Sunday, June 15, 2008

Take me to the river

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!
I wanted to give Geoff a really nice Father's Day. He has never really had one. The first Father's Day he could claim (when I was pregnant with Isabelle), his parents gave me a card, just because I'm such a great daughter-in-law....but they forgot to give Geoff a Father's Day card. Other years, we were too broke, or too busy, or whatever.
This year, I surprised him with a canoe ride down the Little Miami. He has always wanted to go out on a canoe, but with the girls being so young, we had to wait. Now that they are older, I thought they would really enjoy and get into it.
*insert ominous music here*

At the canoe rental, they stuffed us into vans like sardines (or packed us like pickles, if you ever watch Ellen's comedy shows) and drove us 5 miles upstream to where we would get into our canoes.
We put the girls in first...
Let's go!
"Let's GO!"

Geoff and I pushed and pulled the canoe into the water, then I got in the bow.
Then... Geoff, instead of gently lowering himself into the canoe, vaulted into the canoe. Very nearly capsizing us before we could even get anywhere. A large amount of water was now in the canoe.
The girls didn't have their bathing suits on, and sitting in water was an unpleasant experience for them. And they didn't hesitate to tell us all about it.

Oh, and when the canoe nearly capsized, my camera got wet. Holy crrrrrrap.
I clutched it between my legs and prayed that it was just a little wet. Once we were on our way, I checked it. It turned on. That's good. Then I pressed a few buttons and tried to take a few pictures. The camera was not acting like it was okay. That's not good. I clutched it between my legs again and hoped it would dry out.
It's okay, thank the stars.

Geoff really tried to be helpful in the paddling department. But having never really been a boat person, he was doing more harm than good. I would yell, "Paddle, Geoff! Paddle!", when trying to get the canoe straight again, but he was paddling on the same side as me, so we would end up spinning in a circle. So I was the navigator and paddler. At least I got a nice upper body workout.

View from the canoe
*The Little Miami is a very narrow, shallow river. Most places, you can walk across it and not get your shoulders wet.*

Lorelei began to have a fit about being in the canoe. And sitting in water. And being in the canoe. And the fact that I wasn't paddling every single second. And being in the canoe.

Then Isabelle started yelling at Lorelei for yelling.

Eventually I was yelling at Isabelle for yelling at Lorelei.

And yelling at Lorelei for yelling at all of us.

Yep, we were a happy little family floating down the river.

We "pulled over" on a sand bar to dump the water out and give everyone a breather.
Then Isabelle started to cry because other canoes were passing us and we would be "last over the finish line".
I got all frustrated with her, trying to explain that this wasn't a race or anything.
Happy, happy family.
When we were reloading the canoe, I yelled, "Everyone look happy so I can get a picture!!!!"
Happy family once the water was out of the canoe
Good enough.

When we resumed our trip, it got much, much better.

We actually enjoyed the rest, watching bank and northern rough-winged swallows skim the air above jumping out to catch cicadas...passing the Loveland Castle...turtles basking in the very comfortable sun:

Soft Shelled turtle
A life turtle...the soft-shelled. What a pretty reptile. Spots and a really long snout.

The cicadas were not a big issue. One landed on my foot but I stomped it to death without a break in my paddling. They are about the clumsiest fliers in the insect world, and they are presumably unable to even cross a small river like the Little Miami without landing in the water.
We passed many doing their best to swim, and still singing, even while they were drowning.
"zzzzzz....zeeep! Zzzzzzz...zeeep!"

I didn't tell Geoff about the Loveland Lizard until after we were back on shore. Loveland is so cool, we have our own cryptid.

Later, we went to visit Swami and Swamette. To make Father's Day even nicer for Geoff, I wore a dress. A dress, y'all. I must really love him.


Rachel said...

Too funny! The lack of boating experience must run in the family. Kevin and I took out a double kayak in the ocean on vacation one year and it nearly ended our relationship!

LauraHinNJ said...

First time in a canoe will try any family's love, I think!

Hope it was a happy day for him in the end - he deserves it!

Susan Gets Native said...

LOL! It's definitely genetic. Ask Jim and Rita to tell you the story about leaving Rita on a sandbar (7 months pregnant with Kevin) while Jim and Tom Uhl try to navigate with Geoff and Christian in the canoe.

It did try our familial commitment. But after it was all over, we realized that if we can survive that, we can survive anything.
: )

Anonymous said...

You are a brave and loving wife. Thank you for not abandoning your children along the way. I'm sure it was tempting but that's not really in the whole "Father's Day" spirit!

Trixie said...

A DRESS!!!! Good heavens, woman!

Happy Father's Day, Geoff.

Lynne said...

Funny post Susan! Glad it all turned out OK and Geoff had a good Father's Day.

Mary said...

Oooo, am I laughing. Somehow, at the very beginning the mention of the word "canoe" gave me premonitions and I was right on! I'm glad the girls didn't get whacked or thrown overboard and the day ended sweetly. And, you wore a dress. How cool.

NatureWoman said...

A dress?? Where's the pic of you in the dress?

KatDoc said...

Your "gift" to Geoff sounds like my Mother's Day gift to my Mom 2 years ago. I took her to Magee Marsh with the CNC group for International Migratory Bird Day. It was cold and windy and raining and she isn't into birding like I am and she didn't have the best time.

She said, sweetly, that for the next Mother's Day, my gift could be not taking her along!

Maybe next year, you can not take Geoff canoing. But, you could wear a dress again.


nina said...

Susan, I fixed the link on my sidebar. Sorry, to just find your comment today--my daughter got married Saturday--life's CRAZY!!

Dave said...

I bet Geoff had a great day!

NCmountainwoman said...

I just love that Isabelle. Always smiling and full of energy. Please don't tell me it's a face she puts on just for the camera.

mon@rch said...

Always an adventure with you Susan! Sounds like a very memorable Fathers Day!

Mel said...

That's a cool present!
(Your girls are soooo cute!!!)