Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strictly Sail!

It's tough being a sailor in Chicago.  Not only are we chided for being "pond sailors" (which could not be further from the truth!) but our sailing season is short and our winters are LOOOONG.  But we're a tough bunch.  Some of us (not I) even "frostbite" - dinghy sailing in the bone chilling couple months that buffer both ends of the sailing season (October and April, respectively).  Personally, I like to go skiing in that in-between time.

There IS, however, one event that all Chicago sailors look forward to.  It is the proverbial "bone" thrown to us seasonally-forced landlubbers in the dead of winter to remind us that - yes! - there is a summer! And it will be here before we know it! So lets start thinking about our boats!  This event is...  Strictly Sail...and it is *AWESOME*.  Not only is it an event to socialize with our long lost sailing friends who we haven't seen in months - but it is a fantastic way to meet and hear the experts you read about in magazines and books and the best place to touch and feel ALL the gear and hardware that you've been researching or seen glossy pictures of.  Kid in a candy store style.  A really, really, REALLY big candy store.

Scott and I went last year and had the best time.  It was the first time that both of us took advantage of the wonderful seminars the show offers and we learned a TON and had a great time doing it.  We literally filled our show calendar with seminar after seminar from 9-5 like eager college kids, soaking up all that nautical goodness like sponges.  If you are heading to the show and haven't attended any seminars in the past - you should.  They are super duper.

This year, unfortunately, our show is being cut short due to the unforseen move we have to make this weekend so we will only have one day to attend.   This is really unfortunate because now that we are actually boat OWNERS and not just sail-show groupies we actually have a ton of work to do at the show (namely: meet with engine guy, talk to Monitor windvanes; research windlasses, winches and hoses and figure out how to re-configure our boom vang - to name a few).  BUT.... what we are MOST excited for this year is to meet John Kretschmer - who's book, "Flirting with Mermaids", I am reading right now (buy it!). 

Scott's very good friend, Shawn, was talking about us and our upcoming adventure to one of his clients who immediately said, "They should talk to my brother John!!".  When Shawn, who is not a sailor, was telling Scott about this guy "John" on the phone Scott just happened to glance down at the coffee table and see his book, "Do you mean John Kretschmer?" he asked...and voila!  We emailed John and despite being very busy with the show and all, he is very excited for us and has agreed to a beer!!  A BEER!  For us, this is kind of like a 13 year old getting to meet Miley Cyrus.  He is *that* cool.  He's been there, done that, AND bought the t-shirt.

So, while I am no longer going to be a part of the show as a rum & coke slinging "Harken Girl" (as I was in the pic circa 2007) I have grown up and out of my rash guard and am now a boat owner looking much further on the horizon (and much deeper into my pocket)!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Honesty the best Policy?

It has been WAY too long since my last post! Usually, I try to crank out at least a few posts a month - but that just has not happened.

The truth is, Scott and I are just plain BUSY. Not only are we planning a wedding - but we discovered (much to our chagrin) that we have to move out of our apartment in a week. We learned this fact a couple of weeks ago and it was a very unpleasant surprise. Apparently, honesty is NOT the best policy when dealing with landlords in Chicago (SHOCKER).

Scott and I have, over the past 8 months or so, been mulling over what we will do come April when our current lease is up. Do we sign another year lease? Do we move out? Do we move home with my parents? (Just kidding M&D)...after putting this issue on the back burner month after month with the constant mantra of "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" - we decided it was time to figure. it. out. After some discussion we decided that perhaps our landlord would let us sign a 6 month lease which would end October 1st (the most popular "moving month" here in Chicago, I might ad). Yeah! Perfect! This would allow us to sail off into the sunset without the worry of subtenants, a broken lease, or hundreds of dollars of pre-paid rent in an escrow account and allow our landlord a bountiful month in which to find a new tenant.  Win win!

Long story short: No dice.

He didn't like it. Apparently, our landlord ONLY wants leases that start in the April to August window. GULP. So, in desperation, we backpedaled a bit. What if we sublet? No sub-letters. What if we sublet and pay you in advance for the months we'll be gone as security? Don't want to set up a separate account...(then, as a last ditch effort) Actually, we decided that we're not going to sail around the world come September (what with the wedding and all), so we'll just go ahead and sign a year lease after all! Yeah right.

And just like that - we were out in the cold. I failed to mention that Scott and I have been AWESOME tenants. Our place, which was nothing short of a total s***hole when we moved in, is now a cozy, super cute, clean, re-painted, re-caulked, re-tiled (well… stick on tiles) version of it's former self. Call us stupid, but we really fixed that place up. So, basically, our money grubbing landlord has the upper hand and knows that, come April (or whenever he rents it out which will take NO time) he is going to get more money for it. Bastard.

So what did we learn? Well, we learned a few things. First, when it comes to leases - the tenant has ALL the power in Chicago and breaking a lease is (apparently) as easy as 1,2, 3. Second, when it comes to renewing leases - the landlord has ALL the power because he/she can deny you for whatever reason they see fit (more or less). So (hindsight always being 20/20) - we should have just re-signed in April and said "See ya!!" in September. Sigh. But we wanted to tell the truth. Truth schmuth.

However, Scott and I are of the "go with the flow" variety and the silver lining is this: we now get to de-clutter! We have already gone through stuff that we will not need between now and d-day that can go into storage at my parents...ANNNNND we found a SUPER cute place whose lease is up September 30th, 2010! Perfect!

So, I apologize for being neglectful - but we've had bigger fish to fry. I'll be back next month - I promise!


Brittany and Scott
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