Boats and Mermaids!

When I was a little boy, my days after school were spent out on my grandparents farm.  It was a magical place, complete with an old dirty barn and acres of pasture.  As most boys would, I spent a great deal of my time in the old barn rifling through all of the farm implements, scrap wood and wire, tools… My grandfather was a tool guy.  He had a tool for most things and another tool for everything else.

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Grandma and Grandpa Reed!

Much of this stuff had been collected for many years and really showed its age.  Imagine hand drills and old rusty saws, mixed in with brand new gig saws, electric saws, and an old table saw…(The only tool I wasn’t allowed to touch…Think severed appendages…)  Now the reason I was always messing around in the barn was in order to build things with all of the wonderful scrap wood I could find there.  And what did I build, you might ask?  Boats. I always built boats. 

The farm had three pastures of cattle grazing land and meandering through all three was an irrigation ditch.  I spent hours of my youth on that ditch… Wading, basking, and floating boats.  I built various types of boats: Long and fast, round and maneuverable, and ornately styled ones (that usually sank like rocks.) 

My parents helped a lot.  They sent me on a  fantastic sailing adventure in the San Juan Islands not once, but twice!  (www.soundexp.org) I absolutely loved it.

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Adventuress

We vacationed on Orcas Island where I got my first taste of the helm!

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Notice the steely eye’d concentration and proper use of a PFD!

 This boat building continued for most of my youth… stopping sometime before I discovered cars and girls… but I never really got them out of my head.

Fast forward to 2014.  I’m a relatively successful airline pilot enjoying living in Manhattan.  I spend my days flying airplanes and enjoying all of the delights The City has to offer. 

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Day job…

I’m in my 18th year of marriage now and suddenly out of the blue my beautiful bride says something to the effect of: We should buy and boat and live on it.

BANG!  Full stop.

Suddenly all of the love of boats comes flooding back.  I was dumbstruck.  I think I mumbled something lame like: That sounds like fun.  I’m not sure If I fully believed her.  Moving out of our awesome NYC pad had literally not been in the cards 30 seconds prior to this statement.  But she was serious. 

That brings me to why I think I’m married to the best girl in the world:

Debby is fond of telling me that I’ve always had the sea in my blood.  She, of course, is right. (lesson one for all newly wedded men.)  I just never realized how much it was in her blood. We’ve been married long enough to be at that finish the other’s thought point.  I feel like we are one person some days.  She knows everything about me, good and bad, and she still likes me!  I for my part can’t believe how lucky I am to have her! I have found that illusive mythical sea creature… That mermaid of lore… I have found a wife that genuinely and passionately enjoys sailing and living aboard a boat!

When d and I moved aboard, (selling most of 20 years worth of possessions) and took on this totally new lifestyle, she didn’t even blink.  Give up our amazing NYC apartment…  No problem she said,  “It was my idea!”  When we had huge issues with the initial purchase and pre-launch refit, she hammered through it like a trooper.  All of the cleaning, scraping, chipping.  The lack of hot water. No toilet while I fixed ours… Everything was accomplished without a complaint, and with complete solidarity with me.  Not only is she mentally on board, but I literally couldn’t have accomplished most of my repair work without her.  From the beginning we have attacked this move with the belief that she should be able to do anything I can do.  She is fully committed to this process.  She is learning to drive and land the boat.  She is learning all of the sails, lines and rigging.  She will be a fully qualified Captain…err, Commodore!  Her touch is everywhere aboard Devilfish.  Her focus on this life is complete.   

Debby has been asking me to write a blog post for some time… sorry for taking so long darling.  May this be the first of many… assuming you all want to hear my thoughts in the future.

Happy Valentines Day love!  May our adventures never end!

There’s something about a boat…

In the two months since we moved aboard time has both sped up and slowed down.

We no longer are counting back to our move-in date worrying about what an imposition we are being to whomever we are living with.  Instead we are counting back to our move-in date and wondering where the days have gone.  Summer is over and Fall is here.  We have spent nearly every evening in our cockpit: watching the sunset, looking out over the lights of lower Manhattan and enjoying our zillion dollar view.  Really and truly living our dream.

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moving day again

We were able to take possession of our boat the day after it was delivered.  We dropped off the rental car to the delivery captain and then drove back to Commune 2.0 where we gathered our things, collected HerSpouse, and packed the commune kittehs into the car.  It was pretty tight.  When we left Commune 1.0 we had a full car and, now, we have a whole other person (along with his own things) with us.  

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commuting from commune 2.0

I had once complained about commuting by train into Penn station.  Boy, was I ever mistaken.  If you want to be really miserable just commute by bus!

Over half a million people ride the bus into Manhattan.  Every.  Single.  Day.  No, seriously, I looked it up.

In commune 2.0 I really had the best possible bus scenario.  There was an Express bus stop across the street from the apartment that made 5 or so stops before bee-lining it into Manhattan.  This bus ran every 10 minutes so it was pretty fool-proof.

My mornings looked like this:
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goodbye commune

To recap where we are so far:

  • We bought a boat in order to live on it.
  • We are fixing said boat.
  • We gave up our apartment.
  • We moved into The Commune.
  • We are still fixing the boat.
  • The Commune timeline is running short since AllesGirl and HerSpouse are moving to Berlin.
  • We are moving into a friend of a friend’s apartment very soon.

It’s a little kooky…

It is amazing how many things there are to do before one moves out.  Three days before the Great Disbanding my Better Half and I ran errands, picked up needed items, and helped pack things for storage while AllesGirl crammed items into the 5 suitcases they were taking with them to Berlin. (HerSpouse was on a trip in Cancun Mexico – he is an airline pilot too – and the photos he sent while he was relaxing on the beach were NOT HELPING ANYTHING.)  We had many discussions about what was needed to bring versus what was wanted to bring.  I’ll say that it’s much easier to make decisions when it’s not your stuff.

Two days before The Great Disbanding we packed up our meager (not meager; how are we going to fit all this crap on our boat?) possessions + Kommune Kittehs and moved into Commune 2.0.  The following day we stopped by Commune 1.0 after work and helped pack up AllesGirl and HerSpouse with last minute stuff.  The idea was to load the neatly packed suitcases into the truck, the 4 of us would drive to one final Commune dinner where we would toast our brilliance with witty remarks, and then we would drop them off at their hotel where they would stay one final night before departing the following day, refreshed, relaxed and jubilant in their adventure.  The reality was more like this:

 

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Unlikely lessons

Things start to turn around.

I was complaining to a friend who I work with that we were soon to be homeless.  We have options but some of them are very far away and some of them cost too much money, blah, blah, blah…  I must have sounded pretty pathetic because she hopped on her phone and sent a text to one of her friends asking if we could use her apartment.  I was immediately chagrined.  I shouldn’t ask people for help; it is a bother and a nuisance.

Lesson #1: ask for help when needed.

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