Hard Water in Minnesota

It's not even the middle of October and just this morning I scraped frost off my windshield to prepare for the drive into downtown Minneapolis. I don't have any socks but today I did decide that I was going to invest in a parka the size of a metro bus.

What are we doing here, you may ask? Well, I'm not going to tell you. But it is important. Hetty is on the hard down in Florida and Michelle and I are living in a pregnant closet known as an apartment. How long will we be here? Not going to mention that either. We have a sailing dinghy in our bedroom. The cat sleeps in it. Apparently, she's not ready to give up being a liveaboard yet.

I'm not sure what was the hardest part about leaving. Saying goodbye to our friends, watching Hetty get hauled out and put up on stands, seeing the last of the palm trees fade away as we headed north, or just missing the salt air. It doesn't matter - it was all of them.

The sailing season is well over here. The water is going to get hard very soon and all of the boats have been hauled out. I discovered that a West Marine recently opened up in a suburb of Minneapolis. The nice woman there tried to console me by telling me all of the neat things they do in the winter. "They have ice-boat races on Lake Minnetonka" she enthused. What sane person would stand on a sailboard and get blown around a frozen lake in sub-zero temperatures, I thought to myself. Oh well, she tried and they did have complimentary copies of Latitude 38. That helped.

We've been here for less than a month and I've already been back to Tampa once - and I have the fun tickets in my pocket for another trip in a couple of weeks. I need a tropics fix. Michelle on the other hand thinks that it would be too hard to go down there just to leave again in a couple of days. She's going to wait until January to go. I need something to look forward to - which means that I'll be flying down every 4 to 6 weeks.

With the liveaboard lifestyle, friends often leave to sail off over the horizon. It's just a part of that life. You miss them very much when they're gone but there's always the idea (probability) that you'll see them again in some tropical anchorage. Our passage to Minnesota, of course, is different. There's not much chance that we'll run into our friends up here. They may be crazy but they're not lunatics. Except for Brad. Brad, of the Brad Chronicles fame, travels to hell and back on a regular basis. Naturally, that includes Minnesota.

It's hard to complain too much. Michelle and I both have good jobs that are contributing well to the cruising kitty. We can talk to our friends anytime we want, thanks to e-mail and our nationwide cell phone and I'm going to be seeing palm trees and the ocean on a regular basis.

It's cold in here. I'm going to build a fire (yes, in the fireplace) and think about running out to get some socks. On second thought, I think I'll hold off on the socks a little longer.

October 14, 1998

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