I’m Frugal and Sensible… Wait! Maybe I’m not!

We have been actively looking for our boat.  Our Perfect Boat.  The boat to make our “Great Loop” dream possible.  Let me tell you it is exhausting.  And let me tell you everyone has their opinions/thoughts about the perfect boat.  And let me tell you – there are a few problems with this search.

  • Problem 1: We have a budget.
  • Problem 2: Douglas is a point of purchase / spur of the moment / spontaneous kind of shopper.  He sees it – he buys it.
  • Problem 3: I am a “I’m gonna barf” when I actually think about putting my name on a sales agreement for anything that costs a lot of money kind of shopper so – I tend to try to talk myself out of things at the last minute.

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We’re Going to Live on a Boat

That’s how the kids have been “Announcing” our planned adventure.  The responses are everything from positive (the people at Doug’s and my workplaces) to “No you are not” (my Dad)

Let me step back a bit and introduce my family, you know, the ones who will be “living on a boat”, not the ones who “think” we will not be.

I’m Tara-Lynne, the mother of three, Miss R ( 11yrs), Miss K (9yrs) and Mr S (6yrs).  I say I’m a “Mom” because at this point in my life that is my most important role, my defining characteristic, the me I was meant to be.

In my previous life … i.e. pre-kid, I was a Program Specialist (Marketing) and Lead Development Manager at a 3D animation software company.  Once Miss R was born, I left to become a full-time mom until Mr S was 2.5yrs old, at which point I returned to the work force and entered the Public Sector and now work as a Civil Servant.

I am married to Doug.  We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and have been together for 24 years.  Doug is a Visual Effects Supervisor.  He is one of those annoying people who loves the work they do.  He is also a Work-a-holic, but shhhh, don’t tell him that.

Of the two of us, Doug is definitely the spontaneous one.  He is the “don’t worry about it, everything will work itself out” member of Us.  Where, Me, well, I am the planner, the reasoner, the let’s think this through a bit member of Us.

So, a while back when we were out on our boat (a 21 foot ski boat) heading through the locks at Bobcaygeon, Ontario we overheard a couple on their boat (a big liveaboard) talking about their trip up from Florida and about the Great Loop.  Doug said to the kids “We should do that” and when I said “OK”, his jaw dropped.  He didn’t expect for one minute my answer would be so swift and he definitely didn’t expect it to be a “yes”.

Needless to say, from that minute on the research began.  Blogs have been read, maps have been viewed, home-school (rather Boat-school) resources have been printed and of course boat ads have be looked at.

So, let me take a minute to explain why a Yes, and why so swiftly.

Easy…Yes, because it’s the right time.

  • The kids are the perfect ages. Miss R is still young enough not to totally freak about leaving her friends and Mr S is old enough now to handle a large trip.  We have done long car trips in the past, to the East coast in 2009 and to the west coast last year.  So we already know we do well in small spaces.
  • Life has filled up to be so busy in the past 2 years that I feel like we are always running.  Running to daycare, running to work, running to get home, running to get to dance, running to karate, running running running.  The Kids are missing out on the wonderful mom I was.  The mom who didn’t yell at every little thing, the mom who had the patience to sit for an extra ten minutes at the doctors office – after my appointment so they could just finish their game, the mom who had time to lay in bed at night and read because it was fun and she wanted to not because the school sends home a reading calendar and she feels she HAS to be reading, the mom who every day taught her kids something little and something useful because the moment arose and it was fun.

Truthfully, I am surprised at my immediate Yes, but Doug has been pushing a similar idea for years, however his original thought was by motor-home.  That plan just never appealed to me. He says it because a Boat seems more “sexy” then a “Trailer” and maybe he is right, but mostly the idea of having rivers, lakes, canals, gulfs and oceans as my backyard for a year just feels right.

Now, as I began to explain: We just recently began telling people our plan.  Actually that is a lie, Miss K has been telling all of her Day Camp friends because like her Daddy she has a really hard time with secrets.

Doug and I both mentioned it to colleagues and those initial responses were interest and not all that shocked, so I started to think that unlike all of the Blogs which I have read, maybe our circle of friends and family are more adventurous and accepting….but no….that just isn’t so.  Last night I told my mom.  Her reaction was shock and disbelief but in all honesty I doubt it surprised her – we are always doing these wacked-out things like having our babies at home.  Then Doug told his mom. Her first response was “they are shocking the fish in the Mississippi so you better do your research.”  My Dad wasn’t here with my mom yesterday so I talked to him on the phone tonight to find out if mom told him.  His response..”she told me a bit.”  when I announced “we are going on a boat trip…in a year…for a year”, then he said:  “No you’re not.  Kids need an education and Parents need to Work” that was it – the conversation sort of ended.

I was actually surprised he said that much to be truthful.

So tonight I sit here, on my covered deck, looking over my large, dried up lawn thinking…wow, I will not miss the work of this yard one little bit.   That’s for sure.  And I was thinking that if I ever want my Dad to talk to me again I guess I either have to pretend while I am around him that we are not really going on a trip, or try to convince him that I am not ruining my kids and I am not ruining our financial security.

Right know I think the Fiction that life is continuing as normal at our house is the easiest.  Maybe if I get a family to rent our house that looks like us he won’t even notice we are gone.