Saturday, October 14, 2006

So much has happened...

Jeez, it's amazing to me that I haven't updated for more than 10 months. Time sure flies! I'm still not sure where the time went.

OK, so last post was talking about Christmas and renovating the shop. Yep, that's just what we did. A total flip-flop of the shop. We moved all of the 'touristy' things downstairs and the boat supplies upstairs. What a good idea! Michael also has worked hard to bring in new items and is doing a fabulous job! We are selling Crocs, lots of Channel Island Harbor branded items, shot glasses, cards, candles, etc. I'll put some pictures up - here they are.
It looks very nice and we've seen an increase in sales - woohoo! Michael has been working on a new website too - check it out here. At the shop, we also got very lucky and was able to hire our friend, Chad, who came with us on our big trip, as the store manager. Chad, along with Nancy and a few others have made it a very pleasurable year at the store. We just hired a new guy to help out with our new adventure too, Ryan. He's helping at the shop and has been the leader in the Electric Boat Rental business as well. We're lucky to have such wonderful friends & employees. Of course, the business is still up for sale and we're anxiously awaiting a buyer. There have been some delays in the rebuild of the building that burned down. It is scheduled to start construction any day....with hopes for a grand opening in the summer of 2007.

When we returned from our big adventure, we were homeless as we had given up our slip in Channel Islands Harbor. And for those of you who don't know, finding a live-a-board slip in Channel Islands Harbor is next to impossible. We called our old marina and luckily, were given our old slip back, but were not allowed to be a live-a-board as we have Casey! Doh! We couldn't stay on the boat except for only a few days a week, so we moved in with Michael's Dad, Doug. Geez, it was quite some time since we last uttered those words "Um, Dad, do you think we could live with you....just until we find a place to stay". hahaha. As you would expect, he welcomed us in (or at least, that's what we remember). :-) We stayed with him Sunday through Thursday, then stayed on the boat Thursday through Saturday nights. This actually worked out well for me as I have 'dress down' day on Friday so I could leave all of my nice clothes at Dad's, and could wear 'boat clothes' on Friday! And it was GREAT for us - Dad cooked the most wonderful meals and watched shows we wouldn't normally watch. He continued to work in the shop, but was getting a little homesick and his knee wasn't taking too well to the Ventura weather. We had signed a small 6 month or longer lease and the owner was ready to put it on the market. Doug decided to move back to Palm Springs to get back to the heat, which worked out better for his knee, and his pocketbook! We moved him back in Spring. It was great having him out here, he's a wonderful person and we miss him a lot.

Oh great! We're homeless again! We struggled with this a bit, and finally decided to rent a place close to the shop until we could find a live a board slip. We moved the boat to an end-tie (and much less expensive slip) and moved into the downstairs of a house owned by another friend of ours that had left to go sailing. It seemed VERY wrong in my mind that we were now financing someone else's trip, but we did it. The house was very nice, small, & cute. It was a little one bedroom with amazing people living above, Paul & Kathleen. They welcomed us in with open arms. A few things were VERY nice.....a bathroom just steps from the bedroom (instead of getting out of the boat and heading up to the public showers), a nice, spacey kitchen, and most important, a washer & dryer that I could use whenever I wanted! It was heaven....hahaha. Of course, we didn't have any furniture, but lucky for us, a great friend of mine, Jeanne, gave me a bed, loveseat, chair, & ottoman. We were SET! Doug had given us a TV and a computer desk when he moved to Palm Springs, and some chairs from his new place, we were styling. We still tried living the simple life and tried hard not to bring anything in we knew wouldn't make it back onto the boat.

Unfortunately, Michael came home on our anniversary and found Casey had passed away during the day. Jeez, you never know how much you love an animal until they go. It was very hard on both of us, in fact, I'm crying now thinking of that day. If you ever knew him, you know that he was a great dog, always happy & goofy and full of life. He gave us lots of love and we only hope he knew how much he meant to us. We're thankful that we didn't have to see him grow old and was never in any pain. He was 14. He was our buddy and was happy & healthy up to the end. We miss him a lot. It's been hard adjusting to not having him with us. It was always 'Michael, Rene, & Casey." He still appears every once in a while, just to remind us he's with us in spirit. He'll be in our hearts forever.

We decided to make a positive spin out of Casey passing away. Since now we didn't have the restriction of a dog, we were able to find a live-a-board slip in a new marina. Woohoo! We moved back on board in August. Home....again. It's funny, when we moved in with Dad or into the temporary house, it was nice, but the boat is home. It's warm and I know where everything is. I feel comfortable here. The boat is ready to go sailing! Now she's just waiting for us to be ready.

I feel like I'm writing one of those 'Christmas' letters everyone hates to get. hahaha. Hopefully you're hanging in there and I'm not boring you too much. Does anyone even read these things?

What else have we been up to? Well, I decided that enough was enough and started to get back into shape. I hate being heavy and have struggled with it for years. I'm a work-a-holic and will often put work ahead of my own needs. So I got off my butt and joined Weight Watcher's in December, right after Christmas. I lost some weight there, but in January, joined in on the "Ventura County 8 week healthy liftstyle challenge". I needed a 'jump-start' to get me back working out again and this was exactly what I got. I had a lot of peer support during this 8 weeks and ended up losing. I was one of the 10 winners, which was great, a great boost to my self esteem. I have continued with this plan of eating healthy and exercising and have lost over 40 pounds so far. I have about 10-15 more to go but feel great. Michael has lost about 10-20 pounds as well. Our secret? We adhered to a diet that has been advised by Dr. Gott for some time:
- No added sugar (sugar can't be in the first 5 ingredients). Natural sugars (Fruit, etc) is OK.
- No 'enriched' anything. Whole Wheat or Multi-grain only.
- No fried foods
- Eat every 2-3 hours. This is followed STRICTLY! I'm convinced this is the 'key' to keeping my metabolism working in my favor.
- Drink lots of water.
- Exercise. Michael and I have been walking in the evenings, as well as doing something fun on Sundays - going Kayaking, playing Tennis, playing pool, etc. I try to make it to the gym 2-3 times a week to do some weight training. And I try to go jogging at least once a week.

That's it! We've done exceptional, if I say so myself. We both have a new appreciation of 'real' foods as we can fall into the trap easily of getting home late from work and just throwing boxed meals together. We try to have a fresh veggie at every dinner. We've cut way down on our bread because we were always eating the quick, white, enriched stuff that wasn't doing us any good. We've also cut down on rice as that was one of our staples, now we've substituted it with whole wheat Couscous - yummy! Of course we didn't do all of this overnight, slowly we started really eating better, and it shows! I'd recommend this to anyone, it really has made a difference.

Michael has been busy at the shop, making changes and marketing. We just recently purchased the Electric Rental business two doors down so we now have 3 electric boats for rent in the Channel Islands Harbor. It's a new adventure, but we feel it adds value to what we already own.
I've also been busy at work. As I said, I scored and got my job back at Livingston Memorial VNA. I can't say enought how much I love my job. I really like everyone I work with and love the work. It's such a rewarding place to work. I also took the opportunity to go sailing this year with a co-worker on 'Wet Wednesday's Racing series'. I was able to help crew aboard "Jitterbug" owned by Kitty & Jan. I think I went 6 or 7 times, each time it was a blast. I have a few pictures that I'll post too.

I'm able to write all of this now because I've been forced to sit around the boat for 4 days after a little minor surgery. I've been battling pre-cervical cancer for the last year and on Thursday, had a procedure to remove a problem spot. Hopefully this will take care of the problem cause I'm sick of dealing with this. It was the first time I've been in the hospital since I was very young and I hope not to go again for a while!! You never know, maybe this was the reason we didn't get to go sailing last year. I hope so!

Last week I went to Vegas for a conference/training through work. I went with 3 other co workers. We learned a lot and had a good time as well. We were there Tuesday through Friday and tried to play each night. Tuesday night we went to "The Comedy Stop" at the Tropicana and saw 3 comedians, it was fun. Wednesday night we went to a Circ de Solei show "KA" which was phenomenal. Lots of acrobatics, martial arts, amazing feats & cool sights. Thursday we saw an exhibit of "Bodies" where they have taken cadavers and removed the skin to reveal the muscles, organs, and everything beneath. It was amazing. I learned so much! I was the one who wanted to go the most, but was the one who was all woosie after 3 rooms! I even tried to walk out, but was convinced it was better and my friends were in there! haha. It was incredible, I'd recommend it to anyone. I'd only warn it's kinda graphic, but fascinating.

Michael has made 2 trips out to Texas as we're looking for some income producing properties to purchase. He likes the Corpus Christie area and has identified a couple properties out there he's interested in. We have changed our minds of selling out all of our properties and this time plan to leave a couple that are a positive cash flow so that we can have some monthly income coming in. This is the new plan! :-)

OK, so what's the plan now? We're still waiting for the shop to sell before creating our new 'timeline'. Our thought is it will be sometime next year before the shop sells as the new building will hopefully be up by then. Once it sells, it's get ready time again. The best time to leave is October/November so you can bet it will be that time some year. Until then, we're hanging in there. Trying to have fun and go sailing as often as we can get a way from the shop.

Please drop us a line if you're still hanging in there! We're happy to hear from everyone.
Take care and I promise to update more often than once every 10 months. ;-)



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