Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Good News, It's Sucking Less These Days!

Hiking in Idaho
Two years. TWO YEARS. TwO YeArS. Yeah, it was two years ago that we left for our cruise. Whoah. We were only 'officially' gone for 7 months, I shouldn't still be in the fog of returning to land life, but in some ways I think I am. Or maybe I'm in that weird in-between where we don't really have a short term goal in mind at this time...we're just working and paying stuff off. And you know how much I like doing that...usually, but it doesn't seem to have the same luster, lure or excitement that having some pending, life-altering experience on the horizon has. Go figure.

So I think this fog...haze...whateveryouwannacallit is more of a frustration of the stagnant kind. I want more adventures and more travel, but of a different kind this time. The kind that takes me to the Lobster Festival in Maine, the Redwoods in California, the great wilderness of Canada...just  get me out there again! Although not in any kind of a semi-permanent-ness like cruising, but in the same basic lifestyle that keeps me close to nature, keeps me feeling small (obviously in a good way!). We're working on it.

So what have we been up to?

We went to Idaho for my brother's wedding and made a vacation out of of our best I would have to say. We jam packed that sucker with tons of adventure and fun.

Ron fulfilled his life long dream of shooting
squirrels out of a doggie door. Dog not impressed.
We also did some mountain biking in the foothills. 2 days before the wedding. I fell :/ At least my dress was long. For once Ron has all the pictures...I was trying not to fly off the edge of the tail. We couldn't walk out of there without one of these to remember the trip by:
Image here:

We did some whitewater rafting on the
Salmon River

Just don't drink the water!

We hiked to some absolutely FABULOUS places!
We even got talked into horseback riding...thanks Angie!
Then we came home and picked up this little pip squeak who has since kept us nice and busy.
She may need to grow into Lexie's
life jacket

The best way to tire out a rambunctious puppy

Can't take the cuteness

And the partridge training has begun...too bad she can't even see over the vegetation yet. And that Ron got poison ivy from them. Not the first time, definitely won't be the last...he's so sensitive ;)

Luckily, this summer has done a pretty good job of fulfilling this need. We've been pretty dang busy! Well, busy in the non-boating world. With a late launch date this year, hello end of June, travel, family functions and the puppy we've managed to get out on the boat twice this summer. Dismal. And when we get out on the boat we don't have the time and/or weather to take a trip of any sorts. Needless to say this too is leaving me with a feeling of stagnicity...blech.

At least it's not just me. Thankfully Ron too is feeling this irritation, now we can commiserate, plot and plan together...let's see where it gets us this time around ;)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Still Here. It Still Sucks.

Whoah. I've been in a serious, year long funk since returning to land life. Back to work. Back to the grind. Back to (my old) reality. And let me tell you, it's been R.O.U.G.H. I miss the freedom of not being on a schedule, the excitement of uncharted waters (for us) and new towns and the FRIENDS...good God I miss the friends we made along the way and those that I know we missed the chance to meet when we returned home.
At least we got to see these two a couple times this summer!
Pic stolen from Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids
I've read about others' experiences when returning to land and maybe they just really sugar coated it or maybe I just underestimated how intense that adjustment actually is (or didn't want to believe it), but let me tell you, it took me months just to be able to go back and look at photos from our trip and another couple months to not cry when I did. And not like shedding a single, glistening little tear of sadness either, more like nuclear meltdown, wanna-curl-up-in-the-fetal-position kind of sadness. Just ask Ron how many times he came home to me having a good cry fest while looking at pictures...curled up in the fetal position.

To be honest, it's still hard a year after our return (WHAT?!?!). Sometimes I'm angry. Sometimes I'm embarrassed. Sometimes I wish I would have put my foot down and crossed to the Bahamas. But I didn't and here I am. Thankfully we made enough friends still living the life that I can go shack up with them to get my cruising fix, Spring-ish can't come soon enough for me!

Ron, on the other hand, is happy as can be to be back at work, living on land, finding even more hobbies and making money. Which only makes me a little bitter want to snuff him out with a pillow while he sleeps about every other night or so. Could be worse.
By the time she gets launched it will have been a
YEAR AND A HALF since she touched water. Sorry HB!
Don't worry, I fully intend on getting my revenge this spring when the boat projects begin again and during the summer when we sail the crap out of HB! Just reinstalling the bimini frame and having the new rigging installed (<- done by the marina btw) and Ron was already sick of the boat again. Too bad, so sad, the boat and I are kind of a packaged deal now. Besides, it's not like I need him to take the boat out, heck, I can do that. It's the getting back in that might be sketchy but that's what insurance and fenders are for, am I right?!
Can't wait to try out the new rigging!

In the meantime, I've developed what some might call an 'unhealthy' addiction to sailing vlogs on Youtube, and boy are there a lot out there, more than enough to occupy my time. In fact, I've been thinking that maybe I'll try to compile a vid here and there from our summer travels with that handy little GoPro that we've used oh...once. That should be a fun little train wreck to observe from afar. You're welcome.

Anyway, sorry to leave the blog hanging like I did, this moving back to land tends to really knock you on your a$$ for a while.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Feeling Funky

Remember us?!?
Hi friends! It's been a while, huh? Sorry, but when you're not doing anything worth writing about you just don't write. And if I'm being honest, I was in a bit of a funk; happy to be home seeing friends and family but also really missing boat life and our boat friends. Especially when they all started crossing to the Bahamas. Bastards. And you know I say that with nothing but love!

Then Ron left a few weeks ago to do some diving work in Iowa. Iowa?!? Yes, Iowa. They have this river called the Mississippi which also has a nuke plant on it.

Nuke plant + water = Ron working = INCOME (what?!?)

In case anyone's curious what Ron looks like at work
Totally "Rawrrrrr" I right?!?
Haha, had a lot of questions about that! Anyway, after spending almost 24/7 together for the last 10 months, him being gone was...well...just weird. Helloooo funk. It's weird how deep-seated the feeling of being used to having that one person around to annoy you all.the.time can get in such a short amount of time. For real. Most people were astonished that our marriage survived living on a boat like we did but I would argue that, after him traveling so much prior to us leaving, living on the boat was good for our marriage, even great. But then I think we started out with a pretty good foundation:

As for me, I've been diving headlong into the job search. Had a few interviews and an offer but I'm still looking for that something special. The good news is that I've got a couple options I'm working on that will fit the bill and, if everything works out, I'll be back to work (and LOVING it) soon!

We'll also be moving back into our house on May 1st. Things are coming together around here. Now we just need to save up to ship Hullabaloo back to us and wait for the nice weather to get back out on the water!! Life ain't right without a little Hullabaloo!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Common Question

 "So what went wrong?" That's a question we've been getting a lot lately, and understandably so. Since the inception of this blog, the point has been to share our experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. And although this isn't ugly or bad (for us), I certainly understand people's curiosity about no longer cruising, especially those who are considering going cruising themselves.
So let me fill you in...

First of all, there wasn't any one thing that made us decide to call cruising quits. This trip was full of fantastic experiences and surprising revelations, the largest being that we missed work...crazy right?!? About 3 months in we both were missing the purpose and drive that working (apparently) gave us and by 6 months we had the itch so bad that it was, without a doubt, a factor in cutting our journey shorter than planned. And right before getting to the clearest water and most beautiful beaches in the world no less- just in case you were wondering if we realized that.

We missed work. Wuuuuut?
This journey was never about not working, but it certainly concluded (partly) because of it. So, if any of you have been, or will be cruising, you will learn things about yourself that have never, ever, ever come even remotely close to your wheelhouse, so get ready to embrace the discovery!
This. But on a boat. And not nearly as fast.
Day after day of putting miles under the keel and moving on to the next town, it felt more like 'Go Dog. Go!' than when we were on land. More than once I heard Ron mention that 'cruising is ruining sailing'. Over time those repetitive 50+ mile days (yes, those are long days on the ICW) really left us yearning for those lazy weekends on Lake Michigan full of slow sails, sandy beaches, sunshine and the cutest little beach towns on either side of the Mississippi.
Can't get enough!

One thing that 'we' never quite got over was the constant mental anguish anxiety that comes with spending money from a finite source with nothing more coming in. And I'd be lying if I said that cruising longer and coming back with less money in hand wasn't a very real concern. 

And let's not forget that, given my propensity to spend money when we aren't making any, our timing of coming back home worked out pretty well. Other than coming home just in time for the exact time of year I wanted to miss, we at least have the luxury of a pretty stocked bank account, which we've been able to use to our advantage. We've been able to use some of those extra funds to buy cars and live on for a few months while I look for a job and Ron delves into the world of entrepreneurship, both of which can be stressful, stress that would definitely be compounded by the addition of financial stress. Phew! Bullet: dodged. 

*If you're considering cruising I highly suggest that you over-budget money for 're-entry'. You may need a car to get to job interviews and get around. And you may need cash for it as lenders aren't keen on giving money to jobless individuals. Weird I know, but there you have it.*

The timing of our coming home, while at first was a big pill to swallow, has really worked out exceptionally well. Career prospects, getaways with friends and renewed priorities, on land and water, prove that life after cruising can still be exciting!
What a sweet reunion HB and I are going to have
once we get her back home!
It may look even worse than this :/

Monday, January 25, 2016

When Life is Calling

SO many beautiful sunsets!
How we've been back in Michigan for a month now is beyond me. As you can imagine, we haven't had much worth writing about since coming back home that anybody would be even remotely interested in. So, if you were starting to get worried about our virtual silence I apologize...sorry!

We decided to take a month to 'do nothing' and although we may not have been doing anything of interest, we have been making plans. After a few deeply involved, and sometimes contemptuous, discussions we've decided to not return to the boat and to not continue with our cruise. I know this may be quite a shock to many of you, but those of you in our inner circle, or have ever heard Ron on one of his rants, may not be so surprised.

The truth is that that we knew cruising would only be short term for us and, for a multitude of reasons, we've decided to return to land a little sooner than planned and go after some business opportunities that have come our way. I can't explain it, it was just some gut instinct feelings that we both were feeling, and like our decision to quit our jobs and take off, we're jumping in with both feet...or four feet as it were ;)

However, in making this decision, my one requirement was that we absolutely will not sell the boat. We still love love love our little day and weekend sails on Lake Michigan and neither of us is done with sailing, and just thinking of our poor boat sitting on the hard in Florida being all lonely gets me feeling a bit Debbie Downer-y. We plan to have her shipped back to Michigan this spring because, like me, she's a Great Lakes girl at heart!
Wrightsville Beach, SC

I know what you must be thinking right about now: "What a bunch of idiots, they plotted and planned to do a 2 year cruise and made it 6 months!". Well, get in line. After beating myself up for a few days I realized that we did this trip for ourselves, nobody else and we have nothing to prove to anyone. And if there's any readers feeling disappointed, I apologize but this decision, like the one to go cruising, is a selfish one. And I'm okay with that, life's too short to live it according to what others want.

Do we regret it? Hell no! We've met the most amazing people, created lifelong friendships and have seen the Great Lakes and East Coast in a way that 99% of people don't get to experience. Nope, we'll never forget those peaceful, serene nights at anchor in the North Channel, catching blue crabs in Annapolis, seeing bio-luminescence in Titusville, having dolphins jumping next to the boat all the way down the coast or any of the other million and one memories that will stick with us for the rest of our lives.
Nothing like fresh seafood
Sigh.....Beaufort, SC
Cruiser's happy hour at the White Lion in St. Augustine,
we were definitely the cool table(s)!
Our own private tidal beach
So while the blog may slow down - you know, about like it has been lately - I will definitely be keeping up with our Facebook page on our continued sailing adventures, they're not over yet, not by a long shot!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Oh The Luxuries Of Land!

Missing the palm trees up here in the north
After living on a boat for six months, you get so used to the lifestyle, and all the idiosyncrasies that it includes, that you tend to forget that your boat-related life is just a little different than those living on dirt. Until you spend time back on land and remember them all.

Flushing toilets - Yay! No more manually pumping water in and out of the head. And no more having to fully wake up just to flush in the middle of the night on one of my (sometimes) multiple trips to the bathroom at night (Hey, I like to keep hydrated). Sure, we used 'regular' toilets when we were on shore, but to be able use them all the time is a real bonus. Say goodbye to flushing hand calluses!

Getting out of bed - Sure, we commandeered my mom's queen size bed and relinquished her to the twin in the guest room with our surprise arrival but I have to say; being able to just toss my legs over the side of the bed and stand up is awesome. On the boat we sleep in the v-berth with our feet forward and in order to get out of bed I have to, quite literally, crab crawl over Ron's and (usually) Lexie's heads, hang on to something, make the step down and try not to fall on my face all while being half awake with half asleep muscles. It's not pretty. But now I can take a midnight bathroom break and be back in bed without even remembering it in the morning. No gymnastics, no risk of physical harm and I don't need to wear a helmet to get out of bed. Sorry Mom, we're keeping the bed!
Enjoying the view in Southport, NC
Being mobile - Thanks to a good friend who was good enough to loan us their vehicle while home we are on the move! No more having to hoof it everywhere, which is especially nice when you're in rural Michigan. No more walking a mile or two to a store and schlepping our purchases back in our backpack and arms. And with gas being as cheap as we've seen in a long time, we are seriously mobile with a new lease on life!

Enjoying storms -I love a good storm...on land. On the boat it's another story. I usually have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed in hopes of fair weather. Call me crazy but I just can't seem to relax on the boat when there are storms afoot. The wind, the rain, the waves all keep me on edge, although I have gotten much better in the last few months, I still like my nice weather. On land it's a little different. Last night I laid in bed relaxing listening to the 45 mph winds howl outside and loved every minute of it. On the boat the story would have been different...I would have gotten about 15 minutes of sleep and been sporting some nice bags under my eyes by morning. What I wouldn't give for a good thunder storm (while we're on land).
Showering - Okay, yes, I said that I didn't really miss hot showers that much while on the boat. And that was true. BUT now that we're back in the land of the deep freeze, I am loving hot showers again. A ridiculous amount. And the fact that I can take one whenever I want (like daily) means that we're smelling like roses over here, which hasn't always been the case!

Shopping - It has been forever since either of us has gone non-grocery, non-boat part shopping. But when you find yourself in Michigan in the middle of the winter with nothing but leggings, shorts and tank tops you have no choice, shopping is required. And the necessity of it only makes it that much more guilt-free.

Don't get me wrong, I've still got a case of boat withdrawals and miss her terribly, but our time on land does have its perks!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Home For The Holidays

Christmas in shorts? Bizarre.
When the blog is quiet, it means we've been scheming...and boy have we! We made a last minute decision to come home for Christmas, we rented a car - for a ridiculous price I might add, packed our stuff and took off on on an 1300 mile trip home. And nobody knew what we were up to except two of our friends. We're sneaky like that. We drove through the night, stopping to sleep for a couple hours in the car, and made it home just in time to start our holiday surprise-o-rama on our unsuspecting family and friends. And it was a blast.

Most people did double takes when we walked through the door but my favorite reaction was from my mom (of course) who, after a serious double take, didn't stop screaming for at least five minutes and then kept repeating, "I can't believe it!" and "Best Christmas ever!" for the next two hours. She gets a little crazy cakes when she gets excited.
The pretty lights of St. Augustine
I expected to have at least a little snow and some painfully cold weather but since being home it's been around the 50s and rainy. Not much more Christmas-y feeling than Florida really. But hey, we're home and we're loving it and the fact that people are trying to buy me into staying home makes the chilly weather a little more tolerable ;)

And if our overnight drive here weren't enough, we're driving back down to Florida, the Gulf Coast this time, for a New Year's week celebration with some dearly missed friends. Then we drive back to Michigan for another couple of weeks. We're flyin' by the seat of our pants around here and we're loving it!!

Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, whoever you're with we hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!