That question was brought up yesterday in the comments in response to my post regarding the upcoming marina meeting and all the bovine fecal matter that I went through so far this summer. So, I thought I would address said comment in a post rather than a comment reply. Besides, I can add more snark into a post. So, let’s begin shall we…
I mentioned that this past summer, since the marina changed owners, has not been a happy fun time. I’ve been constantly worried about what is going to happen, and how much longer I would get to stay here. Compounding that issue was the three months it took to do the Spirit/Seacraft swap. I knew it was going to happen, it was a matter of logistics and to their credit, Bob and Rhonda, who took the Seacraft came through. We still have a couple minor loose ends to tie up but the deal is essentially done and I don’t have that worry to…um…worry about anymore. As for the things I need to do to the Spirit, all that remains there is to get a big basket and go pick some money off the money bushes. This is not near as stressful as it may seem. If I have sufficient time, or the money bushes ripen early, I can take care of the Spirit in a rather short amount of time. The stuff it needs, aside from hauling out and painting, is not a lot of work. Maybe a weeks worth depending on how fast I can acquire parts and tools.
Even though I have the Spirit now, it still hasn’t quite hit me yet that I now have a boat I like. I will frequently just stand on the dock, look at the boat and pick out all the little things that I need to do. And I can now imagine this little boat out on the water doing some of that sailing stuff I keep hearing about. I guess I have been so used to being on a boat that I didn’t like that it’s just not worn off yet, but it is slowly. Once I get the mast up and the motor on, I will start to feel much more better about things.
As for the meeting next week, I am probably just paranoid, again based on all that has gone down so far. As far as I know he who shall not be named has no power to throw us out. Unless he gains control over the HOA somehow he can’t do anything. But a recent incident regarding the HOA does concern me a bit.
As I mentioned before, the HOA took over the billing for the utilities. I was calling, emailing, and asking all over how this was going to work but nobody had answers. Finally I got a hold of the treasurer of the HOA, and if he is any indication of how competent the HOA is, we as residents are all fucked. I asked him how to get a bill for the utilities, and he mumbled around for a few minutes and finally divulged that the slip owners now get the bill and I have to request permission to get a copy. Then I have to mail a check to the HOA. I asked if there was somebody in the marina whom I could walk said check to and was rather rudely told, “NO”. Nobody is on the property that represents the HOA officers and nobody never will be. I finally worked out something with the people whom I pay the rent and they were just as flusterated as I was. But for now, we have a workable solution. Just keep in mind it took 2 weeks and a lot of bovine fecal matter just to get through the bureaucracy of trying to pay a bill that I owed. I wasn’t trying to avoid the bill, I knew I owed the money, all I wanted to know was who to pay. But it wasn’t as simple as all that.
Anyways, getting back to the original subject at hand, it was also asked if there were land living alternatives as opposed to going through all this mess to live on a boat. Well, yes and no.
Key West is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Especially when it comes to rental rates. There is virtually nothing available south of Big Pine Key for under $1000 a month, let alone in the $600 range I am paying now. I could try to share a place with someone, but I guarantee you that will never happen. I barely get along with the cats, let alone live under the same roof with another human being. I hear too many horror stories about roommates to even consider that nightmare.
Moving up the islands is always an option but it’s not Key West. There is a marked difference in the way of life once you get off Stock Island and head for higher mile markers. In fact there is a marked difference in the way of life in Old Town compared to the rest of the island. I prefer to stay here. It has become home. I like it here, warts and all.
As for housing for the worker bees, there are worker bee housing developments on the island. I haven’t looked into what is required but I know it is dependent on a lot of things, income limits, real jobs, stuff like that. I have a relative who lives in Aspen, Colorado, an even more expensive place than Key West, and she lives in subsidized housing. She saves on her rent by working part time as a property manager. (Funny thing, her and I are the too poorest members of our family, yet we live in the most expensive places in the country. She feels about Aspen the same way I feel about Key West.)
Moving into an apartment or renting a house brings a whole new set of issues to deal with. In addition to higher rent, you will most likely be tied into a long term lease which will require a first/last/security/pet deposit. On a $1000 a month rental that is some serious money to come up with just to move in. Utilities, unless included which I see a lot of, will be way higher. If you don’t like the place, or finances dictate breaking the lease, you risk destroying your credit, and ability to rent someplace else. You also have more space to take care of. There will be the temptation to buy stuff like furniture, appliances, and other useless household items. You have to find a place that allows pets and my two fat fur balls can be destructive little shits. They will take out curtains, carpets, and paint off the walls in minutes.
The other alternative for land is of course rv living, which I would not hesitate to do if I could find the right set up. Again, there are no rv lots south of Cudjoe for under $1000 so it would mean back up the islands. I like rv living and will gladly go back to one but only if it is what I want.
So that leaves boat living as the most sensible and affordable choice for now. The costs are manageable, the lifestyle is great, but is it worth it?
I know I talk a lot about all the trials, tribulations, and all the drama that has played out here this past summer. And I listed out all the things I want to do to the Spirit. It may seem like a lot of trouble and all but think about your own situation. Are you living in a house you own? Do you have a “To Do” list for your happy little slice of heaven? Bet it’s longer than my list. And if you think you are safe from the clutches of some developer coming and taking over your property…think again. What happened here at this marina can happen anywhere.
As for the lifestyle, it is about impossible to explain to someone who lives on land and has had no experience with boats just how really simple and cool it is to live on one. Few people can deal with the small spaces, all the things that one needs to know to operate a boat, nor do they want to try. Sure it may be fun to come to Key West and go out on a day sail and come back home to brag that you went sailing. But staying on a boat like that for a home?Very few can do it.
Despite all that has gone down over the summer, despite the efforts of the the big money developers to get rid of the live aboard pestilence that infects these fair islands, despite the money bushes being a little late with the harvest, living on a sailboat in Key West is still one of the best ways to live here. As I am typing up this post, the sun is shining, winds are light, I am surrounded by lots of big pretty boats, the ocean is not just out my back door, it’s under me. At some point I will have this boat in moving and sailing condition. Then every once in a while I can cast off the dock lines and go out and let the wind push me around. I have the ability, even though I currently lack the means, to move to another port, another marina, or just find a nice little gunkhole and drop anchor for a day or two. I have no lawn to mow, no leaves to rake, no snow to shovel. If I don’t like my neighbors I can find new ones. If I don’t like my boat, there are plenty more out there. If I chose to move back on land, it will be a heluva lot easier than trying to downsize and move onto a boat.
Every lifestyle has it’s good and bad. I like the good of boat living enough that the bad doesn’t matter. The stress I have been going through over the past summer is nothing compared to the days when I was sitting at the kitchen table in a house that I hated, and owed money on, with no income, wondering what the hell was going to happen. If I have to move in the next month or two, and that is all I have to worry about, then I will gladly take that kind of stress.
Is boat livin’ worth it? Short answer: yes. Long answer: YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!
If you liked that video then grab yourself some popcorn and go to Simon’s Cat for a bunch more. Lotta fun.