Firstly, let me say that I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and messages that I have received over the last few days. From comments here, to Tammy’s touching post on the peanut, to some of my followers on Twitter, it’s really helped me get through all this. Obviously, the loss of a pet is a lot more common to everyone and it hits home when you read about someone losing a non human loved one. Thanks one and all for your support.
To say that these last few days have been rough would be an understatement. I’ve run the gamut of emotions from grief to depression to guilt to anger. I’m emotionally drained and beat up right now. I didn’t expect to have such a strong reaction to this but given the circumstances I’m not surprised. When we have to put a pet down because of illness or injury that’s one thing. We can prepare for it, and even though it still hurts, we can deal with the pain and loss more better. Having said pet literally die unexpectedly while cuddled in your arms? A lot different. To put it mildly, I have not been fit to be around other people lately. I’m getting better everyday but it’s been one of the worst weeks I can remember in a very long time.
KC was not in the best of health. She was terribly overweight, ate constantly, and had a bad rash on her back. She had developed a small lump on her chest but it never seemed to bother her. My guess is that her heart gave out. I couldn’t let her outside to run around, not on the docks, so she spent most of her time eating and sleeping. Not much of a life for a cat. That is where the guilt sets in. I was unable to afford to live where she could run around, unable to afford vet care, all I could do was the best I could do. She seemed content enough. Always purring, always demanding attention. But in my grieving, I can’t help but blame myself for not taking better care of her. Still, 12 years is pretty good for a cat. My old previous cat, Snorkles, made it to 17. It doesn’t matter now. KC is gone and I have to move on.
Charley on the other hand is totally different. She is about as opposite of KC as a cat can get. She likes to be petted on occasion, but only on her terms. Despises being picked up and refuses to be a lap cat. She is skittish and runs at any unusual sound or motion. If I sneeze she scurries into the nether regions of the boat. KC bullied her all her life. KC was very jealous and possessive of me. Anytime Charley would approach me and KC was near, there would be growling and hissing. If I yelled at KC to stop, she would growl at me. She ruled her little kingdom with an iron paw.
Charley is not as big as KC and doesn’t eat near as much. Her long fur sheds all over the place but she seems in pretty good health. When KC died, Charley came out and sniffed near her, and then hid in the back until she was gone. Since then I haven’t seen any change in her behavior. She has been coming out and sleeping at the foot of the berth with me every night but she did that before as long as KC was out of reach. I don’t know if she will become friendly now that she is the only cat on board or not. She may never change. One thing, with just her now, I won’t be buying near as much cat food nor litter. But, changes are coming and I will need to make some decisions.
There have been a few instances in my life where I was at a crossroads. I was debating on making a major change in lifestyle, location, or both and I was delaying said decision because I was unsure of the consequences, the money situation was a bit fuzzy, or I was just being plain lazy because my current situation was known, semi secure, and I wasn’t up to the task of making the decision. Two instances come to mind:
In 1996 I was between Harley dealership jobs, in dire straights financially, and had taken one of the most miserable jobs I had ever had in the construction industry. I dreaded getting up every day to face the madness but it was paying the bills, although I was unfit to be around. I was ready to get out and get serious about getting back into another dealership but I was lacking the confidence and self esteem to do so. I was using excuses like my mortgage and large credit card bill to keep at the miserable job rather than take a chance at something I wanted to do.
At this time, my cat Snorkles was on his last legs and one Saturday morning I saw that it was time. I took him to the vet, had the deed done, and was a useless emotional wreck the rest of the weekend. (Are you understanding why I don’t want anymore pets?). Come Monday I trudged off to the job and it all came crashing down a couple hours later. Some foreman made a snide remark and rather than risk jail over shoving a hammer up his ass, I walked. As it turned out, things worked out for the best. I got another dealership job which wound up being one of the few jobs I can say I enjoyed. It took the emotion and loss of the cat to push me there but it worked out.
The other time was in 2008 when I was working in Ocala at the dealership there. I hated the place. The dealership was unfriendly, the town a shithole, and I was ready to head for the Keys. At the time I was living in a beat up old 5th wheel with Charley and KC, and looking hard for a boat to move onto down here in the Keys. I passed up a good deal on eBay for a 27 ft. sloop that it turns out, was right here in the very marina where I live now. I was within a few seconds of pushing the buy button but chickened out at the last minute.
Now it was spring and I was getting itchy. But the paycheck was steady and I was getting almost completely debt free. Then it happened. A customer came in and ordered a part for his bike. He paid by check and said part got ordered. When it arrived, it did not fit as advertised. The customer demanded his money back, which I had no problem with, but the office manager, whom I refer to as bitch, because the other names I had for her would make this blog illegal, refused to give the customer a refund. This bitch, whom bragged about being a devout-god-fearing-jebus-loving christian was one of thee most nastiest people I have ever encountered. If she is what embodies a true christian, then that religion needs to be eradicated. Well, it should be anyways but another rant for another time. Anyways, I had to go tell the customer that the dealership was stealing his money. I did, walked back to the office, told the office bitch in great detail what she could do with some most descriptive adjectives, the likes of which, she may or may not have ever heard, and walked away from Harley-Davidson, never to return. A week later, KC, Charley, and I were living on a sailboat in the Florida Keys.
So why bring this all up? Because I am at one of the crossroad thingy’s right now. And KC’s death may have pushed me to make a decision.
I’ve been living month to month, day to day, on this boat, at this marina and the previous place, with the constant worries about making dock rent, and putting up with all the nonsense. The asshole who bought the other place, the constant changing of the rules, noisy neighbors. Living on a boat here has been anything but simple, quiet, and minimal. The marina where I currently reside is very nice. I like it here but… The slip rent is too expensive. $720 to tie up to 30 feet of dock is a bit much. Yeah, it’s a nice facility. Clean, quiet, I got showers, a laundry, and small store. Even the staff here is ok. Location could be more better. But it’s getting to hard to make the rent every month. And this coming month looks to be the end. I may or may not be able to do it, but I don’t want to do it. As with every spring I have some big bills coming up and that $720 a month could be put to better use like keeping me from going to prison after April 15th. So if I leave, where do I go?
The mooring field is the most logical place for now. $325 a month. I will have the motor soon and all I need is a dinghy to get back and forth. It will mean some big changes in how I live but it is doable for now. The one thing I don’t look forward to is the windy weather. You bounce pretty good out there and that is something to think about. But March is coming and the worst of winter is over here. The fronts will be fewer and less intense.
From there, I could do many things. Stay put. Occasionally pull into the marina here or at Garrison Bight, or rig the boat up and go cruising. After Memorial Day, take and sail up the Keys, and maybe up the ICW through Florida. Just take some time and enjoy a cruise. It has a tremendous amount of appeal right now. Cheaper? Maybe, maybe not. One night stands in marinas are not cheaper. Although once you get away from Key West, the prices drop dramatically. Dropping anchor here or there in a nice gunk hole is possible but not for long term. Cruising has good and bad about it. But I could do with a road trip, even if it is a bit more wetter. Firstly, I need to get through the spring with all it’s financial burden. Once I get past Memorial Day, things slow down considerably finance wise and I could go enjoy myself.
No matter what, if I keep the boat, staying put in this marina is not an option. Which leaves the other…sell the boat.
If I sell the boat, and I came close last month, it brings up the obvious. Where do I live? Well, I’ve been pondering that for a while now and I have some idea about doing something totally radical and different. As to what that is, I will not say at this time. If I go that route, it will be risky, adventurous as all hell, and be a source of some really good blog material, not to mention app and book fodder for the foreseeable future.
One of the main things that has stopped me from selling the boat has been, of course, KC and Charley. If the boat is sold, I could not take them with me. With KC gone, it leaves me with what to do with Charley. I love the little shit but she is not the travel type. Where I would be going, sans boat, she would not adapt well at. If I can find her a good home, we may well part ways. If I keep the boat, she will always have a home. So as you can see, this is not a decision I am taking lightly. But with KC’s death, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the ass to quit with the status quo and move on to the next adventure.
Key West, no matter what, remains home. If I go cruising, or something else, Key West is still home port. This is where I come back to if and when I decide to stop. Nothing changes that, unless I happen to find something more better. It’s now just a matter of what I will do next. I cannot keep going like I have been. I’m constantly depressed, stressed out, and to be honest, bored with how things have been going. It shows in my demeanor and in the writings on this blog. I have app and book ideas that I have started and thrown aside because the worries about finances interfere with my constipation on getting said projects into gear.
I’m restless and want to get to living again. The minimalist attitude I’ve adopted serves me well right now. Making some sort of change will go a lot more better in that I won’t have much in the way of material things to deal with, no matter what I do. Charley is going to be tough decision but I will do what I think is best for her. She will be ok.
I’ve given myself about another week as of the posting of this story to make my decision. That gives me a week to prepare before the end of the month although if things got tight, I could stay by the week here as needed. Which will come in handy later on should I head out for adventure on the high seas.
And if not, well, it will be a whole other adventure.
Thanks again to all of you for your support and comments. You made getting through the past week a lot easier. It’s time to move on.