Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wrapup - Part 2 - Canoe Trip

Well, I know I am doing this a bit backwards, but I was having a conversation with my friend Julie today and was reminded of the canoe trip this weekend.

Canoeing, kayaking, floating, white water rafting - whatever you want to call it, should be a pre-requisite for any marriage.
I'm serious, y'all.
All young couples that are physically able should have to go through a canoe trip of some sort before they can be allowed to get married.

Let me set the scene a little better.

On Sunday, almost immediately after I was finished with my conference, I was on the road with Hubby's family and our little family to head down the Catawba River of South Carolina in canoes.

When I say immediately, I mean the conference ended at Noon and I was in my bathing suit and on the road with my family by 12:30. They even packed me a little brown bag lunch with my name on it. Aw, thanks guys.

Now, I did use to go on these canoe, or float trips as we called them in good ole' Mid-Missouri, with my best friend, Susan. I am best friends with a woman who can steer a canoe while never dropping her beverage. Seriously, the woman is 5 foot 4 inches and weighs less than 100 pounds and is a master with an oar. I did not realize until this weekend just how much she did on those trips. I really thought I was helping!
Thanks Suz - you are a good friend. I now know, I was most likely just there to keep you company.

This was the first trip I have been on in 15 years or so. The first ever with Hubby. And my two kids.

Did I mention my 4 year old, Bubby, is terrified of deep water that he especially cannot see the bottom of? Like a river? Yeah - I'll get back to that.

The whole time we are driving to the river, all I can think of are my fun and relaxing trips with my friend - 15 years ago. Without any kids.

We finally get there.

Hubby's parents get a kayak, Hubby's brother and 2 kids are in one canoe and my sister in law and her other child in another. We get our canoe, life-jackets and with our 2 kids get set up in the river.
Or white water rapids as I like to call them.

Really, it is a category 2 river without a white rapid to be found, but it sure felt like it! And I say category 2, like I know how a category 2 is different from a catagory 4. Which I don't. I just overhead some rental company guy say that.

At first, my son seems to think this might be fun and then as soon as we get in the water, he realizes we are actually going to float down this river.
He immediately starts to scream. I mean scream. Loudly. And cry. And tell me how scared he is.
But it is too late. We are in the river and about to start going through some rocky areas before we hit the calm water.

Hubby is in the back. I am in the front. We have never been in a canoe together.
Unless you count the Log Flume at Six Flags. But there are no oars involved in that ride.

So, Bubby is screaming and we are rapidly floating - into rocks.
Hubby is now screaming.
At me.
To watch for the rocks.

Okay, so those of you that have been on a trip like this may know that the rocks - they just pop up out of nowhere.
I mean really, it is not like I could see them before our canoe would just ride right up on top of them and we would be stuck.

And meanwhile, Bubby is screaming every time we hit a rock.
And I am praying harder than I ever have that we do not tip our boat over because. oh. my. goodness. how.my. son.would. freak. out.

And the rest of Hubby's clan?

Well, his brother's canoe has overturned. With the drink cooler. Of course, Hubby abandons me to save the drinks. Alone with the kids on a rock. He is saving Bud Lights and Gatorades.

And his parents and SIL are stuck on some other rocks that we are all supposed to see but didn't because of the sneaking up thing.

We have been in the water about 5 minutes and have approximately 3 more miles of river to cover.

Whose idea of fun was this anyway?

Well, we finally get past the rapids and on to smoother sailing.
Bubby has not let go of my back side or looked up since we got in the water.

And he continues this way the entire trip - all 4 hours.

He screams the first hour at least, only to stop when we rested on an island. He would not enter the water for a swim and was insistent that I not do so either.

Remember the beverages? Well, I have consumed several while floating by now and since I cannot get in the water for fear of traumatizing my son even more, I must make friends with a grove of trees and revert back to the small town girl that I truly am. Lucky boys.

So, we rest and then head back in the river. Luckily, soon after this Bubby has stopped screaming.

Now, Hubby is another story.

Literally, we are zig zagging across this river. There is no floating involved because we have no earthly idea of how to work together to steer this boat. And my arms? Basically, they feel like they are going to fall off for the rowing that I am doing.

There is no shortage of drama in this family. My daughter is so dang smart that she insists on firmly telling me what I am doing wrong.
And she is right!
"Rowing on the right side will make you turn left, Mom!"

One YMCA camping trip and the girl is ready for the Colorado River.

And Bubby?
The one who was screaming for his life for the first hour is now telling Hubby and I what we need
"is a little teamwork, guys."

Hubby, meanwhile, who is BEHIND me is telling me to steer this way and that way.
Which way is that? I remind him that I cannot see him and to be more clear in his directions. You know, like, "Janel, row on the right side! Okay, now row on the left."

Seems simple. And the whole time his Dad, who apparently has been down this road before, or lake I should say, with his mom is laughing and telling Hubby how to overcompensate for my mistakes.
Not embarrassing a-tal!

Now, never ever in my marriage vows did I say I could white water raft. Or camp. Or do anything much outdoorsy. I am not an outdoorsy girl.

I camp - in a CAMPER.

I boat - WITH A MOTOR.

I like nature - IN MY BACKYARD.

So, he is surprised by the fact that with all my good rowing intentions we are headed into the banks of the river?

I never have even mentioned the thunder and possible threat of rain. Luckily, we missed that somehow. Or the fact that the wind was blowing toward us the entire time making the rowing twice as hard.

I would be remiss if I did not share how truly enjoyable it all was in spite of the craziness. It was nice to share in this time with family and spend some time in the peace of nature.
We finally made it back to our pick up point. TWO HOURS later than we were supposed to arrive. I am surprised the company that rented us our canoes didn't send a search party.

Maybe they knew we'd be late.

Maybe, and I am just speculating here, because of the screaming and tipping over in the first 3 minutes on the river they knew were were not experts.


Anonymous said...

Oh Janel, that was so funny. Hubby and I have been white water rafting and I will NEVER go again. We did tip and my legs were bruised from top to bottom from hitting the rocks. All the while he was just yelling at me to swim. News flash - I can't swim and am afraid of water. He recently bought a canoe and I won't go near it.
Glad you had a fun day with the family and that your son made it through. I'm with him - the screaming and all!

It's Me! said...

Janel, Just think this will be one of those stories the kids will tell to their families over some Holiday dinner. Of course, I sure the youngest will recount the whole thing a bit differently, he'll be the one to save the day, not hide behind the supper powers of mom.

Tatum said...

Ah yes, the outdoors. Your story just confirmed to me that this girl is ment to stay on land!
Your account was so funny!

Rebecca a.k.a. Mum said...

OMG it sounds like a riot of a time, better you than me girl!

I am not much of an outdoorsy girl myself, I like a real (clean) toilet and shower, a real bed, TV etc etc. lol

I can only imagine how it would have been with my lot....it makes me shudder in fear!!

Glad you ended up having a good time at the end though! :)

Dawn Ward said...

Oh Janel, thank you for sharing. That was too funny! I am not an outdoorsy girl either. I don't even like to sweat!

The one time I allowed my husband to take me camping, we had a four-person tent (it was only the two of us) with a blow-up air matress. We went to a KOA campground, with an electrical hook-up I might add, along with restrooms and showers about 100 yards away. I took my book, an extension cord for my lamp (yes, I took a lamp), and a lounge chair so I could relax and read before turning in for the night. While the people next to us were obviously veteran campers and were singing campfire songs around the fire, I was kicked back with my book and lamp! And I liked it that way!

Hey! I did sleep and cook outside! That was enough of a camping experience for me!

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