Beware of Offhand Comments

Tara is headed out of town for eight days today.

That’s a long stretch—pretty sure the most time we’ll have spent apart since we got together—but it’s for a good cause. She’s going to Nevada to pick up our boat.

Our boat,” you say? Why, yes. I haven’t mentioned it before because it seemed like a far-fetched idea at first, but last summer, her dad came out for a visit, with his boat in tow. He was talking about how he wanted to upgrade, and I said, “I’ve always wanted a boat!” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Do you want this boat?” Now, when I uttered those words, they were nothing more than an offhand comment. Kind of like that time I said to Tara, “Hey, we should move to Rapid City”…and we did.

My offhand comments tend to take on lives of their own.

I love boats, but I’ve never owned one, and have very little experience even riding in them. Is “riding” the correct term? This is how little I know about boats. I think I liked the idea of them; they seem good in theory, but then you start thinking about storage and maintenance and upkeep and “Gilligan’s Island” (a “three-hour tour,” my ass!), and it all seems overwhelming. So we’re sitting outside on the patio, this offer of a free boat is dangling in the air, seconds after I’ve made a comment about always wanting one, and I can’t exactly retract my words without looking like an idiot.

So naturally, I say, “Yes! That would be awesome!!!”

Three exclamation marks, guys. That was the level of enthusiasm I expressed in my response.

And I thanked him profusely, because it’s a very generous offer. It’s a Crestliner fishing boat…I don’t have any specs beyond that (because I don’t know boats!), maybe 16′, with a 75 HP outboard motor. I’ll be sure to post plenty of pics when she comes home. “She” being the boat, not Tara, although I guess that applies to both.

This all occurred nearly 11 months ago, and I have since come around. I’m back to wanting a boat for real, not just in theory. Good thing, because we’re about to have one. There are so many great lakes and reservoirs in the Black Hills, and the Missouri River is a couple of hours away. Walleye are the state fish. Walleye are delicious. I see a fishing license in my future (or at least in Tara’s future…somebody’s gotta drive the boat, right?).

(Is “drive the boat” the correct term?!)

The original plan was to meet up at a campground in Wyoming this month—the halfway point—and take possession of the boat then, but…Covid.

I feel like “, but…Covid” is the wrap-up to a lot of sentences these days.

Wyoming is basically closed to out-of-state residents. At least their campgrounds are. We thought about holding off until next summer, but then Tara talked to Randy and he was eager to get us the boat, and I was eager to have the boat, so she decided to take a trip to Ely and pick it up. She’ll also get to spend time with her sisters and nephews and friends. She can make an IKEA run, a Trader Joe’s run, and a Total Wine run. It will be a beneficial and productive trip, and when she comes back, we’ll have a nice boat with a brand new coat of paint parked in the driveway. Randy is also supplying us with a trailer and installing a hitch. How cool is that?

(I really hope this isn’t my future)

The bad part, of course, is that I can’t go…and we won’t get to spend the 4th of July together. I simply do not have the vacation time available, and need to save what little PTO I do have for my parents’ visit next month and the maybe-it-will-still-happen family reunion in September. So I’ll be holding down the fort, missing my wife like crazy but eating all the food she doesn’t like. Which is a pretty lengthy list, if I’m being honest. The joys of marrying a picky eater! Seriously, I’m digging up recipes I haven’t made in years, former faves that I no longer bother cooking because Tara won’t eat them. At least her absence will evoke all sorts of feelings of nostalgia in the kitchen.

I should start a blog series called “Bachelor Chronicles” and recount my daily adventures sans wife, but I fear they would be v. boring. Remember, I’m a cargo shorts-wearing dad. You would be subjected to tales about my ten-minute commute and the article I wrote about Hill City and the chicken adobo I cooked and the weeds I pulled in the backyard.

Come to think about it, I did devote an entire post to pulling dandelions, so maybe this idea isn’t so far-fetched after all…

29 thoughts on “Beware of Offhand Comments

  1. You are right, Mark. Off hand comments can result in something positive or get us into trouble. In our unique world of coincidences, I overheard a conversation yesterday about Gilligan’s Island and whether someone was on team Mary Ann or Ginger. You are also right how Covid has changed any basic planning. It sounds like a win/win adventure for Tara. And, a boat. Fun! Then there is that saying …..about the heart will grow fonder….

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  2. Boats. They are holes in the water where you toss money. But they are really fun if you have a use for them. Ever been into fishing? You might want to learn. To correctly operate one, your state probably has some requirements. It’s a fun learn and exploring with a boat is a worthy pastime. Good luck with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have long said the same thing about swimming pools, ha. Funny how they both involve water! At least the boat is free and registration is super cheap. I figure, we don’t have too much to lose. Tara loves fishing, but it’s never really been my thing. I may invest in a license and give it a try, though. Fishing from a boat is a completely different experience, plus we’ll have a fish finder…which should help us find the fish. It’s right there in the name! How could it not?!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to say “pilot” a boat rather than driving, but I know about as much as you do other than childhood memories of tooling around our lake property in a leaking row boat for hours trying to catch perch with some old string I found in the bottom of the boat…

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  4. Oh, wow. Boat maintenance in places which get cold is intense. Do you have a marina handy who can alternately summerize and winterize your boat? If you are going to keep the boat in your driveway for the winter, you’ll definitely need to winterize it. (I learned this from family in NH with boats.)

    I’m a kayak person myself. I like the quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re leaning toward finding a place to store it during the winter. Which may or may not (hopefully not) be the garage.

      We’ve talked about getting kayaks, too. They do seem pretty peaceful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’m starting to warm up to this Bachelor’s Chronicles series. If I do pull the trigger, I’m sure there will be much food talk!

      You probably aren’t aware of the food blog I launched in 2013 where Tara and I celebrated every single food holiday for one whole year…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Speaking as someone who lives in Maine, surrounded by boats….
    First – congratulations on your free boat. It will be the last thing that’s ever free about it so please enjoy that while you can.
    Second – if you’ve never piloted a boat, please find someone who has and make them teach you. Docking can be challenging the first few times and knocking someone off said dock because you came in too fast will not go over well.
    Third – I hope boat ownership is all you’ve dreamed of, but if it isn’t? Do what we did and find friends with boats. All of the fun, none of the hassle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have mentioned that Tara has owned boats before and is quite skilled at piloting (is that we decided on? Cool!) them. I’m a-gonna let her do the docking…at least in the beginning!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Mark, you and Tara are going to have SO MUCH FUN on that boat! When my family moved to Florida, the first thing my father did was buy a speed boat (a Bayliner) and we enjoyed it so much. I even learned to water ski!

    LOVE that photo of the cast of Gilligan’s Island! Mr and Mrs Howell were my favorite characters.

    Hope you’re enjoying a faaaaaaabulous weekend, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always fancied myself the Professor because he seemed the most intelligent of the bunch, but then again, for all his brains he couldn’t get them off the island, could he?

      It’s hot here this weekend. I’m ready for winter again, lol. Hope you’re having a good one yourself, Ron!


  7. Lots of “Boaters” I these parts, thanks to Lake Erie. It seems like an expensive hobby, but you do you, Mark!

    You need to do a post on what Tara won’t eat. It sounds fascinating to me because I feel like you guys are really into food? Or maybe it’s just you?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A boat, trailer and a hitch!!!! That’s so awesome! I need to find out what is involved in installing a rack on the roof of my Dad’s car (he’s been dead 9 years but to me it’s still his car) so I can buy myself a kayak.

    I believe one pilot’s a boat. I haven’t read the other comments but I’m sure someone else probably already told you that.

    I will be interested in reading about the boating adventures (please wear life jackets) AND the 8-day bachelor chronicles!!

    Have a safe trip, Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not sure but I think you pilot a boat, not drive it. However you call whatever you do whatever you want to call it. I’m excited for you, actually. Having a boat sounds way cool to me, but no way would I have one around here where the closest body of water is a dirty river. Looking forward to reading about how you and your boat get along.

    Liked by 1 person

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