Captain Alwaysapleasure and I are landlubbers this year. We spent the last four winters sailing, and the last two of those, sailing in the Bahamas. We planned to return to the Bahamas this year but, heartbreakingly, the Bahamas got annihilated by Hurricane Dorian. And then we decided to move. We are selling our Stillwater, Minnesota family home of twenty-four years and moving twelve hundred miles away. (Hey Stillwater peeps, buy our house!) There was not enough wine in the world to persuade the princess to add a sailing adventure amidst the moving mayhem. So, we are sheltering in place in our new home in Durango, Colorado.
It struck me how quickly John and I adapted to this captivity. We have the unique experience as sailors of living in tiny quarters for long periods of time with sparse supplies and never being quite far enough away from one another. We are used to slim selections at grocery stores as this is the norm in the Bahamas. There, you feel like you’ve struck gold when you find a sparse bunch of droopy asparagus for $11.00. Also, toilet paper is a luxury that you learn to use sparingly. And constant companionship is normal although not easy. For me, that is. I’m sure it is quite delightful for Captain Luckywiththeprincess.
So, I thought we would share some insight on how to live so closely and constantly with one another without maiming them. I told Captain Soveryenthusiasticandhelpful of my idea and asked him to contribute. “What are some tips that people might find helpful?” I asked. “Don’t get married,” was his immediate response. “Very funny, Captain I’mputtingfingerprintsonyourmotorcycle. Seriously, what advice would you give?” “Don’t write a blog with your spouse or encourage your spouse to write a blog.” Alas, this is the extent of Captain Backtohisbeer’s contribution. But fear not, stranded and annoyed! I have some valuable tips for you!
Tip #1 LEARN TO IGNORE EACH OTHER.
Are you tired of your mate’s attempts to burp the entire alphabet at once? (He rarely gets beyond H.) Or, like me, are you hopelessly inept at loading a dishwasher properly no matter how much lengthy and repetitive instruction you are given? Just let it go. Ignore them. It’s not worth getting your panties in a pinch. The more you both can ignore each other, the happier you will be.
Tip #2 FIND A PLACE TO HIDE.
We all need space. It is hard to find a place to hide, particularly when you live on a forty-two foot sailboat. You need to get creative. I tell Captain Likestohearhimselftalk, “If you see me holding a book, you don’t see me.” Captain Lovesaprojectormaybeitsme? hides in his garage. He blares heavy metal on our old stereo. Good. Go bang your head.
Tip #3 TAKE A SHOWER.
Does this need any explanation?
Only in Durango do you take your horse and your ass for a bath at the car wash
Tip #4 LIE.
Give each other false compliments. Go ahead, lie if you have to. Here is your homework. Every day give your mate a compliment whether you feel it or not. Do it. It works magic. By the way, you’re a great reader.
Tip #5 GET ANGRY. GET OVER IT.
Keep those emotions in motion. Don’t let them fester. Sometimes you just can’t ignore it. “What is so hard about loading a dishwasher?!!” I know, I know. I don’t know. I’m sorry.
Tip #6 WINE.
Wine is a magical elixir that makes your mate even funnier and extra handsome. As Charles Beaudelaire says, “One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.” (Get drunk on nature! Take a walk together everyday!) Still don’t believe me about the gargantuan benefits of wine? Would you believe Louis Pasteur? “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” Seeee? But do take Oscar Wilde’s advice. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
Tip #7 WANDERLUST
Whether on the open sea or the open road, wander. Go for a drive. It doesn’t have to be far. Turn down a road you’ve never been down. Wander. Wonder. Wander. Wonder. Together.
Tip #8 REMIND YOURSELF OFTEN WHY YOU FELL IN LOVE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
In Madison, Wisconsin, during the summer of 1985, my girlfriend (Monica!!) and I walked out of my apartment building and into the parking lot where there was a small kegger party taking place. It was a colorful lot of male characters who beckoned us to quench our thirst with them. There was nary a seat. A kind and sightly gentlemen offered me the armrest of his sawed-off, dirty faux leather, picked up from the side of the road, recliner to sit upon. As soon as my delicate derriere perched daintily on the armrest he put his arm around me and pulled me into his lap. My first thoughts of my future Captain were, this man is completely nuts and has more balls than are good for him. But I laughed and stayed put. I remind myself that I still laugh and it helps me stay put even though the man is completely nuts and has more balls than are good for him.
I hope my marital toleration tips are helpful. I am no expert at marriage as Captain Usedcarmarriagephilosopher will tell you. “Why trade in this used car for another one? At least with this one I know what is most likely to break down and how to fix it.” We wish you fair winds, following seas, an abundance of good health and happiness at home!