Setting a Drop Dead Date

So far, our timeline for completely overhauling our life has looked like this:

2015-2016

Intermittently toy with the idea of moving to Costa Rica or really anywhere outside the U.S. for a change of pace.

July 2016

AirBnB on a small sailboat in the Baltimore Harbor, play around with the idea of living on a boat, promptly forget the idea as we get back into daily life.

November 2016

Remember the idea about the boat and take some time to research what that might actually look like. Put the idea on the back burner as we deal with daily life.

January 2017

Seriously, let’s buy a freaking boat. How soon can we do this? Begin trolling Craigslist for a boat that two self-employed people of limited means can afford.

February 2017

Find a $3k boat. Buy it. Freak out.

March – May 2017

Jack commits to the hard labor of a serious renovation while I try valiantly to cover our expenses on mostly one income. We realize the challenges that this arrangement will cause and decide to up the ante and set a drop-dead date that’s sooner rather than later.

Today

So that leaves us at today. June 1. I’ve just typed up the letter to our landlord to declare our intentions of abandoning our current termite-ridden Napoleon Avenue apartment, and we’ve committed to be living aboard the boat – in whatever state it happens to be in so long as it floats – by August 1.

We suspect the state will be – um – not ideal. Jack’s only one guy, after all. Despite all of his good looks, talent, charm, intelligence, and brute physical strength, one guy working on a boat (with a drippy stream of funds) can only accomplish so much. What will that look like?

The hull of the Sea Shanti will be primed, painted, and sealed up, and she’ll be in the water at a local marina (more on that in a later post). The topside may be in need of some work, and the forward cabin will be mostly a blank canvas – gutted, cleaned, and painted, termite-free, but not built out. The aft cabin, which will eventually be Fain’s room, will be renovated, giving Jack and I somewhere to stay until the forward cabin is finished. (Fain will be visiting his Oklahoma folks in Tulsa at the time, so the arrangement works out fine.)

What we’ll compromise on

Well, obviously, with Jack, me, two cats, and a dog sharing a partially-renovated, bobbing house, these are not the most comfortable living conditions to begin with. It’s going to be cramped and much more like camping than cruising.

I’ll have to give up my beautiful canary yellow desk and my cozy Eames knock-off desk chair because, even once the boat’s finished, there’s no room. And also a rolling chair on a boat seems like poor planning.

What we’ll gain

We’re paying an outrageous $1300/month for rent now. Just rent. Our apartment is in a great location, but it’s totally infested with termites and things in the wall that make scratchy-skritchy-screetchy noises. I don’t know what those things are, and frankly, I don’t want to. I’m relying on the cats to protect me.

Critters in the walls and the occasional leaks aside, this is just way too much for self-employed people to pay for rent. It puts us in the position of not being able to consistently take opportunities as they arise due to looming bills. We’ll be paying $300/month for the marina slip, so right up front, we’re dropping our cost of living significantly, which means more money to pour into the renovation and into living our lives to the fullest.

The marina in question has a restaurant and a bar by a pool, so in exchange for giving up my desk (and lowering our cost of living considerably, which I cannot stress enough) to live in our skeleton boat, I’ll be forced to work – that is to say write – at the bar beside the pool. Y’know, pretty much every bum writer’s fantasy. Cry me a river, right?

Setting the date for August 1 is ambitious and a little scary, but if the boat isn’t ready by then, we’d still have to come up with another plan anyway because – money: it doesn’t grow on trees. In that case, we’ll move out of the city and closer to the boatyard, which will still drop our rent costs significantly. Again, not ideal, but moving in the right direction.

So that’s where we are and what we’re doing now. Jack will have his own interpretation of this fine kettle of fish, too, and it’ll give you a better idea of the technical stuff. I’ve just decided not to bother myself with the technical stuff because that’s not my job.

By | 2017-08-07T00:40:23+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Boat Life|9 Comments

About the Author:

Prior to 2012, Autumn Ware was an award-winning writing instructor who showed middle school kids how to write novels and how to create websites to "market their author brands." Today, she's the author of the Perilous and Sparks series and the CEO of Aware Copywriting.

9 Comments

  1. Joyce Bay June 2, 2017 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Autumn, Bill and I are so excited for you, Jack and Fain. We’re looking forward to following your adventures. Have fun and be safe!!!

    • Autumn Ware June 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Joyce! I’m sure I’ll be rambling on about them plenty!

  2. Sandra Livesay June 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Brave New World! Impressive. Have calm winds, amazing sunsets, and clear starry skies.

    • Autumn Ware June 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Sandra! We’re excited, and it’ll be a constant source of writing inspiration. 😉

  3. Craig Giesecke June 5, 2017 at 1:04 am - Reply

    Our drop-dead date to start the partly-retired/partly working life in a place we’d never seen was last July 1st and it has been magnificent despite the occasional hassles. My only wish is we were closer so I could help Jack with the boat — not only with construction but also with the actual sailing. If you set a date more “comfortable,” you’d never do it.

    • Autumn Ware June 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      You’re exactly right, Craig. Comfort and adventure don’t always (or even usually) go hand in hand. The half-day work/half-day play is a good model to get a little of both. I know for a fact that Jack also wishes you were here to help!

  4. Mary Scott June 6, 2017 at 3:14 am - Reply

    whoa! You go, girl. What a life-changing adventure. It’s just not in my DNA to be that brave and adventurous. So…….I’ll just live the dream through you! (It was all I could do to get my nerve up to retire, but I have loved it! ) Love to Fain!!! 😊

    • Autumn Ware June 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      I’ll send him your love. When we cruise up the NC coast, you’ll have to come out for a sail with us. It might change your DNA!

  5. […] Past Jack and Autumn totally knew what they were doing when they set this ridiculously ambitious drop dead date. They knew it was going to be tight. They knew it was going to be uncomfortable. They knew it […]

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