Friday, October 8, 2010

Boating With The Flamingos

Last weekend, Flamingo Joe got the boat ready and decided we needed to actually take it out on the water. Not sure really where he's coming from, but I try to be supportive . . . and by supportive I mean not let it show on my face too much how little I want to go out in the boat. Don't misunderstand me . . . being on the boat is awesome, once it is in the water and someone is driving me around. But now that we don't actually live on the water and can't just lower the boat lift, hop in and take off, taking the boat out is a bit more of a chore -- for Joe mostly, but he does expect me to participate a little bit by 1) getting food, towels, and drinks ready; and 2) getting the children all excited about going, and by children, I mean Casey. But last week, Flamingo Joe had handled all of the food, towels and drinks part while my kids, Heidi's kids, my parents and I went back down to Largo Central Railroad (that's ABPA, though, and we'll get to it in another post, maybe).

So I got back with the kids at 2ish and all I had to do was change my clothes and the kids' clothes and convince Casey that going in the boat would be fun. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Casey, do you want to go in the boat?

Casey: Are you going?

Me: Yes.

Casey: I don't want to go. [Contrary to how that sounds, i.e., rude, Casey's preliminary question in regard to almost all outings is to ask me if I'm going because if I'm not going, his reply is often an automatic "no." In this case, he was just trying to lay a foundation.]

Me: Okay, you can stay home with Grandma.

Casey: Are you going to go fast or slow?

Me: You will think it's fast, but we'll really be going slow.

Casey: I'm only going to go if you promise that you will go slow.

Me: I promise we will go slow for us, but it may still seem fast for you. How about if I promise you can swim off the back of the boat?

Casey: Okay, but I want to go slow.

Casey, as you can see, is not a fan of the boat, which tends to lead to some family conflict while we're in the boat because Casey will be screaming, "NOOOOOO! NOT FAST! SLOW DOWN!" While Mace screams, "FASTER DADDY!!! FASTER!!"

Dez went with us and it was her job to hold Mace's hand because, although he has a need for speed, he appreciates the comfort of someone's hand while flying across the water.

Flamingo Joe is not a fan of slow. But he really wants Casey to like the boat, so he usually caters to Casey for a little while and keeps the speed down, but then tries to gradually increase the speed without Casey noticing. Casey is not easily fooled and has an uncanny sense of exactly how fast the boat is going at any given moment. This trip, he picked 15 mph as the threshold speed above which the world would come to an end, so whenever he felt we had exceeded the 15 mph mark, he would scream "FIFTEEN!! DAD!!! FIFTEEN!!"

I think Flamingo Joe was praying for patience in that photo.

We boated around for an hour and a half or so and then before heading back to the boat ramp, we anchored the boat in shallow water so the boys could swim. Mace jumped right in . . .

. . . but for some reason Casey, the boy who can now (thanks to swim team) swim 100 yards without really trying, was nervous about jumping in the water.

I'm not sure why he thought it was deep:

Cause it wasn't. He did eventually take the life jacket off.

So after the boys swam for 20 minutes or so, we decided to head back to the boat ramp, which was only about 100 yards or so from where we had anchored the boat. The boys piled back in, Flamingo Joe started the boat, put it in gear and the boat shut down. He started it again, put it in gear, and again the boat shut down. And so it went for five minutes until Flamingo Joe announced that we had gotten sand in the impeller. By this time, the high-pitched beeeeeeeeeep that signals that the engine is overheated was going full blast. Keep in mind that the only way to get sand in the impeller is to operate the boat when you're in water that is too shallow. So while the beeeeeeep was piercing our eardrums I heard Flamingo Joe say, "I should have pushed the boat into deeper water before trying to start it." I don't know about you, but that sounds like an admission of guilt to me and we can safely say that we were stuck and . . .

. . . it was all Joe's fault. [If you feel that I'm being too hard on Flamingo Joe, I have at least two other boating stories to tell you -- one that involves our running the bow of our rented sailboat into the broadside of a much larger, seventy-times-more-expensive sailboat and another one that involves our sailing our small sailing catamaran (like a Hobie cat) around the wrong, too-windy side of an island and not being able to get back, forcing us to walk, in our life jackets, to a country club, where the nice man who met us in the foyer let us use his phone to call a cab. So yes, I have some latent boating resentment toward my husband.]

Joe decided to let the engine cool a little and then try to make it to the boat ramp. We made it as far as a channel marker about 50 yards to the boat ramp before the beeeeeeeep started going off again. Joe made me tie the boat off on the marker and lifted the engine cover. We waited another 10 minutes while the engine cooled and Flamingo Joe ominously pronounced, "We're going to gun it to the ramp so hold on."

Poor Casey didn't even have time to react to the announcement before we were going waaaaay over the 15 mph threshold.

He started screaming at the top of his lungs, "STOP!!! STOP!!! TOOO FAST!!! FIFTEEN!!! FIFTEEN!!!"

And both Joe and I were screaming, "JUST SHUT UP CASEY!!!"

Not our finest parenting moment, I admit.

The beeeeeeep started about 10 yards from the boat ramp, so Joe slowed down and told me to get to the front of the boat so I could tie us off at a cleat as soon as we got close enough to the dock because the engine was about to die.

I was being a very good wife, not asking questions (like, "What's a CLEAT?"), only taking instructions, and moved to the front of the boat, grabbed the rope, and got ready to jump, when Flamingo Joe added:

"We're only going to have one chance at this . . ."

Um, I'm sorry -- I needed extra PRESSURE?

I'm happy to tell you that I successfully tied off the boat and we all made it home in one piece thanks to my heroic efforts (never mind that Flamingo Joe was the one who managed to actually get the boat up on to the boat trailer without the benefit of a running engine).

On the way home, Casey announced that he was staying home with Grandma next time.

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