Whenever I feel like I need a good cry, I go into my home office and stare at my sailboat expense log. How long I stare at the log depends on how long I need my crying jag to last.
The 30-foot-long sailboat is an inheritance from my late father’s estate. Actually, my father gave me his sailboat outright nine months before he passed away at the hospice in Dunwoody, Georgia. Nevertheless, since the fall of 2006 my “free” sailboat has cost me over $33,000 in dock fees, insurance premiums, and repair/maintenance expenses. It’s a money-sucking black hole that even Einstein couldn’t calculate a way out of.
I keep the sailboat on Lake Sidney Lanier at the Holiday marina. If you have a boat at Holiday, people assume you’ve got a lot of money. Well, that’s exactly why I don’t have a lot of money. The only thing I’ve done right since taking over my father’s sailboat was refusing to pay my sister the $10,000 she demanded for her so-called “half of the $20,000 on Lake Lanier”.
I’m not a “lake person”, I’m not a sailboat person, I’m not any kind of a boat person, and I’m not a fisherman. I hate fishing. In fact, I hate going to the Lake. It’s too hot for six months of the year, too cold for another three months of the year, and affords little shade or privacy.
The people who frequent the Lake think the Lake’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. But that’s their opinion.
Too many rules at the Lake: No unleased dogs are allowed. No open fires are allowed on the islands anymore. No firearms of any sort are allowed. These are a few of my favorite things, and they’re banned.
Fishing and swimming off the docks are also banned. I have no issue with those rules, however. As I’ve already stated, I hate fishing. And I hate swimming in cold, murky lake water even more. Have you heard of the brain-eating amoeba that lives in open fresh water? The amoeba gains access to the brain through the nostrils—kind of like that alien brain-eating bug did in the 1982 big-screen classic Star Trek movie, “The Wrath of Khan”; but that bug gained access through the ears of its victims, not the nostrils.
Everything is overpriced at the Lake, even the bagged ice. That’s because the merchants think that the bigger the boat you have, the bigger the sucker you are. If I had my druthers, I would like to own nothing larger than a jon boat for floating down remote Georgia rivers with my two English pointer bird dogs, a cooler full of ice-cold beer, and my 12-gauge shotgun for hunting small game. When I’m not using the jon boat on the water, I could use it as a planter for tomatoes.
Why can’t I go that route? I’ve tried to sell the sailboat for a fair price and couldn’t. I’ve even tried to give the sailboat away and couldn’t. Why? It’s because the people on the Lake aren’t sailboat people. Half of them have houseboats and the other half have cruisers, speedboats, or those god-awful jet skis. The lake people and I have nothing in common, which is another reason why I don’t enjoy going to the Lake.
The most irritating expense I have is the $760 quarterly dock fee, which keeps increasing like nuclear clockwork. Paying the quarterly fee is like shoving good money up a monkey’s ass. By the way, have you ever heard of bad money?
Every morning and every evening I make myself the same worn-out promise: I’ll find another place for that sailboat soon, other than the bottom of the Lake, and give myself a $5000-per-year raise. In the meantime, I’ll build a cabin on my mountain land and move up there with my two dogs. Then I’ll post a sign on the gate at the entrance: NO LAKE PEOPLE ALLOWED.