Achieving Joy and Black Holes

NO! This is not about the recent election. (Though someone may want to co-opt the title.)

For over a year now, we aboard La Luna have been working on what we “lovingly” call the “Joy Project”. (EW has no love for the “Joy Project”.) Way back in 2014 I stumbled across a little book written by a young, slight, seemingly OCD Japanese woman. “The KonMari Method, The Life Changing Habit of Tidying Up” resonated with me (and made me laugh). After some discussion EW agreed (He. Did. Agree.) to join me in working our way through the boat in the KonMari method in order to get rid of things, resettle  in a joyful way those things we kept,  and reassert control over our boat, our stuff, and every single drawer, cupboard, and storage area. I would keep careful records of our successes, the “Joy” achieved, and the challenges, to use in a future new book about our cruising life.

IMG_3414While we are joyful people, we suck at getting “Joy” by using the KonMari method.

A case in point.

Those who follow me on Facebook know that with all the moving from boat to friends’  home, to  another friend’s boat, and back aboard La Luna during and after Hurricane Matthew, I lost a bra. How does anyone lose a bra? Well, I have found said bra; it had fallen in the space behind our hamper. (Despite that one flaw, the hamper does bring us “Joy”.) When one brings “Joy” in the KonMari method, one works in categories and takes a number of months (or in our case, evidently, years) to go through one’s abode category by category. So far we’ve done clothing, cooking, and assorted other items.  We suck at this. In doing clothing, while we got rid of a lot,  we still  had to find places to store the winter stuff during the St. Augustine summer. Fall has arrived with 57 degree nights and I have not been able to find my jeans. I imagined that I had taken them to Goodwill during the “Joy Project”. This was not a Good Thing.

As the Net Controller for the St. Augustine VHF Net, I am responsible for the lovely burgees that we sell to raise money for …. whatever. One of our newer liveaboards asked where he could obtain said burgee and I jumped up and down and waved my hands on our Facebook page and told him that I had them for sale for $25.00. He gave me the money when he saw me on shore and I now owe him a burgee. (Trust me, this all ties together with—mostly—Joy.

So yesterday, I blithely went to the Master Stateroom where I had been storing the burgees for about 6 months. No Joy. I tore the area apart—five times—No Joy. I ultimate had a hissy fit (I can still attribute those to Hurricane Aftermath for about four more days, at which point we will have been back aboard for a month and I have to move on.) No Joy from the hissy fit either, so I proceeded to tear apart the quarter berth area, and somewhere in there the forward door to the shower … BREAK  If this boat were filled with “Joy” one could actually walk in a circle from Maine Salon to Quarter Berth to Shower, to Aft Head, to Master State Room, to Galley, and to Main Salon. That has NEVER happened on La Luna. It would bring me great “Joy”.

Anyway, the door to the shower popped open and a number of full plastic garbage bags tumbled into the Quarter Berth area. To my “Great Joy”, these contained......(no not the Burgees) my winter clothes! Yippee. Hip Hip Hooray. Warmth. Long pants. Fleece. Joy.

Now let me tell you about the shower. For 5 years in the Caribbean, this shower was my friend. I could take warm showers and cool showers. Naked. In the privacy of my boat. Often, we still showered on deck in our suits (we are not from France, after all), but I love our shower stall. Here in Florida, we shower on shore because we can and because we can take “Hollywood” showers, a luxury of leaving the water running for your entire shower. Now that brings me great joy.

Again this ties in.

P_20161114_102523_HDRWhen we worked together on the “Joy Project” those months ago, we came up with a lot of things we no longer needed and evidently we did not take anything to Goodwill. Instead, we stored them in the one place on the boat we aren’t currently using: The Shower. It is the Black Hole. There is a pile of things we intend to give away or sell, the brand new man overboard pole EW wants to keep out of the sun, and my few items of dress clothes hanging on hangers. (Hadn’t used hangers in 5 years. Using hangers does not bring me joy.) In addition, there is a dish tub of cleaning products I never put back under the head sink when I “Brought Joy” to that area of cleaning supplies. This is not an approved method of obtaining “Joy”. (Though I love the new sink organization and maybe don’t need that stuff in the tub at all.)

This morning, I took a new storage tub (another story in its own self), emptied a cupboard on my side of the bed in which I had put all my big sewing stuff,  lovingly folded my winter clothes in the approved “Joy” method, and gave them a home in the Master Stateroom. Said tub went into the Black Hole, along with the cleaning products, dress clothes, old and new man overboard poles, and numerous bags of stuff that are supposed to be OFF THE BOAT.

Whew.

Told you we suck at this “Joy Project”.

Now, some of you may wonder, “What about the burgees?”

I had an epiphany, about a half hour into during all of this fussing and hissying, and emptying cupboards. When we moved off the boat before the hurricane I had packed up a bag of precious things and taken them to Joe and Deb’s in Elkton. Since we were going to be refugees for a few weeks, Deb offered to keep the precious bag until I had time to take it back. The burgees are in the precious bag in Elkton.

So part of me resents the lost time yesterday. Part of me realizes that without the “lost” burgees I might not have found my clothes for weeks and finding my clothes brought me “Great Joy”. All of me realizes that we have to get cracking on the “Joy Project”. EW will not be really happy about this. Stay tuned.


Cleaning, Fixing, and Love from Home: Life After Hurricane Matthew

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Harts At Sea

 

 


Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly, Boats Gotta Float

Those of you who use Facebook know that we are back in the water and living aboard and very, very thankful. We also are grateful to the many who helped us, supported us, hugged us, housed us, fed us, loved us, made us smile, and provided excellent advice.

There are two parts in getting a relatively undamaged boat back into the water, 1. Paying for it; 2. Doing the Heavy Lifting.

Paying For It

We choose to have only liability insurance on La Luna. We believe in liability insurance for our own protection and it is required for entering marinas all over the world. Even after reading our policy, it was not clear to us that liability would help in our situation. After all, La Luna had successfully traveled on her own sometime during Hurricane Matthew and arrived in one of the best possible spots without coming into contact with anything other than mud, small trees, and mangroves. She didn’t damage anyone’s personal property, and that is all we thought liability would cover.

You who read (and understand) the fine print, you who grilled your insurance agents, you who are both boaters and lawyers or insurance agents—all of you may know that your liability insurance (in most cases) kicks in when your boat goes walk-about. We did not know that. For over a week post-Matthew we thought we had to pay to get La Luna floating again. It was not an easy week, yet we continued to be thankful, saying “Once she’s floating, she’s our home again.”

Many other boaters were not as fortunate. This tug left St. Augustine recently with Polaris, Mental Floss, Nyght-Bryte, Anticipation, and at least two other loved sailing vessels. We know Polaris was totaled. Certainly, the others on deck are secured like cargo rather than someone’s current or future dream.

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Thanks to David Wiggins, marine surveyor and hurricane insurance expert sent by Boat U.S., we learned that having your big, heavy boat beached on someone else’s property is not something the landowner likes all that much, so our boat was a liability. Thanks to EW’s hours of phone calls (on a Sunday) and thanks to those agents and adjusters who reached out to us in our time of need (on a Sunday), we learned that $14,100 was a reasonable fee for a heavy boat in that predicament, (Whew!) and that our insurance would cover all but the deductible (Double Whew!).  Sunday was a very good day. Before we went cruising, we purchased insurance through Boat US, and recommend them. Once we left the country, we opted to purchase Markel Insurance through IMS Jackline Insurance and have found both the agent and the claims office to be excellent.

Doing the Heavy Lifting

We lost track of the days; moving, worrying, seeing to La Luna, and trying to figure out how to move her. There is a strong Facebook Group of local cruisers here and that became the go-to method of communication. Phosphorescence was lying right next to us, but her owner was on a Cruise Ship somewhere in Panama. We messaged with him and worked with his brother and with his insurance agent, David Wiggins. EW also began talking with any of the other boaters who wanted to communicate and whose boats were near ours, nine in all.

One was “up a creek” and able to winch his boat out to deep water over the course of days with help of the extreme high tide. Others opted to go with a crane and barge from Fernandina, which didn’t actually arrive in St. Augustine until after our boats had been hauled. EW talked with a highly recommended local barge and crane company, Yelton Marine Construction.  While he is impressed with the owner and crew, it was decided that their rig was too small to handle ours in the best possible way. EW also talked with DIVECOM Marine, a salvage company from Tampa. Their method would have included skidding La Luna over the mud using a big tug and trash pump and all sorts of stuff. Again, nice guys, but not our favorite method; I am sure they were able to help others in the area. In the meantime, McCulley Marine Services arrived with an 110-ton crane on a barge and a nifty tug operator who looked like Father Time. Owner, Boo McCulley drove up from Fort Peirce to seek out business and therefore help folks like EW and me.  David Wiggins, who has worked 26 previous hurricanes, had hired McCulley previously, recommended them, and chose them to haul out our temporary on-shore neighbor, Phosphorescence. Once we met with Boo, EW immediately decided that he wanted them to handle La Luna, as well.

Time note, all of this happened before we called our insurance company. EW nailed that down on Sunday, the day the crane moved into position for both La Luna and Phosphorescence. I love it when a plan comes together.

On Monday morning it was all about the tide as we gathered along the shore, joined by a surprising and heartwarming number of friends for support. Kirsten and Rocky rented a car and drove down from Georgia, Cathy made the trek again from Amelia Island, Joe dropped by from “Camp Elkton”, and Lisa and Matt came by from a few blocks away. The barge lifted Phosphorescence first. The crew was careful, skilled, and a delight. I called them engineering Bubbas and mean that in the best possible way. The barge operator called me “little lady” and assured me they’d have the boat on the water by noon. The others all “ma’amed” me and kept dismissing my praise as just a day in the life. EW says that they were careful y treated La Luna as if she were an eggshell.

By one, both vessels were off the mud and Phosphorescence was on her way to a safe dock. La Luna was (mostly) upright and (somewhat) in the water. Unfortunately taking care means taking time and we had lost the super high tide. No worries. She would stay in slings, held in the water by the crane until the next high tide when they would carry her out to deep water as tug and barge moved to a safe anchoring spot near the dolphins to the south. It was agreed that EW would join them and stay aboard that night, while I spent one last night with Jae-p on UB I.  EW has been singing the praises of the McCulley crew ever since. Not only did they take care of our home, they worked very hard to take care of EW the night he slept on board, even to the point of making him coffee the next morning.

On Tuesday, October 18, I loaded the dinghy with the incredible amount of items we’d taken ashore before and after the hurricane, and rendezvoused with EW aboard our brilliant and forgiving floating home. Once we had tossed everything down below, the crew prepared to lower her the final six inches into the water, and then removed the slings, and towed us to a very temporary anchorage. Once again, I found myself in tears as I thanked each of them for all they had done. One of them replied, “I love my job! I get to do this and I get to make you happy!”

And that was it. Friends from Ann O'Malley's (Irish Pub, Buffalo fans, and Air B n B apartment) had offered to tow us to our anchorage near the mooring field, but our boat was too heavy and the winds too strong. We hired Tow Boat US who ably placed us in a safe temporary spot. This week we are putting things back in place below decks, cleaning, and fixing. EW removed the burst muffler and we ordered the new one. By the end of the week, we will be on our new, inspected mooring once again, living the life in St. Augustine.

NOTE: We took photos from two cameras, but the smaller outdoor camera didn’t work. Trust me, the boat looked great hung next to the tug overnight, and the dinghy was full on Tuesday morning.

The Tug, Barge, and Crane on Monday morning.

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Cathy, wiggling past a downed tree on a compromised dock to give me a hug.

Kirsten, chatting with EW.

Photos not taken: Rocky, Joe, Matt, Lisa, and my boss and owner of the Black Raven, Gunner Hedquist.

 

 

 

 

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They  took great care of her while we watched, shed a few tears, and took photos. And then she was safe.

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Sometime in the afternoon, they (somehow) moved La Luna from the port side to the starboard side of the tug. Once in deep water, they adjusted her in the slings, dove on her again to check for damage, and helped EW make sure all was well.

He spent the night on board La Luna, where I joined him on Tuesday.

 

We are so happy and relieved, but this is one adventure we never want to repeat.


People Are Wonderful

Harts At Sea

 


What Not To Say After a Hurricane

IMG_6189First of all…the St. Augustine community, the cruisers, the marina staff, everyone we have met during the past year, and especially our friends have been outstanding post-Hurricane Matthew. Please note that this is a time of stress for pretty much everyone in this community, whether boater and non-boater. It is heart-breaking to walk down any city street to see most of a home’s belongings piled in the yard. Cars and homes were smashed by trees; sewer water flooded stores, restaurants, and homes; and boats broke free to crash into docks, on shore gazebos, other boats, bridges, and mangroves. One marina was nearly destroyed and St. Augustine City Marina has major damage. They are not accepting reservations for at least a few weeks.

IMG_6201We are cheerful, optimistic, and helping each other. One of our favorite bars got up and running in two days, and is asking for Home Depot and Grocery Store Cards for their staff and clients who lost nearly everything. Another woman purchased cleaning and personal care products and made up 50 bags to give to those who need them. People are helping each other. Stew and I are certainly grateful every day for all the help we’ve received.

Still, some people don’t get it.

The first was a local boating lady who stood to one side and listened as I talked with David at the marina just after seeing our boat. David already knew La Luna’s location and was appropriately and sincerely concerned for us. I told him the boat was in great shape and we just had to figure out how to get her back in the water. As he walked away, the woman turned to me and said, with deep sympathy, “What kind of boat was she?” I was not in the mood. “She was and still is a Cheoy Lee designed by David Pedrick. And don’t talk about my boat in the past tense.”

Oops. Guess she struck a nerve.

The Facilities Manager of the Bayview Retirement Center where La Luna ran ashore kept making a joke about all his new boats and how he was going to put a rope around them. I was not pleased. After dropping our anchor to shore (a signal that she was being tended and not available for salvage) we learned that Florida actually has a law that prevents others from claiming your boat for salvage. (First Florida boating law I’ve liked.)

Gawkers have wandered down to the waterfront and usually joke a bit before they realize it is our home they find so droll. I pretty much handle that just fine. The St. Augustine Police Department has been amazing, first going out in a vessel the day after the storm to seek lost boats. They came to us during our first visit to La Luna, moved close enough to read her name and converse with us, and offered their condolences. They also made sure she was our boat and took our contact information. Other police officers have stopped by to check on us and the boats. Last I heard, the SA PD found 29 boats and posted their names and  coordinates on Facebook so the owners could find them.

EW and I love the Coast Guard. I have two wonderful, brilliant, and accomplished nephews who have made their careers with the Coast Guard, and we have met many other members of their force in our travels. My recent favorite was the CG plane who flew over us on our way up from Panama and who contacted us. Sure, he was probably trying to determine if we were drug runners, but we had a delightful conversation.

Unfortunately, communication skills were lacking in the CG crew who showed up in a truck when EW was aboard La Luna. Like the SAPD they came within speaking distance and said, “Are you leaking oil or gas?” That was it. No, “Good morning, Captain, is this your boat?” No, “I’m very sorry to see this.” No nothing. EW answered in kind. “No, we are not, but frankly that is not my first concern.” They left.

Now that the storm is over, some folks who weren’t affected want things to get back to normal pretty darn quick. There have been Facebook rants by area venues asking the public to give them a break. Evidently, some folks are ticked that the free concerts held on St. Augustine Beach have been suspended.

Really? That’s a problem for you? The person who posted the rant suggested that everyone worried about their fun take a measuring tape out to four feet and make a mark around every room on the ground floor of their home. Now imagine all of that stuff wet with sewer water. Get over yourself.

The lovely catamaran we are now guests aboard is on the north dock which has no power so EW and I are currently onshore charging all electronic devices while I write a couple of posts. This vantage point lets us listen to David Morehead respond to the calls from folks who are anxious to start their cruising adventure and want to include the beautiful city of St. Augustine. Some of them have been rather insistent that David provide them with a mooring or slip. At least one implied that there weren’t a lot of options nearby, and David suggested he check online to see the area damaged and why there were few options.

And for those of you who love music, don’t mind the smoke, and have a place in your heart for the Trade Winds—The Oldest City’s Oldest Bar—they will rise again. When we walked past two days ago, a crew of bar staff, patrons, and friends were removing everything from the bar and dismantling the stages. Already there are Black and Decker Workmate Benches on the sidewalk where soaked plywood had been stacked. We will soon listen once again to “Those Guys”, and Joe and Rusty, and Dewy Via, in St. Augustine’s iconic bar.

Give us some time, people. Some restaurants and stores have re-opened. Enjoy those and wait patiently for others.  More importantly, there are people who have lost everything or nearly everything. If you can, help them. We have lost nothing except water under the keel. Just like the Mary Ellen Carter, La Luna will sail again. In the meantime, treat those of us in St. Augustine, Flagler, and points north with a bit of sensitivity. We have maintained our sense of humor, but some things just cut a bit too close to the bone.

In closing, I will resurrect a comment the musician Fond Kiser made when we were discussing our first year in St. Augustine. He had just moved back here from Austin when Hermine joined us. I mentioned that we had arrived in time for the area’s coldest winter in years, hottest summer on record, and now a potential hit from a hurricane in an area known for being safe. “Hmm,” said Fond in his charming accent. “The city may want to take up a collection to pay to have you move out of town.”  After Hurricane Matthew, they may want to consider his suggestion.

NOTE: The link above for the Mary Ellen Carter was performed by Stan Rogers, who wrote it. We learned it from Maine’s Schooner Fare and I have to share that version out of loyalty. (And because I raised a stein many, many times as I belted out “Rise Again! Rise Again! Let her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.”

 

Honest the Next Post will be about People Helping People


So This Happened (Part One of La Luna Encounters Hurricane Matthew)

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We are fine. We are truly fine.

The boat is mostly fine.

I asked the universe to move Matthew to the East and he moved, but not far enough.

I asked that our boat come thru relatively unscathed, and attached to the ball, and she did—but the mooring ball and tackle detached from the mooring and La Luna drifted/scooted to shore.

I must learn to be more specific.

IMG_6136We don’t know when, but we do know that we are one of three boats in the marina (all big) who broke their tackle. Over 29 boats broke free from various spots in St. Augustine, ours is one of the least damaged, and the only one in our new “neighborhood” who did not damage anything on shore except a few mangrove bushes. We were very fortunate.

IMG_6160IMG_6278We did this. It was a decision based on what we knew at the time, the options open to us, the very strange direction of Matthew, and an engine with a problem that happened just before evacuation day. Given what we know now, we would have arranged a tow up the San Sebastian to a dock there. Instead, we prepared La Luna more thoroughly than most boats in the mooring field. An incredible number had their headsails on (shredded). Many did not take advantage of the free, very tough, fire hose donated by the St. Augustine Fire Department. Many of them did not add extra mooring lines. We did all of that.

Like the rest of St. Augustine, we did not fully prepare for an event that has never before occurred: a tide and surge so high that it washed up over the sea wall into the Marina tunnel area between the onshore showers and the lounge. In fact, when talking with the crew before we evacuated, one of them said that in 20 years he had been there that area has never gotten swamped.

This was a 100-year storm. This is the storm that reminds us that we aren’t in control; the storm that reminds us that even the best plans for living in a hurricane zone can be wrecked by a storm that comes just 5 miles closer than we wanted to generate a surge never before experienced here. We don’t make excuses, but we aren’t beating ourselves either. One of EW’s phrases is “You make the decision, and you make the decision right.” We are together, the boat is fine, and once she’s back in the water and we check the engine, she will be 99% just as she was when we left her.

That makes us very, very fortunate.

Others lost their boats. I mean lost as is couldn’t find them; I’m not sure whether all have been found at this point. Others lost their boats as in being destroyed. Others will have huge repairs to make before boating again.

IMG_6142IMG_6146There are at least 10 boats within a few hundred yards of us. We have been meeting on Facebook or at the boats and are working together to find out how we can get our vessels back into the water. This is a puzzlement.

IMG_6182La Luna and the others floated in on an extremely large surge, over what is normally (and what are now) mud flats. Imagine a barge even getting in there, where they would be aground in 2 feet of water. Now imagine the crane lifting La Luna up and putting her…..where? Down on the other side in mud and water? Not likely. We are looking at using a trash pump and maybe air bags, to help slide her, tilted over (probably with water weights like those used to get vessels under bridges—although in our case it will be to keep the keel from plowing into the mud.

 

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Anyway, this is what we think will work. We saw one post on Facebook that mentioned tying the line around the boat, not on the chocks. I like that idea, but not sure how it will work. Our hope is that La Luna can stay canted to port and swing around to be hauled bow out to deeper water where we will anchor. The marina will not allow any boats back in prior to checking all mooring balls and fixing the docks. Those who remained safe through the storm have stayed. The docks are badly damaged and if the north dock had failed, they could have lost all the boats in the marina.

This was a big one, folks, with a death toll nearing 600, of which over 30 were in the US.  How sad. How devastating. My heart goes out to those families. We are fine. We will get her back in the water and move home again.

 

Next Post: People Who Need People and the People who Help them

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Friday Morning Coming Down

Good morning from Elkton, Florida. We are safe, worried about La Luna, but safe, well-fed and loved by the cats. The power has flickered and Comcast is off, but we have cell phones, data, and a TV on an antenna.
Yesterday morning we debated moving inland. EW and I made that more difficult as we would have had to use two cars for the four of us and two cat carriers. Deb packed a bag of precious things and I reduced our needs to one bag plus our precious things.
We decided to stay, noted the location of a nearby pet-friendly shelter, and prepared two locations inside the house in the event of a tornado. All of that creates stress, but we have been pleased with our decision...so far.
Now, it is 9:52, the storm has arrived, and it will get worse, but it has moved a bit East so we will not have a direct hit, either here or where La Luna is. The storm is approaching St. Augustine. The Bridge of Lions has closed as they have now reached winds sustained at 40 knots. I just saw the first row of boats tied at the marina. We keep hoping that the TV crew will move south and show the mooring field.
We are all safe. All we can do is hope that La Luna comes through unscathed. I must say that the TV stations we've watched are doing a great job. I thank them.
Here is Sophie.
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Hurricane Matthew

Well, Dang him! I have promised two Matthews that we will not hold this storm against them, so this danging is only meant for 2016 Hurricane Matthew. He can go straight to H. E. double hockey sticks and the sooner the better.
Knowing that this blog has been AWOL lately and that those folks not on Facebook have had no proof of life, let me confirm that EW and I are alive and well and not stupid.
We will not stay on the boat during the storm.
This breaks our hearts. It makes my stomach hurt. And I'm angry that we are here for this rare storm. Our safe zone was supposed to be Brunswick Georgia. As of this morning, we may get the high tropical storm winds as Matthew passes through much too close to shore (now, maybe even hurricane force winds) but Brunswick may get hit with a category 2 hurricane.
This is not good for any of us, and our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. We are fearful for our friends and family in Georgia and the Carolinas, and particularly concerned about those who are aboard their boats in those areas. We wish the best possible outcome for everyone.
It is past time when we can hope for what has historically happened or the possibility of the storm swinging back to the east. It's time to put on our big girl and boy pants and do what is right. We will prepare the boat as best as anyone could do and we will head inland to stay with friends. And drink wine.
Maybe lots of wine.
We will have our phones and electronic apparatuses with us. (Why isn't that apparati?) Do check in on how you are faring, and feel free to contact us if you're worried. I will do my best to update the blog and Facebook at least daily.
October 2016 has been very interesting.
All who want the rest of October to be boring with a chance of fun, raise your hand.
Also, please "Think East". East is a good thing. Go East young, Matthew. Go East.

Rip Van Winkle Cruisers’ Syndrome Or Our Cruising Mindset

I love hearing (usually on NPR) the recitation of  the Beloit College Mindset List, designed to remind professors exactly how old they  are and how clueless they may  be about the popular culture as compared to each year’s crop of college freshmen. In preparation for this post, I perused the 40+ items on the 2016 list and present my favorite 10. (The word “favorite” is relative.)

The Mindset List for the Class of 2016  

  1. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  2. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  3. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  4. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather. (That hurts.)
  5. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends. (I haven’t gotten used to this, and still make sure my own straps are tucked away. The safety pin is your friend. Raise your hand if you have sewed little snaps into a top and attached a ribbon with the corresponding snap to corral that bra strap.)
  6. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles. (Go us!)
  7. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  8. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’ (I miss the tan ones –and while we are on that subject, what happened to Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms? Such a loss.)
  9. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  10. History has always had its own channel.

Copyright© 2012 Beloit College
Mindset List
is a registered trademark

Our Mindset is more like that of Rip Van Winkle. We are missing a few years. Five to be exact. While we aren’t totally clueless, we have a decided lack of clue regarding at least three things. (This is in addition to the already much-discussed cell phone/Android/data we had issues with upon setting foot ashore.)

So, in no particular order, here are three things we’ve had trouble understanding:Product Image, click to zoom

1. Lacy shorts for daytime wear. What’s up with that? I don’t mind that they are short. (You should see my hot pants, rompers, and skirt lengths in high school. Think long legs, hot pants, and mini skirts. Actually, that was one of my best eras.) Digressing. But these are lace short shorts made of some light weight material with an overlay of crochet or lace. I first saw these in St. Thomas worn by cruise ship tourists, but since I don’t take anything the average cruise ship tourist wears as actual real world fashion,  I continued to be surprised when I wander the streets of St. Augustine and saw numerous women wearing short lacy shorts. I don’t get it. How do they get through a day without ripping, tearing, or catching the lace? Heck, I couldn’t walk from one end of the boat to the other without catching that lace on something. I’m all for comfort and movement, which is good because I have never mastered fashion—though I’m not sure that lace hot pants paired with cowboy boots can be called “fashion”. And speaking of fashion, these lace shorts are available at Nordstrom's for 158.98—down from $265.00. Are you freaking kidding me?

2. On-line Shopping. Yes, this existed long before we left, but not to the degree it does now. This week,  Walmart bought Jet.com not an airline, apparently, but an on-line shopping company that does better than Walmart on-line. (But nowhere near as well as Amazon.)  Walmart has an on-line shopping experience? Who knew?  In case you think I’m overstating this, let me offer some info: First, here’s a chart to show you how much things have changed since we left in 2010:

NOTE: I found this chart at a post done by a high school economics class. Good going, kids.

You will note that on-line retailing tripled while we were gone. (I’m not saying that I didn’t help a bit, but that’s a whole bunch of packaging.)

Second, I offer Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Bark Box. This is what got me going. I remember record clubs and book clubs but a CLUB FOR RAZORS !Seriously blows my mind. Do you really have to go online to order some $1.00 razors to be sent to you on a regular basis? Can you really  not remember to pick them up at the grocery store? Speaking of which, do we really need to have food shipped from wherever  it was grown to a warehouse/kitchen for portioning, and then sent from there to your door so you can make three  “fresh” meals without going to the store. After all that shipping, it can’t be all that fresh. As for Bark Box, that’s not about fresh, but about spoiling your pooch with a few of  the new, new things for dogs, delivered in a box . (OK, I’m a dog sap, this sounded kind of cool for a one time gift. The option of once a month for a year, though? That’s crazy.) For the record, I love shopping on-line, for some things. And it was a necessity  in the islands.  When you are in the USVI it can be the only way to find something you need, like your favorite Teva’s. When in Grenada, I had to ship sandals to a friend’s brother who was flying in for a visit. Bless him. I do not mean to shame you for purchasing on-line. I’m just surprised at the speed with which it’s taken over. Dollar Shave Club? Really? (OK, I may be shaming you for the Dollar Shave Club.) (And I am definitely overusing the word “really”.)

3. Apps. Again, something that was around before we left. But in 2010 EW  had a two-year-old iPhone and I had an oldish Blackberry, so our smartphones weren’t all that smart. (And we certainly weren’t.) (And I will swear on a stack of fixed portlights that smartphone was a two-word phrase in 2010.) My  co-worker just bought a new desktop computer and it  has Apps. So, let’s recap: smartphones got apps so that they could work more like computers, and savvy businesses made their on-line sites work better with smartphones and created apps and those Q boxes to help other businesses market to those with smart phones, and now desktop computers have apps to be more like smartphones. Dog chase tail much? (Send it a Bark Box!)

And yes, we have and use apps. We were middle-aged and ignorant, not ancient and Luddites. (Though I’m feeling that “middle-aged” is perhaps pushing it a bit as I might not live to 110.)

Oh lord. We aren’t lost cruisers. We’re just old. Say it ain’t so!

On a (slightly) more serious note. Yes, this is yet another “transition” post, because IMHO there haven’t been enough of these done by cruisers. In other words, after feeding my dream, helping us to choose a boat and many of the extras, giving great advice while we were at sea, on the hard, or in a secluded anchorage, my cruising and blogging gurus did not do so well on the transition ashore. We will be taking off again for Round Two, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of this stuff for all of you still “at sea”.

Trust me. You’ll thank me someday.


This Grey-Haired Guitarist Went to Market

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We are settling into our new life as (gasp) (choke) mere liveaboards here in St. Augustine. During the off-season, our friends and acquaintances are (choke) (gasp) all dirt dwellers. That’s OK, some of our best friends and all of our dearly loved relatives are dirt dwellers. We just forgot what it feels like to be liveaboards.

Yes, it took me over seven months to get over it. I have (mostly) ceased to compare this life with that of cruising and think more often about how living aboard in St. Augustine compares to living aboard in South Portland. Both areas have a strong sense of history. One area is much more modest in how they promote such history. St Augustine can evidently claim to be the oldest continually inhabited “city” in America. (Of course, no one here counts any actual native communities in that discussion. Evidently city life in America began in 1565.) “Oldest” is the town’s favorite superlative and it’s not always used wisely. Seriously, would you want to be a patient of the “Oldest City Dentist” Think about it. I keep imagining Tim Conway in one of his old man sketches, with a dentist drill.Here he is a butcher.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ry8khR922g

Digress much?

IMG_5890On shore, there are people who recognize us as new locals and we are now “regulars” at a number of events. Well, since the majority of our events involve music,  EW is the regular and I’m the “Band-Aid”. One of his favorite venues is the Saturday Market at the Amphitheater where he gets to stand in the hot sun and  play for over four hours with 5-20 excellent musicians. I like the market, and have made friends with some of the vendors but I opt to arrive two hours later than EW, who is generally one of the first musicians to arrive and one of the last to leave.

IMG_5910I check out all the booths, chat with vendors, and act like a professional Band-Aid by getting coffee, water, and snacks, and (once) holding music  for EW and four others learning a new song. Near the end of the morning, I purchase produce. The corn here is almost as good as that in Maine, but it’s impossible to purchase corn picked that day.

You know you are NOT from Maine if you think yesterday’s corn is fresh corn. On the other hand, you haven’t had a peach unless you’ve had yesterday’s peach from Georgia or South Carolina.

For your enjoyment and edification, here are shots of the market, and a video of EW leading the group in Teen Age Wedding. As you can tell, he tries to enjoy himself. Truly he is so tickled that these outstanding—many professional—musicians will play so joyfully with him. How can you not smile at this? One man, living his dream.

 You asked for a video, you get a video.

https://youtu.be/V66A5UbJ_RM

 

Postscript: Small World Moment. The woman guitarist in the pink top is Lynn Healey. Stew met her a couple of months ago, and then she left St. Augustine to perform with her band. He had told me about her and she is just as nice as he said. Here’s the small world part: Lynn knows Peter Bonta and has played with Bob Perilla and Bill Kirchen—friends of Peter and LeeAnn, formerly from Two Much Fun.

And so we are reminded that the cruising life is still with us.

 

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