Wednesday, April 29, 2009


There's an old saw in sailing lore that says, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight."

Apparently pink counts as well. That spectacular explosion of pink was Saturday night, just before the dawn of this amazing week.

After seven months on the market, our house now seems to be hot property. It has been shown at least five times in the last week. Three people have looked in the last 24 hours, two of which are threatening to make offers.

I listed the store on on April 9. That same day a couple from Massachusetts contacted me. They visited last weekend and told us today they want to move forward. The last few days, I've been deluged with requests for information about the business, four yesterday alone. One of the prospects has submitted his financial statement. Another from Maryland arrived in town today and will be visiting the store later this week.

Yesterday we got an email about the boat that said:"I have found my next and hopefully final boat in Isabella. Is she still for sale?" Yet another sent an email today.

There are a lot of trite things to say here:
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
When it rains it pours.
Light at the end of the tunnel.

Instead we're feeling quiet, subdued and strangely humbled.

I have never believed that other old saw, "Too good to be true."

Monday, April 20, 2009


"Will you be sad when we move out of this house?" I asked Chip last night as we sat on the back deck.

"Emotional maybe."

This started a long and happy reminiscence of how our lives are interwoven so intricately in the walls of this house, in the floors, the trees even the sand underneath. Before the first piling was driven, we spent hours drawing out our floor plan, discussing the pros and cons with the kids. Even before we got blueprints, I made two little three-dimensional paper houses using graph paper and foam core. We would lift off the top floor and peer inside, moving around paper cutouts of our furniture and beds.

As the house was being constructed, we visited every day, monitoring every development. One day we arrived to find a doorway where there was supposed to be a closet!

When the walls were up but before they installed the sheetrock, we brought the kids over armed with cans of spray paint. They sprayed words and pictures on the walls and floors of their rooms, now sealed away for posterity. When the foundation was poured we brought them over to put their small handprints in the wet concrete, along with a tribute to my grandmother who died the same day.

The blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling of Casey's now empty room still makes me smile. The day she and I painted it, she was 12. I explained to her how careful we needed to be with the blue paint because the walls had already been painted white. Then, of course, it was me not her who swiped a big blue swath across the white wall. And then I did it again. Boy, did we laugh until we cried.

Chip and I assembled the English-style garden in the backyard brick by brick. We drove to Elizabeth City 45 minutes away to pick them up, creeping nervously with them teetering in the back of the truck. When the bricks were done, we used a wheelbarrow to ferry the gravel from the pile in front to the walkway in back. We cut timber and drove stakes for the raised beds. Last year we installed a fence around the backyard.

The Crepe Myrtle now so tall in the front yard was a Mother's Day present from Chip and the kids the first year we lived here. The birch tree in back was the same two years ago.

The pine floors recall the longest, hottest day that July when our friends Joe and Jenniffer helped us lay them. The doorknob reminds me of when Sparky and Jenniffer puzzled over how to install it.

Everywhere, everywhere we look there is a story that only we can tell.

Will we be sad to leave it? On the contrary, this phase of our lives is complete. The next phase is one we long to start. When the day comes, we'll thank this house for seeing us through and set off with happy tears, ready to leave it behind.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Our friends who are road-tripping with their two beagles blogged recently about how they maintain marital bliss on the road. They accomplish this, in part, by dividing up their duties. This isn't like you fill the car with gas while I feed the dogs. This is you always fill the car with gas, and I always feed the dogs. They have divvied up every daily, weekly and periodic duty this way.

That got me thinking, wondering if this could work for us on the boat. When we first opened the wine shop together we imagined we would be completely interchangeable. We would both learn everything there is to know and be complete clones of each other. This didn't work. (Stop laughing.)

Eventually we realized that each of us had strengths and weaknesses that were complimentary and the duties and responsibilities could be divided up accordingly. Things ran much smoother after we embraced this concept.

We can apply this concept afloat with one major caveat: we both have to know how to handle all the duties. Unlike on the road, on the water, the lives of those onboard depend on maintaining systems. If the rigging isn't inspected and there's a failure, it can be both catastrophic and life threatening. The same goes for lifelines, leashes, life preservers, etc. To a lesser degree, if things aren't stowed properly they become hazardous or, if left up top, can be ruined or worse, disappear.

So what's the solution? We're thinking we create two carefully delineated duty lists that we alternate every month or so on a regular basis. That way, we know what our responsibilities are plus we know how to manage all the duties.

Now about that duty list .....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


In my mind, my dreams are written out in FONT SIZE="100," extra large, super-sized dreams. But this week I had a fleeting glimpse at a future context that made my dreams look like a FONT SIZE="-1".

That future played out something like this: We sell our house, our boat and our business. Okay, I came up with that much on my own, but here's the cool part: all the proceeds and benefits from the sales spawn another generation of cruisers in our wake.

We chose the realtor for our house, because he is a friend who shares our goal of living on a sailboat. So that part is a done deal. But check this out.

Last Sunday a guy in Durham emailed me about our boat, Isabella. He and his wife are planning to cruise with their two small boys in five years. They are shopping around for an interim boat to sail until they're ready to set off.

That very same day, a guy in Arkansas emailed me about our business. He and his wife are working on a 10-year plan to cruise, the first step being the purchase of a small coastal business that will fund their plans.

It was a stunning turn of the kaleidoscope that caused me momentarily to freeze in place, and, frankly, to weep a little. Clearly, this was no vision of the future. It was just a little reminder.

The universe is so much bigger than me. Or is it bigger than I?

--All my complaints about the lack of kindred spirits have been heard. It was fun to talk to the boat and business prospects who also plan to cruise.
--All my listings seem to be getting hits. I'm fielding lots of inquiries and have at least four serious bites on the business, two coming into town to check us out in the next week.
--We lowered the price of the house again. We did a survey of what's on the market and are trying to get ahead of the curve.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Okay, there seems to be a little bit of movement in the force. There have been tiny trickles of encouragement in the news this week. Obama is seeing "glimmers of hope," signs of progress. For the fifth week in a row, the Dow has been up, regaining 20% since the low point in March.

Here on the home front, we're feeling it too. I'm about 80% recovered (I don't know, I just made that up). I've been listing like crazy. Not tipping over, listing our properties online. The business went on Wednesday and has already produced several leads. The boat is back on Craigslist up and down the East Coast. In addition, we're having an open house tomorrow and four people have looked at the house in the last week.

Sure, there are pirates in the Indian Ocean, an earthquake in Italy, a bombing in Iraq and Karl Rove is pissed off, but the sun's been out, it's warming up.

Ah, I love the smell of napalm in the morning!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Bought Isabella, Downeast 32

27th Opened wine shop

4th Decided to accelerate our 5-year plan and sell everything in fall 2008

July18th Plodding to Paradise, this log of our adventures, begins

Started preparation in earnest to get house and business ready to sell

15th Lehmann Brothers files for bankruptcy
15th BankofAmerica buys Merrill Lynch
15th Dramatic drop in global stock markets
16th AIG suffers liquidity crisis
17th Chip and Tammy list business with broker
17th Markets continue dramatic decline, Dow drops 446.92
25th Federal regulators seize Washington Mutual, largest bank failure in U.S. history
26th Chip and Tammy put their house on market
29th House rejects bailout; Dow suffers greatest loss in history of index, -777.68
Car sales in September plummet 27%
284,000 jobs lost

1st Senate approves revised $700B bailout bill
2nd Dow drops 348.22
3rd House approves $700B bailout
6th Dow drops below 10,000 for first time in four years, global markets plummet
6th Iceland passes emergency legislation to seize and regulate their banks
8th Global markets experience huge drop
8th Federal Reserve loans AIG $37.8 billion
9th Dow hits 5-year low
10th Stock markets crash across Europe and Asia
10th Dow lost 697 points in first 5 minutes
10th Dow closes 40% down from its record high on October 9, 2007
13th Dow soars 936 points, largest one-day advance ever
15th Dow plunges 733 points
16th Dow falls 400 but rallies to close up 401
22nd Dow drops 514
24th Markets plummet after Alan Greenspan calls the crisis "a once-in-a-century credit tsunami."
28th Stocks rise dramatically in anticipated of rate cuts by central banks, Dow +889
240,000 jobs lost
Consumer confidence hits all-time low

GM sales drop 45%
4th Obama wins Presidential Election
6th Dow has biggest two-day percentage drop since 1987
7th Unemployment rises to 6.5% in October
13th Dow has erratic ups and downs ending with a 550 point gain
13th October numbers show foreclosures up 25%
18th CEOs of three automakers plead for assistance from Congress
18th National Assoc of Realtors report median home price down 9% from last year
19th We reduce the price of the house $10K
19th October housing starts a lowest level since 1959
20th Dow loses 445 points
533,000 jobs lost

1st Dow drops 680
2nd Automakers report huge declines from 31-47%
4th November retails numbers released showing drops of 12-15%
11th Number of people filing for unemployment hits 26-year high
11th Bernard Madoff arrested and charged with running $50B Ponzi scheme
681,000 jobs lost

20th Obama inaugurated amid another Dow plunge on banking news
598,000 jobs lost

697,000 jobs lost

2nd Dow Jones Hit Lowest Point since 1997
Unemployment Hits 8.1%
742,000 jobs lost

3rd Unemployment reaches 8.5%
9th Chip and Tammy list the business on
15th Chip and Tammy reduce the price of the house

26th Chip and Tammy get the first offer on the house
29th Chip and Tammy sign contract on the house

2nd Unemployment reaches 9.5%
7th Chip and Tammy sign backup contract on the house
8th Contingency on original contract officially lifted! July 28th closing.
9th Showed Isabella for the first time
14th House appraised
16th Passed house inspection
25th Moved into our little apartment: Camp III
28th Scheduled house closing
31st Actual house closing and check in the bank!

14th Dow closes above 10,000 for the first time in a year


15th Made an offer on an Island Packet 380 -- and it was accepted!

1st Tammy turns 50
21st Sea trial on GOOD COMPANY
28th Close on Good Company!

March 2010
1st Contract on Isabella
8th Isabella sold!

April 2010
11th Moved our first belongings into Good Company
19th Tammy moved permanently onto Good Company
29th Left Rock Hall to take Good Company to the Outer Banks

May 2010
4th Arrived in Manteo on Good Company

June 2010
14th Sold wine shop!

July 2010
18th Christened Cara Mia

October 2010
23rd Untied the lines and left Manteo
24th Moved to:
With our first entry:

We hope you'll join us on our new adventure. Thanks for reading!