Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looking back at the edge

Steam coming off the lake this morning. It was 51° on
July 28th in the St. Louis area. Last year we were in the middle
of two weeks of 108°
So I'm back in the city for the night as a contract flight came up for tomorrow. I decided that the "cruiser" thing to do was take the trip since it pays well.  Nice that, since we are burning up money like we actually have some. Not quite as nice is it will take two long days out of the work schedule; tomorrow and then Friday. (It's kind of a long story involving airlines, car services, four(?) different airports; it is good money but it isn't easy money.)

Sitting in the city for the evening and away from the boat is giving me a chance to breathe easy for a few minutes. Kintala is on the hard, the crane will be along in the next few days to un-step the mast, (a procedure I am assured will be lacking in drama as well - unlike stepping it a couple of years ago) and the shipper insists he hasn't forgotten about us; price and actual ship date to be provided. I figure it will take a full day to prep for the mast coming off the boat. (Undo wiring, un-chock the mast at the deck, move the new table off the bulkhead and out of the way, stays, rigging - yep; a full day.)

The bottom paint is going to take at least one full week. Kintala sports a nice "smile" at the keel joint and has at least four different colors of paint on her - a light and dark blue, one coat of black in there somewhere, and some red. We are going to sand it, fair it, paint it, and splash it. We don't have time to take it down to a barrier coat and start over, and it isn't like we are going racing. I'm looking for a "10": if it looks good from 10 feet away, it's a paint job.

Finishing the wind vane is any one's guess but I'm hoping to have it done by this time next week. There is still more stuff to go on the boat than there is boat for the stuff. The new Mantus anchor and bottom paint should arrive at the marina this week. Somewhere we need to find room for the old anchor, and the Danforth still needs a coat of paint before it goes back in its locker. (Three anchors should be enough, right?)

Regardless of where sits the project list, when the truck gets here, we go.  (Which may not be the best decision I have ever made but we have jumped already; the landing is the only thing in question now.) 

Yet somehow, with this initial lift done, it all seems just that little bit less overwhelming.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Up ship...

In the aviation world "Up Ship" is a specific command given by airship Captains.  It tells the ground crew to toss the nearly neutrally buoyant ship skyward to start its journey.  I never piloted an airship and aviation is not my world anymore, but I couldn't help but mumble "Up Ship" under my breath as the straps went tight and Kintala cleared the waters of lake Carlyle.

Our journey is underway.

The day started normally enough.  Breakfast, coffee, chat with a few friends, prep the boat to get under way.    The boom tent was stowed, halyards moved, cobwebs swept away; we ran the spring line to get us off the dock cleanly and headed to the pump out.  There was no way to tell that this day's sail was any different from any of the hundreds of others we have done in the 6+ years of being at Carlyle.

We motored out of Boulder a little slower than normal.  This would be the last time Kintala's bow would
push these waters aside.  It was a strange feeling.  Out on the lake we flew just the head sail in the 10 knots worth of wind.  It wasn't enough and we weren't going very fast.  Then again we were in no particular hurry and the boat was moving easy.  As Boulder fell astern smiles broke out in the cockpit, replacing what was a bit of a somber mood.  The conversation shifted as well and somehow, in just those few minutes, all of our focus shifted from where we have been to where we are going.

Saturday, 9/15/2007 was day one of our first sailing class, and the first time we set foot on the docks at Tradewinds marina.  To suggest we had no clue as to what we were were doing would have been the understatement of the year.  This day Kintala slipped up to the fuel dock with little fanfare.  Deb stepped onto the dock, secured the mid ship spring line, cleated off the bow and stern without a thought and that was that.  We stripped both head and mail sails, flaked and stowed them below, and dropped the forestay so we would fit in the lift.  We motored into the pit without drama, set the straps fore and aft ...

"Up ship."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who, me???

Two weeks ago Tim took on the task of trying to sort his tools into piles - one for those going on the boat, one for a box we were making for a friend of ours, and the rest to either sell or donate to Wings of Hope. You really have to appreciate the difficulty of this since he has two rolling Snap-on monstrosities that contain 36 years of aircraft wrenching. Shortly after he finished, he left for the boat and during his absence it was my job to clean the garage. On Wednesday he came home so as to be ready to sit for punishment in the dentist's chair Thursday, as we are trying to get all our dental work done while we still have insurance paying for at least part of it. When he left to go back to the boat he wanted to take the rest of the tools since he had finished the tool/parts crib, and upon lifting the blue plastic tub of tools he commented on the weight of it. "I might have added a few things," I said sheepishly. He merely raised an eyebrow.

This morning he told me that we just might have to purge the plier drawer, but I'm holding out.  I personally don't think a girl can have too many tools. What do you think?

Project overload

In my demented little brain The Retirement Project has morphed into Project Overload. Deb is completely buried under the house, trying to get it emptied and readied for the rental market, with something like 10 days left for her to get it done. It doesn't help that she is essentially doing it alone, but I am as buried trying to get the boat ready for the truck. So jammed is the schedule that the workbench project was being used as a workbench to finish the workbench project. And though finished just a day or so ago it is already cluttered with the tools being used to get the self-steering gear installed.

That project is, as expected, going slow. For all of my complaints about the shoddy way the boating industry goes about its business, the butt end of a Tartan 42 turns out to be a serious chunk of fiberglass. Boring the 3.5 inch hole that is the heart of the project has already chewed up two days of effort, two hole saws, and a couple of other bits. And it isn't done yet. It turns out the transom is thicker than your average hole saw is deep; not a problem if I had access to both sides from which to drill. But, so far, I haven't figured out how to access the transom from inside the boat. Once upon a time crawling into the outboard wing bays of B-52s to pound rivets and insert systems was just another day of work. That was once upon was a long time ago. I fear that level of flexibility may be beyond my battered and bruised self, to say nothing of not being nearly as calloused about squeezing into small places as I used to be. But I'll figure out something. I just haven't figured out what that something is, yet.

I'm told this is normal, that everyone who has ever moved from the land to the sea has had to climb this mountain. The accent involves getting rid of stuff while the descent is mostly getting a boat into the water. I wonder if I should be worried since, as any climber will tell you, most fatalities occur while getting down, not going up. Anyway...

... I am going to offer a bit of advice to any who might be following this blog with hopes of joining the sea-living community some day. Though I have been critical of setting a "go" date I think I've changed my mind. Go ahead, set a date because it really doesn't matter. What matters is pulling the trigger on actually going one year ahead of said date. Yep, one year. Put the house on the market, get it emptied out. Sell all the stuff you have accumulated over the decades. That stuff may actually be worth quite a bit IF you have the time to spend selling it. Deb and I don't have the time so thousands of dollars are being left behind, left in the hands of people who are getting some very good deals. If your nice car actually sells while you still need wheels, go out and get a "junker". It will get the job done and give you practice driving "loner" cars. (At least if marina loner cars are anything like airport loner cars.) The house goes? Same thing, get a small (all your stuff is gone or going, right) cheap apartment ... or go ahead and move onto the boat if you can.

All the spare time you have not taking care of the stuff you have unloaded will be sucked up (I promise you) by getting the boat ready. If you don't have a boat yet then all of that time can be spent finding just the right one at just the right price. Which puts you way ahead of the game.

Had I known then what I know now I would have kept little Nomad on the lake, sailing and living aboard as much as possible. I would take the year and get rid of everything methodically, banking as much money as I could as we went along. When it was all done Nomad would have been shipped east at a fraction of the coast of moving the Tartan. (If the house had sold quickly we would have just spent some more time living on a 27 foot Compac. There are worse things ... trust me.) She would splash in salt water with a "FOR SALE" sign on her bow and we would go find the right boat at the right price. Sure we would move onto a "new" boat needing work ... which would be about what we are doing anyway.

Of course I didn't now then the things I know now, and we started all of this living about as far away from an ocean as is possible to be. Those already living near the sea may have a slightly different mountain to climb.

But start a year early ... I promise it will make things a lot easier.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Aft cabin project pics

The aft cabin is finished with the exception of a few coats of wax so here are the pics for your perusal.

This is the starboard aft cabin berth that we removed the mattress from. We bought these hardwood drawers from Lowes in a kit for less money than we could have bought the materials.

Tim built a bulkhead across the foot of the berth at the same location as the front of the pantry cupboard. The area behind this bulkhead will store boxed tools like drills and the Dremel. In this picture he's working on installing the wire shelves that will hold our Harbor Freight plastic storage boxes. And yes, we know the shelves are upside down. We needed the lip to keep the boxes from sliding back and forth every time we tack.

The finished project minus the waxed finish. There is a handy shelf on the top for putting the tools currently being used. Below the hinge are the two drawers that hold tools. You can now see the door on the bulkhead to access the boxed tool storage. We left enough room then in front of the drawers for guests to put their duffels.

Here it is with the front panel lowered on the hinge. This makes our workbench which will soon have a quick-mount vice on the corner in the front of the picture. It's hard to see in the picture, but under the workbench are three drawers that we put 100# heavy duty sliders on and locks to hold our heaviest tools.

The drawers have good sliders on them and are stopped by the fiddle.

The cupboard at the foot holds an amazing amount of junk tools.

The last "Fun" sail...

Last night was the club's "Night Race". Four boats, ignoring the lightning dancing to the south-west, ventured out into the dark to race around the silos. As usual friend Thor on Grey Hound was making his own wind and quickly disappeared out into the void. The three remaining boats, Pascagoula Run, Gail Force, and Quicksilver, nursed the light winds, struggling to make the south silo on a single tack. Pascagoula Run got there first, with Gail Force and Quicksilver close astern. The downwind run to the north silo was more like a drift. Gail Force and Quicksilver made better use of the light breezes leaving Pascagoula Run to round the second "mark" last. Ocean sailors would laugh at what Carlyle sailors call wind; odd breaths of air puffing from any direction plus or minus 60 degrees. Racing tactics are as much a guess as to what the fluky winds will do playing across the shoreline. Joel did a better job of guessing and, by mere minutes, Pascagoula Run was first across the line.

Kintala didn't make this last fun sail. Deb and I joined Emily, Joel, and Casey on Pascagoula Run. We are going to get a lot of time to sail Kintala and, for this last night out on Lake Carlyle, joining friends just seemed "right". The light winds even helped by keeping the boats close enough together for good natured quips to fly easily from boat to boat.

There were other reasons to leave Kintala at the dock. She is not much of a light wind boat and would have been all but totally becalmed for much of the race. And though the aft cabin is finished and the interior delivered from "project" mode, ours is not an easy boat to get moving when she has been still for a while. From a full rest to being underway is a good 45 minutes worth of effort, particularly when the crew is not working at 100%. (Deb and I have been struggling with summer colds while trying to get the Retirement Project under sail on big water. Really bad timing but what can you do but forge on as best as possible?) So Kintala's last weekend on lake Carlyle was a quiet one. It just works out that way sometimes.

As for friends, good friend Don asked if I could do one more photo flight with him this evening. The object plane was a pretty little Luscombe, the air was smooth and cool, and the light good. Don's classic Fairchild F27 was the platform bird - it is a thing we have done together a bunch of times over the years. Idling in for a landing in this big 'ol classic tail-dragger was all of the good things young pilots dream of and old pilots remember. And though the F27 is perhaps the easiest of tail-draggers with which to brush a landing onto Mother Earth, it was still kind of special to pull off a near perfect wheel landing, on grass and in the dying light of a summer day, as my last hurrah as an airplane driver.  Thanks my Brother.

I will head back to the boat in the morning. The final push to get Kintala up on the hard and ready for the truck has begun.


PURGE, that is. I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in our garage. We've lived in this place for 12 years now, and that time encompasses 5 years of house projects and 7 years of boat projects so our garage was filled with project leftovers. Wood scraps, one-purpose tools, boat bits removed from Kintala, piles of stuff to go to the kids, scrap metal, camping gear, and junk. Did I say junk? And this all was after having purged several pickup loads worth of stuff from the house when the kids moved in with us two years ago. In my defense, when the kids moved out after a year of living with us, I determined not to fill up the rooms, closets, and drawers vacated by their stuff and I have, for the most part, managed to do that. It still boggles my mind how much stuff two stuff-haters can accumulate in that time.

Friday I made the trip to the boat and began the same process on the lockers. I hauled loads to the dumpster, I hauled stuff to the picnic tables under the pavilion and put a "free" sign, and I hauled some stuff home to go to Goodwill. With every minute I am becoming a stuff-hater with even more vengeance than before.

It rules your life people, so travel light and be happy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Four Cheese Pierogies and French Fries

What do they have in common? Why they're two of the things in the freezer that got cleaned out today which only have one serving left in them, so since Tim is at the boat slaving away and I'm at the house sorting stuff for purging, I get the four cheese pierogies and french fries for dinner. Not exactly a well-balanced meal, and pretty assuredly not very  healthy, but it gets the cleaning out the freezer job done a little faster.

Now - who wants a box of 20-year old T-shirts and a bag of 200 balls of yarn???

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Things that make you go hmmmmm

My daughter was laughing at me on the phone yesterday because I was stuck on the floor of our walk-in closet, wedged in between some milk crate file boxes and mountains of paper that I was dividing into smaller piles - Amber, Kristin, Melanie, Shred, File...she asked if I was going to need her to come over and extricate me.

It was an interesting afternoon as I was going through the file folder of old newspaper clippings of all the million wonderful things my dad did in his 83 years, school accomplishments of my three wonderful children, odd papers with little quotes on them, some magazine articles that Tim and I have published over the years, recipes, and old Christmas letters. A true walk down memory lane. Yet, still, after going through everything the one quote that I still find the most compelling of all quotes I've ever read is this one which I'll share with you this evening as a side comment to Tim's previous post. Enjoy.

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

Flip side

Wouldn't you know, just as we pull the trigger on jumping into the cruising life the bloggersphere is full of stories of those who discovered that cruising just wasn't for them. Some fetching-upon-the-hard stories are tragic, some wistful, and a few are a joyous return to a life more near "normal". All seem to share the same bit of sage advice, "cruising is not for everyone".

Well duh... nothing is for everyone. With rare exceptions most cruisers didn't grow up cruisers. They became cruisers when land based living turned out to be "not for everyone."

Deb and I have never insisted that this was going to be a permanent lifestyle choice. Even if we secretly believe it to be so (I think I might and I am sure Deb does) neither of us is silly enough voice such a belief out loud. We have been around the track too many times, endured too many major life changes, and watched many a dream run into reality and come out the worse. And though I think anyone who makes choices similar to the ones we are making now must have some romantic in them somewhere, some rare muse, hear some inner calling to follow an unusual path, that doesn't mean being like a teenager with a crush. All living, even good living, is often still hard living. No one has it easy, no one gets a pass on getting bruised up, hurt, and occasionally scared; and everyone, eventually, runs out of options. (Yep, that means "dead".) Cruising is certainly a different experience than what most Americans endure chasing the American dream, but it is still human beings finding their way through life. Some seem to do it very well, some rather poorly, and most fall somewhere in the middle. Cruisers included.

But even if it turns out we are short time cruisers, mere polliwogs who discover that a big ocean is like a Saint Bernard in the city, (nice to look at but a pain to live with) I will still be pleased with what we have accomplished. In slightly more than six years we learned to sail, bought and worked on two boats, moved a 42 footer to Carlyle and then to the ocean, saved some money, and made a dramatic change to our lifestyle simply because we chose to do so. We have ventured into a world that we didn't know and, at least for a while, we work for no one but ourselves and ask none where we need to be tomorrow. But mostly (and I'm guessing this will not come as a shock to those who know us - or an unusual trait among cruisers) we are putting a bit of space between us and a society that we no longer find particularly enchanting.

And that, I think, is permanent. It is hard to imagine ever being chained to a consumer lifestyle again; ever working years at a detested job just because we have to have the money. Helping to fund drone killings or the NSA's spying programs doesn't really make me feel good about my contributions. I'm not interested in being a Democrat, or a Republican (really not interested in being a Republican) or even an independent. I don't mind being independent, but I'm tired of the labels America wants to pin on everyone and everything. (Your mileage may very - if you don't like funding Head Start or Meals on Wheels or Food Stamps well, that's your thing. I'll buy the first round should we wash up at the same seaside pub and you feel free to educate me as to my wayward politics. After that we can talk about serious stuff, the right anchor, ketch or Marconi rig, inflatable or ridged ... sailor stuff.)

Even if we end up back on the land someday, joining others who found cruising "not for everyone", I will still be proud to be counted among those who tried what many wouldn't dare.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Taking a guess

Eight boats spent last night at Coles Creek but Kintala wasn't one of them. The aft cabin is pretty much disassembled. A pile of wood lurks in the main cabin requiring care when getting to the head or the V-berth. I'm sure the nav station still exists under the pile of hats and parts, notes and assorted debris, but I haven't seen it in a couple of days. Leaving the dock in our current state of disarray would be silly, and only slow our progress toward the ocean. The steering vane is due in next Tuesday and it would be nice to have the aft cabin finished by then. It will not work that way. The box will sit a day or two unopened but that isn't too bad a slip in the schedule.

Such schedule is still a lot of guess work, but at the moment it looks like Kintala will be lifted from the lake on or around a week from next Thursday. That will make next weekend our last one here. I would like to have the boat under control enough to spend a last night coved out. It seems kind of silly really, since "coving out" will soon be our permanent address. And though it will be a several weeks (at least) the next "cove" will be filled with salt water. So one last night out on Carlyle isn't that important.

But I would like to do it once more anyway.

Getting as close as we are has people asking if I'm excited and, generally, I claim that I am. But "excitement" really isn't the right word. Once in a while something will jar my my focus away from juggling the next detail or concentrating on the current project, and my mind will jump ahead to what life might be in a few months. Yesterday, for example, as I approached the stern to board Kintala I could see the top of our rudder down there under the boat. (For some reason the lake has almost a foot of visibility right now, something never seen in the 6+ years we have been here.) "How bizarre is this," I thought. Then I realized that people who travel to and live on clear water must see the stuff under their boats all the time. What a silly thing to think, yet it reminded me just how unfamiliar everything will soon be. Moments like that take on a surreal haze; on the one hand this thing really is about to happen, on the other it's hard to believe we have gotten this far.

It isn't the "big stuff" I wonder about, those things that seem the concern of many. Navigation, weather, plotting, route planning, charts, GPS; all are (or were) everyday tasks in my old life. Those skills should transfer pretty easily to this new one. It is the stuff not important enough for most people to worry about that puzzle me. Will we go weeks or months without being on a dock? (The budget suggests this had better be so.) How does that work for food and water and boat projects - which always seem to require at least two trips to the store? A dingy as the "family car"? Okay, but I have never driven a dingy and only ridden in one once. Where does one park that thing when wandering around the shore? What is fuel dock etiquette? (Six plus years of sailing on Carlyle and we haven't ever drained a fuel tank. I think I put about 3 gallons in Nomad once just because it seemed like a good thing to do.)

All of this will get worked out. It isn't like I stay awake at night worried about the string of Harbor Masters who, over the next several months, are going to rue the day Kintala's mast poked its way over the horizon and into their well-oiled marina machine. I don't figure on being the worst they have ever seen. And if I am? Well, they will get over it. The nautical charts for the Annapolis area don't look any worse than the SIDs, STARs, approach and airport charts at BWI. My boat is only 42 foot long so there is probably room for me in there somewhere. I don't mind asking questions or seeking advice. And at this stage in my life two things are absolutely true; I've got nothing to prove to anyone, and I don't really mind people being "unhappy" with me. They will get over it, or they won't. Makes no difference to me.

Excited? Not really. Curious maybe, curious as to how all it will all work out. But I am guessing it will somehow ... just like the schedule.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the midst of the whirlwind

We are just weeks away from moving the boat east. Weeks. When did that happen? The house is being prepped for renters; selling it turned out to be a bridge too far in this economy. Maybe in a couple of years we will try again. But for now the mortgage payment is also a (long) bridge too far as well, so renting is the only option. Which is okay since the house is now just a house, a thing to use toward an end. It isn't really our home anymore so as long as the money works (i.e. we break even) all is well.

Kintala is now our home. On the boat front interior work progresses with hope of finishing up the last big project in a couple of days. You will know it’s done when pictures of our new aft cabin show up on the blog. The Cape Horn Steering system will be shipped soon. A package from West Marine arrived with new reefing and life lines. The survey is done, the team is coming together for lift and de-rig, transport and re-rig. Good-byes are being said, people (even perhaps a few who are not too sad to see us go) are wishing us well. And yet ...

I get my morning coffee, sit in the cockpit or up on the shore, watch the winds play over the lake, examine the sky to get my idea of what the weather will do, and plan out the day. In the midst of the rush there is no agitated hurry. I work at a steady pace, measure - cut - fit, look it over. In most things "boat" I am, at best, a journeyman and not an expert. It works, it doesn't look "hacked", but it will not win any shows; and that's okay. A boat is a machine / home that works as hard as its crew. Scars and scratches are a badge of effort and experience never earned by the idle rich. (We used to deride the idle rich as a waste and a disgrace - we should go back to that.)

I miss the sky; being an expert in a world full of people as good at what we did as me. I miss the flight planning, the challenge of a tight GPS approach, the view from 40,000 feet. Now I am the novice going to live in a new world (to some boldly, to others foolishly). And I am looking forward to some new challenges. I've decided that no matter what happens (absent abject disaster) we will just keep going until the end of 2014. It will be at least that long before we have put in enough time living on and sailing big water to feel like we know what we are doing (at least part of the time). There is an unspoken rule that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something before one can claim to be "good" at it. A year is officially 8765.8 hours long. (You could look it up.) We have but a couple of hundred hours on big water in the bank so I can promise you we will be the most cautious of beginners. The plan is to splash Kintala about 40 miles south of Annapolis, 3 or 4 weeks before the show. I will not be surprised if it takes me that entire time to move those 40 miles, and I make no promise of getting there at all.

But for today I'm going to finish my coffee, greet the herons and the cormorants, move gently around the wasps (who are only aggressive with me if I get aggressive with them) brush away the spider webs, feel the sun start to bake the lake, and relax in the midst of the whirlwind. This is my life now. We haven't left yet, but we are long gone...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The first ...

... of the tear-filled good-byes.

Daughter Eldest and Family left for home today; Grandson and I making a last "excursion" down the docks while I tried to explain to his 5 year old self that this was probably the last time he would visit this place. He tried, but I'm not sure he ever grasped the idea that the next time we saw each other Dema and Grampy-T would be living on "The Boat" full time, sailing to places far away from Lake Carlyle. Though his Mom and Dad hope to join us often (and soon) on salt water, the harsh reality is there is no real way to know when the next time will be that we are together again; it might be a pretty long time.

I managed to hold it together until the last car door was closed and the last wave waved; saying good-bye is part of the life we have chosen. We are going to use the rest of today as a kind of "day of rest". Tomorrow will start the serious push of getting Kintala to the ocean.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Retired... Part 2

Today was my last day at work. While it was a fairly monumentous day for Tim last week, being his career for nearly 40 years, it's merely a blip in the radar for me. I've never really had that "one thing" I wanted to do in the way he wanted to be a pilot all his life. I've had 6 jobs over my life time, most of them in aviation parts but not all, and the only constant through all of them was the fact that I worked really really hard at whatever the job was. Harder than anyone else I knew, and hard enough to draw pretty frequent comments from my spouse as well as a slew of others about the fact that I was crazy for doing so since most employers don't give a rat's ass about their employees, a fact borne out by the average lifespan of a job today - 5 years. I was thinking about this a lot as I finished my last day, and I thought I'd share a tidbit of advice that my dad once gave to me, something that was pretty instrumental in making me who I am today.

He once told me to always do the best job I could at whatever I was working on, whether I liked the boss or not, whether I liked my coworkers or not, whether I liked the environment or not, whether I even liked the work itself or not. He told me to always do the best I could because it was the right thing to do for me. The boss and the coworkers would indirectly benefit, but the primary reason was because it was the right thing for me. I've always lived by this advice, so it really doesn't matter to me whether I'm working on a parts sales team, or mixing aviation paint, or cleaning apartments, or now cleaning and maintaining a boat, work is work, and it's all good.

Tomorrow, however, I'm not setting an alarm.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The good-bye phase ...

Friends of the blog commented that we are in the "good-bye" phase. I never thought of it that way, but it is a good phrase for the phase we are in. I said an official "good-be" to work on Friday; a final "out the door" meeting with the head of H/R. (By the way, thanks Sarah. You made an ugly thing a little easier to take.) With that was probably a final good-bye to the aviation world. Except for catching an occasional flight from one place to another, its hard to imagine any reason for me to be at another airport. No fun, saying these good-byes, but much less of a deal than I would have thought just a couple of weeks ago.

That is partly because we are just so buried in preparation work now ... I even had to go back to a list. It isn't a list, list, but rather a list of things on a calendar; survey, eye doctor, order wind vane, dentist, pull the boat, house work inspection, install vane, pull boat, step mast, ship boat - day and time and (sometimes) place. Keeping track of it all is a job all by itself.

Another reason these good-byes went by kind of easy is, well, it turns out I am more ready than I thought. Not being an airplane driver anymore is still pretty weird. But as much as I liked being an airplane driver, a good guess is I left more than 2,000,000 gallons of burned Jet A in my wake. (I mostly flew little jets - 100 to 200 g/p/h.) In 6 years of sailing we have yet to burn 50 gallons of diesel. If resources on this little blue ball are the common wealth of human kind, I have burned through my share. We are saying good-bye to being out-of-control-American-Consumers with glee. And saying good-bye to waiting on someone else to tell me where I will be and when I will be there? That's kind of cool as well.

Saturday was the annual Fourth of July raft up for the fireworks display. It has been six years since the first time we sailed little Nomad down the lake to join the party. Daughter Eldest and family drove in from Iowa to join in and, before any of the boats left, friends from the marina threw a going away surprise party. Cake and presents and talk of plans, stories were told ... fortunately no one asked that I give any kind of speech. There is no chance I would have gotten through it without a break in my voice or a tear in my eye. (Ruining an otherwise stellar reputation for being a bit of a hard-ass.) There is also no way to describe just how pivotal a place this has become for our plans and for our lives. Thank you all. (And we will work on getting the boat to smell better - just like every sailor everywhere!)

Picture courtesy of Emily Elden
Eventually 19 boats tied up for the party. It was the biggest raft-up we have ever tied into. Several of the boats were helmed by crews new to sailing - their first time at the Fourth. I don't know what their plans for the future might be; but if it turned out there is a future cruiser among them it would not be a surprise. We ghosted out of the pack just after midnight to motor home as a precaution to the little one on board not feeling well. A dark-as-pitch run up an empty lake to warp a 42 foot Tartan to the pier in an empty and nearly as dark marina.  We may not be cruisers yet but we have come a long way since July 4, 2008.

Picture courtesy of Dennis Smith

Daughter Middle, her kids, In-Laws, Brother-in-law, and his Daughter joined us Sunday. Kim and Steve had joined us years ago for a sail in Nomad; a sail that was mostly a drift. This time around we were doing 4 - 5 knots on half a head sail, dodging rain and splashing the deck. The kids turned Kintala into a moving jungle gym and a good time was had by all 6 adults and 6 kids. (It turns out 6 kids can fit under the dodger - who would have thunk that?)

Deb had to return to the city yesterday - this is her last week of work. I think it is safe to say she is pretty happy about that good-bye. Kids departed westward in various cars today. Daughter Eldest and Family will be here next week - a final good-bye delayed a bit.

But we are most definitely in the "good-by phase" ...