Woman Enough

Better late than never?

Posted in Uncategorized by womanenough on October 28, 2011

I promised a glimpse inside my office. Here it is:

I’m sort of in love with the office cooperative model. Right now, three of us occupy the space (one in a nook like mine, one in an actual office with a real door), and there’s room for four more people. It’s sort of an incubator ¬†for new business, because the rent is much lower than a single-occupancy office and much, MUCH lower than a Main Street store front (which we have, the front office is, indeed, a Main Street store front for $300 a month, less than a third the going rate).

I like the idea of giving new businesses a place to set up, meet with clients, and an address for their business cards. For me, it’s a pleasant place to write and it gives me a physical space ashore to align with. I’m around the corner from where Elias works, and we can have lunch together most days. I have a view of the harbor and, despite all the things that can make writing a little isolating, I have office mates who cheerfully breeze in and out every little while.

Like any office, there’s terrible coffee and no one deals with their recycling properly.

Meanwhile, temperatures here in the great north are dropping steadily. This morning, we had frost on the portlights for the first time. Mama Tried is cozy and sweet. I got a bunch of oak wood scraps yesterday and they’re good, hot, slow burners in the woodstove.

I’m settling nicely into the rhythm of fall, and enjoying watching how a harbor prepares for winter. I am further reminded how much I appreciate living close to the weather, when it’s fair and when it’s poor.

Mostly, I’m feeling grateful to live in a place with the kinds of people who start office cooperatives, where it’s easy to live on your boat all year round, and the company while you do it is just superb.


She’s the one.

Posted in Uncategorized by womanenough on October 24, 2011

I don’t really want a new boat. I mean, I have a boat.  And I love Mama Tried.  I have a lot of sweat equity in her, and she provides a place to live and a thing to sail. Really, she’s great.

So why was my weekend spent dreaming about this boat?*

Because boats are kind of like that, aren’t they? You never stop thinking about the next one, what it will look like and what it will have that the current one lacks. For me, it’s self-tailing winches and an oven. What I would give for those two things! Throw in an inboard engine and a wet locker, and I start to forget what Mama Tried looks like.

While a year ago Elias and I needed a home and something to learn to sail on, today we have a place to live and a little more knowledge about ourselves as small boat sailors.  It’s not so much that I’m dissatisfied with Mama Tried, but I just know we’ll be moving on eventually. I didn’t stay in my first job forever, even though it was great, because I had to take the skills it gave me and move along to greater things. The same will likely be true for boats.

And if we have to upgrade eventually, what’s the harm in looking around a little now, right?

The harm is that my dad has seven boats, stored in various places and splashed into a couple different harbors. It’s clearly more boats than he needs, but not more than he wants. At moments, its a strain on his marriage, and at others a strain on his back. Boats just sort of arrive in his life and he accepts them.

My father is the maritime equivalent of the eccentric cat lady, and I’m worried it might be catching.

That old wooden boat we looked at this weekend just looked so easy to love, so willing to come home with us. Just a modest investment of funds and a significant deposit of labor and heartache and she could be ours.

Really, what’s the harm?


*I’m linking to the boat ad because I’m not going to buy it, but if any of you, patient blog-reading friends, wanted to purchase this beauty, well, I’d be happy to let you take me for a sail!


Posted in Uncategorized by womanenough on October 21, 2011

I’ve been sick this week. The kind of sick where, at first, you play it off as no big deal, just a scratchy throat. And then you feel like a big cowardly baby because you’re in the rack at 4:30 in the afternoon, whining about a scratchy throat.

And then it’s four days into your scratchy throat and it’s a little worse and you think “hey, wait a minute!” And despite your status of one of America’s unemployed and uninsured, you go to a doctor, and it turns out a nasty little bacteria’s been making its home in the back of your throat and a little penicillin should clear your strep throat right up.

I don’t get sick very often. I get a cold a year, maybe, and then every three or four years a solid case of something big (one year it was the flu, another poison ivy, sometimes strep).

Feeling poorly made everything about living aboard seem impossibly hard. There is that water filled punt with it’s wet seats to sit on while you stroke, stroke, stroke across the harbor, wetter each second. And it’s tough to keep the stove fed when you’re body doesn’t want to move from where you’re lying to fetch wood every fifteen minutes. And when you’re snug in your bunk, all your diseased breaths are constantly condensing on the walls and overhead and little sick-o water droplets periodically splash down onto your sick-o face.

So, it’s not the ideal environment in which to be ill.

Yesterday morning, when I emptied both the water tank and the stove fuel resevoir to make a lukewarm half cup of tea, I finally called “uncle.” I headed up to my parents’ house, where there was television and oil heat and extra blankets and did I mention television?

It was a great six hours. Nothing dripped, nothing rocked, nothing mildewed or leaked!

And today, feeling a little better and properly diagnosed and medicated, I’m back to the tasks of every day life. I should fill the water tank and add some fuel to the stove, and there’s a mound of infected laundry to be done. But I think maybe I’ll milk this just a few more hours, and sip hot tea beside a sun-drenched window just a couple moments longer. Because really, what’s the point of the miserable feeling part if you can’t linger on the bright-eyed lazy moments just a bit too long?



The home office

Posted in Uncategorized by womanenough on October 18, 2011

For a kid who doesn’t go to work, I enjoyed one heck of a legitimate weekend! After a string of dreary, rainy days last week, the weekend brought clear days, cool breezes, and a calm harbor. Lots of walks, visits with friends and neighbors, and a little community theater.

And now it’s Monday morning, and while I have no employer and no paycheck, it’s feeling pretty work-like.

Last week I secured some adorable little office space for myself downtown. From my new 36 square feet of space, I can see the harbor and all the comings and goings at the town wharf. For a delightfully affordable rent, I can use the internet, shower, and set up my desk for endless creative endeavors.

It’s a little magical, and I’m realizing that while living on the sailboat provides the basics; a place to sleep, to prepare a meal, to store [some] clothing, there are some other things that sure add a lot of oomph to quality of life. A space to unpack my books from their half dozen boxes in my parents’ attic, to set a plant (A Christmas cactus from my lovely friend Aasta), to think about writing and possible careers is really adding a lot to my days.

It raises some interesting questions about living aboard. The absence of a physical address is a lot of the charm of life afloat, but a physical place, with its windows, heat and hot water, certainly has its share of charm, too.

Sense of place is a big deal for me, whether I’m thinking about Maine, or the boat, or the houses and apartments I’ve lived in over the last thirty years. Being in spaces that inspire me to live more fully is a big part of it, and my new office certainly does that. Everything about it is me; my aunt Betty’s hand me down table, a chair from my grandmother, Aasta’s plant, a pencil holder my father made for me.

I know it won’t work out forever, and sooner or later I’ll be showering at the YMCA and writing from the library, but in the meantime it’s nice to be surrounded by things I like in a space conducive to dreaming just a little big bigger.