Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Begging Off to Go Boating

April 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

begging off 1

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend there are 15 Saturdays and Sundays. Let me put it another way: during the “official” boating season there are ONLY 15 weekends. Mother Nature gets unpleasant from time to time, ruining boating plans, and then there’s the most insidious of all weekend-wreckers: backyard and banquet hall get-togethers!

Yes, we love our families and friends, and truly want to be with them to celebrate milestones and rejoice over new beginnings. But those who choose to host bashes, barbeques, and brunches on primo boating days really put us in a bind. Do we beg off and boat, or stay on land and mingle with our loved ones?

My casual research finds that many boaters bail out of all weekend parties that take place between June and early September. Those include celebrations of engagements and marriages, greetings for new babies and new homes, family reunions, and annual block parties. Chris says, “My boat is my vacation, so I wouldn’t cut my vacation short for any party.” Other boaters like Nancy will make exceptions and give up a weekend day or two for “big deals like weddings and christenings — especially if they start late in the day or are over by lunchtime.”

Some boaters dodge invites and others stretch the truth beyond its limits in order to wriggle out of summer social engagements. I’ll share their excuses and ruses with you (some names have been changed when requested), but don’t hold me responsible if a rejected host sees you tagged in a photo on social media, partying on the water while you were supposedly suffering from a highly contagious ailment!

Felix says his work mentor taught him to say no without explanation or apology, so that’s what he does. “I send a gift where appropriate but just decline. If someone asks why, I say, “I can’t make it.’”

The same holds true for Jason. Whenever summer invites arrive, he declines without any explanation. “No is a complete sentence,” he says.

Hal turns down invitations, claiming “family obligations.” He says, “That’s true. I owe my family fun on the boat!”

One couple accepts only wedding and christening invitations. Otherwise, they say their standard response is, “Thanks, but we can’t make it! Let’s plan something for the fall or winter.”

Blanca calls invitations “summer summonses” and responds to each one the same way: “How nice of you to include us, but you’ll have to party without us!”

Lisa declines all summer invites, blaming them on her husband. She says he yells “No!” the minute she begins to tell him about a summer invitation, so she feels no guilt about saying they can’t attend “due to a conflict.”

Kim has a pick and choose attitude. “After we get all those Save the Date cards, we pick out three and say yes. The rest we say no to and let what happens, happen. We go to plenty of things the rest of the year and everyone knows we’re big, big boaters, so we don’t get too much grief.”

Caitlin is selective, too. She comes from such a large family that there is likely to be a party every weekend.  So she says yes to “Sweet 16s and parties for anyone over 80.” She sweetens her no replies — “We tell everyone else with a summer birthday we’ll make it up to them at Christmas!”

Very organized boaters get out ahead of most summer events by planning their boat trips and outings starting in January. “I come up with a list of places and possible weekends to go, then ask everyone we like to pick some times and places they want to go. This way we are booked before the winter is over,” says Anne. Marty says that he and his partner “send out emails about places we’re heading that summer, and ask if friends and family want to come along. Then if we get an invite in the summer for a party, I can truthfully say, ‘Sorry, we’re going to Port Jeff that weekend with cousins.’”

Michael is plotting a way to turn down all invitations, even last-minute ones. He confesses, “I want to name our next boat Other Plans, so when we get an invite during boating seasons, I can say “Sorry, can’t make it, we have other plans!’”

By Lita Smith-Mines

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