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Posted on Aug 2, 2012 | 0 comments

How-To: Inform the Fam

Dan’s mom, Shelly, and Carter at the pumpkin farm last year.

Step 1: Put a big sign in front of your house that says it is for sale.
Step 2: Wait for your family to freak out.

Okay, this is exactly what we didn’t do and hopefully anyone reading this blog will try to avoid this approach as well.  We were not looking forward to telling Grandma and Grandpa that their adorable grandson would soon be living on a boat out of easy cuddle range, however we decided that it would be very unfair to put our house up for sale without letting them know first.

Let me just insert a little history here to help everyone understand why we were hesitant to tell our parents. First of all, we have a very good relationship with Dan’s parents. They live only a few blocks from us, which means that we see them a lot. It will be a major change for us (and them) to not see each other basically every day. Secondly, sailing off on a boat is not the first time that we have told our families that we are moving somewhere else, but it will be the first time that we actually do it. We wanted to make sure that we were far enough along in the planning and preparation that we would be taken seriously, as well as have as many answers to their questions as possible. Finally, over the last year we have been trying to prepare them for the idea of cruising by talking a lot about sailing and other people that we have met who are currently cruising.

To be honest, I think our general preparation worked to make the idea sound feasible, but I’m not sure that we overcame the obstacle of being taken seriously. We told Dan’s parents at dinner at Cracker Barrel (his mom’s favorite restaurant, mine less so) that we were putting our house up for sale in August and that we planned to move to Florida as soon as possible to find a boat to live on. And then…nothing happened. It was extremely anticlimactic. Eventually they did ask some of the basic questions like “What about pirates?” and “How do you make sure Carter doesn’t fall in?”, but the overall mood was so subdued I almost wished someone would cry or yell or something. It felt like being a kid again…

“Hey mom! I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up!”
“That’s great, honey, now wash your hands for dinner.”

Since that day, a week and a half ago, there still hasn’t been much reaction. Things have been mentioned in an off-hand kind of way, but no more questions or concerns have been voiced. I have a feeling that may change once we are actually leaving, but for now I just don’t think that it is real to them yet.

Note: some of you may have noticed the lack of information on my family’s reaction to the news. That’s because we would like to tell them in person, but we haven’t been able to get up to Chicago to talk to them about it yet.

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Posted on Jul 25, 2012 | 0 comments

We’ve had a busy week

Zoe during better times

It’s been a hectic week! We weren’t kidding when we said There is a Lot Going On Around Here.

As a follow up to Good Bye Awesome Car, Hello Future our second awesome car has been sold! We have been looking for an opportunity to sell it, as eliminating our last car payment will really boost our savings. We’re now driving my parent’s Jeep which they are selling us for a very good price that we think we should easily be able to recoup when we sell it. Parting ways was much easier this time… each step forward is a step closer to cast-off day. The bedroom has been painted, the carpet is on the way, and I’m done with the classroom portion of Divemaster training. Next up is assisting with classes and student training dives.

Of all of the progress made this week, perhaps the most momentous was telling my parents. My family is very close (we live 2 blocks away from them)… so we weren’t exactly sure how they would take the news that we are planning on moving thousands of miles away. More on that in our next post.

On a much sadder note, our dog Zoe passed away on Saturday. Although she was only four years old, she had been battling Addison’s disease for three of those. Steroids twice a day for three years allowed her to live an active life but also took a toll on her small body. Even though we understand the necessity of giving up our dogs before leaving for life at sea, this was definitely not the way we had planned on saying good-bye. It also has given us just a little reminder of the good things that we will be leaving behind. Even fulfilling your dreams can be bittersweet at times.

Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.

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Posted on Jul 5, 2012 | 2 comments

Independence Day

Maybe we’ll set a few of these off when we leave

Today, people all over the United States will be celebrating Independence Day aka the 4th of July. We all get together for picnics and fireworks, and then tomorrow we’ll all go back to work. It leads me to reflect on how close Dan and I are to our own “Independence Day” when we can cast off the lines and really start our cruising life. Almost a year ago now, we took a hard look at what we would need to do to accomplish that goal, and we estimated it would take us around 4 years of saving and planning to have a comfortable cruising kitty.

That was a year ago. Now we’re sitting in office chairs wondering “what the heck are we doing here?!” We’ve come to find that doing the work-a-day life is significantly harder to stomach once you’ve realized there is another option. Judging by some of the other blogs that I have read by cruisers who have already left, we aren’t the only ones who have experienced the over-anticipation that occurs once you start planning to cruise. Frankly, 4 years is just waaay too long to tolerate under our current mindset.

Therefore, we have decided to speed up the process a little. By a little, I mean our goal is now to have our butts in the Caribbean by the end of next year. There are a lot of steps that we are currently evaluating, but let’s just say that things are going to start moving at a quicker pace in our house very shortly.

Independence Day, here we come!

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Posted on May 26, 2012 | 0 comments

Our Little Secret

We aren't quite at this level...

So, for those of you who are keeping count, Dan and I have been sailing this year a grand total of… three times. Well, actually he’s been three, and I’ve been sailing twice and trying frantically to find somewhere to land the boat once. Seeing as it is almost the end of May you might be wondering where all of our sailing stories are. There are a couple of reasons (see: excuses) why we haven’t seen as much wind this spring as we had originally anticipated, but hope to improve over the summer.

  • First, the weather has been crazy. All week it will be beautiful sailing weather, then its freezing and rainy all weekend.
  • Also complicating our plans is that our boat is not currently in a slip. This might not sound like a big complication, but it takes significantly longer prep time to have to pick up the boat and step the mast before heading out on the water. It pretty much limits our sailing time to weekends except for in the middle of the summer when there is a lot more daylight time to work with.
  • Finally, Dan’s brother Kyle has been working most weekends, and due to my status as resident weakling, we need help stepping the mast.

Now that I’ve got all of the logical reasons out of the way, here’s the embarrassing one: we’re a little afraid of another disaster. Our confidence has been somewhat injured by our failures so far. (Though one of our 3 days was actually perfect.) Kyle, Becca, Dan and I actually had the boat down at a marina on Sunday, but we chickened out after watching another boat glide peacefully out of the harbor, only to get practically laid down as soon as they hit the 20 mph winds on the river. We just aren’t ready for dealing with that yet.

No worries, though! We haven’t given up, we are just going to get a little confidence boost before doing anything else crazy. Dan and I are taking a sailing class starting in June that should get us right back to our good-old-selves. Nothing like a little hands-on where the most experienced sailor in the boat isn’t the one who took the free online class! In the meantime, we’re going on a sweet dive vacation to Bull Shoals, Arkansas…full details forthcoming.

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Posted on May 5, 2012 | 0 comments

Underwater Confessions

I have a confession to make. I’m afraid of water. Growing up, my whole family was uncomfortable when in the water. I didn’t learn how to swim until I was eight years old, and I’m sure that Carter will be a better swimmer than me by the time he’s five. I don’t even like getting my face wet in the shower…yea, it’s pretty stupid I know.

A year ago, Dan started talking about getting our SCUBA certifications. Kyle and Becca, his brother and sister-in-law, had already gotten theirs and went diving in Mexico for their honeymoon and had really enjoyed it. The idea of scuba diving made me want to hyperventilate… which is somewhat ironic considering that I’ve willingly jumped out of a plane three times and I would have no problem doing it again. I just don’t like to be underwater. But I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet; if Becca could do it, then I could do it.

For the most part, our class was uneventful. I wasn’t even the worst one there! The only problem that I had was taking off my mask underwater and having to clear it again (see above statement about getting my face wet.) It was time for our certification dives at Haigh Quarry in Kankakee, Illinois. I wasn’t too worried, because I knew I could do everything. Unfortunately, I had decided to buy a new mask from our dive shop and hadn’t tested it yet. Bad idea. As soon as I would go under water, my mask would instantly start filling with water. I am ashamed to admit that I started freaking out, not quite hyperventilation, but definitely freaking out. I was done with this. Luckily, our instructor that day noticed my problem and traded masks with me so that I could complete my dives. Poor guy had to wear a pink mask all day.

I’m happy to report that while I’m not entirely cured of my fears of the water, I do really like scuba diving. Diving in the Caribbean was one of the most amazing things that I have experienced. For now, I’m happy to just go diving with Dan. I’m not interested in starting Divemaster training like he is until I am significantly more comfortable. However, there is something to be said for facing your fears. The confidence earned is definitely worth the cost.

 

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