Dropping In

Dropping out of the working world and moving aboard your boat is difficult enough. But, as we have just discovered, moving back into society is just as fraught with perils. Perhaps what we have learned can help you make the transition easier and avoid the dangers lurking there.

Although we sold our cars before leaving, we had arranged to become occasional drivers on our son’s car insurance. As we used his address as ours, this was quit simple and we paid the difference in his fees. Friends, who didn’t have this foresight, found it very expensive to insure after being away for several years. They got a reduction by proving car rentals (with insurance) during that time. Without that history, the insurance companies treat you as a new driver. That is a big hit in the pocketbook.

Just recently, we purchased a small house. It had been ten years since we had a home and twenty-five years since we had had a mortgage. It would have been possible to take the funds out of investments but not fiscally responsible. Without a regular pay cheque/income from an employer, the forms become tricky and the bank requires other information about your investments, notices of assessment for taxes and other assets. As some of those important papers were stored aboard our boat in Florida, we were scrambling to get copies. A hint for Canadians, copies of prior Notices of Assessments can been printed out from the government website, with appropriate identification.

The house requires some up-dating. But then, so do we. Things have changed in the building trades with new products, styles, methods etc. And decorating techniques have changed also. Research is underway, watching TV programs, reading do-it-yourself magazines and visiting hardware stores. Just another challenge.

We tried to arrange for services ie power, water etc. Again, we had no recent history and the provider wanted a large deposit to assure them of our ability to pay. By providing them with a very positive credit check ( ordered on-line through Equifax ), we avoided that shoal. The phone company will be the next hurdle. Currently, we give out our son’s phone number when required to fill in a form etc. But, in the spring, we will actually have to get our own phone – the first in ten years as we have not even had a cell phone during that time. That may be difficult to arrange but the credit check should help. We’ll keep you posted. And, of course, there is cable and internet to select from the variety of services available and figure out how many channels we really need. Anything more than one channel will be an improvement.

Moving into a new house is simple when you have very little furniture to move. My mom had recently gone into an assisted living facility and she gave us a trailer load of stuff. Websites, such as kijiji or craigslist, can help you find used items of furniture to fill those empty spaces. Auctions, garage sales and flea markets can also be great sources.

But, after living on a boat whatever the size, you will notice that you just do not have the same drive to acquire “stuff”. Any TV larger than 14 inches seems huge and much cheaper than that 54 inch one that the salesman is pushing. Closet space isn’t an issue as we have gotten used to throwing out an old tee shirt ( or shorts ) if new ones are purchased. And the frig – it is gigantic! But anything bigger than 1.5 cubic feet would seem that way. The master bedroom is completely empty yet but perhaps we can use an airbed for a while until I find the right bed on sale. Something with room for our feet ! The vee berth on the boat is king sized at the head but only a single bed size at the foot. It sure is a good thing that I am so short as it gives Murray more space at the foot of the bed.

We are looking forward to moving some things from the boat to the house – ie the winter mittens and scarves, polar fleece pants that we seldom use in Florida or the Bahamas. Then we will have more space aboard! Room for new tee shirts!

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