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Monday, September 16, 2013

UPDATE and a Treatise (stolen from George Carlin) on Stuff!

Well it has been a while since I added anything to the blog so as I sit here listing to the new Jimmy Buffett CD I thought I would do an up-date.  The sailing path will be picked up soon but for now an update on getting to the dream. 

Well it is official and I have retired and have the ID to prove it.  The end of my career came and went without a rip in the cosmos.   Good friends put together a retirement reception and many of my former students were able to come back and visit.  The rum, tequila, wine, and stories flowed.  There’s a lot I could say about it all, but all I really think I’ll say, is thank you all. 

Unfortunately the dream of sailing off has not reached the maturity I had hoped by this time.  The biggest stumbling block is the sale of our house at a fair price.  The house is almost circled in Saint Joseph statues and Buddha is facing east but has yet to happen.   The frustration from the entire event, or better said, lack of event is starting to show.  As we begin to make plans for another winter on the hard I am reminded of something I always preached to my design students, that you must control everything you can control and learn to leave the rest; harder to do in reality.  However, one thing we can control is the liquidation of our accumulated possessions up to this point in our lives.  The late George Carlin had a routine about “Stuff,” and it was as accurate as anything ever written.  If you are too young or your parents didn’t let you listen to Mr. Carlin for fear you might hear one of the7-Words, go to the Google and look it up.  One line strikes a particular cord in our current situation:

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.  

OK maybe more than one as I go back and listen to Carlin on the Google.  Another one that strikes true is:

If you didn’t have so much stuff you wouldn’t need a house.  You could just go out and walk around all the time;

or, in our case, sail around.  By the way, while on the Google, I did refresh my 7-words; really, you don’t know what I’m talking about?   The point of this is we got a lot of STUFF!  When I was in college and first working on building my career all my worldly possessions along with two mentally deranged cats would fit in my Pinto station wagon.  OK yes I had a Pinto and NO I am not proud of it.  When I got married my meager stuff blended with Jo’s better stuff.  Which reminds me of another of Carlin’s lines: 

have you ever noticed how their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?;

for the record, most of my stuff was shit and Jo had a sailboat.  As we grew as a family we continued to accumulate more stuff.  When we got married people gave us stuff, some very nice stuff and a donut maker.  When we had E that came with a whole different type of stuff and when we adopted the girls, our house exploded with pink stuff.  Up to our move to our current home, we had been able to manage our stuff (somewhat) by moving every 2-3 years.  Being a young faculty, I could barely afford to maintain the stuff we had and lived in small enough places that adding stuff would be out of the question; although somehow we did manage to contribute to the stuff.   When we bought the house we have been in for the past 23+ years we sat in the still empty living room and wondered how we would fill all this space, we didn’t have enough stuff.  Now I am sure whatever form your God takes he/she listens to you and might even answers your prayers or concerns and not to be critical but, I wish he/she would focus on the lotto wining prayers rather then the ones involving interior decoration.  Of course in reality, if you win the lotto the temptation would be there to accumulate more expensive stuff. 

Well let’s just say we have accumulated a bunch of stuff and unlike moving to another house where we would have a place to put the stuff and a boats seaworthiness, especially a catamaran, is seriously impacted by too much stuff.  That along with the reality that we now have 3,800 square feet plus an attic, garage, and 10’x10’ storage locker to put our stuff; on many of the catamarans we are looking at we will be fitting into 300 or so square feet, a net loss (or gain depending on your point of view) of 3,500 or so square feet of room for stuff.   So this has resulted in the reduction of stuff sale, or as I have dubbed it, the great, Sell Off to Sail Off Sale.  

Update to the Update:

OK, there has been some time between when I started this update and right now.  During that time the mega sale happened and I ended up in the hospital with what they first thought was a heart attack and ended up be a gangrenous gallbladder and pancreatitis that very nearly ended a lot of dreams.  The sale went on during this time and even though it did not meet my expectations in terms of income-from-stuff, it did ok.  The down side is there is still a lot of “stuff” around here and my postoperative condition has left me less than able to deal with it quickly.  I won’t bore you with the details of my six days in hospital but I am glad to be out and home.  I do however have a new respect for the pancreas and the pain it can cause especially in concert with a dead gallbladder.  As for the rest of the “stuff”, well we are debating the virtues of a garage sale vs. just taking it to Goodwill.  There was a lot of art left so I might try my hand at eBay and Craigslist for the furniture.  Whatever tack we take, it is time to redirect our focus on selling the house (carpet guy comes Tuesday) and we keep moving forward.

I promise, I will get back to sailing on my next post.

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