02 March 2010 | Honeymoon Bay, St Thomas, USVI
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Let's talk about chores. Most kids living on land have to take out the trash, clean their rooms, maybe vacuum the floors or in like we did in Montana, shovel the snow. Our kids live on a boat so, although a lot of the chores are similar, like taking out the trash or cleaning the floors, there are chores and work that our kids help with that would be considered strange or even dangerous to land kids.
Our kids take out the trash too but this involves a long dingy ride to the marina where they throw it in the dumpster, Jimmy also does this dingy ride for a cruising kid chore called, "the water haul" while he is at the marina he will fill up four six gallon water jugs and bring them back to the boat for EmilyAnne, who in turn, will use a siphon hose to transfer them into the main tank on the boat.
You would think that the floor cleaning chore would be considered easy for a kid, after all the whole floor is only the size of an average bathroom back home. This particular chore is EmilyAnne's and she hates it! We have four rugs that need to be shaken out off the bow pulpit every morning and then she has to sweep and clean the floor with a sponge. This may sound pretty easy until you think about how much dirt and sand seven people and a dog would deposit every day if they all used only your bathroom floor. If it is not done every day it's even worse of course.
Cleaning your room should be pretty easy if your room is only as big as a large refrigerator right? Wrong! You try crawling into a Refrigerator box and making two (that's right there are two bunks in there) beds! Add to this the heat in the islands where any enclosed space gets so hot that if you do even the slightest work you break out into a sweat. Jimmy's room is a little easier. His bed is bigger and he can move around and turn in there a little bit, but EmilyAnne's bed is right out in the Salon area. She has a curtain to pull for privacy and she is a packrat so she is always trying to organize her stuff so she doesn't have to sleep on her books and stuff. Keeping it straight and looking nice is a real challenge I assure you.
Our kids also get to help with boat maintenance chores that would be considered crazy to land folks. Today we needed to replace our VHF antenna on TOP of the mast. EmilyAnne is our mast monkey. She doesn't weigh much so she's easy to pull up there and she likes heights and loves to be pulled up the Main Halyard just for fun to play. So today when I needed to replace the antenna she was the obvious choice. I love the looks we get from people passing by as they see our pretty little 13 year old girl wearing her climbing harness and zipping up to the top of the mast with a big grin on her face!
Jimmy also has to clean the bottom of the boat about every two weeks. To do this he wears his snorkeling gear and gloves with a brush in one hand and a scraper in the other. He can do everything but the prop and the keel by just free diving it but when he has to clean the prop or go deep enough to clean the keel he uses our Hookah (a breathing system which uses an air compressor and hose with a diving regulator on it.
We may be "living the dream" but as you can see it's not all sun, sand and play.
Cracking The Whip,