Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Isolation, Boatwork, and Gratitude

I can’t really believe that this is 2020; and here it is almost April already. It’s getting weird out there too. Last year was a tough year for several reasons; for me and for my family. It was also a much more social year than I've had in a while. I am isolated today, like most everyone else, but I have been in partial social isolation for 13 years. I left my last ‘career’ job in 2007. After that I was driving a truck; plying the highways ostensibly to make money for a boat project and to escape normal life. Most of that time it was just me and the truck. I went from a world filled with a couple hundred emails a day, constant phone calls and meetings to one where I might talk to someone at a truckstop or on a loading dock once or twice a day. Perhaps I was practicing for today’s pandemic world.

Right now for me, social isolation means a lot of boatwork. I’m stocked up and hunkered down at a remote boatyard in North Carolina. My pantry is relatively full and I have lots of supplies to keep working on the boat. Since my last post, I have lightly sanded the entire hull below the waterline, ground out a couple hundred blisters, installed four of six new thruhulls, stripped varnish, sanded and oiled more than half of the teak, and started engineering the removal of the holding tank.

I feel pretty safe where I am. I feel good about getting a bunch of work done. Most of all, however, I am feeling a wave of gratitude. I am very lucky to be where I am, doing what I’m doing. I haven’t decided how to write about the situation, but I don’t have to work right now. I am able to devote my time to working on Ruth Ann, my Bayfield 29. I am not suddenly wealthy, but I able to get by for now, carefully. Lately, the weather is the only thing that occasionally gets in my way.

It is a new world for me to only have boatwork to do. I have an off day every once in a while when I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. Mostly, however, the gratitude that I am feeling is what drives me; it’s the wind in my sails.

The pandemic and all the news around it put me, like everyone else, in a strange place. For a few days I was obsessively checking the news. Not a panic really but I let the tsunami of news and information overtake my time. That reaction has passed and I feel focused again. I checked in with my family and some friends. The tsunami of my gratitude is what I’ll concentrate on from here on out. There are so many people who have supported my vision. Some simply listened to my crazy plans; others supported me in more tangible ways. I am very lucky just now, right here.

Thank you; all of you. Be well. Be safe and healthy.

BTW, this entire blog post, including some image editing, was done on my Raspberry Pi 4; perhaps bound to be my computer onboard; compact and powerful.

My Patreon account will be live by April First. Patreon is a website that helps people support their favorite creatives; writers, artists, musicians, etc. I am not working right now; just working on my boat, Ruth Ann. If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to support it, Patreon is an easy way to do such a thing, even a couple dollars a month is possible, amazingly helpful, and greatly appreciated.

Writing is my main thing. I will be posting to the blog at least twice a month. There will be some exclusive content for Patrons and early access to blogs. My book, YouTube updates, and a podcast will be coming, but I need to concentrate on getting Ruth Ann back in the water. I don't want to get too many irons in the fire until she floats again.

The sailing memoir book will trace my journey from a little Sunfish sailboat at scout camp, to being on the cusp of an extended cruise on the U. S. East Coast, in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Central America. Look for it later this year.


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