Me - In a Canoe With Gomer & Adolpha

Today was our last full day of camp.  We head back to civilization tomorrow and I've finally hit my stride.  Today I felt like SuperMom and when Gomer begged me to take him out in a canoe, I readily agreed.  I didn't stop for a moment to think that I know nothing about canoes.  That I can't paddle for shit or that the winds were blowing away from the dock today.  SuperMom kicked in and said, "Sure!  Let's do it!"  How hard could it be?  I thought.  Apparently, it's hard when you're an idiot.

Of course, Adolpha got wind of our plan and wanted to join in.  We walked down to the dock, found everyone an appropriately sized life vest and hopped in our little metal canoe.  We paddled a nice little circle real close to the dock and I said, "Well, that was fun, let's bring her in."

"Noooo," my kids wailed.  "Aunt Seraphina took us all over the lake."

"She did?" I asked.

"Yup."

Hmmm...Aunt Seraphina is MY aunt, their GREAT aunt.  I'm not sure how old she is, but close to 60 I'd say.  If she can row them all over the lake, so can I.  I can not be outdone by a senior citizen.  I spotted a little cove at the far end and I said, "Did she take you to that cove?"

"Nope."

"OK, well that's where we're going!  Paddle, Gomer!"  We had a nice brisk wind at our backs and off we went to our secluded cove.  We got there in no time and drifted around for a bit.  The sun was starting to get hot and Adolpha was getting restless.  Every time she shifted her weight the boat would tip a bit and Gomer would freak out that we were going to capsize.  (I didn't want to tell Gomer that I'd pretty much convinced myself before we ever left shore that I would somehow be swimming back because we would most likely tip.)

At least it was only this bad in my head.

"Have you had enough?  Shall we head back?" I asked.

"Yes!" they answered.

I conjured up the few strokes I could remember from the last time I ever canoed (25 years ago) and got us turned around and headed in the right direction.  We battled head winds the whole way and Gomer wasn't much help when it came to paddling.  His arms were tired and he didn't have much left in him.

We finally got within about 10 feet of the dock when suddenly the wind picked up and we were literally turned sideways and pushed back out in the middle of the lake.  Argh.  I tried to turn us again and this time we did two complete rotations before I was done.  I tried to act like I meant to do that.  As if I am some sort of trick canoeist.

People were starting to gather on the shore now to watch us.  "Are you OK out there?" someone called.

"Oh yeah, we're good.  Thanks.  Just need to paddle a bit harder," I called back.  "Dig!" I yelled at Gomer.

"I'm digging, mommy!" he yelled at me.  "Steer!"

(I've never been canoeing with the Hubs, but this gave me a glimpse of what it could be like.  Gomer has never reminded me so much of his father as he did today when he yelled at me.)

We headed back towards the dock and got within 10 feet again when we were suddenly pushed away again!  Are you kidding me!!?

At this point, I start thinking if I can somehow jump in the lake without tipping the canoe.  I figure I could jump in and tow the boat in.  I'm not convinced my plan can be carried out.  I am very much  like a clumsy baby bull.  My kids will definitely end up in the drink.  I'm positive.

I can't think about jumping, because now I've got a mutiny on my hands.  The kids are wigging out.

"Mommy, will we be stuck out here all night?" Adolpha wailed.

"No.  I'm thinking of jumping in and swimming the boat in," I said.

"You'd jump in and leave us here, Mommy?" Gomer screeched.

"Noo.  I'd pull the boat and swim.  I think you might fall in too though.  Would that scare you guys?"

"YES!" they replied in unison.

"Well, then we're going to have to paddle really hard, Gomer.  Let's go.  I'll count and we can paddle together."

We started again with our synchronized paddling, inching closer to the dock.  We were getting there...I could maybe just slip over the side...WHOOSH.  Damn winds!!  Out we go again - sideways.

Now I think we could make it to the shore on the other side of the lake and drag the boat out there.  I've decided that's what I'm going to do.  We start working with the wind instead of against it.  I just hope it isn't very deep over there.

"Hi there.  Could you use some help?" came a voice out of nowhere.  A young boy - maybe a high school kid? pulls up in a kayak.

"Hi!  Yes, please!" we all reply.

"Hang on to my kayak and I'll tow you in," he said.

He expertly maneuvered us right to the beach with little or no trouble.  We got to where the water was about a foot deep and I jumped out of that damn boat.  The hell I was going to get dragged back out into the middle again!  We were all glad to be on dry land again.

Yes, I am not ashamed to say that I let that young boy tow me and my two children to shore while everyone watched us like we were idiots.  No one said it out loud, but I could hear their thoughts.  "What the hell was she thinking?  Look at her!  She is not boating material.  Did she just think a motor would somehow appear on the back of that canoe?  Those poor kids are terrified.  Way to go, SuperMom.  Ewww...by the way, she totally ruined her shoes.  Yuck."

My shoes are a little soggy and I'm not sure that they will recover and I will definitely be sore tomorrow.  The upside?  I'm making memories for my kids.  I was a regular OAM today.  We got some great pics that will look great in my Canoeing Memories Scrapbook.

39 comments:

AngelaB said...

Never canoe with a spouse. There's a reason why canoes are called "divorce boats.". Separate kayaks are the way to preserve a marriage.

Momma said...

LOVE this one! Making memories indeed! These are the kind of memories I make... daily. It is good fodder for their future therapists. Still love your blogs, Jen! Thanks for continuing to make us laugh!

Smart Ass Sara said...

I've gone canoeing once and thankfully the river was low so if we flipped over I could have walked out and my husband is really good at canoeing on that river since he's done it his whole life. But the time we went kayaking? On Lake Superior? With no experience? Epic fucking fail. http://strandupdate.blogspot.com/2009/06/kayak-trip-summary.html They call them the divorce boats for good reason.

Tara said...

I anxiously await your blog posts! Nearly pee my pants when I read them. THANKS!!!

Kevin said...

Simple rules to follow, the person in the back of the canoe steers AND follows the paddling of the person in the front....however I feel your pain with the two heathens in the canoe..

whowouldathought-Kevin.blogspot.com

kheatherb said...

I think you're pretty awesome for even trying-you WERE a SuperMom!!!

kheatherb said...

Oh and BTW I read your FB prepost as "Guess who's an expert at orgasms? Not me!" Waaay different outcome! Ha!

Kayla Arnolts said...

you make the most fun when you a) don't plan every detail and b) mildly frighten someone else! too bad it was your kids but they'll love you regardless. :-)

Beth McDonough said...

I've gone canoeing once, in the Florida Keys in a Mangrove forest, and tipped the canoe. It's actually extremely easy to tip it. You should pat yourself on the back for keeping it upright!

Brandy said...

At least I'm not the only one!

B said...

I love to go canoeing...at least I thought I did until I was the front person and no longer sitting in the middle. Turns out, I hate it.

Kelly said...

My husband and I have traditionally gone on a canoe trip each year since we started dating. We have canoed parts of the James River and the Shenandoah River in Virginia. Next summer, we will be canoeing at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota.

Especially, on a river, with strong currents and rapids, I REFUSE to sit in the steering seat because I don't want to be responsible if we get stuck in the muck, or the weeds, or tip over, especially in river rapids.... My husband is brilliant at steering, and I'm good at the powering. Actually, I've had to sit in a canoe with people who are not so good at steering from the traditional rear seat of the canoe, so I've become decent at both powering and steering somewhat from the front.

Anyway, God Bless you for taking that steering seat! I would say H-E-L-L no! Go you!

jo said...

HAHAHA! great tip!

jo said...

oooh...isn't that gator territory???

Anonymous said...

Same here....

April said...

Me too!!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Just freaking awesome!

Kelly and Sne said...

Yea, I made the mistake of letting my 4YO son talk me into a pedal boat on vacation last week. Those things aren't really that easy to pedal if you are doing it alone - especially if your kid is 'steering' by basically cranking it from side to side. So after about 30 minutes of this I'm trying to get us back to the dock against the current and I'm getting hot and sweaty, my legs are getting tired and my back is bruised from pressing against the plastic seatback. Of course he can't quite reach the pedals and every time he tried to 'help' it just made it more difficult. I tried very hard to be happy and make this Mother-Son activity a pleasant memory for him but once he started yelling "faster, Mom!" I just lost it! Next time Dad can take him...

Anonymous said...

I read it the same way! Too funny.

Jenn said...

Your kids will remember that forever. Good job!
*just re-read and I'm worried it might seem like I'm being sarcastic. I'm not. Seriously, good job.

Anonymous said...

LMAO! That would so totally happen to me. What matters is the great time you had with your kids! Even though the SUPER MOM in you came out! =)

Laura said...

Yep! There's a reason my husband & I have never been canoeing. Driving in a car together is bad enough :)

Amanda Mills said...

My husband and I went caneoing one week after getting married. Before we left we both declared we wanted a divorce and said the most hateful things to one another. We have now been married 11 years and have NEVER been again together. I stay my happy indoors arse at home and let him paddle himself!

Unknown said...

So maybe this should be a test for couples to take before they get married? Naw.....

Kp said...

the divorce boats note is a great tip - thanks!

momto2 said...

My hubby and I went canoeing once before we were married. It was almost the end of us! I cannot steer at all, just end up going in circles. We agreed never again. Glad you got back relatively dry! Sarah @ www.DailyMesses.com

frugalistablog said...

Just think if they knew you were the famous Elf on the Shelf blogger stuck out in the middle of a lake in a canoe with your kids. They would be jumping in after you. I hope you got a massage at the spa, a cold margarita and a pedicure. OH wait, wrong camp. ;)

Anonymous said...

I know this is way off topic but I know Gomer and Adolpha are not your kids' real names but do you ever accidentally call them that?

Anonymous said...

Reading about the paddleboat experience made me think of mine. My parents own a cabin that's located on a *very* mucky channel between 2 lakes in WI. My young son wanted to go on the paddleboat with me, so I got him in and told him to hold on to the dock while I got in. I stepped onto the boat and he (of course) let go. I started doing the splits and ended up thigh-high in the most disgusting water I've ever been in!! My family still likes to tease me about that. Ah, memories. :P

L Carilo said...

Wow... me too. Ha ha.

Karissa Ancell said...

I can't even imagine how bad I would be at canoeing. That's why I'm glad that My daughter's grandpa took her sailing a bunch of times this week while they he has her for vacation because her mommy has no clue what to do with any kind of boat.

Rachel said...

Hey Laura, how do you drive a car "together"? That's probably part of the problem. ;)

jodigirl1971 said...

My husband & I went canoeing when we were younger, and not married. We had been drinking a little. We were arguing about how he was steering, and how I was screwing up in the front. We tipped the boat, we were both very angry about this. We got up and started slapping eachother with the paddles. As people passed us laughing their asses off.

JennaJennJenn said...

My mom actually used to take us on canoe trips when I was a young kid. One time we went with a bunch of her friends and we had to manuever down a waterfall that was about 3 feet high with rapids on the other side. Luckily I was in the canoe with my mom and her boyfriend and we made it ok. The canoe my sister was in however tipped over and I was convinced I was watching her last moments. Everyone ended up ok but afterwards my sister had dreams about the fishtank bursting and her being in the ensuing rapids paddling furiously and yelling "hard right!" at the others in the canoe. I guess you could say it was a traumatic experience for her.

Anonymous said...

Im glad im not the only person with funny divorce boat stories. And alcohol ALWAYS makes them more memorable arguments!

Neurotic Atty said...

Love it! Duly noted!

TNMom said...

We canoed this weekend. We went 11 miles down the buffalo river, which is up quite a bit so we pretty much just float down. It's mostly couples and oddly enough, my hubby and I are the only ones that didn't fight or flip. I make a conscience effort to not touch my paddle or do anything to affect the boat unless he tels me to. I just drink beer (not as much as one of my friends though, who was unable to even balance herself much less a canoe, her poor hubby). Anyways, I do see it as a great chance of fighting and bickering and divorce, so that's why the "Devan don't do anything" rule is in place, plus it's easier for me. We love it and are going again in September, twice a year thing for us! Glad you made it out alive Jenn!
Devan

Hey Mon! said...

Funniest. Post. Ever.

Love it! My jaw fell open because that was so bad. Also, because I can totally see myself doing this.

And Gomer acting like the hubs. Priceless!

Kind of reminds me of the time my (then-newlywed) husband and I took our new tandem kayak out at the exact time the tide was going out to sea accompanied by a wicked strong wind. We thought we were going to die.

Anonymous said...

How can your shoes be messed up? I thought crocs were waterproof...

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