This story is not about our trip but just a story, because I like to tell stories.
So as you know I have RA, aka, Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA can be painful and definitely limiting, but it has never taken away my drive to be independent. Chip often gets frustrated at me for not asking for help. Just last night I was trying to put an air vent filter up on a shelf, that was obviously out of my reach, but I was bound and determined to do it myself. I could sense someone standing behind me and knew it was Chip waiting for me to give up. Which seems ridiculous because I rarely do. I started laughing before I even turned around because I knew he was there. When I turned, there he was holding his phone out videoing me. I told him to go away and went back to my task at hand, which this time I did get it in place. He, of course, missed that on the video. It truly does drive him absolutely crazy that I just don’t ask him to do things for me.
We love anything to do with the water and Chip and Bailey had kayaks but I never had one. Now don’t feel sorry for me because that is where the Princess comes in. Chip bought this really nice kayak/canoe combo thing, he calls it a battleship. I think technically it is called a nucanoe. It is made for two people, and it is very comfortable. We have taken it to the coast, river and lake. We, meaning Chip, but I am always tagging along, the Princess. I gave myself that title when I rode at the front of the nucanoe never doing anything but riding, like a Princess. He did let me paddle once, in the beginning. Though I had canoed many years ago, and I am talking many, like in girl scouts at Camp Shawnee in the early 80’s. But anyway he told me how to paddle, as if I didn’t know how, but I think he was more concerned that he wanted me to paddle in sync with him. I really did try, but my timing seemed to be off and after hitting his paddle more than once, he told me to just enjoy the ride. I offered to help paddle many times after that, but he always told me no he had it. At first, I thought he was afraid I would hurt myself, or at least flare a joint up, so he always did it himself, with me the Princess setting up front. But I really think he knew I would never get my timing down with his and gave up on me.
Princess Kathy in the Battleship
Fast forward, wherever we went Bailey always had her kayak with us, and she seemed to be able to just take off and fly around the lake. Chip said it was because ours was big and heavy like a battleship and hers was low to the water, light weight and could go faster. Well, I wanted to kayak on my own but never had the chance as Chip was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. And honestly there was a part of me that thought the same, so I just enjoyed being along for the ride with a small part of me longing to do it on my own.
On a recent camping trip to Lake Reidsville, I finally got the chance. Chip and Chip, yes two Chips, go figure, had gone out on the nucanoe fishing, so I took Bailey’s kayak and tried it for myself. I was so proud of myself. Not only was it fun but I honestly had no pain later in my shoulders or wrist, which I usually do when I have over done it. So that is when it began, my love for kayaking.
Since then, I was able to try out my skill on the river, well not a rip-roaring river, which honestly I think I would rather be a princess on, but the Smith River which was just perfect for me. I love tubing, and when I say love tubing, I truly do but on the last 3 tubing trips I have gone on I had severe leg cramps and thank goodness my King Chip was riding along in his nucanoe and rescued me. Every time there would be a tubing trip, Chip would shake his head and ask “why?” and he would remind me of the outcome of all previous trips. I would assure him, not this time, I ate bananas and I would be okay, but unfortunately on my last time in a tube, it was one of the worst ever and my cramps brought me to tears as it took several people to get me out of the water and into Chip’s boat. Even then I had to stand flat, while two dear friends, Pam and cousin John, he is not really a cousin, but we have made him an honorary one, rubbed my legs and I drank Gatorade courtesy of a real cousin, Joe. I decided then my tubing days may be over. I say, “maybe” because I am not giving up hope. But on the next tubing trip I was excited to try out my skills on the river. It was so much fun and I was hooked. I was able to ride along beside of the “tubers” and talk as well as ride along a fellow kayaker, Kristin.
There was only one downfall of kayaking for me. Well, you see when you have RA it has to play a part in everything, no matter how hard you try to be normal and it unfortunately has given me bent bony fingers.
I have this small sore that started as a terrible blister from my river kayaking trip. It is the way I hold my paddle and though I have tried other ways to hold it, I just don’t feel as comfortable as I do holding it “the way I hold it”. Chip said I may have to get gloves, but I definitely think I will resist that. It would definitely draw attention to my hands if I had to kayak in gloves, and I am not talking about while I am kayaking but later when I have brown arms and white hands. I tan super easy so it would definitely be obvious even after an hour on the water. Back to the blister. This blister has never healed, and that was well over 5 weeks ago. It looked terrible at one time and with my job in health care I had to keep it covered and I can assure you there was no band aid that lasted on a knuckle and not just a knuckle but that particular knuckle is where I pull my pants up and down and the band-aid inevitably would get pulled loose. There is nothing worse than a band aid that won’t stay stuck on one end. The sore is better and I can at least go without a flapping lose band-aid.
My friend Sarah recently told me when I talk, I am like a lazy Susan, I always have spin off stories. So to get back on the topic, after falling in love with being in a kayak on my own, I had a task which was to find my own kayak. I thought I really wanted to get one with feet paddles, and some day I still may, but not unless I catch one that is a really good bargain. They cost way too much. But it would be perfect because if my shoulder hurt I could use my legs to paddle, plus it would be a wonderful exercise. But anyway, I could not find the perfect one for me. It needed to be just like Bailey’s as her is the perfect length and just “fits me.”
We recently went to Greensboro shopping and of course as usual had to check out kayaks at one of the hunting stores Chip loves. The store had a nice selection of kayaks, nice ones too, but there were none that “fit me.” So I came up with a brilliant idea. I told Bailey I could have her kayak, and she could get her a new one. Well didn’t that just work out perfect when she admitted she never liked her kayak anyway. Now was she just saying that to make me feel better because she knew I really wanted hers or did she say that because she really wanted a new one. Either way it doesn’t matter because in the end she got a new kayak and better, yet I got hers. I told her it could be her Christmas. She said,”now wait a minute, let me see if I understand this correctly. You took my kayak and told me I could get a new one and now it is my Christmas?” Well, I thought it seemed like a good idea, that way I wouldn’t have to spend money at Christmas. I am always trying to save a buck.
Today, she got to try it out, as we had to go to the lake to work on something and the new kayak got to go too. It wasn’t even her idea. Her dad was the one who was excited about trying it out and couldn’t wait until spring. It appears they both like how it handled, the stability of it and all those other things I heard them talking about. I am not sure how important those things are, it floated and I got my own kayak, what else could be more important.
So we are all set for the spring and a kayak trip. I have this sneaky feeling though Chip will be on the look out for him a smaller kayak too, since he doesn’t have to paddle the Princess around.
Wonderful story. I like the “Lazy Susan” comparison. Glad we have shared in the fun this summer. -Pam.