Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The only luxury that really matters

The most important thing I have ever learned, is that the most valuable commodity in this world or any other, is time.

Time is the one thing you can't make, or buy, or steal more of. You only get so much, and that's it. So, you learn as you go, that anything that saves more time for you to be with your thoughts, or with your loved ones, is worth more than just dollars and cents.

It's the only luxury that really matters.

I've spent the last five whole days with my wife, doing nothing in particular. We drove, at whatever pace we chose, up to Tahoe, stopped overnight in a place that seemed nice (it was), and then relaxed our way across the next three and a half days.

We haven't watched a TV or listened to any radio other than satellite music. No commercials, no news broadcasts, no screaming and shouting dire warnings...

I have found that sitting with my wife on the couch, a cool nights lake breeze blowing through the open windows, listening to an audio book we both enjoy, is possibly the most wonderful experience in the world.

She had lots of plans, reservations, ideas, about what we were going to do when we got up here.

We canceled most of them.

Sunday, we went out on the boat. It was a bit windy, with a bit of a swell. Not the best time to introduce her to sailing; but I wanted to check things out so that we'd be good to go for the next few days.

We motored out at a sedate 4 knots, into the 3 foot swells; and much to my wifes shock and surprise, she actually LIKES a little bit of rough weather boating.

The wind calmed a bit, still in the 10-15 knot range; but it's a solid, deep keeled 30 footer with plenty of ballast, so I decided to run up the rig, just for a test.

She sailed fine, though in the fresh wind and swells, it got a little exciting. The best thing we found out though, is that Mel really likes sailing, and she likes it brisk as much as I do.

...Oh and that Mel wants a sailboat as much as I do, and that a little bit bigger boat than a 30 footer would be nice (more cabin room, more stability, more speed)...

We sailed for about an hour or so, before the breeze started to freshen too much (over 20kts) again; then dropped sail and motored back in to the mooring

We had intended on being out an hour or two, and ended up being out for five hours; most of that time just hanging out on the boat.

Unfortunately, rather than taking the dinghy out to the mooring (about 1/4 mile off and 1/4 mile down shore, and I didn't feel like rowing an 8 foot dinghy 1/2 mile in 3 foot swells) we had taken the marina water taxi. While we were out, things had slowed down so much that the marina decided to send everyone home and close up early.

So there we were, stuck out on the boat... 65 degree water, 65 degree day, and a 15-20 knot wind (a little bit of windchill to a soaked body).

It was stay the night on the boat, or swim for it. Really it was a tossup, because we'd brought enough food, water, supplies etc... (you know me, I believe in being prepared); but what the hell... we swam for it.

Honestly, the water wasn't so bad once we got used to it. It was only a few hundred yards in till we could touch bottom, and then a quarter mile down the beach to get back to the marina.

It was an adventure; and it never would have happened if we had been paying attention to the time.

We got home and had LOOOOONG hot showers, before heading out for a nice and low key dinner at a french place (Mirabelle, on the 207 just uphill of the 50, in Stateline).

No, that is not an oxymoron. It was quiet, and comfortable, and not in any way pretentious; while at the same time having a wonderful menu and wine list.

We had beautiful sauted crispy sweetbreads, bacon wrapped roast stuffed pheasant, and a wild game mixed grill; all with a nice bottle of Steele Point, and a couple of simple desserts.

Yesterday, we pretty much relaxed the whole day away. We were going to go sailing, but when we hauled down on Sunday, we found that three of the mainsail slides were broken, and there was a torn seam in the mainsail luff. That meant no more sailing until we could find some spare parts.

Unfortunately, none of the local marine supply places were open labor day; but that didn't much bother us. I got up early to call around in the morning, found out no-one was open, and then went back to bed, pulling the covers up over us.

We slept real late, made lunch at home, went to the movies (Inglorious Basterds, which was odd, but good) and drove 3/4 the way around the lake, stopping to get out and admire the view a couple times; before heading back to the cabin to relax for a while.

Finally we went out late to a local bar that everybody told us had great burgers.

If you ever need a place to hang out around the south end of Tahoe, Sams Tavern in Zephyr Cove is a good start. Great people, and good food, cheap.

Todays plan was again to sail; but as it happens nobody within 50 miles of here seems to have the stuff we need in stock.

The irritating bit is, it's jsut a couple of 3/4" sail slides ($0.65 a piece), some 3" Dacron sail tape ($15 a roll), a bit of waxed dacron thread, and a sailmakers palm. You'd think that around the biggest boating lake in the western united states, there would be somebody who had them in stock, but nope.

Actually, there is one place that several people recommended would have them in stock, but they haven't answered their phone in two days, so... The nearest place I can confirm has them is the West Marine up in Reno (a 3 hour round trip).

As much as I want to sail some more this week, I'm not willing to waste that time I could be enjoying with my wife. If the local place answers the phone tomorrow, we'll head down there and get another day of sailing in before we leave. If not, oh well.

Five days down, five more to go; and every one of them enjoyed to the last minute.