Joe Purdy – “Wash Away”
…and we pick up things up on Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at 9:45am.
– Abe’s been fussy all morning. To say the least. After the choking incident especially, his reserves are empty. The little man needs a big nap. We put him down in a back office at the Restaurant and head to breakfast. Peace restored. Momentarily.
– I’ve been looking forward to this breakfast for a while. A chance for us to just sit down with my Mom and check in on her and relax and enjoy some good food. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. Mom’s busy getting work done the whole time. She gets up from the table to take our order to the kitchen instead of letting the waitress handle it. She comes back with paperwork that needs to get done. We get in a tiff. Mom leaves the table again. Amy goes to restore peace. Amy comes back. Mom comes back. Breakfast is eaten. Breakfast is over. Dang. Today is rough. But I’m telling you, those are some great pancakes. Did I taste vanilla? Mmm…
– Mom has to head to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things for the restaurant. Amy and I are going to hang tight and read while she’s gone. Mom borrows our car. And, incidentally, our books. Amy and I are left with just each other. And about 2 hours to kill. I’m pretty sure tiff number three is happening somewhere in here.
– Tiff number three occurs like an on-again/off-again spring rain. A couple rolls of thunder. A little wet hair. All in all, at least lightning didn’t show. We sit in about twelve different spots inside and out at the marina. Unable to find one spot comfortable enough to keep our restless selves situated. Anxious to get on the boat, I must have checked on Abe at least 25 times. I was committed to finding him awake at some point.
– Abe comes out after the 26th try. Amy’s carrying him. As is the routine, we head to change his diaper. Without a changing table anywhere, we pop the trunk in the Subaru. Abe’s rolling around and restless and ready to not be lying down. He stands up in the back of the car without a new diaper on yet. We think it’s kinda cute. We even take a photo. And then the rain starts pouring again. This time from Abe. All over the trunk. Pee everywhere. CD case? Yep. Grey sweatshirt? Check. My contented soul? Yep. Peed on that as well.
– Finally, Mom gets back from errands and says she wants to get on the boat with us. She just has a couple quick things to do. 45 minutes later, we’re headed to the dock. All our troubles are about to be washed away. Surely…
– As we’re loading up, we realize the sunscreen we always have packed in Abe’s diaper bag isn’t there. We head into the marina to buy some. No sunscreen there. A marina without sunscreen? Isn’t that like an ugly Australian? The folks inside tell us the boat has a canopy and to just use that. Great advice, folks. I think if we were studying this in English class, the teacher would’ve pointed out that what just happened was referred to as foreshadowing.
– We hop in the pontoon boat, embrace the beautiful, sunny day and head out on the water. Life is good. We’re a little worried about Abe getting too much sun, so we decide to set up that canopy. I wrestle with it and do my best to rig it up, but I can’t find the appropriate tools necessary for it to hold in place. Use the canopy, eh? Nice. While still working it out, the canopy decides it’s done staying in place. The canvas and metal come sliding to the front and crashing down. All I see is my son in harm’s way. And then hear a loud bang. I feel the weight of terror and anxiety. My wife, on the other hand, felt the weight of the crash. Son is safe. Crying hysterically, but unharmed. Amy, though, was slammed on her head. Adrenaline is the only thing keeping her standing.
– And as she’s standing there, in the shock of the moment, I look at the inside of her arm. A spider the size of Abe’s outstretched hand is sitting right there. My wife hates spiders. Like Indiana Jones hates snakes. As I briskly alert her, I’m worried that in the midst of all her bodily flinging and flapping that Abe’s going to be tossed overboard as well. I haven’t seen anyone move this quickly since a P90X infomercial. Which got me thinking, maybe Amy could market this exercise routine? I digress. To make matters worse, we can’t find the spider afterwards. For about three minutes. Until we see it stuck on the back of Abe’s life jacket. Are you kidding me?
I’m ready for the day to end. But it has to get better at some point. Right?
– Wrong. We’re trying to feed Abe. He’s gone mad. We don’t have any utensils. Food is flying everywhere. Someone videotape this and show it in Sex-Ed. This is birth control at its best.
– Again, we move forward into the day and onto the lake. We’re pushing on with forced smiles and reckless hope. I push the boat to full throttle and announce to everyone, “Hey everyone, I’ve pushed the boat to full throttle.” Within a beat of getting that sentence out, we come to a crashing halt. My Mom’s holding Abe at the front of the boat. They both slam to the floor. The jolt was so hard and violent that it easily could’ve sent them into the lake. Abe’s ready to kill someone. Judging by the looks on my mother and wife’s faces, they might be too. I’m supposedly at fault here. I promise them that I did nothing. Right in the middle of the lake, we slammed into an underwater sandbar. We’re stuck. If this last little bit isn’t just the most incredible extended metaphor of a day gone bad…
– After 10 minutes of steaming anger, I decide to do something about the situation. I strip to my grey boxer briefs, grab a paddle, and hop into the water. Pushing and grunting and swearing like the Dad fixing a flat in Christmas Story, I finally get the boat unstuck. I climb back in the boat, grey boxers and all, and sit in that captain’s seat. Defeated and stripped down. Literally.
– I have no idea how we managed to enjoy the rest of the ride around the lake, but we did. It was certainly a minor miracle. Maybe it was the fact that we finally figured out how to rig up the canopy safely. Maybe it was how adorable our boy looked in a life jacket. Regardless, after a while, we decided not to press our luck much more and instead headed back to the marina. As safe and peaceful as the water seemed earlier, the shore was looking like the pearly gates right about then.
– As we pull up to the dock, a fishing guide boat is sitting next to our slip. The owner looks serious, almost as serious as his boat. I have room to maneuver, but I can’t exactly afford any significant error. I’m cautious and careful. And I’m just about sliding into home when I feel a clang, a bang, and a boom. The roof of the marina juts out further and lower than you’d ever imagine and the canopy, that darn canopy, is fully erect. The two collide and send the boat backward. Edging near the fishing boat. Edging near disaster. Disaster somehow averted. I breathe again.
Even though all ends up just fine, I still ride a quick tidal wave of emotions. Embarrassment. Anger. Frustration. Resignation.
Dry land was toxic to us all day. Getting on the water was no better. I find myself looking at the sky, tracing vapor trails with my eyes like I’m looking for a way out of this maze. Hey, maybe we should get in a plane. Maybe the air is the answer…
…And we’re almost home free. I’ll be wrapping it up tomorrow. It doesn’t get worse, but it might be a stretch to say it got much better.