Igniting the Cold Fires

All right, all right, simmer down. Yes, I am guilty. Guilty of sloth, guilty of sleep, guilty of reading good books for hours at a time,  guilty of blog neglect. I admit it. Twenty lashes with a wet halyard. Contrary to what you may have been thinking, I’m not dead or critically injured. It’s just that the creative fire was kind of burned out for awhile, as in no little voice in my head talking to blog readers. Usually I’ve got a lot of goings on in the words department up in the little grey cells, playing with things I’d like to say on the blog. Lately, that has not been the case. I don’t like to force these issues but Mike was getting feedback at work to the tune of ‘How come you guys haven’t posted anything lately?’ and ‘Still no updates to the blog? What’s happening?”. Oh, the pressure! The PRESSURE!

A day to remember of Vancouver Island.

Maybe it has something to do with resentment. That’s right. I resent the fact that we sat out the entire fall sailing season with a broken exhaust pipe. We have no one to blame but ourselves, but whatever. The good weather is behind us, the darkness has descended along with the cold. The long nights of winter are almost upon us and we still have an uninsulated boat. Read: cold and damp feeling. Ugh.

Until recently I had not been down to the marina for well over a month. Yes, it’s time to get brutally honest here. I had not even visited Galapagos in that long. And the danger of not engaging with a boat for even that short amount of time is that I begin to forget. I forget how happy we are to have her, how much fun we had on her this summer, all the projects I should feel jazzed about doing. I forget all of that. My connection with her and with our future with her grows thin and delicate. This is pretty dangerous. Because when that happens, I am not focused at all on the goal of cruising in the future. I am just focused on the here and now. I needed a cure for my attitude.

Cool hand made dinghy in Bellingham.

This week the cure came in three ways.  First, I made myself go down to visit the boat and began to clean some of the stowage areas in preparation for insulating them (more about that in another post). Admittedly, I was not excited about the prospect of getting started on what will be a huge project. But when I climbed up the ladder and into the cockpit, I began to feel happiness! It was a noticeable thing, this happy and content feeling that came upon me as I climbed down into the salon. Galapagos seemed glad to see me, and I found myself patting her like a loyal companion and letting the joy seep into my cold bones. I wanted to just stand in the cabin and allow the feeling to sweep through me. We spent awhile together just hanging out before I started ripping the salon apart. My connection with her was back.

The second thing that happened is that I took a painting class. This has nothing to do with boating or sailing, but it’s something that I finally allowed myself to do just to enjoy the life I have right now, this very minute. It was awesome and now those creative fires are raging hot! Woo hoo! I love riding this kind of wave! If I have a goal with this, it’s to be able to enjoy some kind of art creation from the boat. We shall see if this is it. Who knows? And who cares? It’s just fun right now and that’s all I care about.

Just a fun doodle with paint. It’s like being back in kindergarten in the best way!

The third thing that happened is that Mike announced that after 18 years of being at Boeing, he finally has 4 weeks of paid vacation a year! Oh. My. GOD! What is this? Europe? By summer, if we are lucky, he will have 5 weeks to take for a sailing vacation. Oh, the places we could go with that amount of time! We can hardly stand it.


Mike enjoying a happy day when the sun was shining and the weather was warm, not like now.

So all is well on the home front. The creative fires are stoked, and I feel more blog posts hanging out in the back regions of my brain.  I went down to Galapagos today to retie her lines and re-position the spring line in anticipation of tonight’s wind event, if it happens. I checked my progress in the insulation department, made sure breakers were off, cranked the bilge pumps a couple of times, gave her a little pat and moseyed on home. She’s ready to go with her shiny new exhaust pipe. Maybe we will get her out of her slip during the Christmas holidays. She’d like that. And so would we.

12 thoughts on “Igniting the Cold Fires

    • You said it. I read the blogs of several young families who have chosen differently with their lives. Our own children are finding ways to be in this world without giving up their freedom, and still be able to make a living. I don’t like to look back because we chose what we chose for all the reasons we had back then, right? But if I had this life to live over again, I would be the Bumfuzzles. Or the Wind Travelers. Or the Rebel Hearts. Or the Giffords. Or any of a number of other young couples who have chosen a life of freedom, adventure, and exploration with their children; children who are already world citizens.

      • Your kids are lucky they have supportive parents. A big part of Cindy and my motivation was because we have no safety net. If we don’t have money, we are on the street.

        I think the Bumfuzzle existnce would be very lonely. The cruising world really appeals to us because of the community. This is evident in most all the cruising blogs we read.

        I agree, I am in awe of the youngsters who take on the world, go against the flow and experience the world. But I have to ask, are they going to regret it someday when they are working at age 75 or can’t put their kids in a decent school? Money put away at that early age pays huge dividends down the road. It is a catch 22. We rolled the health dice and opted to work hard and save money so we could travel. So far we haven’t rolled craps.


        Mark and Cindy
        s/v Cream Puff

        • Well, I’m in awe of them, too, and I just have to believe that they are aware of the need for a retirement fund of some kind. I know our daughter is working on making her living as a writer and has done fairly well already. Interestingly she writes for a financial website! So she has learned even more about retirement accounts. I think we all roll the dice one way or another. It’s always a gamble, right? So far we haven’t rolled craps either. Keeping fingers crossed for us all!

    • Well, I’d like to say it’s the project I’m looking forward to. But this is a big boat, and insulating is going to be grim work to be sure. Still, it must be done and I’ll be glad when it’s over and we can sit back and relax in the cockpit or salon. One certainly gets to know the boat on a ‘personal’ level by doing projects. To be sure.

  1. I was wondering if I had just missed something! =)

    Glad you’re back, and boy don’t I know about not spending time with the boat! It’s been far too long since we’ve spent time with ours, but we hope to “reconnect” real soon … with time in the boatyard. Ugh!

    I LOVE your painting … so whimsical. Great job!

    • Reconnecting in a boat yard is really a mixed blessing! Hope you guys make good progress and get her back in the water soon!

  2. Though I love my work and a sailboat captain and instructor, the day to days can bring on bouts of depression unless we keep the prize in mind: a future sailing for just me and my wife. You too seem to have fallen into that trap. Glad to see you’re back.

    And if you want something else to do or learn about doing on your ‘big’ trip, check out my post on sailing without any electronics, or sailing naked. Let me know if it’s something you could see doing.


    • You are an insightful and astute reader! Yes, I do have bouts of seasonal blues. The darkness is not my friend anymore. I look forward to reading your blog and checking out your posts on sailing ‘naked’. Sure don’t want to be stuck if the electronics go bust!

  3. I really like your painting and it’s truly revealing of your lately frame of mind. The circle-like things going UP outnumber the negative scratches and are holding them down which accounts for your sudden burst of positivity. And you unconsciously doodled that in your painting. I have missed your blog greatly…welcome back!

    • That’s very insightful, Betty. I was having a particularly upbeat day that day. It was so much fun. Wait until you see my dining room table! Then you are really going to laugh. Hint: no way can you eat on it now.

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