Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can You Canoe?



I haven't picked a winner from last week yet. I will do that by next week. It's just too hard. I promise to make up my mind by next week.



Let me tell you about last Saturday. As some of you know, I am certified to facilitate canoeing, archery, low ropes course and zip line at my local Girl Scout camp. In fact, the low ropes course and zip line out there were the setting for a scene in STAND BY YOUR HITMAN.



Anyway - as part of the certification process, I volunteer to spend a weekend or two in the Spring and again in the Fall, helping other troops go through these things. This Saturday, I ran canoeing. For ten hours. By myself. I estimate that I put 87 girls in the water between 8a.m and 6p.m. And here is what I learned:



1) Ten and eleven-year old girls know how to swear and their vocabulary is very impressive.



2) A tiny, dead and dried out leech on the dock is still incredibly terrifying to tweens.



3) When you tell girls that there is one area they should not go near because it is too windy and they will get trapped (forcing me to rescue them, of course) - 35% of these girls will make that location their first destination.



4) You really can get sick of hearing children calling your name over, and over, and over, and over...



5) There is no way a canoe can go straight when you have a 150lb. girl in the back and a 55lb. girl in the front. And there is no kind way to tell them they should choose a partner who is their own size.



6) If you stand up in a canoe to dig yourself out of being beached - even if you warn the girls not to follow your example - 100% of them will stand up anyway because you did.



7) It doesn't matter what kind of fish you see in a lake in Iowa, to kids, they will always be pirhanna. Always.



8) I can, by myself in a canoe made for 3 people, tow six girls in 2 canoes across a lake in a strong wind. (I do not recommend this. My arms still feel like they were stepped on by inconsiderate rhinos wearing cleats.)



9) There will always be that one canoe of girls who will get all the way across the lake, put their paddles down and refuse to row back because they are tired.



10) Conversely, there is always that one canoe full of girls who won't stop canoeing, no matter how many threats you hurl at them. Okay, so maybe that's where they got the idea there were pirhanna in the lake.



11) The incredible joy you feel when you realize you can toss huge canoes around like origami boats will invariably be destroyed by the searing pain you feel in all extremeties for the next week. Seriously, it hurts to lift a piece of paper.



12) Kneeling in an aluminum canoe in the middle of a lake on a sunny day creates the weirdest sunburns. I think I have a red silhouette of the S.S. Enterprise on the back of my right thigh.


So what have I learned? Nothing really. Because if they asked me, I would probably do it all again. I'm kind of not smart that way.



The Assassin





20 comments:

Refhater said...

LOL Leslie, sounds like fun! 87 tweens? You deserve a medal!

Thanks for the laugh this morning. I really needed it.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Too funny! *Almost* makes me want to take my kids canoeing :)

Keri Ford said...

Aw, Leslie. It sounds like a nightmare. What a special person you are for doing it, and wanting to do it again!

Your tolerence level is much higher than mine! Glad you had fun.

Raynene said...

Thanks for the laughs...needed them on this particular morning! And yeah you deserve lots of medals!

terrio said...

As the mother of a girl turning 10 in July, this all sounds very accurate. As a first time coach of said girl's softball team, the "calling your name over, and over, and over" thing sounds very accurate.

And there are moments I think I'd like to do this coaching thing again. Do we lose the ability to learn a lesson as we get older? That would totally explain my dating life.

Gemma Halliday said...

Wow. You are superwoman! So, if there is a hit involving a canoe in your next book, we shouldn't be surprised? ;)

~Gemma

Leslie Langtry said...

Hmmm...should I kill someone with a canoe or through a canoeing "incident?" Death by canoe has some possibilities!

Bookmobiler said...

"should I kill someone with a canoe or through a canoeing "incident?""

I should think death by 87 tween girls would be surer and funnier!

Leslie Langtry said...

Is it possible to be "frustrated to death?"

terrio said...

87 tweens running from a dead, dried up leech would mean 174 little feet stampeding. That could do some serious bodily damage to a vic.

Leslie Langtry said...

That's a good idea. Maybe I could throw something in with the paddles or life preservers.

Brandy said...

You are my hero. You took 87 tweens out AND came back with them. You rock! *G*

M. said...

I'm appalled, because my daughter is 2 and this is all still before me. I'm also recalling funny episodes of the tongue-in-cheek Canadian 'superhero', Mr. Canoehead (yes, he had a canoe, worn perpendicular to his shoulders,rather than a head)

Christie Craig said...

Too funny, Leslie.

I tip my hat to you for having the patience to do this.


CC

Leslie Langtry said...

I want to know more about Mr. Canoehead!!!

Estella said...

I would never have the patience to interact with that many tweens.
You deserve a commendation!

Mr. Assassin said...

A much tougher Saturday than I had. At least SOCOM gives us machineguns to defend ourselves.

Refhater said...

Welcome to K.F. Mr. Assassin!

Thanks for your service to our country. It is very much appreciated!

LuAnn said...

How funny! I've never been canoeing with a bunch of girls and after reading your description, I think I will continue to avoid it! My husband and I try to take the canoe out several times during the summer. We enjoy paddling around the lakes at the local wildlife refuge and seeing the wildlife you normally don't see on land.

Leslie Langtry said...

Hmmm...I don't think I could use machine guns. But I should've packed your stun gun. Silly me!