A few years ago when one of my colleagues learned he would be receiving our top teaching prize, he announced the news to his friends thus: "We're gettin' a boat!"
When people ask me what I'll do with the prize, I'm generally a little more subdued, mumbling about deferred maintenance and new ceiling tiles and the crack across my front porch slab. But today I have to shout a little bit because I just made the final payment on a hospital bill I've been nibbling away at since 2009. That's right: we may not be gettin' a boat, but we're gettin' a bill paid off! A bill that has been sitting on my shoulders like a malicious gnome constantly reminding me of the pain and distress associated with surgery and chemotherapy and radiation and all the other horrors of that wretched time. But thanks to my teaching prize, I have paid the bill and banished the gnome. Woo-hoo!
How shall I celebrate? By gettin' a boat!
Not a great big speedboat for cruising the river or a clunky catamaran or a fishing boat or even a rowboat. I realized last week that what I needed to get closer to those eagles was a nice slow quiet canoe. We live a mile from a scenic river and we have a roof rack suitable for hauling a canoe--it wouldn't even have to be brand-new. I'm keeping my eyes open for a used canoe for two--woo-hoo! We're gettin' a boat!
There's only one rule: no gnomes allowed.