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!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Moving to Mayberry!


Our new little place ... with our little front porch.

The past few weeks have been a blur ... am I really seeing Christmas commercials on tv?!  Where have I been?  Anyway, Ken and I worked our butts off sorting through stuff, downsizing, moving and cleaning the last two weeks of October ... all while still working our jobs.  I'm not complaining, but wouldn't you know that everyone wanted to talk real estate during those two weeks.  I swear I was busier than ever, showing houses and writing contracts in between moving & cleaning.  My clients were warned in advance that I'd be dirty and smelly, as I didn't seem to have a minute to spare.  I was indeed, dirty and smelly.  But, they were understanding and I've got some closings next month!

On Halloween night (one of my favorite holidays), we spent our first night at our new place ... no Halloween fun this year, but it's worth it for the big plan.  After cleaning the house and meeting with clients (both of us), we finally got "home" around 8:00 that night.  As we drove to our new place, we passed all sorts of folks in costumes as they walked the streets of the subdivision that was no longer "ours".  It was kinda surreal, and we were exhausted.

I didn't have time to take pictures during our move.  I didn't even get a "goodbye" picture of our house!  I did manage to get one picture of our motorcycles before they headed to my Dad's place.  At some point they'll be fixed (they sat too long) and be sold.  We've had a lot of good memories with those bikes, but our motorcycle days have passed and we've got sailing to look forward to.  I loved my bike and I had added custom pipes, air filter, and rear blinkers ... isn't she pretty?


So, where did we move?  We moved to "Mayberry" (as we call it), or what felt like a fake Disney neighborhood when we first saw the place.  It's a gated community of single-story condos in the center of town ... but it's sooo quiet!  When we first looked at the cute little homes with the matching mailboxes and narrow streets, it felt strange.  Was this a senior citizen community?  As we slowly drove around, we saw two people walking the area ... both had grey hair.  Hmmm ... we weren't sure about this place.  Ken is often loading & unloading his truck at night for the next day's work, and he loves his music.  Would we fit in this place?!  It's hard enough to give up our waterfront backyard, but could we also give up a driveway ... and our music?!

With little time to find a rental (and not very much to choose from in our price range), we went ahead and signed the lease.  Our plans of renting a waterfront place were quickly scratched when we saw the prices.  Ken needed a garage and most of the places we'd seen didn't have one, so we didn't have much of a choice.  But, we're settling in and the place is starting to feel a bit more "normal".  Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice place and I love our condo.  It's really roomy and modern.  But, can we be "good", quiet neighbors?  We do have a big Christmas party every year ... can we get away with that?!

As luck would have it, the residents were having a "pot-luck" this past Saturday evening.  When I found the flyer in our mailbox, I figured we needed to go and see if we were the youngest people living there.  If not, maybe we'd make some new friends.  If so, then we may as well get on everyone's good side.  After unpacking all day, the time quickly arrived to attend the gathering at the end of our street.  Ken had bought a tray of assorted cake slices for us to bring, but now he wasn't so sure he wanted to go to the big "shin dig".  He looked out our window, and all he could see was "white hair".   We were already cleaned up and the weather was nice, so I told him we should go.  After all, we're supposed to be adventurous ... meet new people (no matter how old they are)!  After some urging, we finally went ... and we're glad we did.  Yes, about half of the folks were widowed women in their 80's (poor men don't live as long ... there was one husband left), but they were so sweet and full of personality! Some folks are  miserable and grumpy when they're older, but these folks were pleasant and happy.  We also met a few couples our age, which made us feel a bit more comfortable.  We're not the only 40-something "pups" in the neighborhood! .  Our fears of living in an area of angry, complaining senior citizens are starting to fizzle.

Here's a few pics of our home for the next year ... first, the entrance.


Through the entrance and past the pond on the left.  This picture is looking back at the entrance ... note the walking path that goes around the subdivision.  There's a little sign that says you've gotta walk it two times to make a mile.


Continue going straight through the gates and you're on this street ... our street.  That's our place at the far right of the picture.


That's our little porch (on the right) that we share with "Miss Margaret" ... a really nice lady 85 years young.  I quickly found my Thanksgiving wreath and flowers to decorate our little area.  


The view from our front lawn looking towards the entrance.  Oh, and yard maintenance is included in the rent ... woo hoo!


The place has several narrow streets of home fronts, and it also has a few streets with garages facing each other.  Luckily, our garage is at the edge of the neighborhood and faces an empty field.  Maybe we'll get away with playing our music outside after all.  We're glad we're not facing garages!  We're near the end of this row, and there's that walking path again.  The garage ... we were fooled into thinking it was a standard 2-car garage, but Ken's truck won't fit in it.  He parallel parks in front of our garage and I park at the very back of this picture, where there's a small parking lot.  Since we're near the back, it's a very short walk, but we're missing our driveway.


That's a quick tour of the area, and once I finish unpacking (almost done) I'll share some pics of the inside .. our "new" place and our "old".  As I mentioned, the condo is really roomy inside for a 2-bedroom, and everything's new.  Although we're giving up a few things, I'm digging it!  I like the cozy feeling, the low maintenance and the lower monthly rent.  I think we're gonna love the electric bill too.  We've been there for two weeks and have yet to touch the thermostat.  Even though we were in the 40's this morning, we haven't turned on the a/c or the heat yet.  I wonder if being in between two homes that are running their heat helps us out.  We've been comfortable.  There was a little chill in the air the other night, so we flipped the switch and had an instant fire.  Yep, we have an electric fireplace!  It's kinda cheesy and doesn't replace the real fireplaces we're used to, but it puts out some heat and we love it.  No more clean up, and no more splitting firewood!

So, how are we feeling about selling our home now that it's become a reality?  To tell you the truth, I haven't had time to think about it ... or maybe I just won't allow myself to.  There's been a time or two that I've had those thoughts creep into my head, making me wonder what the heck we're doing.  But, I know this is totally normal so I quickly think about something else.  I'm the type of person that doesn't look back ... once I make a decision I look forward.  I figure it's a waste of time to look back, and nothing good can come from it.  I could dwell on "what if we stayed", but if we stayed I'd have to live with "what if we would have tried".  Instead, I'm focusing on the lower bills and the freedom that comes with selling our house.  Next year, we'll be free to sail away ... or to do anything we want.  That's a good feeling.

Where's Nirvana?  The guy that bought our house has been kind enough to let her stay in the backyard for now.  We'll eventually move her to the marina once we have some time.  I'll be looking forward to motoring her around the neighborhood to the marina.  It's been too long.  The sails will go back on in the Spring, then the work (and fun) begins.

Hasta luego ...until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...