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Ship ahoy!

Published September 01. 2012 09:02AM

I love the water. I love to look at it, hear it, touch it, and I really love to float on it.

Having a boat has long been a dream of mine. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of money to buy the kind of boat I want.

Not easily dissuaded, last year I talked my husband into buying a boat.

OK. It's not really a "boat," but it looks like a boat on the box.

Yes, it came in a box. You have to blow it up when you plan to hit the high seas, or when cooler heads prevail, a tranquil pond.

I wanted the five-person model, but my husband held firm for the three-person boat. It was, after all, called a "Colossus," and it claims to hold up to 680 pounds. The two of us better never combine to meet that weight limit.

If you look at the model shown on the box, it's pretty big. There is a picture of a grandfather and his two grandchildren, fishing from their pretty big boat. Everyone is smiling, and there is even a pretty big cooler in the boat, presumably filled with yummy snacks for a fun-filled day with grandpa on the lake.

To expedite our sailing adventures, we sprang for the fancy thing that blows the boat up, which you must attach to your car battery. This step immediately eliminated any chance of me going boating alone, as I won't touch anything that could blow up (as in ka-boom not as in 'inflate').

It was several days after making our purchase before we could set sail.

We drove to the lake and I waited excitedly as Jim unpacked the boat and hooked up the jumper cables. The motor whirred and the boat's four chambers quickly inflated with air. Jim began to disconnect the nozzle.

"Finish filling it up," I said.

"It is full," he answered.

Hmmm. It must look smaller because we didn't get it in the water yet.

We carried it to the boat launch, and realized how ridiculous we looked, using a boat launch.

Jim flopped the boat into the water. It didn't look any bigger. It actually looked more like an oversized pool float.

We waded out a few feet and Jim told me to get in; easier said than done.

He tried to hold it in place, but every time I tried to put my foot in, the boat moved a couple feet in the opposite direction. Eventually, I had to back up, and just plop in, backside first. This resulted in several gallons of lake water entering with me. I heard more than a few snickers from nearby boaters.

I shimmied into the bigger end of the boat, and Jim took a seat in the narrow end.

As we settled in, I realized there was no place to put my legs, let alone a cooler or a grandkid.

"Are you sure this is the boat pictured on the box?" I asked. He assured me it was.

Since I was sitting on the end from which you row, we floated aimlessly.

Rowing looks easy. It is not.

After 20 minutes, we had moved about 10 feet, nine of which was from drifting.

"Switch places with me," said Jim.

"Are you nuts?" I asked. "How am I supposed to do that?"

Propelling us with his hands, Jim got us close to a friend's secluded lakefront I wasn't going back to the dock to be laughed at where (with much difficulty) he was able to get me out of the boat and back in on the other side.

With Jim at the "helm" we began to make some headway, before the sky darkened and a storm rolled in.

Our adventure had lasted about a half-hour.

We didn't get to use the boat again last summer. We took it out a few weeks ago, and Jim inflated it.

"Finish filling it up," I said.

"I did," he insisted.

"I think it got smaller over the winter," I said. "It must shrink when it gets wet."

As we floated around that hot, summer evening, our feet in each other's faces, Jim had a suggestion.

"Maybe we can sell this one, and buy the next size; work our way up."

I ponder his proposal and see myself standing on the prow of a 74-foot yacht, outstretched arms Titanic-like and nobody's feet in my face.

It will take awhile to "work our way up" to that, but I'm game.

"Sounds perfect," I answer.

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