Clearing Quarters

Is it October? Already? Did September already come and go? Somewhere along the way, I believe we have lost an entire month. Time has been marked not by the calendar, but by the tasks completed and checked off a list that feels like it is always expanding. The end of each day has been punctuated by falling into bed like overly extended toddlers, too wound up to really fall asleep easily. As I was sweeping the laundry room for the last time, the term ‘clearing quarters’ emerged from some long ago recess of memory. It was a little ‘a ha!’ moment. Clearing quarters is the term the military uses when you vacate military housing. Military housing always comes with a very long list of rules and regulations. It’s like living under the strictest home owner’s association.

A parting shot of fall sunshine through our big trees.

As a military child, we moved almost each year. Lets see… we moved when I was in kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade (to another house and neighborhood, if not another assignment for dad), 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, and 10th grade.  After all of that I was blessed with three years in the same high school. We always lived in military housing so while I don’t have much conscious memory of all the times we had to move our stuff, except this vague feeling of ‘here we go again’, we must have spent a lot of time ‘clearing quarters’. I’ll have to talk to my mom about what that was like, but I find it interesting that the term came to me in a moment of meditative movement clearing out of our family home of 18 years.

These floors actually gleam.

I immediately knew what this term meant, even though I have not heard it in decades. I wonder if it was this process instilled in me through my formative years that made me into the woman who insisted we paint this woodwork here, replace that fixture there, clean this tile grout to within an inch of my life, make everything look as tidy and as perfect as we possibly were able to do. It’s been an act of will to call ‘good enough’ and walk away. I mean, it’s not a new house, after all. But should we replace that toilet seat? I had to have Michael take a look at this completely serviceable toilet seat that wasn’t exactly perfect in every way. There were a few scratches on the underside where someone (NOT ME!) must have cleaned it with a brillo pad.  He said it was fine. In fact, he said he loved it. That if he weren’t already married, he’d marry it. I took his word for it but really I’m still waiting for the inevitable trip to Home Depot on that.

During this process I’ve received some messages via Facebook and email from other women who have had to clear out of their own homes in order to go cruising. They’ve been uplifting and encouraging and I thank them for the support. During the times when Michael and I were taking turns talking each other off the ledge of stress about this big life choice, their words of experience and wisdom steadied me. It would be fine. All would be well. We would get all the work done. The right tenants would appear. And you know what? They were right!

Now on the other side of the mountain of work we’ve done, we’ve had two blissful days of doing absolutely nothing except enjoying my sister’s house and dog while she and the fam are away on a hunting trip.  I’ve been in my pajamas for two days. We’ll take this break while we can get it.

Tenants did, indeed, appear and we’ve now got a two year lease on the house and our awesome friend and property manager to take care of the place while we are gone. All of our chosen furnishings and possessions have been titrated down to a 10×20 storage unit, which has been paid for through November 2019.  We got a terrific price for this unit and paying in advance nailed down those savings. Replacing my sofa alone would cost us about what the storage is costing for an entire year.

Our final piece to store: the king sized memory foam mattress. Weighing in at close to 200 pounds of dead, slippery weight, we needed help getting this into the truck. Sure wish we’d had help getting it into the storage unit. That was interesting.

So as of Monday, October 15 the house is no longer our day to day responsibility and we are free to leave. We’ve got a few loose ends to complete up here before we head south, but the car is packed and overall we are looking forward to a leisurely drive down to Mexico. We’ve got new SUP boards, a generator, some more solar panels, and what feels like a million odds and ends for the cruising life we are ready to get back to.

Our final issue before we leave has been the boom replacement. In the little time available he has had to focus on finding one, Michael has hit snag after snag. We’ve lost count of how many places he called.  We were getting dead discouraged and had even talked about just waiting until we were back in Mexico to figure it out. Now that appears to possibly be resolved. You won’t believe it, and neither do we until we actually have that boom installed on the boat, but here’s the story so far.

We put feelers out for a boom replacement all over the internet and the sailing community. We need at least an 8 foot section of Isomat NB-40. Yes, we could have ordered a brand new one from RigRite, but our guts were saying ‘no’ to that for a myriad of reasons. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to pull the trigger on it.  We were prepared to put an entirely different type of boom on the boat and had planned to start walking the boatyard boneyards up here now that the house is done,  looking at possibilities.

Lord of the storage unit: Skippy painting by Jillian Boyte-White, our daughter-in-law. We wrestled the big mattress up onto that white blanket and allowed it to drape casually over the back of the camel back sofa. Should anyone open the door to this unit without being warned, first the memory foam mattress will fall on them. Then Skippy will curse them forever.

Then I got a text from a Facebook acquaintance saying she knew a guy down in Guaymas who had done work on their boat. He had recovered a few boats after Hurricane Newton hit a few years back. He might have something for us and she was checking with him.

Turns out he did! It’s exactly the same boom that is on our boat, but a little shorter. That means that we could use the existing long piece that we have, then cut a new piece from the boom he has and sleeve/rivet the two pieces together. It would be a great solution for us. If possible, some friends will check the boom out for us before we get down to Mexico.  If it’s in good condition, then we’re on! This would save us a lot of money, plus save us trying to import a boom into Mexico. That money could be put toward a new mainsail, which we cannot get until the boom situation is resolved. Keep a good thought. It will be a major piece of magic if this works out.

All that is still up in the air as Hurricane Sergio made its way across San Carlos as a tropical storm. Communications are disrupted at the moment and people are busy recovering from mother nature. Galapagos did fine, thank goodness. But Marina Seca San Carlos did have some boats blow over. Even though we know she fared well as she is not on the marina’s list of damaged boats, we’ll feel better when we get a recent photo of the her. We hope to have one tomorrow.

For now, S/V Galapagos, out.


5 thoughts on “Clearing Quarters

  1. Well done you guys! I suspect one reason you did so well is because you didn’t underestimate all the things you needed to accomplish. Bravo!

    Many would still be in anguish just alphabetizing what must of been formidible lists…

    Now you can enjoy a leisurely trip south, and perhaps even inspect some of the many [river] bar crossings along the coast highway– in case you ever have to duck into any from sea…

    You have more than earned some boating time in the cooler season in Mexico.

    Safe travels!

    • Ha! I first read this comment as we didn’t ‘understand’ all the things we needed to accomplish. That would actually have been more accurate. Had we actually realized an inkling of what we had to do before we started, I’d probably still be sitting in a catatonic state drooling into my coffee. Sometimes it’s better just not to know.

  2. Bravo! While the crew of s/v Sionna is currently land- bound, it’s awfully nice to here of another boat making progress back to sea. Nicki & I are looking forward to sharing your further adventures, and here’s hoping the boom fix comes together almost seamlessly! ( See what I did there?). 😉

    • We’re going to feel the progress most acutely when we are actually back in the water! It still feels like a long way to go. But we are real pleased so far with how the house deal has worked. Good luck on your own house re-model!

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