Monday, September 3, 2007

Sailing race scuttlebutt, and a poo on the back stoop

"Who could have come and shat on our back step while I had my back turned?"

This was the first thought that occurred to my husband after he discovered a small human poo sitting on the second step up on our back porch. After some quick deductions, the culprit was ousted. Second Son, aka Fang! The fact that he was naked at the time was a big clue. Both boys were running nude and wild in the sprinkler after being released from an almost six-hour car ride back from Lake Placid, and could hardly be blamed for delighting in the freedom of poo au naturel. His selection of the step seemed an ominous choice, as I am always fearful of his scatalogical humor, but I expect it just popped out willy-nilly as he crawled up the steps. "Oooh, goodness," I suppose he thought, and then went on his merry naked way.

I was in a sailing race up in Lake Placid, the 37th annual Clamato Regatta (aka the Annual Lake Placid Invitational), in which Sunfish sail under the maxim "Perfecting the art of drunken sailing." Back in '98, my beloved sailing partner and I came in second during a fierce wind, narrowly beaten after the third buoy at which we were most cruelly fouled. We didn't want to win in a protest, so we nursed our ambition and have tried to regain the title every year since (with the exception of a couple years when I was fat with child).

This year's race was a series of misadventures from start to finish. While raising the sail, knee-deep in rocky muck, I yanked the mast out of its socket and it fell smack onto the deck of the Sunfish, narrowly missing my friend's head. In a stealth move, we tried to slither up the shore (me towing the boat) before the starting gun, so we'd be in prime position to cross the starting line. But the wind caught the sail and we almost careened into a nearby dock, whereupon two old biddies leaped out, shrieking in a panic. "You're hooked on the ladder!" one of them yowled. "Let go of your mainsail!" the other screamed. So frenzied and panicked were they that we shoved off from their dock, right in the wrong direction to begin the race. "Save the drama for your mama!" I snarked at the oldest bat--an amusing choice of verbiage considering she was around 89 years old.

Gearing up to begin the race, I crawled up to the bow to assess the situation (which was grim--almosy every boat was now ahead of us). As I crouched there, the rigging came undone and the boom fell and thwacked me on the head. I swore I had tied it properly! By the time the starting cannon went off, we were in about as pitiful a position as possible. I managed to raise the sail, but boats were already streaming toward the first buoy. And, we were stuck in irons.

Very depressed and angry and deep into a bottle of Nuclear "Clamato" Bloody Mary, we chased the pack without any success. We tried to keep our spirits up by announcing our boat number as we rounded each buoy; none was there to hear it but the still and silent trees. (It is called Lake Placid for a reason.) By the time we got to the third buoy we were in a pack of about 5 losers who couldn't seem to manage to round it. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew from the heavens! We came about...and immediately flipped and dumped into the water. We both fell into the drink along with the bottle of Clamato (it was rescued). And I was wearing my new Lilly Pulitzer shorts! Freezing and wet, we righted her and continued the race--but this time in much higher spirits. So lame was our plight now that only humor was an option. Our laughter echoed around the lake. Sunburnt and awash with Bloody Marys, we finally crossed the finish line with a handful of vessels behind us. The glorious etched plates, that were the prizes, were now out of our reach, but our dignity was almost intact.

Until, diving into a boathouse to change into warm clothes, shivering and nearly insensible with cold, I chose an innocuous spot in a corner in which to strip down to my nothings--revealing a bare, white butt for all the party to view, framed by the clear glass window that I had failed to notice behind me.

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