step is getting the boat out of the slip and into the lift using this little boat:
They just tied off to the bow and towed our boat through the marina:
And into the lift:
Once she was in the lift and out of the water, they scraped off barnacles and power-washed the bottom. We had her pulled twice last summer (July and August) so this was nothing new. Unlike those two short hauls, we couldn't just stay in the lift the whole time. This is where it gets interesting.

They take the lift with the boat to an available space in the yard:
Adjust the straps until the boat is level back-to-front and side-to-side:
Build up small wooden towers under the center line:
Play reverse-Jenga with more pieces of wood until they are all level before lowering the boat the final inch or so:
Add support poles:
Is everything level?
Loosen the straps on the lift:
Undo them at the center:
And drive off:
Ta-da! After 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, she's up on land for a couple days. I personally am in awe of the process.
Wondering where we are living? We didn't have to pack up anything as we are still living on the boat. We have access to power:
And slightly-harder-to-navigate-than-usual front steps:
We even have wildlife:
The view isn't as pretty as usual:

But we do have interesting neighbors:
Pending weather, we'll be back in the water within a couple of days.