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"...am 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?
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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.
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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.
So.many.slow.sails.
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!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's (Almost) Christmas Time With Jord

Men's Dover Series Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood
Women's 
Ely Series Red Sandalwood
It pays to have good friends. Thanks to Jessica over at MJ Sailing, we were contacted by the Jord Wood Watches asking if we would be interested in checking out some of their wood watches. If you haven't noticed, we tend to not get into the sponsorship game much, we tend to review products that we decided to buy on our own without ties to the manufacturers and so I didn't really plan on participating.

Actually, a couple of emails went ignored and it wasn't until Ron saw one of them that he decided to go to their website and check it out. And almost immediately he decided that we should do it. A few more emails back and forth, figuring out shipping, choosing designs and sizes and we had a couple of sharp watches sitting on our wrists, real classy like.

These things are pretty sweet, the rich wood colors, the simple, sleek design of the women's style and the intricate, industrial facets into the workings on the men's style gives the watches a modern, upscale look that, quite frankly, is a step or two above our general level of class. Hey, sometimes it's nice to pretend you belong, what can I say?!?

Yes they're wood, yes we're on a boat. Is that an issue? Maybe. We'll be subjecting them to water as little as possible because while the watches are stylish and comfortable they are not water proof (only splash proof). We have plenty of other items on the boat that are not water proof (or even splash proof for that matter) that have survived just fine, so I imagine these will still fair quite well too.

Hands down our favorite feature of these watches is the self winding automatic drive system (ie. they need NO battery). Yup, no more leaving it on a shelf for months at a time trying to remember to get a new battery put in somewhere.  I hate when that happens. And if you're anything like Ron, it takes about .5 seconds for you to scratch the face of a watch (true story), but we don't have to worry about that so much now because his Jord watch was made with sapphire crystal glass, more durable than the standard glass. Necessary for Ron...on a boat? You bet.

These are the perfect accessories to class up a cruiser's wardrobe and we're really enjoying wearing these while out and about.

"Hand crafted watches that tell a story" indeed, so if you're still looking for that one last hard-to-buy-for person, this is an easy way to get them crossed off your list!





Mens Wooden Watches

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bathing On A Boat...Or Not


Showering in water so cold it takes your breath away is no fun.
Now I just pass on it all together...and the water here is no where near as cold.
I'm getting soft with my cruising age.
At home I showered everyday (shocker, right?). We had lots of hot water, a fabulous walk-in shower and, well, showering daily is just what you do. On land.

On the boat showering happens more on a necessity based occurrence because a) we have limited amounts of water on board and try to be conservative with its use b) we seldom have access to showers on shore and c) sometimes it's just too darn cold out! Now, I'm not one of those cruisers who pines away for unlimited, hot water showers, for the most part our solar shower does just fine by me - especially when we add some hot water to it - but there are times when I just can't make myself go out in the cold/wind and shower. Nope, sometimes you just have to add another layer of clothing and hope the next warm weather wave isn't too far off.

Remember the time I went 4 days without showering? Ron does.

If it's not too crazy cold, and I can get out of the wind in the cockpit, I sit on the floor and hang the shower over the boom and get in a quick scrub. And if that's not happening there's always the magic of dry shampoo, a must have on any boat I assure you!

Don't leave home without it
Sure, when we get into warmer weather with water we can actually enjoy, we'll just jump in and suds up with a quick freshwater rinse and be good to go, but until then hygiene can be a little hit and miss. Just part of the glamour of traveling down the East Coast in the winter at 5mph.

At least I can shave in the boat when I want to, even if it's too cold to shower up on deck. I'm not saying I actually do it, but I do have the option, however underutilized it is.
At least Ron can cut his own hair, no dreds for him!

Now who wants to come visit?!?!