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20 March 2013 @ 03:53 pm
what happened over the fall and winter  
As I just said, I haven't written here in awhile so there is a lot to summarize.

Things in the Fall were fine until Ghost disappeared overnight November 12th-13th.

Here is what I wrote about that on Facebook:

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Today was the fourth full day since Ghost disappeared.

The last time I lived without a pet was almost twenty years ago. Then, I got my cat James as a kitten and gradually learned how valuable it is for a single adult to have the companionship of an animal. I felt intense grief when James died a little over three years ago at age sixteen. But it was summer still so my moods had not yet begun to darken with the seasons. And there was no uncertainty -it was a death, and I was prepared for it, and I was with my pet at the end. About a week before James died, the white cat I later named Ghost began hanging out here in the yards behind the condo, watching me every day, and wagging his tail when I saw him.

I ignored him for I can't remember how long, because I was only thinking of how I missed James. But I now know his presence helped me get over the sorrow, and I know I finally adopted him on a beautiful day I will never forget.

This time, to my awareness, there is no other pet watching me as I mourn, waiting to comfort me when I am ready to accept comforting.

And this time, I am mourning while my moods are becoming less bright, as the days shorten.

And worst of all, I have no idea what happened to my pet, and where he is, or where his body is.

I am being transformed right now by the intensity of my sadness, because I am directing it toward greater self-awareness.

-I have been trying to meditate for years now, without much success. -But this convulsion has shifted my consciousness out of its normal groove, into places it has never been, and I have been using this as an opportunity, and have expanded the range of my mind finally. I am experienceing successful meditation finally in the last few days.

But, as for what happened, I've searched everywhere.

I do not believe Ghost is dead.

He was trying to communicate something to me just before midnight Monday night, when I last saw him, just before he went out and never came back. I remember exactly how he was looking at me, with eyes half closed, purring very loud, and hugging my arm. I remember thinking, "Wow, what's the matter, I'm not leaving you."

He had been staying with me every moment, more than normal, for several days, then this final behavior, then he was gone.

He knew it was exactly one year ago we went to Florida for the second time. He knew we were about to go again.

I was having forebodings about the danger there, on the little boat on the river, especially regarding him.

And I love how perfect and safe this little half block of interconnected back yards full of gardens below the condo in Dayton is, almost a cat paradise. I know Ghost sees it as heaven.

He was telling me to go without him, that the horrid long drive is too traumatic for him, and that living on a boat through the winter is just too stressful and dangerous. He was telling me he loves me, and to not worry about him, and that he will think of me every day while I am down there.

He may have been carried off by a coyote or stray dog and killed beyond the range I searched, but I doubt it. They would have just killed him here and I would have found his body.

Instead, I think he found his way back to where he came from just over three years ago. I do not know where that is, maybe not far. I hope they took him back in and are loving him properly this time.

If not, I think I will see him again in the Spring. He is so wise. He knows exactly when I plan to be back.

After over two years on the water, and after seven months tied up in a place where I have friends, but NOT trustworthy friends, the boat may be in any condition imaginable when I get down to it on November 25th.

If I am lucky, I can take up where I left off in early May, but without Ghost this time.

Will I even want to, without the playfulness and joy he provided the previous two winters?

Or, is it just as cheap to rent an apartment in Deland for three months rather than a boat slip and storage locker for 12 months? If I can find one with a lease of only three months it would be practical.

No matter what, everything has shifted, and I am becoming a different person.

I will always love you Ghost, wherever you are. You have changed me forever.

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To make a long story short, I will say that my expectation was correct. -Just before I left to go to Florida, I heard from the neighbors who were helping me keep an eye out for Ghost that he was spotted about a block west, having hidden in an apartment building undergoing renovation.
Then, shortly after I got to Florida, I learned that he had returned home, and then I made arrangements for him to be fed and protected while I was gone. My neighbor Jim was especially helpful. He sent me pictures of Ghost a few times, and when he hurt his shoulder in December, Jim took him to the vet and he recovered quickly. I just got back from Florida ten days ago, on Sunday, March 10th. Ghost and I were overjoyed to see each other again. He is now friendly with Jim and the other neighbors so in that respect what happened was good.


The most important thing about my 3-1/2 months in Florida, from November 25th to March 8th, was my boat.

When I arrived, I realized that all the solar panels, as well as the steering motor, no longer worked. And considering all the other things that also were deteriorated or beginning to deteriorate, I decided to re-build the boat. I rented a small apartment in Deland until February 8th because I couldn't live aboard the boat again until then.

I also had to decide what to do about a large abandoned houseboat that was set adrift before I got to Florida, and which was tied at my land by the water patrol because it was an easy spot to put it so it would not be a hazard.

That houseboat is still there. There is a good chance it will still be there when I am back down there. If so, hopefully the water will be high enough that I can move it, and hopefully the hull will not be flooded after a summer of drainage into a hole on the deck that lets water in after downpours. There is really nothing I can do until I return, and maybe it will have been removed by then.

As for my new, improved, solar boat, it is well chained in a disassembled storage mode at my land now. But I am quite pleased with it. Here are my accounts from Facebook from when I finished it:


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Introducing "Sunbarge 2"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Here is the simpler, stronger, improved version of my solar boat here in Florida, which I am now calling "Sunbarge 2", completed January, 2013:



For comparison, here is one of the photos of "Sunbarge 1", which was completed in November of 2010:



Sunbarge 2 has the same cabin, now reinforced, and with three windows, but it now has a simple flat-type roof. The screen porch is the same too, but is reinforced on the outside now.

I am going to try to get by now with just three solar panels instead of six. Presently they are just laying on the deck at the front of the boat. It will be practical for me to put them on the cabin roof too if I ever want to.

The steering portion of the Minn-Kota electric motor was repaired. The anchors and gangplanks did not change.

There is no longer the upper overhanging roof structure with storage space between it and the cabin, and all the rails/fences around the perimeter of the deck have been eliminated.

Sunbarge 2 is suited for the waters I now travel and the schedule and routines I now follow. (Many of my original expectations and goals changed in the 2-1/2 years since Sunbarge 1 was built.)

Here is an album of more pictures of Sunbarge 2:

Sunbarge 2 photos -February 1-3, 2013
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This has been quite a brief summary, considering that I went almost six months without writing anything on my journal.

As I said below, I don't trust Facebook to serve as a reliable record of events, so I want to use this journal regularly for that again. But here is the link to my Facebook timeline, where there are more details of my life since September of 2012:

Mike Monett Facebook