Bucking the system one sunset at a time!

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We Came for the Unemployment; We Stayed for the Butter

Well, it’s official! After years of planning, saving and sacrifice, we are both now unemployed and pseudo-homeless! Who knew that not having a job or an official home could be so exciting… and difficult to achieve? We have saved enough scratch to put food on the table for the next few years… after that, I suppose we’ll start shooting down birds. Or, we’ll start gnawing on our shoes. Or, we’ll swipe food off of your plate when you’re not looking. Whatever, we’re free and are living in the moment!!!!!

Well, what do you think? Do beards and blue bottom paint make for handsome?

My last day of work was Friday, June 26th; my last paycheck followed shortly thereafter. Getting your last check kind of sucks, but, it’s an easier pill to swallow when you know that it’s coming than if you were simply 86’ed. I immediately moved onboard the boat with my buddy, Keith, and we’ve been busting-out boat projects for several weeks. We were really behind on getting things done thanks to the aforementioned job.

To be honest, I sort of feel like I’m cheating. I mean, this is the first time in my life where I’m doing exactly what I want, when I want. Weekends now start on Sunday and end on Saturday. It’s delish. Whenever I go somewhere during the normal workday, I feel like people are staring at me. For example, we went out to eat a few days ago, and I half-expected people to start pointing and saying:

“I know what you did, and I’m telling.”

Silly, huh? I’m sure it will pass once we really get into the groove of cruising. Because, frankly, this freedom business is the bee’s knees.

“The Admiral” only quit her job a few days ago, and the shock hasn’t completely worn off… in fact, she looks like she just got shot out of a cannon. I’m sure she’ll be fine once she comes to a complete stop. But, for now, she may take your leg off if you get too close. I may wait a few weeks before I tell her that we’re now doing our laundry in a 5-gallon bucket. To talk her down from the ledge, her friend Gary took her to the waterfront on her first day of unemployment. She practiced lounging. In a hammock. Yeah, she’ll be fine.

Slacker Training

Slacker Training

For now we’re going to take a few weeks away from boat work to visit family and friends in the Midwest. I had really hoped to leave the dock by the end of July, but, it’s not gonna work out that way. We should be back onboard by August 8th, and we’ll knock out the remaining projects. That’s fine – there isn’t much sailing happening on the Chesapeake Bay in August anyway. And, we will still have plenty of time to cruise the Bay before heading south in October. The tropics are calling our names! Can you hear it, too?

Boat Projects: Stupid Is

I knew back when I ginned up Don’t Pay the Ransom that I did not want to write too many articles about boat projects.  Because, really, who wants to read yet another blog about someone working on their boat? Boring. However, considering that projects are our world right now, that is easier said than done. Don’t get me wrong; project blogs have their place. And they have been very helpful to us as we struggle through our own refit. However, most of them get pretty old fairly quickly, and, aside from people like us (me), I’m guessing that not many people are reading them. But, the main reason that I don’t want to write about boat projects is that I’m not an expert. If you want technical, find someone qualified.

I am, however, a certified crackerjack on stupidity. If someone were to actually employ stupid, my resume would quickly rise to the top of the applicant pool. When it comes to stupid, I’m the cream of the crap! I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve done something the wrong stupid way. Wait until you hear what we’re naming our dinghy! Boy, is it ever stupid! Can you imagine what would happen if I tried to write about technical stuff? Someone may actually try to replicate what I’ve done! Why, they might very well saw off their own arm! Or, hit themselves in the face with a hammer! It’s best that I steer well clear of technical articles and focus instead on writing nonsense about nonsense.

Don't let dangle your extensions cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

Don’t dangle your extension cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

See where that leaves us? We’re not yet doing anything that most people would find remotely interesting. Like traveling to bitchin’ places. Or, eating bugs. Or, manually pumping our bathroom business into a tank hidden beneath our living room. We’re just working on boat projects. Lots of them, in fact. So, you’re stuck with reading my best attempt at boat work nonsense. For your own safety,  I’ll report a handful of things that we’ve been working on without providing any details regarding how we did it.

Cruising sailboats tend to have lots of gear and instruments – radios, navigation equipment, battery monitoring, etc. Unfortunately, our Morgan does not have a lot of space to mount this stuff. Rather than cutting into structural bulkheads to mount this equipment, we decided to construct our own instrument panel. With the help of a few friends, we spent last weekend knocking one out using a scrap piece of plywood.  I still have to install a few more items and then stain it. It will also get some fancy-pants trim around the edges. I ain’t a carpenter, but I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I’m also happy to report that, despite the frequent use of power tools, everybody still has all 10 of their original fingers.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (and not yet finished) instrument panel.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (but not yet finished) instrument panel.

Last fall I mentioned that we discovered a few small cracks in our mast. Masts on a sailboat are pretty important. As you might imagine, the situation really bothered me. I lost sleep while struggling with what to do about them; buying a new mast would really jack-up our plans. I received a few different opinions from various riggers – none of them devastating. However, it was difficult to weigh the alternatives when the opinions varied so wildly. Having no experience, I was relying on theirs. Those in the sailing community will probably recognize the name, Brion Toss. He, quite literally, wrote the book on sailboat rigging, The Complete Rigger’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, he is on the other side of the country. He did, however, offer a positive opinion and a recommendation for a local rigger that he trusted. Steve Madden, from M Yacht Services, answered the call and shepherded in piece of mind. The mast will be fine with only a small, inexpensive and minimally invasive procedure!

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Let’s see… what else to report? Oh, we gave the entire steering system a once over and will soon replace the steering cable…  even installed a new wheel brake, too. Though it worked fine, I sent the autopilot back to the factory for refurbishing – you know, for good measure (and to spend more money, sigh). Lots of work has begun on the electrical system. New wiring on a few things. Some battery bank modifications. We yanked out the old through-hull speed and depth sensors. We removed the broken sensor from the wastewater holding tank and quickly put it right back. Blech. Disgusting! We’ve also sold a bunch of things and are well on our way towards having a lot of nothing! If you know someone that wants to buy a car, I’ve got a deal for you!!

That’s all for now. Until next time… wear your helmet and don’t flush the toilet paper!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

All Is Frozen on the Eastern Front

Things have been quiet here at Don’t Pay the Ransom lately. That’s because the weather outside if frightful. What I mean by frightful is that things are frozen solid, and it’s really starting to piss me off. Stupid winter. However, I’ve been working really hard on finding the silver lining to things, and this is what I’ve come up with: the color silver is sort of gray in appearance… just like the stupid sky. I like gray just as much as the next guy, especially when it’s blue. And warm. This cold gray business is for the birds, though. How’s that? Rosy enough for you?

The view from my office. If I had better glasses, I might be able to see the coast of Tortola.

The view from my office. If I had better glasses, I might be able to see the coast of Tortola.

While we haven’t been working on the boat, we have been working on boat related things. For example, I’ve been reading a bit about weather forecasting. This is sailboat related for obvious reasons. However, weather forecasting is also important because it helps me to understand when it’s going to thaw. And who doesn’t want that? We’ve also been working on downsizing our things. We’ve now crammed everything we own into an itsy-bitsy apartment. Which is cozy. Cozy is warm. It’s also great practice for living on a boat. The downside to downsizing is that it’s difficult to reach the thermostat. The silver lining to not having access to the thermostat? We can burn those things that we need to get rid of, and burning is warm. Also, if you get close enough to the fire, it feels like you’re in the tropics.

If you can’t tell, I remain optimistic that the spring will arrive. My guess is that when it does finally show up, it will fall from the sky. Slowly. Looking like a tiny little ice doily. But I’m ready for it. I’ve converted my snow shoes to double as SCUBA fins, and, I’ve been wearing my wetsuit to work since Thanksgiving. Why am I wearing my wetsuit to work? Well, for one, it’s a suit. Two, it keeps me warm when it’s cold and wet outside. Three, it’s stylish, and who doesn’t want to look like a sea lion? Finally, my fellow scuba divers will know that wetsuits have a built-in heating apparatus.

That’s all the news worth reporting, however, you might stay tuned to your local media outlets. I’m driving to Punxsutawney, PA this weekend to find that damn groundhog. By Monday, I guarantee you that he’ll see things my way!

Happy New Year!!

It’s 2015!?!? Uh-oh.

It was just yesterday that I could say to people, “We’re leaving next year.” While intellectually I understood that the summer of 2015 wasn’t that far away, combining the words “next” and “year” implied all kinds of time. Don’t misunderstand me; we’ve been busy as beavers working on projects and ironing-out details for what seems like an eternity. And our schedule has felt pretty compressed for at least two years. It’s just that some items on our “to do” list, like figuring out what to do with our mail and selecting fishing tackle, were simply afterthoughts. Now those afterthoughts are just as pressing as re-installing the mast and purchasing a life raft.

So, here we are in 2015 (a mere six or seven months from unemployment), and now I can/have to say that we’re leaving this year. I’m not a very sentimental guy, and I’ve never really been one to appreciate the symbolism of a new year. However, this changing of the calendar actually feels different to me. We’re not resolving to lose 10 lbs. We’re not committing ourselves to getting more sleep or pledging to not let traffic get the best of us. This year our lives will change in ways that we cannot yet comprehend. This year our horizons will expand beyond the day-to-day routine of which we’ve grown so weary. This time next year, for better or for worse, we will be different people living in a very different world. It’s amazing how one tick of the second hand can change your perspective!

So, Happy New Year! I hope the following months bring you exciting adventures, positive change and the tastiest rum drinks that have ever crossed your lips. Here’s mud in your eye!

Happy New Year!!

The Few

An orange glow from the outdated carpet fills my vision as I force open my eyelids. I rub my eyes and gaze around the room from the couch where I’ve slept for the last five weeks. Empty beer cans, pizza boxes, crumpled cigarette packages and red plastic cups litter the floor. Discarded reminders from last night’s party – one in an endless stream of all-nighters since I graduated from high school last year. A stranger is sleeping in the fetal position in one corner of the room. His Judas Priest concert t-shirt is nearly torn from his back, and he is bleeding from a fresh wound on his left knee.

The stifling heat and my sweat dampened shirt tell me that the sun rose hours ago. My mornings haven’t started before noon for well over a year. Today is no different. I swing my feet to the floor, stretch and light a cigarette. I have a splitting headache, and my mouth is so dry I can barely swallow. Just once it would be nice to wake up without a hangover, but I don’t dare back out of a party for fear of public ridicule.

It doesn’t matter what day it is – not that I could remember anyway. I’ve been willingly unemployed for months and have nowhere to be. I cannot remember why I quit my last job. Most likely because it was Wendy’s. Flipping burgers, going home smelling like grease, working evenings… any complaint was a good enough reason for me to leave a job. How many jobs have I left in the past year? I can’t remember. The jobs in this dying town aren’t worth staying at anyway.

The kitchen is in worse condition than the living room. The sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. Macaroni and cheese is drying in a pot on the stovetop. The floor is wet with spilled beer, and the entire house smells like a bar. My god, who lives like this? I rummage through the fridge looking for something cold to quench my thirst. Cherry Kool-Aid. That will do just fine. I walk outside in my bare feet and sit on the concrete steps of the trailer.

I light another cigarette and scan the trailer park. It looks different today for some reason. The underpinning is missing from well over half of the trailers. I hadn’t noticed that before. Did we do that in our drunken stupor last night? The grass is knee-high in some yards while others are bare of any groundcover. How many of the neighborhood cars actually run? Most have flat tires. Or no tires. It’s not like their owners need them anyway. Most of them are unemployed, too.

My old man has been on my case for months to do something with myself. Get a job. Go to school. Join the military. He doesn’t care, but it kills him to watch me waste my life away partying. None of those things felt that important to me. Fun was the only thing that mattered. Until recently.


The above story is true. All of it. It describes the state of my life twenty-two years ago. While I was having loads of fun, I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t doing anything. Granted, I was a kid, but sooner or later we all have to grow up. That is what I decided to do that day while I sat smoking on those steps. That was the day I decided to join the United States Marine Corps. It was a decision that would forever alter the course of my life.

The next day I was in a car with Corporal Coffee. He had driven nearly two hours to pick me up. I had long hair and was likely hungover when we walked into the St. Charles, MO recruiting station. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I sobered up quickly enough when I met Gunny Foster. The Marine Corps mascot is a bulldog named Chesty, and Gunny looked just like him. He was short, ugly, packed solid with muscle, and he growled when he spoke. He had a wad of chewing tobacco in his lip and even drooled a little. Just like a dog. Everything about Gunny screamed Marine. He had a foul mouth. A horseshoe haircut. Tattoos carved into his thick forearms. He was a bad dude.

Gunny was talking with another potential recruit when Corporal Coffee escorted me into the office. The kid was a mess. Skinny and frail. Coke-bottle glasses. His neck extended straight down to his elbows – bypassing his non-existent shoulders. Squirrelly. I couldn’t say much given my appearance that day, but this kid didn’t look like Marine Corps material to me. Apparently Gunny agreed because a few seconds later he picked up the phone and dialed. He grunted something into the receiver and hung up. A few minutes later an Air Force recruiter walked into the office. Gunny told the kid he should go with him, and he did.

Gunny Foster didn’t have to do too much recruiting with me. He asked me why I was sitting in his office, and I told him I wanted to enlist. I said that I could be ready to go within a week. Stone-faced,  Gunny responded by asking if there was anything wrong with me that would make my dick fall off. Seriously. That is what he asked me. I told him that I didn’t think so. He then pulled out some paperwork for me to sign, and that was pretty much it. I had just “joined” the Marine Corps.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I gained another a family that day. An untold number of new brothers and sisters. A family comprised of the best friends I’ve had before or since. A family that grows each time I meet a fellow Marine. Not a day has passed since I got out that I don’t think about my time serving. Not a day has passed where I don’t think of the people I served with and how I miss them dearly. I got out of the Marine Corps over sixteen years ago, but in my heart I never left.

“Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

Today is the 239thbirthday of the United States Marine Corps. All around the world, Marines young and old will come together to celebrate what makes us special. If you know a Marine, make sure to tell him/her “Happy Birthday.” We might be 239 years old, but we never tire of hearing it!

Steered in the Right Direction

I hatched this scheme of sailing away nearly four years ago. Four years isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things. However, when you consider the emotional, physical, intellectual and monetary sacrifice it takes to make something like this a reality, it feels like an eternity! Having a departure deadline makes it even more stressful because my wheels are spinning 18-19 hours a day. It’s like having a second (and sometimes third) full-time job… literally. In fact, we attended an Offshore Sailing seminar at the Annapolis Boat Show this past weekend, and one of the panelists said that some folks spend 10 years planning their trips. We’re doing it in less than five, and we’re doing it all ourselves. Let me tell you, I’ve lost more sleep than you can probably imagine planning this escapade.

While I find the process very exciting and rewarding, maintaining this level of focus can be exhausting. It’s an insane amount of work for an intangible reward. To date, the payoff is merely an idea. I can imagine it, but that’s it. I’ve never crossed an ocean. I’ve never anchored my boat in a tropical lagoon. I’ve never even captained a boat on saltwater before (the Chesapeake is brackish). Imagining the prize is easier because of the internet; ours is not the only cruising blog on the web – far from it, in fact. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about other’s adventures, and they help me to stay on track. But there is one blog in particular that has offered more inspiration than most.

©2011 Matt Rutherford

Way back in 2011, I stumbled upon Solo Around the Americas. The blog belongs to Matt Rutherford, and it’s there that he documented his 27,000-mile voyage around both North and South America… alone and non-stop! His route included the world’s most treacherous oceans – the Arctic and Southern Oceans – and he did it in a tiny little 27′ Albin Vega. The U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame called his achievement “unprecedented.” I followed Matt’s progress daily for the 10-months he was gone, and, if I didn’t have to work, I would have been on City Dock in Annapolis to welcome him home. The fact that Matt accomplished something so HUGE, at the young age of 31, is impressive enough. However, what makes Matt even cooler is that he didn’t do it for fame or fortune, he did it to raise money/awareness for other people via Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating. For somebody relatively new to sailing and with a severe case of wanderlust, I was inspired.

Fast-forward to the 2014 fall boat show in Annapolis, MD – just a few days ago. After four years of trying, this was the first year I could actually make it to the show. The boat show is an important event for someone outfitting a cruising boat on a budget because most vendors offer discounts on their gear. And, it seems every vendor on the planet is at the Annapolis show! It’s huge; we spent two full days at the show and didn’t step foot on a single boat. It’s also a really great opportunity to compare competing products to determine what will work for you, your boat and your budget.

One piece of gear that I wanted to evaluate up-close was a windvane self-steering device. A self-steering device is often cited as one of the most important pieces of safety gear you can have aboard a cruising sailboat. It’s unreasonable to expect two people to hand-steer a boat 24-hours a day for days/weeks on end. A self-steering device will “drive” the boat for you, so you can focus on other important things like: keeping a good watch, getting rest, attending to important systems and repairs, navigating, etc. Our boat came with an electric autopilot, but I wanted to relegate it to a backup device and get one that didn’t use precious electricity.

Ken and Mike

Ken and Mike

On Saturday morning we returned to the boat show to visit more vendors, but we also wanted to have another look at our favorite products. On our way past the Monitor booth, we noticed that they had an additional Monitor Windvane on display. What made this additional windvane special is that it had a sign on it advertising an unbelievably great price. The sign also said, “Matt Rutherford’s Monitor!” I looked at Ludi and said, “If they’re really selling this windvane at this price, with no additional/hidden charges, then I’m buying it right now!” The fact that it may have belonged to Matt Rutherford made the whole prospect even more appealing.The Monitor Windvane from Scanmar International is perhaps the best known wind-powered self-steering device on the market. And, it’s for good reason. They make a rock solid product, and their customer service is world-renowned. Although a new Monitor was outside of our budget, I wanted to at least see one up close and talk to their reps about the product. We had a great visit with the Scanmar folks on Friday afternoon and spent about 30 minutes discussing their product with Hans Bernwall, the previous owner of the company. We left Hans with a new understanding of self-steering, an appreciation for their customer service and a solid background with which to compare other products on the market.

I staked my place in line as other interested shoppers started to swarm. Meanwhile, Ludi, always quick on the uptake, snatched the “for sale” sign from the windvane. Mike Scheck, the new owner of Scanmar, was the first person to help me. Mike confirmed the price, explained that it came with a full-warranty, several brand new parts and custom-made mounting brackets specifically designed for my boat. He also explained that this particular unit was installed on Matt Rutherford’s boat earlier this year just before he set sail across the Pacific Ocean. Once Matt arrived in Japan, the unit was boxed up and sent to Annapolis. Mike also offered me a great deal on Matt’s M-Rud (an emergency rudder designed to work the the Monitor). We shook hands to close the deal and made arrangements to pick up the device on Sunday afternoon.

The following day Ludi and I drove back to Annapolis to pick up the Monitor. Mike made arrangements with the cops to grant us access to an area normally closed to traffic so we could pick up the device. While Ludi waited with the car, I walked into the show with Mike to meet Matt and pick up our new windvane. Matt was waiting inside to help us carry the device out to the car. We had a nice discussion about windvanes, his adventures and an upcoming documentary about his historic voyage (that happened to be directed by an acquaintance of ours).

Sometimes awesome things happen! This was one of them. Not only did I score a fabulous deal on an essential piece of gear (that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford), I also found a fabulous company to work with and met an early inspiration to my cruising dreams.

Matt, Ludi and Ken

Out With the Old, And…. That’s It!

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” – Tyler DurdenFight Club

Clutter wears many different hats. It can be physical “stuff” that demands and consumes space. It can be multiple responsibilities that pull you in many directions at the same time. It can be things like traffic, television, YouTube, Facebook, etc. that creep into your life and steal your precious time. However, clutter is nearly always a distraction that prevents you from experiencing life to the fullest.

One of the major appeals of cruising is that it provides an opportunity to de-clutter my life. There is no cable television at sea. There are no soccer games, homeowners’ associations, night meetings for work or traffic jams. And there is no room for piles and piles of boxes!

The vast majority of my possessions have sat unused for 10 or 12 years. Seriously, short of moving them from state to state and house to house, I haven’t touched 90% of my belongings for so long that I’ve forgotten what I even own. In fact, if you said that I own a bunch of full boxes, you’d be correct. I’d be willing to bet that most of my readers are in the same predicament. Shit accumulates. It’s stuffed into storage. And then more shit accumulates. Eventually, managing the volume of your crap becomes a full-time job. Or, more likely, you’re too busy to mess with it, so nothing gets accomplished. 

I’ve been on the downsizing path for a few years now… ever since I made the decision to buy a boat and sail over the horizon. Boats are small spaces and storage units cost money. So, taking it with me is out of the question, and why waste money storing stuff that I don’t even use? Most of the big stuff (like the furniture, stereo, lawnmower, grill, etc.) has been gone since I sold the house 2 years ago. The big-screen television was gone before that (what a time-suck that thing was). Heck, I even got rid of the dining room table last year because it wouldn’t fit in my tiny new apartment. 

Now, besides a few boxes of donation-worthy stuff, all I’m left with is my bedroom furniture and music-making equipment: guitars, amplifiers, recording equipment, etc. Getting rid of this stuff has been difficult on several fronts. First of all, if you play guitar, then you know how easy it is to become emotionally attached to your instruments. Secondly, a lot of my stuff is hard to sell because it’s specialized and, therefore, has a smaller market. For example, not everyone that plays guitar needs a recording studio or a giant, melt your face off, amplifier. So, I’ve been doing the craigslist/eBay dance for several months. What a pain in the ass! I don’t see how most of these folks even have jobs – they’re ridiculously unreliable.

However, I’m almost there. My possessions are becoming leaner by the day, and it’s a VERY liberating experience. Tyler Durden was right; your stuff really does end up owning you. More importantly, if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the next big opportunity because it’s hidden inside one of those full boxes.

What’s In a Name?

“Don’t pay the ransom? Is this guy nuts?”

I have to admit that the name does seem a little reckless – particularly when you consider that our plans will lead us far from the relatively safe confines of the continental United States. One lovely assbag on an internet discussion forum actually commended me for the name… suggesting that it was an authorization for “would be” saviors to spend their money on more important things. While I’m not sure what could be more important, my guess is that he would pay for cable TV service. Hmph. We did toss around the idea of calling the blog something sappy and corny, à la Blue Water Dream Fantasy Miracle Adventure, however, we (read: I) decided that it would be better to sound like a badass than to get beat up. Sometimes machismo is paramount.

Anywho.

So where did I get the name? If you Google the term, you’ll find a reference to an inspired country/western ditty from 1972 by the artist, Nat Stuckey. Yeah; I’ve never heard of him either. The song actually made it to #18 on the US country charts, but that doesn’t mean anything here because I had never heard the song. While the tune may have long since faded from the charts, its message is timeless… if you get caught doing something that you’re not supposed to be doing, lie about it. Pretty wholesome, huh? Though I had never heard the song before, there is a really good chance that my late stepfather, Terry, had.

Terry was a huge fan of music, and he seemed to know every song ever recorded. As such, he probably also knew Nat Stuckey’s number. Terry also frequently used the phrase “don’t pay the ransom.” Are these two facts related? I cannot say for sure, but it seems likely. He had a knack for identifying and incorporating humorous lines from movies into his own vernacular. So, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that he also “borrowed” this phrase. However, unlike Nat Stuckey (who used the phrase to get out of trouble), Terry would say it before he got into any. For example, while walking out the door to visit friends, he’d say, “I’m off to the bar. Don’t pay the ransom!” And then he would belt out his trademark laugh. The memory of it still makes me smile.

So, that’s the story of the name – Terry (probably) borrowed it from Nat, and I’m borrowing it from him. It’s my way of paying tribute to Terry – a wonderful man that brought a lot of joy into the world. So, here’s to Terry… we’re off to the bar! The beach. The tropics. We’re calling in kidnapped, so don’t expect us at the office on Monday.

And, just to be clear, we’re using it as a figure of speech!

P.S. It bears repeating; the name of the blog is merely a figure of speech! If you ever receive a message demanding a ransom for our safe return, then, by all means… PAY THE DAMN RANSOM! You’ll find seed money in our storage unit… it’s in a box labeled, ” Open In Case of Kidnapping.”

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