9-DEC-2017, Decatur, GA (Atlanta Metro Area) – Working on houses here in Atlanta is just the same as working on boats in preparation for a trip.
While working on the Willivee house, which is my residence, has been an all-consuming heads down run, it does not leave time for writing. I have another nine days here, and like any major project, whether it be a boat, a software suite or a marketing push, towards the end, the large pieces have taken their form and in the final weeks and begin to look like what they were envisioned to be.
The one major remaining project on the house is to paint it. It is snowing here in Atlanta and the power has been flickering on and off. The temperature won’t get back into the 50s until the end of the week, so the house may not be painted. To scrape the old paint off and end up in a position where I cannot put on the next coat of paint would leave the house in much worse shape than it is, so painting may wait until I return for a period of time in October 2018.
To write, and to keep a blog, is a responsibility that I have willingly taken on, and there is both a feeling of guilt for not having written and the ache of gratification delay.
I can only apologize for being gone so long, tell you how long the article list is, and that I can’t wait to have the time to write: each is a small project that I can envision and yearn to build. I am a software engineer by profession and temperament.
These skills and temperament lend themselves well to sailing, especially single-handed sailing, and sailing nearly alone with Jennifer.
In my first years working at Digital Equipment I started reading about the personality characteristics of a software engineer; many of the things that I had done and sought out fit the personality type. Like anyone, I don’t match them all: I like having people around, and I have good interpersonal skills.
Most telling is my handwriting. Really good engineers have small, very small, very precise handwriting: printed, not script. The same way I have chosen my personality characteristics, none of the really good engineers I know chose to write that way. My handwriting is mess: when hand writing a love letter, I would often send the typewritten transcription. Being insulted by the school principal for my handwriting was a yearly ritual.
For a software engineer one of the most telling attributes is not looking to other people for metrics of success. The metric of success that software engineers tend to use come from, well it’s often worded as coming from a computer, but the truth is it comes from creating something, or getting something to work at a level that matches the software engineers expectation of how it should work.
For the sailor, this lends itself to creating the sailboat, creating the systems, and becoming an accomplished sailor by our own metrics.
Today while it snows, I’ll start finishing projects inside the Willivee house, and if we feel that it is safe to drive amongst the Atlanta drivers – there is little enough snow that all of the roads are passable, the danger is being hit by an inexperienced driver – we’ll drive over to Jennifer’s house on Terry Mill, where the tenant has not reported maintenance issues and the house is falling into startling disrepair. We’ll fix a broken window, a busted-in door, a rat infestation problem and schedule a cleaner to remove the knee-deep trash that has accumulated.
It is/was a beautiful house in a very nice neighborhood. It will cost a fair amount of time, labor and money to restore it to the condition it was when the woman moved in.
The move that we’re undertaking, if I haven’t mentioned it before, is to move away from real estate as much as we can. The houses have all increased enough in value that the return on investment on the equity in the houses does not match other investments, so we plan to sell the majority of our houses.
Being real estate free will allow us much, much more freedom and greatly reduced psychological weight. Any time we’ve been out of touch for more than a day or two there is the worry about what might have happened to any of these real estate properties.
I have several half-completed blog articles on topics that are much more related to sailing. Beginning next Tuesday, I will be away from Atlanta and hope to start putting them up.
While we have been in Atlanta, we have invited some friends to join us as we sail up the inside passage one more time. We’re hoping Julia and Ben will join us. They’re rock climbers and a number of places where we sail have sheer walls that come straight out of the water.
I have no interest in climbing, but it would be très cool to watch them climb.
We have berth space, so if you’d like to join us let us know in the comments, or email me directly.