The Canoe Factor

This is David and me. I am the one on the left.
This is David and me. I am the one on the left.

The last time I was upset with my boyfriend David, I bought a canoe.

Here’s a bit of what the timeline looked like:

Surfed Internet as source of self-soothing, aka stimming.

Craigslist further assists in stimming pursuit. (a public forum with job openings, miscellaneous stuff for sale, discussion forums, etc.)

Found photo of awesome canoe—in great shape and looks clean!

Heart speeds up. It’s such a good deal and a rare find!

Emailed random guy at midnight I wanted canoe.

Found out I was the first to inquire.


Texted in morning to figure out how to transport said canoe.

Random man reassured me it’s easy for one person to load and he does it all the time, and so do his friends, and cousins, and what-have-you.

Panicked over expense, storing the contraption, transporting contraption and so forth.

Post photo of soon to be MY canoe on social network.

Feeling like a ‘normal’ person—carefree, adventurous, daring, totally cool!

Wonder if it’s a lie to post a photo so soon?

Go to bank and get envelope of cash.

Confirmation text from random seller guy informing me there are three other backup buyers, if I change my mind.

Feeling like this is a good deal for certain!

Feeling cool with wads of green stuff.

Drive on to meet random guy in home improvement store parking lot. (Dragged my middle son Joe with me.)

Listened to Joe explain about psycho-killers.

Panicked trying to locate store.

Sized up random seller guy and evaluated potential threat.

He passes inquisition, after mentioning friends and wife, and so forth.

Random man reassured me again that the canoe (that is sticking out of the covered bed of his old truck) is easy to transport: nothing to it!

There’s no way I am transporting this on my van.

Random guy follows son and I home.

Joe not too happy about this.

I text former husband so he knows our exact location.

Random man slides canoe onto my driveway and departs.

Joe and I relieved he wasn’t a psycho killer.

I stare at canoe.


I research the cost of a trailer and a hitch for my mini-van and conclude after hours that one thousand dollars to haul a canoe a few times a year is likely not a wise investment.

Fourteen days of obsessing: How shall I transport canoe? What is the best means? What have I done? How might I have spent the cash another way?

Send panicky texts (repeatedly) to former husband (similar to the time I bought the recumbent bike).

Research my van’s cargo weight capacity.

Watch a dozen of YouTubes on how to secure canoe.

Send YouTubes to former husband.


Text random strangers.

Kind random man (I found on Craigslist sporting good section) calls me to explain the best way to transport canoe.

Left more confused.

Kind random woman (I found on a blog site) private messages me to explain that indeed her mini-van (which is just like mine) can hold two canoes, albeit a bit smaller ones.

Kind former husband (I found years ago with personal advertisement) offers to go to store to help me find attachments to harness canoe.

Go to store and buy attachments. Grab extra life jacket while I am at it because I will not wear the (perfectly fine and clean) army green jackets that came with the canoe.

Accept that my former husband (let’s call him Mike) doesn’t want to practice strapping the canoe on.

Panic for a few days about if I will ever use the canoe taking up a large space in my garage.

Notice while driving I can hear the whistling of the new canoe attachment pieces atop my van.

Turn up radio to avoid noise.

Wait patiently for the weekend.

Saturday comes and I am preparing to load up the canoe in high-heat with Mike, our youngest son (Robert) and me.

Feeling proud. Or trying to feel proud.

We decide on an action plan of the best way to heave canoe atop van.

I freak out (aloud).

I lift the back end. Oh, Mother of God, it’s heavy.

I ignore pain.

It takes forever to wrap and strap the canoe.

I am wondering if I should buy a truck.

Youngest son keeps complaining about the heat.

I am fervently watching Mike strap, toss and tie, so the next time I can do this by myself.

Fighting voices in my head about dyslexia and dysgraphia and low tolerance to heat.

Finally in the van.

Wondering if the canoe will fly off onto the freeway.

Fighting rumbling panic.

Finally at the local lake.

Lovely day.

Freak out (aloud) as we slide this monstrosity off the backside of the van.

Swearing as we carry this thing down to the waterfront.

Terrified as I slip on the rocks and try to balance while stepping inside the canoe.

Some random senior citizen in a chair, apparently watching everyone as they load their floating devices into lake, warns us of giant rock.

Loving the smell of my new life jacket.

Finally sitting in the dang canoe.

Thankful for the backrest.

Oh, it’s so beautiful. This is so worth the money and effort. Followed by analysis and breakdown of money per joy ratio.

Jealous of all the lakefront homeowners easy access to their canoes, as the contraptions just sway there (mocking me) contently attached to the docks.

Analyzing how the lake transforms through the seasons, cost of each home, each home’s upkeep, and the noise factor of jet skis.

Having moments of elation of having survived the canoe ordeal.

Mike used to be a rower and knows a thing or two.

I learn something.

Feeling proud.

Steering us all on my own!

And then feeling sick—motion sickness!

Oh shit.

Make it back and had an okay time at it.

Dreading the loading of canoe.

Random stranger comes and helps the three of us, as we can’t seem to lift the canoe back atop the van.

Embarrassed, I pull my hat over my head to hide by red ears.

Cursing random used-canoe selling man.

Wishing I had a speedboat on a trailer.

Back in van with uncomfortable wet butt.

At home unload canoe (ouch) and place back in garage.

Panic over how hard it would be to resell the thing.

Realize if there is ever a flood we have a means of transportation.

Analyze how many of us could feasibly fit in canoe with emergency supplies and who would be in the floating inner tube behind us when catastrophe hit.

Unable to move arms for a week from rowing.


ER trip for pulled muscle and sciatica pain.

A giant hemorrhoid.

Followed by relapse of a chronic health condition that leads to IV treatments in hospital.

Wherein doctor has wrongly listed the acronym of my syndrome and has accidentally identified me as someone dying who needs chemotherapy.


Situation clarified.

Thinking I can use the new pink life jacket and just rent a kayak next time.

Dave in canoe. Not wanting his photo taken. His says he needs a haircut first.
Dave in canoe. Not wanting his photo taken. I don’t care.

About Sam Link

2 thoughts on “The Canoe Factor

  1. Oh Sam, I am so sorry to hear that your canoe caused you so much stress and anxiety! Especially since this Aspie had the exact opposite experience–canoeing became one of my special interests about 15 years ago. My stress and anxiety was caused by people (including my husband) complaining that I was away on canoe trips too much!

    If you ever get to Iowa, I’d love to take you and Dave on a paddling trip. A short, gentle, easy float on a day with perfect weather, with yours truly taking care of all the pain-in-the-butt (pardon the expression) stuff.

    Just discovered your blog(s) and am very much enjoying your writings!


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