Two of our favorite neighbors returned earlier this fall and began preparing their home to sell. Sad face. While we could not afford to buy the home, we were able to purchase the double kayak they no longer needed. It was an impulse buy like no other. My neighbor had barely finished his sentence, offering me the opportunity, when an excited “YES” came rushing out of my mouth. Being a bit older, and a tad old fashioned, my neighbor asked if I wanted to run it by my husband. Um, no thank you.
Steve is not much of a kayaker. I think it is a patience thing. But he is kind of thrifty. If we had the kayak, paid money for the kayak, he would use the kayak! And I needed him to want to use the kayak 1) because it is a double 2) because it is really, really heavy and 3) because I love to kayak but am not very good at it. I tend to worry a little about tipping over. A buddy meant I had a built in equalizer (or life preserver). I also obsess about sharks. Having Steve with me meant bait.
On a beautiful, sunny Saturday we loaded the kayak in our truck and headed out to a somewhat protected cove. As we carried/lugged/dragged it to the water, I could not help picturing the chiseled arms I would eventually have. Woo hoo! Maybe I would be able to wear a sleeveless top without a cardigan or work shirt one of these days! Apparently, I was not as focused on our task as I needed to be. Steve was pointing out obstacles in front of me and mumbling something about paying attention.
Paying attention proved to be a bit of a problem once we were out on the water. I either overthought my paddling technique (or rather, lack of), or I became too engrossed in the pelicans sunbathing on the rocks, in the search for blue footed boobies, and in the tunnels carved by the sea in the rocks to remember to paddle. We struggled finding a good rhythm. Our paddles hit, eliciting sighs from the guy in the seat behind me. I put my paddle in too deep, meaning I was pulling along at a slower pace. There were numerous pleas to “just stop paddling, please”.
Regardless of my skill level, I was having a blast! At some point, I stopped obsessing over my poor form and what Steve thought of it. We glided across the water- -it was a clunky glide, but a glide nonetheless. We moved in and out of the tunnels, both grateful and awestruck. We watched pelicans dive-bomb the water for their breakfast. We had a few tippy moments, but we knew enough not to overcorrect or panic, thereby saving ourselves from taking a plunge. After about an hour and a half on the water we headed back to shore. I was feeling empowered enough to think about where we should put in on our next trip. And I could not help striking a bodybuilder pose after loading up the truck.
On the way home we discussed some of the problems we had. We were calmer and more patient with each other. We recognized that despite some of the issues, we had a wonderful time. We also realized that we had a lot of time to get better and work on this together. Buying a kayak was much cheaper than signing up for marriage counseling! And did I mention the incredible arms I will have?!