May / June 2009 -- Imagine No Possessions

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Back to Home ... s/v Stella Blue Home ... Blog Index

This is my attempt to make a standard blogging format, so I can keep a personal web log in a new format that's easy to maintain.

The project pages always had a point. These web logs are more like a personal journal. I don't know how this will all evolve. The web is already full of cruiser blogs. If I don't come up with some interesting content, my web site will fade into obscurity, and these blog pages will just be a personal electronic journal. That's fine.

Anyway, it has now been a year since I stopped working to finish up boat projects, get rid of everything I own, move aboard,
and focus on the next objective. Some folks thought I was crazy to take a year, but it really has been a year of non stop work.

My home office (left,) where I worked long hours for most of the last fourteen years, turned into a folding table and a single laptop.

You see, I had always said that when the cat left this world
I'd sell everything, get on the boat and get out of here.
I didn't think that would be sooner than 2011.
It didn't work out that way.

It really did take a year to get rid of everything. I had boxes of paperwork going back to 1980 to be shredded. Bookshelves full of books to be sorted and donated. Photo albums to be scanned.
I've always been a pack rat. I found the keys to my first car, although the car was towed away and crushed in 1978. Yikes.

Then there were boat projects to finish. Anything that required my workshop, power tools, or a big table and the sewing machine,
had to be finished up.

Throughout the course of the year, I kept throwing things out. It was an iterative process, going through things over and over again. If it wouldn't fit on the boat, it had to go, but sometimes it took a while to force myself to let something go.

Finally, it was time to call the junk man and clear the condo out. They pulled a truck up under my second floor porch, and we just started throwing things over the rail. That was cathartic.
I'm really going to miss that couch, though.

It took a really long time to clean out the garage.

I've saved every scrap of teak, fiberglass or plywood left over from ten years of boat projects. I've also saved every part I bought by mistake, every hunk of leftover hose and wire, and so on. A lot of those scraps have come in very handy over the years, and a lot of stuff has been moved onto the boat. (I expect that having spare wire, hose and plumbing fixtures will earn me a few friends in the years to come.) Most of it went into the dumpster, though.

Tools were tough to part with. To the left is my all time favorite tool -- a bench belt sander. That thing has shaped a lot of wood and fiberglass. But, the bearings on the belt wore out a couple of years ago, and although it worked, it screamed at about 60db and I could only use it during the day when neighbors weren't home.
So, putting it in the dumpster was like a burial. I'd worn it out.
My heavy duty hand drill also burned up, while drilling the last hole on my last project. Serendipity. I burned up two heavy duty drills while refitting my boat.

Other small hand tools are being stored on board. But, the router is still in great shape, and it has no place on a boat. Bummer. I sold it to the dockmaster at my marina, along with my big Skil saw.

Then, there are a few things that I just can't toss in a dumpster. Like this old teddy bear. I'm not emotionally attached to it, but after 46 years it deserves better than a dumpster. Well, I'll haul it around for a while, and perhaps, soon, I'll find a good place
to let it go.

There are some other things that just couldn't go into the dumpster.

On my mantle, I've always had an empty bottle of Dom Perignon, Vintage 1976, which I shared on the beach in Santa Barbara with my family, in 1984. Then there's an empty bottle of Mouton Rothschild, (I forget what) that I also shared with family in 1995. They can't just go into a dumpster.

So I finally put a note inside, and sealed the top with a plug of epoxy. Someday, when I'm off shore and the winds and currents are right, I'll let them float away.


Click on pictures to see them full size

And that's the end of it.

Over the last fourteen years, my home had evolved into a boat rebuilding shop. It was set up perfectly -- for me, the boat,
and the cat. I used one bedroom for my office, with three computers and a lot of communications gear. I used the master bedroom as a huge walk-in closet and guest room.
I slept up in the loft.
It was really cool.

However, I'd always known that I'd have to change everything to sell into a general market.

Given the horrible real estate market, I spent six solid weeks cleaning and remodelling the place that had once been my home.
I knew I wouldn't get my money back, but in this market my objective was to eliminate objections, and appeal to the sub-segment of the market who would find my type of home attractive, had been looking in that price range,
and had solid financing lined up.
Six weeks doesn't sound like a lot of time, but once you've tossed all the furniture out the window it's really easy to start at the top and power through the work.

I outsourced paint and carpet, of course.

I don't even recognize the place.

It sold in two days. That was a shock, as I've seen other properties sit on the market for over a year. I guess those six weeks of preparation paid off, because the place looks like a new home.

"Staging services" is a racket... but these days you have to do it.
All of my furniture was crap, as I've known for years that I was going to move onto a boat, and thus didn't spend money on stuff that I knew I was going to throw away. So I paid someone to make it look like a home, with broad market appeal. It doesn't appeal to me, personally, but the point is to sell the place, not live in it.


Anyway, I was intending to keep this page going and talk about actually moving aboard and living on the boat. Maybe that'll become another page. Maybe not.

It's been a really busy time, as I had a lot of stuff that to put on the boat -- someday.

Suddenly, "someday" was "right now." So, the whole boat turned into a mess of stuff that had to be reorganized and stored. I'll make a page about that when it's done.