Dec 102014

turdAs I was walking by the marina store I spied an official looking letter posted on the door.  Never a good sign.  And sure enough, it was bad news.  Rents are going up by $100 starting in January.  With the associated increase in tax too, my rent will now go up to $720.00.  It would be an understatement to say I am not happy at the moment.

Yes, I know.  Had I sold the boat and moved onto the sport fisherman, I would have paid more, but that was taking into account having some extra cash from the boat sale and being able to skim by until spring.  Still, this hurts.  I’ve been struggling just to get by every month as it is.  Adding another $100 to the mix does not help.  And it flat out just pisses me off.

I have to tell you all that I have been sorely disappointed in boat living here in the Keys.  I’m on my third boat, in my 4th marina, and it has been one stressful year after another.  Crappy facilities, idiot neighbors, overbearing managers, and hostile marina owners have made boat living a nightmare.  Add in constant battles with poor internet, toilet fees, and noise, and it’s no better than living in a damn city.

The boat itself is not the issue here.  I like the boat I’m on for what it is.  I’d like to fix it up some more and get it in cruising condition.  But that all takes money which I currently am in short supply of.  As it is, I’m setting myself up to get by ok for the foreseeable future as long as no unexpected costs arise.  Well, an unexpected cost has arisen.  And it hurts.

I don’t blame the manager here at the marina.  She has been one of the better people I have dealt with since moving here.  She has to follow orders.  I just wish we had more advanced notice of this.  Less than 30 days is a bit of shock and as I write this, I’m extremely upset at the moment.  It also makes me wonder if there will be any other increases down the road.  We are supposed to get a new bathhouse and laundry in the not too distant future.  Will we have to pay for a card, like what happened at the, “other place”?  He who shall not be named is known to be friends with the owners of this marina.

There are not many options left around here.  The mooring field is right around the corner but as I write this the winds are howling out of the north and the water on this side looks like a washing machine.  Plus I would need a dinghy to get in and out.  There is the remote possibility of grabbing a slip in Garrison bight, if one is available.  But I still need to get over there, and at present I have no motor.  Guess I made a mistake selling the other one earlier this year.  A friend has a mooring ball over near the main harbor and I could probably arrange a tow and set up there.  But that is risky at best.  As is simply dropping anchor someplace.  They are cracking down on that sort of thing around here.

As for land, there ain’t much.  I look everyday at the ads and right now there are maybe 2 possible room shares that allow cats in the area.  Both are in the $900 a month range and I’m not much for room mates, especially if they are the party types.

There hasn’t been anything in the rv range that I could trade out for.  And it don’t really matter as I wouldn’t be able to find an rv lot anywhere in Florida, let alone the Keys right now that I could afford.

So, it looks like I will have to bend over, grin, and bear it.  I will have no choice but to try and shit out the extra rent and see what happens.  But I have to say, right now, I’m fucking tired.

I’m sick of this constant battle just to keep a place to live.  It’s borders on the ridiculous as to how much bullshit I’ve had to deal with, just to keep a roof over my head, and a floor floating on the water.  Add in the problems of keeping a simple internet connection, a key part of me being able to sustain myself, along with all the other things that have gone down, and I am at my wits end.  Not that I have had much wits to begin with.

I knew what island life was going to be like, or at least I thought I did, but all this constant worry about keeping a place to live is ridiculous.  And I’m not the only one.  Virtually every one I talk to around here, on land and sea, is having the same issues.  Rent increases beyond what is affordable, even by island standards, evictions so places can cater to higher end clientele, affordable housing is the number one issue in the Keys and nothing is being done about it.  It’s truly becoming a rich man only area.  Those of us on the bottom rung of the economic ladder are being pushed out.

I guess what really hurts, more than anything, is that I worked so many years to get to the point where I could come down here and live.  I bided my time, and waited for the right moment.  Now that I am here, it looks like I may not be able to stay unless things improve for me economically.  It would not bother me in the least to have either this boat or another, slightly larger, set up to cruise.  And spend my days sailing up and down the islands and occasionally up and down the coast of Florida, staying in short term places rather than trying to set up for the long term.  But I really don’t want to leave.  I remember the last time I left the Keys after living down here and it was one of the worst decisions I ever made.  Which is saying a lot if you know about all the other worster decisions I have made in the past.

For all it’s downsides, I still love Key West.  Despite the expense, the bums, the rich snobs, and all, there is a special feeling I get when I go into town and walk around.  Felt it the other day when I was over to the pirate camp.  When you got the money to survive, Key West can be a fantastical place to live.  I would like to continue to live here, at least until I can arrange to see what Maui is like.  That will be awhile.  Although I’m tempted to just sell the damn boat over the holidays, ship the cats off to mom, load up the backpack, and go.  Just to get away and take a break.  In the mood I’m in right now, it would not take much.

But I won’t.  For now, it looks like I will have no choice but to pony up the extra rent and keep on with what I am doing.  I just really didn’t need this kick in the ass right now.  It’s been a long, hard, miserable year and it never seems to fail, when you are down, that is when people like to stomp on you.

So here is hoping that you all have a much happier holiday season than what I’m looking at.  But just a tip, before you open that unexpected present, take a good long sniff first.  It may not be what you were hoping for.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Living Aboard: An Early Xmas Present…”

  1. (Attn Capt Fritter – I posted earlier but got a connection error and I’m not sure if it went through – if this is a duplicate, please delete one of them.)
    Wow. Getting less than 30 days notice sucks any time, but to have a rent increase happen right now is especially depressing. I’ve enjoyed you sharing your ups & downs (Here’s to hoping for more of the former). I know this won’t pay the rent, but your posts have been very valuable to me and I’m sure others. For the past several years, following your blog, your book, and your app have been more helpful in getting info and honest perspective than all other sources combined. Someday I hope to make the move myself, and your posts have really lent a level perspective to perception vs reality on some things about everyday life.

    I’m too tied into the corporate job and have a daughter going to college next fall, so now is not quite the time for me to make that move yet. But, every little bit of info helps. It’s disappointing to see you getting to a level of disillusionment over the whole concept of living your dream without people crapping on it at every turn. Here’s to hoping things turn around for you.

    • Sometimes these comments get sent to the spam folder by mistake. Appreciate the sentiment though. Family always comes first. Get your daughter through school and then do what you want. It will all come together at some point.
      For me, it’s just been one of those down years. Can’t blame anyone but myself and only I will be able to get back up to speed. It will work out for the best. Just take some time.
      C. F.
      And money. Lots and lots of money.