It had rained the night before, and I'm talking a heavy, steady stream of rain had just released itself from the sky above. The whole summer has been entirely too rainy for my taste - but hey, at least it's better than the overly hot and entirely too humid weather Pennsylvanians are used to experiencing every summer.
The rain on this particular day didn't subside for at least two hours, and I wondered how much rain had accumulated in the rivers and streams. It was the weekend and a rainy Saturday at that, and Jeremy and Emma were up for the weekend. The week was a long one and on this particular weekend we were going to go on a rafting trip - if the rain let up.
My sister, Erin, her boyfriend and her friend all decided to go tubing down the Juniata River. My other sister, Kelley, was going to borrow a kayak from our neighbors and go with them. I got the brainy idea to drag Jeremy and Emma along with them in an inflatable raft. In my mind, it would be the perfect Sunday - floating down the Juniata River.
When I went to sleep that night, the rain had subsided, yet I secretly wished it was still raining. Falling asleep to rain is always a natural calming agent for me. I love how the rain sounds when it hits the top of a roof or the pavement outside. It's very relaxing.
We awoke the next morning to nothing but the blistering sun and humid weather. It was an omen of what was to come. It's just like when you wake up in the morning and everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. From stubbing your toe on the way to bathroom to dropping the shampoo in the shower - it all goes downhill from there.
We - as in our entire clan - were supposed to arrive at the launching sight at 12:30 p.m., we didn't get there until 12:45 p.m. Not bad. Our neighbors were there waiting for us, as they were going to go kayaking down the river, too. Jeremy had to inflate our raft, that took some time. We estimated about five minutes, but when everyone is waiting (and staring) those five minutes seem like an eternity.
Once the raft was inflated, we launched it into the Juniata River and we were off! Or not. Jeremy wasn't that great at paddling. He lasted about 10 or 15 minutes and Emma was extremely tired and cranky. Plus, she hated the hot pink life preserver we bought her.
After a while on the river, Jeremy decides to jump out and pull us along.
"What are you doing?" I ask him.
He tells me it will be a good workout, pulling us down the river. Erin, her boyfriend and her friend are struggling to float properly down the river because it's only two and a half feet deep in most areas. They all take the initiative to hang on to our boat and be pulled as well.
Jeremy failed to realize that the trip on the Juniata would take us three and half hours to complete. Emma and I fell asleep about an hour into the trip under the umbrella that I used to shade her delicate skin.
Jeremy in the meantime, was in the blistering sun, did not have his shirt on the entire time and his back was completely burnt after the trip. He also failed to realize that the Juniata River is home to "river seaweed."
Needless to say, he's not a fan.
Erin, her boyfriend and her friend also did not fare any better. Her boyfriend didn't bring any shoes - I'm not exactly sure why - and he said it felt like he was stepping on pins and needles when they couldn't float through a shallow area.
The kayakers and my sister, Kelley sure had fun. They were gliding all across the river - paddling like it was their job. When we approached "rapids" they were even kind enough to let us go first, so they could all go together as a group. The entire day was kayakers vs. rubber rafters.
Our entire trip was long and tedious and when we finally approached the landing dock, the river seaweed returned. Jeremy tried to navigate his way around it, but his nerves got the best of him. He freaked out and jumped in the raft. He would have to paddle the raft 10 feet to shore.
After the trip was over, I asked Jeremy if he enjoyed his "workout." He casually laughed and said he had fun, but the next time we go on a river adventure, he said we need to make sure we have a kayak. I wholeheartedly agree!
Sentinel reporter Tara Maguire welcomes parenting advice and stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.