I’m sitting in my mostly empty house running down the seemingly never-ending list of ‘to do’ items in the coming days. You will never know how many little projects your home needs until you move out of it. In fact, I think all homeowners should have the opportunity to move OUT of their homes every ten or so years just to keep things fresh. In my life I’ve remodeled two houses and bought an old boat and refitted that. I thought I knew what hard work felt like. But I’ve never worked as hard as I have in the past three months, and that’s saying something. We need a vacation. How about a trip to Mexico?
Slowly but surely we are getting the hard work done to prepare this house for new renters; renters who are not our children. It was great renting the house to our kid and his friends. The bar was super low in terms of what they expected of the house. Since Andrew grew up here, he was used to the fact that the three way switches in the kitchen and office were wired incorrectly. He didn’t expect there to be a doorbell; people just knocked. The old dated pale yellow wallpaper felt warm and comfortable to him. The grout in the family room and kitchen, well, hasn’t it always been black? The chipped paint on his bedroom door wasn’t an issue, much less the fact that there were two different kinds of doorknobs on the doors off the hallway. The nicked and scratched paint on the cabinets in the kitchen? Part of the patina; evidence of a room well used. All the scratches on the solid fir doors left by various dogs over the years? Ahhhh, we love the memories of those pooches. And are all those growing green things in the landscape actually weeds that set a million seeds? Who knew? These things have flown beneath the family radar for 18 years. We just didn’t care about them. (Except the weeds. I totally cared about and took care of those. All the time.) But now that we are trying to make the home attractive for other people, we do care about those things. As well as thousands of others.
Yes, having Andrew and Friends move into the house worked great while it lasted. The mortgage got paid, the kids had a much nicer place to live than they could have afforded individually, and Mom and Dad got to move onto their spiffy old boat and pretend that they would never have to come back and face the music that is moving out of the home you’ve owned for many years. We downsized our possessions quite a lot, and then we just kind of … left. On some level we knew it was too good to last. And we were right. Kids get married and go off and do the things they are meant to do in life.
When we left last time, all of our furnishings stayed right where they were. This time as we clear the house we are faced with choosing which things to keep and which to let go of. It’s probably not a surprise that I don’t let go of furniture easily. Once it’s gone, I’m fine, but the parting is hard if it’s a piece I like. And I do like furniture. Some of the most ‘historical’ (a word which here means I’ve probably had it for decades) pieces are being given to family and friends, which makes the parting a sweet sorrow tinged with a good bit of happiness. The velvet living room chairs and antique mirror going to a cherished ‘adopted’ daughter, our own daughter’s best friend; the piano of my childhood going to our very close friends who live just across the street; our green four poster bed borrowed by some of Andrew and Jill’s best friends, the ones with the new baby; Andrew and Jill choosing our sofa and a couple of stuffed chairs for their future home. Even my own sister and mom are taking a couple of things. We infuse meaning into these giftings of furnishings with the history of the Boyte-White family woven into their very presence.
And so here we are; sitting in a house with little furniture surrounded by a yard with almost no weeds as summer disappears into the darkness of fall, slowly but surely moving stuff out of all the rooms. It’s a little like gradually disappearing. In the end we are going to wind up exactly how we started in this house: living in one room, sleeping on a mattress on the floor surrounded by the few things we need to live day to day while we finish cleaning and remodeling the rest of the house. We are still on target to ‘leave the dock’ for the second time sometime in October.
Astute readers will be asking the obvious: But where are Andrew and Friends going? The friends had a baby and moved on. But Andrew and his wife, Jill, are preparing for their own traveling adventure. They’ve been planning to do some extensive traveling and their plans are coming to fruition. They are outfitting their Honda Element for camping and about the time we leave for Mexico they will be heading off on a cross country trip and then to Europe. They fly from New York to Paris in December (BRRR) and plan to sell their Honda when they get to North Carolina. After a stint in Europe they hope to get to Ecuador to visit our Claire and her Dan, and then we are crossing all our fingers and toes they will come do some crewing for us aboard Galapagos, wherever we are at that point. You can follow along on their travels if you like, since they’ve started their own blog The Wander Blobs. Why that name? It’s a story, and I’ll let you go to their blog page where they define for you: What is a Blob? We are enormously proud of them both for having a dream that became a plan that is now a happening reality.
And speaking of keeping dreams alive, we had the good fortune to meet up with the crew of S/V Totem up in Seattle. Jamie and Behan Gifford were the special speakers at the recent meeting of the Puget Sound Cruising Club. We last visited in person with them down in the Sea of Cortez where we made darn sure we got a chance to get them on board so we could pick their brains about our pitiful rig and our need for a new sail. They gave a great presentation on some very special places they’ve been and totally lit the fire for us again. Thanks, we needed that! Having our noses to the grindstone as we do, our cruising life feels so very far away, almost like it existed in a different lifetime. It was great to see them, and also to see so many of the cruising club folks we’ve met over the years. Kevin and Cressie on S/V Blue were there, as well as a few other ‘boats’ from the sea of Cortez. It was a little like old home week and makes one realize just how tight and small the cruising community is. It seems like a small world when you see people you knew down in Mexico back here in Seattle.
In the same vein of keeping the dream alive, you’ll notice the photos I’ve posted are not from the house. Why would you want to see photos of me cleaning grout or painting molding? After listening to the Gifford’s talk I began thinking about all the many beautiful places we’ve seen so far that I haven’t written about. This place in these photos stands out.
These photos are of the the rock art you can find close to Playa El Burro, in Bahia Concepcion. Finding this rock art was one of more entertaining hikes we did as the weather began to warm up last May. We anchored at Playa El Burro for this specific reason. What I want other cruisers to know about finding this delicious rock art is that the guide book everyone relies on is wrong. The most popular guide book tells you that the trail head can be seen from the anchorage and this is not correct. There is no trail to the rocks. You can absolutely see a well defined trail going up the mountain, and there is a trailhead close to a small roadside restaurant. But if you take that obvious trail up the hill you will never find the petroglyphs and you will be very disappointed. I’ve taken photos to show you exactly where to go to find these spectacular pieces of ancient art. Go in the morning and you’ll have shade for your hike. And the guidebook is totally right about the bell rocks! You’ll find huge boulders that ring like a bell when struck due to the iron content. I’ll go a long way to see rock art. But this place is really easy to get to.
Back to my previously scheduled program of hard labor. S/V Galapagos, out.