Stitch leaves again today. They're packing up now, heading back out, back up North. I'm sending Stitch back fully cleaned and laundered, knowing he'll come back sandy and bugbitten again. But the next time he comes back, it will be for good.
We went to the Rink again, one last time. Everyone was there. I got hijacked into the Adult Freestyle group, where I got schooled on exactly what I was doing wrong in my crossover attempts. It was pretty simple; I wasn't moving. So, just like the kids, I got my own little circle drawn out for me and I moved. I moved for an hour, stopping when my lower body just said "enough." Coach (not Stitch's) tried to get me to hold my feet together in the crossover, but I need more time. I think I did okay for a first night, and there's lots of ice today.
I went back into the small rink and found Stitch. He hadn't even realized I was gone. I hugged him and said, "Stitch, those things are hard. I promise I won't fuss at you again."
"Mom, what are you talking about?" he looked at me like I was insane and went back out to play with his friends.
I went out and showed Rink Pal my wobbly attempts, and Other Kid comes zipping up to investigate. "Oh, but you need to do Advanced Crossovers," he shows me the move that Coach was trying to get me to do. The one I can almost get.
I got down on one knee and took Other Kid by both shoulders and looked him straight in the eye. "Kid, I'm thirty four. It's my first real attempt. This is as good as it gets for now."
He blinked. "Oh, well, then you're doing really good!"
Stitch was playing with the girls, skating around with Other Kid, I was in and out of the lobby with Lady Cluck, making new plans for a Two Man version of Winter Show featuring The Nut and The Cracker which would only run ten minutes and we'd have an open bar in the lobby. Whenever I'd linger too long in the Lobby, Rink Pal would come out and fuss at me. I think he enjoyed that.
Stitch had to be dragged off the ice. I had to help Rink Pal pull him off the door. He didn't want to leave, and I didn't either. Fall isn't far off, right? I left a note for Coach, with pictures from July and requests for thoughts on sewing patterns. I forgot to ask about whether or not I should register Stitch for the "Saturday Package" deal. It's a screaming bargain, but it means putting him in someone else's hands, someone I worry about. I think I'm going to have to be a pain and call.
When I got home I got a ping from the Facebook Group from the Summer Camp. Someone was posting pictures from one of my favorite sites. I remembered the Tip Test, and abject terror.
It's actually hard to capsize a canoe on calm water. You have to literally rock the boat as hard as you can on a count of three, holding onto the gunwales and then pull the damn thing over your head. My partner and I failed on our first attempt. We managed to tip the boat, but I hit my head which was scary as all hell as I descended into dark water, and CS got a jellyfish down the front of her swimsuit. So as I was fighting to come out from under the boat and not panic with a blow to the head, CS was screaming in pain and trying to wrangle a pile of goo out her top. We abandoned the boat and swam for shore, rubbing sand on the jellyfish sting and I got an ice pack.
But we had to try again. Four false starts. One, *rock* Two *rock*, Three, *no*. Finally the counselor yelled at us to stop wasting time and do it. CS and I looked at each other, I closed my eyes and said, "Okay."
"Okay," CS said back.
Eyes closed, One *rock,* Two *rock,* Three *down.* I got my head away from the gunwale quick enough to not get hit. I came out from under the boat and CS was already moving us to the other "rescue" boat nearby. The Tip Test is followed by Canoe-over-Canoe rescue, a move in which the capsized canoe, still upside down, gets hefted over a second canoe to empty it, turned over, and slid back into the water. The swimmers then have to get back into their boat from the water. Yes, CS and I had to pick up a boat while treading water. Water full of jellyfish that like to come up and enjoy the sun.
We got it done, though. Boat up, over, flip and back in. I let CS get in first, holding onto the opposite side while she dragged herself in. And then she leaned way over so I could get in. The Rescue Canoe gave us back our paddles and that was it. Test passed, and we had big strawberry bruises to go with our patches.
Please don't ask why we didn't just go to shore and empty the capsized canoe. We asked that same question, along with, "Why tie a sheepshank to shorten a rope? Why not just cut it? Or tie down the excess?" That's not the point. The point is to do the task at hand.
So, I'll practice some more tonight. Stitch will get back in late August, and maybe by then I'll have that side by side foot thing going on. I told him this, and he promptly asked, "Sure, but can you jump?"
"No. But I may be just stupid enough to try."
My head was hurting.