I'm getting old. The hints keep coming. It might be the light colored hairs that have been showing up in my beard lately (grey) or maybe the ritualistic grunt I make every time I get up out of a chair. When did sitting on the floor become so uncomfortable? I'm not that old, but I definitely feel older. What's good about getting older? Old man boat talk*.
When I first moved aboard our sailboat in Seattle I was introduced to Dan - our next-boat neighbor. Dan's older than me and has lived aboard for quite some time.
"Did you get rain last night?" Dan asked one morning.
"Nope," I said.
"Well I got 6 inches," said Dan.
"Wow, that's crazy, I didn't get a drop!" I exclaimed.
"Yep, I got two drops on deck, six inches apart!" quipped Dan.
There you have it. Old man boat talk. Older dude dishes zinger to younger (but getting older) dude. I didn't even see it coming. I guess technically it was weather talk in this case - but around boats, on the dock, and from an old man.
As the years go by out here on the docks I've heard a lot of old man boat talk, not all zingers, some just plain funny.
"What's the date, it's the 28th, right?" asked one sailor to another.
"It's not the 28th," said the older sailor with certainty, " it's the 3rd".
It turns out they were both wrong - it was the 6th! One of those guys was a week off! That dude lost a week!
At the end of the day I'm thankful for all of the funny talk around the docks. Living aboard can be challenging and a lot of serious things can be going with people and their boats at any given time. It's nice to laugh about the big stuff, the little stuff, the boat stuff.
*I'm positive there's old woman boat talk too, I just don't know any old women on my dock…nor would I dare call them out for being old!
Living on a sailboat for the past few years has taught us a lot about the unnecessaries - the stuff we don't need. It turns out that we don't need 15 forks and 3 bathrooms. A yard to mow and weed? Nope. The unnecessaries are really more about time than anything else. Time to wash 15 forks. Time to earn money to buy 15 forks. Time to drive down to Ikea and shop for forks in the first place. Time spent waiting on the plumber to fix the leaky dishwasher which you need…to wash the forks. Time to clean the 3 bathrooms. The time I'm not spending with my family because I'm in a separate wing of the house cleaning the 3rd bathroom. Do I spend more time working in the yard or sitting in it enjoying the work that I've done?
We did pretty well at getting rid of stuff before we moved aboard our boat. After two garage sales we kept a storage unit for awhile as we slowly sold things that didn't really matter anymore. A lot of the things I was happy to get rid of - why do we have so many pens?!?! Basically, if we only used something once or twice a year or had plans to use it but hadn't yet, we got rid of it. Bikes, books (lots of books), some holiday decorations. If stuff was too big it didn't have a place either. My 42 inch TV, blue-ray player, and video game console(s) - bye-bye. Wii-fit doesn't work so well in a 32 foot sailboat! Luckily we have great friends and they agreed to hold on to some important things that we still couldn't let go.
That brings us to the line. The line of what is necessary and what isn't. I know boaters' needs vary - what one boat owner needs another could do without. I also know that as liveaboards it's something we think about often, especially in the first few years, especially when you're cramming your stuff into boat lockers trying to make everything fit! What do I really need aboard? What do I need in my life? To be content?
As far as our boat goes, she has three beds, a head (toilet), 2 sinks, a small fridge & freezer, a two burner stove and oven, a shower, a hot water heater and water pressure (some boats you have to manually pump to get water). That seems like enough right? It's been feeling pretty normal for awhile now...and then our water heater broke. Was it necessary to fix? I mean, do we really need a hot water heater? Is it worth the time?
Well, for whatever reason, you get used to what you have. Some dream of more, some dream of less. We are the same people we were when we lived on land in a big house - just now with less junk, more boat projects, and with a lot more time to spend on the necessary (the water heater was deemed necessary - see below for fix pics).
I once heard a story of a captain on a giant sailboat trying to gain a little advantage from the judges before a race. He claimed that although his boat was rated a certain way he should get a little help because be had extra weight aboard. He had a grand piano…on the boat! Now, we love the sound of a good Steinway, but I'm not sure it would make it aboard! As we move from this adventure to another, these lessons will definitely come with us. What is necessary and how much time does it take to make it so?
Replacing the Hot Water Heater!
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