Paint the town beige, baby
Despite my tendency to chat to strangers in the street or hurl annoying drunk men's shopping bags out of bus doors in order to get 'em out of our faces I'm not really a very adventurous person.
There. I said it. I can admit it now, you see, because I'm in my forties and my idea of flying by the seat of my pants is if I consider drinking a cup of coffee after 2pm or decide to walk around the house without my dressing gown on.
Or when I suggested to Love Chunks that we ~ahem~ enjoy a bit of horizontal folk dancing at half-time during last night's telecast of St Kilda versus Collingwood because it was not quite 10pm and if we waited until the end of the game we'd both be too tired and we both knew what a busy Saturday we had ahead of us. Plus, he'd be snoring and I'd be silently farting with my arse indelicately hanging out of the side of the bed so that it wouldn't get trapped under the blankets and make its way over to LC's nasal cavity.... yeah, it's a pretty wild life I lead.
So when we went to Lakes Entrance for the Easter weekend, there was a fairly clear expectation from Love Chunks that we'd actually, well, do something on the lakes. In a boat.
No, not nookie you rude reader, but hire a boat and drive around the lakes, disembark a few times and generally enjoy the scenery and perhaps drop a line in. That's fair enough, isn't it?
I wisely left my camera at the beach house on boat day because I was afraid of getting it wet and when I saw our boat - 'Gummy', I was very proud of that decision. Gummy had 'For Daylight Hours Only' stencilled on his* side and was merely a square tinny with two shoebox-sized window guards for the two front seats and a half-hearted tarp masquerading as a canopy on the top. Berthed at the swank Five Knots marina, it was the smallest and ugliest vessel in the entire postal district.
Still, Love Chunks was not deterred. He dutifully listened to the hirer's instructions on the throttle and dodgy steering and his blue eyes twinkled in amusement when ten year old Sapphire scoffed at my insistence on wearing a life jacket.
Off we puttered. Out of the marina the sea was choppier than we thought and on my side - the LEFT side, stop telling me it's PORT or STARBOARD, if left and right is good enough for land, as well as front and back why do we have to have another stupid language for the water - the sea spray blasted straight into my grimacing face.
Ian was sniggering at me, seated and sheltered comfortably behind LC who was driving with a huge, contented smile on his face. "ISN'T THIS GREAT?" Love Chunks mouthed over the deafening roar of the outboard. He seemed to be utterly dry and completely impervious to the stiff breeze.
I, on the other hand, felt like a malevolent crew member had planted themselves directly in my field of vision and were determined to hurl buckets of brine directly into my eyes and hasten the self-pitying shivering by switching on an industrial-strength fan before hurling the next bucket.
Ian tapped my shoulder. "WELL, AT LEAST THE SALT WATER WILL BE GOOD FOR THAT HUGE ZIT ON YOUR CHIN!"
Er, thanks for that, dear friend. Over the course of the weekend my chin - Roger Ramjet-sized at the best of times - decided to grow a K2 on the left hand - no, not friggin' PORT - side. All conversations I participated in were between the other person and my pimple as it commanded the attention of everyone it overshadowed.
(In fact, Sapph here is considerately shielding it from view in this family portrait).
After an hour of teeth-chattering, salt-blindness and shrinking further and further into my lifejacket and behind the brim of my hat in a meditative state in which my mantra was 'I'm at home, I'm warm, I'm dry', we finally pulled into shore. Just to have the motor switched off and be out of the breeze was heaven. I found LC's jacket and Bill's beach towel and lay in the sun, curled up like a cat until my fingertips were no longer blue and I'd regained enough feeling in them to unclip the lifejacket.
Sadly, our lunch was super-chilled by our too-bloody-effective esky, so I munched disconsolately on a frosty ham and salad roll with an icy apple slipping from my cold, clawlike and ineffective fingers. There was a tiny bit of revenge for Ian's cheekiness because he had to find a spot to drop off a couple of Andrew Bolts at the pool on a thin sliver of sandy island that was visible from very angle and hosted only one-foot high salt bush as modesty cover.
It was soon time get back onto Gummy but this time I was prepared. Funnily no-one else wanted to sit in my seat, so I found two spare life jackets that I put my legs through and another one that I wrapped around my left arm like a shield against the water and the wind. The roar of the outboard was slightly more bearable because at least my body wasn't miserably shaking to its rhythm this time.
Five long hours later and Love Chunks reluctantly puttered us back to the marina. "What did you think of that, Sapph?" he asked our daughter, his eyes shining in joy.
Her eyes mirrored his own. "I loved it Dad, I really loved it."
He turned to me, head buried in the backseat of the car struggling to find my polar fleece to put on top of his jacket. "What did you think, Kath?"
I was stuck. Do I spoil his day and say that I'd rather be stripped naked and whipped with kelp by angry sailor or lie? Let him know that he had a wife with about as much interest in boats as he had in ABBA and knitting?
"You drove really well, love."
* I don't care that boats are usually named after women. This one looked like a busted sandshoe with an attitude problem.