Wednesday, July 13, 2016

(Mis)Adventures in Boating

Spoiler Alert:  If we owned a boat of our own, we would name her, "Miss Adventure;" with one additional detail. With the greatest of care, we would get a black piece of electrical tape and cross out that second letter "s" so that it read, "Miss Adventure." In looking back at our boating experiences, as wonderful as some moments have been, others have been frustrating and/or down right scary. It is from these bumpy tales that we found the inspiration for the name of our imaginary boat.
The Toe Boat
(on loan from Bubba)

The trouble began one evening as we pulled the boat up Ogden canyon. We received a call from my Mom who was riding with Jen in the car behind us.

"A tire, or something, on the trailer is smoking." I look in my side view mirror and sure enough, I can see a large plume of smoke. We pull over so Andrew can investigate. Nearly there and thinking the situation isn't terribly dangerous, we proceed to the lake. The smoke dissipates as we back the trailer into the lake while launching the boat. That evening, we have a marvelous time.

The smoke returns on our drive back home. I can tell that it's more intense than it was on our drive up to the lake.

"What if we see flame? How dangerous is this? What if it reaches the gas tank and we explode into ash?" I ask Andrew several different versions of this same question as I'm wondering if we're putting our family in harm's way. Thankfully, we make it home safely. Exiting the car, I tell Andrew that the smell of burning metal on metal (the bearings) reminds me of one of the smells at Lagoon. He's confident that he's identified the problem and is thinking that it's an easy fix.

"The bearings need to be greased. It should be fine after I do that." A trip or two to the hardware store and few hours later, Andrew feels good about things.

We plan another boating trip. Sadly, this time around, we don't even make it up the canyon. The smoke has returned and it is heavy. Pulling to the side of the road, Andrew begins taking important looking things apart to try and get a better understanding of what's going on. I keep the kids occupied by letting them eat salt water taffy. Our friends, who we had invited to go with us, show up on scene. They knew the prognosis was grim, but they still came to lend moral support which was really thoughtful of them. Taking the damaged wheel off of the trailer, we pull the boat home on three wheels instead of four. I am relieved that it's no longer smoking and am wondering if Andrew knows how to make this next repair.

It's not really a surprise to me that he manages to fix it. Like the previous jobs, this takes additional time, energy and money to complete it. The weekend of the fourth is approaching. Andrew is eager to take the boat out again before we return it to his Dad's house. Having spent the day swimming with cousins clear down in Sandy, my energy level is lagging by the time the kids and I return home. Even so, wanting to make good on our promise, we gear up for a night up at the lake.

We feel its a victory as we make the drive to the lake smoke-free. Hurrah! His repair worked. We get out on the lake. Andrew's prepping the tube when Eliza asks,

"Hey Dad, why is there water on the floor of the boat?" The plug!! He forgot to put in the plug. Without a moment to lose, Andrew strips down to his skivvies, turns off the boat, grabs the plug, and prays aloud,

"Please don't drop this, please don't drop this" as he dives into the water. Taking a giant breath, he swims under the boat, inserts the plug and returns to five confused and concerned faces.We are no longer taking on water, but now the boat won't start. Long story short, we get help. Once we are at the dock, Andrew walks us to the edge of the marina, brings the trailer down and literally shoves the boat onto the trailer so we can properly drain the boat.
At this point, I am thinking:

"Please bless that we just go home now." While Andrew is thinking, "Finally! We can get on the lake!" After draining the water, Andrew reinserts the plug and is pleased to discover that the engine now turns on.

"Everyone back in the boat! We are set!" So, for the second time that night, I carefully park the car and trailer. Walking out to the boat, my fingers are crossed that all will go well.
We had a really fun time on the lake. It was brief but Andrew did spend time teaching me to drive the boat.

But wait. There's (kind of) more drama; more like a great big blessing...

On the drive home, we talk about the great things about boating as well as the challenges Andrew has dealt with. Flooding the boat was definitely a preventable mistake. I'm happy to see that he's already able to laugh it off. However, I can tell he's not fully over the embarrassment because he doesn't want me to share the story on instagram.

"Can I blog about it?" I ask as a follow up question. Believe it or not, I do respect my family's wishes on what I share.

"Sure." He says easily. I see how it is. The blog's a great place to record the story because Andrew no longer visits our blog (sad sniffle) and assumes no one else does either. We make it to our street. Andrew drives past our house a short way so that he can turn the boat around in our cul-de-sac. As we make the turn, we hear and feel a giant thud. The car lurches to the side and I can tell we are off balance. We pause a moment to look at each other!

"What now?!" We both wonder. Without saying anything, he parks the car and gets out to investigate. I'm thinking he's hit one of our neighbor's mailboxes. My mind flashes to our emergency fund (#daveramseyforlife) and I'm grateful we have the cash on hand to pay our neighbor for the {imaginary} damage. Again, I am wrong.

One of the tires on the trailer has completely fallen off. Remember a few paragraphs ago when I talked about the time we drove home with only three wheels on the trailer instead of four? It was the wheel that had been bearing the weight of the boat without that second tire; that had fallen off. Andrew had since fixed the smoking tire/wheel. That night, when we'd left our home, we had four wheels on our trailer, but the stress of that ride back to our house from that previous outing had done unseen, irreparable damage. That previously over burdened wheel had made the drive up and back that night but finally gave out... literally a few feet from our house.

The drive up and down Ogden canyon is always a little nerve wracking as we've observed cars carelessly drift from their lane into the other. Other times, the canyon has felt crammed due to the traffic caused by boaters eager like us to be up on the lake. It's a lovely, scenic drive as the road curves along side a river. To the side of you are the beautiful, yet daunting mountain walls. It didn't escape me in that moment how scary of an experience it would have been if that tire had given out while driving up or down the canyon. Driving, at an even higher speed, along busy Harrison boulevard would likewise have been a dangerous spot to lose a tire. I look at my children in the backseat of the car. Thankfully, they are oblivious to the catastrophe we had been spared.

Even now, the upsetting "what-if" scenarios frequently return to my mind. I've offered several prayers thanking our Heavenly Father for watching over us that day. Since that night, we've also explained to our kids how blessed we were.

Earlier that morning, the kids and I had driven over an hour to swim at my sister in law's parent's home. I was in a car accident when I was 16. Since then, driving on  freeways makes me incredibly nervous. I will do it, but my stomach is often in knots. I pray a lot when I drive. Returning to that morning, before we turned off our street, I realized that we hadn't said our morning prayer together. I pulled over on the side of the road so the kids and I could pray for safety on the roads. Many hours later, as Andrew collected that rogue tire from the middle of our cul-de-sac, I was overcome with gratitude knowing that Heavenly Father had heard our prayer that morning.

This may seem like a lucky break or good timing, but Andrew and I feel differently. We know that Heavenly Father protected our family and are very thankful for that blessing.

Here are some photos from our swim at Jen's parents home earlier that same day.

It made me happy to see Forrest connect with my brother Mark (who lives in Alaska)
"I have a tractor bed!" Forrest proudly announced. 
"You do?" Mark said excitedly. "That's awesome! I have a sleep number bed!"
Forrest's reply, "Oh!!"