That Solves That One

Someone told me the other day that I’m more subdued now like a dog that had been fixed…in a good way. I think they were right. This isn’t some mush mush, “he’s my person” boloney, but would I still be out there wandering around if he hadn’t lit a beacon for me to follow home? Who knows. Then again, who knew I’d become obsessed with a garden and a daily routine that involved snacks packed with love notes? The truth is everything is easier by yourself except for the being by yourself. Noah was my first call long before I ever imagined considering leaving a life on the road. So maybe playing house turned into making a home, I don’t think I could be any happier if I tried because I am gloriously happy. A couple of months in Asia are still in the plan and I’m thinking Africa in December because it isn’t like they take your passport away when you fall in love. I’ll have to calculate it, but I guess I finally figured out how many miles it actually takes to heal a gypsy soul.


As I said moments ago, I get a ton of questions about my sailboat. And I’m going to hash them all out right now! Not that I think this will come anywhere close to ending the questions and that’s okay. I’m excited too.

Where is the boat now?

Currently, she is dry docked, which means on land specifically on stilts, outside of St. Augustine.


Well, y’all all saw the video of Island Girl being brought on land, when they take her out she goes up in a swing on a movable tractor thing, same deal with being put back in the water. If she goes on a trailer to be shipped somewhere, the mast has to be stepped (taken down) and lifted up by a big ol’ crane. Both of these options take a lot of prep and planning, neither are cheap. It is part of what I signed on for, but it is a good chunk of change. So, she’s currently staying where she is for the following reasons: storage is super cheap at her current dock and it isn’t really worth paying all that extra money to move her around when I haven’t fully decided where I want her to end up.

Why don’t you sail her to Charleston?

Well, obviously the first snag there, I can’t sail…yet.

Why don’t you hire someone to sail her here then?

Coming up from St. Augustine where she is to Charleston, what is a 4 hour drive by car is about a week trip by sea even for an experienced sailor who buckles down and hustles. To take her by sea to Pensacola would be, at a minimum, 3 weeks and going all the way down the around the tip of Florida. That kind of time doesn’t come cheap. Plus, she doesn’t have a motor.

She doesn’t have a motor?! Also, sailboats have motors?!

Nope, no motor. Which made Island Girl’s price tag much more appealing. Here’s the deal, if I’m patient and keep a lookout, I can snag a used outboard motor for $200. If I just go grab one, it will be closer to $800. Learning from my past experiences, I know enough to not sink a ton of money into Island Girl until I know for sure this is the route I want to take. She doesn’t need a motor for me to dock her in a slip and live on. She definitely doesn’t need a motor if I go with my fallback plan (see below).

How will she get somewhere?

If she goes back into the water, it will be the same as when we took her out. The big sling on wheels scoops her up and lowers. If I move her, she’ll have to be put onto a custom trailer. She’s got a 4 foot draft so she has to be pretty high up. That involves a big crane to lift her and a big crane to step the mast (taking it down). Same thing coming off the trailer.

So she’s just sitting there?

Island Girl is a sound sailboat, solid hull and not a single soft spot on her decks. Even still, she’s got some sprucing up to be done. Her beautiful teak wood is getting varnished, custom cushions are being made for the cabin, berth, cockpit, and for sunning on the bow. Lighting in the cabin, upgrades to the head, etc. More than esthetics, some minor work on the hull while she is out of water. Up top she is being painted, maybe down low too. We’ve got 5 tiny bubbles that I’m thinking I’ll wait until after the season to address and there’s not really any point in painting her now if I’m doing that next year. She is going to be beautiful.

Are you going to get pink sails?

Even I know my limits on the extra. No pink sails. Same on the motor, I’m not putting a ton of extra money in to anything that expands more than making her live-aboard ready. And if I were, it wouldn’t be new sails. Island Girl has a full set of sails and rigging in fab condition, no need to replace them especially when having new sails done is thousands and thousands of dollars. But, do expect to see pink Sunbrella all throughout the rest of her.

What is this backup plan?

If anything from this crazy life of mine and the last year or so on the road, I’ve learned to ALWAYS have a back up plan. Did I blow my whole boat budget on Island Girl? Hell no. We’re using fake money amounts here because even though I share tons with y’all, the exacts of my financials isn’t everybody’s business. So let’s says I paid $50 for Island Girl. Everyone kept saying if I just spent $1,000 I could just get a boat that was all ready to go! What if I don’t love boat life? (Gasp, I know?! Who will I even be if not a boat person?!) I’d rather make a $50 mistake than a $1,000 mistake. Hello, RV lessons learned. So I’m going to put maybe $20 into my $50 boat, see how I like it and go from there.

Really, I just want to be able to unpack all my stuff in one place.

Now, if the worst turns out to be true and I’m not a boat person (just the idea of that makes me clutch my chest with anxiety, this absolutely cannot be true), I’ve got a couple of options. First, turn around and sell her for double what I paid and put into her (yes, it really was that good of a deal). Second, sell her sails and rigging to cover a year or two’s slip rental and set her up solely as an AirBnB.

So you’re bringing her to Charleston?

I still don’t know. Charleston isn’t cheap y’all! We’ll see how things go. I’ve got a hard deadline of April 1st for my work and she’s having her own work done so no need to rush any decisions. I’ll figure it out when the time rolls around.

Are you going to rename her? Isn’t that bad luck?

Yes and sometimes. There is a whole renaming ceremony that takes place to make sure you stay on Poseidon’s and all the other gods’ good side. Don’t ask me what, I haven’t even begun to decide that. You’ll all be invited to the ceremony where part of the appeasement to the gods is lots of good food and booze.

Big Takeaway:

Boats are expensive, but the one thing I’ve found cheap is the storage rates where she is currently. Remember the big crane and stepping the mast? Yeah, that’s expensive. Huge ordeal. And I don’t feel like doing it multiple times. She’s already on land, let’s get everything done we need to while we can instead of the whole process just to move her to a different dock to work on her then the whole process again to put her in water.

On top of all that, the owner of the dock and the guys working on her are really good, genuine, honest people. I trust them and their work. Especially since they come at an affordable rate. The estimates I got in Pensacola, which is a pretty low budget water town, were about four times as high as the quotes where she is docked. In short, moving her only once, paying low dock rates, getting skilled labor at a beyond fair price is the course I’ve charted (ba-da-dum!). Everything else can be figured out in due time.

So yeah, the boat is good! Plan is going well! And yes, you’ll all be welcome to come aboard….well, almost all of you. Like I said the other day, sailboats are for tacos and houseboats are for haters.

Keeping My Head Down

Let’s have some real talk about the questions I’ve been getting lately (and this is probably more for me than y’all). This one is all me with the boat the next one over covering all of the questions I get on my boat, hop to all things Island Girl RIGHT HERE.

I am so insanely excited about being back in Charleston! And having my life back! And everyone! And all the champagne! It is all just so massively, over the top happiness! Yet, I’ve still been kind of MIA on the social scene (even though I did sneak out for some fun this weekend).

Being back is hard on a multitude of levels. I didn’t really plan on being here let alone think I was ready to come back, all of this is a transition. Like a transition that was decided on a Tuesday and I was in Charleston on the following Friday. What can I say? I’m a rambling rose ready to hop briar patches with the change of winds.

Honestly, I feel like hiring a band, stringing up some cafe lights, setting up a bar, and inviting everyone I’ve ever met over…which is my major problem. I am completely ready to go back to fun when I actually need to work on my work life balance. As an adult, I should be able to follow a schedule with time for everything and everyone. Unfortunately, I am just not that kind of adult (I mean, have we ever met?!).

That is why my self imposed grounding in my little dorm in Tuscaloosa was good for me on a work level, yet bad for me on a mental/emotional level. I do my best when I’m shuttered off from everything, zoned in on a project with a light blinking from the end of the tunnel when I emerge. Tuscaloosa was hella solo with a couple outstanding friends, still skewed heavier on the isolation.

Right now, I’ve got some major deadlines. Mega deadlines this week, uber deadlines next week, hella deadlines at the end of the month.

Even though I am pee my pants excited, this week I’m going to have to be head in the sand, knocking out deadlines with some appearances to my old life when I take a break, hit a wall, or smack it right out of the ballpark. After I get through the crunch of this, I’m going to try to find a better way to handle all of my everything.

If I haven’t seen you yet, it is not you. It is absolutely 100% me. Legit, I was here for 6 days before I saw anyone outside of the house and even then she came by the house to drop something off. I want to see every single person I’ve ever met in Charleston, I just can’t tackle getting a handle on the precarious weaving of everything until I square away some other stuff first.

If not, then I’ll just continue one extreme to the next. I’ll be the socialite recluse who disappears for weeks at a time only to bust out of my cocoon to host absolute parties of the year. That sounds way more interesting anyways…and dangerously like Gatsby. I should maybe rethink that plan…

Just stick with me y’all! I’m working out the kinks and trying to work y’all all back in. For the first time in my life, I’m easing into the shallow end instead of a cannonball into the deep end. Totally new for me.

But yeah, I love all of y’all so much and I can’t wait to see all your faces! Give me some of your astounding patience and I promise I’ll get all this anxiety tampered down enough to be fun, to be present, and to be the awesome friend I know I’ve got deep down in me.

As for why I’m back in Charleston, where I’m living, who is who, blah blah blah, that is a whole other post yet to be written. When I’ve got that figured out, I’ll share. All of it is still falling into place, I guess I’m getting more practice on the whole easing into things front then I realized. You’ll get the scoop as soon as I get a grasp on it myself.

*This is yet again more ramblings that have not been spellchecked or proofread instead kicked off the cuff from my phone without double thinking. Frustrating for the grammar patrol, liberating for my stream of conscious. I’d apologize, but we know you’re really here for all my random.*

Ocean on the Left, Land on the Right

Well, I did it. I bought a sailboat. Who knew, right?!

This has to be up there in my “I Can’t Believe I Did This” moments. Where to even start? I had to stop myself from saying this amazing opportunity fell in my lap because that isn’t what happened at all. I worked really hard and a gig came to fruition as a result of that hard work. That is completely boring though, let’s talk about my boat!

A year ago when I started thinking, plotting, dreaming up designs on buying a boat, I had my eyes on a Pearson. I feel like even specifically a Pearson 26. They were beautiful and 26 seemed like the right length (FYI the number designates length of the boat). They are crazy in quality and a recognizable name in the industry, but there were downfalls. Pearsons are more for racing, their cabins are pretty small. Hunters are said to be roomier. Oh, and the big one, they’re flipping expensive. The Pearson plan went out the window.

Fast forward to now.

During the winter, boat owners seem to forget the feel of the sun on their face while riding the ocean instead focusing their attention on how much the upkeep is costing them, the storage, blah blah blah…basically all the things I should seriously be considering when debating buying a boat. Naturally, I kept an eye out. The practical thing to do would be focusing funds on the tiny house especially since the chances of me not dying at sea were much slimmer with that plan.

I kept an eye out, just in case….

Then the right boat at the right price sailed by at exactly the right time: a beautiful 1974 Pearson 26.

I emailed, they called, we chatted, and set a time to see the boat. They had already had someone come out for a survey (like a home inspection for boats). I was going to crunch numbers, see what was logistical feasible. And that plan of complete responsibility was going really well…for about 15-20 minutes.

Somewhere over dinner, my plan started to shift. I went straight into Muffy Mode where I know that there is a way to make anything happen.

What do I do? I jump straight in. Only this time I at least looked before I leaped…a little.

Yeah, I hear all y’all. I haven’t forgotten the disastrous RV. The RV was a lesson learned the hard way. That adventure taught me exactly how much project I can handle and exactly how far my DIY dreams could reach. God, that was horrible. But, this will be different. No, really, it will.

I am almost a year into research and despite not knowing how to sail, I am have educated myself on the topic. I know, I know. But really, I know what the hell I am doing here. The boat is sound. She is solid in amazing condition. She is ready to sail and she was priced at a song. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, well me giving my car away for free did too. I just managed to find the boat version of the car giveaway. And if it turns out to be a bad idea, I can flip it for 3 times what I paid. Or I can fix it up, dock it, and rent that adorable shiz on AirBnB.

Done. Investment.

So what do I do? We get the check and I go outside to buy a boat…sight unseen.

What I have seen though are my limits, the real amount of work something requires, and my bank account.

This weekend, I’ll head down to St. Augustine’s (round about there) and take a look at The Island Girl. We’ll trade check for title and she will be mine! Then I take an immediate sailing lesson. No, really, the owners are a family of sailors with 5 boats so we are going out for a 4 hour lesson. I kind of think I got a set of new friends with my boat purchase!

What do I do after that? That all depends. She will need work. Even though she is tip top shape to sail, hell, to race she isn’t move in ready, that just hasn’t been her main purpose. Until now! There are lots of quotes and rates floating around. Get the work done where she is? Bring her to Bama to do work there? How long it all will take? Even I am amazed about the adulting that is about to come out of my mouth…I have to look at taxes to see where it will be cheaper to register and dock her.

Even I am bored with the details. Let’s just look at that pretty boat again, shall we? Yes. IMG_3717





Year Old Brownies

Last week, I was in Chicago. Funny enough, it was a year to date of me being there last year. This time it was a quick trip for Jingle Ball with Claire, Amy, and an added bonus of Bella this year. I was hellbent on finally catching The Chainsmokers, that is a story in and of itself.

So last week of last year, I was freezing in Chicago and heading off to LA. The Chef picked me up at LAX and whisked me up to Big Bear, you’ll remember that didn’t go quite as planned (not that any of my adventures ever do). After that was Vegas and Christmas Eve in the Greyhound Bus Station of downtown Las Vegas…not very merry or bright, but lots of people were lit. Yes, yes, adventure and fun, blah blah blah.

This year, I’ve returned from Chicago all in one piece with some added germs. A couple of days down for the count waiting for that one UPS delivery to arrive while I recoup. While I did order one impossible to find gift online, I fully support small business and did all my shopping local (whichever local that may be at the time). Yay for brick and mortar! My sleigh is filled to the brim outside ready for a quick stop at the Post Office and then on to Charleston where friends that are family await.

This will be the first holiday without my grandmother. My mother, of course, flipped her lid for completely impractical reasons. Let’s not forget I haven’t done family Christmas in years with the years I have resulting in things like me crying in Chinese restaurants.

All has worked out now. I’ve decided that A in my mosh up of a monogram will just stand for Alexander now. When we were in college I always said it would be our families tucked away in the mountains somewhere. Plans change, no kiddos and oceans instead of mountains.

Christmas has always been a big deal for me. Holiday traditions, the idea of coming home, Grandmother would always make sure we had Christmas Eve jammies. Somewhere along the way, I took up the charge. I may or may not have driven myself a little insane coordinating matching pajamas for all of the Alexander, Johnson, Morris, Bridge crew. BUT WE ALL MATCH!

The Alexanders do Felix Navidad each Christmas Eve with tacos, tequila, and nachos accompanied by a Home Alone Marathon, THIS YEAR ALL IN MATCHING JAMMIES. I told you, I’m obsessed.

Skipping a last minute trip down to St. Pete’s this last weekend, I’ve got my eyes are on Florida after the New Year. There are some faces I need to hug along the coast specifically a six foot tall, fabulosity of a wonder woman choreographer on the Georgia border, a cheer coach in Jacksonville, one of my favorite Episcopalians on the other Georgia border, and a few car salesmen who made the mistake of telling me their names and now they’re my friends for life.

But what am I doing New Year’s Eve? That’s the question isn’t it? I’m a firm believer that you should start your year how you would like to end it…last year, well, I may have been attacked by a cactus in the middle of the desert and crying in a bathroom. As much as I appreciated the offer of a desert do over for NYE and my date is darling, I’m going to have to pass. None of the above are on the agenda for celebrating this year. Though I’m not ready to officially come home yet, I’m giving 2018 to Charleston. There’s a handsome fella there that has been filling up my dance card lately that will be pulling for the right team New Year’s Day who I think I just might find when the clock strikes twelve.

A year is a long time with plenty of chances for change. Looking back, sometimes I can’t believe how far I’ve wandered or how much all of it has changed. I see happiness around the corner and I’m ready for all that comes with it. Charleston is beckoning me, I’ve got a sleigh packed outside ready to carry me home. Along my way back through Florida, there’s a boat I’ve put an offer that I’m excited to walk through. I’ll be returning back to Bama to finalize tiny house plans?! The Worst Best People You Know goes into round two of editing. Work is flowing and I’ve had to decline gigs. What is happening other than everything falling into place?! I’m not quite sure, but somewhere along the way I did something right. Hopefully, four little paws will pounce into the last broken spot of my heart, seems like that is the only thing missing.

So for all of y’all that have been here this last year, I appreciate y’all. As always, I could never do any of this without y’all!

May all of your holidays be merry and bright…and maybe a little bit lit. Let all y’all’s dance cards be full and you all start your year exactly how you want to end it. If you’re looking for adventure, go find it! Don’t let the year run out because it really does go by fast.

Feel like starting small? Come on out to Bama to swing a hammer with me on a tiny house or catch me on the coast, we can figure out how to sail together. Share a dance with me at a concert somewhere out there, I promise to save your favorite song for you. Sometimes the time just isn’t right and that’s okay. I’ll be out there doing it all for the both of us, you can just follow along until you’re ready to jump in with me. I’ll be waiting.

Merry Christmas y’all! Here’s hoping y’all find home for the holidays no matter where it takes you.

Stick Figures of Words

By Monday, I’ll have completed NaNoWriMo with an actual book complete with beginning, middle, and end. There’s going to be a lot of adding more words for the unforeseeable future. But I wrote a book! A whole book!

I am a rockstar! Just going to focus on that and not that I’m so lame I didn’t even realize it was Friday night. Who needs a life when you have a novel?!

What’s a Few Thousand?

Yesterday, I crossed over 25,000 words just over a week early. Halfway done with the NaNoWriMo word count and I’m feeling awesome. My hands, not so much. 
Definitely cramping going on over here. I’ve started stretching them and rolling on the IcyHot. I conceded and took today off any for real typing. 

Not even going to hint at my own personal word count goal for tomorrow. Do have a write in to help move that along! Fingers crossed! 
PS I dognapped a dog today and absolutely no regrets.