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An update on life — there is not yet gainful employment. Considering the state of the job market in this town, that’s not terribly surprising, but I count myself lucky for a lot of reasons: The Wife™, The Dogs™, the fact that our house is paid off and the fact that my Employment Insurance is coming in with minimal hassle, which means I can buy gas and groceries and make student loan payments without too much stress while I look for a good job, not just the first call-centre indentured servitude that comes along.

It does, however, mean that a certain amount of belt-tightening has occurred. I have had to make a couple of big-ticket purchases recently even though I’ve been trying to avoid doing too much of that: I badly needed a new set of casual boots after Ty chewed up my last pair in the autumn so I dropped a fair chunk of change on a pair of Australian work boots. These I very carefully waterproofed and then meticulously drenched in bitter apple no-chew formula because I don’t need to come downstairs to find my new Blundstones in ragged pieces all over the carpet… especially since replacing them would be a genuine hardship on a tight budget.

Still, after spending my twenties living on OSAP, minimum wage and a couple of years of social assistance, I have to say that this is not nearly the tightest I’ve had to keep my belt. Right now my primary hardship is boredom, which as hardships go is barely worth mentioning.

But there are some things that I’ve had enough time to think about, and one of those things is the fact that I’ve put a couple of things on hold over the past few years because I haven’t had time for them. Specifically, I want to start sailing again. I mentioned this last summer during an extremely stressful time at the office but I just didn’t have the time to pursue it. Well, this summer I seem to have the time, but I’m going to have to be frugal about it.

Formal sailing lessons at most of the local sailing clubs require a very pricey membership as well as the cost of the lessons, so I was a bit bummed out about that. But fortunately I discovered a local-ish “yacht club” which offers a “crewing membership”. I put “yacht club” in quotations because it doesn’t really fit with the white cap, navy jacket, rich bastard society that one thinks of when they hear the words “yacht club.” It seems to be much more of a blue-collar, workaday sort of crowd. It actually reminds me a lot of a local shooting range I used to belong to and which still occasionally hosts a small SCA event. The feeling I get is that it’s more of a beer-and-burgers group than a champagne-and-caviar one… which suits me just fine. I’ve been in touch with them and they seem friendly and welcoming.

A “crewing” membership, which is considerably less than a “full” membership, I think is the best option for me at the moment. Basically, if you successfully apply to become an associate club member, and those “full” members with boats can invite you to come aboard during the club’s racing season to help handle the boat. Since the impression I get is that many of the full members of the club are retirees, I assume that an extra set of strong hands are welcome. The benefit for the crewing members is the chance for sailing experience without the expense of your own boat.

But the most interesting part is that they discourage potential crewing members from buying a membership until they’ve gotten a couple of weekends under their belt. In addition, “crewing” members need to have two sponsors before they can submit an application, so coming out as a potential applicant lets folks get to know you (and lets you get a feel for the club) before any commitment needs to be made. I heartily approve of that: it tells me they’re not interested in selling memberships, they’re interested in building an active community.

Let’s hope I’m a good fit.

So cross your fingers — at the very least it might be a chance to make it out on the water this spring and summer, and if I make the cut I might just be able to get some serious sailing experience in over the next year or two… and then we’ll see what happens. I’m encouraged, though: I’ve spent so much time over the past couple of years putting things on hold for various reasons, both good and bad. But The Wife™ and I talked it over, and we think this might be a good approach for me to take with the final goal of buying my own boat in a few years. I’m tired of dreaming of a hypothetical “someday”: If I don’t start working towards what I want, “someday” will never come.

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