Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Road Home

One might have expected me to sleep soundly and longly in the fancy bed at the Kingfish Inn, but, alas, it was not to be. Sure, most of our trip was finished. Most of my need to be alert and aware had ended. I no longer had 10-year-olds sitting in the bow of my boat going through rough water. I no longer had a hundred miles to go on one paltry tank of gas, hoping I wouldn't run out. I didn't have to worry any longer about how low the tide would be, and about getting the boat back onto the trailer. Our food hadn't run out (although it pretty much had run out of vegetables).

But, we still had 100 miles to go, many of them on the freeway, towing our boat at high speeds, and then when we arrived in Seattle, we had to put that same boat back in the water at the Sunnyside dock, basically in the middle of the business district as far as potential traffic went for 5:45pm. And then we had to deliver the trailer to Lake Union Sea Ray before 6pm when they closed up and went home.

So, when I wasn't dreaming about Christina Aguilera being in bed with us (quite modestly dressed, actually. I asked her if she was going to have any more children and she said yes.), I was lying awake playing over and over in my mind a video of me backing up the boat, and how I would turn the steering wheel of the car to get the boat to go where I wanted. I finally came to a conclusion that made sense to me—turn the wheel the way you want the back of the boat to go—and went to sleep.

Our breakfast the next morning was lovely, and after a bit of time spent tidying up the land, locking the outhouse, and pulling up a bunch of thistle (just in time, too, as our land was hayed today), we headed for the ferry, Ian driving. There was a slight hitch at the ferry dock where the woman in the booth wouldn't let us get in line, even though there was space to park, because the ferry we were going to get on wasn't the one that was leaving next; Ian managed to drive back around the booth without crashing into anything and we took a trip around the large block by our land. Everything there was still fine. When we got back to the ferry line the woman explained that, in a cost-cutting measure, she was the only one working in the upper lot for the day, and she simply couldn't tell people when to stop and when to go for boarding, and do her other job. We agreed with her that there are some costs that should not be cut.

Anyway, we made it onto the next boat without quite the squeeze of the first one, and after a brief visit to the bathrooms upstairs, came back to sit in the car.

"I think I've finally figured it out!" I said to Ian, about backing the trailer. "When you want the trailer to back around to the right, you spin the steering wheel clockwise. And when you want it to turn left, you spin the wheel counterclockwise!"

"Um . . ." said Ian gently, "I think that's actually backwards. I think you have to spin the steering wheel counterclockwise to get the boat to go right."

I burst into frustrated tears. "I will never figure this out!" I sobbed. "I'm used to being able to do things like this immediately! I know it's only fair that you should get to do things better than me, BUT I DON'T WANT YOU TO! I WANT TO BE BETTER!"

We did laugh then, because it's true that Ian should be able to be better at some things than me, and it's completely true that I shouldn't care. But I'm a 4-year-old and heart, and I do care.

We stopped for a meal at our new favorite place in Mt Vernon, Mexico Café, I practiced backing in the giant parking lot with some success, and then Ian asked if I would be willing to drive the freeway part.

I was perfectly willing, but my anxiety reached such a fever pitch within a few miles that I almost had to pull off and let him take over. I'm not sure what it was, except perhaps simply a week of high alert that was finally starting to have a more serious physical effect. I hadn't felt anxious at all earlier in the week, but I had been hyperaware, and hyperawake about everything going on around me. Finally, on I-5, with nothing but 3 other lanes of hurtling steel boxes to dissipate my stress, it almost became too much. I took deep breaths, though, and chose to stay at a speed I felt was safe, over on the right side of the road (very unlike my single-car driving style), and we made it without mishap.

I wanted to back the boat into the water at Sunnyside, with Ian's direction, and the rain (which had continued down to Seattle) had kept most people away from the water. There was one man waiting, trailer in the water, for a friend to bring a boat around; when he saw us begin our maneuver, he kindly moved out to the non-dock side of the ramp, and let us have the dock. His friend appeared with their boat, they got it loaded up, and were long gone before we even had ours quite unstrapped and ready for launching. But we didn't hit anything, and I did manage to get the boat in. Ian whizzed the trailer around the lake to Sea Ray, I putted the boat around to Seattle Boat where I left it and walked home; Ian and I met at our garage, spent.

You might think that we would collapse in heaps at this stage, leaving the car full, and sleep for the next 15 hours. That would've been smart, but instead we unloaded and Ian took off for a work do, and I, being me, started the laundry. Both of us supremely happy.


Shelley said...

I feel like it is quite healthy to have the toddler come out every once in a clears out all those feelings that as adults, we "contain". You are more mature than I...I'm more of a 3yo. :)

Robert said...

Ahhh . . . Thanks again for taking us on vacation with you!

-- Robert V.