When we had to dig up the septic tank last fall I worried about my daffodil bulbs, which were right in the line of fire, so to speak. Looks like they may have come through ok, although a bit rearranged.
Let me preface this by saying that it is an accepted fact that the thing we dislike about someone is the opposite face of the thing we love about them. Case in point: Smokey is tender-hearted about animals and has unshakeable faith in his own ability to handle things, amen.
It all started when he was replacing the rear-view mirror on his car on Sunday. It was a lovely day, sunny and 60˚ F (16˚ C), so he decided to let the dogs go for a runaround. They were having a wonderful time, racing up and down the driveway and around the house...
... and down to the lake. Where the ice is in the process of going out. Lucy The Incredibly Intrepid But Not Terribly Smart Dog decided to dive into the lake to chase the Canada geese.
And then all this happened.
I took all the above photos because I just knew I could get a blog post out of it. Then...
...things got hairy. You can see in the last photo above that the kayak is almost completely off the ice and in the water. As Smokey wrestled with Lucy to get her into the boat, the kayak flipped and he went in, too.
As is nearly always the case when a person -- or a dog -- goes through the ice, he couldn't pull himself out. He couldn't get a handhold, the ice edge kept breaking, and he just wasn't strong enough.
I ran into the house to get a rope. (Why had he not taken one end of a rope with him? Duh.) Happily, we had just bought two 100-foot ropes, still in the wrapping. Tragically, I am not a good enough pitcher to throw one end to him from shore. (Why did I not call 911 when I ran past the telephone in the house? Duh #2.)
Thinking back on it later, I remembered that when he was going out on the ice I had said, "Don't fall in because I am NOT coming out there after you."
Lesson: never say never.
There was the hull of a Sunfish-type sailboat on the bank, which had been given to us years ago and that the boys used to sail around the lake. I was able to drag that shallow hull down to the ice, heaving and grunting and panting, and push it out to where Smokey was hanging on to the kayak.
I had the rope along and he wrapped it around his wrists so at least he wouldn't sink. (Why had I not tied one end to a tree? Duh #3.) He still was not able to pull himself high enough to get into the boat, even with me pulling as well. In the process we managed to slide the sailboat hull into the water and ship several gallons of ice water into it. I quickly scrambled to the other end of the hull to keep it from flipping, too.
Now, this is reminiscent of a situation I heard about on NPR a number of years ago. A Norwegian sport fisherman was fishing from the shore ice when a large piece, on which he was standing, broke loose and floated out to sea. No worries, though; he just pulled out his cell phone and dialed the Norwegian equivalent of 911.
I had my own cell phone in my pocket because I had been taking the photos above. It fell into the water in the bottom of the sailboat when we were attempting to get Smokey in, but I quickly grabbed it and put it back into my shirt pocket. When I took it out to call 911 (Why did I not call 911 when I ran into the house to get the rope? Never thought of it until just this second.) The phone still worked, but I had no service. Rats! I can generally get one bar of service at home; not good enough to reliably make a call, but still.
I sat there and contemplated in how many ways we were screwed. Smokey hung in the 32˚ water and contemplated the same. There are almost no other year-round residents on the lake, and none of them would have had a very clear view of us even if they were looking. No help there. No way to get either boat back onto the ice. No way to get Smokey out of the water. No way for me to get back to shore.
I tried my phone again, and hallelujah! One bar of service! I got through to 911, and the operator was able to hear me well enough even though the call was breaking up to understand our predicament. A minute later we could hear the fire siren in town, four miles away, summoning the volunteer fire fighters.
The fireman on the scene was a guy who lives on the paved road a half mile away. The second one lives about a mile farther away in the other direction.
Because I am nothing if not nuts, I recorded the rescue for posterity. My photography sucks, but oh, well. At least we are both still alive and so is Lucy.
Hover for the play-by-play.
Thus endeth the saga. It took a couple hours under the covers and with help from a hair dryer for Smokey and Lucy to warm up completely. All's well that ends well, but let's not do it again.
Addendum: On Tuesday night I got together with some friends for our occasional monthly book group. As I told them about our adventure, suddenly one of my friends gasped and said, I heard about this! I heard about how someone had gone through the ice on Antler Lake! Such is small town life. Everyone knows about your follies.
Carole has given us a fun challenge this week: what would we buy if we found a pot of gold. She didn't specify exactly how big the pot was, or what the price of gold was when we found it, so I am going to assume the pot is essentially bottomless and the price of gold is whatever I want it to be. Hey, this is my imaginary pot of gold, right?
A new brain for my husband. Or maybe a bit more common sense. More on that later in the week.
A new car. Don't know exactly what kind, but it would be a wagon, have all-wheel drive, have every bell and whistle ever put into a car (heated seats, fabulous stereo with Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, and probably a lot of other things that were invented in the last 19 years since I bought my last brand-new car), and be rated a Best Buy by Consumer Reports.
A new iMac, also loaded with every bell and whistle available.
Finish the remodel of this house. This would probably include some new furniture, too.
Pay someone to do any pre-sale fixing up at the Minneapolis house.And sell it post-haste.
Have my cleaning lady come 1-2 times/week instead of every 3 weeks.
Okay, now I am running out of things I want that money can buy. So I would probably start donating. Oh, yeah, I'd buy the new library that we we have been raising money for. After that I would have the fun of giving money away.