I took a bunch of supplies up to the boat yesterday; the load consisted of all the freeze dried packs of towels and stuff that we had vacuum packed into plastic bags, and some other various odds and ends that may have some real use someday on the boat.
Included in the vacuum bagged "stuff" was some vinyl and zippers that I had cut out of our bow pad. The bow pad was used very little as we soon found out that underway at any speed, the pad would sail up and threaten to jump ship. In fact, the first time we took Swing Set to any speed, the pad flew up and overboard in a split second. A buddy on board who is 6'3" and about 240 pounds had all he could do to salvage the pad from the river after it had soaked up several pounds of Mississippi into the foam.
Soon after, the pad got carted back home and remained under the bed for years. The vinyl on the pad has a seam pattern that matched the bench seat in the cockpit, so last year when we decided to re-upholster the cockpit seat, we were able to use some of the vinyl from the bow pad for a perfect match. We are saving the rest for some other repairs as they are needed. The lounge on the bridge has the same pattern and we have learned that it is no longer available.
The zippers are the big white YKK ones that can serve as replacements for zippers on the bimini as they are needed. Most of the zippers on the bimini have already been replaced, but I'm sure the canvas will outlast some of the other zippers.
Rosie had also packed some bedding, in the form of sheets and pillow cases, that we can use as the others wear out. We probably have more bedding that we can take on board than we will need for years, but it's inevitable that stuff like towels and bedding will need to be replaced, and we'll treat an overabundance of supplies like these as perishables. We'll continue to pack Swing Set to the gills with things that will certainly be of some use someday, but finding room has already become a challenge.
There is an area behind the settee in the salon that I thought would be perfect to stow all of the packages that I took up to the boat yesterday. The area is accessed by removing the back of one side of the settee, held by three screws, then removing a panel behind the settee by removing another two screws. Once I got the panel removed, I found an area much smaller than I had remembered. I picked two of the smaller packages and proceeded to stuff one of them into the small space. As it happened, as I was stuffing the first pack into the cubby hole, I must have poked a hole in the bag and I soon wound up with a huge marshmallow that quickly took up all the room there was.
I still had some room under the settee where I eventually put the other bags, but I was saving that space for something else. I began to wonder where all of our clothing was going to go.
We have three hanging lockers on Swing Set, three drawers under the master bed, and four small cabinets in the master stateroom, and all are mostly full already. We'll still have to find room for our small inventory of clothing that we still have at home. Things like sweaters and t-shirts, blue jeans and some button down shirts, skirts and shorts and assorted other little dress type thingys will always have some use, so we'll find room somehow. There is an area on either side of the bed in the master stateroom that is sectioned off with a panel from the actual hull. I had earlier made some carpet panels to place over the port lights in the interest of keeping light out, so we'll cram this extra clothing in these areas. It won't be pretty for a while, but those Van Heusen shirts will become oil rags sooner, rather than later. Even now, if Holly wants to chew on the leather pull tab on the zipper of my sweater, I think, "Who cares?; it's only a zipper and soon enough I'll be waxing the boat with it.
It occurred to me as I was stuffing myself into a monkey suit for Valentine's Day dinner the other day, that it would be my last time to do so, with the exception of my dad's funeral, which undoubtedly will come, unwelcome as it is. My plan is to vacuum pack a complete outfit to wear to such a somber occasion, along with the shoes; but I can see now that space for something like this will be at a premium. My dad is only 85, and although he acts like he could die any minute, my sense is that he is likely to outlive me. That suit packed away on Swing Set could wind up being his last joke played on us. I can see it now: Rosie and I adrift somewhere in the Caribbean, having run out of food because the "funeral suit" had taken up some space where a couple more cans of Spaghettios could have gone. Maybe I'll just rent a suit when the time comes. The way it's going, I won't fit into anything I save now anyway.
It might seem crass to be thinking about such things as future funeral wear, but this whole process has to have some realistic approach. We are letting go of a lot of sentimental things. Most of the paraphernalia of my 33 years employed at our local brewery has already been given away. Collectibles like beer mugs and steins, safety awards, and other one of a kinds, have become birthday presents, or have found homes in some favorite bars that we can always visit again some day.
Our intention is to have nearly every material thing we own fitted into the 40 foot hull of Swing Set, but we know that life is more than material things. Life is the experiences you have, the friends you meet along the way, and the memories that you are lucky enough to keep. Huddled in our condo during retirement years with all of our stuff would be the safe route to take, and the easy one too, but that big human possession called "regret" is one that we don't ever want to be saddled with if we can help it.