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.

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The day we said a final farewell to base housing!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

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Are You ‘Tidying Up’?

“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix has everybody talking. Thrift stores nation wide have seen a huge surge in donations since January 1st, which I find kind of ironic, considering the madness that is Black Friday in November and the huge push for gift-giving during the December holiday season. BUT I am excited that people are starting to embrace the idea that less is more and stuff doesn’t equal happiness!

So to go along with this theme, we are doing a little throwback post in honor of Throwback Thursday! I’ll take you back to the very beginning of this blog and show you how we downsized from a 3-bedroom house to a 38-ft boat.

Here is where I talk about embracing minimalism.

Here is about our downsizing process.

Here is how we organized our never-ending lists and processes.

Here is when we were living in an almost-empty house!

Here is all about packing tips and being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

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Throwback pic to our first night on a sailboat, via AirBNB. This is when the planning started…

How have you simplified your life lately? How does it make you feel?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Celebration Week

Lots to celebrate this week: This stud’s birthday is coming up, and we passed 1 year aboard our boat!

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I am such a lucky lady.

But because Conor doesn’t like to make a big deal out of his birthday, the rest of this post will be about our year aboard. This is a random collection of thoughts with contributions from both me and Conor, in no particular order.

  1. Showing off the boat is fun. It’s like bragging about your kid, but people are more impressed.
  2. Parenting is hard whether you are on a boat or in a house. Sleep deprivation is still sleep deprivation.
  3. Sometimes I have no idea what to write on the blog.
  4. It can be hard to focus on work when all you want to do is sail off into the sunset.
  5. All boat work must be done with a beer in hand.
  6. We still haven’t used our dinghy.
  7. Why does the bilge always smell weird after we sail?
  8. Conor keeps accidentally dropping AC filters into the river when he cleans them. We are on #3 now.
  9. Using a cockpit as my writing office is super sweet, until the bugs come out in summer.
  10. I am bad at taking Instagram photos. I don’t have the patience. Usually I look at my phone and say, “Meh, that will work.”
  11. It is hard to get your significant other Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents because you don’t have anywhere to put them.
  12. I have only worn makeup 8 times this year. Hobo boater fashion is going to catch on, I just know it.
  13. Occasionally when the weather is horrible, I envy the people in base housing.
  14. Doing the black water pump out always smells bad. In 4 degrees or 90. The first time or the thirtieth time.
  15. Some friends like to exert their dominance by peeing on the boat, knowing that Conor will have to drag their urine up a hill.
  16. Ice is a novelty.
  17. It is okay to say, “I don’t know why it’s doing that.”
  18. What is ‘personal space’?
  19. The best part of Conor’s day is sliding open the hatch and yelling “Hello girls!” Even when the baby is napping.
  20. We are thankful to be doing this today instead of 30 years from now.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2017 Recap Video

I used my (very limited) technological skills to put together a little recap video of this past year. Just a simple slideshow about our crazy journey in 2017. The song is “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers. Thank you all for following us through everything!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Mini Vacation in a Tiny Home

We took our first family ‘vacation’ over Valentine’s Day, and we stayed in a remodeled shipping container for two nights. Conor found a great deal on Airbnb (I LOVE Airbnb) and I had always wanted to see what this type of tiny home was really like. It seemed to be a good idea at the time… until you factor in a tiny baby as well!

We headed down to the Carolina Beach area, a bit south of Wilmington. We just needed to escape from the Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune area for a while (anyone who has lived here will understand) to enjoy the last few days of Conor’s paternity leave.

The shipping container home was SO COOL, take a look:

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The reality of traveling with an infant and a dog

The beach was beautiful, the restaurants were awesome, but OMG our boat baby would not sleep. Having spent every night of her short life surrounded by marina sounds, the shipping container felt too open, too echo-y, and too stationary! Without any gentle rocking, the sound of waves slapping the hull, the creak of straining lines, and the musical tap of a neighboring halyard, Baby W was VERY cranky. As soon as we got back home, Baby W passed out for a 4 hour nap. I told Conor that the next vacation we go on, we are taking the boat with us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Of course she slept through her first trip to the beach!

Deck the Halls (or should I say boat?)

I may have been a bit over-eager this year for the holiday season. These decorations were put up right after Thanksgiving:

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For all of our talk about minimalism, it seems a bit excessive, but NO RAGRETS.

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Plus, when your space is tiny, $30 worth of decorations goes a long way! Conor has been gone for a lot of holidays because of deployments, so I try to make December extra-special when he is home for it. We have a lot to celebrate this year, even though we can’t go home to Washington for Christmas.

I don’t think there is anything cozier than rocking gently on our decorated boat, while it is 40 degrees outside, drinking coffee, and listening to music. It gave me the motivation this week to finish the draft of my book! It’s finally complete at 91,500 words.

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with loved ones. Sorry for the super quick post this week, but stay tuned for an update about our v-berth soon!

Love,

Taylor and Conor

A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives

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I grew up in the suburbs, in the same house for twenty years, and had never even heard of a liveaboard until three years ago. So what spurred this examination of different types of living, and gave us the courage to do it ourselves?

Books.

My first ‘ah-ha’ moment came from reading Timothy Ferris’ 4 HOUR WORKWEEK. It talks about travel, escaping the bonds of a traditional 9-to-5, and alternative ways to make money. Most importantly, it discusses ‘dreamlining’ and laying out goals for what YOU want to accomplish out of life (not what is expected of you). Though with Conor in the military, we weren’t able to take the ‘4 hour workweek’ part of it literally, the message of the book got us thinking about how we could make the most of our lives and try new things while he was still in the service. If you’re wondering how to break out of a rut, start with this book. He talks about things I had never assumed were possible, and will truly make you re-examine the validity of “The American Dream”.

If that book inspires you, here are some more that have influenced me along the way:

THE ART OF POSSIBILITY is a great non-fiction for examining personal and professional fulfillment. It gives a set of twelve practices for bringing creativity, and thus unexpected possibilities, into your life. It was helpful in slowly changing my perspective to embrace change and challenges.

Another one of my favorites is called THE ORGANIZED MIND: THINKING STRAIGHT IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD. This book made me realize the importance of living simpler, and how it would affect my overall happiness. It got me to look into tiny living and minimalism, which eventually led to boats! It is good to read in conjunction with FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE because they have a lot of parallels. Focus on what makes you happy, instead of spending useless time worrying! Don’t waste your brain power.

This is one that I just finished, so I can’t really say that it inspired us to get the boat, only that it reinforced my belief that we made the right call! DEVIATE by Beau Lotto teaches how to think, not what to think, and how by changing our perspective of the past we can influence our future. It explains why human hardwiring makes it difficult for us to live with uncertainty, and how to reengineer our brains to perceive a different reality, one that encourages creativity and innovation. The picture at the top of this post is an excerpt from the book.

As you can tell, I LOVE to read, and if anyone has other recommendations for me, I’m all ears! Please share your favorite books and what they have inspired you to accomplish.

Love,

Taylor and Conor