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  • Holly

Boats, Bickering and Battles

D-H! Dear husband, darling hubby, dawdling hottie, dork head or any other extensions of this handy acronym will do depending on the circumstance. I want to share more about relationship dynamics and all the glory of how those get to play out as we make our way to living a life on the ocean. In a small boat. Just the two of us. No where else to go.

I realize I've taken time off from the blogs during the holidays and I wanted to update you on what we've been up to. Basically, the tactics of what we have been doing have nothing to do with sailing. We have been knee deep in house projects and ironically... snow. (That is not a typo.)

A couple posts ago I mentioned that there was a plot twist and we decided to buy a house as an investment property to help offset costs during cruising. Well, that's what we did and that's where we've spent most of our time focusing in the month of December. Part of me has been torn as to how to share this part of our story because if you are a regular listener your focus is on the boaty part of the adventure, not some nobody's property drama. After reflecting on the last few weeks, I've decided that it definitely qualifies as the boaty part because this was a major dress rehearsal to how things will play out in my relationship and all the dynamics with my DH once we get on the boat.

So WOW, let's just start there.

I feel that it's important to set some context, in case any of you are in a similar situation, just before I dive right in. My husband and I are remarried, so basically mostly through our life together we have managed a lot of things separately, like parenting our own kids, and managing our own money, etc. For us, it was just cleaner all things considered. Now that the kids are adults and as we prepare for this venture, we are doing a bunch of things to combine our life, like updating a living trust together, setting budgets, figuring out a financial strategy, and operationalizing jobs. We have totally been operating as a team on the boat buying and trip planning part of this plan but really we are just now starting to dig into the tactical and operational bits of making it come together as our cast off date approaches. The deal with this new house is that it offers us a preview of what's to come.

So we buy this little house…which is fabulous by the way or at least I think so…wait, let me further expand.

Part of our plan was to have an investment property, then it wasn't, then it was again. I did all kinds of research and decided a vacation rental property was not only far more aligned with the targets we set (both in terms of it getting the right balance of cash flow and IRR), but also, it offered us the ability to have a home base to come back to on a periodic basis. I was really struggling with this part. My mom is getting older and there's things going on with other relatives that just makes me feel like I want to know if something happened, I could come back for a period of time and have a place to stay.

Okay, and it helps now I have a place to store my lifelong Christmas decorations and family photos. So we landed on a property we got a pretty good deal on, outside of the Bay Area by a few hours and where my family lives…so it's close but not next door. Lake Tahoe to be exact. Nice mountain life and enough of a climate difference than living on a boat to make it novel….in a fairly recession proof place to attract vacationers at a real estate price that's still within reach. So there you have it - and by the way it has a stunning 360 degree view which includes the lake, pinch me. Sunrise in the morning and those crazy pink and purple sunsets at night. AAAA-mazing. Just planting a seed there in case you are ever thinking about taking a vacation in Tahoe wink wink.

We got it fully furnished and turnkey, I mean, it may have to do with how high it is on a hill and the previous owners didn't want to deal with moving their stuff, but this is pretty standard practice for properties like this. It's recently been remodeled - thank god - because doing a whole renovation wouldn't be in the cards either with everything else going on.

So the first week we are there together as the new owners, literally the weekend we got the keys. My DH and I started making plans for how we wanted it set up for vacation renters…okay and a little for us too if I'll be honest.

My style…focus on the big issues first, figure out a practical fix, move on to dinner. His style, go through every room, item by item and take every measurement and determine every possible thing you might want to do, then start down the list. Yup, relationship dynamics thoughtfully brought to you by the makers of hell if you ask me. Before I linger on the drama of it all, I want to acknowledge fully that the perfect approach is probably somewhere in the middle so it's good that each of us are the way we are but ya…wow is all I gotta say.

Another dynamic that came up had to do with this managing jobs business I referred to. I'm one of those people that can make a thousand decisions on things looking at my phone before getting out of bed in the morning. I can run so fast that I can forget that he might have a say in any one of those decisions I may already have solved before my cup of coffee. He likes to talk through the decisions and collaborate on them and form conclusions together. I just want to get the freaking things done and off my list…and there you go.

When I slow down to talk through things with him, I get utterly annoyed. Like just standing there and chit chatting about minutia is a waste of time, when I could be focused on solving 10 different problems in that same amount of time. The picture in my mind for those of you who can relate is the cartoon character Pepe le Pu enamored with the smell of flowers and intoxicated with joy and the Tasmanian devil spinning by kicking up dust. Guess who is who in this scenario.

There is no doubt about it, when my husband takes on a job, it absolutely gets done right. The right things are addressed and it comes out beautiful, it may take forever but it’s a masterpiece. When I take on a job, it will get done that's for sure, on time and on budget but it may not be pretty. In another life I think I did triage, fix things so they don't bleed out, but you may have to re-break it later to make things right. So that's been our house adventure over the last few weeks, putting in smart devices, lighting, hanging curtains, you name it. Mr and Mrs Bickering…in Bickerson City, USA but we are able to laugh about most of it at least.

I guess the funniest (well, not so funny) part, is since this wasn't all in our plan when we downsized we are now literally having to buy things we got rid of, which is completely frustrating. Not big things, but stuff like a hammer, some drill bits, nails. We gave away a whole emo bucket full of nails and screws and it annoys me to no end to pay $4 a box for nails we just gave away. Also, we forgot we actually like the snow and the winter and got distracted shopping for boots and wool socks and base layers and figuring out how to get a season ticket and equipment to learn how to snowboard when we are at the house in off sailing season…also stuff we didn't budget or plan for….such distractions.

And we're back.

So for those of you interested in setting up a vacation rental here's the update. We are just going through some things with the house to get it set up and also making some changes to make it safer for people. In this area you have to have a fire safety inspection to apply for what they call a VHR permit, Vacation House Rental and we have some adjustments to make, just fixing railings and making sure there's extinguishers, etc. Then we have to decide what channels we want to go through to market it, how we want to manage it and how to make sure we get renters that don't trash the place…We now did a really bad thing and fell in love with the house so our heart breaks at the thought of someone totally trashing it.

So during the holidays we had our family there with us and then everyone left and we got to work on our little projects. We got back to the Bay Area just last weekend and reality hit. We were so much in this little Lake Tahoe, snow globe bubble we were in that when we sat down to look at our Trello board with all the stuff we have to do on the boat stuff, we freaked ourselves out and also had a big argument about priorities…though the irony is we were both arguing the same points so actually we weren't arguing, we were just agreeing really LOUDLY WITH OUR OUTSIDE VOICES.

As it turns out, our boat is delayed a month…oh, I'm shocked…which helps us some because we are behind in figuring out insurance and finalizing our decision on where we want to flag it which we keep flip flopping on, especially since we now have this Iran situation no one saw coming. The idea now of flying old faithful as we are chillin' in Turkey doesn't sound so grand and I would like to be flying a flag that doesn't scare off any navy allies of ours. Okay, I'll stop there. Red Ensign sounds pretty good right now.

We are also still flip flopping again on LLC or no LLC. And there's a lot of opinions on the matter. This is another one of those things that sounds good in theory for various reasons, but when you break it all down I'm just not seeing how it makes sense for us. Everyone says it's a layer of protection but if someone wants to go after you, they will find you and also, isn't that what umbrella insurance coverage is for? I don't know.

Okay, so what have I learned over the last couple weeks….well for sure I've learned that if you are one of those people with an extreme personality, it's good to have a spouse who is opposite of you in order to make good life choices. I'm learning to be patient and listen and he's learning to cut corners a bit, which I know secretly makes him want to pull his fingernails out. It's the battle of done is better than perfect versus doing things right just takes time. The struggle is real. I told him my keen and creative problem solving skills and propensity for action might save his life one day so he better appreciate it. He didn't respond when I said that, so he must be mulling it over for deep consideration…or reevaluating his own life choices in a spouse.

I guess for me it also calls out how important it is to really be able to communicate about some of these differences openly and look for benefits in differences as a team, and not dwell or get resentful about them. It really speaks to the importance of being on the same page not only about house or boaty things, but about how you approach problems and work through them appreciating each other's different perspectives.

We are definitely a work in progress, but growth is good because sailing is not about standing still.

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