Milestones

I hesitated to post this today, but… exactly two years ago today I had a heart attack.  The following Monday (19 May 2015), I would be in cardiac surgery for open heart, aortic valve replacement “procedure”.  (Edited – I thought today was the day I had the surgery.  My wife reminded me it was Wednesday the 13th the attack occurred.  Oh well, so much for memory, right?)
I also hesitate to use the word “procedure”, but that was their term for it. It was a mind numbing, very humbling experience to have your chest cracked/sawed open in surgery and for people to be touching your inner workings, in particular your heart.  I honestly didn’t believe I was coming out of surgery alive at that point.  I’d said good bye to everyone I could, just in case.
JoAnne and I had previously set a date to leave Colorado and move aboard Adventure on 1 June 2015. On 11 May 2015 I had turned in my resignation.  On 13 May I was driving home and experienced a heart attack. Not a classic heart attack, but a sickening feeling, nausea, cold sweats and heart “palpitations”, along with trouble breathing. I pulled the truck over, knowing something was wrong (but what, I was not sure) and called JoAnne thinking I might never see her again. I knew it was my heart, but there was nothing “classic” about what happened, and nothing I could do sitting in the truck on Highway 94 outside of Colorado Springs, 40 minutes from home and ten minutes back to work (and worse, going through security to get back in.  Then, there was the issue with calling an ambulance and eventually getting my truck home…. but I digress).
The aortic valve was calcified, and deformed from birth (I knew that part and had for a couple of years, and also knew I had a “heart murmur” all my life). I also knew that some “day” I’d have to have that “procedure” but didn’t expect it for 5-10 years.
I think the stress of selling the house, quitting my job to “retire” and getting rid of all our “stuff” probably brought on the attack.  I was, after all moved out of the house and we’d already gotten a good price, signed on the dotted line, and had gotten rid of 90% of our “stuff”, bought the boat, and we were moving aboard soon.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  The kids too, because we’d moved in with my daughter and son-in-law and their three children, into their tiny (at the time) house.
I was terrified of the surgery and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, but you can never say something like that is routine.  Many people die on that operating table for various reasons from the anesthesia to not being able to restart the heart.
But, here I am today.  Alive, and well, and very likely in better shape today than I was before the heart attack (and don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been in ‘bad shape’, never been overweight, I’ve always exercised and even exercised the day I had my heart attack).
I went on to recover in pretty much record time.  Six weeks after I left the hospital I went back in for a check up and they released me to go back to work (with a few restrictions on lifting of course) and I stopped to visit the nurses who had cared for me so well at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs.  One nurse hugged me and cried… she told me that it was extremely rare to see a patient return looking so well in so short a time, and most of them never saw the same patients again ever, or if they did, it was due to them returning to the hospital in even worse condition.
JoAnne and I went on to move on to the boat in July 2015.  Slightly over a full month from our originally scheduled time.  Since then, we’ve had a lot of adventures on Adventure.
Today, I racked our first batch of beer made on the boat.  It won’t be the last, and we’re starting a second batch in a couple of days. (We have an ulterior motive though, we’re entering a home brew contest through Check Six  (https://www.facebook.com/CheckSixBrewingCompany/) located in Southport, NC.  I highly recommend a stop there if you like beer.
We won’t stop living our lives because of medical issues.  We’ve been slowed slightly, but getting back up to speed has been fun.
JoAnne went through her own bad experiences with cancer prior to my heart attack.  It wasn’t a cake walk either, but she’s doing fine.
I suppose, in the end of it all, life is how you lived, and are remembered.  It’s not always about how you die.
I believe that people who want to do something with their dreams need to stop right now, evaluate just how much you want that dream to become a reality.  Think it over carefully.  Judge how difficult it would be to start that dream, or the realization of that dream and then write down a plan to make it happen.
It is very, very important you write it down.  Then read it every few days.  I’m serious.  If you have a written plan to follow, you will soon discover you can break it down into smaller, achievable chunks.  If you want to set sail into the sunset, go around the world, or visit the Bahamas, or fly to Europe on a vacation, then by golly, do it.  Don’t wait for “retirement” to happen.  Because, retirement my friends NEVER HAPPENS.  It will never come for some people, they won’t make it there.  Others will be infirm medically by the time they “arrive” at retirement.
Tomorrow is NOT the day to start. Tomorrow never comes.
Right now, this minute is the time.  Write your plan for your dreams.  One year, five years, ten years – and plot your course for how you will arrive at your dream.
Make the dreams happen.  Don’t wait for them to come to you.
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Last things to do….

Somewhere along the way I got a chance to breathe and evaluate where we’re at.

Yesterday wasn’t that day though. I was finishing the kitchen counters, repainting a wall and preparing the house for going on the market.  A few days ago though, I was able to, through wheezing and coughing from a horrible cold, to examine where we’ve come in six years.

Remember we had a Five Year Plan.  In that plan there were certain things to accomplish and we did them all well before the five years was up.  That included saving money, fixing up the house, selling things (including our sailboat, dinghy, my Jeep… I hate that I sold my Jeep so soon… but oh well, it’s just “stuff”).  The plan included getting out from under debt (we did that), paid off and essentially stopped using credit cards.  We moved all our accounts to a new, investment bank, and I was able to replace our hot tub (with CASH), paid off the house (ok, I still owe a few bucks, but it’s done too soon) and set up a Home Equity Line of Credit, like a revolving charge account against the house.

We used that to get some work done.

We also used it to buy our new boat.

As of a week ago, we have our Ship’s Radio License (Call sign: WDH8090), the boat is now properly registered in Delaware, the USCG paperwork was completed and we should see that soon, we have a notarized “bill of sale” until the official paperwork arrives.

So I have only one more important thing to do.  Sell the house.  It will be going on the market late this week or early next week.  JoAnne had her 6 months check up since Chemo and she’s doing well.  I’ve got a full physical scheduled for April.  The boat storage is paid through the end of April at the marina.

I’ll be contacting the marina manager to arrange for a bottom paint job next week (to be accomplished when the weather is better there) and to have the name and hailing port repainted,,, then when we splash we’ll do a traditional renaming ceremony (no, I’m not superstitious, but you know, it can’t hurt right? :))

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is the home stretch for us. Or more accurately the “Selling the Home” stretch.

And before I close out, I just spoke to JoAnne.  She is fine with getting the house on the market by the weekend, so I’ll shoot for next Monday to give the family members a heads up (we have a son,  grand-daughterand a room-mate staying with us currently) so as not to shock them too badly, we’ll let them know tonight.  I’ll contact the broker today and get him going, give him a date and see if he wants to come back by the house and look things over or not and go for it.

…Deep Breath…. JUMP IN!

 

Buying a Boat

We just were notified that the Seller of the boat we’re interest in has accepted our offer.

<faint>

Ok. I’m better now.  Time for a survey.  Surveyor is notified, will get back to me shortly with possible dates.  I’ll get back with probably flight and hotel information.

 

With luck weather won’t be horrible.  We’ll likely waive a sea trial.  Too late in the season.  Speaking to both insurance companies and the surveyor, they can do the best job on the hard anyway.  Short of ensuring the boat doesn’t sink, or masts don’t fall off in waves.  Anyway, at this point, I’ll take it. Spoke to a mechanic at the marina who worked on the boat when the boat was hauled.  Said he took care of tightening bolts, checking some hoses and clamps and then winterizing the engine and it starts and runs fine.  He was not sure of the oil changes or any of that.

I’ll personally check that stuff out.  No responses on any maintenance logs, and I doubt I will find any.

On the good side, I’ve spoken to several people who have been on this boat, seen it and even know the owner.  He gets high marks for being picky about the boat and caring for it at this point.  But thus far, I’ve seen only pictures and pictures might be worth a thousand words in the mind of Confucius, but I prefer seeing something in real life, living color.

Stay Tuned.

Headed for a Dock

Well, kind of.  We’re headed down soon to Florida to look over some boats.  Since I’m a little wary about putting travel data out I won’t say when or exactly where yet.  But we’ve got a bunch of boats lined up, one confirmed appointment and the type of boats are all falling in line with our basic requirements.

Each of the boats will be between 34-41 feet long.

Among the top choices were:

Allied Mistress (a 39′ full keeled ketch with an aft cabin)

Morgan Out Island 41 – similar to above

Hallberg-Rassy 35

Morgan 36

O’Day CC

Westsail 32

Those are our absolute top, go-to boats right now.  Among the second place was a Formosa (Actually it’s a CT 41, but based on the same designs as the Formosa 41), a couple of different Irwin models, another Hallberg-Rassy (33′), a couple of larger boats (a 45′ and a 44′) and too far away to look at, but would be on the top of the list if closer to our destination, would be two Gulfstar sloops.

We’ve been aboard a Westsail 42 in the past (if you watching the banner pictures, you’ll see the actual boat, the Kataboo eventually) – but not a 32.  We’ve clambered all OVER a Morgan 41 in the Bahamas that was for sale at one point.  The owner wanted too much money, and we didn’t want to fiddle with trying to get him to drop the price at the time.  The boat was sold later, I hear, to some folks who wanted it to move Haitians off their island, most likely, illegally.  He didn’t get anywhere near what he was asking originally.

I’m partial to a slightly smaller vessel – perhaps 35′ in length.  She is looking for something a bit larger.  We might, or might not have extra crew join us (family members) from time to time and for unknown lengths of time.  There is nothing set in concrete for that and we’re honestly not sure when this might happen, for how long or if the persons in question will do this often or not very often.

Thus we’ve been torn on buying the larger boat and ending up spending more money in repairs and maintenance, or going smaller, more budget-minded and have the extra crew “make do” with the space we allot them.  We feel like they really should come along – they are young and could be helpful, but also at the same time this is really for me and my wife, not to accommodate others.  Don’t get me wrong, we love them dearly and would welcome them.  But you know… decisions, decisions.  Oh their part and ours….

Anyway, truthfully, if we locate a boat that is 34-35 feet long and still has an aft cabin (we have a couple of those) to allow my wife and I privacy and a larger cabin area for the galley and an extra space or three for sleeping, it will be fine.

I really, really, like that Hallberg-Rassey we’re looking at.  I also really, really, really like the Allied Mistress.  Boat good boats, both of them are in our price range.  Both of them have the things already on them we want.  One is a bit much on asking price, the other has some work that is required before you can sail off.

But, we’ll figure it out.

The Broker we’re working with has told us several times to “sign a S&P” form… basically it’s an offer letter.  I don’t want to do that until I SEE boats personally, touch them, look inside, sniff around and do my own mini-survey.  Once I do that, I’ll be in a better position to determine if we’ll have a surveyor come out and do the rest of the job for us.  So – not getting pushed into making an offer on a boat sight-unseen, not buying a boat JoAnne and I both don’t have 100% agreement on, and won’t buy one that isn’t really what either of us want.  We each can veto the others final say on a vessel.

From a practical aspect this is about to be our new home.  We don’t want to live in a camper.  We don’t want to be “camping”.  We want to have some comfort, a nice place to sleep, a dry boat, places to store food, a water maker (eventually), extra power (solar panels and wind generator) and a way to move the boat without an engine (sail, sculling oars, outboard) and a dinghy.  HF radio is part of our lives now (we’re hams) and we’ll take our radio gear with us when we finally leave Colorado.

She has another doctor’s visit in October.  We’re waiting for that appointment to make the final decision on the house.  We’ll likely put it back on the market at the end of October if all works out.  If not, we’ll continue on, regroup as we have in the past and continue keeping on….

Fair Winds!

Finishing the house

We figured out we have somewhere around 24 doors in our house, counting closets, bedrooms, bathrooms and interior and exterior doors leading in and out of the house.

Yikes, that’s a lot of doors to paint.  All white.

Trim is nearly completed.

I still have a lot of little jobs to accomplish, like finishing installing a toilet and sink in the downstairs bathroom, repainting the upstairs bathroom and a few places where I need to complete the trim.  I think there are also a couple of closets that aren’t painted yet, as well as finishing the electrical part (replacing some plugs, switches and covers).

1 May has come and passed us by two days and we didn’t quite make our “deadline” but we nearly got it.  Now we’re in “Days overruns” (not costing any more at least!)

I decided to give myself two more good weekends to complete all of those jobs.  We should be done by mid May.

Now we’ll shoot for Market by the end of the month.  Time to interview Realtors now.