Ready for more of this? The Burnetts have had to get used to a lot of things since getting back to land. Crowded highways, comparison shopping, TV commercials, Korean food, doughnut holes, drive-through coffee shops, Halloween pop-up stores, clogged rain gutters, Zatarain’s Cajun seasoning, grocery store discount cards, Tuna Helper, property taxes, Saturday Night Live, snow boots, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, left turn arrows, curbside recycling, school gunman/lockdown drills, Jehovah’s Witnesses, mouse poop, the Sunday paper, and, of course, junk mail, have become pertinent topics of conversation after a long hiatus. The kids (and parents) are finally getting used to their dwindling free time, convincing themselves that the structure and opportunity one gets in return is worth it. After having 360 degrees of windows overlooking beautiful, changing vistas for two years, slowly the Burnetts are becoming accustomed to looking at the same old church and the same old tree. Fields of blue have been exchanged for fields of green, and a chiefly “outdoor life” has been exchanged for an indoor one. After all, it is getting cold here.
There is still, however, one aspect of land life that is hard to get used to. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with our surroundings, our housing, our vistas, or lack thereof. (Mel: No offense, Omaha. Omaha: None taken! Because I’m Omaha.) Mel feels a little embarrassed admitting this, but it has been really hard for her to get used to this: being…oh man, she can’t even say it!…normal.
When we chose to live the cruising life for a while, we knew we were making an unusual choice. Learning new skills, adopting a new lifestyle, facing challenges not everyone would want to face (Barfing for days at a time? Bumping into boats in the middle of the night? Shopping for underwear in a foreign language? Being rescued by the Coast Guard? SEA LICE? No, thank-you!), well, that was a big part of the fun. While in reality we made safe decisions for our family and were just exploring well-trod ground in a well-trod way, we still felt like creative adventurers, shaping our lives into a different form than most. Now that we are back to getting excited about pumpkin spice and lining up in the school drop-off area behind 50 black, grey, and white cars, that thrill is gone. It turns out that coming down from the rush of living an unconventional life is the worst part about all of this. We are suffering from awesomeness withdrawal.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, feeling uncreative and mourning the loss of her blue muse, Mel stopped in at the local Walgreens to pick up a prescription and beg the pharmacist for a discount until her Obamacare kicked in. The conversation turned to why she was uninsured at the moment, and the whole story came out. The pharmacist’s eyes got as wide as saucers.
Omaha pharmacist: “You mean, you can do that, you can live on a boat?”
Mel: “Yep. You can.”
Pharmacist: “Hey Walter,” the pharmacist pointed at a friend stocking foot cream in a nearby aisle, “This lady lived on a boat!”
Walter: “No way! You can do that?”
Mel: “Yep. They have kitchens and toilets and everything!”
Pharmacist and Walter: “Oh my God!”
Let’s just say that Mel got her discount.
She thought that this was some sort of fluke, but eventually each member of the family would come home with a similar story. Mel just had her photo taken for her ID badge at work, and the session ran over after she answered the innocent question, “So, where were you before you came to work for us?”
Mel came home with the realization: “You won’t believe it, but in Omaha we are like rockstars!”
Or, er, dockstars! (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) This is just fantastic news. We still aren’t quite normal! We have a treatment for our withdrawal! Mel will resume turning her blog into a book with the higher purpose to educate the landlocked people of the world that you can cook and sail at the same time. Who knows how many Midwesterners will then discover that the mysterious, unrequited restlessness inside of them is actually the call of the sea?
Oh, and by the way, upon returning to land, Mel did not get a car that is black, or grey, or white. It’s blue, of course! She’s such a freak!