Mr. Crackers love for boats with oars did not stop when he graduated college. Although he never joined the Atlanta Rowing Club, he often talked about it. So, on one fateful afternoon while driving through the north Georgia mountains, it came as no surprise when Mr. Crackers pulled the car into the parking lot of a canoe and kayak outfitting store. Admittedly though I was a little surprised when we left the store 30 minutes later with our very own (gently used) red canoe strapped to the top of our SUV.
Our friend Karen, who was with us on that fateful afternoon, took this photo when we got home with our new prize. You can see the pride & joy clearly evident on the face of Mr. Crackers can't you? You can tell he was ready for many canoeing (rowing?) adventures in our future.
Thankfully north Georgia was full of lakes and rivers, so Mr. Crackers and I (and our two dogs Max & Sadie) did have many fun times on the canoe. Although I will tell you that I will never again get in a canoe on a lake crowded with jet skis and ski boats on Labor Day weekend. I have never been tossed around so much in my life. I have learned that for me canoeing is best either on placid lake waters or on gently running small rivers.
But once C was born back in 2002, we never got in the canoe again - not even on a placid pond. Thankfully we were smart enough to realize that small active toddlers & canoeing were not a good combination.
So when we moved to Ohio back in 2004, we left the canoe behind in Atlanta with our friend Karen and never gave it a thought again. Or at least that is what I thought, until Mr. Crackers began talking last fall about how fun it would be to go canoeing as a family now that the kids were older. I kind of nodded my head and said uh-huh until I realized how serious he was. He wanted to plan a trip down to Atlanta to retrieve our old canoe from our friend Karen who was ready to finally get it out of her garage after 7 years.
While making our plans to get the canoe my biggest recurring question was always, "Where are we going to store it?" If my memory served me correctly, I remembered that the canoe was pretty large and I knew that our garage has got to be one of the smallest 2 car garages in America. I mean the thing just barely fits our 2 cars inside. In fact I can't even get into Mr. Crackers car if it's parked inside the garage. He has to pull it out in order for me to climb inside the vehicle.
In answer to my question, Mr. Crackers would just smile at me and say, "Don't worry, I've got it all planned out." Since Mr. Crackers is an idea man (as evidenced by his many past projects) I figured he had some plan up his sleeve, so I took his advice & didn't worry about it... for awhile. Until the next time I tried to figure out where the thing would go and I'd ask him the question all over again.
We headed down to Atlanta last week and the trip was really fun. We saw some good friends, had a blast showing the kids around the city we called home for almost a dozen years and after our trip was over, we strapped that canoe back on the car & headed home. After 7 years, we were once again the proud owners of a (gently used) canoe.
Once we got back to Ohio, Mr. Crackers began executing the plan he had hatched in his mind all those months ago. It involved hanging the canoe from the ceiling of the garage. It also involved many, many trips to Home Depot as he revised and then re-revised the plan a few times.
Pulleys, moving straps, heavy ropes, giant hooks, and a big red tarp were just some of the items he used trying to bring his plan into fruition. I tried to cheer him on during the day, reminding him of all his past project successes - but after spending one entire day trying to get his system to work, he shook his head, looked at me & said, "I don't think I'm going to get this to work after all."
Honestly, I was a bit relieved by this news. The longer he worked at it, the more I could picture the canoe breaking free of it's restraints and crashing down on our cars... or even worse on our kids. While I felt bad that he had tried so hard & hadn't gotten his plan to work, I felt like maybe we had dodged a bullet.
We talked briefly about some other options, including storing the canoe on some kind of stand outside the house. Little did I know that the next morning he decided to have another go at the whole garage ceiling system again. After another 2-3 hours of work he called me out the garage again. I thought it was to review a new plan he had, but instead it was to try to help him raise the canoe to the ceiling again. It was at that moment that I decided to air my concerns to Mr. Crackers. You know, the concerns I had about the canoe coming crashing down on our cars....or children.
To Mr. Crackers extreme credit he remained calm as he stared at me somewhat incredulously. "This might have been something that you should have shared with me a little sooner. You know, before I just spent 2 days working on this." he very calmly replied.
He was right. I should have spoken up sooner, but I really wasn't sure what the storage system would involve until he had spent quite a bit of time on it. I was trying to be supportive, cheering him on while all the time worrying about potential canoe disasters (as Mr. Crackers would tell you, I'm somewhat an expert at inventing things to worry about.) And honestly, he had spent so much time on it that I felt really bad telling him the whole thing was giving me some seriously bad juju.
In the end (after I am sure he silently cursed me for about 2-3 hours) he came up with plan B. A plan that seemed much less likely to smash our cars or kill our children if it had some kind of catastrophic failure. To his continued credit he called me out the garage to review the plans with me & make sure I had no lingering doubts about any potenial disasters before he put his plan into action (seriously the man has limitless patience with me sometimes).
And so, without further ado I present to you Mr. Crackers latest brainstorm...the side-of-the-house-canoe-holder (I probably need to come up with a catchier name, but that one works for now):Here's another view of his handiwork.
Ta-da! Not only does it keep the canoe out the of the way, but it has the added benefit of providing our recycling container with a little shelter from the elements.
Thank you Mr. Crackers for your perseverance and your tolerance for your worst-case-scenario-imagining-wife. I love the new "system". And I'm also very happy the canoe is back in our hands again. With all of the non-stop rain and flooding that have been plaguing our part of the country for the past 3 weeks, we'll be getting more use out of that canoe than we ever imagined.