The holidays are over. While most people were out buying junk they don't need with money they don't have, we only acquired a few minor items but got rid of more that we took aboard.
Regularly, we take a particular section of the boat and purge it of items that we don't use anymore, or that haven't served any use since we got them. Rosie usually manages the closets and clothing, and I take care of the tools and parts areas.
What prompted our recent house cleaning was some of the conversations we had with other cruisers over the holidays. One question we got more than once was, "How many storage units do you guys have?"
The answer to that question is, "None", but some people we have met have several, spread out along the keys and in other parts of the country.
I've covered this subject earlier in this blog, but I'll try to add some new stuff here.
For one thing, the new items we took onboard over Christmas was a pair of tin snips we bought at Home Depot, a small necklace that a staff member here at the marina gave Rosie as a Christmas present, and a nautical bottle opener sent to us from some friends as a Christmas present, even though I refused to provide them an address to send it to. That's it.
The tin snips I wanted because we've had some vinyl trim stored away for over a year that I had intended to use around the edge of our toilet bowl lids. (Our boat has lids to sit on that cover the actual bowl and seat, not like a regular toilet lid, but bigger.) I don't know why I kept putting off the job, maybe because I didn't think the trim would fit. One thing was that I had tried cutting the trim in the past with a hacksaw or scissors, but I didn't like how it worked. I decided on the tin snips and figured if I bought them, I'd go ahead and use up the spare trim coiled in one of our parts bins.
The trim fit great and we were so please with the look, we bought twenty-five feet more trim and applied it around the engine room hatch, rear trunk, and anchor locker lid on the dinghy. But the main thing was, we used it all up and left none to clutter up a parts bin any longer.
While I was cleaning out one big Tupperware bin, I found some other junk we hadn't used for a while and pitched it. To make room for the tin snips in the tool box, I chose a couple tools I hadn't used in over a year and deposited them in the "take it, it's free" table here at the marina. If we need any of these tools in the future, I'll buy them. In fact, before we left St. Louis, I gave away some tin snips and some new pipe wrenches, and wound up buying a new pipe wrench last summer. But more importantly, I gave away lots more things before we moved onto the boat than I wound up replacing over the last two and a half years.
Clothes are another thing, and I am guilty of wanting to save more clothes than Rosie. But the truth is, I haven't worn long pants since we've been on the boat. Why save the two pairs of jeans we brought along? Doubt that they fit anymore, so if Rosie has donated them recently, I'll never know it. I have some shirts that are twenty years old, and I have noticed that some are missing. Again, I have Rosie to thank for thinning out the closets, plus helping me keep some sense of style about myself.
We met one couple who had recently moved onto their boat. They have only been together a couple of years, and I guess the woman may have some reservations about her new life style, but she has two storage units full of clothes because, "I came from a very high profile life in California and can't seem to let go of my things." Good luck with that relationship, folks.
If you can afford it, I guess it's nice to have a house somewhere to move back to, but it just adds another layer of concern to life on a boat, plus the added expense that we with a fixed income don't need. Although we have lots of friends and some family back in the Midwest, leaving our new life here in the keys for a few weeks each year would make us feel like fish out of water. At this point in our lives anyway.
We're finding our favorite places to hang out here in Marathon. In the photo, we're at Sunset Grille on the eastern end of the Seven Mile bridge. In just a few weeks, the staff knows our names and actually remembers things we tell them, unlike what we've experienced in Key West at most places. One waitress at our favorite breakfast place (We don't go more than once a week) greets us by name when we walk in. Marathon has a very small town feel, even though it is a tourist destination, just not like the one Key West is.
We did run "down" to Key West last Saturday on the Zuma to see some friends who were in town. We went to Dante's and our waitress had been wondering where we had been. Two more staff members came over to ask how we've been, and we've only been away for six weeks! We still got our local discount even though we live 50 miles away. So some folks in Key West miss us a little.
We spent New Years Day at Sombrero Beach. If you compare this photo with a similar one in a recent post, you can tell how the number of people has increased since the start of the "high season" here.
The mooring balls in Boot Key Harbor are full. That's over 250 vessels, and there's more boats anchored outside of Boot Key waiting for a mooring. The marina here is full too, and the pool attendance has increased dramatically. The only downside for us is that Holly is not welcome at the pool. Other folks take their pets, but they have "service dogs", or a fake document stating as much.
One thing I find interesting is how the conversations start at most of the social gatherings that we attend. The first question is usually about what kind of boat do we have, mainly whether it is a powerboat or sailboat. This question is used to categorize us in the questioners mind, but unfailingly, the response is not hardly noticed when the questioner blurts out what kind of boat they have, which is what they want to reveal in the first place.
It's like some people should just say right up front, "We have a so and so boat. How does yours compare with that, and how much money do you have, so we can judge you and file you away in our social pecking order".
We don't care what kind of boat other people have, or how much money they have. We just assume that the other people we meet around here are boaters and we go from there. People who know us may not believe this, but we spend more time listening to new people we meet in order to learn about them. If we ask a question, it's because we want to hear the answer, not start blathering about ourselves. We have this blog for that.
If our health holds up, we are looking forward to this new year. We have most of the things on the boat repaired or replaced, at least the ones that aren't broke yet.
We're taking one day at a time with a goal to enjoy each one, and to do a little work each day on the boat too. We'll focus on what we can control and not obsess about the things we can't. We are never envious of what other people have and we feel like we never want for any material things either. Just keeping it simple.
We are very lucky.