23 February 2011

Listing--Not What You Think

We are prepping for this life change in every way we can think of.  One of things we're doing to think of more ways to think of more things is by making lists--lots of lists.  Not just garden variety lists, but advanced lists as well.  A weighted lists of features we want in a boat; a rated list of songs for sailors; a list (really a spreadsheet) of priority and optional equipment (a la the Mahina seminar), that, where present, will affect our boat offering price; a list of things we still need to do to get the house ready to sell; another spreadsheet with scenarios that will affect how much we can spend on a boat; lists of provisions that keep well and store compactly.  Later there will be list of monthly expenses (I'm already keeping track of how much we've spent since day one).  And just yesterday, I found a list of things to do to prepare to sail.

Undoubtedly, one element of this preoccupation with listmaking is to keep us focused on the goal since it still seems so far off.  But we're thinking this is probably pretty smart, too.  At some point, things are going to start happening much faster and we may be hanging onto our lists for dear life.

17 February 2011


          I could leave but I'll just stay
          All my stuff's here anyway.
                              from Pinch Me, Barenaked Ladies

We are contemplating our stuff.  We have a lot of stuff.  And as much as we have loved our little bungalow, we will both be SO relieved to see the end of it.  Mainly, this 2200 square foot house (plus full basement) serves our stuff.  It is a huge storage locker.  Linnea kept a storage locker for five years after she packed up the Hammond house. She paid $40 a month so her extra stuff would have a place to live, and when she finally looked at the stuff, she threw it all away.  Our stuff is not as important as we think it is.  

I am remembering Hurricane Opal.  It was heading toward Pensacola, and I had been asked to report to the Naval Air Station for duty.  I had a moment to look around my house, where I lived alone.  Opal was a BIG hurricane and it was heading right for us.  I took my cats, my passport, and some frozen homemade pasties that my mom had made.  Cats and passport are easy to explain.  The pasties - more complicated - but I suppose they reminded me that I am loved, and I am connected to family and my heritage.  Altogether a good reminder of priorities.

Here in present day Milwaukee, I was so impressed with Ean's HUGE pile of "goodwill" clothes that I whipped through my half of the closet and thinned it by a third.  Our stuff is like an anchor, holding us firmly attached to this old life.  We are ready to drop the chain and go.

14 February 2011

Today's Geography Lesson: Lamu, Kenya

The arctic weather has finally let off a bit and it's been in the balmy 30's F. the last couple of days.  This being Valentines Day, Jane displayed her abiding affection for me by poop scooping the fragment of our backyard that's been packed down enough for Floey to "take care of her business" on.  Ah. love...

We spent part of the afternoon "exploring" the countries on or nearest to the Equator.  This has become a cherished pastime of ours; we both get constant weather updates for Panama on our various smart devices.  I find this rather amusing.  Jane, being a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and world travel, has, whenever I broached the subject, made it clear that she has a decided preference for living in the U.S.  I, on the other hand, want to live somewhere else, having never yet done so.  There's such a lot of world to see, to quote the Henry Mancini tune.  So I was a little--what comes before shocked?--when the love of my life "sailed" past our Panamanian haunt and onto Kenya.  "It's even closer to the Equator than Panama" she stated as if the logic of that made her exploration merely sensible.

"Nairobi," I returned, wanting to feed her newfound curiosity as much as possible, "is apparently quite modern."

"Nairobi is inland" she replied.

"Oh, no.  That will never do." I agreed.

"Mombasa is on the coast. AND just four degrees south."

"So far, so good" thought I.

"But wait, what's this?  Lamu.  It's a city but it's on an island and there are no motorized vehicles allowed."

"What's its lat. and how do people get around?"

"Even better: two degrees south.  Donkeys.  There are two to three thousand working donkeys on the island."

(Pause for further reading.)

"And there's a donkey sanctuary."

"Now, really, how much better can it get than that?"  I quipped, genuinely charmed.

"But it's been predicted that  it will suffer damage in the near future due to lack of or bad planning."

"Then we'd better hurry and visit.  You know my policy on endangered things."

"You're horrible."

"You laughed."

"So, what's changed?  You didn't even want to take Panama seriously and now we're moving to an island city in Kenya where there's a donkey sanctuary?"

"Well, moving to Panama used to seem like a radical thing to do."

"Until we decided to live on a boat for an undetermined number of years."

"Yeah, moving overseas seems pretty tame compared to that.  Really, anything seems pretty tame compared to that."

How about that?  A win-win situation--and I'm just talking about myself.

A Trip to Annapolis

We have made reservations for a quick trip to Annapolis during UW's spring break.  We are using reward points for car and flight, and choice points for our stay at the Quality Inn.  A bit ironic to be shopping for a $200K boat while money-less.  But the estate settlement is on track, as far as we can tell.

Our favorite broker Bobby will have two days to show us around, get us on to as many cats as possible, and educate us about the boat buying process.  If we trust him, we'll sign an agreement with him to be our buyer's broker.  On the Cruisers Forum, I have read a lot of negative crap about brokers, but especially for inexperienced buyers like us, it seems quite foolish to turn down expert help.  Yes, of course there are slimy, dishonest brokers.  Yes, of course brokers are looking out for their own interests.  But if Bobby helps us buy a great boat, that's win-win, right?

Last time I talked with Bobby, since we were talking about the Annapolis trip, I finally owned up to having a bit of history in Annapolis.  Ha... unexpected.  I occasionally enjoy playing the "Naval Academy" card.  Just like Mrs. Pollifax, I find it satisfying to be "unexpected."

12 February 2011

Joy, Exclamation Point.

New and improved version.  Ean gets his exclamation point!  

11 February 2011


The beginning of BLOG. Before 2011, I never followed blogs.  I ran into to them once in a while, of course, on my favorite news sites, but I wasn't a blog subscriber.  Now I get updates on a dozen cruiser's blogs through Google Reader.  (See some of the blogs I read here.)  2011, of course, is also the year that we started THIS blog.

We both like the first choice best, for our boat font.
When I was trolling blogs early in January, I came across a post (can't remember which blog) about choosing a word for the year, instead of making New Year's resolutions. This blogger noted that she had seen several OTHER bloggers go this route.  A word immediately lodged in my little brain, and I keep turning it over.  Joy.  I need for JOY to be MY word.  Honestly, though, choosing JOY as my official focus word for the year seems like an awfully big COMMITMENT.  But perhaps I am taking JOY too seriously?!

01 February 2011

Guess What! It's Tuesday...

A year from TODAY.  By February 1, 2012, we have decided, we will be living aboard our catamaran.  What we need now is some serious backward mapping.    Here's a big one:  By this August, we need to be ready to put this house on the market.  Ean has started to track every cent that we are spending on this project.  We have a sense that we will be able to add to the knowledge base, which might be helpful to others who want to make this leap.  Also, we REALLY don't want to run out of money.  Okay, that's the main reason.