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!

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?

the trouble with being homeless

Our Search for an Address


When we moved out of our apartment into The Commune we figured it would be for 2 weeks; maybe a month, tops.  In that time we planned on just holding our mail and transferring it to our new address (whatever that would be) at the marina.  There were a couple of problems with this:

  1. It wasn’t 2 weeks, or one month, or 6 weeks…  It was a lot longer.
  2. The marina we chose doesn’t allow us to receive mail there.  Oh.  Really???
  3. On the website it states that if you hold mail for an address it is held for all occupants, not just ones with a certain name.

The last one did it for me.  We had found people to sign a new lease on top of our lease and I was terrified that they were not getting their mail (we had put a hold on our mail.  The website was incorrect; it was just our mail being held; oh well…).

I looked to see if I could get a rental mailbox in the town The Commune is in.  Nope.  Gotta sign a 3 month contract at $90 plus key fees of $10 each plus an origination fee of $20.  Huh.  That doesn’t seem like such a good deal…  Then I found that I could rent a P.O. Box online through the website.  Terrific!  Problem solved! I plugged my debit card into their system and got a receipt that I just needed to take down to the Post Office so I could pick up my keys.  I had picked a Post Office that was near where I will be commuting to from the marina.  It’s a big one so they had boxes available, however, it is downtown in the Financial District and I work in Midtown.  No worries, I will just pop down on the subway at lunchtime.

I popped down on Friday.  I was told that the Post Office Box Lady is only on site from 2-4 daily.  What kind of hours are those?  I mean, every Federal holiday off in addition to only working 2 hours per day?  I chose to focus on positive thoughts instead and decided to come back on Monday.

On Monday I popped down again, though not so briskly.  No, she’s not here today since it’s a religious holiday (I believe it was Easter Monday).  Really?  Really?  Is there anyone here who can help me?  No, but call this number before you come to make sure she’s here.  Ok, but I gotta get my mail pretty soon and I’m eventually going to need to be able to use the Post Office Box I paid for.  I focused on happy thoughts.

On Tuesday I called the number.  No answer; it just rang and rang and rang.  On Wednesday I called the number then I called the main post office number.  I spoke with someone who sounded like she knew what she was talking about.  She told me to go to the lobby and say that I needed to talk to the Manager and they would be able to help me.  (As a note, boys and girls, do not believe what Federally Employed People tell you on the phone.)  I rode the subway downtown again (there was no popping this time).  I talked to the people in the lobby.  They looked at me like I was an escaped lunatic.  No, there is no Manager who can help you.  Why don’t you walk around the block to our sister Post Office and see if you’re actually supposed to be going there?  Ok, I’m an idiot.  I walked around the block.  I stood in line to speak with someone.  I had visions of blood vessels exploding in my brain while my mail piled up in stacks that fell onto the floor and were crushed beneath a monster of bureaucracy.  I spoke with a man who knew nothing about me or my problem.  He sent me next door.  My vision was starting to tunnel.  I spoke with a very sympathetic woman who called her boss, who called his boss, who called her boss who said that I should walk around the block to the main post office and go to window 14.  My vision, while helped by sympathetic lady, was starting to get black around the edges again.  I walked around the block.  I went to window 14.  There was no one there.  I stuck my head through the window and saw a greasy man eating a greasy sandwich.  I stared at him.  He asked me if I was the one with P.O. Box problems.  I could barely see him through the dark cloud of rage.

We walked over to the P.O. Boxes where he asked me to fill out the form I had already filled out.  I told him that.  He said he wanted a new one.  I filled it out.  He took my drivers license and checked the lease on my (now vacated) apartment.  With Post Office Boxes you have to give proof of permanent residence in the form of insurance papers, a lease agreement or a mortgage payment.  Since we lived in The Commune I was forced to stretch the truth a little.  He asked my why I wanted a P.O. Box.  I thought this was highly improper.  He asked why I only wanted it for 3 months.  I said that I was trying it out and, based on my experience so far, would not be renewing it.

All my documents were in order (though he did note on the form that I could only have the box until October 2014, which is when my lease was going to expire).  He gave me the keys and told me how to write a P.O. Box address.  Thanks, I know.  Then he said, “Is there anyone else you want on this box?”.  I showed him the back side of the newly-filled-out form where I had listed my Better Half’s name.  “Well, he can’t get mail here until you bring him in.  He has to show two forms of ID and you have to vouch for his character.”

What? What? Whaaaaaatttttt???

I argued that I had listed him and we were a family and any other time you put in a change of address it’s for a family and he can’t come into New York because he’s an airline pilot and has a crazy schedule.  My arguments fell on deaf ears.  I was starting to get hysterical and I had the sense to recognize it.  I turned around and walked out.


After a week or so I went to check the P.O. Box.  Someone had written “Deceased” on all of our mail.


The Post Office is my favorite…