Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Stainless, or, A Parent's Progress

So this was our sole crew - Elias James Abookire Litzow - exactly three days after we left Kodiak and began this decadal Odyssey of ours.

At that time, Alisa and I were simultaneously learning to be parents and full-time sailors. We were drinking from the fire hose, every day, all day long. We marveled at all the discretionary time that sailors with all-adult crews had to enjoy.

And, when I was feeling expansive, I would ridicule those no-child sailors of our acquaintance.

"All the time in the world," I would say to Alisa. "And what do they do with it? They polish their stainless!" (Pause for horrified look.) "And then they complain about how busy they are!"

Coming from a robust working port like Kodiak (484 million pounds of fish across the dock in 2014), it was easy to pick out the sillier foibles of the yachtie world. And taking the time to polish the stainless steel on a boat that spent its whole life in salt water was very high on my personal list, indeed.

Can you see where this is going?

The picture above is our younger crew, Eric Leo Abookire Litzow, just this Sunday.

School was off. He had the whole day open for himself. Parental opinion was that he was doing a very poor job of filling it.

The kids on yacht Pelagic, who just pulled in from Nuku Hiva, were inconveniently off touring Volcanoes National Park. Eric didn't want to go off the boat and play. He did want to take every chance to pick a fight with his brother and make us all miserable.

It didn't take too long for the light bulb to go on over my head. After Eric pulled one too many outrageous provocations on his older brother, Elias was set loose to go to the beach by himself while Eric was set down in front of our acres of dull stainless with a tube of polish and two rags. (One for applying the polish, the other for buffing it out.)

After all, a boat should look its best, right? And who wouldn't want polished stainless when the labor isn't their own?

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