It's sort of like a really gentle, sleepy puppy who's finally feeling comfortable enough to cuddle. It's slow, though, like they used to call me when I played football. And baseball. And in school. But mostly - it's not for everyone.
Living on a houseboat (not a floating home like Tom Hanks did, there's a difference) is strange. If I've learned anything since moving on to Seattle's water-bed; it's that you landies have it easy (I've been picking up the boating lingo, prepare yourselves). So, since all I've been hearing lately is "OMG DO YOU LOVE IT, WHAT'S IT LIKE?!" I figured that I would answer most of the questions I've been asked in the last couple weeks.
Q: "Justin, what should be my new favorite song?"
--- A: I'm glad you asked! Probably his one is. You're welcome.
Q: "So is it like a BOAT, boat?"
--- A: Yes, it's most certainly a boat, but not the kind boat that you got towed behind on your K-Mart inner-tube as a kid (it has a water-slide off the back, by the way).
Q: "WHAT?! Can I come use your water-slide? "
--- A: Sure. I accept several forms of payment: Maker's Mark, Rainier, and Costco-sized bags of Sunflower Seeds (or Ranch Corn Nuts). I'm obviously not responsible if you hurt yourself.
Q: "Do you get seasick?"
--- A: Some people surely do, and I was worried that I would be one of them since I did as a kid. Fortunately, you get used to the movement pretty quickly after moving in. Every move you make causes results in the boat shifting a bit, but I've found the trick is to look outside at something that ISN'T moving to help get your mental balance back to even if you get queasy.
Q: "Can you drive it? And can we take it out on the lake this summer??"
--- A: No, and you're not invited over if that's the first question you ask me. I won't be your "friend who has a boat." Go meet a guy in Bellevue if that's what you want.
Q: "How big is it, and is it expensive??"
--- A: About the same size of my last studio apartment, ~450/470 sq. feet (I'm guessing). But having a full, wide-open rooftop basically doubles the available space so you don't ever need to feel cramped. It's about the same price as my last apartment, too (look up a studio apartment on South Lake Union for an idea on price).
Q: "How does your toilet work?"
--- A: Just like a camper or RV. There aren't permanent sewage hookups on houseboats (another difference from Tom Hanks' pad) , but there is a tank where waste-water goes. That tank gets pumped by a boat that comes by on a scheduled basis. You know when you've been pumped, because you get one of these tossed on deck.
Q: "Do you have have heat, TV, and internet?"
--- A: Yes, no, and not yet. As you might have guessed, most boats aren't built "cable-ready." I use electric heaters, but I also have a propane fireplace if I'm feeling romantic. Propane is also used for my hot water and stove. I'm still not sure what to do about internet since I'm not sure if the phone-jack is active (or even can be) for CenturyLink. I certainly don't want to sign another contract for mobile broadband, but I might have to. The amount of money I've spent at coffee shops just to use their internet is silly.
Q: "Isn't it really cold? What about storms?"
--- A: Not cold yet, but ask me again in January. As for storms, being on a boat is surprisingly safe. I'm tied very securely to the dock and I don't have to worry about any trees falling on me, and the resulting waves are fun, actually.
Q: "Do you have neighbors?"
--- A: Yes, and they're awesome. Second only to being able to swim/paddleboard whenever I want, this is my favorite part about living here. Everyone is wildly friendly, talkative, and inviting. I've already met more people here than two years in my previous building where my neighbors acted like zombies in a hotel.
Q: "How did you find a boat? Who did you talk to and where did you look?"
--- A: Several places, including Craigslist, but don't expect to see a lot of them available for rent. There are a few things you should do/learn before deciding to move on to a boat, but it doesn't take long if you're serious about it. I knew eight years ago when I moved to Seattle that this was something I had to do, so I've been slowly & quietly researching it for quite awhile. I also strongly recommend chatting with Linda & Kevin Bagley, owners of Special Agents Realty. They are great ambassadors for the houseboat community and answered every question I had.
That's about it, I think. If I didn't answer something you were wondering about, feel free leave a comment with the question below. Otherwise, I'm sorry if I annoy you with constant fb/twitter/instagram posts about this.
I'm just really excited that I finally did it.