Colorado

We moved here in N0vember 1989 on a whim.  We had five children and I left my military career to start a business in Colorado with some friends.

We bought a house and I got a “temporary” job in my normal field of electronics and radios.   The business never worked out, the first job didn’t work out and we struggled to keep our home; but we did.  I rejoined the military as a Reservist to finish my 20 years (I did 26 years total with the military).  In the mean time I have been a teacher, electronics technician, computer systems administrator and a “security engineer” (unlike “sanitation engineer” this doesn’t mean I do “security” and I’m not a “security guard” – instead I use my electronics skills and other skills to maintain an electronic security system and keep the customers happy.

JoAnne didn’t really “work”; she was “just a mom” – a phrase which I am sure pisses off a lot of moms.  Moms are some of the hardest working people on the planet.  They are cooks, finance managers, taxi drivers, food provisioners and do many, many other jobs that those of us who do not stay home with the kids on a daily basis have no clue about.  JoAnne has worked in fast food restaurant management and retail sales now for many years.

Both of us are tired of working for someone else, spending so much time apart and so much money taken from us in taxes to pay for those who live on the “Government dole”  After thirty seven years of working for the government and having them take and take and take from us, we’re tired of giving.

In our nearly twenty five years here in Colorado we’ve lived in the same house–a record for both of us now, to have lived in one house, in one city, in one state for so long a time.  We made friends and lost friends, had many jobs, climbed mountains, camped by lakes, traveled the Western United States from here.  Our children were raised for the most part in this home in which we live.

Last night it suddenly hit me, even after planning and working for the past five years to accomplish our goal, that we were actually about to accomplish our goals.

We have an incredible view of the mountains and a pretty house.  Over the years we let a lot of maintenance things slip simply because we were both working long hours or just too tired to do much when we got home.  I suspect we’re both going to miss that view of Pikes Peak out the back windows, sitting in the hot tub as the sun sets on Friday nights having a glass of mead or a beer, chocolate covered strawberries and awaiting the stars to begin twinkling.

A lot of memories are in that house, some good, some bad, but they are our memories and the good part is we can keep those memories.

Our children are all grown up, moved away; they all still live here in Colorado and have their own children and lives to live now.  We think that none of them want us to leave because they will miss us and yet they all have come to accept the fact we’re going.  JoAnne and I have accepted that we’re starting a new life now one where we will count on each other even more than we ever have.  A life that will, if we do things right grant us vistas that will rival the view of the mountains out the back yard.  This life will have dangers and it will have it’s moments of safety.

We plan to leave this life of working constantly and just enjoy the years we have left together.

When we first came up with the idea of moving to a sailboat and cruising around the world or just to some foreign port there was a little trepidation.  Though we are both world travelers now and can handle “culture shock” and not speaking the language we do get along well with people and enjoy traveling so putting the two things together was perhaps more difficult in our minds than it will be in fact.

I don’t think either of us is quite ready for an offshore passage yet, but we’re ready to try it.  In the coming months we have to sell our home — with luck that process will start in less than a couple of weeks when the finishing work is competed.  After that the next part of the process is locating the boat that is right for us to begin our travels.  Once we do that we still have a long journey to “get there”.  We have to fit out the boat, use it and practice sailing some more, get used to the “Rules of the Road” again (been some time since we were on the ocean now) and we have to plan our first few months out.  Many cruisers will tell you not to plan too far in advance and we do understand this, but we want at least to know where we’re starting and have an idea where we need to be in hurricane seasons and winters now.

We are going to miss Colorado but we will probably be too busy to miss it much.  Our grand children are another story.  We will miss them immeasurably.

 

And the Winner is….

You will all note that the name of this blog is called “Winds of Time”.

The first boat we owned was “Winds of Change” and the dinghy was “Small Change”.  The names Winds of Change and Time come from a Jimmy Buffett song, “Growing Older but not Up” which positively describes me to a T and JoAnne perhaps to a lesser extent.  We chose the name of our first boat from that song, Winds of Time.

Now, I know that boat names in some persons’ opinions should radiate femininity, or at least a female sounding name.   I also know (and to a small degree believe) the name should be short, easy to pronounce and to be able to phonetically SAY over the radio.  The name should be as UNIQUE as possible.  There are those who think three names or two names on a vessel is too many, and you didn’t use enough brainpower to come up with it.  I disagree.  But, I’ll talk about that again shortly.

We had kind of decided for ourselves many moons back that since our first boat was “Winds of Change” the second would be “Winds of Time” and we kept that idea in our heads, thus this blog’s name.  However, awhile back we were discussing lists of names and the type of boat we’re getting, where we’re planning to go and our previous travels.  We decided that no matter what the boat name would be, the blog’s name wouldn’t change.

So we came up with a long list of names, probably close to one hundred names, things like names of ancient gods and goddesses, animals, stars, planets and constellations.  One in particular was the name of a space station which has figured prominently in a series of books that I am working on, Estrellita – Little Star in Spanish.

About 3-4 weeks ago we decided to have a vote.  Family, some friends and some internet friends we have known for some years.  I opened a poll on a web site I help to run and let the folks there vote, and on a private Facebook family page we held a separate vote.

I kept a running tally on the voting on a spread sheet and at the end of the final eight names we’d chosen for the poll, we were to come up with the top three names; run a secondary vote to decide the top name.

Things didn’t work out that way.

We came up with two very clear leaders out of all the names we’d chosen originally, pared down the last eight names.

There are a hand full of “Third Place” holders and therefore, today JoAnne and I have decided that the CLEAR winner will be the name of the boat when we finally pick her out and purchase her.  The first runner up will become the name of our Dinghy.

Let me explain why.  Many of our friends and people we’ve read state categorically that naming your dinghy after the mother-ship is a clear indication for opportunistic thieves to visit your floating home while you’re away.  In other words naming a boat “Susie” and then dinghy “Susie II” or any other combination that might indicate your absence from home is an invitation.  So, being that the two names are significantly removed from one another, that gave us this idea.

The final Eight Names Chosen from the original 100 were:

Dreamweaver
Estrellita
Horizons
Marielee
MaryJean
Seastar
Serenity
Winds of Time

The final tally placed “Seastar” dead last.

Next from the bottom was “Marielee” and “Maryjean”.  Both names derived from our daughters’ names and our mom’s names respectively.  (Sorry Ladies; but as they say it IS the thought that counts.)

The names that got the next number of votes each were, “Dreamweaver”, “Estrellita” and “Horizons”, each a good name for a vessel; but not our vessel.

As I was stating earlier the name of a vessel is important to the owners, one hopes.  The boat name SHOULD say something about the owners, the vessel and her travels; or at least intended travels.  JoAnne and I have no intention of sitting in a slip or hanging out on some dock all the time.  We intend to travel, far and wide, visit the haunts of Pirates, islands and beaches; thus the boat must suit us to take us around the coasts as well as cross the seas.  A boat name should reflect our lives, our love of life and our character as well as perhaps our hobbies.  We are both science fiction readers, and travelers.  We’ve traversed the US several times, as well as traveled in Europe and Asia.  We’re not really “stay at home types” though we did it for our children.

So, without making you wait any longer…. the top two names were (Drum Roll please) were:

In Second Place: “Serenity”

In First Place: “Winds of Time”

Funny how that worked out.  This was the name we originally chose for our cruising boat; and yet gave almost one hundred other names the chance and still, the name with three words came in first.

With ONE small caveat the new boat when purchased will be re-christened to “Winds of Time” and the dinghy will be named “Serenity”.

Here’s the caveat; if we locate a boat, probably older, bigger and already a “successful” cruiser that has “made a name for herself” – and is possibly a well-know boat, we might not change from that name and the “Winds of Time” will likely go back into the name bucket for next time.

However, if we pick up a boat with no name, or a name that is dumb, stupid or even unpronounceable (like many are to me) then we’ll do a renaming ceremony.

As to the Dinghy.  When we buy the boat, if there is one, we’ll use that boat, but the first opportunity I get, I’m building our dinghy.  I already have the plans for it, know what it will be like and how long she will be.  She will be a wooden two piece nestable dinghy that can be sailed and row.  Thus she WILL get the name “Serenity” (not the “comes with the mother ship dinghy” dinghy).

Thanks to all our kids and their spouses and our friends who chose to vote on the names.  A special thanks goes to my good friend Ryan Ruck in Ohio for coming up with the name “Serenity” and congrats Ryan that your choice came in second!  ( I know he’s a rabid Firefly Fan so good on him!) haha

Thanks to my dear Lady JoAnne for putting up with my incessant bothering over this for the past few weeks too.

Dinghy for sale

Alrighty then; the dingy was sold on Friday.  

So, Winds of Change is gone, and so too now is “Small Change”.

http://cosprings.craigslist.org/boa/3731292858.html

jgjrm-3731292858@sale.craigslist.org [?]

 

Posted: 2013-04-08, 3:20PM MDT

Walker Bay 8′ dinghy / sailboat – $800 (Colorado Springs)

This boat has been used as a sailboat dinghy and for local lake sailing in Colorado as well as just rowing and sailing on the lakes.The dinghy has a full sailing ring, rudder and other equipment to sail the boat. It is also equipped with oar locks, oars and flotation (to keep the boat floating if you tip her over). The transom is set up to allow for a small (2 hp engine MAX) or an electric trolling motor for fishing. It comes with a grapnel anchor, anchor rode (nylon), bailing bucket, all the standing rigging, mast and boom for sailing. There is a home built carriage to move the boat around though it is light enough for a person to lift alone. (Weighs about 75 pounds or so). There is a dagger board for sailing. A plug for the slot when the boat is being rowed or used in a configuration other than a sailing boat. There is a cover as well.

If you need a small lightweight fishing boat, a small sailing dinghy or just want a row boat this is the boat for you. Sorry, the sailing rig, boat and all parts go together, will not separate them. The price is firm. This boat new costs $900 and the sailing rig another $900.

If you’re interested, call to speak to me at  719-310-7576  any time after 3PM on Weekdays until 7:30 PM. All day on weekends after 0800.

Do NOT Text my phone as text messages will be ignored. Contact via voice. Serious inquiries only.

  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posting ID: 3731292858

Posted: 2013-04-08, 3:20PM MDT

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Why am I becoming a Cruiser?

My dear, sweet wife and I have spent the last five years getting ready. My mother had a saying that I remember from when I was a little kid. I once asked mom when she was going to make some cupcakes or cookies or other equally sweet treat while she was reading. She looked up at me and said, “Well, soon…” and I persisted. She replied, “Ok, I’m fixin’ to begin to commence to start, I’ll let you know when they are done.”

I happily went on my way thinking I’d convinced mom to get those treats done. Several hours later I wandered back into the house and didn’t smell cookies baking. I was disappointed, but I started to learn about patience. I’m still learning patience today. In fact, I’m to the point where I don’t yell and scream at the bozo in front of me on the street that’s going 20 miles under the speed limit. I might cuss him under my breath now, but I don’t yell as much out loud as I used to do.  My wife however says I still have none.  But I do…..

It has taken every ounce of patience to get to where we are today, five long, tough years of sticking to our written plan. Getting our bills paid off, getting “off the credit card dole” (you all know that free money the government is using day in and day out that they don’t have? We don’t have to worry about OUR credit cards now, only the government’s credit!) We have been putting away money, close to 20% of our monthly income. That money is being used to update and upgrade our home so we can sell the old place. We have nearly a new house from the “keel up”. New windows, new flooring, new paint inside and out, new gutters, new bathroom, new carpet, new doors and frames, new trim and new tile in the basement family area. We even have newer appliances in the kitchen. Last year a new hot tub went in, and I replaced most of the deck boards. We added a closet to JoAnne’s office (we called it a Library) in the basement so we now have five bedrooms in the house.

The “Plan” has come almost to completion. The next step is to put the house on the market which seems to be picking up in our area, cross out fingers and hope we can get the best price given the market. The step after that…. we’re a little unclear about. We have been flexible about everything and we will be flexible about all our future plans. We might move in temporally with our daughter, or we might pick up a small camper trailer and put that at the daughter’s place to keep us out of their hair, then we might keep it at our own home while it’s on the market and just move in there for during the selling process (it is, after all nearly spring, except for the cold winds here in Colorado in mid March….sigh) or we might get the home sold fast!

We have several options though. Patience is proving to be virtue. But, the following story explains why I’m becoming a cruiser. In the “real world” where we live day in and day out you take things as they come. In the cruising world (which I have barely sampled thus far) I have already noticed you can simply ignore people when they are really getting on your nerves. You don’t feed the animals, as they say, or the trolls (on the internet) because if you do, they get bigger, stronger and more powerful. I totally forgot that lesson somewhere along the way. The guy below is why I am becoming a cruiser. Just to prove him wrong.

In the middle of all this a few weeks ago a colleague asked me about our plans. He thought that perhaps I was clueless and couldn’t answer his questions I think. Throughout the last five years my wife and I have gladly answered questions about what we’re planning. We even went against some very good advice to “keep quiet, don’t tell anyone, they will try to ruin it for you!” due to, we assume jealousy, or just wanting to be party poopers. I’ve never been one to let people poop on my party though, so we’ve continued to say “We will do this and that, we have a plan, and things are coming together”. I guess no one warned me about the Perpetual Party Pooping Pessimist though. Usually when someone asks what can be perceived as a “dumb question” one continues on and answers the question because for many years I was told “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.” Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and I just didn’t know that it wasn’t true, I believed the rhetoric!

The following individual spent the ten minutes we were talking not asking me questions, but telling me all the ways I would fail. His initial question was, “Hey, I heard you plan to retire to a boat! How’s that going?”

When I started to tell him, I couldn’t even finish a sentence before he would tell me how it wasn’t going to work. For instance, I said, “Well, things are going good. We got rid of all our bills!”

He responded with, “Well, you can’t really do that, there’s always going to be bills. You have to pay for internet, cable, telephones, electricity, water, gas and there’s your mortgage!”

“I’m selling the house; I won’t have a mortgage, electric or cable bills or water or gas bills. I won’t even have to pay property taxes then…,” he interrupts me before I can finish the thought or statement.

“Of course you’ll pay property taxes; you are buying a YACHT after all! Those are expensive and you have either saved a lot of money which I doubt with YOUR job or you’re embezzling it,” he says.

“Embezzling? What?” the whole idea of paying property taxes on an “expensive yacht” was missed by me completely with the accusation.

“You have to have a house someplace, where you going to live????”

“On a boat,” I calmly tell him.

“You can’t live on a boat in the United States; you have to have an address! You have to pay your taxes! You have to have a domicile! That’s a law or something… isn’t it?”

“I’m not really sure it’s a law,” I say working desperately to maintain my ‘patience’. Before I could say anything else, he interrupted again.

“So you’re going to just jump on a boat and sail to some Caribbean Islands? You’re going to LIVE on a boat? Does your wife go along with this? I mean, what about Pirates!” he tries a new tack. He’s on my starboard side, I’ve got the right-of-way I think so I stand on.

“It was my wife’s idea. There’s no pirates in the Caribbean save the occasional thief…”

“Your wife’s idea, I can’t believe that. And you’re going to go along with this? What about sharks?”

“Sharks?” I question.

“Sure, are you sure she’s not just trying to do you in? Feed you to the sharks for the insurance money?”

“What insurance money?” I ask.

“NO INSURANCE?! How can you not have life insurance? That’s like a sin or something, and I think there’s a law that covers that too!”

“I think you’re thinking of Obamacare. I won’t have that either,” I stamp my foot, clench my fists now.

“Well, there’s another thing? How are you going to pay for the new healthcare laws, you have to pay your fair share!?”

Finally, defeated, my patience gone and my forearm muscles cramping because of the fist-clench I smile at him in a psychotic sort of wild eyed grin and say, “I’m not. I’m taking all my guns with me, collecting the worst dregs of humans I can and we’ll be raiding the whole coast of Florida, writing Spanish graffiti all over every dock to make them think Spanish pirates are alive and well. I’ll just murder those old people and take their EBT cards, their welfare checks, and I’ll steal the fuel from hapless vessels I will hull with my cannons and machine guns. I’ll take all the women and put them to work in the galley so my wife and do her job of cutting the balls off of every man that asks a stupid question of me again! YARRRRR!” I yell into his face.

He just grinned and said, “You can’t carry guns on a boat! There’s an international law against it! Those old ladies don’t have EBT cards. They live on their pensions…. And I don’t think anyone will believe there are Spanish pirates in the Caribbean… and where did YOU get a machine gun anyway?”

I finally rolled by eyes and walked away. I guess even a cynic can’t remember when he contradicts himself.

Yeah, patience is a virtue. He’s still alive… for now. Until I get the cannons…. YARRRR!

The truth is I want to get away from the rat race and people like that, I want to spend the rest of my life at a slower pace. Driving at 60 or sailing at 6 knots is an option I can ill afford to pass up. Considering all of the problems and learning curve that went with learning to sail (and of course I’ve only just learned it a few years ago – you continue learning for the rest of your life I’ve found out) it is still going to be less difficult on my blood pressure dealing with mechanical issues, weather windows and lumpy seas than it will dealing with the guy from the foregoing conversation. The conversation happened almost exactly as related above. The problem is this person does exist in various maturation stages. He exists about individual rights. He exists where it comes to controlling other people.

This particular person I’ve found over time is a very vehement anti-gun person. He apparently is hateful of those he perceives as “wealthy”. Knowing that he makes more money than me (and he knows this simply because of our job types, I’m a maintenance-worker-electronics type and he’s a thinking-scientist-type who got his degree in some big school while I spent thirty years in college never actually finished a degree; especially not a liberal arts degree) makes him “better than me”. He can neither afford to retire early, nor would he ever consider doing it on a “boat”. He has this belief that I’ll be on some house boat hanging my laundry on the clothes line and out putting my (hard earned I’ll add) savings in some “offshore bank” avoiding paying “my fair share”.

The truth is a person like this knows nothing at all about guns. He knows less about yachts. He knows even less about the Constitution. He certainly knows nothing of freedoms and individual liberties and believes that the individual exists to SERVE his government, to pay his ‘fair share’ so the rest can live instead of understanding that it was people like me, serving in the military that gave him the right to be a complete moron.

Dad used to tell me that you can be the most well-read (Book-learned he called them) person in the world but without “horse sense” (the phrase Dad used to indicate “common sense”) you were dumber than a rock. If you couldn’t put that Horse Sense to work and think out a problem with or without book-learnin’ then you were worthless as a person. Dad used to put us to the test all the time. Without teaching us something, he’d ask us to try. When we didn’t get it right, he’d walk us through it simply and carefully explaining how to come to a solution, all without teaching us the nuts and bolts of the problem.

Years later when I became a teacher (and still believed in “No such thing as a dumb question”) I used that same technique to train people to troubleshoot. They had a minimal knowledge of a radio for instance and I’d work on them, getting them to think through what they knew and what was happening, even to guess (accurately usually) what might be happening to a signal. Once they got the hang of a very simple circuit or a problem, the solution came easily.

My “friend” was a guy who could not, or would not for some reason even listen to a response before moving to the next question and impressing upon me just what a problem I’m going to have counting on myself “out there”. I’ve had similar conversations with him about the same subject and it occurred to me that these Perpetual Party Pooping Pessimists don’t really CARE if you explain the answer, help them figure out the solution, or just give them answer. They want it their way, they want to be right all the time and they don’t give a crap what YOU want or if you have figured out the solution.

I suppose they are even in the cruising community (I know they are, I’m not kidding myself, I’ve met them on bulletin board systems, forums, in chat rooms and email. They are the same folks I know I’m trying to get away from. Here at work, daily, driving around me, in the grocery store, I have to put up with them with a smile, or make them leave me alone with the “crazy look”. Out there, they are dangerous people.

When my patience wears thin, I have to remember I rely on no one but myself and my wife, and she relies on herself and me. We’re a team and we’ve been one for over thirty-five years now. We get along and see eye-to-eye on almost everything (except politics, which we aren’t taking with us). We will both smile and move along when we run into those people.

So… why am I becoming a cruiser? I’m doing it to get away from the Rat Race, to live life on MY terms, to count on ME, to do or die. That’s why.