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Some dreams just don’t float

It is not a good week for boats in Hendryville.


 


    I’ve been checking the “bargain trader” magazine for a year now, seeking a used, one person kayak (actually, I want two). I have a kayak, but it is a two seater, so heavy that I can’t even drag it two feet myself. So, I’ve been wanting an easier boat to handle, so I can go off and play without it being a big ordeal that requires man-muscles. But people don’t sell used kayaks, or so it seems. You simply never see them advertised.


    I could ask for a new boat, I suppose, but I prefer used toys. That way, since it doesn’t involve a huge investment, I won’t wrestle with guilt when I’m too busy to use it, (a spouse can’t say, “See, you really shouldn’t have bought that, you almost never take it out”) and I just don’t want to get all persnickety about keeping an object of entertainment in a new condition. I prefer some scratches at the get go, so you don’t have to yell at your kid for bashing the toy into a rock or spilling a coke on the seat. I think toys are meant to be played with, and when they are broken in, and they come at a reasonably (used) cost, you can enjoy rough and hearty use with a light spirit– especially in the beginning when you don’t know what the heck you are doing with the thing and you learn by making mistakes.    


     Anyway, this week I saw an ad for two used kayaks. Precision brands. A Pro-line and a slimmer model called The Dancer (I’m thinking, with a name like that, God wanted me to have this boat!) So I made arrangements to go see them.   I invited Denver to drive with me the 1 hour and 20 minutes to Dalton to see these boats. I took the work truck because I was determined to come home with them.


    Mark calls and says, “Why are you in the truck?”


     I say I am going to look at the two kayaks I mentioned the night before.


     SILENCE.


     You see, “silence” has specific meaning in our marriage. It is our code for disapproval. We don’t say “you can’t do that” to each other and we don’t nag or try to police each other – because we want to respect each other’s wishes and interests. Therefore, when we are annoyed or disapprove of something, we just keep quiet. Silence says a great deal, because it is glaringly obvious that enthusiastic support is missing.  The person who is doing the questionable activity has two choices then. They can respond to the silence by saying, “Is this a problem?” (This alleviates your guilt for doing something without asking, and it opens up room for discussion about the issue, thus inviting fair debate), OR you can just choose not to recognize the silence. (This is a way of saying, “I feel strongly about this, and if you love me, you won’t try to stop me,” without having to say those exact words. You just act as if everything is OK; as if you never dreamed your actions would be a problem because you know the spouse would want this for you.)


    In this case, I pretended I didn’t notice the silence and said, “Have a great day, Dear, I’ll call ya when I get back in about three hours, love ya, bye.”  You see, I did mention the boats at dinner the night before, which I believe was an opening for my spouse to say, “Do you really think we need kayaks now, rather than a new couch? I’d rather you didn’t do that.” or he could say, “If you want boats, I should go with you to look at them,” or whatever he was thinking.  In other words, he had his shot and he didn’t say anything, so I could, in a technical sense, assume that was his way of giving me approval.  


     But ten minutes later, I felt guilty. I called back and said, “I noticed you were silent when I mentioned I was going to look at the boats. Is this a problem? Would you rather I didn’t buy them, because they are really a great deal and you know I’ve been wanting them for several years, but if this isn’t the right time, I understand.”   


    Of course, given the freedom to voice his disapproval, Mark then says, “No, of course you can get them if you really want them. I just need to transfer some money and, you know, I need to be prepared if they will be in the driveway when I get home.”


    This fixes everything. I didn’t go off and do something without spousal approval (which is totally unacceptable), and he gets brownie points for being supportive.


   When I hang up the phone, Denver says, “Why do you always take me with you when you are going to do something that gets us in trouble?”


    “I don’t do that.” I say.


    She reminds me that I took her with me when I went to the pound to save the dog, which made Mark flip his lid. Ha. She is right. I like an accomplice to crime.


    Anyway, we drove an hour and a half, only to find two of the most miserable, falling apart kayaks you can imagine. They were all scratched up, with a crack in the hull and the seats were held together with duck tape. They were NOT worth the 475.00 asking price. Damn.


     Disappointed, I said, “No thanks,”


    The woman said, “Make any offer.”


      I thought, I wouldn’t buy them at a garage sale for 75.00 each, so I said I just wasn’t interested.


    It was a long drive home.


 


     The next night, Mark comes home and says, “Stop cooking (I was making apple gingerbread) we are going to look at a boat.


     I said “The kind you paddle or the kind that go vroom”.


      He said, “Vroom”.


      Cool beans. I’ve been in a boat mood. The kayaks were a washout, but maybe this was why. Perhaps the vroom was meant to be.


 


    We go see a speedboat that the sister of our builder is selling. Apparently, my boat escapades were discussed at work, which brought up the subject of boats. It was nice, a six  seater, with a small cabin for sleeping. It was getting dark when we looked at it, but we decided to come back the next day to buy it. We’ve been wanting a used pontoon boat, because they are perfect for the lake up here. You can swim off a pontoon boat, pull a tube, or even barbeque on deck. However, a speedboat would be fun too.


 


Today, we go to look at it again, thinking we will bring it home and be out on the lake tomorrow. But when we see it in the light of day, it looks a bit more beat up than it looked at sunset, and we discover that it is actually 16 years old.  Well taken care of, but still old. We began questioning how it will hold up. We don’t want something that is breaking down all the time. So, we pass.


 


Like I said, this is not a good week for boats.


 


I grew up with a father that loved boating. We were forever going out in canoes or in whatever boat Dad had at the time, a cabin cruiser or speedboat. I miss being on the water, and I’ve hoped, now that we have weekends to enjoy with the family, that we would take advantage of this wonderful lake community by getting some kind of boat. Mark didn’t grow up around boats as I did, but he is game to try owning one. We’ve wanted a used something, so we don’t feel as if we invested too much during times, like in the winter, when it is in storage or we don’t go out on the lake for a month. It is no fun to have a toy that you are always thinking, “Was it worth the investment” as you calculate the price per hour of real-life use. ( I know that you shouldn’t do that, but you can’t help think about it, because of the alternate things you might have invested the same discretionary income on, like a trip someplace cool or a different kind of toy.) I also don’t want to worry about learning to pull into the dock (oops) or running aground in an expensive boat. Give me a boat that already has a few scratches, please, so I can take chances with it for fun. But I do want something that is reliable, because going out in a boat and getting stranded isn’t the best way to convince a family that boating is fun. It is a fine line, I guess. You want one that is new-ish, but not new.


 


So, this wasn’t the boat for us either. Becoming captain Mark or co-captain Ginny will have to wait. Sigh. (I would have looked cute in a captain’s hat.)


 


I guess, when the time is right, the perfect boat will just be sitting there on the side of the road with a “for sale” sign in the window. Till then, I’ll just keep checking the paper. Winter is coming anyway. 


 


But I did get a new toy today. Sort of. We hired someone to build a chicken shed/coup. And he will also build us a portable shelter for the llama. I know we need to focus on building our house, but the animals need houses too. My priorities do tend to shift about depending on the weather, and the rains are coming. My furry friends need a roof soon! We went with a big chicken house because I have been thinking I might just try the egg-collecting thing. Just think of all the soufflés, omelets, and quiches I would have to make if I was overrun with eggs. Yessiree, Bring on the chickens!  That might float my boat (and since I don’t have a tangible one to do the job, I’ll take what I can get.)


 


    

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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