Pink Versus Blue

jib repair David's been expressing his blue view every once in awhile and I thought I'd elaborate a bit on pink versus blue chores aboard. After you've lived with someone awhile, you tend to assume that certain tasks at home will be your responsibility and your partner will assume others. Some you handle together or as needed or as time allows. You tend to migrate towards your individual areas of expertise or interests and work at getting everything done. Being on a boat is no different. We often refer to them as pink and blue chores. It's the age old girl-boy thing, although there's sometimes a bit of cross-over.

As you'd probably surmise, I'm in charge of most pink things aboard. That would include cooking, cleaning, food shopping, laundry … all the typical things you think of when you think pink. David certainly helps out when asked and the same applies when he's up to his eyeballs in “blue” tasks. I can hold a flashlight or find the right wrench (spanner) and am happy to do so, when asked.


david baking

I do 95% of the cooking, but David's “the pizza and bread man”. I usually wash the dishes though. I handle all the provisioning requirements and write up the shopping lists although David comes shopping with me to help carry everything back to the boat and more importantly, to make sure I buy enough cookies.

I handle most of the sewing chores although he's very handy with a needle and a palm for hand stitching and quick repairs. Anything to be done with the sewing machine, I handle. David is very handy with pattern-making and also repairs the sewing machine.


marcie antifouling bottom

David's responsibilities include all systems on the boat. Whew! He maintains and/or repairs the engine, the plumbing, the electrical, the electronics, the fridge, the watermaker, the rigging...the list is endless and definitely more demanding than my day-to-day stuff. Who knows what will break next?


david varnishing

We tend to share jobs like sanding and varnishing and stainless polishing. We alternate plotting courses and checking each other's work, just in case one overlooks something critical. I do not change the oil, but I can bleed the engine if necessary. David does not pay bills, remember holidays or birthdays, update the website or monitor bank accounts, but he certainly knows how to. We stand watches equally and get seasick equally. In an emergency, we can rely on each other without reserve to do whatever is necessary to make sure we're safe and sound.


servicing winches in panama

Pink versus blue extends beyond the actual performance of a chore... part of it is mindset, preference and part of it is sheer physical strength. I have a hard time lowering and hoisting the 46 pound dinghy engine, so I don't. I can hoist the dinghy using the winch though. I think about new placemats or polishing the tea kettle and things that make Nine of Cups comfortable and homey. David is all about the systems and keeping the boat in good condition and afloat. Don't get me wrong. We're both concerned with the boat and with our creature comforts. The chores just tend to migrate in the direction of the person who's most concerned at the time. We find that staying happy aboard, as in any household, has lots to do with fair contributions to the workload. We've worked out what we think is fair to each of us.



up mast

I was asked once if I felt badly about not being able to do everything on the boat myself. Could I handle the boat if something happened to David? I always felt very confident of my own abilities on land. If I couldn't handle something in the house, I'll find someone who could. That's not as easy on the boat. For sure, David is better equipped and much more knowledgeable about the boat than I am. I'm sure I could get us and Cups to safety in a pinch. I am, however, more confident that our combined pink and blue activities (does that make lavender?) keep us happily afloat and content.

Look for more Blue View posts in the future. David's getting into this blog thing.


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