Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Scout, Nan and John at Coconut Grove Sailing Club
Christmas 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from Miami! Nan, Scout and I are settled here now in a tiny Coconut Grove apartment after a whirlwind year. Our adventure started in April, when we quit our jobs, put our belongings in storage, listed our Grand Junction house for rent, and started driving east through a spring snowstorm. We dropped Scout off with Nan’s sister Monica in Arkansas and continued on to Savannah to see my folks and our sailboat, Whispering Jesse. We had three weeks to get the boat ready before our crew members, Nan’s brother Jim, Jim’s friend Jack, and our friend Mike, flew out to meet us for a big sail south. The five of us made landfalls in St. Augustine, Fort Pierce, and Key West before saying good-bye to Nan, sailing the final four-day leg to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and limping into a slip at El Milagro Marina just before Memorial Day.

Our plan was to stay in Isla Mujeres indefinitely, sharpening our sailing and Spanish skills, and we went so far as to secure temporary residency status, but we soon realized that there were factors not in our favor. We miscalculated the heat of the Mexican summer and were unable to fly Scout down due to the airlines’ eighty-degree flight restriction for pets. The heat—and the biting insects—were unrelenting. The boat’s meager air conditioning could not keep up, and we jumped ship for a small, nicely air-conditioned studio at the marina. Nan went home to visit her mother in Manitowoc, and I attended a family gathering in San Diego to celebrate my father’s eightieth birthday, both trips complicated by our status as temporary residents of Mexico.

I had expected to earn some income doing remote project work, but it didn’t pan out, and we realized by the end of June that we would need to make other plans. I posted my resume online and started working with recruiters. Eventually, I was offered a software engineering position in Miami, but not before the end of August, when we had already left our boat and our island friends, flown to Miami for interviews, driven to Arkansas to get Scout, and then headed up to Wisconsin to see family and attend weddings. Congratulations to Claire and John, and to Debbie and Gene!

We drove out to Grand Junction in late September to pack up some belongings, put our house up for sale, and rent a U-Haul truck and trailer. We stayed a week there with our good friends Rich and Diane, whose hospitality carried us east again on the five-day drive to Miami.

So here we are, almost three months later, and it’s not feeling much like Christmas. We have watched the snowy weather pass to the north, while enjoying warm, humid days and occasional rain. There are lights and decorations, but they look out of place against the green grass and palm trees. We will miss skiing this year, but we are looking forward to a trip to Isla Mujeres in a few weeks to see how the boat is doing. If all goes well, we will sail her up in May and moor her at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, just a quick mile away. Instead of exploring the western Caribbean, we will be sailing to the Keys and the Bahamas, and looking ahead to another big adventure in a few years.

If your travels bring you this way, please look us up. We would be happy to show you around our adopted home and take you out for a sail. Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season!


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