Base Housing Problems

An interesting article caught my attention while browsing Reddit the other day: Military Survey Finds Deep Dissatisfaction With Family Housing on U.S. Bases. It just reiterated all the reasons we chose NOT to live in on-base housing in Camp Lejeune, and think outside the box instead.

I can’t say I’m surprised with what this article had to say: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-survey/military-survey-finds-deep-dissatisfaction-with-family-housing-on-u-s-bases-idUSKCN1Q21GR . While we had a fairly decent set up in Pendleton in our 3 bdr 2.5 bath house, we ran into so many issues with the Lincoln Military Housing Office. Everything broke down and repairs were always done in the cheapest way possible, but only after making 3+ calls to get a service person out to fix the problem.

One evening, I noticed a puddle in our laundry room under the water heater. I immediately called and (for once) the office sent someone out ASAP. Come to find out, it was because 10 other water heaters in our neighborhood had burst THAT SAME DAY and flooded homes. We were just lucky enough to catch it before the seam busted.

When my dishwasher was leaking, I had the repair people out twice, only for them to tell me I was just using the wrong dish soap (I was not) and it was basically all in my head. I went out of town for the weekend and came back to a waterbed underneath laminate floors that rippled where I walked. Cue mold specialists, industrial fans, and ruined furniture that all could have been avoided.

Those were small issues compared to what this article lists. Families are living in environmentally dangerous conditions with mold, poor water quality, lead-based paint, and faulty electrical wiring. But what is the alternative to base housing if renting or buying off-base is scarce/costly, and families need the security of base while spouses are deployed?

We chose boat life for myriad reasons—minimalism, future plans, love of sailing—but a BIG perk is being able to live on base without living in atrocious base housing. If boat life isn’t for you, I know a few families and retired military who live in an RV/camper and park it on base campgrounds. All the amenities like the commissary, hospital, and schools, but while living in your OWN home you can take with you when you PCS!

Please share your base housing experiences below, and what you’ve done to problem-solve. Military families are anything if resourceful! But when it comes to homes, we shouldn’t have to  be.

koelper
The day we said a final farewell to base housing!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

Advertisements

Winter Blues

This blog is about living aboard a sailboat. Currently, baby and I are still up in Washington with my parents. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to write insightful or interesting posts about sailboat life when we are staying in a house! Hence the blog hiatus these past few weeks. My apologies. Winter has just been so long and boring! I can’t wait until spring.

So without a boat to worry about or work on, what have I been up to? Here’s a visual:

novels

Minus the sleeping part. W is over a year old and STILL getting up 2+ times per night. I have to have faith that one day I will have my sleep and my sanity back. This can’t last forever, can it? Parents who have been there, please post your tips for getting baby to sleep through the night and nap for more than 45 minutes at a time.

In other exciting news, I am close to a release date on my second book! I’m working with my editor at Wild Rose Press right now to finalize Sonder Village and get the blurb/cover/date details to post here soon. Insane person that I am, I also decided that now would be a good time to start on a third book. I figure the more work I do now, the more time I’ll have for sailing come spring and summer! In between novel projects, I’m also doing content writing for extra $ to pay off the boat quicker.

W and I are really missing Conor and trying to stay busy. This should be the last long-haul separation before Conor leaves the Marine Corps, and I can’t say I’ll miss this aspect of our lives. I can’t remember a time in the last eight years when we haven’t had a training/trip/deployment hanging over our heads. Other military wives, you know what I’m talking about! I’m just daydreaming about cruising to the Caribbean one day to get through these next few weeks!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2018 Recap Video

 

Well guys, Conor is back in North Carolina to do Marine things. W and I are still hanging in WA because he is going to be so busy, but we miss him so much! Thank God for Skype.

To commemorate what a great year we had as a family, I put together a little recap video for 2018. Our 2017 video is here, and our 2018 one picks up right where that one left off! It is crazy to look back and see how tiny W used to be. This year consisted of sleepless nights, two cross-country trips to WA, boat work, long summer nights, great sailing as a family of 3, and more. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I was able to put this together just a week after New Year. The 2017 recap video didn’t get posted until March 2018. I think I’m more on top of it this year!

The song is ‘End of the World’ by the Dirty Heads. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Writer Life

While we are still quite a ways off from our cruising dreams, I feel like the next 18 months are going to fly by. We need to start thinking ahead and planning for the future, especially for our financial future. Active duty military life has been a safety net for us, but soon we will be out in the “real” world. So guess what I did? I got a job.

Well, two jobs really. Freelance writing and contracting gigs that I can do from the boat while W is asleep. I am a content creator for an athleisure wear company called DYI and write things like mailers, product description, and ad campaigns. My other job is working for a company called Elite Editing. I’m just doing some of their blog posts right now, but eventually will be editing manuscripts for people looking to self-publish novels and writing the accompanying blurbs/taglines.

Don’t get me wrong, writing novels is still my #1 passion. Actually, I couldn’t have gotten these other jobs without having “Traditionally published author” on my resume. The opportunities came up thanks to some wonderful friends who thought I would be a good fit and encouraged me to apply. Plus, the hours and schedule flexibility were just too good to pass up! As W gets older and more independent, I can increase my workload. Right now, it is great to squirrel away extra money for our cruising kitty.

I feel like I finally have my feet under me with regards to parenting and boat life, and it is time to slowly ease back into the workforce. My book, Cloaked, is still going strong and I have another book on the way (more to come on that soon!). Between writing novels, book promo, two freelance jobs, keeping up this blog, and raising a baby, my brain is always going 100 mph!

Writing, writing, writing, all day long. I never thought I would be able to write for a living, and now that dream is coming true. We will see how it all balances out, especially with the craziness of Marine Corps schedules, but for now I’m staying on top of it all. If anyone has any organizational tips, send them my way!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Proud Fair-weather Sailors

We are fair-weather sailors and not ashamed to admit it. Though one day we aspire to be salty and experienced in all conditions, now is not the time to be reckless. We have a baby on board. Enough said.

I will admit it can be frustrating. In order for us to take the boat out, we have to work around nap schedules, military life, and weather windows. Basically, we have to sail on weekends, with decent temperatures, no storms or high winds in the 12-hour forecast, and be back at the dock in time for baby bedtime routine. This perfection only occurs about once or twice per month, sadly.

Before W came around, “good enough” conditions were just fine. It was a thrill to handle the unexpected, and learn on our toes. Now, it just isn’t worth sacrificing our family happiness to push ourselves to the limit on the boat. Stressed out Mama=stressed out baby, and that means lots of screaming. That is not my idea of quality family time!

So for now we are making the most of our easy sailing days, and focusing on making positive memories with our boat baby. We had an absolutely wonderful, easy sailing day this weekend with some good friends. Sunny, 7 mph winds, and 68 degrees. Conor and I actually got a few pictures together! Can you believe it’s November?

I’m hoping this won’t be our last sail of the season, but I have to accept that it may well be. Last year, temperatures dropped dramatically after Thanksgiving. If we are lucky enough to have good weather for the next few weeks, we will jump on our chance. But if there is any doubt…well, we still have springtime sailing to look forward to!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

S/V STORY TIME

Let me start off this post by showing you the BEST PHOTO OF OUR BOAT EVER TAKEN!

best boat

Shout out to Chelsea and Chris, our B-dock neighbors, for taking this awesome shot.

Now for the updates.

We renamed our boat! You all know we decided on STORY TIME a loonnnggg time ago, but this past weekend we finally got around to putting the new decals up and having our celebration. We wanted to make it a big deal, marking our 1 year anniversary at Gottschalk Marina and surviving our first hurricane. So many amazing people have come into our lives this past year, and we wanted to thank them all for being such great friends. How do you show people you love them? Give them lots of food and alcohol!

Here was the script we used for the renaming ceremony. The first part is letting go of the old name, AT LAST, and the second part is the christening. Boat re-namings are very particular and stem from centuries of superstition. We followed a script we found online, but made some of our own modifications. The cutest one was W hitting her xylophone instead of us ringing a bell 🙂

Opening Invocation & BlessingTay

Ring the ship’s bell and call the ceremony to order.

In the name of all who have sailed aboard this vessel in the past and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient god of wind, Aeolus, and the ancient god of sea, Neptune, also hailed as Poseidon, to favor us with their blessings today.

Expression of GratitudeTay

Mighty Neptune, King of all that moves in or on the waves, and mighty Aeolus, guardian of the winds and all that blows before them…We offer gratitude for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We express our thanks that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and that she always enjoyed safe passage to port.”

xylophone
Calling the ceremony to order

Supplication & De-NamingConor

Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage… We implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name AT LAST which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this token bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea”

At this point, the coin with AT LAST is dropped from the bow of the boat into the sea.

Now the name of this vessel which has hitherto been known as AT LAST is struck and removed from all records and archives. In grateful acknowledgment we offer these libations.”

(Pour champagne into water)

Ring the bell. Everyone drink a toast.

bowchampagne

Now to prepare for the renaming…

Rededication & Preparation for Re-NamingTay

Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, we implore you in your graciousness to guard this worthy vessel with your mighty arm and trident and ensure her safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm. In good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea…we offer these libations to Neptune and the sea.” (Pour champagne and toast)

Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel the benefits and pleasures of your bounty and your gentle protection.”

(Pour champagne and toast)

Placing of Good Luck Symbols—Conor

As you likely know, part of the custom of a boat renaming ceremony is to place a silver dollar under the mast to show the boat that we will take care of every financial need the boat has. But instead of a silver dollar, we have a unit coin.

We will not place it under the mast, but instead it will be placed at the helm with promises to never steer our vessel wrong. We hope this shows the boat that we will look for fair winds and following seas, and to make her part of our great memories together.

Ring the bell. Everyone drink a toast.

We will now perform the Re-naming.”

Renaming—Tay

Ring the bell—wait for silence.

I name this ship STORY TIME….Let it be recorded, that on this day October 6th, 2018 and forever more, this fine vessel is named STORY TIME.”

storytime1

Take a bottle of champagne, shake it and spray it on the hull.

Finally, a toast to all of you, with many thanks for coming today to help carry out our naming ceremony. Cheers!!”

Ring the bell.

groupphoto (2)
The crew!

Then, we partied all evening. Our inaugural sail was the next morning, and STORY TIME danced along the wind. We are very happy with how everything turned out, and are grateful for our dream boat and wonderful friends.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Making the Most of Evacuating

Well guys, we are still in Atlanta. The roads back to North Carolina are starting to improve but remain pretty gnarly in some spots. The plan right now is to wait a few extra days and shoot for getting home this weekend. Here’s what we know about Gottschalk Marina and how all the boats fared during the hurricane:

  • The floating docks are still floating. Yay! The storm surge was about three feet above the fixed docks.
  • One derelict boat sank in its slip
  • Three boats with some broken lines are bouncing in their slips
  • ALL the other boats were great and bobbing happily in their slips!!!
  • This means Story Time is still afloat and we have a home to return to! We’ll have to see in person if she sustained any damage but it’s looking good.

I am SO relieved. The fact that none of the boats broke loose to cause massive damage to other boats/ marina is a huge testament to how hard all of boat owners worked to prep for the hurricane. Here are some pictures that the Ragged Point Yacht Club took:

flood1
The Gottschalk boat launch is under water, but look at all those masts still standing tall!
Sank (2)
This old houseboat was the only casualty at Gottschalk Marina

Sadly, our old marina in New Bern didn’t fare as well. Northwest Creek Marina faced dangerous flooding and some of the boats broke free during the high winds. Here’s what NWC looked like in the Florence aftermath:

nwc1
So many sideways sailboats 😦
nwc2
These boats broke free and are ON TOP of the fuel dock
nwc3
Thinking of all our friends at NWC

Though I am eager to go home and check on the boat, we have been making the most of our forced family vacation here. Thank goodness for USAA renter’s insurance, which has covered hotel, food, and travel costs associated with evacuating. Since finding out our boat was okay, we have been able to enjoy spending time in a big city. We took W on her first aquarium trip, and our fellow liveaboard friends (remember the packing list?) decided to come up from Florida and join us in Atlanta instead. W and I have loved having Daddy around all day!

aquarium

While we are thankful that Hurricane Florence didn’t cause too much upset in our lives, we are well aware of the devastating impact it had on the entire Carolina region. Our hearts go out to those who lost their homes, livelihoods, and family members in this disaster. Relief efforts and cleanup will ongoing for a long time. This was an eye-opening first hurricane for us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W