December 2013

Here we are at the end of another year.  We are in New York State staying with my brother and trying to stay warm.

The summer was spent primarily in Ohio wrapping up our commitments there.  Barb and her sister spent the summer wading through the maze of paperwork and bureaucracy to get her mother moved from her seniors apartment to a nursing home.  She is now in the same nursing home as Barb's dad is due to failing mental and physical abilities.  Although they are in the same facility, they are not in the same room, as the ravages of Alzheimer's has taken it's toll on them.  Soon after getting to Ohio in June, we started making preparations to get the house we had there on the market. Barb's sister had been staying there over the past winter keeping an eye on it for us, but now that the folks are in the nursing home, we have no need for a house in the north.  In the space of a week, we painted the entire inside of the house.  That included removing some wallpaper, a job I had never done before nor wish to do again.  In one week, we painted eight rooms and the basement floor.  Doing this while living in the house of course meant moving furniture and stuff and making sure it was still livable at the end of each day.  While I did the manual labor, Barb did a little creative work on some simple landscaping touches of plants and mulch to enhance the curb appeal.  By mid-July we listed the house for sale with the same realtor we used to purchase it.  It took longer than I had hoped for, but we finally got a contract on the house in mid-October and closed the deal December 2nd.  We didn't get quite what we wanted for it, but almost broke even with what we had into it including the upgrades we had done, so we can't complain.  Earlier in the summer, we had a huge garage sale to get rid of much of the stuff that Barb's parents had collected over fifty years.  We did quite well on the sale, and then found a local auction house where we took the leftovers and got a little more cash.  The weeks before closing were consumed with taking a final load of stuff to the auction house, cleaning out Barb's mom's apartment putting some stuff in storage and giving some away, giving the small amount of furniture we had left from Texas away to younger family members who could use it, and moving Barb's sister to an apartment.  Of course Thanksgiving was thrown in there to complicate the timing of everything, but we got it done.  The folks at the local U-Haul dealer were on a first name basis with me after three weekends in a row of renting a truck. We're glad that chapter is closed.

Once the house was done, we drove to New York to my brother's house.  We will stay with them until we return to the boat mid-January.  Our decision to not return to the boat earlier was based on a few things.  We wanted to be sure the house was sold before returning if possible, and that worked out.  We thought it would be nice to spend the holidays with family, and that has been fun.  The most important reason to delay our return to the Islands though was we wanted to go to a party.  Not just any party, but Pardi Gras, which is an annual Parrothead gathering in New Orleans each January, which is put on by our good friends Jerry & Mary Diaz.  We not only enjoy attending Pardi Gras, but we help Jerry & Mary with the organization and making the event happen.  We did not attend last year because we went to the boat earlier, but we're looking forward to attending this year.

The other big news of our summer was the formulation of our next chapter.  We have been thinking about what comes after boating, and we now have a plan.  (As much as we plan anything.) This year will likely be our last season aboard MoonSail.  This is based on a number of things, not the least being that as we get older it becomes more challenging to do a physical activity like sailing.  (That said, there are lots of people older than us out there doing it.)  We plan to stay around the Virgin Islands all season, and will put her up for sale there.  I would like to sell her in the islands rather than have to sail her back to the States.  We'll see how that works out.  The next chapter will be a very similar lifestyle, but land based.  During the summer we bought a used motor home.  The motor home is a 40' diesel pusher.  This is slightly longer than the boat, but since it is a rectangle instead of boat-shaped, the interior space and storage is vastly larger, and we wonder what we are going to do with all the space.  The full-time RV lifestyle is very similar to living aboard the boat, and we will still follow the warm weather seasonally.  We bought the RV in Michigan, had it in Ohio for a week to register it, and now have it stored here at my brother's.  Good thing he has lots of land to keep our new house and car over the winter.

I did manage to make a little money during the summer.  I worked a couple of IT contracts for about six weeks, and I helped my nephew-in-law build a restaurant.  The restaurant consists of three old delivery trucks that are now inside a store front in a mall and have been converted to food prep and service.  There is also a regular kitchen in back for some of the food prep.  If this place is successful, it may be the model for a new chain.  My role in the project was doing a lot of the interior work on the trucks.

So, there you have it in a nutshell.  As we sit here in NY with sub-zero temperatures and snow on the ground, we are looking forward to a week in New Orleans and then returning to the boat.  The regular website updates will resume around the end of January.