Friday, May 7, 2010

Things To Buy

I like the idea of purging ourselves of so much stuff. We'll keep the few things we intend to use on the boat. We'll store some sentimental things: art, photo albums, the chest and the tiny rocking chair. Non-essentials will vanish in two massive yard sales -- one before we sell the house, and one after. We'll move away from the weeds. Our boat (our lives!) will be be spare, sparkling clean, and hyper-organized. I already feel lighter just thinking about it.

But the other day I was browsing the West Marine catalog and I had a horrifying revelation: We need more stuff! We need boat stuff, and lots of it (minimum $200 regardless of what it is). Additionally, I need, must have, this coffee-press. It's compact, multi-functional, and -- best of all -- 100% stainless steel. Stainless steel is big on boats because it doesn't rust (well, actually it does, just not very much or very fast).

Then there's safety gear. That's a tough one for me. I can imagine emergency scenarios in which our life depends on every single emergency-related product West Marine offers (portable water-maker $999, floating signal flag $12). And ultimately we will have thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies and gear we hope not to use.

So it's not so much simplifying as trading. We're trading the stuff of one lifestyle for the stuff of another. Goodbye lamps and mirrors, hello spare parts and inflatable life vests. And even though all this sparkly, expensive gear is tempting, with limited space and dollars, we'll be running a cost-benefit analysis on everything we bring aboard.

When Mike and Eleanor get back from PV we'll have a better idea of what we'll need right away and what we can wait on or do without. The integrity of the hull, rigging (holds up the mast), sails, lifelines (fence circling the deck), and ground tackle (anchors, chain), plumbing, and electrical, and engine are at the top of the list. Also safety/emergency gear: EPIRB (emergency distress beacon), medical kit, crew recovery gear (for crew overboard), VHF (radio), life vests, tethers and attachment points, fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, bilge pumps, life raft and ditch bag ("abandon ship" bag), GPS and charts, depth meter. All those (plus whatever I missed) are essentials. So before I get in too much of a frenzy, I need to remind myself that everything else is optional, including (sigh) beautiful stainless steel coffee-presses.


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