Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another Self Portrait

Another Self Portrait
by toastfloats
The answer to why we stopped sailing is highly dependent on a number of factors: who you ask, when you ask, and whether or not we have had anything to drink.

The short answer most consistently proffered is that we ran out of money. It's easy to understand. Frankly, most folks can't imagine how we could afford to take off so many years anyway. Admitting that the cash is gone seems a logical barrier to further adventuring. But of course, it isn't strictly true. We didn't run out of money so much as we ran out of liquid cash. We could have stopped and worked briefly then continued (as did our good friends Totem). We could have made money en route (as do our good friends Ceildyh). We could have sold everything we still own and liquidated the rest of our savings (as have too many boats to name). The last thing I want to do is discourage people from cruising based on the mistaken notion that it can't be done on limited funds. It can.

And weirdly, the real problems with money started on landing in New Zealand. It's like Murphy -- having largely left us alone for major problems for nearly five years -- decided to move in. It started with just landing in the country: cat ($1300), medicals for immigration ($750), immigration ($1500? I can't remember… I was in a daze), Dean's medical reinstatement (a couple of thousands to various folks… and yes it was all legal), and a thousand dollar transformer so we could plug into New Zealand shore power. Then my nose decided to implode ($5000 USD deductible), the heater melted ($2700), and the batteries exploded (will be ~$2500). Self inflicted wounds include a latte'd laptop ($1000), a trip to the States (~$6000), and an iPhone ($350… yes, I got a 3GS unlocked ). The van was a few grand, school uniforms and "donations" another two, and a business wardrobe for me which probably set us back at least 50 dollars.

It's hard not to buckle. We can not can not can not get ahead which is an awful feeling. I try to console myself with the knowledge that if even half of this crap went down while we were sailing around last year, it would have bankrupted us. With money coming in, we can basically -just- keep up. But it would be nice to catch a break.

Or a job. A job would be good.

The radio silence on the blog these past months resulted from the fact that I finally did get some work. A former employee of mine moved on to bigger and better things, then revisited his past by to hire me as an editor. It was surprisingly fun work to dig into my technical writing roots. The documents were some of the most technical I've ever read, let alone edited. I learned about touch sense capacitors, oscillators, and methods to send IP packets over an electrical power line. I totally geeked out. I actually -- wait for it -- learned how to use the Equation Editor in Word. The single most important lesson from this experience was that Microsoft Word sucks. It is horrible. I will pay clients from now on to switch applications.

Aeron Peace Out
Aeron Peace Out
by toastfloats
Now, I have a new client, the IS team at Tegel Foods. For Americans, think Foster Farms with a Kiwi accent. They want to upscale the docs and training for the self-rolled software systems. I very much look forward to this. The project is in my favorite zone of work -- build awesomeness from raw materials and get paid.

Paid is good.

So if Murphy will just park his ass someplace else for a few months, maybe we can finally start saving for Jaime's college education. Gotta start somewhere.

4 comments:

dale roberts said...

Boy, when it rains, it sometimes pours, doesn't it? Think flash floods. Sorry about your current misfortunes, Toast. Hang tough, it'll get better. Just like a flash flood dissipating, this too, will pass.

Was feeling a little lost without your frequent posts. Had taken to reading some of your other friends posts through your site. Figured something was up, but kept hoping your writing ability would eventually be able to surface again. Really miss your take on things.

Deb said...

First of all, sorry for the long comment. It's funny you should post this now because we had tried to leave the dock this past April but the house wouldn't sell. We may not be able to leave next April for the same reason (It's only April because that's how much time we need to get through the Great Lakes out the St. Lawrence and down the East Coast before Winter). People keep telling us to go, go now, blah blah blah, but as my husband is fond of saying, "I've been poor and I don't want to be poor again." So we keep working on the boat making improvements and hopefully the housing market will come back enough to get a reasonable amount for the house so we can cast off the dock lines. I really want to get cruising, but Murphy seems to have a particular fondness for our boat and I want to have enough money to at least fix the major stuff. We're substantially older than you guys and I don't want to spend all my last days having given up good jobs, being poor, and not being able to fix the boat to go sailing.

Thanks for your transparency,

Deb
S/V Kintala
www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

Carol Morrison said...

Understand and feel for you guys. Having extended our stay in Hawaii for many of the same reasons, living through living apart - AGAIN- Thankfully as of my current paycheck, our debt is paid off and we can work on stashing cash for FIJI and points beyond. Gotta admit though that if you have to land somewhere NZ is not all bad right?

CS Phillips said...

I have been reading your blog and would be interested in any and all advice on boat type or needed gear. Just opened a sailblog where you can read about us

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/www.lostourmarbles.com/

Thanks!