08 September 2011
Is it wrong to keep up my Sailblogs account and continue blurbing indiscriminately about non-nautical things when we don't even own a sailboat anymore? Or does it count that we're currently moving back into our marina home, where they keep lots of boats and have lots of sailors? I have to assume yes, because it's too much trouble to get a new blog address and start all over, so here I remain. Granted, this isn't the same as a 22-day Pacific crossing or swimming with whales in Tonga, but I'll keep it up anyhow.
I've just arrived in San Francisco, with a short layover here and then on to Hong Kong tomorrow. I'm sitting in a rather noisy hotel bar, with trendy cement floors and granite tables, populated by well-dressed city folk chatting amiably, most of them in black work clothes. At the end of the bar a large HD flat screen airs a baseball game, muted of course, since nobody would be able to hear it anyhow. I went out for a walk but the brisk September chill of this bay city sent me back in, not to mention I forgot my wallet. So I've settled on a hotel cheese plate and some good international people watching.
Getting back to that bit about how we're moving back into our home: we've begun what looks to be a month-long process of slowly excavating our things from storage and separating the treasures from the trash. It seems our definition of those two things has changed somewhat since our trip, and I hope to keep it that way, striving for a more simple existence with fewer things to clutter up the interior residential landscape, not to mention the already-messy interior of my head. Our goal to avoid any house projects has failed miserably, though, and we're headlong into painting, garage-floor coating, kitchen floor replacing and other domestic sprucing events before our furniture moves back in and makes said projects more difficult later. So we're still in limbo, although we're quite good at it by now. We have temporary digs at Carol and John's mobile home nearby until we unearth our mattress from the store room. But once our stuff is all back in, then - really -- we're going to relax a bit. Maybe in time for the holidays we can just hang out at home and enjoy our life.
In boat-related news, we do have a little sailboat coming our way, a dinghy with a sail that Allan's dad has graciously given us and which has yet to be relocated from Long Beach, CA where it resides upside-down on a rack beneath a beautiful green canvas cover. We're both looking forward to some easy, simple sails around the marina, with our feet hanging over one rail and our heads over the other. We're on the lookout for another kayak, since we're down to one after selling the other two in Australia. And we're both interested in finding a few used paddling surfboards, the kind you stand and paddle around on -- seems like a nice way to get a little upper-body workout and enjoy the marina view at the same time.
Everyone wants to know how it is being back at work. It's good. It's really good under the circumstances, those being the state of the world economy, and especially the US economy, where the jobless rate nears (or tops? I've lost track) 9%. It's really good to see a little income into the checking account instead of a constant drain. It's good to have a focus, and most of all it's good to have such fun jobs that waited patiently for our return. What a blessing, and as we talk to more and more people we realize how lucky we are.
Being back home is odd in so many ways: while we were gone it seems our friends and family didn't age a minute. Some, like my mother, grew even younger. They all look the same (or better) than when we left, and that's a weird feeling, like we didn't really leave at all. More and more, as we move farther into our return to civilization, it feels like we dreamed the whole thing.
And the plants! In many cases, thanks, I suppose, to good pruners and gardeners, the trees and plants look almost the very same as when we left, with the exception, of course, of the flax bushes in our front yard. They've turned into giant pointy flax geysers, reaching for the sky and stretching across the far edges of the sidewalk. They spew upward in the tiny front yard, dwarfing the plants around them. On the very first hour of our return the other day, I watched as several dear neighbors left the sidewalk and stepped into the street in an awkward arc around our dominating bushes, so I grabbed the clippers and "pineappled" the offenders, cutting off all the lower leaves in a pattern that makes them look like giant yard pineapples.
Now, some of you may remember my short missive on the flax plant while we were in New Zealand. It's boring, but I'll repeat it anyhow. The Maori discovered that the flax can be used for so many things it became indispensible to their existence. They were stunned to learn that the invading Europeans hadn't even heard of it: how could they possibly survive without it? The humble flax provides food and medicine, can be woven into clothes, mats, houses, boats, and rafts. It can be twisted into incredibly strong rope, and I'm sure there are other uses I've already forgotten. So here I am, back from the wild adventure, much more MacGyver-like than ever before, with a honed survivor-mentality and a thrifty, use-everything approach to life that my mother has always inherently understood.
And here are these flax bushes, taking over my yard, eating the neighborhood, looking, well, it's true - looking rather ugly in their otherwise rather governed realm. They're wild and unrestrained. But they're so doggone useful! I can't pull them out! What if I need to build a boat? Weave a cocktail dress or braid some dock lines?
Yes, it's good being back at work, back with our families, back in our home. It's good to have such an abundant selection of breakfast cereals, and to be able to choose from over 5,000 kinds of milk and milk-substitutes. But we miss sailing, and mostly, we miss cruising. The good thing is, we have a plan. We're going to do it again. Not anytime soon, but as time seems to fly, it will be soon enough. And then, my continued membership in Sailblogs will be justified. In the meantime, the airline updates, the flax updates, the kitchen floor and the domestic updates will continue.