Sunday 22 December 2013

Stasis at Stately Jones Manor

"Home, where my thought's escaping..."
                               -Simon & Garfunkel

  Listing your house for sale puts your life on hold.

  And it is driving me more than a little crazy.

  See, here is how the whole house-selling thing works, apparently:

  You hire a Realtor, who wanders through your home and gushes about what a great house it is...

.....  then tells you everything you need to change, fix, modify, improve, repair, replace, and renovate to be able to sell the dump your beautiful home.

Your helpful Realtor explains that prospective buyers need to be able to see themselves living in your home...

... which means your home cannot look like you live in your home.

You are introduced to the art of "staging," which basically means removing most of the art, furniture, family photos, books, knickknacks,  and life from every room until the room echoes, and boxing it all up and stowing it in the basement/garage/garden shed...

....  at which point  your Realtor suggests that the basement and the garage look a little cluttered-  could you, you know, get rid of all that stuff?

You ask your Realtor for 24 hours notice before he shows your home to a prospective purchaser...

....  but your house apparently only attracts prospects who simply must see it today, right now, in 15 minutes.

You will discover how quickly you can dust and primp and make beds and fold towels and vacuum (again) dog hair...

....  and learn that one of your dogs has the ability to sneak ninja-like into the just -cleaned/dusted/primped/vacuumed den and hoark up an unpleasantly moist toaster oven- sized hairball in the middle of the floor which will go undetected for 11 more minutes until the prospective buyer discovers it.

  Stately Jones Manor remains on the market.

  And our lives remain on hold.

   And it is killing me.

   Knowing we might get a call about a sucker potential qualified buyer interested in touring Stately Jones Manor at anytime has produced a hell of a writer's block.

      I can't write  with that 15 minute state of readiness looming over my head.   I am a full- immersion kinda scribbler.  My computer is my diving bell- I sit down in front of the screen and two or three or four hours later I surface, either mission accomplished or out of oxygen and low on fuel.
     Luckily, today's unpleasant freezing-rain filled weather forecast is keeping most people snug and secure in their own homes, drastically reducing the already low chances of a Realtor drop-by,  allowing me to finally dive back into the blog.

     Stately Jones Manor in Winter

  So here we be, you and I.

  Further complicating the writer's block is a dearth of new material to write about.  With the skunkworks beneath Stately Jones Manor filled with all of the de-staged detritus from the rooms upstairs, and the ever present risk of a tirekicker  potential buyer walking through the door, ongoing projects have been untouched.
Paddleboards are postponed, just pieces of wood on a bench, potential unrealized.   A big boat build is out of the question, what with no room to manhandle and maneuver sheets of mahogany ply. Even simple stuff like refinishing companionway doors is on hold, as that requires sanding and varnishing, which  creates dust and odors which may be offensive to some viewers.

  All of the cleaning and fixing and futzing and waiting and  having to be far more perfect home-makers than we have ever had to be and just plain enduring would be worth it, if it helps to sell the pile place.

   Alas, it hasn't.
    No offers.
    Not even a nibble.

    The listing has a couple more weeks to run, and then we will pull the sign out of the front lawn...

... and think about  doing it again in the spring.

    In the meantime, this act of sitting down at the keyboard and actually writing something about why I haven't been writing anything has caused me to revisit this season, and I realize that I have lots of material to work with, just tying up the loose plot ends of this season's tales.  So, over the next few days I will catch up
on the cast of characters and their crises. There's news.

   Stick around.

In the meantime,
"Talk the Dock!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

New Crew Review- Living the Dream

"I see clearly now what must be done...."

     Right now is a hell of a time to be a dreamer.

     Always wanted to live aboard a boat, go cruising, live the dream?

     It's closer than you think, lately.

     Used boat prices are down, way down in some cases, making dream fulfillment attainable.

     At least, for those willing to do more than just dream.

     This season we've seen a few dreamers on the Dock who decided to turn dreaming into living.

     You've already met John, and heard about how he came to own a Sirius 22.

      At the tail end of this season, I got the chance to hand Whiskeyjack's helm to another new crew for an

     Alistair joined Sailnet looking for info on a boat he wanted to buy.  I offered some time on the water and a couple of weeks later he took me up on the offer, and brought along his capable partner, Sam.
    It was a typical snotty fall day on the Bay, with 3-5 foot chop and 15 knot winds.  Fun was had by all, as seen below:

     We talked about boats and living on boats and we walked the docks and looked at a few boats, and Alistair and Sam were able to narrow down what they wanted and needed when they eventually, you know, someday, bought a boat.

     No doubt, they were hooked.

...  and apparently the hook was well and truly set.  A couple of days alter, I started to receive emails from Alistair linking boats for sale...and I started to fire suggestions back.  Alistair and Sam began looking at boats in earnest, now that they had a rough idea of what they wanted and needed:  Something that was older, but pretty much turn-key, needing little reconditioning, 30- 36 feet,  $5-15 K.  Might take a couple of years.

    Last week, they bought this:

   A Pearson 30.  Project.  The hull had been painted and the deck hardware stripped off in preparation for painting, and then the owner got financially sidetracked.  Alistair and Sam looked at her, saw the potential, and bought her for less than the value of the keel.
    I've seen worse.

      If the  Atomic 4 has decent compression, starts, runs and doesn't walk off the stringers,
the intrepid couple are well ahead of the game.

If it's beyond help,  they can recoup their investment by parting the boat out, and maybe end up a little ahead.

As I mentioned, the cushions need recovering.  Ahhh, the 70's.

   Yeah, they've basically got a very big puzzle to put together, but as long as most of it is there, it shouldn't be THAT complex.
     Dirty, sweaty, tough?

      However, if you can assemble furniture, bolting parts back onto a boat is pretty much the same thing, with the added bonus of bedding with butyl rubber or 4200.

    (Yeah, I know, as I see the old boatyard slats shake their heads, it really isn't that easy, but no boat would ever gotten back in the water if the owner/dreamers knew how much gruntwork it really is.)

   And, as another added bonus, the new boat owners will know every inch of their boat before she goes in the water.

      Folks, please welcome Alistair and Sam to the tribe.  I think they are in for the long haul.

     You can follow their adventures here:   Craving Wanderlust: Sailboat Adventures