Sunday, April 20, 2014

Everything is Relative

Our yacht broker in Florida almost found a buyer for our boat. We had mixed feelings about letting go of our home-on-the-water. Pope is despondent about not having a boat available for weekend getaways on Chesapeake Bay. He has begun lamenting the "advantages" we are giving up.

Hmm, I replied; everything is relative. A couple of examples of the relative "advantages" of boat vs. house:

1. Space. Last week I spent 20-30 hours cleaning eight months of accumulated dust and grime out of our 1,250-square-foot row house.

I restocked the pantry and refrigerator and unpacked boxes of clothes and shoes. I spent a day tracking down insurance and property tax bills for a storage garage in which Pope and I own units.

Yes, it was grueling. Pope reminded me of how much easier life was when we had only 200 square feet of istorage space and lived in a few t-shirts and swim suits.

From my perspective, however, the boat had to be cleaned regularly, too. It wasn't easy. And, I am grateful for the space. A real desk with a real chair. I practice my guitar (which wouldn't fit on the boat) every day, and work out with fitness videos in the living room. I am grateful to have a storage garage just big enough for my car while out of town, keeping it away from ticket-writers. I also noted that Pope's garage is full of tools, kayaks, and other man "toys."

The clincher, in my opinion: Pope has room to start seeds for the garden in our spacious dining room.

2. Property taxes, utility bills, leaky toilets. Yes, they are annoying. However, they don't go away while on the boat unless you sell your house. Many cruisers have done that. Personally, I am appreciating the pleasures of a dishwasher, clean hair, and an occasional hot bath. I am getting used to drinking health-promoting filtered water again, after being hooked on sugary canned fruit "juices" all winter.

For four months we had limited access to clean, safe, tasty drinking water. A few places sold bottled water shipped from Nassau ($2.50-$3.00 per gallon) or water treated by reverse osmosis ($0.40-$1.00 per gallon). No one knew whether that process killed all the e. coli and other germs.

3. Activities. We read dozens of books on the boat. We made new friends at marinas; however, we are unlikely to see them again. In town, I have met up with old friends. Wehave resumed zydeco dancing and I am taking a French class and guitar lessons. And we can continue to read!

There are other contrasts: Freedom to roam vs. neighborhood and family ties. Beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches vs. well-stocked supermarkets and libraries. Fresh air vs. shelter from storms and insects.

Dear readers, take my advice and do not take your old friends, walk-in closets, and hot and cold running water for granted. Everything is relative!

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