A Backstory Post, November 16, 2012...
Andrew and Leslie finalize the purchase documents and schedule to close my purchase the Friday before Thanksgiving.
I will have new humans! I am such a mix of emotion. I’m sad and happy, excited, hopeful and a little nervous. I’ll miss my former owners, they are such good friends. This is why I'm sad. I’m happy and hopeful that I chose Andrew and Leslie, but of course I still have yet to discover whether I made a good choice. That is why I’m nervous. For two more weeks, I fidget in my sales berth. I’m tied into my brokerage slip by a web of lines, two in the back, two in the front, a fifth from front to back on one side, a sixth from back to front on the other. I pull and tug against them in various directions, never really moving because one pulls taught as the other grows slack. I just need to get out of here. I’ve been sitting in this damn sales slip for too long. Years. Years, now I’ve been straddling that line of uncertainty between my past and my future. It’s a hard two weeks to wait. It’s like the last few days of a very long passage, suddenly, I’m looking forward to the next destination.
The day we transfer possession is a bitter sweet for me. The morning dawns with a clear sky and crisp San Diego November temperatures. I blink and yawn, stretch and look around. I’m sure they’ll be here to set me loose anytime now. But, by 10:00 a.m., no one has come to visit. Where is everyone? I thought they were supposed to be here today. I try to look into Steve’s office window, and he’s there, on the phone. What is he doing? “Put down the phone Chatty-Cathy!”
My owners, Andrew and Leslie, and Steve finally wander out around 1:30 p.m., smelling of tuna fish sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips. “Where have you been!?” Andrew and Leslie look a little disheveled and a bit fatigued.
“Boy, what a morning we’ve had, Sonrisa!” Leslie says, she explains that the lender who had previously approved the full amount of the purchase price balked this morning when they confirmed account information to transfer funds. “We are sorry, we realized that the 1981 Valiant 40 has a value range between $50,000 and $140,000 depending on condition and we are only going to approve a loan of $50,000, instead of the $70,000 we originally told you.” This resulted in an early morning scramble to compile all bank account holdings and figure out if the deal is dead. Andrew and Leslie scooped up the requisite extra by raiding their emergency fund for real emergencies (HEY, I THINK THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!) only to have the Lender then claim they cannot close a loan on a Friday.
Of all the tomfoolery…
Leslie somehow put them straight, though, and after lunch they confirmed the wire would transfer at 4:30 p.m. So we have more time to wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Damn. This really is like the last day of a passage, with a storm, through which I must hove to and wait to enter safe harbor. I call upon every technique I know to improve my patience and level my calm.
Luckily, now, I didn’t have to wait alone. My owners, er…soon to be former owners, gather a few things from my stores to take home with them. Andrew and Leslie help carry whatever it is they need to take. They leave and return, answer phone calls, confirm business, get things wrapped up, and finally as the sun gets low in the sky, they all gather before my bow and shake hands. I guess it’s time, now.
At this point, it all happened so fast. Steve and Andrew loosen my dock lines and Leslie climbs aboard to start my engine. She takes her post behind the helm, and gives Andrew the signal to indicate she is ready to cast off. My prior owner unties my last line and tosses it upward into Andrew’s waiting hands. We shift into reverse, and with the click of my propeller opening to spin, my heart breaks a little. “I guess this is goodbye,” I say as I look at my prior owners get smaller at the end of the dock. I’ve been waiting for this transition for so long, but can you imagine saying goodbye to such a long old friend? I give them a wave and fight back a few tears as we motor down the marina alleyway. “Keep in touch!” I call back to them and sniff.
“Sonrisa! Look at that!” Leslie says. As we break out of the brokerage marina, I am facing the buildings of downtown, shimmering with gold and pink as sunset drops behind us and casts rays at their windows. This cheers and calms me a little. I wish we could stretch my sails a bit, but it’s getting dark and it’s not a good idea for a new boat owner to try to dock the first time in the dark. Docking is a bit…perilous if you don’t know what you are doing. Do these people know what they are doing? Suddenly, I feel scared. I have no idea if these people know what they are doing.
We weave our way through thousands and thousands of boats, all nestled snug in their own dock. Not sure where my new berth will be, I motor slowly trying to read cues from Leslie’s face. Leslie turns into an alleyway, with Steve-The-Chainsmoker-Broker and Andrew posted on the bow. I see the open slip.
“Oh, no….” I groan under my breath.
“What,” Leslie says.
“Nothing, nothing…” I didn’t want to make her nervous.
“What?” She says again, a bit more intense this time.
“It’s a cross wind slip, cross current, upwind double berth” I tell her. This means there are two boats that have to share one open space between two docks on the right and the left. “Cross wind and cross current” means as soon as I make the turn, my engine and speed have to balance out the sideways push from wind and current. Its advance docking maneuvers, even for a pro.
“We’ll be okay, though. The wind is light.” Leslie says, and I note you can almost see my reflection in the water at this moment. “Don’t you worry, we’ll get you in safe and sound.”
We creep, ever so slowly toward the open slip. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even moving. “Don’t go any faster than you want to be moving when you hit something,” Leslie says to me. This is a widely circulated rule docking wisdom. I feel a bit more safe that she knows it.
She aims my bow at the open slot and we glide in. Everything is going just fine until…my voluptuous stern slides too far away from the dock. Andrew scuttles to starboard, leaning across my lifelines to push me away from new neighbor. “Oh, jeeze,” I say to my new slip mate “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry” as I repeatedly hip check her with my bouncy stern bumper.
Steve is trying to jump across to my dock finger but we are too far away. It’s not so much a tragedy, but a slow motion picture of Larry, Moe and Curley messing around on a boat just slightly too far away from its intended destination. I imagine soon they will be falling and mussing their hair. But then, gentleman with an Irish brogue and a thick head of perfectly white hair saunters down the dock and saves me from further humiliation. Steve tosses him a couple lines and soon we are all secured.
“There!” Steve says, “Not bad, Leslie!”
I raise an eyebrow. It could be better. But for now, I'm home!