Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me

Many years ago--before ever living in Miami--I remember telling people about my plans to relocate to the Sunshine state, and nearly everyone I spoke with warned me (quite dramatically) about all of the horrifying bugs I would encounter upon stepping foot into Florida (toddler-sized flying cockroaches, ferocious swarms of mosquitoes, etc.).

While I don't doubt that many parts of Florida are infested with all sorts of mutant insects, I didn't witness a whole lot of bug action within the Miami city limits. Yes, there were cockroaches scurrying around town, but they were so big I hardly thought of them as bugs. Mosquitoes were around, too, but their annoyance was limited to the summer months, and even then, they weren't found in numbers greater than anywhere else in the country.

Despite the bad reputation Florida has in the bug department, the insects here are much more of a nuisance. I literally just got a mosquito bite on my face....and another on my shoulder. Although I wouldn't say I am looking forward to the change in seasons, I will confirm (enthusiastically) that I am looking forward to the hoards of mosquitoes dying off when the temperature drops.

The mosquitoes here are certainly annoying, but they are the least of my bug woes. For some reason, fruit flies have been congregating aboard Sea Gem. I find this to be extremely disgusting. Fruit flies were never a problem in Miami, and it isn't as though major changes have taken place in terms of the food kept aboard (I didn't suddenly start stockpiling rotten bananas). The trash is taken out with the same frequency as it was in Miami. The boat is cleaned with the same frequency as it was in Miami. Nothing has changed--yet fruit flies abound. It makes no sense.

Until the source of fruit flies can be found and eliminated (hopefully a biblical plague has not descended upon New Jersey), Google has provided instructions for making homemade fruit fly traps. Basically, you mix soap with cider vinegar, place the concoction in little cups, and leave them all over the place (and you know I'm excited about the prospect of having vinegar-filled cups all over the inside of the boat):

Trap

I think it is far more likely that I (or Helina) will accidentally drink this magical brew before a fruit fly meets its fate drowning from within one of our juice cups, but I'm willing to take the risk on the off chance this experiment works.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Dark Days of Winter are Upon Us

Well, this didn't take long--I'm freezing! There were a few days last month that bordered freezing (my version of freezing), but now that we're well into September, the ratio of "feeling cold" moments to "feeling warm" moments has shifted and is now drastically skewed toward "feeling cold." And by "cold," of course, I mean freezing. This isn't a good sign, as the temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees.

I can barely get out of bed in the morning. No matter what the actual conditions are outside of the boat, the ambient temperature of my bedroom is always -50 degrees. After the alarm goes off, I dive under the comforter so cold air can't come into contact with my skin (which is drying up and cracking at an alarming rate). Then, from underneath my blanket tent, I begin weighing my need to use the toilet against my desire not to have my bare skin touch cold porcelain. This process takes awhile and is extremely uncomfortable. I'd completely forgotten how harrowing the act of peeing in temperatures under 70 degrees can be. To date, my need to use the toilet has won this morningtime battle, but come October, I may start peeing in the shower in order to avoid the entire situation. (Don't you dare judge me! I can do whatever I want in my shower.) Instead of viewing this as a disgusting act, I'm choosing to embrace it as a Lifehack.

Onto the next topic--the sun. Where is it?? The sun is non-existent in New Jersey. I don't know where it went, but it isn't shining here. There is a certain amount of brightness that exists during the day (I presume from the sun), but it isn't even intense enough to warrant sunglasses. I think Helina might be affected by the weather, too--at least the lack of sunshine. I've noticed she has started covering her head when we're out in public, as though to shield herself from her surroundings:

Her Happy Place
I, too, have been burying my head in the sand (maybe "coping" is a better way of saying it). I simply lock myself within Sea Gem, crank the heat to 83 degrees, and lie to myself that the boat is still docked in Miami (come to think of it, my version of coping might actually be denial). I'm sure this isn't a healthy practice, but it isn't as though I can take a page from Helina's book and stroll around town with my head stuffed under a giant parasol. Despite the possible damage I am doing to my psyche, my delusions are so far getting me through the winter... or the last weeks of summer, as the case may be.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Marina

Our new marina is very different than our former Miami home. Unlike our last marina, which was located in a residential area of Miami, our new marina is situated within a state park, which is an ideal setting for Helina.

A massive boardwalk surrounds the entire property with amazing views of NYC and the Statue of Liberty:

Lower Manhattan
Statue of Liberty
Within the park itself is a huge playground, which boasts dozens of Helina's favorite apparatus--the slide:

Slides Galore!

We visit it often.

In addition to all of the outdoorsy stuff you'd expect to find in a park, the park we live in also has a (creepy) train museum, the Liberty Science Center, two restaurants, and access to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
Our location in New Jersey is much quieter than our Miami home, which is odd since the city surrounding us is both closer in proximity and about 100x more massive in size. It makes no sense whatsoever, but I have stopped questioning it for now. I'm not a huge fan of the sounds of silence (i.e. annoying crickets), but every now and then, the wail of a siren drifts across the canal (we're also within walking distance to a hospital), which keeps me happy(ish).