What the Wife Says and What the Husband Hears

Balance is Good

Balance Bird 12-13-2011 10-24-28 AMI admire people who lead a “balanced life”--whatever that may be. I tend to tip the teeter-totter in one direction or another. This past summer, I wrote and played, and wrote about playing. No boat projects were completed. Since we’ve been in St. Thomas I’ve socialized and cleaned. After two weeks of nearly nighty dinners out with friends and family, I’ve focused this week on cleaning the boat. So far I’ve cleaned out the pilot berth area and two shelf-lockers, skewer cleaned the galley, washed and stored clothing items (more on that later), washed the teak walls and the sole (floor) of the boat, cleaned out a number of the galley cupboards, and defrosted the freezer. Balance Cleand Locker 12-11-2011 7-03-49 PM

This is all good, but not balanced. I’m sure too much cleaning and organizing is bad for a person.  A few months ago I wrote a list for balanced boat maintenance. The idea was to remind me which things needed to be tackled daily, weekly, and monthly. At fifty-five years of age, you’d think I’d know. I do know, but I don’t do and to know and not to do is not to know. I hate that.

So in that wonderful list of accomplished “boathold” tasks, did you see writing anywhere? Neither did I. For a number of days ( A week? Really?)  I haven’t written a thing except lists. This is a pattern for me. When we moved out of the house nearly ten years ago, I went through some boxes of memorabilia from college and from the first few years after graduation. Know what I found? Lists. Lists of things to do, to make, to renovate, to fix, to try, to tour, to purchase, to learn. I found multiple lists, all created a couple of years apart, and none of them had a relationship to any other of them. Some things remained the same, other items appeared, still others were contradictory. Though I never read Shakespeare, or achieved my high school weight, I did accomplish something on each list – but many other things remained a challenge. I think “balance the checkbook” appeared every time.

That isn’t balanced, either.

Know what I purchased last week? A book for lists. I wanted to find filler paper for my small Rollo binders, but that didn’t happen. So I bought a small notebook and used small post-it notes to divide it into categories. (Aren’t your lists categorized?) I currently have five categories:

  1. Short-term To Do (This includes weekly groceries.)
  2. Long-term To Do (Featuring stuff on the Grenada To-Do list, which I didn’t accomplish because I just wrote and played.)
  3. Destination Info
  4. Boat Project Blog (Now there’s something that’s long overdue.)
  5. Master Shopping/Provision list (We are heading to Puerto Rico after Christmas and I want to make sure I get everything we need that can’t be purchased in the Eastern Caribbean, like short pants for me.)

This is kind of balanced – if I keep it up and include writing 1000 words a day as part of my plan. And if I can hold that writing goal to 1000 words a day. Once I get started, I sometimes don’t stop. Why write one blog post when five are dancing around in my head? Who needs to eat dinner anyway? Can you say “popcorn for suppah”?

One of my recent excuses/challenges is that a part on my Wi-Fi antenna had to be replaced and took two weeks to get here. We have to take the laptop in to Internet cafes for Wi-Fi, and that means we have to transport the laptop in an inflatable-floor dinghy with a floor that doesn’t’ stay inflated. It’s a bit on the damp side. We have a dry bag that accommodates the camera, but not one to fit the laptop. (That item is on the Master Shopping List.) So, I don’t like to take the laptop in, and have been waiting – and not writing.  Not only is that not balanced, it’s just defeatist.

Balance Sweater Stack 12-11-2011 7-03-33 PMSpeaking of not balanced – I’ve been wondering why I have a full clothes locker and nothing to wear. This is why. It seems that I never stored the cold weather clothing after leaving Hampton, Virginia last year. If there ever is a cold (40 degree) day in St. Thomas and south, I’m ready. That’s ridiculous. Our one hanging locker was also full of heavy vests and EW’s favorite L.L. Bean parka. (He would not let it go.) This explains why EW joined me in doing three double loads of laundry today. Now that the winter clothes are clean and dry, we’re compacting them in to vacuum bags and EW is going to find room for them under our bed.

Balance Jackets 12-14-2011 11-53-53 AMGuess you can take the girl out of Maine, but not without her L.L. Bean sweaters and vests.

I can categorically state that my cleaning frenzy is over. There are still things that need doing, but I’m going to tackle them over a few weeks, write, socialize, do boat projects, and enjoy the islands. I have a plan and I’ve put it on the list. Yeah. That’ll work.

Wishing you balance. If you find the secret, please let me know. It’s time I got the hang of it.

Final Note:  Talking with Carrie, an experienced cruiser, I told her of my cleaning frenzy and about cleaning out my clothes locker. “Guess what I found?” I said. “A heavy sweater?” she replied.

A heavy sweater? One of them? Obviously she’s not from Maine—she’s from Florida. Wait ‘til she sees these photos.


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Mike Laurence

Hi Barb and EW, This reminds me of a name that continues to surface every time I think about buying that sailboat and cruising. It is an Hopi Indian term - KOYAANISQATSI. Defined as "life out of balance" or "way of life that calls for another way of living". I thought it would be appropriate for a cruising sailboat. I do laugh everytime I imagine someone trying call us on the VHF...


Hi Mike. So glad you enjoyed the post. Love the Hopi term but can't imagine it on a boat. We saw a worse one once in Blue Hill Bay when a Maine boat from Waterville had chosen a very long and unpronounceable Hawaiian word. Wish I'd written it down. Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.


Love the heavy MPX vest right on top of the pile! Those piles don't look one bit unusual to me :) I have an entire walk-in closet that looks like about 10 of those piles. Plus the same tan vest hung up on the rack. Much needed inspiration for perhaps a New Year's "balanced" cleaning bonanza at the Fish house.

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