Almost Ready

The last couple of weeks have been a wonderful whirlwind.   We have been splitting our time between all the physical chores we need to do to get the boat ready, all the shoreside details that need to be sorted, and, most importantly, spending time with all the people we care about.

Although we both realize that we will never be done with getting the boat “just so,” (and when we think we are, something will come up either broken or ready for maintenance)   Echo is ready for primetime.  We had a expert mechanic (Lester McMurphy) over yesterday to go through the engine and teach me how to maintain the propulsion system.  The arch and davit system (Whitewater Marine) is up and the dinghy hanging high out of the water and out of the way.  Our personal Tupperware lady came through with tons of organizational stuff and we have improved our storage.  Our canvas company (Dockside) came through with side panels we ordered to keep us out of the weather a little better in the cockpit.  Pam of Pam’s Upholstery did a great job on the final few cushions for the cockpit.

On shoreside details, we have been dealing with the last of the stuff that needs to be either stored aboard, gotten rid of, given away, or put in long term storage.  For the last 6 months my SUV has been my refuge of last resort for all the items for which I can’t quite decide which category applies.  A scrap of nice wood, a coil of wire, an odd ball tool, a tube of glue, computer wires….it goes on and on.  Nothing very important, but all the things you stick in a box in the basement. Probably never to be seen again.  But I guess there is comfort either in knowing that the box is there or, more likely, comfort in never having been forced into making a decision about all that stuff.  If you have space, all that stuff you accumulate can happily stay in the limbo zone and never be assigned to one of those final categories.  I know what hoarders go through.  Anyway, the SUV is cleaned out and, for the first time since I was 16, I have no car.

I cleaned out my office on Friday.  How weird was that?  30 years of files, plaques on the wall, obligatory kid photos, artwork the kids made, gifts from colleagues,  great ideas that became something, great ideas that never got beyond the scribbled note phase, art work the kids drew when they were stuck with me at work for some reason.   Coffee cups.  All the thousands of things you squirrel away over 30 years in a career.   Saying goodbye to all the great people there that have done so much to make the company become what it is today.  Or at least saying “so long” since I know I will be back for board meetings a few times each year. So, cleaned out the office, packed up my 2 little boxes of stuff, parked my company car out back, said my goodbyes, and sat in the conference room waiting for Mary to pick me up.  Very Weird.

We have been party central at the boat getting our last home port entertainment opportunities in.  Mary’s sibs and our nieces and nephews.   My sibs and niece and nephew.  Many old and dear friends.  Our great neighbors from Edgewood.  Dear friends we met from Nate’s school.  A great day with Nate’s color guard coaches Mike and Bryan (that was a blast, they had the wisdom to arrange for a ride home and much beer was consumed.)  My flying buddies and their families.     And hanging with our new marina friends too (any excuse for a party with those folks.)   And our Moms of course.

So Sunday now.  Monday Nate’s monument is scheduled to be installed and we will visit Nate and Liam.  Monday night, a get together at Mary’s mom’s house.  And Tuesday morning we should be off.

All my life I have felt like I have been walking through doors and entering new and wonderful rooms.   But always I felt like each door remained open and the old rooms were still connected and I could look through them and access the old places.   My life house got bigger.  I never had a sense that the doors were closing behind me and I always felt that I could reach back and touch what ever I wanted.  Until the last few years I was blessed to be able to continue to accumulate kids and family and friends and love and stuff and new experiences, but never have to say goodbye to anyone or any thing.  Today, different.  Loosing Liam and Nate taught me that some doors close forever.

I’m sure someone smarter than me wrote this too, but there are phases in life.  My first 50 years were a endless series of new doors to be opened and explored.  Behind every door new space, a new room, a new experience, a new loved one, new stuff.  None needed to be closed and I could reach into those rooms and touch whatever I wanted.  Not like touch a memory, like really touch.  The house of my life just continued to add more rooms and become more full and satisfying. You are one lucky guy when you can stay in that house for 50 years.  Now I feel that I am in a new phase.

There still looks to be an endless series of doors ahead, but for the first time, doors are closing behind me and the house of my life is getting smaller.  Some rooms are closing by choice, some by fate.  I won’t walk through the door at the Edgewood house, Sarah and Brian won’t live with me, I won’t see our dads, our grandpas, or Liam, or Nate.  I won’t have airplanes, I won’t build stuff in the garage.

Our trip is a recognition of the many future doors we will find and the new rooms we can explore.  And a recognition that we are stepping into another phase.  Not less excitement, not fewer new doors to open and rooms to add, but recognition of melancholy and loss too.  Not less, but different.

Love you all.



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12 Responses to Almost Ready

  1. Carole Scott (Gaither) says:

    Years later, I am reading post #1 and (with moist eyes) am appreciating more and more your Echo journey and events that structured and continue to shape your life’s adventure. Bon voyage. Au revoir. Stay safe. Inspire and amaze us land-lubbers. We’ll keep the lighthouses lit for you.

    • Jeff says:

      Thanks for your kind words Carole. We are so glad you keep up with us. We just finished a 3 day passage from Grenada to Bonaire. Happy to be safely moored!

  2. What a wonderful entry. Looking forward to reading about your new life’s journey.

  3. Nick Bayma says:

    Bon Voyage Jeff. It was a pleasure to have met you, and I truly enjoyed every lesson. A block to look forward to among some rather more difficult times. I still recall our ILS to minimums with a divert to Oakland Southwest after seeing absolutely nothing at 200′. I’ve had that happen only one other time in my career. I know you’ll have a most excellent time on the water, and believe though I’ve never seen Echo, that she is a fine vessel sure to take you on a fantastic voyage.

    May the wind always favor your course.

    • jpernick says:

      Thanks Nick. I remember that night too. If was a great opportunity to learn that missed approaches really happen and I’ve always felt a little sorry for the students that don’t get that experience in training. What I especially remember was the thunderstorm light show to the south as we motored back to Pontiac. Remember that? It was truly awesome. You were not exactly the vision of a perfect instructor as you shuffled up to the plane in board shorts and sandals, but you sure made a great instrument pilot of me. I grew to love instrument flying and you got me started.

  4. Denise King says:

    What beautiful thoughts…..You have a wonderful gift of introspection and perspective. I will always cherish my wonderful memories of all the “rooms” of your life so far. The house on Edgewood, always full of kids and fun, in particular, but so many going back to high school. Love you both tons and wish you nothing but clear skies and good winds! Godspeed and Bon Voyage!!

  5. Monique says:

    this made me cry….your family opened the door for us to start our new life all of 6 years ago. Our house became bigger with more doors that opened and new rooms to explore. Nate opened quite a few doors for Natalie, and that she will treasure forever…Natalie will keep her date nights with Nate, eating icecream…..We are very lucky to have you as friends, and that we will treasure forever. Be safe… open many new doors……we love you a lot….

  6. Ann Beasley says:

    Love you both very much! We know all too well that we don’t know wist tomorrow brings so enjoy each moment of today…..we will take very good care of Nate the great William Pernicks grave site…

  7. I love you so.much. we will be hanging on every post you make. I can’t believe this is really happening. Enjoy your adventure but please be safe. Don’t take any risky chances. We will miss you both so much.

  8. I am reading this while drinking my coffee and re-adjusting to being home after vacation. I am overflowing with different emotions but mostly bittersweet memories of all the times spent with you, Mary, Brian, Sarah and Nate. Looking forward to reading your blog and hearing about the new doors and rooms! Love you.

  9. Ed & Chris says:

    Very well written. Much of what you said is exactly what we went through, wish I could have expressed it all that well. I may have to link your post on my blog.
    Hope to see you both soon. Say hi to JBM for us.
    Ed & Chris

    • jpernick says:

      Thank you guys. I have thought of you often as we prepare for this.. You just don’t realize the details until you do it. You got out in, what was it,,,, October? We are ahead of the game. Feel free to make the link, and I’ll link yours if i can figure out how. Be well, we will see you in the harbor.

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