It still pains me to say it and I haven’t had the heart to change the countdown on this blogsite yet. It’s not a secret and the choice was made with love, but it doesn’t make it any less hard.
We are not cutting the docklines and starting our circumnavigation on April 16, 2019 as we had planned for so many years.
The reason? Our grandchildren. We adore those three more than anything in the world and we can’t, in good consciousness, leave them alone with their mommy while daddy is away for almost five months. It takes a village to raise that crazy clan and we are needed here to help keep Meghan sane and the kids alive. LOL.
Last fall our son-in-law, an active duty Boatswains Mate First Class in the US Coast Guard, was selected for Officers Candidate School. This is a huge honor and testament to his training and dedication in protecting lives and the environment. It will mean more opportunities and leadership positions for Brian in the service that I hold very dear to my heart. It also means that he has made the commitment to making this his career. With it will come increases in pay, benefits and retirement; security for their family. We are incredibly proud of him and this huge life choice he has worked so hard to attain.
Brian will leave January 2020 for New London, Connecticut. He will be gone for 17 weeks of intense training in classrooms, on the Academy grounds and on the USCG Tall Ship Eagle (yes, I am so very jealous!). Upon completion he will no longer be an enlisted man; he will be commissioned as an officer. And no, the family doesn’t get to go with him while he is in school. They will stay in Novato, California, until he receives orders to their new duty station, which they won’t know until a few weeks before his graduation in May. He could very well remain here in Northern California, or be stationed on the east coast, Alaska (God forbid) or anywhere else where his skills and leadership are most needed.
So we are staying at the dock until they are settled in their new home, to help Meghan with the beautiful chaos that comes with having three active children between the ages of one and seven, her volunteer work with the community and her photography business. Another year of birthday parties, holidays, sports, and so many hugs and kisses.
But we won’t keep the status quo. This was, and still is, our time to make life changes.
My job at a Jewish non-profit is most likely ending sometime this summer. Our branch is in the process of consolidating with two other regional branches and my work with community impact grants will be absorbed by the bigger over-all organization. That’s okay with me. I’m looking forward to not being tied to a 9-5 job and might take on part-time work with a flexible schedule or just dedicate myself to writing, prepping the boat and being a Nana. (Not necessarily in that order!)
Aaron has hit the 30 year mark as a Union Electrician with IBEW 595. He might work a bit more this year if the right job comes along, but he’s done working for companies that don’t treat his experience and skills with appreciation and respect. Which, he’s finding, is harder and harder these days. Everyone wants work done as fast and cheap as possible; with little regard for the laborers or the quality of work, as long as it passes inspection. This construction trade is no longer the proud service that he or either of our fathers dedicated their lives to.
Our very loose plan is to continue to prep Sonho and do a bit of traveling until the summer of 2020, when the kids are settled in their new duty station. Knowing we aren’t leaving this April has allowed us to slow the roll on buying/installing items that we’ll need for life unplugged and just enjoy being on the Alameda Riviera a little longer (if this incessant rain every stops!). We’ve put in the order for our custom-made cockpit enclosure, which will add a whole new all-weather outdoor living space to Sonho.
Aaron has been teaching himself how to use our heavy-duty Sailrite sewing machine, researching different systems and doing jobs around the boat to make our life aboard even more practical and comfortable than it is already. I’m still in the long process of purging our storage loft, will do a complete overhaul and inventory of every single space on the boat, and want to get Scuba certified this summer. He’s joined a guitar group and is coaching our GrandSon’s baseball team, and I’ve committed to chairing Island Yacht Club’s Women’s Sailing Seminar in September and being the chef at To Live & Write in Alameda’s retreats for another year.
We’ll hit our five-year wedding anniversary in June and we made vows “for fair weather and storms” so spending some time becalmed is just part of our journey. We know how to adjust our sails and enjoy the ride wherever we are, as long as we are together.
And since we are staying put, we have decided to see a bit of our nation before leaving the country. This fall we’ll travel to Annapolis, Maryland, for the largest boat show in the United States … helping out the Bitchin’s at the Latitudes & Attitudes (formerly Cruising Outpost) booth and spending several days perusing the latest and greatest gadgets for boaters. The week before Brian graduates from OCS, we’ll pack up the GrandBoys and take a motorhome trip across the country, with the intent of seeing some fun pieces of Americana along the way. Then we’ll spend some time in our nation’s capital visiting the Smithsonian, other museums and the national monuments, and the eastern seaboard. After the east coast swing we’ll take the train back home to California.
There will also be a family trip to Disneyland and visits to Harley and Jenna in Oregon, my sister and her family in Arizona, and Aaron’s family in the Sierra’s and Southern California. And, of course, a huge Bon Voyage party! Because when, not if, we do go, we expect to be gone for approximately 10 years, with a few trips back to the states each year and family flying in to sail and enjoy exotic ports with us.
One big change will be our homeport. The 45 minute drive each way to Novato isn’t horrendous and we do it at least weekly already. But when Brian is gone, we will most likely be at the kids’ house three to five times a week, so moving the boat closer makes sense. We’ll miss Marina Village Yacht Harbor, and most of all our fellow liveaboards and the boating community we’ve called home for 10 years, but if we can get into Sausalito or Tiburon, that would be a pretty remarkable place to bide our time. We’ll tour marinas in the next few months, get on a waiting list and hopefully make the move in the late fall.
Embracing change is going to be the mantra for the Captain, First Mate and First Dog of Sonho for the next year.
Disappointed? Yes. Upset? No. Life is nothing if not unpredictable and we are still considered young cruisers, even if we wait until we’re 56. And, in all honesty, life in the San Francisco Bay Area isn’t all that bad when it’s not raining.
Warm, blue waters in tropical harbors can wait; family can’t.
Vivo O Sonho … Living the Dream!