1st quarter 2023: Big change. BIG.

So uh, remember last update when I said that pesky medical follow-ups were keeping us in TX, but at least none were serious? 

One got serious. 

And that’s why we’re still here, but that’s not the BIG change. I’ll get to that.

It’s a little bit about me, and a lot about Tim and boats.

I won’t leave you guessing about the medical thing. 

My doctors found that I have some precancerous endometrial lesions, and the treatment for someone my age and with my cancer history is a hysterectomy. I’m scheduled for the surgery in April, and we expect to begin our trek toward WA & AK in mid-May, assuming I get an all-clear from my medical team.

Quite honestly, it’s a relief — and also a good excuse for a heartfelt reminder to get your regular check-ups, and also your irregular ones, for symptoms and conditions that just don’t seem right. Don’t wait.

So yeah, other than a 10-day visit to Tim’s folks in Mexico, we’ve stayed put here on our friends’ property in Boerne, TX, and since I have no RV travels to report for this quarter, I’ll jump right into what’s happening later this year.

And now… for something completely different

If you were paying attention last summer, you might have noticed my somewhat cryptic caption on the photo of Tim at the WoodenBoat School in Maine.

It was here, in July, that we started seriously discussing the “what ifs” and “just maybes” of that rekindled flame.
(This is a screen cap of the slide show from the original post, not a new slide show, so don’t click the little arrow thingies because they don’t do anything.)

Tim loves wooden boats, and

… he once built a wooden boat, and

… our older son went to the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA, ten years ago, and

… Tim’s been thinking about it ever since, and

… we knew we’d be returning from Alaska to Washington in September of this year, making it an ideal time to start school there, but

… Tim didn’t know what he’d do with the skills he’d learn and the degree he’d earn, so

… after a lot of drive-time discussions and no small amount of soul searching, he decided to let those wood shavings fall where they may, because life is short, and it’s time to fulfill this dream. A post-graduation plan will eventually reveal itself.

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tim applied in January, pretty much the second admissions opened for the 2023-24 school year, and – – – paperwork, interview, more paperwork – – – is now enrolled in their 12-month Boatbuilding AOS Degree program, starting in October!
It was in fact while we were living in WA 20 years ago that Tim built his first wooden boat, laying the keel after returning from a lengthy Navy deployment in 2003, and launching in 2004.
The 15’ solid wooden and fiberglass sailboat was based on Harold Payson’s Gypsy.
Tim modified it in 2005, refurbished it in 2015, and sold it in 2016, shortly after we took to full-time RV living.

We have what feels like a shipyard’s worth of logistics to plan before school starts. Are we going to book an RV site for a year? Rent a furnished place? Sell or store Tex (5th wheel) or Road Island (truck camper)? What about the cargo trailer with all Tim’s tools in it? What am I going to do while Tim’s in class every weekday from 8-5 for a year? If I get a job, won’t we need a second vehicle? And oh yeah, there’s this summer’s trip to Alaska in Road Island, for which we don’t even have the bare minimum of dinghies in a row yet. Ack!

And then… there’s the weather. We’ve visited family in western Washington countless times, plus we lived in Bremerton for a 2-year tour of duty, and it was the longest, coldest, darkest, wettest 6 winters I’ve ever experienced. Please send a sun lamp and other mood lifters. I’ve already bought the wildest pair of rain boots I could find.

The father will follow in the son’s footsteps, right through the doors of the boat school, 10 years later. It’s kind of like a legacy admission, only… backwards?
Plus, that boy of ours still lives in the area, and the prospect of more family time definitely puts some wind in this mama’s sails.
(Photo taken at the school, the weekend our son graduated)
And if I knew where to find this old license plate frame, which I had custom made for Tim when he finished the sailboat in 2004, and is now buried in a box in our storage unit, I’d definitely give it a shine and put it on the BFT.

As we muddle our way from springtime surgery in Texas, through an Alaskan summer road trip, to settling into student life in Washington in the fall, check in with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for brief updates on how it’s all going. Until the next long post here, I’ll leave you with a joke.

Question: What’s the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?  
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents. 

We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

8 thoughts on “1st quarter 2023: Big change. BIG.

  1. Emily,
    You have just a wonderful, positive attitude so I’m sure you’ll get through these medical problems quickly. I will always remember you were the one to get up and dance and just be quick to enliven the party during our first Escapees trip to San Felipe. Life does take many twists and turns but I know you’ll just dance and skip along during the tough times.
    All the best,

  2. You’re such a great writer Emily! Wow big changes but so much more to look forward to. Our neighbor is in his 60s (or is it early 70s) and just enrolled in music school to get a degree because it’s long been a dream. What will he do that that degree when he’s done? He doesn’t know and it doesn’t matter… he’s loving every moment and looks so happy… he’s living his dream, moment by moment. As are you both. So glad your son lives up there in WA too so the extra family time can brighten those grey winters for you. And my gosh your boys are so tall! Look forward to continuing following your adventures… and sending you good vibes for that April surgery. That Alaska trip will be a wonderful way to wrap up your travels for a while, and celebrate post surgery and pre boat school.

    1. Yes to all of the above. Not everyone gets to say “the adventure continues…” We’re so lucky that we do, and that you guys have been part of it!

  3. First, I’ll be keeping positive healing energy flowing your way. Second, congratulations to Tim! Third, I know what you’ll do at least some of the time you have to fill during those long weekdays 😉 And, Fourth, I don’t blame you for not loving it in Bremerton, but Port Townsend is even better, and having lived in the PNW for more than thirty years, I can swear to you that Sequim is sometimes, actually, I hate to put this in writing, TOO sunny. So, there are two more really, really great reasons to spend lots of time in Sequim! Take care of you, and we’ll see you very soon <3

    1. Can’t wait to see you toooo! And I can swear to you, although I hate to put this in writing, that we’ll put some sweat equity into your homestead, so save some work for us.

  4. It will be another adventure! Know you guys will embrace it and enjoy it as much as your road adventures. You’ll figure it out with humor and fun — and we’ll be cheering you on from the cheap seats.

    1. You *could* cheer us on from somewhat more expensive seats. Come visit the Olympic Peninsula! We’ll take y’all for a hike.

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