Wednesday, August 19, 2009


dol·drums \ˈdōl-drəmz, ˈdäl-, ˈdȯl-\
noun plural
1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency
2 : often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

August is traditionally known as a slow news month.

When I look back at what we were doing last August, I can't help but be glad we're HERE and not THERE. But, on the other hand, at least we had things to do! In fact, our To Do list was really daunting. We were still plowing through all our belongings, getting the house and business ready to put on the market, and varnishing those damn toe rails!

This year, we've much closer to the water -- literally. Our apartment is right across the street from the ocean, something we use to full advantage. Now, I take a quick splash in the ocean during work breaks. At night when Chip comes home from the wine shop, he goes for a swim. After dinner, or sometimes with dinner, we sit in the lifeguard stand and stare at the ocean -- and comment on the stupid things tourists do. (For instance, why would you choose to fly a stunt kite on the ONE part of the beach where there are lots of people? Stupid.)

We're in a new phase of waiting. Waiting doesn't make good copy.

Friday, August 14, 2009


We're attempting something that's not that easy: living a land life with only boat belongings.

Hand-grinding the coffee beans and living out of plastic bins is no big deal, but imagine living your daily life out of the suitcase you packed for a tropical vacation. A sun hat and sarong to a business meeting? No.

I managed to get through this summer without embarrassing myself too badly, but now I'm faced with the specter of the approaching seasons.

Last fall I disposed of 80% of my winter wardrobe, keeping just enough to eke through what we imagined was our last land winter. When we moved here to Camp III, I pitched another 10%, and now the remaining 10% of my winter wardrobe is hunkered down in the trunk of my car, the last stage before going to Goodwill -- I hoped.

"Just bring it in," Chip said, sounding so logical, when I was fretting about the thought of spending another winter on land.

But I'm already struggling with the realization that I have too many clothes for life at sea, even without the useless winter stuff. On top of that, something in my brain is telling me that if I bring them in, we're locked in to staying for another winter. If I would just take the load to charity, the last obstacle would be removed, and we could sail away.

Of course, that load of coats and long pants has nothing to do with when we'll go sailing, right? Right?

Icky Choice One: Chuck it right now. If we're somewhere cold this winter, I can either mummify myself in sarongs or buy more clothing.

Icky Choice Two: Find room for it here at Camp III, which seems as inappropriate as taking bikinis and flip flops to the real Camp III at 24,500 feet.

Icky Choice Three: Leave the clothes in the trunk and my head in the sand.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We watch like it's TV. Sometimes we even "watch" it together. We take note of each Island Packet that comes on the market, every time one goes under contract or a price drops.

This past year while our house was losing value, boat prices were careening down even faster. Our theory was to lower the price on the house to sell quickly and make up the difference when we bought a boat at a rock bottom price.

In the last few weeks, we're seeing signs that boat prices might have -- maybe -- hit bottom. Many of the boats we've been watching are now either sold or under contract.

What do we do? Wait to see if this really is the bottom? Get a credit line and buy now? Sell off all the wine and beer inventory and hit the water? (Don't think we haven't thought about it.)

Of course, if we go ahead and buy an Island Packet, that will put us in the weirdest situation yet: living in a college apartment and owning TWO large sailboats. That just seems so wrong.

So now we ponder the idea of putting Isabella with a broker and maybe taking her down to Oriental in hopes that she'll sell faster.

1. She would appear on and therefore reach a bigger audience.
2. She would be in a boatyard, so we wouldn't have to worry so much about her.
3. Oriental is a sailing community, unlike here, and centrally located for showings.
4. The broker would handle showings and contracts, sea trials, etc.

1. She would be in a boatyard, which costs money.
2. The season is waning, so it might be next spring before she sells, thus more $$$.
3. Selling through a broker would cost us 10%.
4. These are all about $$$, aren't they?

Shouldn't waiting be easy? Shouldn't we be reading out-of-date magazines and eating free butterscotch candy?

--Bayliss Open House yesterday. Hotter than hell but very smooth.
--Got an inquiry about Isabella. Someone wants to come for a look in September. A sign that we should wait?
--Biz prospects still threatening.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


We had fun futon-surfing with friends, but four days on the move was tiring, shlepping our clothes and laundry in and out of houses, sleeping on different beds.

It was a reminder of the beauty of traveling by sail: the perfect blend of traveling and staying at home. No packing, no hauling suitcases, no strange beds. We'll have freedom to move about the watery planet yet we can go home every night.

Unlike traveling by land, there will be no road food -- unless we want it, no gas station bathrooms, no hotel searches or foldout couches.

Let's get started!

--Pondering the pros and cons of listing Isabella with a broker.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


What? Why? When? Where? How?

Only one of them works in journalism, but the Wallaces and Jenkins are all darn good interviewers. I sometimes forget how foreign our plans must seem to those who don't share our interest (indoctrination?).

What will you miss most? How DO you get rid of all your belongings? Which was the hardest to let go? What about refrigeration? These were not entry-level questions and some had no ready answers.

What about refrigeration? We may try to get by without it but that does seem burdensome. Funny, humans have lived without refrigeration for most of ever, but in a few generations we've become utterly dependent on it, can't even imagine how to survive without it. Time to start imagining.

Good questions. Good times. And thanks Evan for taking this photo. Yours was MUCH better than mine. Like father .... ;-)

Our four-day displacement started today. We have to be out of the apartment while Yvonne's family is visiting, part of the community apartment plan for August. Two nights with Wendy and Lily then one night with Paul, Susannah and Townes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So very long ago, we stashed a bottle of Unibroue's Quelque Chose, hoping to one day toast the sale of the house. Today, our first alone since the closing, we sat in the lifeguard stand at Atlantic beach access and celebrated one major item off our TO DO list.

Should we be sad? Should we miss our nest? Should we feel tearfully sentimental about leaving a house we designed and built?

Is so, we're fatally flawed. We both took a look inside for those little undertows. Instead, what we feel is relief, pure elation, like riding a wave straight toward the water.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I keep thinking we'll reach the end of things that make people say, "You're doing WHAT?!?!"

No. In fact, apartment sharing might be the hardest to explain.

Here's how it works. When our friend Yvonne was leaving the beach in late July, her family decided to keep the apartment in order to vacation for a few days in August. Our deal with them was simple: we live in it until you need it at which time we'll skedaddle.

So, this Thursday through Sunday, we're moving back out. Okay not really moving out, just moving our bodies out.

Yeah, weird. Whatever.

Meanwhile, we took Ted out for hot dogs, baseball and kettle corn. Fun times.

Ted and Nancy left this morning to go back to New Jersey. The apartment is very quiet.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Camp III is full of people, laughter and food. Casey is now staying with us. Chip's parents, Ted and Nancy, came Friday. Dylan starting spending the night too and then Brett. So far, we've been growing by an average of one person per day. Last night we slept seven people.

At this rate, we might need to rent an additional apartment....

Overheard @ Camp III:

Nancy: You know why I don't buy celery?
Us: Why?
Nancy: Because I don't like it.
Ted: Oh, I love celery.
Us: Nancy, why don't you buy celery for Ted?
Nancy: He does the shopping.
Us: Ted, why don't you buy celery?
Ted: It's not on the list!


When Nancy lost her phone, Dylan called it so we could search. A few minutes later.
Nancy: Oh look! Dylan called. But he didn't leave a message!


Ted: I'm going to run away to an island where nobody can find me.
Nancy: Nobody will look.