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Becoming Re Metau
2005
Anna Maria Island Beach
~ Anna Maria Island Beach ~
Moving to Florida
Down Sizing for Down South
Once the house was on the market, I focused on clearing it of most everything not boat worthy – which is to say most everything. Many of our more meaningful belongings were given to family members, and it was gratifying to be a benefactor from this side of the dirt. But our family was small, and with nearly 2 decades under this roof, we still had a lot of which to dispose.

So being otherwise unemployed, my full time job became selling our stuff on eBay, a website that allowed anyone to auction off anything. It was a great deal of work, but far more profitable than what a tag sale would generate. Watching the bidding wars break out over the most mundane item was pretty exciting too. In the end we made a pretty penny to put towards the boat fund.

Whatever didn't get bestowed or bought was donated or dumped on the curb. Within a few months the rooms were full of empty space and it was time for me to find a real job. Phone interviews quickly turned into physical interviews, so it made sense for me to go ahead of everything else. And there was so much else that had to happen. Don needed to find work in Florida. The house had to sell. The boat had to close.

But the pull of our dream was strong, so in late June of 2005, I packed up my car and left Ohio for that long drive south. Departing from Don, putting so much distance from my daughter, and moving out of my home of 17 years was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I won't soon forget the feelings that emerged when I closed that back door for the final time.

Bradenton Beach City Pier
~ Bradenton Beach City Pier ~
Succor from the Sea
My aunt and uncle's generous neighbor, a world traveler who rarely inhabited his Anna Maria Island home, provided me with a free place to stay while I looked for work, as well as a marina in which to live. After all I'd left behind and with all the uncertainty I faced, not much could bring me solace. But the beach just across the road did much to sooth my anxious soul, and the sunsets across the beautiful Gulf waters each night managed to raise my spirits.
Too Few to Float
Finding a place to plop the boat was not as easy as we had first imagined. When I made calls to the facilities listed in the phone book, a little known fact was quickly revealed to me. Live-aboards were often not welcome. Too many dispossessed individuals bumming around in neglected boats had clogged the bays of Florida, and made it difficult for those of us who wanted to leave a clean wake.

I discovered it was best to visit the marinas in person, talk to the harbor master, let them know that we had a ship shape vessel, and that we were conscientious sailors who would be reliable tenants. I threw around our boat's make a lot, and saw the power of the words 'Hans Christian' translate to well-built, expensive, and wealth in the minds of the slip-lords.

And there were other things I needed to consider when searching for our new address, such as the condition the docks were in, the cleanliness of the shower and laundry facilities, if there were showers and laundry facilities, and the safety of the neighborhood. So it made sense to see the options first hand.

Eventually, I was able to identify only 6 viable marinas in the Tampa Bay area – over 150 miles of coastline – that even allowed live-aboards! And one of those, the St. Pete Municipal Marina had an 8 year waiting list for a slip!

Bradenton Beach Marina
~ Bradenton Beach Marina ~
Bobbing for Bucks
I also soon learned that being a full time boat resident in Florida wasn't going to come cheap. Besides the cost of a monthly slip rental and the added water, electric, and cable bill, there were lots of extra fees; live-aboard fees, parking fees, pump-out fees, slip fees, maintenance fees, garbage fees. If they could conceive of it, they charged for it.

The area was in a real estate boom. Demand for housing was high, availability was low, and values soared. There were slips, veritable holes in the water, that one could buy for over $100,000 should one be so cash flush (and prudence deficient). So the marinas that weren't turning into dockominiums were garnering profits in other ways.

Make a Wish & Blow
Don's frustration in finding work in his field of expertise was wearing on him. Concerns about the house selling, the boat closing, and finding a place to put it were wearing on me. And the loneliness caused by separation was wearing on us both. Then my birthday came around to rub salt into the wound.

Aunt Marie and Uncle John did a fantastic job of keeping me occupied the entire time I was their neighbor, and planned to take me out for dinner on my special day. Don sent me a bouquet of beautiful flowers to brighten my mood as well. And cards and letters were received from all the family and friends I'd left behind. But the best present I received that year arrived by email.

The transfer of funds had transpired. The records had been rubber-stamped. All the 'I's had been dotted and the 'T's had been crossed. I signed the contract for our boat on July 19th – Happy Birthday to me!

About Us
About Re Metau
About Our Journey
Becoming Re Metau
About Our Cruising Kitty
Neptune
Tour Our Floating Home
Big Living on a Little Boat
About Our 1st Boat
A Morgan 24 – Points Unknown
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