Friday, April 22, 2016

Blogging from A to Z: R is for Rebaselining


During the month of April last year, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge - one alphabet-themed post per day (except Sundays).  I had such a good time with it that I'm doing it again this year.  I'm loosely organized on the theme of downsizing, minimalism, and small-home living that I've learned in 14 years of living on a small boat.  I'm starting with A is for Anchoring Out, Anger-ing Out, and ending with Z is for Zout and Zwarte Peper (Dutch for salt and black pepper). Click on the A to Z logo on the lower left sidebar for links to many other bloggers participating in the challenge.




"I'm going to be offline next week," my friend Jorge told me. "I'm going on vacation and I'm so jazzed -- we're going to be on a liveaboard sailboat, we'll sail to a different island every day and we can just jump off the stern to go scuba or snorkeling."

"But Jorge," I had to chuckle, "you've just described my everyday life! When I go on vacation, I want to live on land, in a fancy resort, with a big shower, and a car."

In business management, rebaselining refers to adjusting project status when a project is delayed or external conditions have changed so much that the original timeline is no longer feasible. (definition from here) Adjusting expectations when external conditions change is also a feature of long-time living aboard. Our life afloat is rich in luxury for the spirit, not so much for luxury of the body.

It's actually been kind of cool, as we've developed a new appreciation for ordinary things. Our shower is the size of a phone booth and fresh water very limited so we do water-saving "Navy showers" -- turn the water on, wet your body, turn the water off, soap up, turn the water on, rinse off. In fact on the Galeon at sea, showers were with sea water, and each crew member was rationed one gallon of fresh water in a plastic jug for final rinse off. So now, a long shower in a big shower stall, with sit-down space and all the hot water you want, is my version of a spa day. And the odd thing is, it gives me just  as much pleasure as a spa would have when we lived on land ... because in each case you appreciate whatever is more luxurious than your baseline. Adjust the baseline, and it takes such little, ordinary things to make a big impact. We have a small freezer aboard, but in order to keep it cold enough to keep ice cream we would use an inordinate amount of power. So instead of being something we can grab whenever we want, ice cream becomes a special, infrequent treat to savor when we're in a new port.  Same is true of fast internet, washing machine, walk-in closet, all sorts of mod cons. Amazingly, doing without these things on a regular basis has increased our happiness -- because such small things now make us happy.

12 comments:

  1. Great post! And one that rings true for me. I've always referred to it as "lowering the bar" but I think "rebaselining" is a better fit.

    Cheers, Stephanie
    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/r-is-for-route-planning-our-top-8.html

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    1. LOL Stephanie! "Lowering the bar" is also accurate, but you're right, it has some pretty negative connotations.

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  2. You are so right about all of this, again! Same was true for us while we were on Irie. We showered and did dishes in salt water with a fresh water rinse. Going to our home countries for a visit was always so luxurious and we thoroughly enjoyed the showers, comfy beds, sitting on a sofa or green grass, the unlimited water, electricity and WiFi, having a massive selection in a grocery store (overwhelming!)... It's the small things in life (for many) that were huge and enjoyable things for us. (And that deprivation for eight years is what makes us truly enjoy our temporary house life now). Same with the ice cream and eating out. It was, and remains special!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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    1. Once the novelty wears off, yeah, salt water gets old. (Cold ice cream, OTOH, never gets old!)

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  3. Great post! And one that rings true for me. I've always referred to it as "lowering the bar" but I think "rebaselining" is a better fit.

    Cheers, Stephanie
    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/r-is-for-route-planning-our-top-8.html

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  4. Rebaselining is a good term. It does make you adjust and no doubt stuff like ice cream is not taken for granted. And a stop in a hotel on land is a whole new level. Sail on my friend

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    1. Thanx Joanne, maybe sometime we can chat about the ultimate simplification: writing with a pencil and paper, on a windswept beach, not a piece of technology in sight. ;)

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  5. I was just thinking how special ice cream is now, and what a fun treat it is! I backpacked in bush Alaska for a few months - bathing in freezing cold glacier water. The shower I had when coming back to civilization was the best shower of my life! - Lucy

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    1. Ah yes, Lucy ... the ultimate rebaselining!

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  6. All this talk of rebaselining is taking me right back to my corporate la-la land days. Those day of project plans, exciting multi-colored spreadsheets with formulas, RACIs and the like.

    I've lived so long without a working propane system on my boat that it's become the new normal to cook using a microwave and crockpot. I just ordered a cheap one burner electric plug in thing and I'm so excited about the idea of making scrambled eggs. Talk about rebaselining.

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    1. Wow! We got a one-burner magnetic induction cooktop just to save on propane since we're paying electric in the marina anyway. (But then again, we don't have either a microwave or a crockpot) You are right, though ... whatever is a step up from what you're used to, becomes a treat!

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  7. This is so true. Great post! When we had our Cal 34, we had no shower aboard at all. So I would heat water on the stove, close off the head and hang a shower curtain, then pour the water over myself with a cup. It felt really good. When we got Galapagos it had both hot water and a shower. What luxury!

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