Friday, July 31, 2009


After four days of soon, soon, soon, they gave us the check at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon and said, "Don't cash it until it's recorded at the courthouse!"

So began another countdown. On Friday, the bank closes at 6:00 p.m.

At 5:30, I drove to the bank, just in case.

At 5:40, I got the call. GO.

5:41. Done.

This one's on the house!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


We walked to the beach after dinner tonight. As we approached the Atlantic access, we walked straight into a rainbow.

The photo would have shown you the brighter, more full rainbow, but when we went back for the camera we found we had locked ourselves out of the apartment. By the time that was resolved, the rainbow had dissolved. Still seemed like a good omen, locked door aside.

The closing didn't go down today either. They think it will be tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Or is it Somewhere Over the Rainbow? We need a good "today" song.

Our life's movie soundtrack is a work in progress.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Finally, the day we've been waiting for. The end of our countdown to the house closing.

We're out. It's official.

At 8:00 this morning, we moved Isabella to her new temporary slip. I rarely get to see her underway, and as I waited on the new dock, she rounded the bend and took my breath away. I know she's my boat, which clouds my judgment a bit, but I have to say, she does look beautiful, doesn't she? (Photo credit: Jim Breshears, who also put on that spring line for us. THANKS!)

With Isabella safely tucked away, I finalized the last few details at the house: Deke removed the platform bed from Dylan's room; I threw the last bits of junk in the car, loaded the last of the trash and rolled it out to the street.

With the house now finally empty and clean, I handed over the keys.

Chip and I met at our lawyer's office to sign paperwork. The last remaining chore would be to pick up our check in the afternoon.

The call came, but there was no check. A minor detail delayed the closing until tomorrow.

COUNTDOWN: 1 day to house closing.

Call off the celebration.

--Found a home for more than half of our leftover paints -- a huge relief to green souls.

Monday, July 27, 2009


COUNTDOWN: One day to house closing
The ascent was not feeling so metaphorical as we carried box after box up the 20 steps (Hillary's Step?) to Camp III, aka our new apartment, in the sweltering heat and humidity. It was a struggle, but I only used one oxygen tank. (Kidding.)

As it turns out this little pad across the street from the ocean is proving to be good training for living aboard. In boatlike fashion, storage is minimal. There's only one closet and no storage space except for kitchen cabinets. The shower is so tiny you can barely turn around. There's no dishwasher, washer or dryer. We're stopping short at turning off the AC, but you get the idea.
Two of our chores at Camp III include 1) sorting and shrinking our book collection and 2) streamlining in the clothing department -- and it does look like a department by boat standards.

To a land dweller's eye, we have almost nothing, but boaters would cackle and mock. Part of our training here will be to release our death grip on more junk. That alarming photo below shows the area we call Keeper's Galley. It's the collection of things we imagine taking on the boat. Can you imagine showing up on the dock with that?

The burgundy bins in the foreground hold tax files and photo albums. They will be going to New Jersey with Chip's parents this week, so it's not quite as bad as it looks, but still, we do have some work to do.

--With closing tomorrow, we are nearing closure at the house. Our friend Deke is removing the platform bed. Joe is picking up the sewing machine for Jenniffer. We have two bins of paint to ferry to the dumpster and ...
--We loaded all Isabella's accoutrement back onboard: spinnaker pole, staysail boom, sails, anchors, manuals, etc.
--Moved the Windvane and wind generator to Jim and Dana's.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


As we were loading the cars to move today, my cell phone rang. It was our neighbor Ruth.

"You need some help? You can't move in that little white car! I've got a truck!"

It took a while, but I explained to her that as much as we appreciated the offer, we really didn't have much stuff to move.

"I can come on over with the truck. You can't move in a little car!"

Yes, we can.

My estimate about one load of furniture plus two carloads was a little short, but not by much.

We're in. Our little apartment by the beach.

DEEP SADNESS: My heart is so heavy today, I can barely type. My friend Linton Weeks and his wife Jan lost their two sons, Holt, 20, and Stone, 24, in a tragic car accident Thursday night. I hope that all our outstretched hands can lift even one small ounce of their immense grief.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yesterday an American Express representative called Chip to ask if he wanted a credit card. He said no.

The conversation went something like this:

AMEX: "We're doing a survey. Can you tell me why not?"

CHIP: "It's a long story."

AMEX: "Are you having financial issues?"

CHIP: "No."

AMEX: "Credit problems?"

CHIP: "I'm in the process of selling all my belongings and moving onto a sailboat."


AMEX: "Umm ... uh ... Okay, bye."


A woman, Erin and her two-year-old son Toby came to look at our dresser. Our conversation went like this:

ERIN: "What kind of boat is that?"

TAMMY: "A Downeast."

ERIN: "We have a Westsail."

TAMMY: "No fucking way!" (Okay, I just thought that.) "REALLY? We almost got a Westsail!"

ERIN: "We live on it in Manteo."

TAMMY: "You're freakin' kidding me!" (I thought) "REALLY?"

I would have been less surprised if she told me she lived in a shoebox.

She is moving into a townhouse until they go cruising again in a few years, which is why she bought some of our furniture. It's going to a kindred home.

--Transferred phone to new apartment.
--Puzzling over mail. Will forward it to wine shop but trying to get off mailing lists.
--FINISHED cds. 1909 items in iTunes.
--Sold that IKEA chair, the dresser, table, hamper ....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Whew. Big progress in getting small today.

Eighteen boxes and $84.82 later, I'm finished with Tammy's Shopping Channel on Facebook! I had an absolute blast connecting with friends and then sending my treasures out the door. They went to Virginia, New Mexico, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, Vermont, Florida, Missouri, Arizona and Arkansas.

With those boxes out of the way, I loaded the car with our most recent molting of clothing and the last box of stuff for my sister.

Most of the cabinets are empty as is the coat closet and the loft. The ficus tree has gone to its new home. The house is getting deliciously echo-y.

Somebody told me on the phone today that I was so "lucky" to be going sailing. Boy, that really ticks me off. This has nothing to do with "luck." It is about planning, hard work and sacrifice. Where was luck when we were working 7 days a week that first year our business was open? Where was luck when we were working every Christmas Eve and doing inventory on New Year's Day? Where was luck these last nine months waiting for our house and business to sell in the worst economic crisis in decades? No, this is not luck. This is about endurance, focus and not shrinking back when the goal seems too distant.

No. We are not lucky to be going sailing.

But if there is luck anywhere in our lives, it's that we share a persistent lifelong dream to live on the water and the tenacity to do whatever is required to get us there, together.

--Put a bunch more CDs in iTunes.
--Packed up all our boat books.
--Down to only ONE MORE THING to box and ship.
--Tranferred the phone to the new apartment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The best antidote for wanting a bigger boat is to paint the one you have.

We spent yesterday morning sanding, wiping and taping in preparation for painting Isabella's decks. With limited tools and patience, we made it halfway through the cabin top. Sheesh. Exhausting.

The rest of the cabin top is prepped and ready for a coat when the weather breaks.

I was moving along the thin side decks sanding when I heard a loud plop in the water. I looked down to see concentric rings where my cell phone had just passed. Perhaps it's time to rethink our cell phone service ...

We stopped by to see our new apartment yesterday. Amusingly it's located on a beach access called Atlantic. Atlantic beach access. Yes.

We're calling the apartment Camp III. We're on the treacherous Lhotse Face and still have the South Col to go.

I know, we're living at sea level and trying to get on the water, not the top of the world. It's a metaphor. Play along.

--Spent a lovely night at the Bayliss' over in Mann's Harbor and saw the purple martins flying in to roost under the Manteo bridge. Beautiful sight. Fun evening. Good friends.
--Showed the boat to another prospect today.
--Have another business prospect in town this week.
--Got the key to Camp 3 today!


One year ago today, I launched this blog, all wide-eyed and excited about our impending adventure. That first post had a very short to-do list that went like this:

1. Sell the wine shop
2. Sell the house
3. Sell the current boat
4. Buy our cruising boat.

If close doesn't count, we've only accomplished item number 2 -- and that one still has a few days until completion. Of course, on July 19th, we couldn't know there was a looming economic "downturn" that was more like a free fall. And so we sat, many, many months waiting for items 1, 2 and 3 to sell.

On the other hand, we weren't really sitting around. No. No sitting.

CLOTHING: We've pared down our clothing and shoes to a bare minimum (or would that be un-bare?). I made it through the winter with only two pairs of closed-toe shoes; both pairs were brown. All my winter clothes were black. Ah, well. Brown and black are fine together. Just ask a Doberman. This week, we've been at it again. That picture on the left is my measuring cup. I have to keep ditching things until it all fits in there -- including shoes.

HOUSE: All along, we've hoped the house would sell first. It's the only thing that has been costing us money. After the house closes next week, our living expenses will be cut by more than half, which will help us boost the cruising kitty. We can hardly wait to walk away from mortgage insurance, property tax, all the bureaucracy associated with home ownership. This house has served us well, but we're so ready to move on.

FURNITURE: A couple of garage sales last fall divested us of all the furniture that we were not still sitting or sleeping on. This week we're using craigslist to disappear all but the love seat, the purple chair and our bed. Just last night, a woman picked up our coffee tables, bedside tables, two lamps, some small shelves and a folding chair. She left us a nice slim $100 bill that's already been packed.

JUNK: This might have been the hardest category, getting rid of old files, keepsakes, silly things like a blowup wine bottle, a basketball goal and green Doc Martens. Almost everything has been redistributed around the planet via eBay, garage sales or charity. A set of my jewelry went to Austria! The last treasures are still being claimed one-by-one on Facebook. After a year of pondering, I've decided to send my grandmother's nest to my little sister in New Mexico.

OLD BOAT: We are firm believers in boat karma, and boy have we been investing. When this blog started, Isabella was in rough shape. She needed eletrical work, engine work, exterior teak refinishing, interior bulkhead refinishing, screen frames finished, ...... Now, a year later, we're on the final project: painting the decks. She looks fabulous and is ready to sail away with a new owner. We've had two people look at her in the last week. We'll be moving her to her new temporary home around the corner soon.

NEW BOAT: After months of reading, shopping and pondering, we've narrowed down our choice to one of three Island Packets: 35', 37' or 380. Once we sell the business, we'll sell one car and take off on a road trip to find our new boat.

One year ago, we thought we were close to cruising. Now we know we are!

--Prepped and painted the front half of the cabin deck. The back half is prepped and taped.
--We continue to move stuff out the door.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We've been putting off painting the decks on Isabella, just as we put off doing the toe rails, fixing the soft spots, hooking up the propane, fixing the wiring. Everything seems daunting until we actually tackle it.

"Hard things get easier," our neighbor Jerry Cook told us today, quoting a longtime sailor.

It's so true. As we think about all the projects we've completed while getting Isabella into shape, most of them were intimidating, so much so that we put them off, sometimes indefinitely.

Today we painted the spots on the deck that Chip repaired. He sanded and prepped; I painted. It was so easy, almost fun.

Every time we take on a new boat project we gain knowledge and confidence, often from abject failure but aren't those the best lessons? They are the ones we remember. Think of all those varnish lessons.


The decks are starting to glow. Photos soon.

--Painted the soft spot patches
--Cleared a few things out of the downstairs storeroom
--Cashed in Chip's stash of change. Over $300
--Commenced boat shopping online. Since we started boat shopping a year ago, prices have dropped 35-40% -- and that's the asking price. We're looking forward to a road trip once the business sells.

Friday, July 17, 2009


With 11 days until we move, I was wondering if that left enough time to sell our few bits of furniture and household items on craigslist. Previous items we've put on there just, well, were on there.

Wonder no more. The answer is yes. This afternoon I went on a Craigslist frenzy and listed 13 items.

People must sit there hitting reload, because before I was finished listing, I started getting emails, followed by me running around unceremoniously dumping stuff out of dressers and end tables. The place is a wreck. AWESOME! I'm lovin' it.

It's now come to light that Chip has a secret obsession. See that little chest we no longer own? Three drawers were FULL of change, not of the copper variety but silver and gold. Yes. Gold dollars, rolls of them. Seems the economy forced some of our customers to pay with gold dollars, so Chip started stashing them. I haven't counted yet, but I'm surprised our chest of drawers didn't buckle under the weight. (Yes, that's an exaggeration, but I couldn't lift the little chest without emptying it.) So here I was collecting little useless items I have to give away on Facebook while Chip was hoarding gold coins. Shut up.

We've cleared out so much stuff around here that it took me a good long time to find something to dump all the change in. And I continue to use, sell, give away or eat everything in the house.

Chip's laughing at me for eating oatmeal in July.

--We got word that our house appraisal is good. There was a slight cause for concern as the market fell that the offer would be higher than the appraised value. One more hurdle cleared!!
--Chip has the next two days off. We're hoping to paint Isabella's decks, although at the moment we're having a thunderstorm.
--Gave our friend Yvonne some of my winter clothes for her move north to graduate school. Stay warm!
--Yvonne's moving out -- we're moving in -- to her apartment -- on the beach road. Yay. Our last touch down before the water, and it's one house away from the water.
--Still annoying my Facebook friends with Tammy's Shopping Channel. The boxes are piling up.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Most people would totally chuck the last box of doodads into the dumpster and hit the road, er, canal. Call me green or a bit sentimental, whatever, I just can't do it. After an entire year of paring down our belongings, we're left with a bunch of ramshackle trinkets (aka junk) that are worth absolutely zilch dollarwise, but, if I say so myself, are really cool.

As birthdays and weddings have passed, we've handed out our "Velveteen Rabbit" gifts, well worn and well loved, pottery bowls and paintings, glassware and jewelry, all wrapped up with our happy juju. We're lucky to have friends who value them or at least wait until we leave to toss them in the dustbin.

Now with 12 days to go before we move, I HAVE to deal with the last small box of totally random tidbits that I don't want to give to charity, can't burden my friends with... or can I? What if they actually WANTED them?

To find out, I started posting each item of flotsam on Facebook, free to the first respondent.

My first shopper was Kathy Soulia, a former co-worker from, who now lives in Vermont. She snagged that beautiful little painting at the top and sent me this note:

"I am so glad to have a little piece of you! I will keep it forever and it will remind me of your spirit. Remember you have a friend in you travel."

My little treasures are restringing the web of friendship all across the country, Vermont, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico. One little tug at each end, and there's a connection, a face, a memory, a smile.

This is so amazing, I might start giving away the stuff I wanted to keep!

--Finished the last soft spot and took photos. We're going to write an article: "How to Fill a Soft Spot and Other Breathtaking Tasks."
--Updated Isabella's blog with some new photos
--We got appraised yesterday and passed our home inspection today!
--Found a home for all our scrap teak. I cannot divulge the recipient lest his wife find out ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Chip keeps saying, "Shouldn't we rent a store room?"

I keep saying, "What would we put in it?"

With 13 days until we move, we still don't know where we'll be living. As strange as it may seem, things could change in the next two weeks that will affect our decision. If we have a contract on the business (a strong possibility), our ultimate timeline for leaving the beach would have a date at the end and give us a timeline for housing. A four-week crash pad has different requirements than a four-month crash pad.

But now that we have an actual moving date and no longer have to show the house, we're in full jettison mode (not to be confused with full Jetson mode). Every time we leave the house, we take something to give away, to throw away or to recycle. Some days I feel about as organized as the lines in that photo. Other moments, opening an empty cabinet, I feel like an efficiency expert. I do amusing things to clear out the clutter: make peach Jell-o and drink green tea to clear the pantry; clean the downstairs shower to use up the last of the Clorox spray; take vitamins so I don't have to throw them out; eat dried apricots with the last of the Shredded Wheat so I don't have to pack them. Soon our meals will consist of peach Jell-o and dried apricots washed down with a green tea and Clorox elixir.

We have two staging areas: the keeper room that holds only what will go onto the boat and the channeling room where things wait to be shipped out elsewhere, to Chip's mom, to my sister, some clothing to be distributed to anyone who wants them.

If it's not going on the boat, it's going out the permanent door. Every day we lighten our load, and the light at the end of this tunnel gets brighter.

--Two new people have expressed interest in Isabella, one coming from Maine the week we're moving.
--We hope to get the last soft spot filled tonight so we can paint her decks this weekend.
--Four business prospects are now in the last stages of arranging financing prior to making offers.
--I emailed a magazine editor to confirm she had received an article I submitted in May. She said, "Oh, it's in the July issue." LOL

Monday, July 13, 2009


Chip's birthday was July 3rd, typically our busiest day of the year at the wine shop, and therefore a lousy time to "celebrate." We had a reenactment yesterday.

We started the day at Wendy's attempting to bake a cake that, in retrospect, apparently requires advanced pastry chef training to execute. It was a Genoise Classique cake with a pina colada variation on the syrup and frosting. Holy cow. The "Classique" recipe was three pages long, filled with challenging maneuvers requiring advanced equipment and a hammer and nails. Really.

My favorite moment was while the cake was in the oven. The recipe said the cake can fall easily so don't even open the oven door. We were all tiptoeing around whispering until we got distracted by trying to open a fresh coconut, eventually culminating with Chip pounding it with a hammer -- right next to the stove. Strangely, the cake turned out fine.

Casey, Dylan and Brett cooked dinner at our house, and we all gathered around the miracle cake to sing. Lily, as you can see, was shocked and amazed by the whole thing. When Chip blew out the candles, she started screaming like we'd lit her.

The cards were opened. The cake was eaten.

We all agreed. That cake was not worth the effort. Genoise Classique. Ooh la la.

Happy Birthday nonetheless, Chip. I promise, the next one will be on the water.

--More boat and business inquiries
--Less stuff

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Ah, Isabella. A beautiful thing.

We finally got ourselves together to take her on a shakedown cruise. Our last outing on her was last year, and we didn't want to end up on a sea trial with a prospective buyer without a test run.

Turns out everything was working perfectly -- except me. Jeez. I was stumbling, fumbling, bumbling. I even released the wrong halyard trying to douse the sails. It didn't help that the hanks and clips were sluggish from disuse. My showing didn't exactly instill me with confidence for our next venture. Maybe I'm just sluggish from disuse.

It was fun and peaceful to be out on the water, but sailing in the sound is like trying to swim in a bathtub. We want out, out, out into the blue! People wonder why we don't sail around here more, but it's just not what interests us. Sailing is a lifestyle, about destinations and living aboard. It's about independence, about being off the grid, about self-sufficiency and adventure. It's about not having power or refrigeration or AC. It's about suffering. Okay, not that, but you get the idea.

At the end of our sail, we were motoring down a canal when we spotted our last boat, Bella Luna. She was cowering against a bare bulkhead, sails off, paint peeling, looking dejected, destitute. We motored on in teary-eyed silence.

We pray a better fate for Isabella.

--If our activity is any indication, the economy just might be shifting a bit. Now getting several inquiries a day on the business and more emails about the boat!
--Still shifting things around and out in preparation for moving. Use it, lose it or pack it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


You know what it's like to settle into a nice, comfortable conversation with an old, old friend? You don't have to bother with "what do you do," "where are you from." That's what it's like to hang out with water people.

We don't get asked those "where will you LIVE?" or "what about your stuff?" questions. Water people have already pared down their lives to the bare necessities and understand our desire to shove off, leaving behind the land and all its attendant ties.

Last night we had dinner in Coinjock with Captain Freddy and his friend, Captain Ashley. Even though they both have small land abodes, the majority of their lives is spent on the water. They both captain large power yachts, taking owners on day trips or delivering the boats up and down the coast, in this case. This was our fourth time in the last few years to meet Freddy when he passed nearby.

Navigation software, weather, the Dry Tortugas. Kindred souls, great food and cheap cigars.

Alas I left my doggie bag under the bench on the dock. That was an unintended lightening of my load.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm usually more the perfectionist than the quit-while-you're-ahead type, but after my recent catastrophies, I decided to call a truce with the varnish gods and move on.

This morning I grabbed the shiny drop boards and oh-so carefully stepped across from the dock to the boat without incident. They slid nicely into place and I went below to get the gorgeous bronze latch Chip polished. Four screws and I'd be done.

The first one was tight but I put it in most of the way, backing it out and back in a few times. Same with the second and third. The last one was really tight. Just as I was about three turns from the end, I heard a pop and the screwdriver spun.

The screw head broke off.


The varnish gods sleep. The bronze gods have risen and had their coffee.

I took the three good screws back out and removed the latch. There was a tiny little nub of broken screw sticking out, just enough to grab with the pliers and crank back out -- without any damage to the varnish.

By the way, nobody on the beach sells bronze screws.

No latch, but shiny boards. That photo shows up the charm, eh? Plenty of charm.

Charm's a bitch, and I hate her.

--Our first actual boat looker came last night -- from Tennessee. Somebody looking for a live-aboard to sail on the river.
--The house appraiser is coming Monday.
--We're going to Coinjock to have dinner with a friend, a captain, who's bringing a yacht through. It's power, but it's a boat.
--Sanded out the soft spots Chip repaired. Ready to paint.
--Waxed my car. Hey, we have to sell those cars soon too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I no longer cry at my varnish disasters. I laugh hysterically. Maniacally.

This morning I sanded out the grit from yesterday's disaster and put on a coat of fresh 3-part with a disposable brush -- to acceptable results.

On the way upstairs, I stopped to prune the geranium on the porch. An hour later when I went to gaze like Narcissus into my glassy varnish, a lovely red geranium leaf was encased there, a gentle reminder that the porch is just above my work table. BWAAHAHAHAHA

This afternoon, I sanded out that crimson leaf and prepped for the next-to-last coat of three-part varnish.

If you've been reading this blog for even a mere week, you know I've been to the deepest pit of varnish hell, I've climbed repeatedly back up to the mountaintop. And now that my varnish days are nearing a close I can look back at the abiding lesson I've learned, the lesson that can save legions who follow me from the same fate.

That lesson is this: don't ever use varnish.

But, oh foolish one, if you do, use a foam brush. On this afternoon's coat, the next-to-the-last coat of this yearlong run, I used a foam brush.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

(That angel better keep an eye on her damned feathers.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Don't fall into that shiny garage. We put it on the boat today -- F I N A L L Y. I'm done. The hardware is on. We'll attach it once we paint the deck.

The drop boards have fallen victim to yet another varnish disaster. How many is that? I've lost track. Today's version looked like @*#(&$# sandpaper. #$*&#$ varnish. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate varnish? Our newest theory is that the three-part varnish is corroding my paintbrush or the acetone. !#&$&. I'll use a disposable badger hair brush tomorrow. Keep your eyes crossed.

Remember that contingency contract on our house? And the backup offer? Well, the contingency lady has decided to drop the contingency and proceed with closing. That means we have a final, final closing date of July 28. Speaking of keeping things crossed.

Also today, we had another business prospect pop up.

--Garage: finished
--Drop boards: one more coat IF it's a good one

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Just as everything begins to come together, I can begin to take things apart.

We signed the backup offer on the house this morning. So now, the contingent buyer has to either remove the contingency or nullify the contract. What's this mean for us? The house is a done deal (mostly)! So, after nine months, no more staging. No more showings. No more making the bed. No more boiling spices to make the house smell, um, spicy.

Our current closing date is July 28th, three weeks from today, so I've started disassembling the place, preparing to move. As I survey what's left, I find we have almost nothing. YAY. The store room downstairs might be the hardest part, but we're going to store the tools in one of our cars. I'm selectively giving away all my favorite belongings. It makes me so happy to pass them along to good homes.

The quest for a place to stay begins in earnest ..... On an odd note, other people seem more concerned about where we'll live than we do.

"Where will you live now?" they ask, slight panic in their voices. Maybe they're worried we'll be showing up on their doorstep three weeks from today. Be afraid.

--Got another coat of 3-part varnish on the garage and drop boards.
--Cleaned out the interior of the boat.
--Finished the plugs on the teak screen.
--One of our biz prospects called to say they are proceeding with preparing an offer.
--Another biz prospect submitted their financial info.
--A broker in Oriental (NC) called to ask if we would like to list the boat. It wasn't one of those speculative calls. There had been a Downeast 32, just like Isabella, in their yard for work and so many people asked about it, he sought us out.
--Michael Jackson's funeral today. A sad life. A sad death.

Monday, July 6, 2009


We were prepared to sign the backup offer on the house when another realtor called to show it.

I had some friends over on the fourth to see the Colington boat parade, so the house was a bit messy. With a few hours' notice, I threw it back in order.

Turns out they weren't interested, so we'll be signing the backup offer soon.

Meanwhile, we have a new prospect for the biz ......

Sunday, July 5, 2009


We were running around like Abbott and Costello this morning, trying to get the boat ready to be seen. Yes! Somebody's coming to see her this week.

We started with the trim on the teak-frame screens I made for the cabin, oh, about five years ago. I know, that completion thing. I actually tried several times to finish the trim, each time cutting the carefully prepared wood WRONG -- and short.

This morning's effort went only slightly better. Just before we made the first cut, I remembered how I went so far wrong last time and rescued us at the last second. We had only one extension cord, and needed two different drill bits, so there was a lot of shuffling, re-plugging and switching bits. On the last piece, I realized we didn't have enough wood. We pieced it -- badly. The jeeter meter was pinging, but we got it trimmed and I glued in the plugs. Just let it go. Let it go.

Then I turned my attention to the decks Chip saw in that photo yesterday. He was right. They looked awful, black in some spots, green in others. We clearly didn't have time to paint them before showing the boat, so I spent about 2 1/2 hours peeling off miles of blue tape and then scrubbing the decks with a combo of bleach, Wisk and TSP. Swab, swab, scrub, scrub, rinse, rinse. All in the rain.

At one point I came zooming from the side deck into the cockpit, stepped on the freshly fiberglassed spot and had a quick lesson in why "glass" is in the name. A total bust. Ouch.

However, the decks look marvelous.

Now, I have to finish the plugs, put a coat of varnish on the garage and drop boards. Chip will put the garage back on the boat, and we'll be ready for a showing.

--We got to see my friend and former colleague Dan Froomkin tonight! We also met his awesome wife Paige and their absolutely adorable son, Max. Since I'm posting this retroactively, I won't be scooping anyone by saying congrats, Dan on the new gig at Huff Post!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


You know that image where you see either an old woman or a young one? I'm sure it reveals something deep and meaningful about your inner whatever.

We had our version of this today while we were sitting on the boat. I took this photo:

All I could see were the gorgeous toe rails that I FINALLY got right with three-part varnish and a good brush this morning.

"Wow," I said, and showed the photo to Chip.

"Ugh," he said. All he could see was the dirty deck we're about to paint.

Friday, July 3, 2009


For your birthday, I got you a backup offer on the house, and another business prospect -- and another person interested in the boat.

We joined our friends Jim and Dana on their boat over in Manteo harbor to discuss the house offer. Jim picked us up in the dinghy, Dana fixed awesome snacks and drinks. We toasted another offer on the house and Chip's birthday. It was perfect.

When we got home, I gave Chip his gift, that hand-cranked coffee grinder. Grinding on toward our goal.

The next one will be on the water .....

--Got a new paintbrush. We'll prep and get a coat on tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I'm REALLY bad at cleaning brushes. About halfway through yesterday's coat of varnish, I started seeing little bumps catching in the wet varnish. UGH. It was old varnish in the brush starting to breakdown and flow with the fresh varnish. AAAAHHHHH.

Sanded out those. Then ...

I went to the hardware store to buy a new one and fell victim to marketing. Now, I've been varnishing long enough (forever?) to know it pays to get a nice brush. I always buy Wooster, but this time I noticed a Wooster series called "Yachtsman," like somehow wood on a boat needs some special brush. Yeah.

So with my first coat of 3-part, million dollar varnish, I started to understand why they call it "Yachtsman." From the beginning it started throwing up foam in its wake. As if that wasn't enough, it started spewing out bristles like so much jetsam.

Varnish, full of bubbles and bristles.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


These last nine months have felt much like the beginning of the roller coaster ride, you know, where you're chugging up an almost vertical incline at a glacial pace, chk chk chk. Your heart is pounding with anticipation, and yet, you just click, click, click along SO slowly.

Today, it seems we've (please, please) rounded the crest and are just about to be off.

Several more business prospects have emerged and are progressing toward making offers. I've received more inquiries about the boat in the last two days.

Remember how I was lolling in the disarray of the house yesterday? Today I got a call at 10:30 asking if the house could be shown at 2.

--We went out bright and early for the photo shoot, only to find the sun at too harsh an angle. We'll try again another day.
--Wendy (Lily's mom) got the shingles today. Oy. I spent part of the day helping her get meds and taking care of Lily. On days like this, I'm glad we're here to help.