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A Week in the Life
Tumultuous would be le mot juste to the week which followed our trip to Ft. Lauderdale. As the week progressed, we would have to face a go/no-go decision with regards to purchasing s/v Rachel J. Slocum.
While we were enroute to Los Angeles, Bill had drafted a term sheet which summarized our discussions on Saturday. This agreement was waiting for our consideration when we got home. (I’m sure Bill was waiting, too.)
Quite frankly, I was tired of thinking about the boat or anything related to boats for that matter. I needed a mental break to let the emotions of the trip wash over me and then dissipate. What I did not need was to cycle everything back up and get back on the boat-buying treadmill.
So, we zipped off a quick acknowledgement email and bought ourselves some time.
Andrew and I decompressed in different ways on our flight back to LA. While he watched Motherless Brooklyn, I took a nap. During that restless sleep, my mind was at work on structuring a deal that could work for us. It was one that would differ from a traditional, straight-up boat purchase.
A traditional contract would consist of a security deposit and a final payment for an asset (i.e., the boat), I proposed an idea that adapts from common business practices and introduces an earn-out provision, which is contingent on milestones and incorporates a services agreement. The services would be agreed-upon in advance, but would assign dollar values to the transfer of Bill’s knowledge and experience sailing s/v Rachel J. Slocum to us as the new owners.
So that morning, I went to work drafting the agreement and talking through it with Andrew. At the same time, we also evaluated the economics of the term sheet. While it captured the discussion accurately, the terms were fairly one-sided and shifted a great deal of financial risk onto us. This was consistent with a traditional contract, so we were not surprised. Luckily, we had the other agreement in the works as a counter proposal.
In addition, more information was pouring in about coronavirus. On one hand, Trump began to discuss about wanting to cease the lockdown measures because he believed them to be an over-reaction to a scenario that was no worse than annual fatalities arising from garden-variety, seasonal flu or automobile accidents.
In contrast, we were also reading about how current live-aboard cruisers were impacted. Many of the stories came from those sailing in Europe, in the Caribbean, and French Polynesia - the top 3 destinations we had in mind. Those especially in hurricane zones were in a tough spot. Therefore, it was not a scenario that we wanted to jump into immediately.
For these reasons, Andrew and I agreed to put everything on hold. If anyone has a crystal ball, use it for a greater purpose than this. While this has a material impact on our lives, we acknowledge this is a first-world problem.
The first test of our resolve to put everything on hold came mid-morning, when Bill replied with a comprehensive and thoughtful response to our counter-proposal.
We went through each of the pages and the gist of it was this; he agreed in principle to the broad strokes and wanted to iron out some details that caused some logistical issues. Bill also insisted on an immediate answer because he had already arranged some work to be done this week (haul out and in the water survey). He did not however want to proceed until a deposit was wired.
Bill also referenced the same bit about Trump’s stance. So while it is political suicide, it shows promise on opening up the lockdown and its impact on restricting movement. To us, that was one dimension of the pandemic’s impact. We had many more issues to contend with to our transition: the actual health consequences as well as market disruptions being the chief amongst them.
I hardly think people are going to be snapping up used clothing and furniture that I put up for sale at this time.
Hand sanitizer? Most definitely.
Brown suede couch fashioned after Coco Chanel’s sofa in her atelier in Paris? Hmm… not likely.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he did not believe the state would be able to reopen by Easter. The next 6-8 weeks would determine what is realistic. At the time of this writing, 50% of the state’s positive tests were people between the ages of 18 and 49. All the more reason to exercise caution especially when interacting with higher risk cohorts. Newson further suggested dramatic social distancing measures could continue until mid-June.
Bill wrote back indicating that Miami was now ordered to shelter-in-place as well. It was just a matter of time. Both sides were now in agreement about placing Project Slocum on hold.
Stuck = Alone Together
As more people comply with shelter-at-home measures, it struck me that everyone would have an opportunity to take advantage of this time to reinvest in their relationships.
- Amongst significant others
- Parents and children
- Amongst children
Just as suggested in Project Slocum Part 3, the voyager’s life provides ample opportunity to strengthen and define the most important relationships in your life. We all now have the gift of time. No more commutes for us all!
In our first two posts (Whiteboard and Sailing Around the World), we revealed how important time was to Andrew and I. Time is the only asset that cannot be replenished. It is not limitless. And in these uncertain days, we all have an opportunity to grow closer together and deepen relationships with those you care about, family and friends.
MacGuyver would be proud
We also have an opportunity to learn to become more self-sufficient. It could mean doing more cooking rather than relying on take-out. This could also mean improvising a solution to fix something. We wrote a little bit about this during our early Bujo days in Upcycle R Us.
Here’s another case in point. At the moment, we are concerned with Oreo’s health, and we would like to track his weight. However, the bathroom scale was broken.
Did we go to a store and buy a replacement? No.
Did we order one from Amazon.com? No.
Andrew saw this as an opportunity to open up the machine and do a little tinkering and investigating. Turns out, a contact point had corroded due to an old battery, and the plate needed replacing. He went on a scavenger hunt in the garage and our home office to find a similar gauge metal plate. After cutting it down to the appropriate size, he then soldered a wire to the new contact plate. In the time it took me to whip up a dinner of Bacon-wrapped Dates courtesy of recipe by Suzanne Goin of A.OC. in Los Angeles, he fixed the bathroom scale.
Self-sufficiency… it’s a beautiful thing. Give it a try!
While we do touch on coronavirus and its impact on us here on serenadewind.com, it seems appropriate to offer some counter-programming (so to speak) to the 24/7 coverage that exists on the pandemic. The naval-gazing posts generated in February serve that purpose. We all need some distractions to keep sane.
The social isolation created as a result of shelter-in-place measures can take its toll. In my case, I actually have a tracker in my Bujo on the amount of social interactions I participate in. As we wrote before, Andrew and I skew on the introversion end of the spectrum. We are selectively social, so we do not have a high volume need for interaction. On the other hand, we are also not complete shut-ins.
As Andrew was fielding back-to-back work conference calls, I was getting a little antsy and started reaching out to some friends to check how they were doing. My climbing buddies and I commiserated about not being able to work on our projects. We did each find some creative ways to stay active. When I reached out to my work colleagues, many were overwhelmed at the office closing the financial books on the quarter. Time and again, they did thank me for spearheading the work-from-home initiative a couple years ago. Without having implemented it department-wide, they would be royally screwed right now.
I happened to recount the Ft. Lauderdale dock debacle to a good friend Hasmik, and she said she had a Nikon D600 camera on the market. She would give me a great deal on it and also throw in a Nikon D90 as well. This is awesome for a few reasons:
- From a sailor’s perspective, this is pretty cool because you always want to have spares on the boat.
- Because we are motivated to look for self-sustainable options, we love the fact that we can recycle an item she no longer needs.
- The Nikon D90 is one generation older than the D7000, so it’s a camera that’s familiar to me. The newer D600 gives me an opportunity to learn and lean into one of my core values, curiosity.
So when I heard her generous offer, I felt as though fate was gently supporting us on this journey. Whatever our needs, the universe would acknowledge them and offer us gifts.
After a week, we finally ate through 5 pounds of braised beef. I had followed the time-tested recipe from David Chang’s mom and published in GQ. Not sure I can count how many times I have made this dish, but suffice it to say, it’s delicious. It reminds me of my childhood. Unfortunately I couldn’t find cuts of beef short ribs at the store, and so I opted for beef shoulder. As you can imagine, it stretched for many meals.
One can easily grow tired of the same dish, so I had done variations on a theme by using the same ingredient. From a poutine to ramen to stew to fried rice - this single ingredient of braised beef is incredibly versatile as it can form a base for many dishes.
Today, we experimented with cooking country-style pork ribs in two ways.
- Option 1: “low and slow” in a slowcooker for 8 hours
- Option 2: pressure cooker for 45 minutes
Before the sun set on the day, we finished them off on the grill for some smokiness and char. Both Andrew and I collaborated on this venture, so we were pretty excited to see how the results turn out.
Any guesses who won?
Invest in Quality
When Andrew and I moved in together, I began to realize that he made some thoughtful choices when he selected certain household products.
By way of comparison, I usually buy items if they are on sale or if it is mentioned in a magazine. His purchase of a vacuum, hairdryer, clothes washer & dryer, rice cooker as well as pots & pans demonstrated how well-made products can transform your daily living. These products were of the highest caliber, some not well-known, but ultimately evaluated for the purpose intended.
In today’s cooking experiment, we are using a pressure cooker made by Cuchen. We use it almost exclusively to cook rice on its quick setting (15 minutes). Naturally, there are recipes included with it, and while we had flirted with the idea of trying them out, we never had the time. Perhaps we never made the time for it.
Now when we translate this into boat living, the practicality is that we’ll be running the Lugger engine for an hour each day. During that time, the Lugger will be:
- powering up the water-maker to top off our water supply
- restoring the freezer/refrigerator to its optimal temperature
- topping off batteries to the max capacity
- cooking a delicious meal (45-minute braised ribs)
That is pretty damn efficient!
The country-style pork ribs will feed us well into early next week, and I’m sure I will come up with many variations on a pork rib theme to entertain our palettes.
Thanks for reading!
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