Waking up at the Rochester Yacht Club is heavenly. It’s become one of our favourite places on the lake. Nice people, great hospitality, lovely pool, restaurant and bar, clean shower rooms, laundry, and access to all sorts of cool stuff to do. Which, today, looks like it will include shopping.
The ladies are riding the slow moving morning train and it’s not until after 11 that we’re walking out of the club to be collected by the Uber driver. He takes us to the nearest TJ Maxx outlet that Ana could find, in Irondequoit, and it takes so long to get there I feel like we’ve driven to Albany. I truly do not enjoy shopping, but to be fair I was given the option to stay at the boat. I decide to join them but bring the laptop so I can sequester myself in a book store or coffee shop while they pursue bargains.
The ladies hit the Maxx and I get settled into a nice table at the Barnes & Noble bookstore after a quick stop at Dick’s Sporting Goods to pick up two new masks, and at Target to check out a smart tv to replace the junky dumb one in Mom’s cabin that emits this unnatural blue glow. Before getting to writing I browse the magazine section and find an impressive selection for the anti-modern, freedom-loving, conspiracy-saddled, man’s man. Gun magazines are prominent but a special edition on assault rifles really catches my eye. But what to do with the guns? No problem, there’re magazines that offer detailed instructions for killing all sorts of things – elk, deer, humans, the government. I browsed some prepper magazines too and learned how to make pond water safe to drink in the event of world catastrophe, how to reload my spent ammo, how to make traps to catch edible animals, and some tips on outing traitorous liberals that survived the global holocaust and are trying to fit in with the rest of us patriots. Right beside that section is a small area of adult mags and I find an actual Penthouse that I desperately wanted to flip through but it’s bound in plastic, obviously to deter perved, cheap browsers who would never actually shell out cash for one. The only magazine that’s not sealed is one with a buff dude on the front wearing a red bikini stuffed beyond capacity, but I don’t pick that one up thinking it probably won’t align with my own personal preferences. So I move to the next section and find some cool mags on hot rods, outlaw bikers, bitchin old Corvettes, then a whole bunch on commando shit like fighter aircrafts, battle tanks, military tactics, modern warfare, soldier of fortune, which are all really fantastic, but the one that really stands out has a picture of Hitler on the front surrounded by his Nazi captains, in a V-formation sort of like those early Janet Jackson music videos. This one, I pick up. The first page has a giant swastika as does the back cover. Inside are a series of articles on Hitler and his amazing troupe of psychopaths, written in the most flattering terms. I flip through the pages, mesmerized, and shocked that a regular bookstore would actually sell garbage like this. Or maybe it was planted by the FBI so they could start tracking any lunatic that buys it. I put the magazine back, go to the bathroom to wash my hands, then get a nice decaf coffee and do some journaling.
The girls arrive sometime later with their treasures. Ana is so excited by her bargain conquests she starts pulling out toiletry items one by one to show me. Halfway through she pauses and says, “You probably don’t care about the toiletries I bought, right?”
“Right. I mean no, I do care. I care a lot. Very exciting.”
I am nothing if not a supportive husband.
We get word that Daryl and Lydia have arrived by Uber and Daryl decides to meet us for lunch at the Five Guys burger restaurant while Lydia does power shopping. This is nice because it gives Mom a chance to experience an essential part of boat vacations – walking across a hot parking lot dodging drivers bewildered by people actually walking. The only missing component is I’m usually carrying flats of beer on my shoulders while Ana is saddled with bags of groceries, but today we are relatively light (so far).
The burgers are delicious and the small fries Ana orders comes in a big brown shopping bag. In the bag is a large container full of fries then two more container loads dumped loose on top of those, enough to feed a largish wedding party. We are all full after eating our burgers and the single container of fries, but I start picking away at the loose fries, swiping them through the little bowls of ketchup.
“Are you seriously going to keep going on those?” Ana asks me.
“I can’t think of any reason to stop,” I reply, licking my fingers.
We meet up with Lydia at the Target and I excitedly showed Ana the two 32” smart tv’s they have in stock. Along the way as I was telling the gang about the tvs, Daryl had said, “Not that I’m trying to copy you, but I was thinking of replacing the tv in our boat too.” But he is copying me. They have quite a history of copycatting and I’ll give you a few examples. Last year we bought a wicked skull bag at TJ Maxx, they bought the same skull bag. I picked up a great deal on a hundred-foot fluorescent green extension cord at Great Deals in Stoney Creek, they bought the same one. Ana bought a green soft-sided mini cooler, Lydia bought the same one, but in a better colour. I got my hair cut, Daryl got his cut. One time I clipped my toenails, then I saw Daryl cutting his only hours afterwards. Then there’s the whole Yuengling beer thing, total copycat. To be fair though, I will admit I’ve stolen more than a few of their ideas too…
By the time we are done shopping it looks like Christmas morning in Rochester so I have the gang assemble for a group photo of our retail trophies. Then it’s back to the marina for an afternoon of television installation, pool swims, and finding space on the boat to jam in all the new stuff. I also decide to do a little experiment with Stella. She’s a teenager and all teenagers are addicted to heroin, sorry, I mean their phones, but the addiction is the same. Right next to where our boat is parked is an electric crane used for launching small boats. Daryl and I are standing with Stella when I point into the channel and say, “Hey, look at that rabbit over there!” As she looks over trying to first find the rabbit, then dealing with the mental confusion on how exactly a rabbit could be in the channel, I snatch her phone, tie it into the chain and rope hanging off the crane, then use the control mechanism to slowly raise it into the air. By the time Stella realizes she’s been had, the phone is already out of reach. Horrified, she begins leaping into the air, clawing at it, screaming wildly, “No Dad, nooooooo!!!” Daryl and I stand by laughing cruelly as I raise it even higher into the air and her panic level rises right along with it.
“You’re never getting it back, ha ha ha!” I taunt.
“Or maybe it will drop and smash to pieces!” Daryl laughs.
“Please Dad, please! That phone means everything to me! My whole life is in there! It’s my reality! I can’t live without TicTok and Snapchat! How will I photograph myself 90 times per day and message my friends every 14 seconds? I can’t face a life with anxiety-free introspection, mental relaxation, interesting hobbies, and using my brain for creative thought. Dad, pleeeeeeaaase!!”
“OK, fine. But you have to give me a back scratch if I give it back.”
As I slowly lower the phone she does this amazing parkour leap off one of the dry docked boats, then bounds off a garbage bin then leaps from the top of a utility shed, all in slow motion, with this unforgettable gleeful look on her face as her fingers meet the phone and pull it from the crane’s wicked grasp. Then she disappears into her cabin and I don’t get my damn back scratch. I start thinking I might try the same trick with Ana’s phone, but she’d probably just punch me in the face, knock me unconscious then tie my foot into the crane and raise me up then beat me with a boat hook as she laughs uncontrollably then posts a video of the whole humiliating ordeal on Facebook. Too risky, I think, better just pick on Stella.We all meet outside the boats for happy hour and to plan dinner. As we have a ton of leftovers we decide to eat that but Lydia has other plans. Here’re a few interesting facts on Lydia.
1. She is Chinese Malaysian
2. She loves all food, especially Chinese food
3. She eats five times more than anybody else, enjoys it twice as much, and stays slim and svelte, like a gazelle
Last year she found a Chinese restaurant called New East Star near the marina and loved it. So as we’re sitting at the picnic table she pulls up their online ordering app and we hear, “Ooh, the hand made noodles with beef, I’ll get that. And I’ll get the spring rolls and chicken balls. And I’ll get the steamed dumping. And I’ll get the hand made noodles with chicken, actually two of those. And I’ll get the wonton soup, and the egg drop soup and, oohh, I wonder what the house special soup is, I’ll get one of those too. And I’ll get the gang dang red curry beef. And I’ll get the moo shu shrimp. Oooh they have Mongolian beef, I’ll get two of those. And I’ll get the steamed tofu with mixed vegetables.”
Lydia then looks up at the rest of us, watching her, mesmerized, and says, “Hey, do you guys want any Chinese food?”