March 31. 2015 will go down as the most challenging day of my entire adult life. I awoke at 5am completely disoriented. I was in the same bed with the same man looking out the same window, but had a completely different view. The day before we had unhitched our floating house from the marina where we’ve lived for three years and moved it to a cove adjacent to our own property. It was a dream come true, that quickly became a nightmare.
So, back to 5am Tuesday. I couldn’t sleep. Neither could Frank. So we got up and made a big country breakfast replete with biscuits, eggs, gravy, sliced tomato--the works. It was lovely…then one of our worst fears came true. We heard a crash. Rufus, our lab-hellhound mix collapsed onto the floor. He was digging his front claws into the wood and his entire rear, including back legs, seemed paralyzed. He couldn’t stand. He couldn’t even sit. My first thought—spinal injury. He’d been running up and down the treacherous the rocks on the shoreline the evening before. Frank had already lost his beloved dog Mabel to the same sort of injury. He could not lose another. We had to get Rufus to the vet.
There was only one problem…well, actually several problems. The steps are not finished on our property, and even if they were we couldn’t carry a 115 pound dog up the steep hillside. And even if we could, our cars were still at the marina miles away. We’d thought of this. That is why we bought a pontoon for emergencies. However, we hadn’t yet launched it. The only transportation we had was a small jon boat, which is essentially a glorified canoe with a motor. Frank set out in it to Royalty’s Fishing Camp to get help while I tried to keep Rufus calm. Along the way, he called a friend with a pontoon. He met him at the shore. They zoomed back and the three of us carried Rufus on board. We hauled ass to our cars and loaded Rufus into my Scion.
By the time we got to the animal hospital he was able to stand and stagger. After $440 worth of tests, it was determined that he had perhaps just over done it the day before or had a cramp. He walked out of the office was still far too weak and wobbly to make it down the hill. We needed our own pontoon in the water. So, we set out to find the most mellow launch. After settling on a place called Pandora, like the chick who released the box full of demons and with whom I was totally beginning to relate, we got our boat in Herrington. Once again, we carried Rufus across a swaying walkway and loaded him up. Frank would ferry him home. I would drive and meet them there.
I arrived at the property and realized that the only way for me to get to the house, where my much needed bourbon waited, was to descend Satan’s Stairway and then repel. So, in the caftan and cowboys boots that I’d thrown on in a panic earlier, I made my way down the mountain clinging to a rope and tree roots. Frank and Rufus returned shortly. By this time, the damn dog was trotting around like nothing had ever happened.
The day was far from over. We still had to pick up and move a 12 x 12 dock, two kayaks, and the jon boat we’d abandoned before our lease ran out at midnight. Two boats required two captains which meant I was going to have to learn to drive one. I took a crash course in piloting a pontoon and off we went. When we got to the marina, I got off to go gather the kayak’s while Frank went to pick up the dock. He didn’t return. I just thought he was off gabbing to some passing stranger as he is prone to do, then I heard the screaming echo off the water.
Mother fuckery, he’d just gotten the stitched out from his sawzall accident. I realized the screams were not of pain, but anger. The engine had died right when the wind kicked up. It pushed him to the far side of the shore where he was now stranded. He needed someone to pull him back, which meant I needed to man the jon boat and go retrieve him. Only one problem. I had no idea how to even start the damn motor. With a series of hand signals and yelling, Frank attempted to guide me through it. I climbed in and fired it up, but instead progressing in a straight line, it just started going in circles. The wind now made me her bitch and spun me like a top. I finally got back to the slip and fell out onto the concrete in a crying heap. A random fisherman seeing my distress offered to perform the rescue. I gladly allowed him to do so.
In the meantime, the Fairy Sisters, a pair of lesbian besties, poured me a stiff vodka cocktail, which I normally steer clear of because the white liquors make me as mean as a rabid badger. But, desperate times call for desperate drinking.
This time it was Dan the Dock Man to the rescue. He used his towboat to push me and the Bohemian Barge back to Bohemian Bay. Frank was following in the jon boat, but then an errant rope got wrapped around the prop and jacked up that motor. So, he tried the trolling motor, but the battery had died. I looked back just in time to see him take out an oar and begin to paddle. Almost immediately it snapped into two pieces once again leaving him adrift.
I couldn’t be bothered. I was too close to home and our stocked bar. I made it back and so did Frank…eventually with assistance from the same friend who'd helped us out with Rufus much earlier in what now felt like a sixty-five hour day.
At 8pm, I downed a bourbon on the rocks and collapsed into the bed. I would like to say I downed a bourbon on the rocks, had a hot shower, and collapsed into bed, BUT we still don’t have running water. As I lay there looking through a familiar window at a still unfamiliar view, I analyzed all that had happened. What had it all taught me? That, no matter what happens, as long as Frank and I have each other and the generosity of the tight knit community of Lake Folk, we’ll be just fine.
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