Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paddle faster, I hear banjo music! Unless you're mom. In that case, drift into every outcropping in the river without helping yourself at all.

You ever hear of a tube tard? It's a person who is obviously too mentally challenged to operate an inner tube going downstream at a rate of 100 ft an hour. In other words, mom.

Today we decided to take a leisurely tube ride down the Ocoee River, and to spice things up a bit, we'd take a three year old with us! We had our worries about Echo; would she get bored on the tube and constantly try to wake us up while we're napping? Would she drink all the beer on the bus ride down to the park? The way she's been keg-standing that Juicy Juice gave us reason to ponder.

But it turns out Echo was just fine. We had a bigger problem on our hands. Or more specifically, a larger, whiter, and much older problem on our hands.

To be fair, mom has never been tubing in Tennessee before and we did not give her any lessons ahead of time. You know, the ones consisting of the following simulations on dry land:

1. Lay in tube
2. Allow current to push tube down river
3. Avoid debris or large outcroppings of rocks in river by remaining conscious and giving a crap
This isn't really us. We're too dumb to remember our camera.
So the fact that she couldn't master number 3 really isn't her fault. I mean, not everyone can float in a tube AND have arms and legs long enough to reach the water to paddle away from the river bank or clump of sticks or low hanging trees. As with the first hot yoga class, I find it best to describe the two hour descent of one mile of the Ocoee with a time line.

What'd you say???
 Minute 1: We all get our tubes in the water and plop into the doughnut holes to begin our fast-paced adventure. Shrimp and Echo have a tube with a covered bottom to make sure Echo doesn't slip into the water but the rest of us have a traditional open-hole tube, which means we all have some resistance (aka our asses) slowing us down. Right off the bat, mom careens to the right and gets stuck up on the bank. We yell at her to 'use her feet' but she just uses a bunch of jerky movements like she's having a seizure to pull away from the side of the river and get down the first 6 inch rapid. When she gets closer, we ask her why she didn't just use her feet and she goes, "I didn't even think of that". Apparently she's going deaf AND dumb in her old age.

This seems comfy!

Minute 30: We're all floating at various paces, about 50 yards apart down the river. Mom has managed to get stuck on no less than 5 rocky outcrops but shows the helplessness of a turtle on its back when it happens so somebody usually has to paddle over and pull her away from the rocks and shove her 10 feet down the river so it can happen again.

Minute 45: Mom manages to pick up the pace but when she floats past us, we notice that she has one leg out of her tube and one leg in the water. "I'm stuck!", she yells at us, as if we're gonna do anything more than laugh and point. I tell her to push up using her arms and pull her leg out of the water. She manages to push herself up but instead of pulling her stuck leg up, she somehow gets her leg that's out of the water INTO the water and now all we see coming out of her inner tube are her little hands holding onto the side and her wicked witch of the west voice calling out "I'm slipping!!!".

At this point we are all glad we are already in the water otherwise it would make peeing ourselves pretty embarrassing. Her little midget legs are kicking uselessly in the 3 foot deep water and she's convinced she's going to drown but somehow, god willing, she manages to find the strength to hold on long enough to get to 6 inches of water so that she can stand up and back up into her tube and resume her stranded tortoise position. We all breathe a sigh of relief.

Loooookin' good!

Minute 60: As the rest of the tube tards are trying to negotiate themselves around a pile of branches, I pull up on a sandbank and wait for the rest of them to catch up. Unfortunately, this is just enough time for our fans to catch up with us also. As dad floats downstream like an extra-large marshmallow, we hear something yelled at us from a pick-up that's driving down the road running parallel to the river. Although I can't quite make it out, I think it went something like this: "Hello there attractive lady- I appreciate the time you took to achieve those results! All those hot yoga classes and working out is really paying off in the glutius maximus! Large man in the tube with the big knockers, we are going to be waiting for you downstream!" If I had a nickel for every time this happened.... Okay, I'd have a nickel.

Minute 75: Echo yells out, "Someone help grammie!" as mom hits the left bank and gets stuck in some overhanging branches. She manages to use the branches to pull herself free and just in time too because our fans are back, this time yelling encouragements for us to do something with our tubes, not sure what, but I'm pretty sure they were inspired by dad's now wet t-shirt. It's hard being this good-looking but we did warn dad that if he wore that Speedo, he's gonna get some attention.

Me? Not blind. Next!
Minute 90: We round the last corner and can see the put-out for the tubing depot in site. Just then, our fans make one final pass, this time actually slowing down and pulling over on the side of the road so that they can yell "I'm getting excited, yes I am! I'm getting excited now!". I imagine they're yelling encouragement for us since we are so close to the finish line but unfortunately, it didn't help mom out much. In the 100 meter wide river, she manages to get stuck on the final tangle weed of bushes measuring about 2 feet across in 10 inches of water. Echo says, "We made it!" only to revise her statement 60 seconds later when her and Shrimp beach themselves on some rocks to "We didn't make it." Even at 3, that kids knows what's up. Luckily, we all manage to drag our glamorous selves up the bank and out of the river. Surprisingly, our adoring public is not there to greet us with pictures for us to autograph and chloroformed napkins for us to breath deeply into, but hey- there's always tomorrow. So we stagger across the street, change into our street clothes, and call it a day. Dad said he's going to practice tubing with mom on their creek so that she can avoid those embarrassing 'side trips' next time. What, and take away our biggest source of amusement? Hell no!


Anonymous said...

liar liar pants on fire!

kyndall said...

that is the funniest damn thing i've heard in a while!! thanks for that! i am just glad you weren't there to document our family's last tubing excursion. i can totally relate to the "turtle on its back" analogy. that is why i no longer "tube" in a tube. tell your mom to get a water-noodle chair - that is how i avoid being the punch-line in someone's hysterical blog post!!

Erin said...

OMG, I just about peed my pants reading this. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

I never suffered from insomnia before, but those images of your dad will change all that. Please keep the future post gag proof.

abigail said...

And to think I missed all of THAT! WOW! Do you think if we call ahead, the guys w the chloroform will be waiting for us?!?!

Awww mannn... that guy in the Speedo was HOT! He looks so athletic in his fine manhair blanket, pastey white skin, and 24 pack of abs.

Monica Gehllar said...