I’m Crying Uncle

Pirate Claire, our Ambassador of Fun on these crazy days.

Pirate Claire, our Ambassador of Fun on these crazy days.

This past week was a hard one. Tears were shed, arguments had, curveballs thrown.

Here we are, a few months into this process, and now I really, truly understand why a lot of people don’t do this. The entire upheaval of a life. It’s exhausting, mentally and physically. It’s more than a full-time job. And it’s a mirror, I’ve realized, of who you are and what’s important to you.

As we’re in the final stage of getting this condo ready to sell, we’ve lost count of how many bags we’ve donated, filled to the point of overflowing. How many times Aaron has emptied the shredder from scanning and getting rid of more than 10 years of paper files. How many boxes we’ve packed of things to store, because of simple space restrictions on a boat, and because we won’t be using the same stuff anyway.

STUFF. SO MUCH STUFF. I am drowning in stuff.

And yes, in a lot of ways, it’s extremely liberating, to realize that you don’t need all of it. Which is not to say that it wasn’t important, or valued. It is gratifying, though, to free yourself for a more simpler life. But that doesn’t just come with the mental shift of deciding to live simpler. That comes with a lot of labor that truthfully isn’t that much fun – at least, not for me. Not all the time, anyway.
MissingTheBoatAnd you start to wonder, when you’re exhausted and you feel like you haven’t made any real headway – why am I doing this again? What was so unsatisfying? Is this really worth it? It would be so much easier to just stick with the same.

We have to keep reminding ourselves of the end goal. When we’ve put in a full day of work, or a full day caring for Claire, and then have to put in another full day at the end of the day to get work done on the condo. When our weekends become marathons of how much we can box up. When our to-do lists just keep getting longer.

“Sailing off to the Caribbean – that sounds amazing!” It does. It will be. But it’s also so. much. work. Just to get to the beginning.

The next 10 days will hopefully be a game changer for us. The boat will be listed with a broker and the condo will finally be put on the market. Then, we will truly be in limbo, which is not something either of us is particularly good at. House, boat, work, all in flux. Is there another spinning plate we can add to the mix?

But in the “Hurry Up and Wait” method of all of this, we will be past the “Hurry Up” part and into the “Waiting.” We’ll still be working, but on planning the specifics of our adventure. What’s our short list for boats? Our healthcare options? Do we need homeschooling materials for preschool for Claire? If we don’t buy a new boat, what route do we use to get Clarity out to the East Coast, and what’s the timing? Fun work. Work that will renew my excitement in this whole process.

What makes me smile, even right now as I type this, is the idea that six or eight months from now, I’ll be sitting on the bow of the boat (Clarity or otherwise), on the East Coast headed south, or maybe already in the Caribbean, reading through some of my posts just for fun, and I’ll come to this one. And I’ll laugh, and I’ll call Aaron over to read it with me.

And we’ll say with a grateful smile, “Yep, I remember that. I remember exactly where we were then. But you know what, we came out the other end. And now we’re here.”

Prayers for Adventure

Prayers

 

I think it’s safe to say that Aaron and I are completely humbled.

As you know, we are continuing to go through our condo and sell, store, get rid of what we can, etc. Yesterday, Aaron came across a collection of prayers I wrote for us in the first few years of our marriage – years before we had Claire, bought Clarity, started living aboard part-time, began to craft this crazy dream of becoming full-time cruisers, and actually started setting tangible goals.

To find these prayers yesterday, as we are slowly but surely realizing our dream, moved us both beyond words. Here’s to the journey, as much as the destination.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex.” – Henry David Thoreau

A Very Maritime Christmas

ChristmasSailThis holiday season was a perfect mixture of family celebrations, winter adventures, and preparations for what’s to come.

This was almost assuredly our last Christmas at our condo in Oak Park. It’s crazy to think that I have no idea where we will be a year from now. But exciting, too.

Our families are unbelievably supportive of our plans, and gave the most thoughtful gifts that will make our transition to boating life even more comfortable. Turkish towels for the bath/beach and the galley. (They are a most-coveted item for cruisers: Learn more about Turkish towels here in a great post from another boating family.) Appropriately sized pans for a boat grill. Squigz and other toys that will fair well on a less-than-stable “work surface,” oceanography books and a pocket microscope for our little adventurist, and a cozy owl sleeping bag for starry slumber parties on the bow. And so much more – even a moisture-resistant to-go bag for all of my knitting materials! Yes, my hobby has become an obsession.

In the interest of saving as much as possible for our next chapter, Aaron and I decided to stick to a $10 limit for our gifts to each other. I made him a homemade bag of boat rags (you can never have too many!), and he put together a trivia game for me to learn more about the Bahamian Islands. Each answer gave me the next port of call, and as I “mapped out” our course, a gift awaited me at each place (a hand massage, a few hours to myself, and some essentials I’ll need during our time on the water, like a quality pair of polarized sunglasses). That Aaron guy – he’s a keeper.

Snowwatching

A day after we arrived in Michigan, there was finally a decent snowfall! Claire was mesmerized.

After celebrating with my family in a cornucopia of delicious dinners, we spent the week of New Year’s in Michigan with Aaron’s. Well aware of our impending lack of childcare, we reveled in being able to leave Claire with Aaron’s mom in Grand Rapids for a few days and head north to Boyne for skiing and card game debauchery with his brother and his family. Then it was back to Grand Rapids to ring in the New Year with full bellies and full hearts.

Throughout the holiday season, I tried to be as present in the moment as possible. The beauty of thick snow hugging the trees, having family just a short car ride away, the simple pleasure of cozying up to the fireplace after a day spent burning as many calories laughing as skiing … I’m going to miss all of it.

Now begins the real work. We will be meeting with our realtor this week and should have the condo listed shortly thereafter. We continue to toss around whether or not to list Clarity with a broker, though time is proving to be a strong ally to brokering.

In the meantime, more and more “stuff” needs sorting, selling, storing… The tasks seem to keep breeding.

“Let’s sit down tonight and write down a list of to-do lists that need doing.” Sigh…

It’s all worth it, though, with the end game in mind. White sandy beaches, warm afternoon breezes, we’re coming for you. 2016, however you play out, you’re already rocking our world.