There Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens

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Sailors have many good qualities. (Have you seen that dashing uniform?)

They tend to remain cool under pressure and, thanks to all that advanced military training, you’ll want to stick to yours like glue in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse. (I’m not joking when I boast my sailor could give Rick Grimes a run for his money.)

The downside to fraternizing with a sailor? Being left at home while he travels the world, defending democracy.

If you’re the brave, independent type this isn’t a problem.

If you’re a chicken like me, you may find yourself creeping through your basement brandishing a crystal vase (the closest thing to a weapon you could find after that thing that went bump in the night woke you.)

So how do I secure the perimetre to protect not only the house, but my jumpy nerves when my sailor is away?

This one’s a no-brainer, but lock your doors when you’re at home. Lock ’em while you’re out puttering in the yard, too, even if you live in a nice neighbourhood. You don’t want to give someone the opportunity to slip inside while you’re mulching your rose bushes or whatever it is gardeners do.

Many break-ins are crimes of opportunity. Put away tools like axes, hammers and shovels that could be used to break a window. This goes for ladders, too. You don’t want to give the athletic criminal access to your second floor.

That spare key you keep hidden under the flower pot on the porch? You’re not fooling anyone with your spy-level secret hiding place. Don’t keep a key outside your house! If you’re that concerned about locking yourself out, leave a key with a trustworthy neighbour.

Don’t count on the dog to keep you safe, even if she’s a tough one. A dog or even a Beware of Dog sign may be a deterrent, but don’t let your guard down just because Precious is on duty.

If you come home and see signs of a break-in get out! Don’t investigate. Just leave and call 911. The last thing you want to do is corner a thief in your house.

I know and practice all this, so in theory I should feel brave when my sailor sails off into the sunset.

For the most part I do…until the sun goes down.

A Girl in Every Port

009011015The boat has arrived!

The dog has been aboard for a preliminary inspection. (She gave it two paws up.)

Tomorrow, we hit the waves for our first family cruise!

My sailor is so excited at the prospect of sharing his grand passion with the family, he’d be satisfied with a bag of Doritos and a couple of cans of pop for our first picnic on the waves.

I wouldn’t.

This is such a big deal for him that I went all Martha Stewart and put together a meal befitting our family’s inaugural voyage in Two Bears. (We still haven’t decided on the new name.)

While undertaking my catering frenzy, I learned a couple of kitchen lessons.

I started with mini Quiches, substituting bread pressed into muffin tin cups for pastry. As well as being healthier than pastry, it was much easier (in theory.) Because we’re all such fussy eaters (by all, I mean my boy and me. My sailor will happily eat anything), I made three different varieties of Quiche. Vegetarian for me, sausage and cheese for my boy and everything for my sailor.

Mmm! They looked and smelled delicious–sort of rustic and hearty–coming out of the oven. Unfortunately, they melded to the muffin tin during baking and I had to chip them out with a steak knife. Instead of the pretty, delicate Quiches I envisioned, we’ll have cold scrambled eggs with chunks of flattened bread. Kitchen lesson number one: a light coating of olive oil is not enough to keep eggy bread from sticking to a baking tin, even a supposedly “non-stick” pan.

Because Two Bears has an adorable little fridge, we can bring strawberries and raw veggies to munch with our egg disasters. Translation: I washed. I peeled. I chopped, I sliced.

I promised my boy homemade cookies for the cruise. I usually have a stash in the freezer, but it’s been so hot lately I haven’t baked for ages, so the cookie situation was dire. After wrestling the Quiches out of the muffin tin, it was time to start baking, even though the kitchen was scorching from having the oven on earlier. I made a big batch of chocolate mess cookies. Kitchen lesson number two: when you’re experiencing a heat wave, keep your chocolate chips in the fridge so they don’t all melt together and look like something that came out of the pet rabbit you had in middle school.

Whew!

By the time I cooked, packed the food and cleaned up the kitchen, I was ready for a nap, not an adventure on the high seas.

I finally understand the old saying that a sailor has a girl in every port. He’d need them all to keep up with food production!

Comfortable is Good!

After the ordeal:  "If I can't see you, you can't see me!"
The most amazing thing about having my sailor home again is that it feels like he was never away.

The previous six months of worry and angst seemed to go on forever while I was living them, but now it’s like it never happened. As soon as I saw my sailor again and we got to talk and touch, it was like he’d only been gone a couple of days.

It was immediately . . . comfortable.

I realize that comfortable isn’t the stuff of romance novels, (no one will ever make a movie about our relationship!) but it feels pretty good when you’re in it for the long haul.

This is not to say that our reunion weekend went perfectly. Far from it. I’d been battling a cold for a few days before my sailor arrived. Miserable cough or not, I planned to stick to my sailor like glue as he ran around taking care of boring “getting back home” stuff:

His bank card had been de-activated because it hadn’t been used in over six months–trip to the bank to get a new one. The battery in his truck died because I didn’t start it as regularly as I should have while he was away (oops) so he had to get a new one installed. I did say it was boring, but it had to be done and I wanted to do it with him.

Until I woke up with one of those grinding headaches that usually don’t get better until I’ve spent six or seven hours lying quietly in a dark room when I’m not running to the bathroom to throw up. No errands for me!

Since there’s no helping me when I’m in this state, I sent my sailor and our boy for brunch/male bonding. The dog curled up beside me to offer moral support.

The day wasn’t a complete loss. My headache didn’t last as long as they sometimes do. I was a bit fragile, but able to get out of bed by early afternoon–just in time to go grocery shopping with my sailor!

It was the best trip to the grocery store I can remember.

Happily Ever After

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My sailor and I met when I was in high school. He was home from school for the summer and dating my friend’s older sister. I fell for him about the first time I looked into his dazzling blue eyes. He had the irrestible combination of being a worldly older man (he was in third year university) with a gregarious personality that complemented my bookish introverted ways.

When he joined the Navy after graduation and his dad showed me a picture of my sailor in his dashing white uniform, my innocent school girl crush solidified. I was hooked and fatasizing about our happily ever after. I was a wholesome girl (read boring), so my focus was on our future family life. A recurring day dream involved my sailor visiting a perfectly groomed and made-up version of myself in the hospital where I had just delivered our beautiful baby boy. My sailor, of course, was in his striking uniform.

When it actually happened, the experience was more Survivor Tribal Council than Hallmark card.

My skin was sweaty and blotchy; my unruly curls a frizzy mess. My sailor wore a Canucks T-shirt that had been washed a few too many times and faded jeans rather than his full dress whites.

In spite of that, the reality was far superior to my girlish fantasy because we had made a healthy baby. He was better than anything I could ever have imagined.

Real life is often messier than fantasy, but so much more rewarding.