So we had this boat.
A giant, inflatable boat that we never ever used, and that we have been storing in our garage for at least three garages, right next to the other giant inflatable boat that we never used.
Well, that’s not exactly strictly true, I suppose. We used Giant Inflatable Boat one time, when we lived in Redding and before we had children because I think we can all agree that once you have children your days of floating blissfully down rivers have come to an end for quite some time.
Anyway, I can honestly say that there wasn’t too much awesome going on in that town. In fact, I can think of only two things. One is that after we moved away, there was an article in the paper about these teenage girls who got in trouble for using the giant dishwashing tub at KFC as a hot tub? And I got to tell people I had eaten at that very KFC. The other good thing about living in Armpit, California was that we lived right next to a river and if you had a giant inflatable boat and an extra car you could do this complicated thing where you dropped one car off at the bottom of the river and then took the other car back to the top of the river and you know what I am sure that whole process was a very simple one but I’ve never really totally gotten it, but the point was that you needed a giant inflatable boat and two cars and four people and also when you get in your giant inflatable boat at the top of the river it is important to remember the keys to the car especially if you only own half a paddle.
So we finally had four people and two cars and we did the confusing parking and we collected our life jackets and our half a paddle and our giant inflatable boat and we all climbed in at the top of the river and shazam! We were off! And then this is when someone with more sense than I who clearly knows my husband QUITE WELL said “You do have the car keys, right?” and of course as I am sure you have already guessed, Mr. E so did not have the car keys, and so we all made that “holy crap!” face that you make at times like that and then frantically hand paddled our giant inflatable boat back to the shore as quickly as possible where three of us clung to sticks and vines so that Mr. E could run back and retrieve the car keys.
Of course when he returned I started lecturing him about his forgetfullness and about the fact that he was gone forever while we clung tenuously to blackberry vines and pondered the meaning of human existence, but it didn’t take me very long to notice that he was white and shaking and sort of oddly sweaty and gasping something about Indiana Jones, and it turned out that, at least according to Mr. E, his trip through the underbrush of the river bank to retrieve the keys had led to an encounter with the largest spiders in the entire world, and he wasn’t coping very well, because while Mr. E is valiant and unperturbed in the face of mice, rats, slugs and snakes, he is, shall we say, NOT A FAN of the spider.
Although finding a slug in my laundry room is the kind of thing that makes me start searching the real estate listings, because A SLUG WAS IN MY HOUSE CLEARLY I CAN’T SLEEP HERE EVER AGAIN, Ive never really gotten too het up over spiders, but Mr. E comes by it honestly – his whole family is stark naked terrified of the things. I actually find it quite endearing – here’s something I can protect YOU from! And once we went on a family camping trip and his sister sprayed the entire perimeter of the tent site with a can of something called “Spider Not” which I think you’d have to agree is pretty awesome, and there’s also a rumor that she used to sleep with a flash light under her pillow so that she could check the corners of the ceiling at night after she turned the lights out because everyone knows that’s when the spiders will get you, after the lights go out. And while I am not sure if that’s actually true, about the flashlight, I was witness to the loudest scream in the history of recorded time during one summer vacation when we all journeyed to the middle of nowhere to visit Mr. E’s family and he and I were sitting on the deck together back when we were young fresh daisies who had no idea that someday we’d go forty rounds over a stupid inflatable boat and his oldest sister apparently saw the largest spider in the entire world over her shoulder as she stepped out the door onto the deck and she let out a scream that I am certain could be heard three universes over, and although the size of the spider was never verified, it is certainly safe to say that, well. They aren’t a spider loving family. Let’s just put it that way.
So that was the first and only time we used the boat. Otherwise it sat unused next to the other giant inflatable boat, which remains in the box it arrived in. Giant Inflatable Boat #3 (still in the box) is actually a replacement for ANOTHER giant inflatable boat, which we also used just one time, because unfortunately Giant Inflatable Boat #2 looked JUST like a giant vagina when it was inflated and no matter how lovely the day or how pristine the lake, observing your friends paddling around in a giant vagina just isn’t something you want to do every day. Add that to the fact that before I ruined his life and forced him to never do anything but put up curtains and go to Home Depot, Mr. E used to bring the Worlds Worst Dog with us everywhere and the time we took our friends to paddle around in Vagina Boat, the Worlds Worst Dog ATE HUMAN POOP because some disgusting person had POOPED next to the lake and the Worlds Worst Dog ATE IT because that’s just how World’s Worst Dogs roll. And then I had to ride home with the Worlds Worst Dog in the car, and I never felt the same way about that boat after that (not to mention the dog), and it didn’t help that Vagina Boat also reeked like a petrochemical bomb had gone off, because disturbingly we had gotten THIS stupid giant inflatable boat from Mr. E’s dad and it had been stored in a shed next to Mr. E’s family’s lake cabin. This is the same shed that I was planning to sleep in when Mr. E’s brother got married and we threw him a bachelor party and a few hours before we went to sleep Mr. E mentioned that the shed “smelled a little bit like gas” and this was before I knew that when Mr. E says that something “smells a little bit like gas” that you in fact should not plan to sleep within a forty mile radius of said location. What you should do is get the Hilton on the phone.
And that is how I ended spending the night in the back seat of a Jetta, and really it’s lucky that we were in the middle of nowhere, because that seriously must be how every single one of those weird gimmick tent cars gets sold – if we had been anywhere near an Aztek dealer I would probably still be trying to unload a car that also turns into a tent because trust me, even if you are 5 foot one and half, you do not want to spend the night in the back of a Jetta. You really really don’t.
Anyway. Mr. E got his PhD in something unpronouncable, I still don’t really understand it but as far as I can tell he walked up to the admissions office at Michigan and asked “What’s the LEAST financially lucrative thing you’ve got going on here?” and picked that, but the point is that sometime in the pursuit of years of student loan debt, he learned how to do this thing where you go out on a boat and drop down this other big thing and that big thing takes a big chunk of mud out of the lake and it’s apparently very important to science and there’s like, nine other people in the world who know this VERY USEFUL mud chunk removal skill and they all send each other emails about trilobites or god knows what and that’s how Mr. E ended up loaning the other eight mud chunk nerds in the world the Vagina Boat and somehow they popped the damn thing, and of course they offered to replace it and instead of saying “Gee, can you replace it with something I might actually need like shoes and purses” Mr. E said “great” to some Amazon link and that’s how we ended with Giant Inflatable Boat #3 which has never been removed from the box it arrived in.
Wow, this is a long story.
Anyway, I think you can agree that we didn’t need two giant inflatable boats that we never use. One giant inflatable boat that we will never use is more than enough, so when we cleaned out our garage I dragged giant inflatable boat number one out on the lawn and began the long and involved process that is required when one is trying to force ones husband to unload a piece of useless boating equipment which has come to represent his lost youth and spirit of adventure, and while even I can admit that trading a mortgage and two kids for some backwoods Daniel Boone fantasy could be somewhat dispiriting, I would please point out that we still have ANOTHER giant inflatable boat and anytime he wants to pack up some beef jerky and some Brut cologne and head out to the wilderness he is MORE THAN WELCOME. As long as he arranges suitable child care first, of course.
I suggested that Mr. E inflate the giant inflatable boat so he could post it on Craigslist in all its glory, and he took that idea under advisement, although of course he didn’t actually inflate the boat. I believe I suggested this radical boat getting rid of strategy three times, and then I made a giant list of all the things that he was supposed to be doing, and I think “inflate the boat” was probably one of the least sucky things on this list (TRICKY!), which may have proved motivating. Regardless, I am still depressed about the fact that I did in fact become one of those assholes making a “honey do” list because I consider that expression to be one of the most revolting in all of spoken language, but whatever. He totally inflated the boat.
And yes. I have a list notebook and Mr. E’s “List Of Crap You Should Be Doing Instead Of Emailing Your Brothers Articles From The Onion” was just one of many in this list notebook, and I’d also like to add that while I have taken a ton of shit over this list notebook of mine, I love a good list like almost nothing else in the world, and I’m never gonna stop with this loving of mine. And let’s not pretend like Mr. E doesn’t have his own list going on, he totally does, but I have to write mine down because I have lot of lists and they are really long and include things like “clean off baseboards” and “windex cabinet pulls” and Mr. E’s personal list is only four things long and so he can keep it in his head, because it’s just:
1. lie around
2. eat Lucky Charms
3. take off pants
4. Check to see if Miss Congeniality is on
And I’m not going to say that his list is non challenging, because I mean, sometimes, like every once in a while? Miss Congeniality isn’t on. But still, it’s a pretty short to do list. Doesn’t need to be written in a notebook, probably.
Anyway. I made him a list of jobs in my list notebook and he totally inflated the boat because he really didn’t want to be rewiring the bathroom fixture and then he washed the boat, and then Eli threw mud on it and stole the hose and tried to jump on the giant inflatable boat and fill it with rocks and worms, but eventually it was sort of clean and Mr. E took a picture. And then we had a big fight which involved me yelling a lot of something along the lines of “SERIOUSLY YOU HAVE A PHD YOU CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE CRAIGSLIST” but eventually it was posted and no one bought it.
So Giant Inflatable Boat sat out in our backyard while it rained and rained and rained and I made stupid jokes no one wants to hear about Noah, and then I harassed Mr. E to deflate Giant Inflatable Boat and he ignored me and I harassed him some more and he ignored me some more and then one day I looked out my bedroom window to see my THREE YEAR OLD BALANCED ON THE EDGE OF A GIANT INFLATABLE BOAT FILLED WITH WATER and I wasn’t very happy about that. We had some “email exchanges” and lo, a great miracle occurred, and he deflated the boat.
Then I started suggesting we just give the damn thing away, like donate it to some other scientifically minded nerds or vinyl fetishists or whatever, and Mr. E countered that he’d rather keep it than give it away. Because nothing says “extra room to store lots of giant never used inflatable boats” like a 960 square foot bungalow with no basement filled with four people and a cat and the World’s Worst Dog.
Then a great miracle occurred and Mr. E posted once again posted Giant Inflatable Boat on Craigslist on Friday morning which was PERFECT because we had all weekend to unload it and maybe for the love of all that is holy I wouldn’t have to be the one to deal with whatever Craigslist weirdos wanted to come to my house and oogle the stupid boat, because there is nothing nothing nothing nothing that I hate more than dealing with random strangers coming to my house. Maybe slugs, maybe I hate those more, but it is a close close tie between random Craigslist weirdos and slugs.
And then Mr. E broke the CARDINAL RULE of Craigslist because everyone knows that the first rule of Craigslist is that you never ever ever ever ever hold anything for anyone! And he told some dude that he would hold the boat until Sunday and I had to use every power in the known world to hold my tongue when he took the ad down especially when he told me that the guy was going to give him an extra ten dollars to hold it! Because is it just me? Or do you have NO WAY of collecting this mythical extra ten dollars when this person never shows up?
You will be shocked to know that “Extra Ten Dollars” dude never showed up. I know I was shocked. Luckily the fact that I knew that this would happen meant that I got to really work up a strong “I told you so but I am not going to say I told you so I am just going to broadly imply it with my tone of voice and by putting this arm on my hip and glaring at you” voice so that when I told Mr. E to re post the mother grabbing giant inflatable boat for the one millionth time and for the love of pants not to hold the damn thing for anyone including Jesus Christ himself, I managed to project all of this with one scornful inflection as I flounced off to windex the cabinet pulls.
So Mr. E posted the boat again and Monday afternoon I got this weird phone call from my favorite type of person! A weirdo Craigslist stranger! Who was coming to my house in half an hour! And got my number from my husband! And who needed directions! Even though as my husband well knows! I couldn’t give directions to my house! For One Trillion Dollars! And I couldn’t help but notice! That my child wasn’t wearing pants! And I hadn’t showered! And I was wearing my paint covered “Not Everything’s Flat In Nebraska” t shirt! And dirty cut off sweats!
I believe it was at this point that I IM’ed Maggie and all I said was “GRRRRRRR”.
Whatever. I hauled ass to the backyard and I changed my shirt and brushed my teeth and put some pants on my child and put the Worlds Worst Dog in her cage and I even found the rrrrreally humiliating “looks just like that Austin Powers swedish sex penis thing” air pump and I SOLD THAT BOAT OH YES I DID. SOLD SOLD SOLD.
Now. Does anyone want to buy a giant inflatable boat? It’s never even been taken out of the box.
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