Wednesday 18 November 2020

Me vs The Cell Phone Company

 I'm going to depart for a minute from the sailing, because I just can't let this particular story go. It's still unfolding, but the summary version is that just when you think it can't get any more stupid, it will. 

So our story begins with a telephone offer to switch phone companies. I'd been with the original company for 20 years (and sweet mother of all that is good, does that ever make me sound ancient). The name of the original company is irrelevant for now...we will see how the transition goes, but so far so good. The new company, however, we will call Toolus. I wouldn't want to accidentally identify anybody, so Toolus. 

The Toolus rep called and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Discounts, waived activation fee (which by the way, is the singly bullshittiest of all fees), and a new phone. Cool. I wanted a day to think about it, so she would call me back the next evening? Call one complete, and it was mostly painless.  I was nervous to switch, but as my husband pointed out, brand loyalty was getting me nowhere, so I took the plunge and agreed to move my services over. 

When she called back the following night, we again went over all the details. Discounts on each monthly bill, waived activation fee, new phone. Cool. Let's do it. And then, at the very end of the call, she quickly reiterated what I would see on the first bill which would begin when I received the phone and ported my number over: discount, new phone cost, and the $40 activation fee. The phone would arrive in 4-5 days.

Wait, what?

I *should* have backed out right there. I didn't. Because I was dumb. Instead what I said was "Activation fee??? I could have sworn this was specifically discussed in both this call and the last one as something that would be waived." She backed right up and stumbled over a few calming phrases, clicked away on her keyboard, and then told me that it was taken care of, no activation fee would be applied. Cool. 

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, on day 9 I got my first bill! I still didn't have a phone, but that hadn't stopped them from charging me on a phone plan that I couldn't use. And once I opened up that bill, I noticed a few key things. One, not only had they charged me the activation fee, but it wasn't $40, it was $45; not objectively a huge difference, but given that it wasn't supposed to be there at all, I was...annoyed. They also hadn't applied the discount I was promised, and maybe more concerning was that I'd been billed since Nov 8, and by the 16th I still didn't have the phone, so I shouldn't have been charged at all according to the agreement that I'd made. To say that I was unhappy, wouldn't quite capture the severity of my feelings that day. 

So I looked up the help desk number, which took some time because the website is like a fucking rabbit hole, and in some cases, actually has pictures of rabbits on it. And if you've ever had the chance to experience the absolute joy of calling a Toolus help desk, you'll understand this next part. If not, may you never have to.  

Once I made it through the flurry of voice activated menus, I was kindly informed that the wait time would be upwards of an hour. Did I want them to hold my place in line and call me back at this number? Yes, yes I did! This has to be one of the best/most actually helpful help desk options, and so far, I didn't feel like gnawing off my leg to get out of an ever tightening trap. I was an idiot. 

Two hours later, still no call back. So I used a different phone to call back and leave a different call back number to increase my chances, because why not? Another hour and a half later I finally got a call back on the second number. (I never did get a call back on my original number). Let the games begin. 

The rep, to his credit, was very good, and got the bill sorted out. My phone was probably just stuck in the mail, and it would arrive soon, and all would be well. He even sent me everything in writing, so next time I wouldn't be relying on my quickly fading hope that someone on the other end of the phone had actually written down call notes that supported what I was saying. I was still not happy with Toolus, and it definitely felt like most of what I'd been originally told was utter shit, and the only reason things were still on track was because I'd spent half my day navigating their punishing phone system, but I was cautiously optimistic that maybe the worst was over.

It was not. Not even close. 

The next day my phone finally arrived. Day 10. But that was ok, the stars were aligned and everything was good. I had taken the plunge and upgraded to a nice, purple, iphone 11, because this year has been stupid, and why not. I put in the sim chip, turned it on, and started the process to set up the phone. 

It is at this point, dear readers, that this story falls of a fucking cliff.  Instead of letting me run through all the set up features, the phone popped up and asked me to put in the password for apple id for (obviously it wasn't actually, but in order to protect the innocent, we will leave it at that).

What kind of breathtaking new stupidity was this?

The brand new phone was inexplicably asking me to put in someone else's apple id? Now, I'm not what I would call technologically inclined, but I'm also not a fucking spoon. This was obviously not a new phone, and I was furious. 

Another hour and a half later (and this time it didn't offer to call me back) I made it through the sadistic telephone tree to a real person. Allow me to paraphrase our convo:

Me: Hi, you took my money and said you would send me a new phone. Turns out your company was full of shit and sent me a refurbished phone. Turns out your company is also unfathomably stupid and sent me a poorly refurbished phone.  

Toolus: Oh. Wow. Yeah, that's not ok. 

Me: Thank you. I also know you personally didn't do this, and I do appreciate your help (all things being fair, this guy was awesome)

Toolus: Do you mind holding a moment? (read: I'm going to put you on hold again for 30 mins)

Me: Sure, why not. 

30 mins later

Toolus: Ok, you can return the phone to the nearest store and they can give you a new one!

Me: I promise I don't live anywhere near a store. You mailed me the phone, I feel like it's fair play to let me mail it back.

Toolus: Yeah, we can't do that. *insert here a bizarre and incoherent explanation as to why, that isn't worth the time it would take to write it down*

Me: *taking a deep, tortured breath*  Ok, so let's just lay this out so we're all on the same sent me a phone, took my money, told me it was brand new, and it was not. Not only was it not new, but it's locked to the point that it is the equivalent of a very expensive paper weight. And now, if I would like this situation remedied, I have to drive 400 kms to the nearest store, over the snowy winter roads, to a city where covid is currently taking over, because your company fucked up? Am I close? 

Toolus: Um, yes?

Me: No. No,

Then he said he would go find a manager, and could I hold again.  I feel like at this point I'd listened to the entire loop of awful hold music. Twice. 

Anyway, long story short-ish, he worked it out that I could mail it back and they would send me a new one, you know, so I could try all this again. 

There was one more call after this, just so I could, you know, reiterate the entire saga to another manager who as far as I could tell was an absolute trench goblin, with no personality whatsoever. His only moment of bland failure was when he tried to make small talk for a moment and crashed miserably, accidentally implying to me that patience was a virtue, so maybe I just needed to wait the situation out. And please keep in mind that we were well over 5 hours of help desk time over the span of  a few days, so making light of this complete waste of my time was a teensy bit tone deaf. *sigh*

And after all of the back and forth with reps and management, there was one string that still needed to be pulled. One ray of light in this whole debacle. After all, I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't also email my mystery gmail/apple id contact and let him or her know what a magical voyage the phone had made. I laid out the story for them, probably sounds like a bit of a lunatic, but so be it. It brought me some joy. I'm still waiting to hear back, but I truly hope I get a new pen pal out of the whole thing. 

And so now I'm back to square one, waiting for a new phone, and hoping that the bill will be fixed as promised, so that this rocky start to a new telecommunications adventure can finally become a little more calm. 

Maybe I just need a little more patience?


Saturday 7 November 2020

Me vs The Boat...Part 5 - What sailing *should* look like

Wondering how we got here? (Me too!) 

Check out Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here,  and Part 4 here

So we've made it this far. I feel a bit like I'm drawing out the Twilight series from four shitty books into five atrocious movies.  But that's the world we live in, so off we go. 

Our next sailing adventure came from my husband's uncle, who had recently purchased and was fixing up an 85 foot sailboat. He'd heard about our new acquisition, and probably about our dismal attempts to sail it, and invited us out for a few days of sailing/learning. 

To say this guy was a seasoned sailor is a salty understatement. He's one of those people that look at the water and can tell you how fast the wind is blowing, where it's coming from, and how many seals are currently mating in the general vicinity. He's sailed all over the world, and you can tell he knows his shit. I do not. And this has never been more apparent. 

The boat itself was staggering. You could fit 3 of our boats on it, and probably still have room for a dinghy (or a few of those aforementioned seals?). It was massive. 

We went out a couple of times and learned, then promptly forgot, a bunch of really good sailing information. One thing I've discovered about myself is that when I get into a situation where someone is giving me a lot of really great information, but I also don't really understand what's going on, my brain shuts down after picking up 1-3 specific items. Everything else is gone.  

Learning how not to get your
fingers stuck in the winch

With this in mind I can tell you the following: 1) Don't fall off the boat 2) There is basically no end to the number of ways in which you can fall or be thrown off the deck of a boat, and 3) when you fall out of the boat, don't try to climb into the life ring, just flip it over your head and ideally get pulled back onto the boat. Easy.

I actually did pick up a few more things, but it was easily only a tenth of the information given to us.  There were a lot of boat terms thrown around that I'm pretty sure he thought we knew, but I clearly did not, and at one point we took a video of his uncle splicing a rope, because there was a zero chance we would every remember how to do it on our own. 

Overall, it was a spectacular experience on a beautiful boat, and I'm sure we got at least a little smarter. Oh, and I did learn that even on a big boat I can innately tell when we hit 15 degrees heeled over. His uncle didn't believe me and had to check....but I may be the only thing I've ever really known with any certainty on a boat.

Maybe it was time for us to try again on our own boat, with all of this newfound knowledge. I'd say how bad could it be, but then I've learned that tempting fate on a sailboat is rarely a good idea. 

Join me next time for what I think will probably be the last sailing installment for the season... 

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Me vs The Boat...Part 4 - Maybe this time nothing will go wrong?

Need to catch up? Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here

TL;DR - We had a boat. We'd taken a lesson. We still didn't know shit.  

I had hoped that following an actual lesson, the nightmares about crashing into other boats, having the keel fall off, or being capsized because I couldn't throw my weight around properly would end after some training, but if anything I was even more convinced that we'd made a horrible error. It seemed that everyone I talked to felt that we would end up on the bottom of the lake before we made it to the other side. 

I should also say at this point that my husband in no way agreed with me on any of this. His take on the lesson had been all rose-coloured glasses and rainbows. He was still blissfully unaware of the dangers I was 100% sure were waiting for us. But we still hadn't really had our maiden voyage (unless you counted being 10 feet off the dock, which apparently he didn't) so I grudgingly accepted that we needed to try again. 

This time, at least, we appeared to have learned a little from our previous attempt and tried a different launch ramp that wasn't facing directly into the wind. Progress? This ramp had an easier overall approach, and a place to park and set up the boat that was much more accessible than the last place. But while there were fewer spectators, we did have a some people come out to watch us set up (why though?), and at least one woman took pictures of us and said it was nice to see more sailboats on the lake. I don't think she realized what a complete hazard to navigation we actually were. 

Like the time before, we got into the water fairly smoothly, and because no one sat on the fuel line, the motor worked (at least as well as it ever does). The weather behaved itself, and unlike every other sailor out there, I was ecstatic that there was no more than a breath of wind.

With a bit of effort and surprisingly little swearing, we motored out to the middle of the lake and prepared to raise the sails for the first time. We were entering new territory, which historically hadn't gone well for us on the boat thus far, but the sails went up smoothly, we were heading downwind and.... HOLY SHIT WE WERE SAILING!

The kids still complained about how slow we were compared to the grandparent's power boat, but I was floored as we watched the speedometer climb up to 3.5 knots. And if I was (grudgingly) honest, our big boat was much more forgiving than the tiny nightmare that we'd had out lesson on. I was feeling good. I was feeling relaxed. I was feeling bloody was 38 degrees outside!

To combat the heat we furled the sails and jumped in the lake. This part the kids really liked. We even had the foresight to make sure at least one adult was on board at all times. We may not have been good at the finer points of sailing, but I was not going to let us be those people who's entire group jumped off the boat and then watched the boat sail away without them. Idiots.

Overall, the first half of the day went beautifully. It was calm and relaxed, and basically lulled me into a false sense of security, and the mistaken belief that we were not failing miserably at this endeavor.

<--- see...lulled.

But eventually we had to go back, and going back meant beating into the wind, which had picked up considerably, and brought in some cloud cover, but had not in any way cooled off the day.  

Suddenly the day wasn't quite as relaxing, and every tack heeled us over to at least 15 degrees, and we were flying down the lake at 6.5 knots, which subsequently caused me to panic. Of course I had bury that panic deep down inside to keep as quiet as I could so I didn't scare the kids, which as it turns out, was not enough, because they were below deck and refused to come out. They also didn't like being heeled over.  

Now I know logically that 15 degrees heeled over is perfectly fine in a sail boat. It won't flip the boat. Academically I KNOW this.  But when it's happening it doesn't feel ok. Humans are not supposed to be tilted over by 15 degrees. It turns out I am able to handle 10 degrees, but as soon as we crest over that, I can tell. I don't even need to look. As far as I'm concerned, it absolutely feels like we will capsize and despite all the logic in the world, I panic. It makes sense....I have no real experience sailing, so I worry that I've done something critically wrong and whatever I do next will only make it worse, and I really just need it to stop. Now.  Please.

Let me give you an analogy.  

I don't love flying. Turbulence makes me very uncomfortable but whenever it happens, I watch the flight attendants. They fly all the time, and have probably seen more turbulence in a week than I've experienced in my entire life. So, it's safe to say if they are casually walking the aisles serving drinks, then whatever is happening in the air is fine. Everything is fine. If it gets a little bumpy, and my husband tries to reassure me that we probably won't die, I appreciate it, but let's be honest, he flies about as much as I do. He's not a flight attendant....what does he know? And so I watch the flight attendants. Maybe they put away the drink carts. Ok, that's a bit concerning, but we're probably still fine, they just don't want to accidently cover that passenger with ginger ale. But if they start buckling in and looking worried, you know you're in trouble. Because they know. They've done this a hundred times and can tell you what's normal and what's not.

But my boat doesn't have flight attendants to tell me when things are ok and when shit's about to get real. It has me and my husband, and we're both pretty garbage at the whole thing, so as far as I can tell leaning over at 15 degrees we were pretty definitely going to die.  

So there we were trying to get back up the lake in more wind than I was happy with (although in reality probably a completely reasonable amount). We got pretty good at tacking, heeling over uncomfortably, then letting out the sail enough to pop back up to where we were happy. But this made for incrementally slow progress towards where we wanted to go. By the time we made it to where we could see the dock, we were exhausted. Panic takes a lot out of a person.
And then it started to rain. Perfect. I definitely needed the threat of thunder and lighting to add to my calm.

But the dock was close. It was so close. Fuck, it was too close. 

I knew from past experience on power boats, that you needed to approach the dock very slowly. I cannot emphasize this enough: VERY SLOWLY. Going into the docking process, my plan had been to stand at the bow, and when we got close enough, I would leap off and tie up, while my husband was in the back convincing our surly motor to obey him. Easy. 

What actually happened was that I stood on the bow and watched in horror as we flew towards the dock at alarming speed. Our conversation went pretty much like this:

Me: We're coming in too fast. You need to slow down

Him: I can't make it go any slower. It's already as slow as it will go!


Him: But I don't want to go backwards. 

The dock where we launched was very short (slightly shorter than the boat itself), which subsequently gave us very little room for error on the return approach. I was too far away to jump to the dock and had all but given up on the boat slowing down before we hit bottom. In the end we got very lucky that there was someone on the dock who offered to catch our line and slow us down, because otherwise we would have grounded. This whole scenario felt like it took an eternity, but likely lasted only a moment or two. 

Once we were tied up, I turned around to see if anyone had jumped to the dock to tie up the stern line. Turned out that no, there was no stern line, but my husband was hanging off the stern rails, half in the water. 


I learned afterwards, that in a herculean effort to stop the boat from running aground, he had leaped off the stern and onto the dock with a line, only to be pulled back off the dock and into the water by physics. He managed to grab the stern rails on his way down, and just hung there for a minute until he realized he could just stand up. 

Maiden voyage complete. 

Next, join our heroes for part 5, where a benevolent uncle tries to help these idiots learn the importance of never approaching a dock faster than you are willing to hit it....

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Me vs The Boat....Part 3 - Lessons in how not to sail

If you haven't caught up, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

So just to briefly catch us all up, we got a boat, the motor is kind of shit, we haven't successfully done anything, and we are not at all good at this. 

It was time for some professional help. And by that, what I mean is that we booked a lesson and got handed off to a 16 year old girl working for the summer at a sailing club. This poor thing then got stuck in a boat with two adults, one of whom couldn't go in a straight line if she was tied to it. 

Because we were so late in the season, all the normal learn how to sail group lessons were fully booked and our only option was a private lesson. This was fine with me; it was a 4 hour round trip drive just to get there, so going every Thursday night for 6 weeks just wasn't an option. I thought that that if we just did an intensive solo lesson for a day, we would at least get the basics and maybe make it off the dock next time.

And this was technically true; my husband did pick up the basics. I picked up a new fear of jibing and a bone deep feeling of inadequacy.   

We were put into a tiny 14 foot dinghy, which felt too small for the amount of chop on the lake. Apparently it wasn't though, because just in front of us was a group of 4-7 year old kids who were also learning how to sail. They were going in a straight line. 

Our teenager showed us the ins and outs of making the boat go and then handed the tiller over the my husband. He did a perfectly respectable job of keeping us on course, and I did a perfectly respectable job of remaining calm. Up until we did the first tack. 

For those of you who don't know (and I counted myself as one of those until recently), tacking and jibing are boat words for turning. Boats have a lot of what I think are unnecessarily complicated boat words for things that already have words, but that will need to be a later post. Suffice to say, we turned the boat, which put the wind on the other side of us. The other thing that happens when you tack or jibe, is that the boom swings over, the balance of the boat shifts, and you can heel over. Heeling is another boat word for the boat tipping over and making you feel like you're going to die. 

At this point, the agile 16 year old would leap over all the shit in the bottom of the boat, sit on the opposite edge, and balance us again. She didn't look panicked, so ok, maybe I could deal with this. Don't tip too much, and I'm ok. 

We went back and forth for a while with my husband keeping us firmly under control, so of course it was decided that it was time for me to take over and utterly destroy any feeling of calm or confidence I'd so painstakingly developed. I'd gotten surprisingly good at trimming the sails, and I was feeling ok about it, so it was definitely time to ruin that. 

Going into it, part of me thought that maybe it wouldn't be that bad. I was very wrong. First, I was handed the boat at a point where the wind and chop had picked up quite a bit. Perfect. I was also told almost immediately that we needed to jibe. Ok. We'd done a few tacks, how much different could the jibe be? Turns out it was very different.  

What's also very different is that with a tiller (boat word for shitty steering stick) is that everything is opposite. Want to go left? Push the tiller to the right. Want to go right? Go left.  That day I learned that my spatial orientation skills are absolute shit. I just couldn't coordinate my brain and my hand so we zig zagged all over the place. Then she tells me it's time to jibe. Just push the tiller all the way over to the one side and we'd turn, the boom would swing, and we would be going the other way. Cool. 

What she failed to mention is that you don't push the tiller ALL the way over, very quickly. Nor did she mention that unlike the nice slow tacks, this turn would happen at the speed of an out of control cheetah. And finally, she definitely neglected to say that when these things all combine together, you need to gracefully leap over to the other side of the boat to shift the weight so you don't dip the fucking edge of the boat in the water. 

All of these things happened in rapid succession.

We began our jibe very...aggressively. The boat heeled way over, and then spun in very tight circles repeatedly, because rather than gently pushing us into the turn, I thrust us into it like a motivated gym rat, and held it there. My brain could not respond fast enough to that whole "go the opposite way you think you should" thing, so I just held the tiller where it was and hoped for the best.  Then instead of gracefully leaping to the other side of the boat to correct any of this, I flung my body to the other side, and smoked my knee into the tiller in the process. 

I should mention at this point, that while doing all this, I was definitely not supposed to let go of the tiller or the head sail rope that I was also holding. 

I most definitely did let go of everything. This did not help.

Somehow, and I'm not sure how because my full concentration was on not screaming out loud in front of the teenage instructor, she got us back on track and sorted out. She even gave me back the tiller despite my protests, but didn't make the obviously critical error of leaving me alone to my own devices again. 

We finished off the lesson, during which I tried very hard to internalize my terror screaming so as not to make a scene every time the boat heeled over even slightly.  I think I succeeded more or less. At the end, my husband executed a perfect J-turn into the dock, while I just tried not to fall while exiting the boat, because that was about all I could handle at that point. 

I was still pretty sure we'd made a terrible error and should probably sell the boat. 

Also, there are no pictures in the episode, because frankly I had other things to worry about than instagraming the shit out of my day. Like not falling out of the boat, which I didn't do, and consider the main win of the day.

Join me for Part 4 where we try again a few weeks later because I needed some time for my adrenaline levels to return to normal.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Me vs The Boat....Part 2 - So far this is not going well

***I'm just going to apologize right now for the formatting errors around the pictures. I can't explain what is going on, why it's happening, or how to fix it, so know that I know, and it's not just shitty editing on my part. Sorry. 

If you haven't already done so, please feel free to check out Part 1 here

When we last saw our heroes, they were staring off into the sunset from the deck of their boat...which was still parked in the driveway, because that's as far as we'd gotten. But we had a boat!

And it was at about this moment that I was hit by an overwhelming tidal wave of anxiety. Somehow, it hadn’t really occurred to me until now that the “sailing experience” my husband claimed to have came from a trip when he was a pre-teen and reading books about how to sail. And my own experience made him look like a salt-weathered captain chasing a mythical white whale, as I’d only ever been on a sailboat twice, for a grand total of about 6 hours if I generously combined the two. What kind of incredible error in judgement had we made?   

But before I really get into the actual sailing bit, I feel like I need to address a bizarre phenomenon that I encountered during our initial boat acquisition process. Whenever I talked to people about buying a boat, I would get one of two reactions: Wow, that sounds amazing, you’ll have so much fun! OR Hmm, you know sailing is expensive and totally dangerous.  You’ll probably flip your boat, and die in the icy cold waters of I-told-you-so. And by the way, have you watched *Adrift (*or some other sailing disaster movie)? You should watch'll never want to sail again!  (<--- What the actual fuck?)

Unfailingly, it was one of these two reactions.  And in answer to the question of whether or not I’ve pulled out the popcorn to watch a movie where people make incredible, and frequently avoidable, errors in judgement while not respecting the ocean’s power: No. No I have not. 

It's like asking someone who's about to take their first flight if they've recently watched Alive, and do they intend to become a cannibal if the opportunity presents itself?  Or maybe we can ask if the person climbing onto the bus has had the pleasure of watching Speed? Are you aware that by getting onto a bus you run the risk that terrorists have rigged a bomb onto it that requires a minimum velocity to avoid exploding?!? You didn't? Well, you should be more careful!

But I don't do that, because that is a fucked up thing to do. 

I digress. 

So back to sitting on dry land in a boat. 

Because our maiden voyage was delayed by a week due to the motor's stubborn refusal to work, I decided to take some time to clean and repaint the inside of the boat. As much as 70's-chic faux wood speaks to me, I wanted to lighten things up. 

For anyone that hasn't painted in a confined space, it sucks. So, so hard. Our boat, while it technically has a below deck area, does not have a below deck area I can stand up in. So I spent hours contorted into unhealthy positions to make brown "wood" a nice blue tinted white. It's much brighter and happy inside, although I'm still stuck with the plaid cushions, because frankly I'm cheap, and they are very expensive to replace.

I'd add pictures of the new paint job, but it's
honestly such a mess in there right now that it would 
just look worse.

Eventually, the motor ran, the paint dried, my anxiety was high, I was regularly having nightmares about crashing into things..... we were ready to go. 

We thought we were smart and scoped out our first launching ramp ahead of time. In theory, this was smart, but we'd neglected to account for the fact that the ramp was at the far end of the lake and the wind usually blew directly into it. If we'd known what we were doing (and we did not), we would have recognized that launching directly upwind was not ideal. Instead, we did not recognize this until we were past the point where it could be helped. 

We got the mast stepped and the boat in the water with what I would consider to be minimal embarrassment.  As is the case at most launching ramps we had an audience, and my husband, who is extremely adept at backing up trailers, made it look like (at least initially) we knew what we were doing (again, this was not true at all).  The boat was in the water and floating. Step one, check!

We started the motor and got ready to shove off. We could do this! And then the motor died. We can't do this!  A minute later we had it going again after I pointed out to my husband that no only was he extremely good at backing up trailers, but he was also very good at cutting off the flow of gas to the motor while sitting on the main fuel line. We could do this again!

Now, I'm not really sure how to convey to you as the reader how poorly this next part went. I wish I had it on video so one day I could show it to people as an example of what not to do, but I'm also pretty sure that if I searched "idiots on a boat" on YouTube I could probably find a clip from one of the beach bound audience members. A friend of mine said that she wished there was a "new driver" sign for boats that could could be put up when learning to sail.....just give us some space and don't make too much fun of us....we're trying really hard here. I think this is a great idea. Basically, please don't assume that I have any real skills yet, I'm just trying not to hit things. 

Which is about all I can say we really succeeded at that day. We didn't hit anything, and it's a fucking miracle we didn't.  It's also about the only thing we can really claim went the way it was supposed to that day. We didn't cause any property damage. Go team.

This picture shows a happier time, 
when we were still attached to the
dock and believed this would go well.

After pushing off the dock, we careened out into the narrow channel lined with boats that were much more expensive than ours on one side, and a dock that also looked pretty pricey on the other. We got about 10 feet from the dock and realized that we had basically no control at all. The motor, which was (and still is) finicky at best, would occasionally just shut off, leaving us adrift. However, even when it was on, we had very little steering capability because as we learned very quickly, the mechanism to lock the motor down in the water was gone? broken? somewhere? Honestly it didn't soon as we tried to reverse, the motor would kick out of the water and we couldn't steer out into the lake if our lives depended on it.  

I spent the next 10 minutes (eternity) standing on the bow screaming to either go forward to avoid hitting the boat near our stern, or to go backwards to avoid crashing into the very expensive looking private dock at our bow. This was all while getting hit broadside by the wind, because the only thing we'd managed to successfully do was get ourselves positioned perpendicular to the dock, which to be fair, was never our goal. Then we just ping ponged back and forth for a while, trying to get pointed in the right direction, all while attracting an audience, which is always very helpful in a stressful situation.  

My 7 year old was huddled below deck in the fetal position with a bag of chips just waiting for it all to be over. I'm shocked we ever got him back on the boat honestly.

After a lot of yelling, divorce talks, and a briefly considered plan to jump ship, swim to shore and just walk away, I managed to hop back onto the dock and pull the boat back in manually. And yes, for reference, that's how far we made it on day one: I could jump back onto the dock from the deck of the boat. 

With some help from a kind stranger who didn't even make too much fun of us, we figured out why the motor didn't lock down (a problem that was humiliatingly easy to fix once we read the instruction manual) and got the boat back on the trailer. I was more or less ready to sell the boat by the end of the day.

On the way home I unilaterally decided that we were not stepping foot on our boat again without taking lessons. But that in itself is a saga best left for another day. 

See you all for Part 3 where we learn about sailing lessons and how bad I really am at spatial orientation.