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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Money Time and Comfort

While recovering I’ve had very little I could do but think about stuff and so some research. I must admit to getting some emotional comfort during this long winter recovery from watching sailing videos. Some things stood out.

If you’ve got the money it’s easy to purchase a comfortable boat and go sailing almost immediately. The fascinating thing is that not that many people who are motivated to make money want to quit and go sailing. A tiny fraction of high earners say enough is enough. Often something happens in their life that causes them to make a major change. Perhaps it’s a brush with mortality and they realize time on this planet is limited.

Young people might not have the money, but they have the time and energy to turn an old boat into a sea worthy comfortable one. Too often people wait until they retire to do a boat project. Most projects take longer than expected. Do you want to go sailing or work on a boat until you die?

So what does a guy like me in his 60s do? I don’t have a lot of tine to waste. While I have the skills to do boat projects, I don’t want to spend all my remaining days doing them. I’m also one of those baby boomers who forgot to make a fortune. So when it comes to boats I don’t want to spend the time and can’t spend the money. That’s where one has to take a hard look at the comfort part of the equation.

A nice big catamaran is super comfortable but way way out of my price range. Certainly can’t afford that. New mono hulls are like floating apartments, but even they are too expensive. That leaves older cramped boats without all the bells and whistles. In short -less comfortable.

Then again, one has to ask: what is comfort? Yeah, I don’t have an ice maker on my boat, but I’m not stuck in port somewhere waiting for someone or parts to fix it. Instead I could be in a remote bay watching the sunset while sipping a warm rum. That’s a trade off I’m willing to take. There’s something to be said for simplicity.

I’ve been writing about boats, but it applies to other things too. Many of us know people who’ve bought expensive luxury cars only to have them in the shop all the time. People buy big houses with huge lawns only find they’ve become a general contractor to get everything taken care of. Either they have to hire people or they become the servant to the property.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Interesting information from unusual sources

We know our news is pretty filtered these days. To make matters worse, it’s very easy to have news feeds pander to your existing biases. Sometimes, however, interesting information can be found without really looking for it.

Lately there’s been a lot of attention grabbing scuttlebutt on various sailing forums.

It’s no secret that sailing can be pretty expensive. People with fancy yachts have issues with protecting their wealth and investments. Lately there’s been a lot of chatter about Europe. People are concerned about keeping their wealth in Euros. There’s even talk that maybe there won’t even be Euros five years from now. The main concerns are Brexit and the unrest in France, Italy and other countries. The smart money has serious doubts about the EU holding together.

Now some background for the next bit of information. Larger boats use something called the AIS system. In short, boats have transponders that broadcast basic information about the boat -things like boat name, speed, heading, size and whatnot. It’s one way ships are able to avoid collisions in the dark.

Military ships don’t play by the same rules. Only recently after a few embarrassing collisions have they started to turn them on, and only in high traffic areas. There’s some indication that military ships sometimes broadcast false AIS signals showing them to be harmless merchant vessels instead of warships. About a month ago there was a lot of suspicious AIS and US Navy traffic off the coast of Venezuela. There’s talk of boats running “dark” and others with false IDs.

Speaking of Venezuela, yachts in the Caribbean have noticed Russian and Chinese flagged vessels heading there, more than normal. Looks like things maybe be getting dangerous in that part of the world.

Interesting times.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Spring Plans

It’s nice to be healing well enough to be off pain meds. There’s some discomfort but nothing that can’t be ignored. Frankly, it’s nice to be able to think more clearly. Those pain meds did the job, but they certainly fogged my brain.

So the question is, what are we going to do next winter? I’m not going to spend it snowed it again. Of course I have to get and stay healthy to make that happen. Believe me, avoiding cold and shoveling is plenty of incentive.

My lovely wife and I talked over our options. With out budget we could probably afford either a tow vehicle for the Oday 19 or to purchase a bigger boat. Both of those items can be had fairly cheaply. I don’t care if the vehicle is 20 years old, as long as the power train and brakes are good. As for used boats, there are a lot of bargains.

One of the reasons there are so many bargains are that it costs money to upkeep a boat. A lot of money can be saved if you do your own work, but some things you just have to pay for. Haul outs are a big one. At some point a boat yard needs to remove the boat from the water. It could be for a short while to redo the bottom paint or it could be put up on blocks for the season. A boat on the hard will cost money every month. Ironically, it’s often cheaper to keep it sailing rather than parked.

While we could afford a boat and normal upkeep, boat yard fees could really stretch the budget. We should be in a better financial position in a year or two. Getting a larger boat would make more sense at that point.

So the idea is that we could tow the Oday 19 south. The Oday is small, but we could easily live on it for a few weeks. We could do a mix of boating and camping. There are a lot of coastal areas we’d love to get back to. Then there are areas we’d never been that look interesting, like Florida’s St. John river.

One thing we probably should not do with our little boat is cross over to the Bahamas. While it’s possible to do so, it wouldn’t be very comfortable. That will have to wait until we can get that larger boat.

Now we’ve got the bare bones of a plan to work towards. There’s a lot that has to happen between now and next winter, but it give us something to shoot for.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Home and finances

My lovely wife pan roasted coffee for the first time while I was in the hospital. She’s seen me do it but never had to do it herself. It came out great, the best coffee I’ve had in a couple weeks. Hospital coffee was undrinkable. My daughter’s coffee was pretty good. However, nothing beats coffee from fresh roasted beans. It’s one of the little pleasures of being home.

Normally I’m the one doing the cooking. My lovely wife has taken over while I’m recovering. Her secret is out: she really can cook. For example, dinner was pork chops with mushroom gravy, brown rice, asparagus and a side of roasted spiced apples. When we first married she could not successfully boil water three times on a row. The third time she’d do something like set the stove on fire.

My recovery is coming along. There’s not much to do but spend time reading or on the computer. I’m avoiding watching too much news. Anger and despair are not conductive to healing.

Then there’s the little issue of how I’m going to pay for my hospital stay. What that bill is going to be is anyone’s guess. My son-in-law helped me fill out a whole bunch of forms. The hospital may cut me a deal. I’m not worried about it. As I see it the situation can go one of two ways. One way the hospital sets up an affordable payment plan. If that doesn’t happen the only thing to do is to let the bill go to collections.

Anyone who gets that account will be sorry. Sure, they can harass me for seven years, but if I don’t give them a penny they eventually go away. My credit rating goes down the drain, but during my life it’s been everything from terrible to excellent. Ionly need good credit to get loans I can’t afford anyway.

I hate to do this, but the medical system was supposed to be fixed by now. Both parties promised affordable health care of one sort or another. Instead we have the worse of all worlds and that’s not my fault. So it goes.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Dehydration and Candy

So this is weird. The doctor wants me dehydrated. Right now he has me on diuretics to keep the swelling in my leg down. Not only that he says I should have hard candies to keep my thirst down. Also, he doesn’t want me to wash my leg right now. Yep, the doctor has prescribed dehydration, candy and banned soap. So pass the candy -doctor’s orders. I have made a lot of progress due to this doctor’s treatments, so I’m paying attention.

I like him a lot better than the doctor who made three incorrect assumptions about me in less than five minutes. Then he went on to do a treatment that did not work twice before. Also, he set my pain management back about 12 hours. Let’s just say that guy will never be my doctor if I have anything to say about it.

However, most of the doctors and staff at the hospital took very good care of me. I was lucky enough to get a private room at the end of the hallway. They kept my door closed as I requested and it was pretty peaceful. That really make my stay a lot more pleasant.

I’m finally back home and really loving the recliner my lovely wife purchased. I’m able to keep my legs elevated and can also use my computer on a lap desk. The dog insisted that she join me in the chair. The arms are huge so there’s plenty of room for her.

It’s good to be home, but there’s a long road to full recovery yet. I can’t get back into my exercise program until the leg is fully healed.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to cut way back on the pain meds. The medications make me pretty loopy. It was a fair trade off when the pain was unbearable. Lately it’s been more important to me that I be able to function better mentally.

Thanks for all the support everyone has given me. It’s made the recovery much easier.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Good Enough for Trouble

I’m starting to feel good enough to get into trouble. Now I’ve got to be doubly careful. Frankly, I’m just recovered enough that pain management is working really well. When I don’t need any pain meds at all I’ll really be on the mend. My guess is that in another week things should be pretty good.

There’s still an awful lot of healing to do. However, my leg looked like a map of Indonesia and Malaysia. Now it’s more like Micronesia. Still, there’s some pretty good sized scab chunks that need to flake off.

I’m being really cautious as my leg was mostly healed twice before. It didn’t take long for things to go to heck really fast. With that in mind the doctors have me taking it easy until completely recovered. The swelling is pretty much completely gone, which is something that hasn’t happened in months. That makes it a lot easier for the leg to heal.

My daughter has been taking care of me, but I’m looking forward to going home. I don’t need as much attention. Also, my house has been made more recovery friendly. Family and friends have been amazing.

So where do we go from here? Well, there’s a lot of getting back in condition that needs to happen. After months of limited activity, that will be fun. The key will be pacing myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Looking forward to putting miles on a treadmill and weather permitting, outside. Getting back into tai chi. That’s very good for my balance and strength. Then there’s the joke: Look out, I know tai chi – I can beat you up very very slowly.

Hopefully, by spring I’ll be able to look for a tow vehicle for the sailboat. It can be towed by something as small as Ford Ranger with the 3.0 engine. That opens up a lot of options for tow vehicles. It doesn’t have to be fancy: good engine, transmission and brakes. It does not matter if the body work is beat to snot, as long as the mechanicals are good and it can tow.

Since I’d been planning on a sailing trip last fall, the little Oday 19 is in fairly good condition. Some items purchased back then need installation, but that’s not a big deal. It could also use some new bottom paint, but that can wait. It won’t be spending a lot of time in salt water until the fall. It’s a fairly quick job as it can be painted while on the trailer.

So right now the idea is to get well, get strong, and get back to traveling.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Long Strange Trip

My recovery continues to be a long strange trip. Just recently met with a couple of doctors. That was interesting.

In short, I have to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. Once the wounds heal up a bit more I can start back into my exercise program. That’s something I’m looking forward to.

Currently I’m still staying at my daughter’s place. Monday I’m heading to the hospital to get a routine blood test. After that my lovely wife is driving me home. There’s been a lot of people getting my home ready for me. My daughter pointed out that while my place is set up to survive the zombie apocalypse, it wasn’t well set up for normal aging. Some of our living situation was needlessly complicated.

Over and over in my blogs I’ve been pointing out the importance of having a tribe. They really have been coming through for me during my recovery. They’ve done everything from making home improvements to bringing hot meals. It’s been nice sometimes just to have people around to have a coffee with.

Even when I get home there will be people coming by to do things for me. I am blessed and humbled. It’s in my nature to be the caretaker. Being the one in need is an education it itself. All I can do is to say thank you.

Also, thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers. I believe they make a huge difference.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Another Update

I’ve been staying at my daughter’s house while recovering. Still making progress, but still have a ways to go. Drugs have me feeling a bit loopy so it’s good that I’m so well taken care of.

The hot water tank in my house failed while I was in the hospital. My son-in-law and a plumber are changing it today. I’m going to need that before going back home.

Also a number of family members are working hard to make my house more recovery friendly. Lot’s of reorganization and rebuilding going on. I guess I’ll know exactly how much when it’s all done.

I’ve another doctor’s appointment on Thursday.

Not doing much but getting better.