The saga continues on

Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thanks for all of your comments regarding my recent column, “Prepare to be Surprised,” which discussed the challenges of boat ownership. It appears that more of you than I thought have been in the same boat, so to speak.

I am happy to report that this week both the boat and the jet ski made it back down to the lake. Ernest picked up the jet ski and I picked up the boat and we met on a beautiful afternoon to get them back in the water and up in the boat house. The first visitors for spring break were arriving Saturday.

They both easily slid off the trailers and cranked right up. I took them both for a quick spin, putting the jet ski at the dock and the boat in the lift at the boat house. I had just gotten out and lifted the boat out of the water when my cell phone rang. It was in the boat.

No problem, as I just reached over and grabbed my phone and my glasses. Just as it rang for the third time it slipped in my hand and tumbled into the lake. It was like watching it in slow motion as I grabbed for it once, twice and finally a third time, all to no avail.

Plop! The sound of it hitting the water right below me. Then it slid down to the sandy bottom, clearly visible in the spring water at a depth of about 5 feet. I felt like a fool as Ernest laughed, saying “I am not going down there to get it.” He said that since he didn’t get any credit in the last article, he wasn’t going to get wet this time.

I went to shore and got down to my shorts. It had not warmed up much in the past two weeks but I still eased out to the spot where the phone was resting. I tried to pick it up with my toes, but it proved impossible. Finally, I dove down, picked up the phone, and came up sounding like a whale breaching the surface. It was cold!

The phone had been underwater about four minutes. There was no sign of life as I turned it on.

The phone not only had a protective plastic cover, but also a leather case to hold it on my belt. I know now that these both serve not to keep water out, but rather to hold it in. I could see the water inside the plastic as I broke it all apart.

A few hours later, the phone would come on, but all I could see was a bright pink screen. I tried to resuscitate it by using a hair dryer. I did not hold out much hope as it was doing all sorts of weird things and making all sorts of unusual noises.

Giving up hope, I put the soggy phone in the truck and headed home. Every hour or two, I would turn it on, each time with different signs of life but nothing useable.

Sunday afternoon, I headed to Bainbridge to get a new phone. Passing over Spring Creek, I turned the phone on again. To my astonishment, it was working. I called home and left myself a message. I received a text message. I even retrieved my message from when I dropped it in the water. It was Jerry Coble, the plumber. There is some irony in that, huh?

Then it quit again.

Realizing the only thing I had done was leave it on the dash of my truck, I decided to ride around a bit before heading to the phone store. Was it going to work or not? I spent two wonderful hours I didn’t expect to have exploring the dirt roads of Seminole and Decatur counties, but that it a story for later.

The late afternoon conclusion was that against all odds, this phone had come back to life and was working perfectly. I will have to wait to get my new iPhone4 at a later date.

I wish I could say that was the end of the saga, but alas, my nieces and nephews were using the almost new jet ski on Sunday when it turned over. No concern there except it wouldn’t crank again. Addison and her boyfriend had to be towed in by a boat, an embarrassment to any teenager.

Ernest noticed that around the engine, the compartment was full of water. White smoke billowed out of the engine. As aggravated as I was when I dropped the phone, he loaded the jet ski back on the trailer for yet another trip to the shop.

Davis then noticed water coming out of a small hole below the body of the jet ski. It turns out one of the plugs, which we never knew existed, had not been put back in after the last visit to the shop. Consequently, it had flooded when last put in the lake and the engine had sat in the water for two weeks.

I guess I should wonder how they cranked it at all.

In any case, after 30 minutes of use in the summer of 2011, the jet ski is on its way for the fourth time to the shop in Panama City. The old canoe is beginning to look better and better. The saga just continues on.