A few years ago, Ken and I bought kayaks. I’d been watching the Canadian Tire flyers for weeks, waiting for a sale, until finally, they dropped the price on the model we wanted by $100 apiece, making them very reasonable. So I called Ken, and we agreed (after he refused to take time off work and go first thing in the morning because he’s just mean) that we would get them the next night. I was worried that they’d all be sold out, but luckily we were able to get one for each of us. Then the problems started. Our neighbour had had his kayaks stolen from behind his cottage, where they were CHAINED UP, so how were we supposed to retain possession of ours when they were just either sitting on our trailer or lying on our lawn? Ken didn’t share my fear of kayak thieves, which just made things worse, because he insisted on driving places with them, and leaving them unattended while we did stuff like grocery shopping or going to restaurants. And there they were, in the trailer, like shining green beacons of adventure-ness, secured only by a rope and a couple of knots. Here’s a sample of one of the MANY conversations we had about the kayaks:
Me: We can’t just GO into Staples. We have the kayaks on the trailer. Someone could take them.
Ken: No one’s going to take them. It’s broad daylight.
Me: Some of these people look really sketchy. Don’t park next to the guy with the pick-up truck!!
Ken: Right. Because he’s going to untie the kayaks, put them in his truck, and drive away BEFORE we come back out from buying labels.
Me: He looks like he enjoys water sports, KEN…What about those guys over there?
Ken: They have bicycles. What do you think, they’re going to tie them onto their bikes like a pontoon?
Me: It could happen. Stop mocking me.
You can replace the word “Staples” with “Zehrs”, “Canadian Tire”, the gluten-free bakery in Paris, and the Lighthouse Restaurant in Port Burwell, because we dragged that trailer around with us for a few days before we even put the kayaks into the water. Despite my worries though, no one stole off with them in the night. Or in the parking lot. Then on the weekend, we finally had the chance to try them out. We took them down to the Otter Creek and carried them to the water. Ken steadied my kayak so I could get in. It wobbled from side to side and I sat there, feeling panic rising but while Ken was getting himself sorted out, I tried a few hesitant manoeuvres, and started to feel more balanced. As I turned around to tell Ken I thought this might be OK, he stepped into his kayak. As he settled himself into the seat, the kayak wobbled one way—he tried to re-balance but overcompensated and TIPPED HIMSELF RIGHT INTO THE CREEK.
I yelled, “Oh sh*t! Ken!” but all he could do was flail around in the water, his hands on the creek bottom, trying to extricate himself from the kayak shouting, “Cold!! So cold!!” as he struggled to stand up (luckily, we were only in about two feet of water at the time). Thankfully, he had put his wallet, cell phone, and camera into a ziplock bag, but it was now floating downstream along with his paddle. “Get the bag and the paddle!” he cried, and I was like, “Me? You’re kidding, right?” I had just seen my beloved husband, who was MUCH better than me at both watersports and balancing, dump himself into a freezing creek—how was I supposed to start chasing down his stuff if it meant having to lean over the side of the kayak to get them?
But then my desire to get a picture of all this chaos outweighed my fear, and I needed his camera to do that, and that doesn’t make me mercenary, just practical. Anyway, he managed to get upright, and pulled his kayak out of the water. Then there was the problem of DRAINING the kayak, which was full of water. Well, I guess people must capsize this particular brand of kayak A LOT because we discovered that there was a plug in the prow, specifically designed for draining. But there was a silver lining to all of this, because while I was waiting for Ken to recover, and get all the water out of his kayak, I had a chance to paddle around and get more comfortable.
And now I’m having déjà vu because last weekend, we went kayaking, again on the Otter Creek. Now that we’re both kayak pros, it was a beautiful trip, but then the unbelievable happened when we pulled the kayaks out of the water:
Ken: My camera!
Ken: The ziplock bag fell out of my pocket! Quick, get me a paddle!
Me: I TOLD you to wear your fanny pack!
But it was too late. The ziplock bag, and in it, the exact camera he had almost lost a few years ago, bobbed downstream with the quick current, then disappeared. Almost like it was meant to be, like we had unfinished business with the Otter Creek. It wasn’t one of his good cameras, and he’d cleared the SD card out the week before, so all we were missing was pictures of me in the kayak and some trees and clouds. Luckily, we already have lots of those.