The two happiest day’s in a boater’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it, as the saying goes.
On the dull of a drab winter’s day I let my mind slip to summer and boating. Floating on the lake with my family in our 22 — no 24 — better yet 26-foot boat!
“Gino wake up, Mandy has to get to gymnastics, James needs to go to soccer and no, we are not getting a bigger boat.”
My wife rudely interrupts my fantasy.
“What do you mean, bigger boat?”
“Your lips were counting out 22, 24, 26 — at least this time you stopped at 26 and not 42.”
Five months later…
A beautiful spring day and the lake is calling.
“OK kids, we’re going boating,” I announced. “I’ll call the marina to get our boat out of dry storage and into the lake for a fun family outing.”
The guy at the Marina answers on the 32nd ring, maybe an omen for a bigger boat.
“This is boater G124 and I need to get my boat in the water. Ok, I understand the boat-putter-in guy is not there, he’s out on the lake, I know its a beautiful day. I want to talk to the owner! Oh, they’re out on the lake together!”
“Ok kids, who needs to go where and how much is it going to cost me.”
Later that day my son John and I decide to get the boat bin out and see what shape last year’s gear is in.
“Dad you remember what happened last time we open the boat bin? “ John warned.
“This year we are going to tie a rope to the lid and pull it off from a safe distance,” I said
“On three: One, two. Oh God, the smell, run son, get inside, lock the door and seal the windows, you know the drill.”
I guess I wasn’t as fastidious about stowing the gear as I thought. I do remember mumbling as I was cramming the boat bin full of stuff we rarely used.
“I am so sick and tired of hauling this crap around.”
What a difference nine months makes in attitude and things made of foam and vinyl that live in a dark moist environment.
Finally the boat is in the water and loaded up with more gear than a D-day landing barge but we are off for a fun family day boating.
“Dad, there is a spider, kill it.”
“Watch out, you almost hit that other boat.”
“I’m hot, dad, my cell phone doesn’t work out here, I can’t text anyone, I am missing out on life.”
“Gino the kids are tired, how long do you plan on being out today?”
We haven’t even left the marina.
After several attempts at family fun I finally talk some buddies of mine into going out on a Wednesday night for a floating happy hour.
They arrive with chicken wings, beer and money for gas.
The guys got on the boat told me to sit back as they deftly handled the boat, backing out of the slip into the marina and then to a quiet cove I had never seen before.
“None of you guys own a boat, when did you learn how to handle one?”
“Friend’s boat!” They all chimed in at once.
Rob spoke. “Man you get a guy who tries to take his family out and you know what that is like, we show up bringing beer and wings, he relaxes, enjoys his boat for the first time all year and keeps inviting us back. Heck we even went out with the owner of the marina and his boat-putter-in guy on the first nice weekend.”
Then I mention… “Yeah, I sat down one day and figured the cost of each trip.”
“YOU DID WHAT?” Dave said
Rob chimed in. “Don’t do it, it will only cause you pain.”
“Dude, man, wow.” Is all Pete could add shaking his head.
At the end of a relaxing evening I told the guys we need to do this again soon. Apparently their schedules going out on other friends’ boats had them tied up for the rest of the summer. Pete could fit me in next May if the owner and boat-putter-in guy didn’t need him.
Now at the end of another boating season, John and I stare at the boat.
“Well son, here we go.”
The sign was hung on the boat windshield.
For Sale by Owner.