This is like one of those insane math problems that goes, “If Train A leaves the station in Stockbridge at 50 mph in a driving rainstorm, and Train B leaves sunny Milledgeville at 35 mph thirty minutes later, which train will arrive first in Atlanta?” Usually, I tune out these riddles after the first word. So, when Simon, my gay Jewish housekeeper (Or is that Jewish gay housekeeper?) asks how I intend to shrink the space in my clothes closet from 12 linear feet of stuff to 2 feet, I keep my head down and pretend that I haven’t heard him.
Simon and I have spent two days together in close quarters as we prettify the closet in my master bedroom. It’s just one of 248 tasks that my husband Mike and I must do in order to put our house on the market in February 2008. You see, we’ve decided to live on a sailboat.
How do two kids who grew up on farms in the Midwest end up on a 40’ sailboat in the Caribbean?
In 1990, Mike sailed through the British Virgin Islands with three friends who worked at IBM as he did. As Mary Ann churned out margaritas from her blender, Jim was proposing to Cay, and Mike was torturing seagulls.
My husband returned to the BVIs two years later to attend the Colgate Sailing School. His guest instructors, Herb and Nancy Payson, painted a picture of the cruising life with their teenage son that Mike couldn’t shake, and so was born the idea of living aboard a sailboat when he retires from Big Blue in June 2008.
I don’t quite know how his dream became our dream except that we’re married and that’s what committed couples do. In the Bible, Ruth says, “I will go where you go. Your people will be my people.” Her words are so simple, yet so profound. She completely gives herself over to a new life with her mother-in-law in a foreign land among strangers, trusting without question that she has made the right decision. I will follow Mike anywhere.
When we first began sharing our plans with friends, they responded with a mix of shock and admiration. “What are you going to do with Mikayla?” they asked frequently, as though we’d leave our daughter behind. “How will you stay in touch?” they asked, followed by “Where will you go?”
We still don’t know the answers to all the questions posed by family and friends, but we do know one thing: We’re in this together.