'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch


Why is this so Hard?

When we were considering “selling out and going cruising”, I think we had a pretty good idea of what that would entail.

That is, we understood – at least in theory – the work involved and the tasks that would need to be accomplished.  Sell real estate, find a boat, upgrade and outfit for our trip, clean out the house, etc.  The work involved looked formidable, but perfectly doable.

What I don’t think either of us understood or anticipated, though, was the incredible emotional toll the process would take – and continues to take.  Getting rid of “stuff” is utterly exhausting and heart-wrenching.

I had no idea.

For me it’s been relatively easy, because I’ve been through 3 major purges in the last 10 years.  When I moved to Maine from upstate New York back in 2006, I left behind an entire former life: Marriage, children, farm… The works.  That process was long enough and challenging enough to last me a lifetime.

I mean really, how much can you fit in a 28-foot U-Haul?  I went through the grieving process for the loss, and pretty much closed it up.   Pretty much…

But Nicki hasn’t had that opportunity yet. When her first marriage ended an awful lot of the stuff and trappings of that 20 years just went into boxes – boxes that moved with her from there to, eventually, here, the house we’re now leaving behind. There just hasn’t been time to go through them until now, and even though there are no regrets for the ending of that relationship itself, those boxes represent an incredible weight of emotional struggle and pain and hopes and joys. Each one must be gone through, piece by piece, memory by memory, and all the emotions that go with those memories must be processed and filed and reconciled…

Three hours of that is about her limit.

And I get that, on an intellectual level. I understand how hard it is, in theory.

What isn’t happening, unfortunately, is an emotional acceptance of her struggle.  I’m impatient and childish and churlish and just plan hard to get along with, constantly wanting to scream “JUST THROW THEM AWAY!!”


Not helpful, not supportive, not nice.  The urge to help by “disappearing” a few hundred pounds of it is strong, though I’ve resisted so far, but it was doubly unhelpful one day last week when I did accidentally grabbed the wrong box, and heaved into the dumpster a crate of papers she hadn’t yet looked through.  Argg!  I felt (and feel) terrible, she felt worse…

I don’t know what it is about her process that drives me so close to the edge.  Old memories? Shadow? Time concerns? We promised to be out of the house by June 30th, but here it is July 9th and we’re just this afternoon took the last carloads out to the dump, the storage unit, Goodwill, etc. Our landlord is being nice about it, but I’ve stopped giving him updates because I hate the sound of deadlines whizzing by…

But finally it is done.  We now live completely in a 35’ RV and a 32’ boat.  Ask me in a month how that feels – right now I’m pretty much numb.