A Brief Homecoming: Vacation At Home

(September 2nd-8th, 2017)  We moored in Anacortes for the week while we visited family, and also while we prepared for our hop down the coast.  My wake-up dream that first morning in Anacortes was apropos: It was the last day of summer camp, and everyone was frantically trying to pack up their things, say goodbye to their friends, and find their parents to head home separately.  After a summer spent immersed in life-changing adventure together, leaving was chaotic and emotional.  That’s exactly how I felt about officially ending the Alaska leg of our adventure: sad to be letting go of friendships we’d enjoyed to intensely for those few months; preparing for the whirlwind of visiting family and boat-prepping that awaited us over the coming week; and excited to spend time with our families, if only briefly.

That morning felt a bit like the last day of summer camp, too.  My parents drove the hour-and-a-half up to Anacortes to pick up the girls, and take them back to The Farm.  (The Farm is what we call my parents’ house, and my sister’s house right next door.  They have dogs, cats, birds, and now chickens, and they used to even have ponies!)  That morning was chaotic as Rich and I scrambled to pack up the girls and send them off, and then pack up ourselves and get the boat ready to leave for several days.  By lunchtime, Rich and I were in the car, also en route to The Farm.

During our time there, we had a relaxing Labor Day weekend with friends and family.  We did laundry, some paperwork that had been awaiting our mail pick-up, and ran some errands.  On Labor Day, my parents hosted a late birthday party for the girls, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in attendance.  We also continued to enjoy what was left of the summer we’d missed, with swimming, slip ‘n sliding, and sunning in hot weather.

The swimming pool at grandma’s house.
Grandma’s fabulous slip ‘n slide.
The girls’ homecoming birthday party!

Smoke from the British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon wildfires cut into our sun, but not into our heat or our fun.

The skies were so smoky that all the outdoor and doorway workers at Costco wore surgical masks, and everything outside was dusted in ash.

Then, on Wednesday after Labor Day (September 6), something strange happened.  Morgan and Ellie saw their cousins off to their first day of school, while they stayed home with Grandma and the baby.  The girls said that they weren’t sad that they didn’t get to go back to school also, that it was okay.  So, that was good – we’d been worried the girls would be sad that they weren’t going to school also.  They were a bit bored while their cousins were at school during the day, but they took full opportunity to play with their cousins’ toys in their absence.  When school was over, they were right back playing together.

All the cousins waiting for the school bus together.

The girls even got to do things that I’ve never seen happen on a boat – bring home new chickens for The Farm!

We also did some errands, including getting haircuts.

Ellie rocking her pre-haircut style.

That the girls have changed is obvious.  Morgan in particular has become more adventurous.  For example, earlier this spring, I tried to get her to climb this tree, and she wouldn’t dare.  But now?  No hesitation.  In fact, she thought it gave her a prime vantage point to watch the baby.

As it turned out, my fears about being pressured to stay home were unfounded.  The most pressure I felt to stay was from myself.  We had so much to do to get ready to leave the girls and go offshore, and it would have been so easy and comfortable to simply stay with my parents indefinitely.  We were tired, and preparing the boat seemed like a herculean task.  But, we didn’t choose to cruise because it would be easy.  So, after five days of rest and relaxation, Rich and I were back in boat mode, preparing for our first offshore passage in just a few days.



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