Who Is In Charge Here?

This week is downright excruciating in its painful slowness to pass. I’m feeling a little resentful and extra useless. This is a week I should be seeing all my clients. Instead, I scheduled hardly anyone because I had been called to jury duty. When I got the notice in the mail I thought to myself, ‘Welp, I should just suck it up and do my civic duty because it’s not actually much of a hardship for me to do it and, after all, I can just walk to the courthouse from the boat.”. This, my friends, is known as “challenging the gods”. This happens when you have a concrete plan that has dates and numbers attached to it, where you turn your free will over to someone else; a plan written, as it were, in stone. As I chanted those words of agreement to serve, the gods rumbled in their slumber. I didn’t even know! Nothing wakes a sleeping god like the sound of a gauntlet hitting the earth.

Taking a break for a long walk at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It’s worth the trip.

My next poke at their soft, ego driven underbellies happened last week. I had been watching one of my favorite Netflix shows: Grace and Frankie. This is a show about two older women and their older ex-spouses, but that hardly describes the hilarity. Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, it’s worth binge watching and that’s what I was doing. One of the episodes in season 3 sees Frankie and Grace on the floor, both having done something simple and painful to their respective backs. I thought, ‘Thank God I’m not quite there yet.’.  Do not ever, readers, say those kinds of things, even in your head. I’m telling you. Let my experience be your guide to dealing with things like fickle, egotistic gods who want you to know who is boss. Hint: it’s not you.

They chose their timing well. They chose to hatch their plan during a day of fun and laughter with my mom and sister. We went shopping for wedding clothes. Claire, our oldest, is getting married in May in Scotland. This gives me permission to buy a dress and shoes, even though I have no place to store said items. I’m the mother of the bride, for the love of all things! I’m not going to show up sporting ‘cruiser’s casual’ attire. So I’m in the shoe section.  I stand and lift my foot to try on a shoe, the same way I lift my same foot every single blessed day to put my shoes on, and that’s when they struck their blow. I turned slightly to the left. My lower back muscles made some kind of sickening inner scream, reminding me in no uncertain terms that I am, indeed, in my late ’50s with very little estrogen to spare. My final thought before the pain registered was, ‘Damn. I think I just hurt myself.Trying on shoes? Really? WTF is happening?’.  And indeed, it came to pass.

The pain began to build slowly. By the time we got back to Mom’s house, I was seriously uncomfortable. The next morning getting out of bed was amusing to someone, if not to me. The weekend was wasted as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t do anything but protect myself from further injury and wish I had an on-board chiropractor, although I probably wouldn’t have let him touch me. Ice and aspirin became my two best buddies. They do say that pride goeth before a fall and I have always prided myself on having a strong back. It’s never let me down; until now.

We’ll be passing this area aboard Galapagos in just a few weeks. Low tide creates lots of interesting and dynamic patterns.

By Sunday I was praying that I would not have to go to the courthouse and sit in a chair all day for the whole week. Fortunately, my doc had already fixed me up with some muscle relaxers in case muscle injury were to occur on the boat. She’s pretty smart that way, but no one warned me that trying on shoes would be my downfall. I reported to jury duty, but in the end, they discharged me because I was medicated. Apparently one will not think clearly if one is falling asleep due to the effects of medication. I felt both guilty and relieved. OK, mostly relieved, but I SHOULD have felt more guilty. So I guess I felt guilty about not being more guilty? I pondered this over a delicious coconut macchiato and the entire New York Times all to myself at the local Starbucks. Hey! I had to take it slow going home. And I needed the caffeine to counteract the drug-induced lethargy I was feeling; sustenance for the slow walk home.

Is this a cautionary tale about being in your late 50’s and living on a sailboat? Hardly. This is a cautionary tale about challenging the gods who love to thwart people’s idea that they are, in any way, in charge of their lives. Just get over that already because anything can happen at any time. This is a cautionary tale about setting dates in stone and not having wiggle room, something I’m always really loathe to do because it makes my anxiety go a little nuts. You know all those people in your life who are commitment avoidant? You might think they are rude, but maybe they just know how the gods play better than you do. The more concrete thinkers among you might say this is a caution against trying on shoes when you live in a small space and have no place to put them, but you would seriously be missing the entire point.


Anyhow, my back is healing fine so no need for concern. I’m being extra careful and this will not impact our plans in any way. My chiropractor says I’ll be right by this Friday. And I’m going to believe him! Today I will have my usual walk at my usual pace! Hurrah!

So… we have a ‘reservation’ for hauling out the boat at Swantown in Olympia for June 5. We’ve got help lined up to get the mizzen mast pulled and the rigging on that mast replaced. And we could change that if we wanted to! We really could! We are leaving the marina on June 3 for a leisurely trip down to Olympia over that weekend. But we could actually leave on June 2 if we wanted to. Wait. No, that’s a Friday. Sailing lore forbids leaving on a Friday. But still! We could if we wanted to! We have to create a moving target. Carry on…keep moving…nothing to see here, folks. Nothing to see.

Nothing is real until it actually happens. And even then, there are people who will have ‘alternative facts’.

Speaking of Scotland and gods, I am gearing up for a more cooperative trip to Scotland this time. Three years ago I met Claire in Scotland and we had quite the rumble with the gods of that country, used, as they are, to battle. I was on the losing end of the game with my plans last time, even though I had a wonderful time. They can take my plans, but they can’t take my happiness!  I wonder if I can appease them this time.

Other news not worthy of an entire post:

  1. Mike finished rebuilding the second toilet. It no longer graces our salon. Too bad. It was a good conversation starter.
  2. We bought a Viking 4 man life raft. We bought it used, but still under certification, from another sailor. That saves us over 1000$. We gave up on getting the Portland Pudgy raft kit because they are having technical difficulties and I need a guarantee that we will leave with a raft aboard Galapagos.
  3. Mike hooked up the fresh water shower on the aft deck. Now we can rinse salt water off of ourselves before coming into the cockpit or salon area. I’ll probably be kind of a stickler for that.
  4. Our solar panels are kicking power-making butt.
  5. We are shopping for boat insurance for the trip down south to Mexico way. I hate insurance shopping.

19 thoughts on “Who Is In Charge Here?

  1. Oh, do I know how wrong it is to throw out a challenge. In 2015 we brought our boat home from Florida to Michigan. Both of us needed to be hale and hearty. And the male side of our relationships tends to take risks. So, stupid, stupid me said, ” Only a month to go till we leave. We need to take care of ourselves and not do anything stupid.” Hah!

    It wasn’t the male gender….oh no, it was the wordy female who should have kept her mouth shut. One week later I took a nasty spill on my bicycle and enjoyed a visit to emergency to have gravel picked out of my elbow and stitches added in. I was LUCKY that I didn’t break anything. Just some serious road rash and some aches and pains.

    Smart hubby didn’t rub it in tooo badly.

    I hope the last of April and all of May is really nice to you!

    • Oh that’s awful! That could have been so much worse! So glad it wasn’t and you recovered well. We just never know when we’re going to get thrown off balance! Literally! Thanks for the good wishes.

  2. My back started getting twitchy a few years ago. The first time we went sailing after that I was paranoid the entire time. It has never caught when pulling lines, hoisting sails or cranking winches. It has caught turning around in the shower, bending over to put things in the garbage or putting on socks. I don’t know if that means anything but apparently, at least for me, backs are pro sailing.

    At least I hope so because sailing season starts this weekend!

  3. Sorry about your back. We have both been experiencing back issues over the past couple of months… found a local chiropractor, who has been awesome.
    Good luck with the haulout and remaining work! We plan to leave this coming weekend, finally!
    Oh, and let us know what insurance you end up with down the coast. Miss you guys!

    • Maybe these back issues are about carrying the load of projects that have to be done before leaving the dock. If so, you guys should be better mighty quick! See you out there! We miss you, too! I’m excited for you both. See you out there!

  4. I’m glad to hear your back is getting better — and that the muscle relaxers helped in more ways than one. But I can’t help but wonder why it is that whenever we challenge the gods the result is always negative (I’m no longer allowed to even think about the weather — if I say it’s nice outside, it starts to rain; if I say we could use a little more breeze, it blows a gale; and so on). It doesn’t seem fair.

    • I have a theory that it’s just how they get attention, like kids. If you don’t give them the positive attention, they’ll go for the negative. Hmmm. Perhaps I need to create some sort of ritual alter to the lower gods, just to keep them appeased. Might be a good idea.

  5. Great post – full of useful info ! 1) take drugs to get out of jury duty; 2) never buy fancy shoes (suits me anyway), 3) note to self to check out Frankie and Grace; and 4) don’t tempt the gods (fan of that one already). I’m glad your back is getting better. A few weeks ago, without any gauntlet-throwing that I can remember, Patrick and I stained the new deck and a few days later I ended up with a horrendous elbow tendinitis. It’s lingering despite my best efforts, and I see the haul-out and bottom-paint job looming on the calendar ! Oh well, I’ve got two arms, right? (oh no, wait…was that a gauntlet being thrown down? I didn’t mean it that way…can I take that back???)

    • I’m working on a spell for reversing thrown gauntlets. At this point it involves distracting with something shiny, spinning three times and spitting into the sea. Give it a try and let me know how that bottom job comes along! We’ve got one looming, too.

  6. This sounds like a TV show in the making. Who needs Frankie and Grace when we have the Little Cunning Plan to binge watch (or binge read). So many adventures and misadventures presented in a hysterical way. I think you guys should think about YouTube videos now 🙂

    • I don’t know about videos. I fear many of the popular sailing series are more about showing skin than they are about sailing. Let’s hope there are not too many misadventures!

  7. I can’t believe you are almost ready to go! What a wonderful adventure. I’m so thrilled about Clare’s wedding, congratulations to her. I think the last time I saw her was at lunch at the Old House Cafe in Tacoma. I’m so happy she’s for her. Were you successful in finding shoes and a dress yet? I hope by now your back is better. It’s frustrating when we move just the wrong way and that occurs! Glad Mike has had time and energy to fix those final jobs on board. I’m so excited to hear about your trip, Melissa. It won’t be long now. I hope you won’t have to make up time from jury duty, as I had a friend who missed his duty for some reason and was called up the next month. So, will you keep an address in Tacoma? How do you get mail on your venture, perhaps your mom will get it for you? So many little things to take care of. Keep us posted, my friend Mary

    • LOL! I need to make a list of questions like this, Mary. Sometimes we forget that many of the people who read the blog are unfamiliar with cruising and living on boats. Maybe i’ll do a post of these types of questions. For now, we have our home in Lakewood, which continues to be our permanent address. Andrew lives there and collects mail for us. I did ask the nice clerk at the courthouse about our travels and she said not to worry. If I get called while we’re gone, then I can reply via email that I am out of the country and they will move on. Yes, there are MANY little things to take care of. It’s hard to express just how complex all of this can be.

  8. I’m glad your back is getting better, here’s to having a wonderful time at in Scotland, pain-free.

    We have IMIS for our insurance needs, and have been happy with them. (in case you haven’t investigated them yet) Al Golden has been really helpful, and has great customer service. Here’s Bill’s post about our policy. https://svdenalirosenc43.blogspot.com/p/insurance.html

    Al has done several SSCA webinars that have been really helpful. (in case you belong to that organization)

  9. Re: insurance. If either of you have military time or close relatives with service, you should look at USAA. Anytime, anywhere. No crew restrictions. We’ve been with them since 1975.

    No Alaska this year. I went from 39 to 42 between Xmas and St. Pat’s. I’m almost back to 40 now, with 39 just over the horizon.

    Can I presume the exhaust system is holding up? Haven’t seen any epistles about it. May I suggest taking some high temperature silicone sealer and high temperature silicone tape (Rescue tape e.g.)? Both are good to 500deg F, which is about where a typical sailboat engine exhaust runs. I’ve used to seal exhaust leaks on dry pipe and on cracked mixing elbows.

    Fair winds, Steve

    • Now that’s interesting, Steve. We have been with USAA for many years, but the last time (when we first bought the boat) we called them about hull insurance they tried to sell us a policy that was basically a rider on our homeowner’s insurance. I’ll try them again. If you have any more information about your policy with them, please post again. They used to be the best deal in town for our homeowners and car insurance, but this year we changed to Safeco on both of those policies. We saved about 400$ on our homeowner’s earthquake policy for the same coverage, and we saved a full 50% on our auto policy for better coverage. We had used them for 33 years. Yes, the exhaust is holding fine so far, although we haven’t been off the dock in about a year because of boat projects. That will change radically the first week of June when we’ll be off the dock full time, so it will get a good workout again. But when we went to Barkley and Clayquot sounds, it worked flawlessly. We do have some of that tape on board. And sorry to hear you won’t be going to Alaska this year. Perhaps next year!

  10. Fun read. And yeah, nothing out of the ordinary before you leave like bungee jumping or tightrope walking. You need to be boring to the Gods, but not too boring. It’s a balance few of us maintain for very long.

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