One afternoon a few days into our vacation, the P-Dawg and I began trolling for a cove in which to dock for the night. He was at the helm and I was leaning over the front railing like Kate Winslet. Only instead of a party dress, I was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, and instead of my long hair flowing behind me, it was busting out of a half ponytail.
And instead of an ocean liner, I was on a houseboat.
Any time we’d approach a cove, the P-Dawg and I would debate the merits of parking our boat there. There were other house boaters on the lake, and I was hell-bent on securing the best possible location before anyone else found it. If it came down to two house boats and one cove, I was prepared for a sudden death showdown.
Both the P-Dawg and I are wishy-washy people when it comes to life’s most inconsequential decisions, and neither of us wants to shoulder the blame in case a bad one is made. My modus operandi has always been to throw my hands up and let the P-Dawg make the final call, then be utterly disappointed. It’s how I ended up with a sofa that has a pattern of pineapples and coconuts on it.
It was the same with cove selection. We passed several coves that I deemed near perfect. But whenever I pointed one out, the P-Dawg just kept on motoring as though I hadn’t spoken. Eventually we reached a small island, which we both admitted was a tempting location. Problem was, we couldn’t agree on which side of it to dock. By the time we’d circled that island fives times in our houseboat, I had decided it was completely unacceptable and my husband had decided that it was the Promised Land. I wanted to press on further, where I thought I saw the Cove of My Dreams. The P-Dawg was reticent, but neither could he name one good reason why we couldn’t at least give this cove a quick drive by. He finally agreed to motor in for a closer look, at which time he summarily dismissed it.
We continued on our path around the lake – me sulking, the P-Dawg wearing a grim look of determination. Finally he spotted what he believed to be the Mother of All Coves, and which I quickly assessed to be the worst cove on the lake, if not the entire universe.
“That one? That cove couldn’t even shelter a hamster!”
“Nonsense,” said the P-Dawg. “It’s perfect.”
Personally, I thought the cove we’d recently passed, where the houseboat with the whirlpool on its deck was parked, had been perfect. And if not for the half hour we’d spent circling Indecision Island, I felt certain we could have snagged it.
“Fine! Let’s just dock here!” I said, which everyone knows in the international language of married couples means, “You will regret this.”
The P-Dawg made a beeline for his Chosen Cove and right after we hit the shoreline, I jumped out to tie off the lines (our boat didn’t have an anchor). That’s when I noticed that the spot where we had landed was completely unsatisfactory. The spot where we wanted to dock was about six feet to the right of it. Don’t ask me how I knew it.
“I hate to say it,” I said to the P-Dawg, “But we’re going to have to back out again and move this boat a couple feet over.”
The look on P-Dawg’s face said, “Only one of us will survive this vacation.” But he agreed to give it a try. Problem was, our houseboat was rammed up against the shoreline, and when the P-Dawg turned the motor on, it didn’t move. I selflessly offered to stand on the craggy shore and push the houseboat with all of my might while the P-Dawg gunned the engine in reverse.
I nearly gave myself a hernia. Luckily my Mama wasn’t with us, because a hernia was always on the top of her list of things that I would give myself if I wasn’t careful. But by some dumb stroke of luck, and also brute strength, I was able to push the boat hard enough that it became unmoored.
And as I stood in my flip-flops on a rock against the steep wooded shoreline, watching my husband receding in the distance, it struck me that he could just as soon leave me there for good.
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