Houseboat Christmas

Draping some mardi gras beads over a ficus tree . . . that was our Christmas decor last year. This year I’m determined not to be such a grinchy slacker. The floggings will continue until the boat is decorated!

pirate flag xmas ornament

I picked up Moomin from dance practice and we went to pick out a live tree in a pot from the cheap plant nursery, MMM Plants. For 40 bucks we got a three foot high fir tree. Not bad! Our neighbor carried it into the boat and I set it up on deck on a table. Moomin and I draped it with sparkly red fabric that I got free somewhere earlier in the year and had stashed away.

When I went to plug in the xmas lights in my bedroom and run the cord out the window, the power went out! The extension cord I was using had fallen into the water, and I guess its innards rusted. The three electrical outlets in my cabin still don’t work, so I’m running my bedroom heater (and the tree) off our neighbor Roy’s extension cord hooked up to an outlet in the main cabin.

Anyway, after some messing about with flashlights and the boat’s control panel… which you have to see! It’s so complicated looking! Our neighbor came to look at it and had no more clue than we did. He had clearly been splicing the mainbrace a bit hard that evening. We flipped a lot of switches!

boat's electrical panel

So, we gave up on fixing the electricity and decorated the tree. I had a little plastic bin of ornaments stashed away in the bilge, plus a few more that I bought at Big Lots. Moomin likes fancy ornaments and even at 3 years old scoffed at my construction paper chains and snowflakes made of toothpicks. He’s like a dragon who could sleep on a hoard made entirely of sparkle, glitter, and chandeliers. So I’ve been trying to pick up shiny ornaments at garage sales and so on. The transparent, iridescent star I got in NYC was a hit and the tree looked great!

Decorating the tree

In my further efforts not to be a crappy parent, I baked cookies, kind of! We only have a toaster oven. So, on one of my infrequent forays into Whole Foods I got some refrigerator cookie dough, and made some cookies on a tiny aluminum sheet in the toaster oven. This worked AMAZINGLY well. The cookies were tasty! No pre-heating necessary! The toaster oven dings and turns itself off when 10 minutes are up, so no one had to eat the burned cookies. Go, me!

Over Thanksgiving while Moomin was at my sister’s house he consented to taste hot chocolate for the very first time. Believe me, I’ve tried. What? Milk is disgusting and *hot* milk would just burn and why ruin some good chocolate that way? Give fisssh, keep nasssty chipssss. “I tried it and guess what, I actually liked it!” So he sipped his tiny half-mug of hot chocolate, ate his cookies, and hung things tentatively from bent paper clips on the prickly tree with his shirt sleeves pulled over his hands for protection from the spikes. It was a good party.

I do require a craft project to properly feel christmasy. I had gotten a 2 dollar pack of glittery pipe cleaners at Office Max, which is right next to Big Lots.

Which reminds me, I went to Big Lots instead of Target because the Target in Redwood City has a very ancient electric scooter which goes about .5 miles per hour and turns off every few feet, and to make it start again, you have to stand up. That misses the point of being a mobility aid for disabled people, if you ask me, and when I pointed this out to the Target store manager, he just shrugged and said no one ever used that scooter anyway. I WONDER WHY. So, anyway, Big Lots and Office Max got my holiday shopping money.

Back to the pipe cleaners! Moomin was so pleased at the glittery pipe cleaners, which seem so much more real and grown up than the regular kind, which I routinely keep in stock. We made pipe cleaner stars, trees, kayaks, a houseboat, and some ocean waves. Moomin missed Oblomovka’s daughter and said she would probably like to make some tree ornaments with him when she gets back, and they could make them for presents or to sell at garage sales.

admiring the tree

The harbor is starting to look really splendid at night with christmas lights all over the boats, reflected in the water. In another week it will be spectacular since we have some neighbors who run lights all the way up their masts and rigging.

We also made a plan to do kayak christmas caroling. Here we come a kayaking among the waves so green! If you want to join us in a borrowed small boat, let me know. Next week at high tide we’re going to serenade the neighbors. Because Moomin will be in NY with his dad’s family for the entire holiday break I figured I would make an effort to do holiday-like things beforehand, making more of a fuss than just “extra day of opening presents”.

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