Tuesday, June 22, 2010

F-U Grim Reaper or This is the post where I almost die!

I try not to curse on the blog because my mom, mother -in-law and several good friends read it so I try not to offend and be good. I am usually good about not being a potty mouth but this is not one of those times so WARNING this post contains graphic language.

This weekend started out pretty good. On Saturday, we gardened and I got a great bounty from the garden. Later we did our usual stuff like go to the dump and then the grocery store. The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house because we were having guests on Sunday. I am all about having a clean house when guests come. So we cleaned the whole house and it was spotless. We did tons of laundry and Tom did the windows. For dinner, I made a fresh squash casserole and baked chicken. The meal was superb! Overall Saturday was great.

Sunday began early because our guests were coming in the morning. So we ate breakfast and did a little more work outside (well Tom did, I just walked around looking at the yard but even that is a miracle). Then we relaxed until our guests showed up. Our guests were Tom's good friend Mark and one of Mark's friends, Sean.

A little background on Mark. Tom and Mark met doing a show called Bogart in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Tom was the stage manager and Mark was the production manager. They have been friends ever since, probably over 25 years. I will be honest, Mark is crazy. But good crazy not like insane crazy. I guess the best way to describe Mark is that he lives life to the fullest, the very fullest. Nothing stops him and he does his own thing. I don't think I have ever met someone who just has so much fun.

And although he is a little out there, he is also very charming and just an overall nice guy. I remember he found out I loved Stevie Nicks and one day, out of the blue, I received a Stevie crew t-shirt in the mail from Mark. He also sends me birthday cards. It's those kinds of things that make you love Mark although he can also be a bad influence as was the case on Sunday.

He actually came to our house because he drove down south from Pittsburgh alone on his motorcycle. He ended up in Robbinsville, NC about an hour west of here visiting other friends. That is after many other stops around the East Coast. His friend Sean flew down to NC from PA to meet him. Sean is a hardcore fisherman and he came down to fish for a couple of days. Since one of the best fly fishing rivers is across the road from our house, Sean was in hog heaven.

They showed up a little late and after a little small talk and a few beers, they wanted to go fishing. Now I like fishing but I have never tried fly fishing so I thought it better to stay and hang out in the house that has air conditioning. Yes folks, that's how I roll. Anyone who knows me also knows I HATE the outdoors. So they went fishing and I stayed in the house tweeting, facebooking and watching movies. They stayed out for a few hours. I actually wanted them to stay out longer since the next part of the visit involved us going down to a river rafting place and going floating.

Okay folks, I heard floating. So I figured, cool get in a boat and float down the river, easy peasy lemon squeezy. I really didn't want to go but Mark is one of those people who convinces you to do stuff you don't want to without you knowing it. Sean and Tom were also very convincing so I was like fine, how bad could it be, right? So against my better judgment, I went.

The river rafting place is like a few miles down the river in Dillsboro. We arrived, signed up and then I started freaking out. I think it was when the outfitter guy was telling us about the rapids and how to navigate them. Rapids? I was like, as Whitney Houston would say: Hell to the no, bitch. But you see it was too damn freaking late to back out. Sean had already strapped a smelly life jacket around me and the boats were in the water. I was once again convinced against my better judgement to go on the adventure. Little did I know the journey would become a journey through hell and that my life would be hanging in the balance that fretful Sunday afternoon.

See, back when I had the smelly musty B.O. smelling life jacket strapped to me and saw this teeny tiny rubber boat, is when I should have ran screaming toward the car and driven back home, put on my jammies and watched a bad horror film, but NO I was stupid and stayed.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: I have to stop here and say that I have never ever ever been rafting or kayaking in my whole freaking life. NEVER! So I was clueless and, worse yet, ill prepared to get in the boat. But like an idiot, I got in. END OF MESSAGE

Okay, I climbed into the boat and it was fine. The first part of the ride started out slow. I tried to remember all the tips I was given by the kid at the outfitter's shop. Of course, the lesson was all of freaking 2 minutes so it wasn't very good. At this moment, I couldn't remember crap. Plus, I had no clue how to paddle. I could hear Sean talking about how to back paddle and other stuff but I kept thinking that sooner or later this calm water was going to turn into a churning mass of liquid where I could die.

So here we are floating down the river and it was quite beautiful, on calm water. There were also places that you looked around and could hear the banjoes from Deliverance playing but oh well. Then after a very short while, I heard the rapids. Now according to the kid who gave us a "lesson", I was to find the V shape in the rocks, keep the boat straight and cruise right on down. It would be easy, he said. Well, that shit didn't happen. What they fail to tell you in the 2 minute "instruction" is that you need to know how to paddle and actually have the power to paddle to navigate through a tiny opening or your fat ass will get caught in the rocks and you might die. I didn't hear that from the guy at the outfitters.

So suffice it to say, my fat ass got caught up in the rocks. I tried to keep the boat straight. I tried to paddle but when your whole experience of "floating" down a river is at Disney's Blizzard Beach Lazy River and the only obstacles are little kids on inner tubes that can be easily kicked out of the way, it won't help you in real life. Disney is not a good learning ground.

So let's talk about getting caught up in the rocks. Apparently, if you get caught you are to rock back and forth and try to get loose from said rocks. You can also use your paddle and pray to Baby Jesus but all that didn't help one freaking bit. I must have got caught in the rocks like 4 freaking times. Luckily, Tom, Sean or Mark would come by and push me or pull me and I would rock back and forth and try to get loose. There were at least two times, I actually had to get out of the boat on the rocks to get loose!!!!! It was freaking frightening!

One time I got really jammed up because lets face it people, I had no freaking idea what I was doing. At this time Sean and Mark had gone on ahead and it was Tom who had to try and get me loose. I was jammed pretty good and I couldn't move so I started crying. Yes, call me a big fat whiny baby but don't judge people, don't judge. I cried because I was fed the hell up with this bullshit. I couldn't take it anymore and we weren't even halfway down the River of Hell and I knew that. Now it totally freaks Tom out when I cry but I tell him not to freak out because sometimes I just need to have a good cry. So I cried. I wanted to jump out of the boat and walk home but that was NOT an option. So after a few minutes of crying like a little girl, I wiped the tears away, put on my big girls panties on, and rocked and pushed until I got loose from those evil rocks from hell. After that, someone was always behind me in case I got caught again. Tom didn't want the tears to flow again.

I was fine until more rapids came and I would be petrified all over again. I wanted to cry and curl up in a fetal position and think about pixie dust, fairies and rainbow unicorns but that shit wasn't going to happen because I knew the only way to survive this hell was to keep going down the river. I had to reach the bridge where we would be picked up or I was going to die on the Tuck. So once again, I sucked it up, prayed to river gods and kept going.

I kept following Sean or Mark and watching what they did. Of course, they are reckless thrill seekers so that didn't help me one bit. Then it didn't help that at times when I was following Sean or Mark, to go down the way they went, they would turn around and snap pictures of me as I floated down the River of Death. WTH??? I was not amused peeps, not amused one bit.

Tom was ever vigilant behind me probably cursing the minute I stepped onto that floating death trap. It was just scary and like I said before, once or twice, I had to get out the boat and then start all over again. It was hot, too sunny and I wanted to get off that freaking river. I felt like Meryl Streep in The River Wild except I didn't have a gun to my head but I was still trapped like a rat on the Tuckasegee River. I tell you, it was horrifying. Horrifying!

The worst part came when we hit the largest of the rapids on the river. These babies were like going over Niagara Falls. Okay, I exaggerate but it was terrible. I was following Sean and he went through okay but then all of a sudden I got caught up in the water. I tried to paddle but the water is was too wild and although the guy at the outfitters said lean into the rocks, I forgot that little nugget of wisdom and didn't. This is where I almost died.

I saw it coming. I saw the rock. I tried to go left, tried to paddle right but because I have no upper body strength and am totally clueless about rafting, the boat turned sideways and hit the rock and I went flying up like 20 feet and dropped into the water. Since this happened in a millisecond, I had no freaking idea what the hell was going on. I went in and it was scary as hell. I was under for what seemed like 10 minutes although Mark, who was behind me, said it was no more than 2 seconds. Whatever, Mark! Like he was timing it or something, geez. The problem with being pitched from your boat by evil river water and evil river rocks is that you have no time to react, you don't get that time to actually catch your breath before you go under.

So after 10 minute (in my head) of being under the water, I popped up because of the smelly life jacket and I think the girls, thank god, also added to my buoyancy. Anyway, I popped up took a breath and went right back under as I rode the rapids on my butt. It's not fun because you are under the water trying to get up. Luckily, I tend not to panic when I am about to die so I said: Carolyn, just relax and get through this.

Sean was in front of me and I could hear him yelling at me to float on my back and to not try to stand up. I also remembered the guy at the outfitters saying hold on to your paddle. Well let me tell you, when you are drowning and being pulled under and pulled down river, it's not easy to hold on to the damn paddle. But guess what, I did it. Anyway, I didn't panic and started floating until I finally ended up in a calmer pool of water. Sean, bless his heart, kept trying to tell me to swim to shore.

Easier said than done because the smelly life jacket rode up over the girls and wouldn't allow me to swim properly. I was kicking my feet and trying to swim but to no avail because of the stinky life jacket. So I got on my back and tried to float to shore. In the end, I was able to get to a place where I was able to grab Sean's boat. There was a little beach area and because I held on to that stupid paddle, Sean was able to pull me into shore.

Luckily, my glasses didn't fall off, I didn't drown, break a bone or crack my head on a rock. I was in one piece and totally soaked. I have to admit this was the best, most fun part of that horrifying trip from hell down the Tuckasegee River. The river was cool not cold and very refreshing. Of course, it would have been better if I just hadn't been thrown 50 feet after hitting a rock but oh well.

Sean pulled me in and I could finally stand up. As, I touched the bottom of the river, I looked up and there was some guy drinking a beer on the hill, watching the whole thing go down. He neither moved or tried to help. He was sitting there lounging in his comfy chair and guzzling liquor. Sean, who talks to anyone, said hello and asked if we could stop on this bit of shore and he said sure go right ahead, every one does.

After a while, he said a lot of people fall out of boats in that certain spot and it is very entertaining sitting there watching as clueless demented people like me almost die in front of his house. Well, screw you buddy! Now I cursed him but deep down inside I was longing to be that guy. Any other day, I would totally be amused watching idiots hitting rocks, go flying and almost die but not that day. I wanted to be in that chair with a beer in my hand and mocking the stupid but alas, I wasn't. There was still a long way to go before my horror would end.

Somehow I got up, got back into the boat and prayed to the river gods to get me out this hellhole. Luckily, the guy I entertained with my near death, said this was the last big rapids but, of course, there were more scary places (not as bad) to navigate before this trip would be over. After more miles of hell, I saw the bridge where we needed to stop to go back home, I tell you I almost cried once again. It was beautiful and my heart raced as I knew my horror would be ending soon and I would be back on land away from the River of Death.

It was ugly folks. Ugly and terrible. And I can safely say that I will never ever ever do that again. It isn't going to happen. If some guy puts a gun to my head like Kevin Bacon did to Meryl in The River Wild, I would say: "Bitch, shoot me in the head now because there is no fucking way my ass is getting in that boat. EVER!"

People who do crazy crap like this are always so happy they did it. It's like they achieved some wonderful goal or had the chance to live life to the fullest. It's a thrill for them to cheat death. Oh and they always want to do it again. Well screw them and the boat they rode in on! Me, I hated it and if I had never ever gone down the Tuckasegee River in that demented boat, I would happier. It was terrible and horrifying. It is something I will never do again. I don't need to look for adventure when I can watch it on TV in the comfort of my own home with surround sound and with my jammies on.

But it was over and I survived to live another day and write another blog post about my adventures. So F-U Grim Reaper, I escaped your bony hands of death!!

When we got home, I took a shower to get the smell of death and the stinky life jacket off me. I do have to say thank goodness for that life jacket although it stunk like a dead rat. I might have died in the river if not for it. Then I made dinner ~ Steak, baked potatoes, grilled fresh zucchini and yellow squash, a salad of tomatoes (store bought-UGH), red onions and fresh cucumbers from the garden! Yes folks, I had to actually cook after almost dying. What the hell is up with that? But dinner was delicious! And then I got to watch True Blood because Sean and Mark went back to the river to do a little more fishing. Like I said, Sean is hardcore fisherman.

In the morning I awoke sore. I could barely drive to work because my hands were sore from holding on to that paddle for dear life. My legs are sore. Luckily, work consisted of me sitting in front of the computer all day working.

Overall, it was a nice visit though. I love Mark but he is banned from the house now. And his friend, Sean, was so nice and laid back. But I think he might get banned from the house as well. As for Tom, he is an evil accomplice in all this because he knows I hate doing outdoor stuff that might kill me but he let me get on that damn boat and float down the river. WTH? He could have said "no don't" but he didn't and I almost died. Now that we are married, I might have to be a little more vigilant against death plots. Okay, sure it's paranoid but you put two and two together. Hmmm, food for thought people, food for thought.

I did learn some very important lessons though. Rafting sucks big hairy balls and when I feel like running away screaming, I should do it. Oh and nature is best enjoyed from the front porch of your house with a glass of sweet tea, in the comfort of your car as you are cruising down the road or on a big screen TV.


  1. YAY!! I can comment here! LOL OMG! You had me rolling on my chair with laughter. You are so funny!! I'm really glad you were ok but that was so scary!! We share a similarity - we both dislike the outdoors but our hubbys do. My hubby is always telling me to go fishing & camping or go to the woods for some hiking but I hate bugs and creepy crawling things. I rather stay indoors on the computer or watching tv while my hubby and kids go out.. lol Great post!! I really enjoyed it :)

  2. whoo doggy! you are brave! i canoe. on a lazy canal. with a partner. i would be so afraid to be by myself anywhere there is fast water! lol

    but dont you feel accomplished having survived???

  3. This is a great post! i can totally relate. Did I tell you I canoed over whitewater rapids in a REALLY OLD aluminum canoe? It was terrifying...rocks as big as houses...I kept on praying "dear God don't let me die..."

    GLAD YOU MADE IT back to Terra Firma!!!

  4. Oh.my.word! I am sorry Carolyn but you had me laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks! I am glad you are okay and nothing happened to you, but that was one heck of a hilarious story. Okay, maybe not to you and especially not when it was happening, but to me reading it after the fact, yeah, extremely hilarious! As much as a girly girl that I am, I love outdoor activities, especially any kind of boating. I grew up doing stuff like that plus raising two boys required my participation in a lot of outdoor activities.

  5. How exciting. I can't help it, I lived vicariously through your ordeal :) Glad you made it back to post about the adventure!!

  6. Ok,so sorry to laugh at your expense but that made for one hell of a funny story. Thanks for making me smile today! :)

  7. Lessons learned from Carolyn:

    1 - Never go down a river in a boat where a smelly life jacket and rapids are involved.

    2 - Run when you can!

    3 - Thank goodness for the girls because I can not wait to see you at BlogHer in NYC :)

    Can not believe that you actually made dinner after all of that. I am with you, indoors kind of girl. My kind of camping is a resort at Disney World and outside = bugs which are not my friends.

  8. GREAT post! Thanks for sharing!! You are a master story teller!

  9. Mi amiga! WTF were you thinking? You know the only latinas that can handle paddling on a little boat are Cubans! We were genetically built to for that.
    I'm glad you survived and I think you should use naughty language more often.

  10. Dude...grim reaper?! You had a life jacket on!! Come on ;)

    Sorry you were scared, though!

  11. OMFG!!! Dude you are way too nice!! The only reason I would have come back home to cook would be to make sure there was enough arsenic to kill those M-frs!! WTF!! I would have used the oar to beat the living hell out of all of them!!

    I love the outdoors but not to do idiotic shit like this!! ARGH!! Your blog has stressed me out so much & made me so angry that now I need to kill something! Oh look, just in time.. a friggin spider. SPLAT!!! Die spider die!! There, I feel slightly better. I imagined it was your bone-headed friends' head!

    Well I am very happy that you survived this past weekend. If you need a voo doo doll to do some damage, let me know. I know people, who know people, who know people!! LOL!! (disclaimer...j/k on the voo doo) ;)

    Much love to you, my dear friend. Glad you're alive! xoxo

  12. As soon as I saw you sitting there in a boat by yourself, I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. Why couldn't they do 2 man canoes? You poor, poor thing. I admit that it completely cracked me up, but yet, I was worried about you too! Not that much because obvs, you wrote the post so you're fine, but STILL!!!!

  13. Gee, you forgot to mention that you also did a load of laundry after making dinner.

    Banned from the house isn't so bad there is plenty of room in the yard for a tent.

    xo Mark

  14. OMG this is too funny. Or should I say this is too sad.
    No it's funny. Because you are ok. Didn't know you were the outback bungee jumping shoot me out of a canon type, but I learn more about you all the time! You rock!

  15. This post was SO entertaining. So sorry but I laughed my ass off. Glad you are OK.

  16. OMG Carolyn, I am coming from your other blog as a new reader and I am sorry but also laughed my ass off! Yep, I hurried RIGHT over here to read your horror story. My 29 year old daughter just did this as it was on her "Bucket List" she wants to do before she has another child. She did OK but she said it was SUCH hard work! Next on her list is sky diving. Wanna join her? haha!

    I love your writing style.

  17. What a great post !! Make me.. lol.. The funny part of my experience reading this is that I was in a public place (Starbucks). So I am sure people were thinking she is crazy.. hehehehehe..