Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One Down, Eleven To Go!

One down, eleven to go ...

No, I'm not talking about a 12 pack of Landsharks!  I'm talking about the 11 months we have until our lease on the condo is up.  If the next eleven go as fast as that first one ... we'd better start packing again!

Last Tuesday night we pretty much finished unpacking, put everything in its place (good practice for the boat since we downsized), and hung a few pictures to make the condo feel like "home" (the picture in the den ... a sailboat of course).  The next day Ken's dad and uncle arrived from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with us ... talk about a tight schedule!

As we sat at my mom's Thanksgiving table along with Ken's family, our daughter & son-in-law, my mom, dad & step-parents, my brother & his family ... I felt thankful to be at this point in our lives.  Sometimes it felt like we'd never unload the pressure & stress that came with the two houses we sold this year.  Having that weight lifted off our shoulders is definitely something to be thankful for.  I tell ya, there's been a few times over the past several years that we could have lost everything if two tenants bailed at the same time.  We're so thankful that didn't happen!  Instead, we now have an emergency fund for our rentals and we're making plans to start cruising in a year.  It just goes to show that baby steps forward do finally pay off ... a plan, patience and perseverance my friends!   Oh, and another thing we're thankful for ... we got our first electric bill the other day and it was just under $38 for 23 days.  Let the savings begin!

Anyway, after stuffing ourselves on Thanksgiving we made a trip to the French Quarter the following day and walked off a few calories.  Sunday morning we hugged Ken's family goodbye and put together the Christmas tree later that day.  (Yep, we have an artificial tree and it still looks great after many years).  We'd just finished placing everything, and I'm already back in the attic and re-arranging things!  Sometime this week Ken will indulge in the annual ritual of plugging in the Christmas tree lights and seeing how many survived since last year ... and how many will go out after they're on the tree.  Aaaah, the joy of Christmas.  Those lights have caused me to swear like a sailor too many times.  It may take Ken all week to motivate himself to deal with that after work, so I told our daughter to wait until the weekend before coming over with her husband to decorate the tree.  Halloween as we were moving out of our house, and now it's Christmas time.  Huh?!  

Ken and I are going to relax and enjoy the next month and Christmas, but after that we'd better make a plan and a schedule for Nirvana ... time's flying!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mayflower Ship ... A Short History Lesson

Mayflower Replica
With Thanksgiving in just two days, I thought I'd share a post that I wrote in 2010 (4 years ago?!) about the Mayflower ship.  I kept it short and simple, and I think it's pretty interesting stuff.  With the sale of our house last month, & only 2 tiny boxes left to unpack ... we have a lot to be thankful for! 

Now that Ken and I are sailboat owners, I found myself wondering about the Mayflower, which has played a major role in the history of Thanksgiving.  The Mayflower was a ship weighing about 180 tons crowded with men, women and children making the voyage to the "New World" in 1620. 

The first record available about the ship is somewhere in 1609. At that time it was a merchant ship, which traveled to Baltic ports, most notably Norway.  The ship's initial purpose was the transportation of goods such as fish, tar and lumber.  However, the ship was later used in the trading of Mediterranean wine and spices.

In 1620 the Mayflower and the Speedwell were hired to undertake a voyage to plant a colony in Northern Virginia.  The Speedwell turned out to be a leaky ship, and therefore the Mayflower had to make the voyage alone.  The captain of the ship was Christopher Jones, and the ship was anchored at Plymouth Harbor on November 11, 1620.  The Mayflower stayed at Cape Cod for four months and throughout the harsh winter.  During this time over half of the pilgrims perished.

The ship started sailing for home on April 5, 1621, and it arrived back one month later. The Mayflower made a few more trading runs to places such as Spain, Ireland and France. However the captain, Christopher Jones, died shortly thereafter.

After the death of the captain, the Mayflower lay inoperative for about two years.  Since the ship was not in very good sailing condition, it was called "in ruins".  Ships "in ruins" were considered more valuable as wood, which was in high demand in England at the time. Therefore the Mayflower was most likely broken apart and sold as scrap.

It's amazing to think about all of the people that migrated on sailboats, and all of the discoveries that were made with them.  Of course there are many sailboats today, but so many people think we're crazy when we tell them about our future plans of sailing to our travel destinations.  There are planes and trains now!  Why would we take a sailboat?!

Anyway, that's your history lesson for the day.  We hope everybody has a "Happy Thanksgiving"!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Years Ago ...

Our first solo sail ... on Lake Pontchartrain, 2010

Five years ago today, I turned 43.  Five years ago tonight, we saw our sailboat for the first time and made an offer on her ... what a birthday present!  

I'd found her on Craigslist that morning, and knew she wouldn't last long.  I told Ken that all I wanted for my birthday was a trip to New Orleans to see her.  After work, we picked up our friend, Ted, and headed to New Orleans.  Ted's been living on his sailboat for years, and we wanted him to come along to give his opinion.  I knew I was gonna want this boat!

After the deal was made, we celebrated at Margaritaville in the French Quarter.  It seemed the perfect place for birthday/sailboat purchase celebration.  

Ken and Hudson, the guy who sold us the boat, sailed the boat from the South shore of Lake Pontchartrain to the Northshore, where our house was.  I don't think Hudson planned on sailing that day, but we'd never sailed before!  I drove Ken to New Orleans to sail the boat home, and drove back to Slidell to meet him and Hudson.  Below (and above) are pics of our first sail on our own.  Our friend, Ted, took these pictures from his sailboat.  We weren't going on the lake without nearby support, but we survived and had a great day.

I can't believe five years have already gone by since we purchased Nirvana.  Since then we've changed her name, fixed a bunch of blisters, painted her hull & bottom, replaced the ports, renovated the hatches, soaked & cleaned the heat exchanger ... and all sorts of other fun things.  Notice the peeling & dull paint job in the pictures ... she's come a long way.  

Six week haul-out in April, 2010

We've got a lot of plans this coming year for Nirvana.  The electrical and plumbing systems need some attention, and we need to add some things for cruising.  It's gonna be another crazy year!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!
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