Friday, May 20, 2011

first boat experience.

As mentioned before, I mostly grew up on boats in the summer time. So, when we bought our magic watercraft on wheels, I thought this would be a piece of cake. Gone was the logic thought of,

Leslie, your husband has never really been on a boat. How do you expect to know what the hell he's doing? You're going to drown out there!! Think of your children!!! Oh, the humanity!!

Nope. All gone. Instead I relied on my husband's 10min brief orientation from the previous owner to hold solid and get us through this. Mainly because as the years have ticked by he's proven to me that he is MacGyver and can fix just about anything. Minus the hot 80's mullet.

Our infamous boat-launching day, we decided to "go it alone". Meaning, we'd been warned to not do this your first time alone.

Ha! We laugh in the face of the non-believers!

Or so we thought. We arrived at the boat dock, and like a panicked school girl, I kept frantically looking back and forth like some hyped up retriever looking for his ball.

What do we do now? Do you want me to get out? Oh, God, Nate what if people are waiting for us? What if you screw up backing the trailer up and then the guy behind us is pissed and then we get gossiped about by the Official Boating Club people?

The what?

Ok, I get it. My husband set the boat down in the water with amazing ease. Overjoyed that MacGyver had soothed my first fear, the boys and I hopped out and got on the dock. Neither boy had a life jacket on and now THEY were the ones who were the hyped-up-retrievers-looking-for-their-ball. I'm standing on the dock holding the 2 white ropes as the boat came off the trailer. I pulled the boat over to the dock and was excited for my own achievement. Then Nate disappeared over the loading dock and he went to park the Tahoe.

As time ticks by my hands are turning purple from holding the ropes so tight. I mean it wasn't a yacht in a windstorm for crying out load, I was just to hold the unloaded boat at the dock.

This is our first time, I kept saying with my big Jackie O sunglasses on, and I think the strangers noticed my hyper-panicky voice. I don't think anyone really cared. This was mixed in with:

Maysen get back off the side, your brother is going to watch -- Griffin you step back too ... Mase I said to just sto--- GRIFFIN! YOU BOTH GET BACK BEFORE I SWEAR TO GOD I'M GOING TO--This is our first time ...*smile*

Minutes tick by like hours as I'm waiting for my saviour to make his way over the hill and into my view. I can now audibly hear the "sighs" of the boats behind us frustrated that I, Jackie O who is yelling at her kids non stop because she's afraid they'll slip off and drown, is indeed taking up the WHOLE DOCK.

Finally here comes Nate. And what do I see? NO, and I mean ZERO boys' life jackets or backpack (which contained emergency snacks, sunscreen, socks ... always need dry socks). It takes him what seems like forever to reach the dock, and like a dog who fetched a bone was smiling wildly at me.

Ready to go?!

Nope. You left all the crap up in the car.


Yep. Please hurry as I'm about to panic over these kids and the irritated two guys from Grumpy Old Men behind me. Which, as of program note, in fact had to go back out into the lake, circle around, and come back because I was in the way. Score.

Now here he comes with arms full of gear. As I strap the kids so tight they can barely breath in their life jackets, we load the boat. People flood out of the woodwork, seemingly, as soon as we hop aboard.

*Grrrrrrrrrrr---*    *Grrrrrrrrrrr----*

What? You can't tell that's a dead battery noise? Well. It was. And while we tried for the next hour trying to get jumped by everyone sailing by on the water, no luck. We decided to abandon ship, and back we came into town for a nice $80 mid-Sunday afternoon snack of battery! If I had only grabbed my cellphone. I see now what people used to do before cellphones were here. Savages!

Back we go, all 20 miles back to the lake. The people have scattered, and to our relief no one had stolen our non-starting boat. Phew! Nate got the battery in, changed, and she fired right up! I was glad because I had already talked myself into believing that this boat HAD to be a pile of junk, and that we'd gotten ripped off, and the previous owner had, in fact, stolen our first born!

We enjoyed our day out on the lake, which really was only about an hour. But that was enough, as the breeze was chilly now and the sun was fading. Feeling we'd tackled the hardest part of the journey, I told Nate to go get the trailer and I'd load the boat. Nate missed the launch pad twice, should have been an omen.

I loaded the boat with ease and perfection. All except for when, thanks to the homeless guy on the dock who screamed "YOU LEFT YOUR BUOYS OUT!!", I was about to pop those babies in two. Take #2 went smoothly as well. Nate got out to crank the boat up and as we were driving up the boat ramp with smiles of triumph, Mr Homeless came running after us pointing.


I smiled and waved, "THANK  YOU!"


What? You didn't know that was the sound of your motor that wasn't lifted out of the water dragging on the launch pad? Oh. Well. It was. And now we are sitting high-center in the middle of the launch pad. Over much debate with whether or not I raised the motor out of the water (which I did what I was told and did) and with the help of 4 or 5 other boaters who came to help out, we remained high-centered on the launch pad and, again, in every one's way.

Dying of mortification, I just want to spread my wings and fly back into the middle of the lake away from everything, but instead I'm asked what no fat dwarf wants to be asked.

Can you get out of the boat?

Uh. Leslie here with 2ft legs and we're sitting approximately 8 feet off the ground. Right.

You've gotta be kidding me right? Where are those damn wings?

Somehow we all pile off the boat and I make the kids get into the running Tahoe while we (the guys) figure out what to do. It takes the kids exactly 4.9 seconds to remove their life jackets, seat belts, and are currently hanging from the vehicle complaining and whining like you'd just told them Santa ate the Easter Bunny.

With God's graces, they were able to push the motor up a bit and move the boat back into the lake. Now what? We still can't load it and take it out of the lake. The mystery was behind this magic black button called "Trim". Apparently we were pushing it all the way up but the motor was not coming out of the water. We were placing all bets that our faithful friend, Tim, would be home. It was Tim who had told us to not go boating alone the first time and wait for them to be available. We'll never ignore Tim again!

I left with the wild animals who had no shoes, had not eaten, and were gnawing holes in the new Tahoe seats. I look back to see solemn Nate in the boat like a developmentally challenged person with no helmet. Boat sitting quietly at the dock and we all know is going no where. I fly down the highway as the tears start to flow. What am I going to do if Tim's not home?

I pass a highway patrolman who slams on his breaks. No, I'm not speeding, don't do this to me! I rounded the hill and slid behind some semis in hopes I'd lose him, although I didn't know why I was being followed to begin with. The lights of HOME were shining at me as I took the exit and sped to The Glenn's house.

Thank you JESUS he was home! Tiffany answered the door.

Oh my God, what's wrong? Who died?!

Did I really look that bad? I blubbered out my sob story as Hero Tim changed out of his church clothes at warp speed and before I knew it, stood there, wrenches in hand. We walked to the trailer and I think I found the culprit of why the highway patrolman slammed on his breaks.
There behind the trailer was 12' of the line used to crank the boat in with. It's a 3" wide ribbon/rope and Nate had not locked it. So I'm flying passed people on the freeway at warp speed, crying, kids going nuts, all with 39 million feet of this flag waving behind me.

Tim agreed to drop me and the kids off at home, now dark, and go rescue Nate. Within 30 minutes I got a call from Nate.

Figured out the problem. Apparently there's a separate black button that raises the engine out of the water.

Thanks Tim for saving us. And we will not be attempting this again without you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


As a parent, it is easy to get wrapped up in everyday life. I will admit that often there are times where my kids test my frustration-level more than my love-level. I know that I am not perfect and no matter how hard I do try and bite my tongue, I know my quick wick sometimes gets the best of me; I am sure I say some things that I wish I didn't. It is something that I am trying to get better at, honestly.

My sister directed me toward this poetry reader that she found online; Her newly profound interest in poetry came out of nowhere, like many of her new ideas and interests. This poem struck me more than some of the other random poems and site readings she sends me via YouTube. Perhaps its because I'm a mom. Maybe its because of her openness and honesty. Maybe its because it is so true, hidden behind some locked file cabinet in our minds, we know all of this, but yet it doesn't seem significant enough at the time. 

At the time. At "this" time is what is most important. This is the time that will count for that time down the road.

In her poem, Rachel McKibbens mentions #1 "the crumpled photo of myself in the garbage".

One sunny afternoon, Maysen was going through my drawer where I keep old photos of classmates and dusty yearbooks. Annoyed he was dragging everything out of the drawers, I barked at him to put all the stuff back and shut the drawer. 

Who is this, mom? 

That's me. (Really do I look that different?)

How old were you? Why is your hair yellow? 

I explained that the picture was when I graduated high school, right before college. As for the yellow hair, I tried to rationalize why I had over-highlighted to cover my dark roots and then my hair got too brittle and only becau--- I stopped there because the deer-in-headlights look was too much.

Nevermind. My hair was just yellow in high school. 

He sat mesmerized and as his brother approached, he beamed.

Griffy did you know this was Momma when she was graduating High School? She was 18. She even has yellow hair!

He later asked for some tape. Annoyed at having to remove 29 feet of destroyed tape from his attempts to cut a 1" piece off, I gave him the tape. I didn't think to ask what it was for. 

That night, tired and eyes watering from yawning so much, I was talked into going upstairs to lay with him. Griffin had fallen fast asleep and was audibly snoring. 

Listen to that beast! 

We both giggled, knowing it probably wasn't the best thing to condone him calling his brother a "Beast". All in all, we sat and whispered to one another. Maysen loves hearing about stories of when I was young. As he yawned, I kissed his forehead. Something caught my eye.

Taped on his headboard was my senior picture. 

Why did you tape my picture up here?

Because, mom. You're so pretty! 

He now has 2 pictures on his headboard. My senior picture from 12yrs ago, and one photo my sister took of Maysen and I when he was about 3 months old. I am holding him  up in the bathtub, while he stares at Jenn with his huge blue eyes. He thinks he looks like "a baby monkey and I'm sooo cute, mom!".

I never want to see my picture crumpled up in the garbage. I think it would be the one thing in this world that could break my heart. I hope I always make him happy enough, proud enough, to display my picture.