The first reason for having this fine thing for a favorite is that its word is a fun palindrome. Kayak is kayak no matter which way you look at it. I love words that look quirky too and having those k’s at the beginning and end give it a nice balanced look. Balance is a very good thing for a kayak to have, believe me.
I had a birthday recently and one of my hopes for every birthday is to do something mildly scary (or new) that makes me know I am still alive and meeting challenges. I also love to share my birthday experience with someone, but this year there was no one free to help me out. I had to do something alone, and that was probably the needed scary factor – doing it alone.
I decided that I would go out in my kayak to a new place, Lake Manatee, which is a reservoir on the Manatee River east of the town where I live. I have done a birthday kayak outing once before but at that time I rented a kayak. Having my own now, the first challenge was to get it on top of my car and fastened in place, by myself. Doing something a bit difficult and awkward with someone watching on makes me feel a little like a two-year-old screaming “I do it myself!” but that’s the way it had to be since I had to know if I could do it.
The most difficult thing was figuring out how to work the ratchet straps. I’ve never studied them long enough to really “get it” but now I do. They are very handy things but you have to know how they work.
Since I’m always a nervous driver when something is strapped on to the outside of my car, this process of loading up was very important to me. Can you imagine my kayak laying out in the middle of I-75? That’s not just mildly scary, it’s nightmare material.
I’m happy to say I did it, I enjoyed it and I lived to write about it. In the interest of keeping posts short, I’ll post my picture story and be done.
What do you like to do on your birthday that makes it memorable. Don’t say “eat cake” please…
For some reason, I have had presents on my mind lately. No, not because of the not so subtle Christmas marketing EVERYWHERE. It’s more because my parents’ birthdays are both this month, and I was making a gift or two to take to our family Thanksgiving next week. I love presents. It’s fun to make them, fun to give them, fun to get them. I can plan the first two, the making and giving, but it’s hard to plan getting a present unless you are great at buying yourself gifts. As I pretty much always do when thinking to myself, I ran that thought past God. ( He’s listening to my thoughts anyway so I might as well be conversant.) ” It would sure be nice to get a present God. I know there’s really nothing I need, but if there is something you wouldn’t mind giving me, I’d just like the excitement of getting a present. ”
For years now I have been taking guests and friends out on the water in kayaks that I borrow from a good friend. When I know someone wants to go I call my friend several days ahead to make sure he isn’t planning to use his kayaks, then I borrow the husband’s truck, drive 20 minutes and pick up the kayaks which are on a trailer. I have to have the right size hitch on the truck, which means I’ve lost and bought at least two of them. I have to hook up the lights on the trailer, which means I’ve lost, borrowed and bought at least two electrical adapters. I have to lock and unlock the trailer hitch, which means I’ve had to buy and replace a couple of padlocks. I’ve had to buy and borrow life vests for numerous people of varying sizes. All this to say that there is a lot of work involved in having fun on the water. But it is still just so interesting to float around on these beautiful rivers, surrounded by birds and tropical wonders that I’ve considered it well worth the trouble.
Last winter my cousin Mark, who loves to fish, decided we should look for used kayaks. If we each had one, he and a buddy could go fishing in them, and I could take friends out for a paddle too. They would get more use if we shared them. So we spent most of the season looking on craigslist and at sales but nothing was quite right. I continued borrowing from my friend.
Last week my cousin arrived for the winter and decided to go buy his fishing kayak. There was a sale at a sports store and he wanted to get it done. Back he came with a kayak in his Suburban. His wife’s remark was “You know this means that tomorrow you’re going to see a great deal on a used kayak…” I was there, I heard her say that. Unbelievably, fifteen minutes after I got home I got a text from another cousin in town, Kim, telling me that her neighbor was selling his two kayaks for less than half their value and they were in like new condition, with paddles, seats and life vests.
Something like that almost demands to be considered. I’ve been a little financially stressed lately, making sure all my medical bills get paid, lots of house repair expenditures, etc… Even though I’ve managed to meet these demands I still feel insecure enough that it’s hard for me to shell out money for fun when so much serious stuff has to be paid for. I mean, I get nervous eating out, much less buying a boat. I decided to ask the husband if he would be upset with me if this came to pass. Would he tell me the garage was too full already? Would he remind me that we’re trying to downsize, not accumulate more? In what direction might he freak out? What he said, “No, kayaks are always easy to sell again so if they’re a good deal, get them.” Ha ha.
I still thought they might be terrible kayaks, ones that wouldn’t be sturdy enough to hold Mark (who is a big man) or maybe they would smell like dead fish, or be some awful color. All of those possibilities could keep me from having to make the decision… But they were beautiful, hardly used, top quality, and the friendly man from England who was selling them clearly wasn’t out to get his money back. Oh my goodness, we bought them, picked them up an hour later and went immediately out to the river to test them out. They floated very nicely.
Instead of spending the day at home like I had planned, I got to do this.
It’s not that my prayers for blessings always get answered in the affirmative or immediately. But today I got a present and I really had no idea it was coming. I’m going to give God the credit. It’s the kind of thing he would have fun doing. I’m just sayin’…