Settling into life in California means everything is different, but also more of the same. SNAFU (for you non-military types, google it).
5 am. Wife and kids are asleep. Dogs are asleep. East-coast guests are asleep, though there is a significant danger that they will soon be awake since it is 830 on their internal clocks.
I woke, as I often do, to dog poop in the kitchen. Argh!! Our little French Bulldog is an untrainable mess at this new house.
Despite the new dog-door she enjoys using during the day, late night pooping in one area of the kitchen has become her thing. And, of course, since it is “late night pooping” nobody is awake to tell her “NO” as she squats to poop by the stove. I do not think she will make a good pet on a sailboat. I keep telling her that she needs to impress me before the move, but not sure she is getting it. Perhaps if I show her this pic and explain that the life jacket is optional?
Harry, the old English bulldog is a senior citizen and continues to be awesome. Added bonus, he has not pooped or peed in the house more than 10 times in 9 years!
But I digress.
We sold the Atlanta house to a friend whose office and kids’ school were very close to us. So, the Atlanta Bonder-osa has passed to a new family. One selling point was that he knew that every improvement we made to that house was with the expectation that I would live out my entire life and eventually drop dead in the place. That same commitment to making sure house was solid, had the best floors, appliances, etc. also makes us miss the place. But, I should have known the plan would not stand the test of time since none have yet!
Moving is rough on the whole family, but exciting as well. The kids seem to be doing well, making friends, getting good grades, etc. They complain and speak longingly about Atlanta, but I don’t think this is so very different than what they would do in Atlanta at 13 and 15 years old. Those are rough ages. Because the little buggers are too old for play-dates and the neighborhood non-competitive soccer league (oh, and because they now have a will of their own), we parents are forced to (gasp) make friends without using the kids as a crutch.
Luckily, Tiburon is a friendly small town and we met some folks. So, when the lease on the rental house expired, we bought a house of our very own and stayed in Tiburon. We are still very near the town center of Tiburon, but with a different view and a slightly longer walk to town, the ferry, etc. But, we are very happy with the new location.
Although I grew up near the water in Queens, I never really thought about it. Even when I was “hanging out” down by the jetty outside of Fort Totten and looking at the Throgs Neck Bridge (worst name for a bridge ever)
or walking along the path to the sole Zaxxon machine
at the Douglaston Driving Range (this really makes me think I am too hard on my kids about video games),
I just never thought about the water. But now, being near the water and seeing it is incredibly relaxing. Something about it is calms the soul, and brings daily small issues into perspective. So, bottom line, the move was a great thing thus far and I am very happy with the trade offs from land locked Atlanta.
So, now that water is an ever present reality and I am still hopeful that our retirement will being by living on a boat and traveling the world. Toward that lofty end, we spend time making sure we are competent sailors!
We sail routinely around the San Francisco Bay (considered a challenging area to sail, so very good practice) on a variety of boats.
Luckily, by joining the local sailing club we also met a bunch of super nice folks who enjoy sailing, drinking wine with Teresa (I sip my beer in a haughty fashion, swirl it around the bottle, and talk about its floral notes just to be a jerk), and are quickly becoming good friends.
When the sound of wind is the only “motor” moving the boat and I am contently staring at the sea lions (as they contently stare at me),
I realize how incredibly far I am from the teenage kid that was dragged to a boat at the World’s Fair Marine in NY by my dad largely for manual labor. As much as I recall being pissed about it, I now know that I learned invalauble skills by spending virtualy every weekend as forced labor on a boat, friends boats, and working as part of the Coast Gaurd Auxiliary.
To be fair, I have no idea what the World’s Fair Marina is like now, but even without the constant rotten-egg sewage smell in the 80s, it was a pretty awful spot just under the runway of LaGuardia airport. I remember thinking that we were in danger every time we motored passed Riker’s Island, one of NY’s most notorious prisons. To be fair to the staff and prisoners on Riker’s Island, we were in far more danger from an alcohol induced boating accident than an escape, but the danger was real nevertheless.
Teresa and I also continue to have a great time looking at catamarans as an eventual new home. In April we took an awesome trip to the south of France for the La Grande Motte Catamaran Boat show. We immediately felt welcomed as we drove out of the airport, though I am not sure what the message here really was.
We decided to skip the spa visit and head to our hotel in Nice, France.
After a few days of exploring Nice, we headed over to La Grande Motte, a funky little seashore town that must have sprung up in the 70s.
The catamaran variety was astounding.
We really fell for the Privilege Series 5 catamaran. We will visit the brand, and many others, again soon at the Miami boat show. But for now, Privilege is a clear leader in our thought process.
To close out this post I will share my favorite moment of the trip. As some of you may know, Teresa “speaks” French. That’s is, when in college she was fluent and lived in France for a semester. Shoot forward xx years, and she confidently ordered a lovely fish lunch in the ancient walled city we were visiting, Of course, if this were xx years ago she would have known that the words she used were for some sort of alien being with tentacles. She was a good sport, but I suspect her laughter in this picture was really at me laughing so hard that I could not breath.