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August 17, 2003

Money, time, perfectionism, adequacy, safety, reality......

It is such a conflict.

(Forgive me this self-indulgent whining. Sometimes it helps to write things down and clarify them: also, I know that a lot of people doing boat renovations have these moments and it may help somebody out there to commiserate a bit!)

Each time we face the reality of delaying our departure date it breaks my heart. There's a part of me that wishes we'd taken the "Go small, go now" philosophy at the start: we might not have been as comfortable or safe but we'd be out there by now. Instead we set about this renovation and wanted to do things "right". Consequently, at this stage in the refit, there is little we can do to cut corners, either time- or money-wise. For example, in the beginning we might have made the decision to forgo refrigeration. Instead we decided to make a really good, super-insulated system. So we made the plans and purchased the parts. Now, even though we are desperate to save money and time, we can't very well just say, "forget the refrigeration!" because the cabinetry is half-built and all the expensive parts are waiting in their boxes.

When we first began this adventure, in fall of 2001, we thought we'd find a boat that was "ready to go" and we would depart the next fall 2002. When we purchased Zora  (spring 2002) with the full realization that she needed work, we were still hopeful we'd be leaving fall 2003. Several months ago we realized we needed more time and pushed the departure date to April 2004. And just now, we are realizing we probably won't even make THAT departure date! It is a crushing realization.

One of the big reasons we wanted to go on this trip was so that we could slow down, relax, stop being so stressed (something I believe is really crucial for beating cancer), have time to spend with Olivia..... and because of the cancer, I feel it's important to do this stuff NOW. I know folks don't like to hear it, but I still have a fear -one I try not to dwell on- that I may not have all the time in the world..... We're doing this trip on the shoestring budget we are precisely because we didn't want to put it off, didn't want to wait until we had saved a bunch of money, didn't want to wait at all.

And yet: because of time and money constraints we find ourselves postponing, postponing, postponing. My biggest secret fear (well, not so secret now, I guess) is that just when we are almost ready to go, I will get the Bad News from the doctor.

And, worse, not only are we postponing, but our lives are unbelievably stressful. Neil goes to work in the morning at his already-demanding job, and from there straight to the boat. I'm already asleep by the time he comes home. Meanwhile I am scraping for pennies however I can, doing boat projects myself, not spending quality time with Olivia, and stressing out over our increasingly dire finances. We are both utterly exhausted and we never see each other! Our daily lives are 100x more stressful than they used to be, and every time we postpone the departure date we prolong living in this stressful state.

Why must we delay departure? For one thing, because we won't be finished with the boat. Everyone says, just go now.... but what they don't understand is that the boat is literally in pieces. Everything needs to be put back together. And we have made modifications in some areas that preclude simply throwing it all back in quickly. For example, the old cushions won't fit now that we've modified the berths, so I need to sew new ones. The galley is only half built. We ARE assuming we will leave without every little thing done: for instance, we will probably be bunging and varnishing the interior for a year after we leave!! We've pared our list down to the absolute bare essentials, but there is still a lot to do. And since we can't afford indoor storage again this winter, we'll be outside under shrink-wrap in the cold, which will surely slow our progress even more. Second, we don't have the money we thought we would yet. Our plan is to take off with enough for 15 months of frugal cruising (@ $1,000/month). We're hoping we can pick up a bit of work along the way to extend this to two years. It hardly seems worth it to do all this work and live like this for so long if we can only go out for less than a year, does it? But, of course, all the surprise projects have cost more than we expected, and we're way behind in our savings. Sigh. The purchase of salmon or chicken for dinner, or a bottle of cheap wine, is an extravagance I feel guilty about all week! I am already worrying what we'll do at Christmastime!

I know, I know, this is part of the adventure. I really wish I could just relax and enjoy it. I guess if I did not have this awful feeling of time slipping away from me then it wouldn't be so bad. If I could just say, "oh, well, so we won't leave for another year or two, no big deal..." . But I just can't do that! My health, spending time with my daughter and my husband, these things are so important yet the way we are living now jeopardizes all that. And the other argument is, "Yeah its a sacrifice but how bad do you want to go on your trip?" Well..... sometimes I just wonder if its worth it! (Shame on me, right?)

I KNOW it will be worth it. And I KNOW there is really no alternative at this point but to keep on going like we're going. Whining and worrying won't do any good, I know. But, some days, I just can't help it.

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