Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's kinda like somebody died......

Very sad around here today....well, tired to the point of exhaustion will always make my mood darker. But saying goodbye to our old life is a little sad. We had a going away party on the boat which was very cathartic. Lots of family and friends all came by to say good bye. But where it gets really weird is how many of our neighbors, those right next door and those blocks away, who have watched us raise our kids here, who were witness to the boat building, and who have been a quiet but big part of our lives, have come by to tell us how much we meant to them and how much we will be missed. Roger from across the street spent almost all day helping me load the van. Linda next door is so upset she couldn't talk to us. Kathy on the other side offered me a beer when that simple gesture couldn't have meant more. It really has been exactly like when my dad died and Sam and Mom and I got to see how much he meant to the people he touched.
But in our case no one is dead...yet.....although I know Molly has moments where me being gone might seem preferrable to this!
I really just want to say thanks, very publicly for the love and support of our family and friends. Kathy, Molly's sister, has spent hours watching the kids and shuttling them around. Every one in her family has been SO great. My brother Sam and my neice Sophia and my Mom have offered to help in any way.
It really does make me reflect on how stinkin good I have it...and a little sad to be leaving.
That will all fade into crazy joy I am sure as we sail out the gate....but for the moment I am a bit melancholy.
Hey....Happy Birthday to me......the storeage unit is "locked and loaded" and we are outta here!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Purging of Worldly Possessions - We had a garage sale on Sunday to sell approximately 1/3 of our worldly possessions. The remaining will go into storage and upon our arrival back home, we will crack open the door of the storage unit and immediately wonder why in the world we saved all this crap. It is also a bit unnerving that selling 1/3 of our worldly goods has the monetary value of $250 (which would mean ALL of our possessions have a net worth of $750). To J.P. and Mickey this was an amazing amount of money, to Ben and I, it was just plain sad.
I guess it all depends on your perspective!

And just as a side note....I have discovered my husband, who has been in sales for the last 20 years, is a really bad salesman....example:

Ben: Hey, Molly how much are we asking for the drum set?
Molly: $30
Ben: Oh, but the little boy is so sweet and he only has $10
Molly: No, $30.
20 minutes later Molly (a.k.a Gordon Gekko) comes out of the house....
Molly: Where is the drum set?
Ben: You don't want to know, but remember this moment. When we are on our trip and need something, a random person will appear and have exactly what we need. It's called good karma!

How can you argue with that?

Boat Naming: The boat name suggestions were great! Thanks for all who 'floated' ideas our way!!! A few examples:
Doo-A-Little Dreamin'
Doolittle's Dream
Why Knot
The New Rosemont
Our Boat
3 Boyz and A Lady
The Mother Ship
Whang Dang Doolittle
Happy Sails
Compass Rose
Pipe Dream II

And the official new name is "Knee Deep" because you just can't go wrong with a Jimmy Buffett song! Here is the song that inspired it.

Pictures of our new floating frat house:

House Mother's bedroom not pictured.

Ben in the main salon (living room, family room, extra bed, dining room)

Navigation Table (office, time out desk for students when they need to be separated from classmates, table that holds Pirate money - in plastic bag)

Door to V-Berth (Boy's bedroom, playroom, storage alcove for pirate swords)

V-berth (see above)

Wall in V-Berth (storage rack for pirate swords)

Head (Bathroom, shower, and place where Molly will medicate herself when the Frat Brothers have taken over)

Galley (Kitchen)

Patio Area

Backyard (neighbors nowhere in sight)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Documentation of a First Mate's State of Mind-Warning, it Ain't Pretty!

When preparing for a vacation, I'm one of those annoying people who enjoys the planning process, talks about it constantly and creates a "countdown calendar" marking days off until departure. I like the anticipation and daydreaming of what will be.

This trip is different. Probably because it is not just a vacation, but more a sabbatical from our life. There is no countdown calendar because that would just freak me out as to HOW MUCH needs to be done before we leave.

There is still the excitement of what is to come, but today the preparations are overwhelming (I am also tired and I have a cold, which doesn't help). Tomorrow I will have a more grounded, clear perspective and find more enjoyment in the process. This particular trip preparation is like a roller coaster. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the Steve Martin movie, Parenthood:

(Grandma talking about riding a roller coaster)

"I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."

I've always liked roller coasters, too!! Today I'm just in the "sick, scared" part of the ride!

While driving the kids to the dentist, I realized I was creating a list in my head as a coping mechanism to reel my mind back in.

Things I Will Miss
*Family and friends
*Air Conditioning
*Driving a car
*Having a freezer w/ meals ready to microwave (and ice cream)
*Pizza delivery
*Drinking water out of the tap
*My king size bed
*Holidays with the family
*Girlfriend time
*2 bathrooms
*Folding laundry while watching a Giant's game
*Getting a haircut, color and style
*Ice cold beer

Things I'm Looking Forward To
*Seeing new places; traveling
*Sailing instead of driving
*Improving my Spanish
*Not having a garage full of things we don't use and having only what we really need
*Swimming with dolphins
*Our new neighbors; the whales, sea turtles, dolphins, etc.
*Making new friends
*Snorkeling in clear, blue waters
*Reading and writing more
*Slowing down
*Sunrise after a night watch; drinking a cup coffee
*Watching my kids witness different ways of life, cultures and being able to explore and learn in a new way
*Becoming a confident sailor

So there it is! In a few months, while anchoring off the coast of Mexico, I can reflect and have a good chuckle at the expense of the stressed out and hysterical Molly who wrote this post. I wonder if they have roller coasters in Mexico??? =)


Friday, September 9, 2011

Home at last!!!

Ben here. WOW what a trip. I brought the boat all the way up the coast to give it a good shake down and build my confidence in its abilities....DONE!

The Catalina 38 sails really well. It carries momentum through the lulls, handles swell nicely, and is stable yet lively. Sparkman Stephens knew how to design a winner. I am very satisfied w/ the boat we are going sailing on.

I had a few fire drills: lots of water in the bilge (had the bige pump switch in the wrong position), diesel in the bilge (small leak now fixed), and engine quitting unexpectedly (fuel take up clogged.....and fixed). All part of learning a new boat. Happy Molly didn't have to witness my hand wringing/head scratching as I panicked, diagnosed then fixed each of these. No doubt more will follow, but the boat is solid and all systems operate well.

A few pic's from the 9 day trip up the coast:

The boat tucked in at Morro Bay Yacht Club:

This is Dan, crew for the leg from Santa Monica to Morro Bay around the dreaded Pt Conception. One of my best and dearest friends, he is a truly great guy. Here we are entering Morro Bay (Morro Rock in the background). Dan is very proud of his "Beetle-Juice"-esque hairdoo.

He is a sculptor and toy designer. When you own your own business, work is never done, but you CAN choose where/when to do it. Here, Dan is sculpting a dinosaur as we motorsail past oil wells...the cycle of life baby!!!

We were joined for a few hours by 5 little finches. They wanted to come by and bless the boat. They left after a long visit having given their approval to the whole affair.

This is the small desk at Morro Bay Yacht Club where you pay a measely $20 and get the run of the place. I even had a FROSTY beer from the REFRIGERATOR on the boat!! High life indeed!

Here is a short video of my 3 crew from Morro Bay to Monterey, Chris, John and Paul:

(it's been more than an hour and the video won't load....falling asleep at the keyboard here..may try again tomorrow....)

That leg was the most brutal and I can't thank these guys enough for grinding through it.

And a picture entering the Golden Gate:

If you doubt that deliveries are hard work, here is a picture of the propane we got in Santa Monica. The first bottle was cozy down below, wrapped in its plastic and snuggled in a locker. The other was up on deck w/ me enjoying the wind/spray/sun/ocean......

Molly looked at me at dinner tonight and asked, "Am I going to look old after this???" Hard not to think I was looking like that propane bottle on the right after this trip!!

I was a bit "Agro" getting the boat up here (only to turn around and head back south in 3 weeks time). This song captures the mood of the trip....SAIL>>>>

Finally, and most importantly, thanks to Molly and my boys for not only letting me disappear for 2 weeks to do this, but for embracing this whole adventure.......

Here is a link to the song I hope better defines our trip south:

Best to all, and to all, a goodnight!



Ben sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge this morning at approximately 11:00 a.m. We had a great time watching him enter the Bay on Chrissy Field's live webcam!! He has safely tucked the boat away in Emeryville (Emery Cove Yacht Harbor) and is returning to Sacramento as we speak. His intention was to sail her up the river to Sacramento, but when we shopped available slips around here, we found far cheaper rates in the Bay Area.

I also think he was motivated by the desire to come home. He pushed the boat and himself hard up the coast to test her out and wanted to get to Northern California in a timely matter. Apparently, the boat passed the "Bash" test with flying colors! However, by the time he hit the Golden Gate, he was tired, cold and generally done! Besides....he missed his wife and's true....he told me!!!

Metaphorically speaking the trip was like a binge-filled drunken night of's fun while it lasted, but then you wake up at dawn on the front lawn, next to someone you don't know and just want to find your shoes shuffle on home (um, not that that EVER happened to me before........please don't leave dissenting opinions in the "comments" dad reads this blog).

On another note, Ben and I are trying to decide on a new name for the boat, so if you would like to submit ideas over the next 24 hours, please feel free. They can be funny, serious, philosophical, light-hearted...anything! Here are some examples so far:

Endless Possibilities
Knee Deep
Good Life
3 Wieners & A Girl
Floating Frat House
Rally Thong (thanks Chris)
Whale On Waves (thanks Mickey)...he's not talking about me, right?
Sir Reginald's Court

Have a great day!!

BTW...I have referenced many drinking metaphors lately....I think it's my pirate past lives coming to light! Eeeerrrr Matey!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


UPDATE: Ben to pass under bridge 11 or 11:30.

"The Golden Gate Bridge’s daily strip tease from enveloping stoles of mist to full frontal glory is still the most provocative show in town." ~ Mary Moore Mason, editor

Well, if you put it that way, Ben will be even MORE excited to sail under her tomorrow!! After 9 days of sailing up the coast, he will be entering the Golden Gate tomorrow morning around 10 a.m. If you're sitting at your computer, pretending to work and want to watch a smelly, scraggly, skinny, sailor enter the Gate, check out this live webcam on the bridge (it will be like really bad reality t.v.):

There is a drop box on the bottom where you click 'Golden Gate' bridge. Then you can zoom and maneuver the camera for the view you want. It's pretty cool!

If it's any later, earlier or the weather doesn't cooperate, I'll post something on Facebook with the this link.

Mother Nature is a Bitch....Don't Mess With Her!!!

The old adage, "Don't mess with Mother Nature" is holding true. And what a bitch she was! Ben left Santa Cruz Wednesday morning with Half Moon Bay as his destination. He soon discovered it wasn't the best weather window to attempt the trip. The following is his texted weather report:

"20 knots n swells the size of a house. Actually they were only 4 - 6 feet, but square so u run into them like a parking curb."

Funny guy, eh? Add in some fog and you know Mother Nature was feeling quite vivacious. While the boat performed well, Captain Ben thought it best to not push her too hard.

Perhaps his experience of living with a woman helped in this decision. Those times when I just can't help but be a bitch (hormonal?....nah!), Ben has wisely utilized the same strategy. Retreat, batten down the hatches and emerge when the storm has passed because there's no way you're going win this one (although offering up chocolate and red wine will at times tame the beast).

So observing that Mother Nature was prevailing, he turned back after getting halfway (6 hours) and returned to Santa Cruz. He tossed the anchor overboard and got some zzzzz's. At 2:00 this morning, he headed out to find much better weather and was making 5 knots. Although he reported the fog was so incredibly thick, there was a fishing boat within a 1/2 mile of him and he never saw it. He watched it on the radar the whole time, but never observed it with his own eyes. Wow! Estimated arrival for Half Moon Bay is approximately 4:00 pm today.

As I've learned from hanging with a sailor, when sailing up the coast of California, it is commonly called a "Bash". Winds, tides, etc, are all against you and many people choose to put their boat on a truck and get it to Northern California that way. However, as Ben posted before, he wanted to do this trip to see how the boat handled, get to know her and see how she sailed under rough conditions. Kinda of like our first date....but that's another story, for another time.

So for those of you who are at your computer biting your nails, sending up prayers to your chosen God for the Doolittles (or if you are an atheist, but are so overcome with worry that you sent one just in case)......take heart.....this is a tough trip Ben is doing right now. The ride back down the coast should be much more enjoyable! Ah, crap, did I just jinx myself?? I'll make sure to bring red wine and chocolate to satiate Mother Nature.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fist Mate, Molly Hungover - Where is Captain Ben?

No, not that kind of hungover!! It's Day 12 of Single Mom Status and it sure as heck feels like a hangover. Fatigued, slurred speech, unclear thoughts, someone speaks to me and I can't quite understand what their saying due to the haze in my head. Respect and cudoos to all of you single parents out there doing it on your's tough!!

Ben is in the home stretch up the coast and should be sailing through the Golden Gate Thursday or Friday. My project today is to find live webcams on the bridge so we can watch him sail under. I'll post the website if I can find one.

Here's a quick list of where Ben has been and where he will be the next couple of days:

Wednesday, 8/31 - Departed San Diego in a.m., arrived Dana Point in p.m.
Thursday, 9/1 - Departed Dana Point in a.m., arrived Marina Del Rey in p.m.
Friday, 9/2 and Saturday 9/3- Departed Marina Del Rey Friday a.m. arrived Santa Barbara Saturday a.m.
Saturday 9/3 - Sunday 9/4 - Departed Santa Barbara in p.m., sailed all night and arrived Morro Bay Sunday a.m.
Sunday 9/4 - Monday 9/5 - Departed Morro Bay in p.m., arrived Monterey Monday p.m.
Apparently this was the hardest hit portion of the trip so far (20 knot winds, 5-10 ft. swells - sea sickness, etc.)
Tuesday 9/6 - Departed Monterey, arrived Santa Cruz in p.m. (foggy, but he reports that the radar is working great!).
Wednesday 9/7 - Departing Santa Cruz and will try to make it to Half Moon Bay, depending on weather, fatigue, etc.

Thanks to the Dan, John, Paul and Chris (throw in a Ringo and it's the Beatles!) who helped out with overnight legs!

I think that's all correct information, but if not, please forgive me....I'm hungover, remember?

If any of Ben's sailing buddies out there find a good deal on a used dinghy, let us know! For my friends...."dinghy" - a small boat used to transport goods (i.e. beer and rum) and passengers to and from a larger boat.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

BREAKING NEWS - Capt. Ben Delivering Boat!

Currently off the coast of California there is a man arduously sailing upwind and heartily laughing out loud at his good fortune. You may know's Captain Ben! The deed is done (or certificate of ownership or whatever) and we are officially the owner of a Catalina 38. She is being delivered up the coast by Ben and his band of sailing buddies to her new home in Sacramento. Tonight, Saturday, Sept. 3rd, he should be pulling into Morro Bay after a long trip around Pt. Conception (here's hoping nobody got pregnant on the journey!). Thanks to Dan Garr and Chris Link for volunteering to help deliver the boat up the coast.

Here's a great little diddy from today: Ben texted me this morning (I know it ruins the adventure for all of you who think we are totally going off the grid....there's cell service out there...). He encountered people in Santa Barbara who told him horror stories of rounding Pt. Conception....sudden change of weather, 30+ knot winds, 20 foot swells, etc....heck, I even looked it up on Wikipedia which said:

"The ancient Chumash people of the region may have seen Point Conception as the "Western Gate," through which the souls of the dead could pass between the mortal world and the heavenly paradise of Similaqsa.

Uh...hmmm....ok. Not too comforting or... is it?? Ben's a good guy, I'm sure he'd get into heaven, depending on the requirements. Drunken debauchery....yes. Then there is the other perspective, like our friend Jason who grew up on a sailboat, whose input was, "look for a good weather window and go for it" BTW..thanks Jason for being Ben's weather consultant via e-mail.

But if it's one thing I have learned about this process of setting sail, it's that I need to look beyond the fear (my own and other's) and find my own way. Ben and I have talked hours on end about this!

So...I digress....One of Ben's favorite books he read as a kid was "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" which will make more sense in a minute. Here's the summary via Wikipedia:

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life.

Sound like anybody you the way, it was written by Richard Bach, not Ben Doolittle.

Ben texted me after he rounded the dreaded Point Conception, which turned out to be a piece of cake, and inlcuded barbecuing and napping.

"And a bird just landed on the steering wheel."
"Tired beat up bird far from shore finds safe place to rest"
"He just brought all of his friends".
So I pass dad's latest update onto Mickey and JP, to which Mickey replies,
"Hey, maybe it's all of his bird friends from his other sailing trip saying, "Hi! Welcome back!"
Ben's text response, "Weeping"

So if you happen to be on the coast somewhere in California this week, listen for the sound of Captain Ben cackling and talking to his old bird friends!