Friday, July 26, 2013

Everything Is Broken!

Ken ... this is what he looks like lately!  We've been trying to balance our landlubber life with our cruising future.

As I stepped into the shower the other day, I tensed up as I felt the cold water hit my back then jumped right outta that shower.  I hate cold showers, and I know I'm gonna have to deal with them when we're cruising.  But until then, I'm gonna enjoy my hot showers ... or am I?  I waited and waited for the water to heat up, and it never did.  When I mentioned this to Ken, he checked out our hot water heater.  This thing is probably over 25 years old and it was shot.  So, over $300 bucks (and Ken's labor) later ... I can take a hot shower again.

A couple of weeks earlier, Ken had to replace and paint some of the wood around our house that a squirrel or something ate two huge holes in.  This again meant Ken's labor and more money.  Our refrigerator, washer and dryer are at least 15 years old and they're not as efficient as they used to be.  We're hoping they have at least another 6 months left in them.  If not, we'll be using the laundromat.  We've been paying a guy to cut our grass since we don't wanna buy a lawnmower for just a few months ... that's now turned into two summers.

I swear I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've had four pairs of shoes break on me this summer!  They're all pretty old (and cheap) and I was hoping they'd last till I quit working ... no such luck.  I'm wearing out my work clothes for as long as I can, but they're also getting faded and showing their age.  

Ken's in the construction business, and he's been needing to replace a few of his tools for a while now.  He's finally had to break down and buy a couple within the past few months.  Tools breaking in the middle of a job that's an hour away from the nearest store isn't productive.  We feel like everything is broken!

Speaking of broken, there's Ken's wrist.  About two months ago, I wrote about his injury.  After one doctor visit with x-rays, we chose to go against the doctor's advice and not spend thousands of dollars on more x-rays, a body scan, a CAT scan.  Ken "became doctor", bought himself a brace and wore it most of the time while trying to run a construction business without making things worse ... not easy.  About a week ago he finally went to see an orthopedist so he could take another x-ray and make sure everything was healing okay.  Ken's wrist is still hurting, so we both thought this visit was needed.  The doctor said that his wrist had been fractured but the cast he would have ordered would be coming off right about now.  Luckily, Ken's wrist is healing properly, so the next step is to stop wearing the brace (so Ken won't lose his range of motion) and keep being careful for another month or two.  We can't ask for much better news than that I guess.  We're happy that Ken doesn't need surgery and everything healed properly.  We'll both be happier when he's totally healed without hurting it again!

All of this had us thinking how tough it is to be preparing for the lifestyle of cruising while waiting on a house to sell!  I've written a post about the emotional toll of reaching a goal, but there's also the financial toll.  We don't wanna buy anything that won't have its place on the boat, because that's ultimately a waste of money.  However, we need to keep our house in good condition for that future buyer.  We also need to continue to make an income while living on land, and keep our businesses running.  Then there's our sailboat, Nirvana ... she needs to be properly maintained.

Now this all wouldn't be that big of a deal if money were no object, but the sad truth is ... it is!  In fact, since we decided to sell our house, it's sale has become more of a necessity than a choice.  Yeah, we could keep it if we weren't gonna cruise, but we'd have no quality in our life .. just living paycheck to paycheck.  Don't know why so many folks are okay with that ... we hate it!  With the price of food, gasoline, hazard and flood insurance for our house, car insurance, health insurance, property taxes steadily rising ... we're doing our best to not incur any  new debt.  That would ultimately come right out of our house sale, which is our cruising kitty.

So, we juggle things and we contemplate every purchase that doesn't have a place on the boat.  Some things we just have to buy until we leave the dock.  I'm not gonna lie ... sometimes we feel exasperated and wonder if we're kidding ourselves in thinking we'll ever cruise!  We vent, we curse ... we take a deep breath and focus on positive thoughts.  Why am I telling you all of this?  As I've said before, this blog is about the whole cruising experience from the very beginning ... including the bad with the good.  At the end of the day, we know all of this will work out, and we stay happy.

The other day Kenny Wayne Shepherd's song, "Everything Is Broken" was playing in my head so I thought I'd share it here.  A little trivia ... Kenny Wayne Shepherd is NOT the singer ... he's the young blonde guitarist.  We realized this when we went to see him at the House of Blues a few years ago.  He's a great guitar player, he plays so effortlessly.  As he said that night ... he just can't sing!  He wanted to form a band and play his music, so he found a singer for his band.  Enjoy some good ole' Southern Blues ...

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


Emily said...

Awwww man, it surely seems like the gods are conspiring to keep you at the dock. Maybe it's for a reason we just can't see now, but you know how hard I've been pulling for your house to sell for so long now! If it were anywhere but the New Orleans area, I am quite sure it would have, but people are probably wary of that area since Katrina. Still, I know it will sell eventually. Hopefully nothing more will break and you'll be living your dream soon! If it's any comfort, in the couple of months before we put our house on the market in 2010, we had several things go bad in the house that had to be replaced at the last minute. Good luck to you and thanks for being so honest about your struggles. The lows are as much a part of life as the highs, after all, and you do a great job on this blog at keeping it real.

Mike Boyd said...

Hey guys, I know the feeling. After waking up sore too many mornings we ended up having to buy a new mattress that we only planned to use for the next 6 months or so (we hope). 25 years is pretty good for a water heater, we've been through 3 in 12 years (although one was replaced under we only had to pay for labor which is the more expensive part).

Have you thought about how you will do laundry on the boat? My wife keeps sending me links to various hand-crank small washing things. I keep finding reviews that make them sound no better than the low tech option of a 5 gallon bucket and plunger option that some use. Might be a good time for you to try some options out?

Anyway, keep the faith, you'll get there.


Laura and Hans said...

Houses and boats seem to always need repairing! But owning both at the same time can be a huge pain. And then like you said, taxes, insurance... Those are killers!
I can't believe your house hasn't sold yet, I'd be going nuts too.

Sandee said...

First and most important, I'm glad Ken is healing properly. That's great news.

As for the money pit you seem to be experiencing right now? It happens to all of us. When the house goes you'll feel the relief of the biggest money pit.

Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. You'll get there you just have some bumps to contend with until then.

Have a terrific day and weekend. ☺ said...

I'm right there with you, sister. We just have to stay the course. It's just something we have to accept that it costs alot to keep both a boat and a house and that as long as we are living in houses, it will cost to keep and maintain them. I know one couple that ended up walking away from their house (!!, if you can imagine the stress that would cause!) and living on the guy's social security disability. They are now cruising in Mexico. It's hard to stand in judgement of that, I can tell you. I mean, they are there, and we are here. Hmmm. Another person we know of has a house for sale up north in this state and is cruising, but if the house doesn't sell soon, who knows what will happen for him. Sometimes I guess people get pretty creative to live their dream.
Meanwhile, you just keep blogging and we'll all help each other keep the dream alive.

Anonymous said...

Keep an eye out for the local Goodwill type stores selling second hand clothes if you need professional clothing short term. We originally went to buy cheap boat overhaul clothes. My wife was managed the Employee health system of the largest hospital in Houston. She found clothes she could wear to work. Down right cheap! Down went the N.M. account, hello Goodwill. One hundred and twenty dollar blazer for ten bucks. Soon you will be "out there" and will look back and smile. Ken

Jessica said...

Wish I could help you out with the broken shoes and fading clothes situation. For the last couple years before we cruised, I bought 80% of my things at Plato's Closet, but even I was getting old for that in my late 20's. The other 20% was Target and Marshalls. They have surprisingly cute things at cheap prices. Keep saving, it will be worth it!

And I'll send good vibes that things stop breaking on you. :)

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks for all the kind words! We do feel like we're gonna go nuts sometimes, but whatcha gonna do?! Walking away from our house ... too much equity!

I've been shopping at Goodwill and Target for a while .. just not shopping anywhere lately!

As long as we have a washer and dryer we're gonna use them but once we're on that boat .. a bucket and plunger sound good to me. Have you seen the costs of the laundromats on those islands?!

Sandee .. you're right. I'm so glad Ken is doing better with his wrist! Taking a deep breath ..

Emily ... thanks for rooting for us! It's not all pretty, but keepin' it real! I've never liked those people that are always "perfect" ... no such thing! =)

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