In what was a classic chamber of commerce afternoon of blue sky, calm waters, and a warm 72 degree temperature, I met the kids at the Avila Beach Pier and picked them up from school. They have been riding the classic yellow school bus back and forth to school and I have to say....so far so good! Despite all the fears and panic about them going back to "real school" they both love it! Dare I say that Mom and Dad also LOVE it, what's not to love about having the boat all to ourselves from 6AM to 4PM after the last 4 years of daily "togetherness"? Now I will admit that we haven't quite adjusted to the 5:45AM wake-up alarm, but if that's the worst thing we need to adjust to, then I think we got it made!
The last 12 days has been jammed packed with getting the kids ready for school and getting back into the "real world". Confirming the hooks of civilization, Lori now has a cell phone for the first time in 4 years! She doesn't know how to use it yet and I'm honestly not sure she actually wanted one, but in a world where all the kids at school have the latest smart phones and electronic gadgets, having a way to contact mom when dad is away seemed like an important reason to sign up for that dreaded cell phone contract. The transition has had some shockers, like when Lori paid $20 at Super Cuts for a haircut she had grown accustomed to paying $2.50 for in Mexico and I'm sure there will be other shockers as the "new normal" settles in around us.
So far our only real negative of our return has been the cold night and morning temperatures. The diesel heater for the boat has been ordered and we are all wearing wool socks to keep our feet from freezing. A nice side benefit or wearing socks, is that the boat floor seems to be getting a constant cleaning based on the look of our sock bottoms! Honestly, since I work from aboard the boat, life hasn't changed much from our days at anchor in Mexico. I think that if we would have moved back to a house on dry land, there would be more culture shock to deal with, but floating out on a mooring ball in the Bay doesn't feel or seem that much different than living aboard in Mexico. We can't dingy into town for come cheap street cart food and now we will get a ticket if we don't have life jackets in the dingy, but being out here on a mooring ball keeps us one foot in and one foot out of the system, or at least that is the feeling I get at this point. When driving through town or walking through the market, I still feel like we are outsiders just plugging into the Matrix to do what we need to do and then quickly calling for an exit before agent Smith can track us down. The kids have had to deal with the biggest change in going from home school to real school and they are dealing with that huge change almost as if they have been in normal school all their lives!
Lori and I went grocery shopping while the kids were in school and we had to keep taking things out of our shopping cart, having to remind ourselves that we didn't need to buy 10 of something to stock up the boat. We are now here in the land of everything being available all the time, we could just come back to the grocery store tomorrow and buy more sweet cream butter, C&H Brown Sugar, Cheez-Its, and good zip lock bags! We didn't need to buy 10 cans of chili beans or a case of stewed tomatoes. Walking the grocery store isles was like a trip down memory lane, seeing all the food brands we haven't seen in years or at prices that didn't reflect the long slow truck down Baja. We also noticed right away how much more money you could spend shopping "American Style" by buying all the gourmet and pre-ready food items. But I do have to admit we splurged and bought our first real roll of paper towels, toilet paper, and package of American style napkins! In Mexico the paper products are made of some mysterious composition that dissolves away to nothing as soon as it makes contact with anything wet!
Tonight is back to school night at Jason's school so Lori has been hunting all day for something I can wear that doesn't either smell like a boat or have oil stains. I've already told her that I'm not going to take off my Crocs with wool socks, no matter what she threatens me with and Jason is panicked that I'll do or say something tonight that will give me away as a Bozo Hobo Live-a-board ex-cruiser trash that I am! Well, I can't wait to see his face when I pull out my favorite BIMBO shirt, guaranteed to impress his teachers and perhaps explain a few things since "Like Father...Like Son".