Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Over the Edge

It was a beautiful spring day in Washington yesterday. Late afternoon, the four of us walked out of a bank downtown, having just closed on a second mortgage on the house and I said to Windy: “We can stop all of this nonsense now and continue living in our home and enjoying our lives as they are, and we’ve lost nothing, only the $99 closing fee we just paid.” The thought rang hollow for both of us and reaffirmed our drive to move forward with our Plan.

You see, we’ve arrived at the precipice. For all our talk and planning of the past four years, nothing has been set in stone. To extend the metaphor, no stone has been cast…until yesterday, until we handed over that $99, the first real payment towards the lives we envision. But paying the $99 was like stepping off a curb. The precipice is represented by the much larger sums to come.

We’ve decided to make an offer on the Fuji 40. If our offer is accepted, we will soon send $500 to Doug Danielson the surveyor and $500 to Opequimar the boatyard. Another step forward means $350 to Doug Danielson the rigging surveyor, $300 to the engine surveyor, a five-digit sum to the boat owners, and $800 to the slip owner, something to a boat minder, something to the US Coast Guard, something to the Mexican insurance company, and so on. At that point, our commitment is no stronger than it is today, but certainly more tangible…and that just makes it all the more exciting.

But I left out an expense. We’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to incur the expense and disruption of a trip to PV to see and sail the boat in person. We’ve gone back and forth about who would go if we did go. Ultimately—and I lost this battle—we decided we would go and the “we” is Eleanor and me. In the end, it was our consideration for E that made everything clear. Eleanor’s sensitivity is a characteristic masked by her tough and old-soul nature. There is no question that leaving this life, transitioning to a radically new one, will be hardest on her. When the time comes, Frances may bemoan the changes loudly, but Eleanor will experience them, and hurt from them, most profoundly. The loss of friends, loss of stuff, and loss of place will not be a party for her. Because of this, we have talked often and at length about our plans around the dinner table and in the car. We have watched multiple crude documentaries made by other cruising families. We have successfully socialized our plan to the extent that both girls are perfectly aware that we are moving onto a boat. Both girls ask questions about it. But while it is, and will remain, an abstraction for Frances, it is real for Eleanor. She is already expressing her anxiety.

A trip to PV will clarify things for her by helping her to further contextualize the idea. While we’ve been aboard several boats with the girls, it will allow her to form her own real judgment about a specific boat in a specific place. It will allow her to be a part of the process and to feel a pride in being the one to report her opinions and findings from the trip back to Windy and Frances. It will not alleviate the difficulty the transition will represent for her, but hopefully, it will help this dream of ours to become Eleanor’s dream.

And it will be a fun—but costly—father-daughter experience.

Precipice, here we come.


1 comment:

  1. This feels so much like the right move in so many ways. Paul & I have chatted amongst ourselves, pondering how the move, the transition would affect Eleanor. You are a rockstar papa!


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