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August 24, 2013


Short Story: A Relaxing Saturday

by frankandems


Today will be a different kind of post entered under a new category. Some of you may have an interest in reading . . . some of you may choose to skip this category all together, and that’s very understandable.

I have found writing to be very therapeutic at moments in our travels . . . .just to capture a thought or feeling or to comment on some silly something that has happened along the way. So I am starting a new category called “Short Stories.” These are not our typical entries about our stops or activities. These may be commentaries on life on the boat . . . or two people confined in a small space together . . . or special moments . . . oh they could be about all kinds of stuff.

These will not have a bunch of pictures. They will truly just be short stories by me, Ems, Mary Marie, MM.

If you enjoy them, cool. If you’re not interested, also cool. I’m just putting them somewhere other than in the notes section of my iPad.

Here is the first: “A Relaxing Saturday Morning”

So we found ourselves in the middle of this beautiful, semi-remote harbor and decide to hang out for the day instead of moving to a new destination today. Being out on the water underway is beautiful, but not relaxing around here because of the mass quantities of lobster pots. So we’re going to treat ourselves to a day of R&R and exploring by dinghy.
I decide that it’s the perfect day to use the blueberries I’ve purchased to make Blueberry Coffee Cake for breakfast. Frank decides that he’s going to spend half of the day doing boat chores and half the day having fun. Oh no . . . boat chores . . . a phrase that has come to strike fear in my heart. The two tasks he is preparing to undertake are located at the foot of our cabin. So our cabin is like a very large, comfortable pizza oven if you can reconcile those terms together. Our heads are at the open end, our feet at the very back. If I ever have to get an MRI again and they tell me to picture something relaxing, I’ll just visualize being in our bunk since it sort of feels like being in an MRI. At the foot there is a hatch, of sorts,  where the compressor for the refrigerator and freezer live and where the works for our steering are. These are the two areas to get attention today. There is a chance that, by the end of the morning, we either won’t have steering or refrigeration . . . neither would be good.
I proceed to assemble this coffee cake the old fashioned way: with no mixer. Now understand here that I don’t bake. Okay, I RARELY bake. I like to cook usually, but I don’t bake much beyond making our traditional family apple pie, and even with that I use cheater pie crust dough. So when the recipe says “Prep time – 12 minutes,” that means for me it will be about 40. And I’m doing this all with the minimal amount of tools. Also picture that a good deal of my working counter space in the galley is also the access to the refrigerator. The fridge is like a big well that opens from the top and the lid is flush with the rest of the counter and is covered with the same Corian.. So I set out “creaming” the butter and sugar by using forks – a good upper body workout. And of course, I can’t get through the process of mixing the ingredients without realizing (several times) that I have forgotten one more thing from the refrigerator and have to move the whole works aside.  This is why I got a “C” in HomeEc in Junior High . . . too impatient to actually get all the ingredients out before starting anything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All the while, Frank is starting his chores. And we are both trying to let the other person do their thing. But meanwhile, I know the H2O Nazi is looking out of the corner of his eye to see how much water I’m using to rinse everything and he knows I’m looking out of the corner of my eye to see if he has his feet on my bed pillow (I have at least gotten him to take his shoes off before he crawls in there now – a major feat/feet).  I have gotten in the habit of offering these helpful words at the beginning of such projects: “Don’t hit your head and don’t break anything, dear.” I know, so supportive of me.
So now I’m starting to get the periodic “Ems . . . ?” meaning he needs a tool or a flashlight or an extra set of hands. But mostly he’s working away quietly. I have finally gotten what looks like a coffee cake into the oven. I usually just time things by looking at the clock vs. using an actual timer. I think, “The cake will be done at 25 after . . . ” and then I predict (to myself) that at precisely 23 after the hour I will hear “Ems . . . ” I was wrong – it was 24 after the hour.  “Ems! Can you help me??” I had at least prepared for this moment and came to assist with the clear direction that no way no how was I burning my coffee cake and ruining my Betty Crocker moment for the month. We were both mindful of our time and the coffee cake was unharmed. Frank assured me that this task should just be a 30 second job. That’s just asking for trouble when you make a comment like that. So 30 seconds later I heard “Oh, no,” followed by a “bonk” which are clear indicators to me that he’s hit his head and something is broken.
He assures me it’s nothing that can’t be handled . . .and is about to set into fixing the source of the “Oh, no.” I let him know I’m eating blueberry coffeecake without him. That got him to take a break because who can resist warm coffee cake? As I spent my time enthusiastically cleaning the blueberry laden dishes and utensils, he went about trying to get the wiring to the fridge repaired. My assistance was needed a couple of times in the process. One of my “favorite” phrases is, “Now I promise there is NO electric current running to this, so when I tell you, hold these two wires together.” I swear, that is not an uncommon sentence around here. So far he’s been right . . . and he always assures me that, even if the power WERE on, it’s only 12 volt and wouldn’t hurt much. That always make me feel so much better.  So after holding two wires together, I heard a handful of words that I won’t write here. That’s about the point where I got out of the way and came up top and started writing this tale.
I can assure you, at the end of the day we WILL have refrigeration again . . . and probably a lot less water.
And THAT’S how we spent our Saturday relaxing. Oh crap . . . he just asked me to get the Bosun’s Chair out . . .
THAT'S what a Bosun's Chair is.

THAT’S what a Bosun’s Chair is.

Post Script: All brittle refrigerator/freezer wiring was replaced and preventative maintenance was done on the steering mechanism to prevent BIG problems in the future . . . I am grateful for our boat mechanic!
Read more from Short Stories
12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris
    Aug 25 2013

    Good story! Fun to read (except for the part about the MRI feeling:).
    xoxo Christine

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Aug 25 2013

    I so can relate to your story, So funny .Better than the Sunday paper. We were at the Tuckahoe Inn yesterday looking out at the water where we had our sailing adventure with Frank. Safe Travels, Ellen

    • Aug 25 2013

      Frank reminded me of your sailing adventure with him on the Hobie . . . pitch poled and launched you into the bay??? Nice.

  3. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Aug 25 2013

    They say that’s what sailing is all about. Doing repairs and maintenance in exotic places! I can smell the coffee cake from here! A P.S. to my previous post: If you guys are having this much fun in fog, jeans and foul weather gear, imagine how much fun you’re going to have in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops! Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

  4. Jo
    Aug 25 2013

    Excellent story…I can smell the blueberry coffee cake and hear the bonk and string of profanities perfectly!! Thanks for sharing it 😉

  5. Donna & Rich Darr
    Aug 25 2013

    Note to self: When Rich tackles a home-repair project, begin baking a coffee cake in order to improve outcomes. (Wink) Love, Donna

  6. J j
    Aug 25 2013

    I think I am going to enjoy the new short story section. Thank you for sharing…..
    I like the pics also and will visiting there as they arrive.

  7. Harold Elmore
    Aug 26 2013

    Mary Marie,

    Please share the location (I will check the map) of the blueberry muffin breakfast and maybe relaxing with all the chores you and Frank had underway.


    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [] *Sent:* Saturday, August 24, 2013 11:29 PM *To:* *Subject:* [New post] Short Story: A Relaxing Saturday

    frankandems posted: “Greetings! Today will be a different kind of post entered under a new category. Some of you may have an interest in reading . . . some of you may choose to skip this category all together, and that’s very understandable. I have found writing to be v”

  8. Harold Elmore
    Aug 27 2013

    *Mary Marie, *

    *Happy Birthday to you! We wish you and Frank a good day of celebration! *


  9. Caroline
    Aug 29 2013

    Good short story. I like this new section. It is revealing in many ways, such as I never knew you got a “C” in Home Ec! Hah! You have now inspired me to make a Blueberry Coffee Cake, but for the record, I will use a mixer. Keep these stories coming. They make me laugh.

  10. Anne (& Bob)
    Aug 30 2013

    With your short stories, I can absolutely picture your time on the Eleanor Q and love being included this way….don’t want to be there…but love being a part!!!
    Love and miss you bunches!

    • Sep 2 2013

      Can’t wait to swing by your neck of the woods later this fall!


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