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Ranting

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I’m lounging on my couch, looking out the window sipping coffee as my dog is passed out on my legs. We have four canoes in our backyard. Three are paddle worthy, the fourth is an old 70’s OT project. My neighbor across the street has four rec kayaks, on a nicely built rack next to his garage. I’ve never seen them used. Hell, I’ve never seen the couple do anything together besides spray paint “FJB” on cardboard to cover a broken garage window next to their daycare. Which at one point actually spelled out F*** J** B****. The kayaks are overgrown by mulberry suckers and vines. They’ve been forgotten about.

After reading a lot of the posts for the latest poll on how much our partners are into canoeing compared to us. It made me think of two things. About how many hobbies or once passions have been abandoned to lack of a partners interest, a breakup, or a lack of interest from the other person? And how much stuff we have. After moving from place to place, and transferring hobbies from those places to an area less ideal, I’m guilty of this as well. I have a surfboard designed for standing river waves, which we hardly have here. A sad road bike that needs an owner. 13 or 15 snowboards in the shed, these aren’t abandoned, more of a collection.. my excuse. Hiking packs. Etc etc.

While on my last canoe trip, I ran into a couple of guys who have been to that area before. We all chatted for a bit. Turns out we have more in common than just canoe tripping. He lives in the Soo (Sault St. Marie, CAN) as a French teacher and mentioned while he lived in Michigan for a while he noticed that we have a lot of stuff. Now, people have stuff all over this world, there’s no denying that. French Canadians too. But we started to talk about how much was actually in peoples garages that aren’t being used anymore. Canoes. Bikes. Skis. Kayaks. Racks. All of it, very nice. Where I live, people MUST have the best s*** and the full kit to match. Everything visible and strapped to the vehicle or stashed in their garage, door open. They have everything!

When is it that we realize we have too much stuff? When we notice our kayaks have bird nests in them? When we have to juggle to make room for something else? Or when a good friend says “hey, you have a lot of stuff”?

I could probably write about this, the cost of things, the popularity and snowball it until this website tells me “file too large”. Maybe I just realized that I have too much stuff. Or is it that my property is too small? Perhaps it’s the congested traffic of out of state folks that is making me cranky right now. Regardless of what it is, it’s making me think about the packed garages of people I know. My residence. My neighbors. And us as a wasteful society.

How many things do we need to own until that old saying hits us? “Jack of all trades, master of none”


No, I think I’m just getting cranky as I’m creeping towards 40. Guess I really will be that old fart in my underwear yelling “get off my lawn” as my arms flap around like the used car lot blow up creatures.

Rant done!
 
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We realize we have too much stuff too late.. My friend moved into an independent living cottage last Oct. And wanted to keep two canoes and 18 paddles. As of today she is curled into a fetal ball in a nursing home. She does not even wear her own clothes anymore. And I can't consult with her on her stuff.

As we approach 80 we realize we have to do something about skis etc and boats that we can't handle anymore. Purging is hard...reminds us that there is not much left of things to look forward to. Clinging to hope is natural.
 
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We have tons too much gear but with good reason, both the wife and I worked with youth groups, many of which had neither the funding or knowledge to get their own gear, so we ended up with quite a selection of "loaner stuff", most of which was bought from different mfr's at different times. We're now going through the long process of using each piece, then deciding if it's a keeper or not, the "Not" pile gets passed on to others who can use it
 
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Scoutergriz, getting the gear or tools for others to use, I think gains a good pass. It’s easy to gain an arsenal of gear, especially in the trial and error phase. And then add the years we enjoy all of it, and add to it.

Yellowcanoe, I’m think we connect with our items with memories we refuse to let go of. It’s easy! I mentioned I have several snowboards, I could tell you about each, and from my experience, and I hope to have them into My 80’s. But, purging is hard, I totally agree. Almost like if we let “x” go, there goes that memory or memories. Clinging onto those becomes normal, and acceptable.

Im not sure of the right way that I want to approach my thoughts on your friend. There’s no emotions in reading texts. I just hope that she’s in a good place, mentally. And you two can still connect.
 
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Last trip back to the UK I made an inventory of my 83 year old Dad's dozen bikes and then arranged to sell them via Facebook to a dealer. At some point he will have to move into assisted living and I'm not looking forward to trying to make him part with the couple of thousand books he has around the house. He also has a full machine shop with lathes and milling machines, fortunately I think even he realizes that they are not really practical for an apartment!
 
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At 66 years old now, I fully realize that some of my hobbies/activities have to be scaled back.
As such, I have been paring down my older equipment in favor of lighter weight stuff. However, I refuse to replace my full Ti framed road bike that I built in 2004, I still ride 100 miles per week.
I have only one pair of ski boots for both lift served and alpine touring, same for skis, just one pair.
I have yet to do the same for my boats, but I do regularly loan out the ones that I don’t use much.
I have a 40 ft motorhome that gets used for two weeks out of the year, but it’s still worth three times what I have invested in it, so that stays for now.
I still ride my Triumph Bonneville every week at least.
Some stuff I can’t get rid of since it’s too costly to replace, my plow Jeep, for example.
But I know there will come a day when I may not be able to use most of my stuff, I just hope I recognize that time and jettison the stuff while my kids or someone still finds it useful.
As far as emotional ties to physical objects, I’m only tied to my photos, mostly as a way of reliving past times, both good and bad.
 
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A couple of thoughts.

1. A friend once said to me "the more stuff you own, the more it owns you." Not sure if that's an original thought or something he borrowed from somewhere, but I think it's right. Having a lot of possessions ties you down and makes it hard to move or move on when you want to. And then when you need to, you create problems for those left behind who need to deal with all your stuff.

2. At 58, I've got too much stuff and I am already enervated at the thought of going through it. But I don't want to leave it for the kids to have to sort out.

3. All that said, I do need another canoe. :) I'm looking for a solo whitewater boat, under 16 ft (ideally 12-14 ft), 3-4" rocker fore and aft. Something good for day trips with the local whitewater paddling club. Class III capable. Perhaps an Esquif Vertige or Pocket Canyon or similar. So if any of you are feeling possessed by a boat that you aren't using anymore and that fits that description, give me a yell and I'll take it off your hands and throw a few sheckles at you. I'm in Maryland but frequently drive through Delaware, NJ, CT, NY, MA and Maine. PM me.
 
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1. A friend once said to me "the more stuff you own, the more it owns you."
They say I’ve come with less than I should rightfully possess

I say the more I buy the more I’m bought

And the more I’m bought the less I cost
—Joe Pug. hymn #101

3. All that said, I do need another canoe. :) I'm looking for a solo whitewater boat, under 16 ft (ideally 12-14 ft), 3-4" rocker fore and aft. Something good for day trips with the local whitewater paddling club. Class III capable. Perhaps an Esquif Vertige or Pocket Canyon or similar. So if any of you are feeling possessed by a boat that you aren't using anymore and that fits that description, give me a yell and I'll take it off your hands and throw a few sheckles at you. I'm in Maryland but frequently drive through Delaware, NJ, CT, NY, MA and Maine. PM me.
I may be letting a Mad River Outrage X go. Only needs a d-ring glued in behind the front bag cage. I’m heading to Dolly Sods tomorrow but will see if I can get pics later this weekend. My canoes are in rental garage cross town.
 
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1. A friend once said to me "the more stuff you own, the more it owns you."
Particularly true of mechanical things and houses.. I have neighbors whose hobby is house and they are slaves to it. An RV forum I frequent shows that many are in love with tinkering with their $100,000 depreciating asset. I dread buying a new car.. So much can go wrong.. That 1950 Ford though anyone could fix.

Yes with all the canoes we harbor we might be able to afford ONE pontoon boat. Sticker shock is really bad on those. Then you are slave to haul out and store and maintenance.. The canoes are happy just being coverd.
 
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All that said, I do need another canoe. :)

That’s the spirit!

Yes, I’m feeling this too. I’m descended from a long line of packrats. In theory all my “stuff” is salable. I try to stick with quality stuff… buy once cry once. And with 4 kids, I still operate under the illusion (delusion?) they’ll want my stuff. 🤷‍♂️ Well, some of it for sure.

Sometimes I manage to sell stuff to buy other stuff… selling a Ruger No. 1 took much of the sting out of that new Polaris.
 
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All my adult life, if I ever needed a tool, I just went and bought it on the rationale that I'd get to use it the rest of my life. And I bought lots of Craftsman tools, for the "lifetime" guarantee! Now that I'm over the hill, I look at all the tools in the shop and figure when the time comes, the kids will just pull up a dumpster and start heaving stuff in. I guess we are not as bad as some--we can still fit two cars in our garage! But, I think I need to emulate my dad and start paring down. Good rant.
 
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A dear friend and fellow wilderness guide instructor and BSA leadership contributor for the past 32 years died suddenly this past May. I have reported on the pain of this event here before. Over the years, partly in friendly banter, partly out of curiosity, whenever one or the other of us (mostly me) found some oddly unique piece of outdoor equipment, we (mostly me) would tell the other they should buy it and bring it to our next outing. Because he was a tinkerer and generally agreeable interesting guy, Keith would often take the bait. Many times when I visited him at home he would ask me if I had such and such an item that he had a duplicate of or had no use for anymore and I ended up going home with it, I have campfire bake packer pans (he loved to cook) incredibly very heavy folding wood burning stoves, a full size pellet stove for a camp, a wood chipper, and many other small interesting items of questionable use that he gave to me. He previously gave my daughter a 12' Hornbeck canoe that he had difficulty getting into with his age 75 knees. I have wonderful memories of when we had paddled on many trips together with him paddling in that canoe.

So soon after his passing his wife invited me and another long time friend to come to their home and take away some of the equipment stored in the garage and 2 other storage sheds. For example he had as many as 11 unused bivy bags. I remember when he used one on a very hot humid buggy night as his only shelter. Covering up to avoid getting eaten alive, and sweating to death, he swore to never do that again.

Yet he had 11 bivies in his collection at home, I took 3 to try as did our other friend. Several plastic garbage cans were full of a variety of sleeping bags, some models of which I had the same. i took a winter weight bag that I did not already have. Three canoes, including a new Wenonah C2, and a larger Hornbeck that better fit him and another solo canoe that compared to my Rapidfire. I took home the new Wenonah, did not need another duplicate Hornbeck for myself, and the solo was a duplicate of my Rapidfire. Other friends were given those two canoes. Four pairs of little used snowshoes, I took one. Four custom made finely finished wood otter tail paddles made by another common friend, I took a couple of them.

Items not generously given to friends were donated to the local Scout troop that he was a member of. Next Sunday I travel one last time to his home for a memorial celebration with his wife and a very few common friends for distribution of his ashes. iI will be a sad day.
 
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I hurt myself handling yaks. Just had double hernia surgery 8 months ago. Lifting those heavy yaks on top of my Explorer was too much. Don’t think I can go again until the pain subsides, and then only to Subaru height. Plan was to use the yaks in the low poopy Ohio waters, canoe in the pristine(ish) northern(ish) waters. I may need to revisit that strategy.
 
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I remember when he used one on a very hot humid buggy night as his only shelter. Covering up to avoid getting eaten alive, and sweating to death, he swore to never do that again.
As hard as it is to lose someone in our life, and it’ll never be easy. Maybe easier, but never easy. It’s stories like that, that keep their spirits alive. That no matter how often you tell it, or have heard it, it’ll always make you chuckle and smile. A few years ago, a very close friend of mine took his own life through struggles I wish he let us know about. After his memorial, a large group of us went and played a round of disc golf. Something he was into and it was a beautiful but muggy day. When we all (like 16 of us) made it to the top of the hill for the last hole to finish. We decided to take a photo together, a lot of us haven’t seen each other in a long time. We all said “we miss you Jimmy”, and out of nowhere, it started to rain for about a minute then it let up. It was like he was giving us one last prank before parting ways for good. Something that we won’t forget for a very long time.

My condolences to you and everyone else dealing with grief. Keith sounds like he was a collector of collections. The type of guy that you could crack a cold beer and talk to for hours about his life, while going through the stuff. My kind of person.
 
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I have a bunch of hobbies I rotate through.

-got a triathlon bike collecting dust. Don’t run as often as I should anymore either.
-scuba diving. Got rid of all that equipment when I redid my garage. Concluded I got all I wanted to get out of that hobby.
- mill and lathe in my basement. Even used to freelance write for a home machinist magazine. Guess I still use the equipment for odd things now and again.
- built an automated beer brewing stand. Home brewed for many years but got bored with it and brewing became a chore. Do miss having a closet stockpiled with beer, however.
-hunting/fishing. I’d probably still hunt if I had a place to go.
- aviation, quit my flying club and let my medical and license lapse. Was one of those things where unless you could devote X amount of time/resources to it then it’s not worth it.
- music. Got guitars, amps and drums shoved off in a closet. Wonder if I even remember how to play.

Current hobbies are canoe camping and cars. Used to camp all the time as a kid so I guess I’m returning to that one. Wife and I each have a cool car and do cruises and carshow things. But, I can easily see that hobby getting stagnant.
 
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I have a bunch of hobbies I rotate through.

-got a triathlon bike collecting dust. Don’t run as often as I should anymore either.
-scuba diving. Got rid of all that equipment when I redid my garage. Concluded I got all I wanted to get out of that hobby.
- mill and lathe in my basement. Even used to freelance write for a home machinist magazine. Guess I still use the equipment for odd things now and again.
- built an automated beer brewing stand. Home brewed for many years but got bored with it and brewing became a chore. Do miss having a closet stockpiled with beer, however.
-hunting/fishing. I’d probably still hunt if I had a place to go.
- aviation, quit my flying club and let my medical and license lapse. Was one of those things where unless you could devote X amount of time/resources to it then it’s not worth it.
- music. Got guitars, amps and drums shoved off in a closet. Wonder if I even remember how to play.

Current hobbies are canoe camping and cars. Used to camp all the time as a kid so I guess I’m returning to that one. Wife and I each have a cool car and do cruises and carshow things. But, I can easily see that hobby getting stagnant.

You've been reading my mail.

Sometimes it's frustrating to cycle through hobbies but on the other hand I retain something from all my interests and even though it might not be something I actively participate in anymore I still have a lot of the knowledge I gained and it still brings enjoyment years later to notice and appreciate something people who have never had that hobby wouldn't notice.

Alan
 
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Bulkanu what type of cars? I as well rotate between hobbys. I have 9 bikes, 3 of which are rideable, 3 hang on walls, and the others are special in one way or the other, but basically part donners. 2 canoes, 3ish kayacks that sit and occupy space. Rc cars, hiking, camping, skiing, mountaineering, and the list goes on. Even golf? I have been trying to consolidate. In my opinion the camping gear= sleeping bags, mess kit, shelter, backpacks. Are the most used and for the most part always part of the trip even couch surfing. ( back packs, and bags of all kinds. Iam worse then people who fancy pocketbooks)
 
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I just pulled the 3rd sea kayak I ever built (East Greenland museum replica) from the rafters and realized that most the West stem epoxy had evaporated from it. It needs to go. I'm repairing my Raven and unfortunately mentioned building another canoe to my wife, she said 4 canoes is too many as 2 of them are just sitting in their cradles collecting dust. It's hard to let go because of all of the memories.
 
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