Sunday, August 02, 2009

Little Things vs. Water

Sometimes, I hate my life, but mostly it's good.
-The Psalm of the Common Man

Believe it or not, there are times when I'm stressed out, fed up, and shouting at the family. Being a dad means having kids which means things get broken, delayed, or suddenly expensive. Being a husband means sometimes being frustrated, nagged, or denied. Being a research scientist means reporting to "The Man" that it could be somewhere between six months and never before He sees a return on investment. Being an insomniac means the mind doesn't get the rest it needs. When it all comes together the results can be...unpleasant.

It kept trying to be an unpleasant weekend.

Everything seemed to be going wrong. Friday night I was only able to get two hours of sleep after an argument with Misseswether. Saturday I had promised the girls I'd take them kayaking, but the weather report that morning said waves of bad thunderstorms would be passing through all day. I didn't want to get caught on the water in a storm, so we had to find something else to do. Miniwether really wanted to go fishing so we decided to check out the fishing ponds at the newly-opened Pundt Park. This seemed like a great idea as they had a canoe/kayak launch on Spring Creek there. It's supposedly about an hour by water from the Riley Fuzzle launch to the launch at Pundt Park. I wanted to see exactly where the Pundt landing was so I could direct Misseswether there to pick me and my kayak there sometime.

The park is only five minutes from our house and arriving there it looked really nice. There's a great, covered playground there, nice bathrooms, numerous drinking fountains, and a number of trails leading off into the woods.

However, there were no maps showing where the fishing ponds and canoe launch were. We wandered around aimlessly in the hot (storm free!) sun for a while as I got madder and madder at the idiots in charge of the place. After about twenty minutes I got really fed up and dragged the Wethergirls out of there. We drove back to our neighborhood and went fishing in the retention pond instead.

Of course, things kept going wrong. Miniwether managed to get our lines all tangled up, the first time Mambowether caught a fish she panicked and threw my rod into the water, I had forgot my stringer, etc... Each little bump caused my blood pressure to rise and the vein in my head to throb.

On the plus side, fish!

Thankfully, there's something very healing about fishing. The thrill when the bobber goes down, the excitement when fish is landed, the squeals of delight from the girls (especially Miniwether) drove the red haze from my mind. We had a great time even though we used 24 worms to catch eight fish, of which only four were keepers.


My attempt at beer batter didn't work well but still tasted good.

Okra fresh from my garden and fried up in left0ver batter. Mmmmm!

Oh yeah, it never stormed or even rained here on Saturday. The weatherman was wrong again. Big surprise there.

Saturday night I did manage to double my sleep to four hours. The weather report was the same as Saturday (waves of thunderstorms) but I decided to take the girls kayaking anyway. They had been begging to go for quite a while. This was somewhat odd coming from Mambowether as the one time last year I had tried taking her out in Firefly she screamed and bawled in fear the whole time. Miniwether actually wanted to go fishing again but agreed that kayaking would be almost as much fun. I gave them a list of stuff they needed to do while I loaded up the truck. After a while I went back into the house and found they had filled the living room with toys and were happily playing.

That wasn't on the list.

After "discussing" this with them they got there stuff together while I dug out the life jackets out of the garage...and discovered a bottle of pesticide had leaked all over Miniwether's.

Let's just say I used the word "Dammit".

So after getting everything loaded up and ready we had to stop and buy Miniwether a new life jacket. It was already getting late so at least the sporting goods store was open...but they were out of life vest in Miniwether's size. They had plenty of bigger and smaller ones, just not the 50-90 pound vests. I finally found an opened, old-school life preserver. Of course, it wasn't in the store's computer and they had to do a price check. Throb throb throb went the vein in my head.

Eventually we were back on the road heading towards North Shore Park. As I drove over the Lake Woodland's bridge I could see assorted canopies and giant inflatable bouncy-houses being set up at our destination and the road leading up to the park was lined with parked cars.

Throb throb throb.

Worse, a sheriff was blocking entrance to the park. Turns out today was the big watermelon festival there.


Figuring "nothing ventured blah blah blah" I drove up to the sheriff and asked if I could still park there if all I planned to do was go paddling. He stared at me and the girls a bit then told us, "Yeah, go on in but if you aren't out by noon you'll be trapped in there until evening."

It was 10:20am. Wonderful.

I drove in and carefully maneuvered my truck through tents and bouncy-houses until I was close enough to carry Firefly over to the dock. I told the girls to go play with the ducks while I unloaded the kayak and gear.

Life jackets...check
Drinking water...check

In my frustrated haste I had forgotten to load my &*@%+ paddle!

Okay, Misseswether was going to stop by later to take pictures me and the girls in Firefly before heading out shopping. I gave her a call and ask that she drop everything and run my paddle out to us. Thankfully she did exactly that (leaving a half-eaten pancake behind)! I figured she might have problems convincing the sheriff to let her into the park, so I dragged the Wethergirls back to the entrance and hung out there waiting for her to arrive. I figured she could at least hand me the paddle before being chased off by the lawman. The sheriff just laughed and waved her in when she saw she was bringing me my paddle.


Missewether snapped pictures of us while we tested out the seating arrangements, then sat on shore sketching in her journal while we headed out into the green-gray waters of Lake Woodlands. We paddled past ducks, we paddled past a dead fish, we paddled past other paddlers. My anger, frustration, and stress melted away. There really is no better thing than mucking about in boats...

Us, mucking.

Look! No anger, frustration, or stress!

Sidenote: Firefly handled beautifully with all three of us on board. I would say even better than with me alone. She tracked straight as an arrow and was wonderfully stable, perfect for a family outing.

Sadly, we had less than an hour to paddle and soon were back on shore loading everything up. Home, a change of clothes, then off to McDonalds for a special family treat. After that we swung by the sporting goods store and bought Mambowether her very own fishing pole. She promised not to throw it into the water if she catches a fish.

Adventure! Excitement! Anger-Water Therapy!


Mike_H said...

Wow! What a weekend... I've had a few of those myself. Glad to see that everything finally ended up ok.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

kmat said...

Sorry I didn't get that special gift to you!!!

Bramble said...

Have now been without water therapy with the boys for a YEAR. Squib has decided water is evil and never to be floated upon, jumped in, swam in or fished in. And I live on a LAKE!!!!

Bramble Scat.

Merriwether said...

Mike, yeah the bear was on top most of the weekend (and most of the previous week, too).

Kmat, after my experiences last time with you moonshine I think I just stick to drinking straight gasoline!

Bramble Scat, want to trade houses?!

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