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Seeing Red

This was actually written a couple of months ago, but didn’t end up getting published. I thought about deleting it, but thought that it might help someone in the future who is surrounded by naysayers.

I was having a conversation with my mother the other day. And during the convo she said “I know you want to get off the mountain too,” and I was so excited. She sounded sympathetic and I thought “Yes, nows the time to tell her I made an offer on a boat.” Then she said, “I keep thinking if I get the basement cleaned out you could…” Inflated from the brief flare of hope I’d just felt I went crashing down.

As I’ve said I love the mountain. Truthfully if I could stay up here, work up here and have enough money that I could run to Lexington once a week to do all my shopping I might never leave. Or at least do my traveling in short stints instead of spending long periods of time in one place on a boat. I mean I miss the ocean, but set up properly I could live on the mountain. It is the overall area that is wearing on me.

My mother is usually a supportive person. I mean she has naysayer tendencies, but would always support me, even if she thought I was nuts. But she is just being really stubborn on this one. I think she believes that  my life is easy now, and that I just don’t know how easy it is. And while I admit I don’t have to pay rent and that is nice, there is a lot of stress that comes with living up here. She isn’t here when I am awake in the middle of the night listening to the barks trying to decipher if that is a normal “Hey there is a deer!” bark, or if it something I need to get up and go check on. Or during the storms, both at night and during the day, when I am running up to the second level to make sure no trees have gone down over the fence lines. Or hey the constant stress during the winter over whether I will be able to get off the mountain, or not. Or whether we will be able to drive up the hill, or if we are walking on snow and ice to go feed the wolves. Carrying dog food and water with us as we go.

Or the worry during the spring that I won’t make it to work due to the flooding roads, or that the ground under the fences might wash out. Summer brings the fleas, ticks and worry about some of the older animals in the heat. Though they all have shade and plenty of water. There is also the constant cleaning of the water buckets due to the sun causing algae build up in the buckets. Fall isn’t without its issues either, but I think I have made my point. The physical, mental and emotional toll that living up here takes is hard. But the people who don’t live here seem to think that it is no big deal. That we just throw food at the animals once a day and we are done. No amount of explaining seems to help.

It isn’t isolated to just my mother. My grandmother keeps saying, “Things are about to get easier for you.” This has been going on for years. The fact that they actually are about to get easier in no way lessens my weariness.

Let me state for the record, I am not an idiot! I know that I don’t pay rent now. The idea of living on a sailboat in Key West wasn’t some drunken dream. I wanted a boat, and I wanted it to be someplace where it was warm enough year round to not need to be hooked up to a dock for heat. A sailboat at anchor with solar panels, will take more money to set up in the beginning than an apartment, but after that your expenses are minimal. I mean you still have boat maintenance, but you have that at a dock too.

Does it have to be Key West? No, but again it needs to be pretty far south and I grew up in Key West. I know the city, I know several people down there and I can get by without a car. I spend at least $50 a week on gas, add $100 a month for insurance, add in tires, oil changes and other maintenance issues and a car is a huge money suck.

So here is the bottom line. Living in Key West would allow me to live at anchor without rent, which is what makes living in Key West so hard. It would allow me to live without a car. The island is small and even if I am doing major grocery shopping, or buying something I can’t transport on my bike Taxi’s are cheap and plentiful and almost all have bike racks. And Key West has a very low unemployment rate.  An added bonus, lots of practice sailing and small islands to practice things like anchoring under sail. Plus Key West is just my kind of crazy.

And I have to admit it is becoming a thing for me. If someone tells me I can’t do something I become that much more determined to prove them wrong. And that is what this is becoming. A challenge. I guess I should be grateful for that.  Because it just pushes me that much harder. And when I get ready to head to the western Caribbean I will probably call her after I am already there instead of telling her in advance.

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