Dragonfly
It was supposed to be a day of hearts and flowers and while I DID get flowers, it was mostly... a day of RAIN. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

FRIDAY, I took off half a day of work in order to make Doodlebug's requested Black Forest Cake. Four giant layers of cake interspersed with drunk cherries (only tipsy, since it was for an 11-year-old) and whipped cream. The secret ingredient, though, is double-strength black cherry jello -- you add just the boiling water and mix, then drizzle it onto each of the cake layers before adding either cherries or whipped cream. YUM!

Friday afternoon, we revealed Doodlebug's birthday gift. A quick digression...

Every year, we ask Doodlebug about his gift choices and this is the resulting conversation:

Me: What do you want for your birthday, kiddo?
DB: Mommmmmm! You KNOW what I want. It's what I ALWAYS want. I ask for it EVERY year!
Me: .... and what's that again?
DB: A DIRT BIKE, Mom. Geez.
Me: *crickets chirping* (as I see visions of hundred dollar bills bursting into flames, their miniscule ash floating off into space)

So when we told Doodlebug to please go feed the horse while we figured out how to reveal his gift, imagine his surprise at opening the feed shed doors and finding... A DIRT BIKE.

Lordy Mercy. We finally managed to silence the child. We rendered him completely speechless. It was the LOVELIEST two minutes EVER! It was cool.

So after spending an hour watching him zoom past one direction and then back the other direction, we pulled him off the dirt bike and headed out to eat dinner with some family and play arcade games all night. We didn't get home until almost 11pm.

And then the adults (BabySis was staying over) partied it up a bit, because, see... C-Boy couldn't make the arcade games and what-not but the poker was ON. And also? I could only find a giant box of jello for the cake so I had a HUGE amount of double-strength leftover. As I was putting it in the fridge that afternoon, I noticed I still had half a bottle of tequila, nicely chilled. And then I thought: JELLO SHOTS! Except I didn't have any little medicine cups. So... I simply upended that bottle into the bowl and figured we'd think of something later.

It was poker night with a pass-along bowl and a spoon. And a little more tequila found it's way into that jello than I'd thought (though you couldn't TASTE a thing). Ohhh boy.

Fast forward to Valentine's Day.

We had to get up at EIGHT AM, in order to grab a quick load of hay and then head out on a long drive down to Clear Lake -- Shaggy was having a Laser race (single-person boats) and I hadn't made it to one yet because of work.

We got there a little late.

Once arrived, we walked down to the very, very, very end of what USED to be a road (now a mess of mud, sand, construction, and destruction not yet cleaned up --- Hurricane Ike killed this yacht club) and looked Wayyyyyyy out over the water.

Me: Are those sails out there?
Mr. Clean: Yep, I believe so.
Me: And this is supposed to be entertaining? I can't even see which is his boat!
Mr. Clean: Well, your Dad usually has binoculars.
Me: Except he's out on a boat, out there, with the binoculars.
Mr. Clean: Yep.
Me: Wooooo we're having FUN now!
Mr. Clean: You need more coffee.

After half an hour or so of standing out there, straining my eyes --- because maybe if I squinted hard enough, it would all suddenly come into focus --- my Dad called to say they (those on the power boat) were coming back into the marina to pick us up. Yay.

We climbed onto the boat and headed out deep, deep into the bay. Once we arrived out into the middle of the goings-on, we realized that a LOT of people (parents, coaches, and race committee) were all out on little power boats and dinghys, like you'd see in a Navy Seals movie. It looked like mass chaos on water.

Me: It's starting to become clear to me...
Mr. Clean: What is?
Me: The real expense of sailing is not Shaggy's boat and sails and riggings... or all the traveling around... it's the fact that we're going to have to get binoculars and another BOAT in order to see him race.
Mr. Clean: *crickets chirping*
Me: You didn't think about that part, did you?
Mr. Clean: The last race was right up next to the other yacht club; we just had to stand out on the pier and watch.
Me: With binoculars.
Mr. Clean: *crickets chirping*

As we were sitting out there waiting for the 2nd race to end, the wind DIED. Completely. Then, the sky grew a tiny bit darker and some big, fat raindrops hit me on my head. I looked out over the water behind us and HOLY COW, there was lightning. The race committee sounded their air horns and hoisted flags to call the race and send the racers into shore.

I wish I'd had the forsight to video the ensuing line of boats headed in - because, umm, how exactly DO you sail into shore when there is NO WIND? Apparently, you stand up on the boat, one foot on either side of the tiny, tiny cockpit and rock back and forth, left-to-right, left-to-right... which, essentially, paddles you in. Quite a bit more quickly than you'd imagine! It was like a little parade of dancing sailors, complete with lightning rods for masts. Lovely experience.

It was pouring before everyone managed to motor back to shore, a few of the boats hauling some of the slower sailors who weren't able to get their rockin' paddle going.

Did I mention I hadn't worn a rain coat??

Once ashore, we ran over to the beach area and helped Shaggy get his Laser onto a dingy cart, and then pulled it over to the giant expanse of grass in front of the clubhouse (which now looked like a mass congregation of wet rats (teenagers) and their boats). Shaggy removed all of his rigging and then pulled the mast out and laid it across the boat, while the adults were trying to figure out --- was this it for the day?

The race committee came out of the clubhouse and stated the weather radar showed we were only in the tip of a storm and it was passing momentarily. So the racing was back on. Everyone had to re-rig and get right back out there.

*sigh*

The sailors had the same sentiment. They looked to the sky, looked at each other, and then grumbled about inexperienced race committees (this one was fairly new). Their masts re-settled, they rolled their boats one-by-one back to the beach and got back into the water.

It was that moment I realized... there is such a thing as a SAIL MOM. And I was not one of them. I did not know!!! Shaggy NEVER mentioned I was expected to be hauling around a bag of vitamin water and power bars! One of the other parents said, "Oh yeah... it's a mess out there. Usually, we start passing out water and power bars in between races. They just sail up next to the boat and we toss things their way. Otherwise, they're just wiped out."

Well, yes, I DID know it was extremely hard work. I did NOT know there was a system and a charter of rules that SAIL MOMS or SAIL DADS followed. Sweet Bleeding Jalepeno.

We loaded back up onto the boat we were tagging along with (two other sets of parents)... now BAREfoot because our shoes had become clogged with mud from earlier. As we headed BACK out into the water... it started to rain again.

Sitting out in the race area - AGAIN - while waiting for the race to start, it was like being circled by sharks. Every now and then, a kid would sail up, grab hold of the side rail, and then get a quick bottle of water and power bar. After a few minutes of chit-chat, they'd head back out to circle the start again. FYI... it's STILL raining.

Here's Shaggy (on the left, in red, with the 4.7 sail):
video

It's just a short little clip. Because about a minute after this, that damn race committee hoisted the "abandon race" flags AGAIN. And the lightning started. AGAIN. And my heart raced as I watched all the giant lightning rods across the water. AGAIN.

Oh, and the temperature dropped about FIFTY degrees in five minutes. My feet turned blue.

I did have the forsight to grab video of the resulting line of dancing sailors heading back to shore this time but it started raining so hard, I couldn't keep the camera out. Sorry. What you really missed, though, was the sound we heard when the race was called the second time. At first, it could have been mistaken for thunder. In reality, it was the sound of 30 teenagers doing a well-timed teenagery groan of frustrated angst. Hilarious!!

My Valentine's evening? Spent...

** drying out and warming up in front of a fire for a little while in the clubhouse, while waiting for Shaggy to finish de-rigging his boat and getting everything put up.

** bemoaning the fact that my hair now looked like a giant bozo the clown do from the humidity and rain.

** thanking GOD I'd brought along a headband and scrunchy to hide the clown hair with.

** making sure Shaggy was showered, changed, and settled in (they were having a dinner/dance that evening).

** going out with my Dad & Stepmom to find a place to eat that wasn't packed to the gills with romancing couples.

** after FIRST buying a whole new outfit for Doodlebug - who'd assisted the kids in getting their boats in and out of the water, TWICE, and therefore was soaked to the bone.

And actually? It was a LOVELY evening. We got coffee on the way home, arrived at just past 9pm, and then curled up on the couch and watched Horton Hears A Who. And then passed out from exhaustion.

We go to Austin the first weekend of March. Hopefully, I can capture a little MORE video of some actual racing.

How was YOUR Valentine's Day?

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  1. Denise B. Says:

    So - when is Joe buying you a boat?