May 24, 2018
                          No. 220
Life On My Own Terms

The start of summer fun, many called it.

A work weekend for many, cleaning up from the winter and prepping for the summer.

A royal wedding superimposed onto this long weekend, caused some to simply shelve what they would have otherwise attended to.

A few even called it Victoria Day!

For me, it was the start of houseboat season, and I nailed two of the above—the first two–with aplomb! 

My friend and I head up to the Shuswap early Friday morning. The evidence suggests waters are near flood stage. Happily, my houseboat, (aptly named the Remote Escape) is floating, secured to its dock, still covered in its winter wrap. I give her the tour, and she is impressed! (She’s never been on a houseboat before, which makes the impressing easier.)

We check the systems: lights work, fridge works, kitchen range works, barbeque works. 

We work!

Five hours later the poly covering is removed, the supports removed, the rafters taken down. It’s starting to look like a houseboat again, not a floating green house. 

Most of the rest of the weekend is the same. Tarps and poly wrapped and stored. Lumber wrapped and removed. Storage locker secured. Entire upper deck pressure-washed. More systems checked. Hot tub filled, drained and refilled. Inside cleaned, windows washed. Bathrooms cleaned. Mattresses vacuumed, and covered with mattress covers. Extra linens taken to storage. Tons of work!Saturday is different, though. After all, we’re not here just to work. We join five others on my neighbour’s boat and head, amid glorious summer weather, up the main arm of Shuswap Lake to The Narrows. There’s an event planned here that we’ve been looking forward to for weeks.

A large houseboat company is celebrating their 50thanniversary, in style!
They’re hosting a free, liveTrooper concert in the middle of the lake. Several hours after leaving the marina we arrive to an already large flotilla of boats congregated around a massive (94-ft.) houseboat, the stage for the show. It’s 12:45 pm. At 1:30 the show starts: “We’re here for a good time, not a long time . . . the sun won’t shine every day.”So true!
Our captain deftly nuzzles his 50-ft. houseboat through the maze of (mostly) cruisers, but also other houseboats, pontoon party boats, some kayakers, a float plane and even a stand-up paddler. Later, I ask three different people how many boats they estimated were there. They all say “a thousand.” I’m skeptical—until I later hear an “official” estimate of 2000.

By the time the band hits “Raise a little hell . . .” we’re being shoo’ed off from the main boat by its captain, having snuggled up just a bit too close. Chalk one up for my experienced neighbour. (I’d have been somewhere in the back, a quarter mile away.)

The show is over, the boats begin to disperse. No incidents seem to have occurred. The coast guard (yes, there really is such on Shuswap Lake) seemingly, had nothing to do but enjoy the concert themselves.

An hour-and-a-half later the marina radios us! A storm is brewing. Find a safe place to hide; it’s too windy to come into the marina.The wind comes up, the boat rocks and rolls a bit. As we approach the bridge that marks the entrance to the flooded marine channel, the 94-foot floating stage passes us, hardly affected by the roiling sea. The bridge opens, we glide through, and before long we’re safely tied up to the dock. It’s 6:30 pm. By then, we’ve made four new friends.

What a great day out on the water! . . . and then it’s back to work.

As late as two years ago, I’d never have imagined owning a houseboat or being part of the houseboat culture. Heck, I’d never even been on a houseboat myself. Yes, I’ve always liked water activities; I’ve always enjoyed getting out into nature, beyond the end of the road; and I’ve always enjoyed summer sun. Now they’ve all come together.

As I consider this, I realize that it is only for one reason that it became possible. And it’s certainly not because I suddenly came into money. I didn’t.

It’s because I learned about entrepreneurism. And I took the initiative to take control of my own life. The two go together.So many dream of taking control of their lives but feel helpless–stuck in their circumstances, especially their job. I’m convinced it’s a combination of the above two elements that is the quickest way out of that predicament.

Fun in the sun and on the houseboat—mine never left the dock this weekend, but rocked gently on the ever rising flood waters of Mara Channel—intermixed with the work, made for an exceptionally enjoyable first weekend of summer.

Oh yes, I heard there was a wedding, too. And that the Jets got knocked out of the playoffs. But I didn’t care. After all, I was living life on my own terms.

Not a whole lot different, actually, than the freedom one experiences when transitioning from a renter to a home-owner, methinks.