The ONE Versus The Two Updated

Headwaters Fly Shop lost their blog content earlier this year. The link no longer works. This is unfortunate as the comparison was fair and well-balanced.

I came across an interesting comparison by Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig, Montana of two of the hottest fly rods selling at the moment: the Sage ONE and the Orvis Helios 2.

I can’t comment on their comparison as I’m yet to cast the Helios 2. I have cast the Sage One, and for me I just couldn’t find the love. I attribute that my casting that needs improvement; in any case I just felt pain in my shoulder every time I cast it; sidearm, quarter arm, and overhead. And I’ve not felt that in other rods I’ve cast from Sage, Winston, or Orvis.

Read the post here.

Simms Bulkley Jacket Review

simms-bulkley-jacket

Living in the Pacific Northwest in fall and winter (and sometimes even late Spring) requires clothing that is built for cold and wet – and that applies whether it’s for daily wear or fly fishing.

I’ve gone through lots of pieces of outerwear looking for something that is warm, windproof, waterproof, and with the two most important considerations: multiple use and comfortable.

I think I finally found what I’m looking for: the Simms Bulkley jacket. Admittedly, I’ve only used around town so far and it may take now until next fall to see how it works on the water. Nonetheless, I think this jacket is already a winner!

The jacket is a hip-length hooded jacket that combines a Gore-Tex 2-layer shell with PrimaLoft ONE insulation, the latter advertised to maintain 96% of its insulating capacity when wet. And the nice thing about this jacket is that the Primaloft ONE is also in the hood and sleeves. The insulation is such that it provides warmth with very little additional insulation required. Even for around town wear (i.e., minimal activity) I’ve gotten by with only a long-sleeved shirt – my arms always tend to get cold. I’d advise considering this a below 50F jacket. Above that temperature the jacket may keep you dry on the outside, but you will sweat (at least I did).

Fit is excellent. I’m 6’and about 195 pounds, and the Large fits me well.

The color is black, with only a subdued fly patch over the left pocket and the Simms brand over the right pocket to reveal its fishing nature. The jacket styling is relatively fitted, meaning it doesn’t hang like a big bag from your shoulders. The two large pockets work as well for cell phones and other electronics as they for large fly boxes. There are two hand warmer pockets that provide warmth; I really like the lining on the knuckle side of the pocket – there’s nothing worse than sliding your hands into a nylon lined pocket that chills the backs of your hands.

And one of the best things about the jacket is the price. At the time of this review it was only $279.95 USD – that’s a steal for what you get.

Stuff

As I noted in my previous post, we are moving to Gig Harbor, Washington. The prerequisites to selling – decluttering and staging – have taken most of our time for the last month. The fly fishing gear has been boxed or put out of sight at least until after the open house and raft of offers (we hope), which is one reason I’ve had nothing to post regarding fly fishing in over one month.

Except for taking time out to see “Star Trek Into Darkness” (fun movie, by the way), life revolves around my day job and decluttering and staging.

The longer we do this the more I know George Carlin was right when he said that a house is a place for keeping your stuff. And as time goes on your stuff is everywhere.

We’ve rented a storage unit for keeping some of our stuff – not the stuff we use every day, but the stuff we want to keep but can live without for some period. This includes winter clothing, snow tires; storage racks that have been removed for staging purposes; bicycles; tools, some of our lesser used kitchen ware, etc., etc.

As we drive through the facility and see other people at storage units that are filled to the rafters with stuff, it’s obvious this is an industry that was inevitable in a consumer culture. I wish I would have been the one to see it as fortunes have been made in a society of too much stuff, divorce, moving out, and selling houses.

And the more I deal with our stuff, I find myself thinking about the transitory value of stuff.

It’s somewhat depressing to see things that once seemed urgent to buy and have, now placed under what we call the magic tree outside our house, waiting for some passerby to pick them up and to be added to their stuff. Or the pile on the side of the house of the broken and old, ready for the inevitable trip to the dump.

I’m not the first to talk about the problems of excess consumption and the loss of appreciation for a few valued things. It’s just this experience has made me realize how subtle the problem is.

Until forced to confront it in a situation like ours, individual items are purchased, kept and used for some time, and then sold, given away, or tossed in the trash and it’s often with little thought. Only when dealing with all the stuff in aggregate does it become obvious.

I had friend, now deceased, who held a garage sale when he turned 75. He said he spent the first 70 years of life accumulating things; then all he wanted was to get rid of most of it. I now understand what he meant. Stuff begins to weigh you down.

I’m very fond of the writings of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I particularly like his writing in Wind, Sand, and Stars where he wrote: “In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”
He was writing about an airplane wing, but the same sentiment could apply to stuff.

I’m a long way from perfection.

Movin’

For some time, my wife and I had been planning to move at some undetermined time in the future to a continually debated location. Earlier this year we decided that the Gig Harbor area, across the Narrows from Tacoma had everything we wanted. Then less than two months ago, we were sitting in the Tides Tavern in downtown Gig Harbor, and the decision seemed obvious. Why wait for some future time? Let’s move now. We are Gig Harbor bound this summer.

One Saturday in late April spent house hunting with our realtor led to a major disappointment as the prices were higher and the properties less desirable than we had hoped to find with the price range we had specified.

We went home that night and did some quick spreadsheet calculations for increasing the upper limit. Doing a quick search, we found three that looked promising. Next morning, we hit the first house. We liked it immediately even though it was at the far reaches of affordability and maybe a bit beyond.

The other houses did not impress us. Back home we talked for a long, long time, did more spreadsheet calculations, and decided we’d buy it.

The offer was made and accepted. The inspection revealed a few things the seller agreed to correct. The buying part was underway with closing at the end of June.

We then turned our attention to what has proved to be the harder activity. Buying a house is just a matter of writing checks – very big checks. Selling, on the other hand, brings with it the spawn of the Roman goddess of chaos, Discordia; namely, “decluttering” and “staging”.

For anyone who’s not been involved with real estate sales in recent years, selling is no longer a matter of just cleaning the carpets and hiding the dirty socks. Today’s seller now declutters, which is an effort to depersonalize your house so potential buyers can see themselves and their things in your soon to be former space. That means taking something between 50 and 75 percent of all things in your current house and doing one of four things.

The first option was putting things into storage, which necessitates renting a storage unit. The second alternative was to try to recoup some of the purchase cost by selling things on Craigslist. The next alternative was to donate things, for which there are many worthwhile and needy charities. Finally, there was tossing stuff out. We’ve done all four with the majority of things going into storage or to Goodwill.

Along with decluttering came staging. This is the process where a knowledgeable realtor has us moving things around to create a better first impression: no, the bookcase should be there; move that chair into the other room; buy new bedspreads and towels. The list goes on from there.

There was also the last minute maintenance and cleaning, and the hiring of a small army of specialists: lawn and tree service, window cleaners, deck washers and patio power washers, painters for key touch ups, and a maid service to perform a showcase cleaning.

And the key constraint in all the above has been time. Getting the house ready and sold is an imperative – no one wants to carry two mortgages for longer than absolutely necessary. And to attract families, it’s been important to get the house sold in early summer so children can be registered for class in the new location.

That’s why we’ve hired our army and why lately most of the things being evaluated moved from treasured household items to being given away or tossed on the junk pile to be hauled to the dump.

Now, back to decluttering. Only three rooms left.