About us

Kemah - Sailboat shopping

Kemah – Sailboat shopping

Truck yard outing w/ friends

Truck yard outing w/ friends

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you enjoy getting to know us by reading a little about who we are, where we come from, and most importantly – where we hope to go in life.

I’m Cristol – youngest of 3 girls & a native Texan. He’s Jeff – an only child, born in South Carolina, & raised in upstate New York.

Jeff & I stumbled into each others lives in 1998 through a Microsoft certification class where he was an instructor and I being the only girl there learning how to build computers – our lives were merged. We were married in November 1999 and have been happily married ever since ;-). We have no children together (he has a daughter & a son from previous relationships), and we have been blessed with 2 small dogs which completes our little family.

Our life…

For the past 20+ years we have both worked in the IT industry doing what every other man, woman or couple have done which is: get up, go to work, come home, eat, and sleep (lather, rinse, & repeat) for way too many years of a human life. Well some years ago we found ourselves down to 1 job and way too many bills to cover with only 1 salary. Light bulb moment for us, and through a friend we heard about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Freedom. Talk about a life altering year! Jeff in his (what we see as a blessing and possibly new spiritual gifting) obsessive way, absorbed all he could about finances and money and how to make it work for us, and how to live on less and save, save, save – which later became our family motto! {SAVE, SAVE, SAVE}

That was in 2004 – and from that time till now we have cut back on certain frills like eating out, movies and just wasteful spending. We sat back & watched our friends buy big expensive houses, and expensive cars – only to do it again every couple of years. It’s funny – the more stuff you buy – the bigger place you need to store all that stuff (“George Carlin – A Place for my stuff”).

Now don’t think we have been deprived because that is truly not the case, in fact we have lived a very full and blessed life with many vacations, toys and cars over the years. The biggest lesson we learned from Dave Ramsey was to pay cash for everything and what snowballing debt is! Over the years a few of our friends have laughed at our frugality, however finding ourselves at this point in our mid 40’s has been worth it all.

For those that are familiar with Dave Ramsey – he teaches us that most people will spend more than they make, and those people consider this “normal”. His response to that statement is “Why be like everyone else (normal)? – Let’s be WEIRD!!!” Jeff & I look back at the years we’ve been together, and very happy to think of ourselves as weird. While friends & family are out at the movies – we’re at home watching TV. While they’re at a restaurant – we’re at home cooking dinner.  We have actually decided home cooked meals taste so much better than a meal at a restaurant, lucky thing right!?!

We both always wanted to retire early while we were still healthy and could enjoy life so saving for retirement was easy, we actually found enjoyment in watching our nest egg grow.  The challenge was the fact that the earliest you could touch your retirement “penalty free” is age 59 1/2! We were shooting for 10 years sooner than that.  Fast forward a few years to 2015… We started talking about what it would take for us to retire (how much of a nest egg would we need in savings not depending on that retirement fund just yet), and what did we want to do with the rest of our lives? After sitting down with a pen & paper (& many calculations) – we decided to make it happen. By mid 2015 – we had agreed that March 31, 2016 was our goal date.

How did we know we wanted to live on a sailboat?? For many years – we owned power boats, and had a couple of friends that owned sailboats. We had been out on their boats several times and thought it seemed like too much work. In May 2014 – we took a 2 week vacation in the Virgin Islands and chartered a sailboat (with captain, & most meals provided). The toughest decision we had to make everyday – “Which bathing suit do I wear??” It was that trip that forever changed our lives.

For many months after we got home – that trip was a constant topic of discussion for us. In the summer of 2015 we immediately went into lockdown and purge mode, put our Sea Ray 260 Sundancer on the market, and started the hunt for our sailboat. By September 2015 – we sold the Sundancer & closed on a Catalina 350 that we fell in love with. After many trips to see this boat – we decided it was the one.  During our search we also decided to get ASA 101 certified so we took a class and learned as much as they can cram into a weekend.  By the way, powerboats and sailboats are two completely different animals!  We started clearing out the house, put it on the market and had it sold in December, moved in with my mother and cut our expenses to the bare minimum.  Once you learn how to live on less it becomes so freeing not to owe anyone!

We were spending every other weekend on this boat (traveling back & forth from Dallas to Kemah). We’ve torn everything apart to learn how it operates, and we’ve actually done some repair work ourselves such as, replaced the head with a new Jabsco electric, replaced the shower pump and float switch and replaced all the interior lighting with LED fixtures. We decided to hire out some of the work – knowing that we both were working full time jobs in Dallas & commuting back & forth to Kemah wouldn’t allow us a lot of time to finish projects and with the months and weeks quickly flying by we needed help from the experts.

Our last day of work was March 18, 2016 and our departure date from Kemah, Tx was March 25, 2016 and to think these plans  miraculously came together was nothing more than a true blessing!  We are truly grateful and hope you will join us from time to time throughout this journey.