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.

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!  ( I absolutely loved it.


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

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. 

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!

Why is this happening?

Funnily enough, the impending Tropical Storm didn’t weaken, didn’t turn South, and didn’t do what we wanted it to.  So strange…

There was my Better Half, alone in Beaufort, NC, relying on the kindness of strangers (Lou and Nancy from Barry Duckworth, we are forever in your debt).  I was in The Commune, commuting to New York, trying to make money and be a productive member of society.  And, for a little while, we had a third member of our relationship: Arthur, as he came to be called.

Continue reading “Why is this happening?”

What? you afraid of a little weather?

From the safety and comfort of my office in Manhattan I began to send out e-mail after e-mail to boat captains.  They went something like this:

Hi!  We are super nice and super stupid and would you help us bring our boat up from North Carolina to New York?  In our naivety we thought we could do it ourselves but we were incorrect.  Also, there may be one or two things wrong with our boat but you don’t mind, do you?  Also, also, we need it up in New York ASAP since we are going to be kicked out of our temporary housing and will be truly homeless post haste.  (You read that right, The Commune is disbanding.  It always had an expiration date on it, we just didn’t think we’d be there when it kicked in.  More on that later.)

Continue reading “What? you afraid of a little weather?”

The coming storm

While we were spending our 4 days on The Primrose Path we heard rumors and vague talk of an impending tropical storm. It was basically talk that, although there was a storm out at sea, it was going to turn south down to Florida and we would only get a little rain in NC.

Dad and I left with heavy hearts for not having a productive trip but happy that my Better Half would not have to worry about a tropical storm.

That evening, after I got to The Commune, I called him up and asked how it was going. Fine, he said, except for that tropical storm that’s expected to come up the coast.

Well, it’s just a tropical storm, right?  I mean, we survived Hurricane Sandy in our protected, 4th floor apartment in the center of Manhattan. How bad could it be?

Quarters in The Commune

At some point AllesGirls‘ mom bought state quarter collection books for herself, AllesGirl, and AllesGirls siblings. HerSpouse and AllesGirls’ mom send quarters to each other fast and furious and they know which ones are needed to complete their respective collections.

We are now trained to look for certain mints of certain states every time we get change.

After the yard sale it was Game On and we went through the quarters to look for Wyoming with a “D” (the East Coast mint). That was the last one needed to complete AllesGirls’ moms collection. We found one!  Triumphantly, HerSpouse sent it through the mail.

Only, it wasn’t Wyoming that we needed, it was Wisconsin.

We gave up.

name goes here

The boat we bought was named something that we didn’t care for, does not match our personalities or reflect who we are. It is also number IV in a line that we did not initiate (as a note: number III broke up and sank in the ocean; I don’t want that kind of juju…)

Therefore we are going to change the boat’s name.

We have had a name picked out for a long time, back before we had bought this boat. A historical name that means something to us; however, we haven’t officially renamed our boat yet.

The funny thing is that we have gotten a lot of flack for wanting to change the name. People we don’t even know have told us that it’s bad luck and shouldn’t be done. (On second thought, we have experienced extraordinary bad luck so maybe there’s something to that….)


While we were battling the elements on day 2 CoastieGuy was doing his best to keep the mood light. He said that we should name the boat Dameon. I said Lucifer. We all laughed. All things related to demons, the antichrist, and satan were thrown around.

Then CoastieGuy came up with the best name of all time:

Rosemary’s Baby

Yard saleing for sailing

As I may have mentioned, AllesGirl and HerSpouse are moving to Berlin, Germany (not Berlin, New Jersey, as was a common misconception among some of The Locals). This means that the four of us, in addition to forming a Commune and being generally goofy, are all downsizing, getting rid of a lot of things, and basically Making Big Life Changes. We decided to pool our resources and have a moving sale to end all moving sales at the beginning of the Summer.

We did.

It was a lot of work.

We made some money.

It was worth it (barely).

We took no pictures because we were too busy.

We didn’t eat lunch because we were too busy.

We sold a lot of stuff.

There were some unscrupulous people who stole things. We figure that if you steal from a yard sale you are a kleptomaniac, are very bad off, or are a jerk.

It’s hard to see your things go to strangers for less than a 10th of what you paid. However, it’s just stuff and was weighing us down…


Freer and lighter, we are doing our best to move on with the business of living bigger and better lives full of excitement, not stuff.

The Primrose Path part 4

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.


We arose early. I showered while my Better Half cooked pancakes and CoastieGuy made sure the repairs had held overnight. We talked about taking the boat out just once, for a little while, before Dad and I left. I was extremely excited to do this because I felt that leaving the dock, even for 5 minutes, would make this trip seem just a tiny bit worthwhile and I wouldn’t feel quite so horribly depressed about the whole endeavor.

We ate breakfast but I had neglected to provide the coffee-drinkers of the group with adequate coffee (I ran out of the fancy Starbucks instant thingies that cost $2 each). CoastieGuy drove to the store to get more. When he came back he came bearing a jar of instant Folgers and a story about someone who had “seen the boat and wanted to make an offer of $200k for it”. In that second I knew I was hopeless because my initial reaction was “no!”  It was a joke, of course, and then I felt even more stupid.

Through a series of circumstances we were not able to take our boat off the dock. I was bitterly disappointed. This entire miserable thing was for nothing.

Dad and I drove the three hours back to the airport. I was tired, cranky and discouraged. We left behind CoastieGuy and my Better Half who were going to continue to fix the leaks for one more day until CoastieGuy had to leave (here’s a big, bloggy hug for Mrs. CoastieGuy; thanks for sharing your man with us! We absolutely would have been lost and possibly sunk without him…). My Better Half had another week before he had to be back at work. In that time we would surely find a way to bring the boat up, right?

I must have looked pretty wrecked on the airplane because the man sitting next to me showed me the Discovery Chanel Sharkweek video 10 times and bought me a drink in order to cheer me up.  The drink worked wonders though I managed to spill a quarter of it on myself. It was a first for me…

AllesGirl and HerSpouse picked me up from the airport, bought me Vietnamese pho, and brought me back to warm embrace of The Commune. Thank God for them, I was a Basket-case of jangled nerves and I barely managed to make it through the airport on my own.

It was so nice to be back in civilization but all I could think of was my Better Half and our floating home…

That was day 4.

The Primrose Path part 3

The primrose path refers to a life of ease and pleasure, or to a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.


Day three (Saturday) dawned bright and early. CoastieGuy and my Better Half took the truck into town to try to get the necessary parts to fix the portlights.

We knew we would not leave the dock today or anytime soon; the pressing issue was to keep water on the outside of the boat.  30 minutes later they returned, having forgotten to bring one of the portlight dogs for comparison…

All 4 of us climbed into the truck and we drove to a diner for breakfast. After some down-home Southern cooking we all felt better physically though, mentally, I can only speak for myself.

We drove to the Strip Mall Extraordinaire where the boys went to the hardware store, I walked across the parking lot to the mega-giant soul sucking store that has everything, and Dad stayed in the truck.

It was starting to sprinkle as I was walking and 2 minutes after I got inside I heard a really strange noise. It sounded like a huge fan spraying marbles across the roof. It turns out that sound was rain and lots of it. Again.

I got the miscellaneous things I needed (cutting board! Dish sponge! Bowl! Dish towels!) and called Dad to come pick me up. It was raining so hard that the parking lot was flooded and it was hard to see. I got soaked just running out to the truck. What fun times!
The boys took a little longer and by the time they were done it had stopped raining. Stupid weather.

We drove to the Marine store to try to find boating-specific things. No portlight dogs but we did manage to spend a whole bunch of money.

On the way back to the boat it rained again; so hard that we had to slow down to a crawl because the windshield wipers couldn’t keep up. Stupid weather.

Once back at the boat the boys started working on fixing the portlights.

The sink still wasn’t draining and the water in it was getting pretty nasty. We speculated on what was causing the problem. Was the water on the outside of the boat pushing against the pipe to the extent that the water inside couldn’t drain?  Was it plugged and we would have to tear the boat apart (again) to access it and clear the lines?  Had they painted over the through-hull during our paint job and the water would just sit in the lines until we get hauled out? We knew that it had been working during our three day cleaning fest (back when we were young and idealistic) so this was a recent problem.

We needed to go to the hardware store yet again so the three of us left Dad napping and drove in to town. I called The Commune to explain the situation while the boys shopped. Among their purchased was a tiny plunger (along with aluminum angle-iron, a hack saw and myriad screws).

We drove back to the boat and the first thing my Better Half did was to plunge that stupid sink. It worked!  Our one victory! Our one success!  It seems the boatyard had thrown so much shit down the drain that the pipes had gotten clogged. At least it wasn’t anything worse. It was awfully nice to have a working sink.

CoastieGuy did some work on the worst offending portlights. We squirted them with our water fill hose to check for leaks. It was a slow process since there were a lot of leaks…

I made dinner (pork and beans with beer) and we sat around the table looking at each other and trying to make light of the situation. There wasn’t much light to be made.

The Yankee Feast I had provided for the indigenous bugs had made my foot and ankle swell up to the point where I couldn’t stand on it and my ankle bone disappeared under puffy, itchy, red skin.  I sat on the settee with a baggie of ice pirated from the “refrigerator”.

That was day three.