Early last month, I took Mac to the closest place we can exercise him thoroughly, a big SWIM. It is a pretty spot....although to the west is the huge Toyota Shipyard where hundreds of new cars come from overseas for U.S. markets. To the right, though, is the most beautiful bridge in the city of Portland....St Johns Bridge: Under and very close to that bridge (on the other side of the river from this pic) is a boat dock for fishermen....a long cement ramp with docks on two sides....when there's a fish migration going on, there will be dozens and dozens of boats go in and out of here through the day. Mac's been there when it's busy, and when it's not....the boats, trailers, fishermen mean nothing to him....it's ALL about retrieving what stick is tossed from the end of the dock into the river..... He dives off the dock, retrieves, spots it out of the water up the ramp....and then repeats and repeats until he's tired. So. Early last month, I went down there, and began his routine....noticing this handsome and unusual small houseboat on the alternate dock to ours: As the hour passed I realized there was a family of handsome man, attractive wife, and tiny child aboard.... LIVING in that tiny space. As I was about to leave, the man came up the ramp, and I couldn't help but ask about this adventure..... What a story I heard! The guy said he was a bit of an architect, handyman, computer guy, and on and on....he designed and built the boat from scrap pieces, and they had "chosen" to give this "lifestyle" a try, feeling it great to raise the kid in this safe, but closed environment....as opposed to all the inadequate public systems, crowds, corruption of cities.... I asked, 'You travel the whole coast?" . . . "Oh no, not so much. We've been near Hillsboro, and just thought we'd sail around these past couple of weeks with this great weather here." . . . .So, I heard quite the sales pitch....didn't ask for anything..... said they occasionally had to come to a dock/park like this to refill water barrel, empty the potty tub, get boat gas (there is NO boat gas at this part of town), and groceries..... ah, the simple life. THEN. NEXT time I'm down, this same houseboat is now tied and anchored to the other main boat dock, that's heavily used...and it seems they've taken up residence. As I toss things for Mac to swim....I can now see (now that I'm right next TO the boat) that things aren't quite as polished and new as I'd thought, OR clean. I noticed the small motor doesn't have a cover on it. BUT, the wife seems to have washed a blanket or two that are hanging in the sun. This time I see him telling EVERY boater arriving or departing an even bigger story than he'd told me. This time, his skills included investment banker, ex-military, IT expert, etc., although by appearance, I wouldn't have thought ANY of this to be true....I never said a word that day...just began to let it sink in, he's ALL talk.......and maybe living on this boat is not as much a choice as he'd have you believe. THEN. NEXT time, The houseboat is STILL tied to the dock. AND. a 2nd Boat is there...a smaller sailboat with a tiny cabin....THAT boat was obviously being lived in.... Oh Oh........See the trend beginning? BUT, with some relief, by the time I left, the sailboat had departed.... with houseboat guy, saying, "See you soon." THEN, last time I was there, as Mac and I come out to that end of the dock for Mac's workout, houseboat man is now working on the motor, saying it won't start...... and..... yep, hints of just an extra $10 or so, would, uh....... WHILE I'm there, here comes the Harbormaster who talked with him just a few minutes....told the guy he'd HAVE to move, he can't be moored here forever, and there had been complaints. Here's the interesting thing: Immediately, that guy had the motor UP and running, made trip to the water fountain up the ramp, emptied the sewage, and was GONE...... hm. I ache with empathy these days seeing the few million people whose lives are falling apart as the uber-wealthy continue to strip everybody of every penny for their mansions, estates, security teams, and more. Seems they just can't get enough. THAT being said, I do wonder if there wouldn't be some kind of an easier way to struggle along than what this guy is doing. I SO think his bull-Sh_t skills are what he's made it through on up to now, and that's no longer working......... It's an upsetting, strange, new world. So, to sign off, one can see even the World of Strip clubs (and there's plenty of that in Portland.....) are landing on hard times. The shiny new ones are called "Gentleman's Clubs" (hah), all the way to this one we saw out on SE Division: Yep, times are tough!