With three ponds, none of them too clean, I often find myself needing to climb into the water and retrieve a waterlogged tree trunk, or glide the Good Ship Louise through the particularly shallow narrows between Ponds Two and Three, or to saw off an overhanging branch. You understand that none of the aforementioned was in my skill set when I moved here five months ago.
Even without hip waders, I often climbed into the pond, hoping to find the water level below the tops of my rubber boots. Often it was, so I took another step, and found myself up to my thighs in pond water. Once, my nephew Angus chivalrously offered to help me glide the boat between Pond Two and Pond One. I stepped out, he promptly gave Louise one mighty shove in the right direction, and the flat bottom of the boat ended up on the tops of both my feet, throwing me (and my phone) off balance. We fell backwards into the mud. My language at that precise moment pretty much peeled the paint off the boat. Angus likely will not make that mistake again.
But even hip waders would not have helped me in that situation. Emptying frogs from my boots, a hot shower, a lot of soap, a cup of hot tea and a generous application of home made laundry detergent on my clothing restored my composure to a degree. Angus still helps me whenever he's here, but I notice he gives the Good Ship Louise a wide berth.
Still, I've been pining for hip waders. Two weeks ago, I was en route to my brother's place in Toronto when I realized I was close to Al Flaherty's Outdoor Store on Dufferin Street. I had about fifteen minutes to spare, so I decided to pop in and look at hip waders. Not only did they have hip waders, they had a pair in my size. I didn't try them on, I just grabbed them, paid, and headed out the door.
Thirteen days later, I still haven't even tried them out once. I don't know what the trouble is. Perhaps there are so many other things to keep me busy at Five Acres this time of year, but somehow I've never gotten up the nerve to pull them on and attach them to my belt. I think a bit of it may be that to get out of them is a hassle. When I'm out working on the property, I can kick off my wellington boots at the screen door, come in for a drink of water, and be outside again in a minute. Not so with hip waders. You have to take off your belt, and pulling them off is probably an ordeal. Maybe a smart move is to keep a large tub of clean water by the screen door so I can step in that, rinse off the foot part, and just come in with the hip waders on.
Be that as it may, today is the day I'm going out in my hip waders. My work jeans are the right degree of grimy, it's not so hot outside that I'll need a drink of water every hour, and the water level on the ponds has never been so low as it is this week.
Stand by, readers. I'm going in.
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