Official Diagnosis: Crazy-Pants

I should simply have left the country for this part of the boat selling process. It has been determined that I am constitutionally unable to keep my heart from interfering with the whole thing. It could look to outsiders as though I am still too attached to Moonrise to part with her, but I don’t think so.  I think the reasons have just as much to do with fear of making the wrong choices, with knowing the future is filled with unlimited possibilities, and with always looking for the ‘why’ in the things that happen. Oh, for sure, sometimes I am just too ‘deep’ for my own good, you know? Some of us around here, and I am naming no names, simply think TOO MUCH. As Freud said, sometimes a sex dream is just a sex dream (or something like that). And I will not even go there. But I do wish all the voices in my head would be on the same page.

Andrew was with us when we sailed Moonrise home from her moorage in Olympia.

Andrew was with us when we sailed Moonrise home from her moorage in Olympia.

It all started with two things: finding out through our bank that we could actually borrow the money for a boat without having to put anything down (never mind all you financial geniuses out there who have just sucked in your collective breaths), and hearing my son say these words, “I have been in some scary situations with Danger Kitten. She’s a really lightweight boat for the winds in Bellingham.”. My mother’s heart opened the door to fear for my son. Profound fear. The kind that makes me really focused, really fast, and not necessarily in a good way.

And before you suck in your breath yet again and utter words such as ‘these are learning situations’, ‘sounds like he is getting good sailing experience’, or anything of that ilk, let me remind you that you do not know my son. Or his history. When he was a child, we quickly recognized that it was our job to keep this kid from doing something that would have life altering, if not life stopping, consequences. This is a kid who wanted to build a metal forge in the backyard at age 7. And he did it. This is a kid who spent years of his life making things that would shoot other things. I know that many little boys, and some girls, like to shoot things. But when I say my kid’s drive was extreme, that it included making his own pressurized airguns, and that it included building huge medieval siege weapons in our back yard (and they were accurate and worked!), you will simply need to believe me. There was no way to stop him without killing his spirit. And we knew what we were watching was a very potentially dangerous kind of genius. Dangerous to himself. We focused on doing our best to keep him safe, and we said ‘no’. A lot.

Andrew has many fond memories of sailing Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27

Andrew has many fond memories of sailing Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27.

And we failed. We failed completely. He had a very bad accident when he was 12 and was being creative. It had life altering consequences, although you could never tell by looking at him. And apparently I have still not forgiven myself for that. I thought I had, but clearly not. Because when Andrew talked about how his little boat responds to the high winds on Bellingham Bay, I began to get afraid for him, even though I know he is a cautious sailor. Ironically, it was his bad accident that got our family into sailing in the first place. I do not want that irony to become a bitter one.

So when he began to make noises about wishing he had chosen a heavier boat (which, by the way was my advice from the beginning), I began to think about how we could make that happen so that he would be safer and I could sleep at night and not worry about him. We bought him that boat, like I bought him the supplies that ended up hurting him at age 12. He named the boat Danger Kitten. Do you get it?

Danger Kitten. As clean as boat as you could ever hope to find on Craigslist.

Danger Kitten. As clean as boat as you could ever hope to find on Craigslist.

Please do not bother me with your rational thinking processes. I’m a mother. If rationality had anything to do with it, I would never have given birth in the first place.  I know that many good things have happened both in spite of and because of that accident. Yes, we do know how to make lemonade from lemons. I know Andrew did not let that stop him from living a full and enjoyable life. It did not take away his courage for living.  I know we would never have discovered a love of sailing had we not been compelled to bring our family together after such an experience.  I also know that his being safe in this world is not up to me, or his dad, or even his sister anymore. But at the end of the day, I am just grateful I have my son all in one piece.

So, this is where the whole life view thing comes in and the whole ‘looking at the possibilities’ comes it. I began to wonder if the reason we didn’t yet have a buyer for  Moonrise might be because we needed to let Andrew use that boat while he was up in Bellingham, and then sell it later. Since Moonrise is paid for, and we don’t technically need to sell her in order to buy another boat, it seemed to make a lot of sense. Like a car that’s paid for, that boat is worth more to us than it’s going to be worth to anyone else. We know that boat inside and out. We know it’s as safe a boat as you can get for the kind of sailing we do around here. He could safely take that boat up to British Columbia, or even Alaska. We know it handles great. Moorage for Moonrise would be only a little bit more than moorage for Danger Kitten. You see how that thought process quickly got out of control.

Mike and Andrew on Moonrise, a fun and safer boat in wind such as this.

Mike and Andrew on Moonrise, a fun and safer boat in wind such as this.

Generally Mike and I can rely on each other in terms of talking off ledges. But this time, I must have been fairly persuasive, and, of course, Mike gets afraid for Andrew, too. In times like these we become like boats that are so heavy they cannot sail out of their own way. Tired of the drama of all the boat things going on at once, he took Moonrise for a sail and while out on the bay, cleared his mind of detritus and found that he could see the wisdom in letting Andrew use the boat for his last couple of years in school. We’ll still be here, and then we could sell the boat at that time and use the money for a refit on whatever boat we had. He came home and was certain of his decision. We felt the stars were aligning behind this. Boy, were we wrong. That’s the problem with stars.

So now the crazy gets worse. Mike calls Andrew and says we want him to use Moonrise. I call our listing broker and tell her we are taking the boat off the market. And I get this stunned silence in response. Initially, that confused me because I had just been telling her a couple of days before that we were considering this move and would let her know as soon as possible, so I figured she would be disappointed, but not exactly stunned. The silence was a disturbing response. Her eventual reply? “I think I might have a buyer for you. Are you sure?”  If this wasn’t a family-friendly blog, I would be posting some mighty unladylike words here. Let’s use symbols instead: ***##$^&#(@)$)($%&%&*$(*&#(@#&*(*&$*$&*(^!!!!!  And the real clincher is that the buyer is out here from Vermont and is going back on Tuesday. He doesn’t really have the time to give us a couple of days to think about it.

Alert readers will recall that when we made the offer on Flying Gull, there was also a sense of urgency, that there was no time to waste. Why is this seeming to be the pattern in our world lately? I will have to think on that one. There’s probably a lesson here somewhere.

This kind of crazy, daytime TV-esque drama is something we are not accustomed to in our house. We needed a break. We needed food so we went to dinner where I proceeded to eat unhealthy things, a sure sign that I am knocked for a loop. Mike had crunched the numbers again and it’s just a financially better decision to sell the boat. We need to deal with Andrew’s boat separately. Well, duh.  I know all the money geniuses who read this blog will be breathing their collective sighs of relief. You go right ahead if it makes you feel better.

Andrew kept Skippy from jumping off the boat to get to the sea lions. Even our dog is crazy.

Andrew kept Skippy from jumping off the boat to get to the sea lions. Even our dog is crazy.

So now we have succeeded in jerking our broker around, jerking the potential buyer around,  and, worse than both of those things, jerking our son around. And, of course, we feel jerked around by ourselves. If we weren’t driving this train, we could get mad at someone but the sad truth is we are completely in charge. We are flippin’ ridiculous. All because when fear creeps in, rational decision making runs out the back door. Brokers just don’t get paid enough to deal with crazy people. And from the outside looking in, we look all kinds of crazy.

So we are sorry to have jerked everyone on the tail end of our chain. And especially sorry to have raised our son’s hopes, only to dash them, but again, I look for the reason in all of this. And I discover that I have some work left to do in letting go of my mother’s guilt for a son’s mishap. So maybe it’s worth it if I can clear my heart of this for once and for all. That will not put my son in a safer boat, but it will put my heart in a safer place, and that’s all to the good when it comes to choosing boats and letting go. So, I’m working on it.

But don’t think for one minute that the question of Danger Kitten is a settled one. We’ll be looking for a pocket cruiser to replace her. She’s an excellent little boat but not for sailing where he wants to go. He’s in the same position with her as we are with Moonrise.  He’ll continue to enjoy her until we find the right one, knowing her limitations and respecting them. We will take our time and enjoy the search, I hope. It will have a galley, and an enclosed marine head, and it will have either a full keel or wide fin keel. And it will be under 30 feet LOA and will be built to cross oceans. Like his parents, Andrew wants to sail far over the sea. If we could afford to buy that little Flicka I recently reviewed, that would be cool.  But we’re looking below that price range..well below it. I know the right boat is out there, and it will appear at the right time. Keep your eyes open for us, okay?

Andrew adjusting a sail on Moonrise a couple of years ago.

Andrew adjusting a sail on Moonrise a couple of years ago.

14 thoughts on “Official Diagnosis: Crazy-Pants

  1. Man, everything is happening at once for you. Exciting and kind of debilitating, especially when all those decisions take actual time to really reason out. But you guys are smart people. You’ll make the right choices for your boat and Andrew’s, no doubt. Good luck!!

    • Yeah, sometimes we actually need to TAKE the time, even when it doesn’t feel like we have it. But it will all work out somehow.

  2. I figure you are actually in a GREAT spot. If Moonrise sells, then you have a bit of cash in your pocket for your boat purchase. I understand the fear thing, but if Moonrise is sold Andrew can always keep sailing Danger Kitten and can save up a few pennies of his own to get a heavier boat.

    If Moonrise doesn’t sell, Andrew will be a great caretaker of it and hey, John Neal has the Cal 34 on his list of capable cruising boats and his list is a bit on the conservative side. So Andrew could take that boat just about anywhere his little heart desires.

    Your glass is half full and its not tempting fate to realize this. Hang on for the ride, ain’t life fun?

    • Yes, it is certainly interesting right about how! I agree that we are in a good position. It was actually quite the relief to know that we didn’t actually HAVE to sell Moonrise in order to move forward, which was our working hypothesis before. What will be will be. Taking Andrew’s boat out of the equation was the right thing to do, and we know it. He is fine with it, and probably a little bit relieved, too, as Danger Kitten is small and easy to operate for one person. He is careful and a good sailor. We have a lot of faith in him. But we know that things happen, and we’ll be looking for that heavier boat for later. It’s too bad that we passed on a Cheoy Lee 27 that was available for a very reasonable price on Craigslist recently. That would have been a perfect boat for him, and he would have had to work on it to do the ‘bonding’ thing. We are not worried about. Things seem to have a way of turning up.

  3. So… Not to be mean to your son… But… Why isn’t your kid buying his own boat?

    When I turned 17 my Daddy broke my plate and that was that. It made me appreciate what I have a lot more. Not saying its the right path for your family, but then… You said he had the drive and was industrious?

  4. Oh my goodness! So much excitement going on. I’ve also had experiences where everything seemed to rushed at the same time.

    This blog has definitely turned into the SAGA of 3 boats. I’ll stay tuned as currently you are the only soap opera that’s entertaining enough :D.

    I hope everything works out in the positive!

    • Thanks, Dani. This blog is the recording of the whole process we are going through, good, bad, ugly, and soap. As they say, it’s not all pretty beaches and little umbrella drinks. This part is definitely soap! But once again, things calm down and now we just watch while things unfold. There’ s no way to post all the things that happen behind the scenes or all the reasons why we make the decisions we do, so we assume people know that. Andrew will take care of his boat issues, and we’ll take care of ours, whatever they turn out to be. Frankly, at this point, I’m tired enough of the roller coaster that I want to simply step off and see what happens. And that’s not a bad place to be. We’ll end up with a boat of one sort or another.

  5. Like a previous commenter said … sounds like the glass is half-full and you’re in a good place no matter what happens. Another thought … sell Danger Kitten, keep that money, give Moonrise to your son and have him pay you the difference at a later date that you all can live with.

    Believe me, as a mother I not only understand your desire to keep your son safe, but it’s also such a great feeling to be able to help them out and see that smile on their face. I think the difference is whether or not they appreciate it, whether or not the “expect” it. Sounds like your son doesn’t fall into the “expect it” category!

    • Yes, that’s a possibility. I hope he is learning earlier than we did that since he wants to be able to sail across oceans, he should be planning for that now. Neither of our kids ever takes advantage of us, and they are quite self sufficient. You are right. We enjoy being able to help them out when they do their part for it. If they ever came to expect that and take advantage of it, I believe that enjoyment would go away pretty fast.
      Really the post was meant to point out how these kinds of life decisions get so hard when feelings and unresolved issues get all tangled up in them, and how we can get in our own way. Andrew will work out what he wants to do about his boat. I’m thinking he will just keep her for now, then when he is graduating, he will have more time to think about working on a boat that will take him further than she will and a cost effective boat will emerge. Meanwhile, I will just have to stay in close touch with him when he’s on his trips around here, and trust him to be cautious.

  6. Wow! You guys have me on the edge of my seat! It never rains, but it Pours, eh? When Was in the Marina office the other day, I noticed a strange arrow next to your slip. I asked Ian what that meant, and he said that you had sold your boat! I thought that meant that the sale was tied to the purchase of the the Stearman, but no! Oh… I am in the Same marina as you, slip D-5, which is the fuel dock. Stop by sometime! I’d love to show you the Catalina!

    • Well, we want nothing more than to entertain! Glad you are tuning in to our recent soap opera, although things are quiet now as we wait for the rigging inspection tomorrow, then the test sail and survey on Wednesday. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day, with no wind, of course. Ah, well, at least we’ll see how to get the sails up and see if we are comfortable aboard her.
      We’ll be at the marina a little longer. We had planned to move the boat down to Olympia but there is really no reason to do that. We will continue to enjoy our time with Moonrise until she sells to the right buyer. So, yes, we’d love to come down and look at your new baby. Good for you!

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