Lessons From a Giant Yellow Duck

So, yeah…the giant inflatable pool float fad has finally come to my rock. I know, I know. For those of you who live in slightly more modernized locales (pretty much anywhere other than here), those ginormous flamingos, ducks, swans and unicorns have been all the rage for so long that they aren’t even cool anymore, right?

Well, it takes a l-o-n-g time for fads to reach me way down here in paradise. But they do. Eventually. So when I saw my local hardware store stocking big birds for your floating pleasure, I was torn (and not just between whether I absolutely needed a flamingo or duck or both).

After all, I really try to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. When one jettisons nearly all their worldly possessions for a big move to the Caribbean, it is relatively easy to jump on the minimalist bandwagon. Which is the wagon onto which I jumped in 2011. Since then, I’ve tried really hard to avoid a repeat of my performance as the ultimate material girl I once was back in the States.

And it is relatively easy here, since shopping for sport is practically impossible anyway, unless tacky Chinese manufactured junk is your thing. So, keeping in mind my “less is more” mantra, it was relatively easy to resist the temptation to put a giant smiling duck in my shopping cart.

Plus, $55 for a pool float? That little voice in my head kept shouting (really loudly)…”Liz, you most definitely do NOT need an overpriced toy that will surely spring a leak after its debut in your pool.” So, no matter how many times I saw the huge yellow duck smiling at me from its nest in the store’s end cap display, I kept walking. I resisted the urge to build a flock of my own, courtsey of the (presumably) friendly folks at Intex. Yay, me!

But then…tragedy struck.

My BFF got a giant swan for her birthday. Two days before our pre-arranged pool day! So now I faced a true island girl dilemma…

Give in and buy a giant inflatable of my own or watch her float around, cocktail in hand, while I sat on a faded, pink noodle trying not to be jealous. You can you see where this is going, right?

We could absolutely, definitely fit at least one (maybe two) more in there.

Of course I immediately ran to the hardware store to buy my own damn duck. There was a momentary panic when there were no ducks to be found on the end cap display any longer. My inquiry with the store worker over where the “grote eend” went was met with a blank look and slow shaking of her head seeming to indicate they were sold out.

My hopes dashed, I headed toward the exit. My mind raced. Where else could I find a giant inflatable on this rock on such short notice?! Luckily, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a glimmer of yellow and found a few forgotten ones piled up in a different spot, undoubtedly ready for a mark-down I couldn’t wait for. Just my luck.

But whatever. Budgets be damned. Forget the whole “want vs. need” analysis. What I needed before Saturday afternoon rolled around was a giant pool float of my own! Besides, I was certain the image of my pool filled (literally) with giant blow-up birds would be perfect for Instagram. (So I could claim the duck as a business expense, right?)

The pool day was a smashing success, and laughs were had. Primarily because, as it turns out, getting on the giant birds is harder than you’d think. In fact, it is seemingly impossible, at least with any grace or dignity. And, once you actually manage to climb on the damn things, it is virtually impossible – due to wingspan, who knew?! – to get close enough to the pool deck to easily grab the cocktail you left behind, so as not to spill it while clambering on board. Thankfully, no drinks were spilled (we island girls are are a resourceful bunch, especially when it comes to alcohol), and we both lounged away the afternoon, creating more great island memories along the way.

Of course, at the end of the day, it was time for me to figure out where to store my bird. Due to wind concerns, he really couldn’t stay in the pool or he would likely end up flying (literally) into the neighbor’s garden. And while I’m sure that would have been quite a sight, it was not preferable. This was a true island dilemma.

Surprisingly, Island Boy was not on board with my proposal to keep a 9′ grinning water fowl, fully inflated, in the living room. I don’t get it. We have the space, and it was fun to look at. But he gave me a definitive NO.

Deflating it was out of the question, because what they don’t tell you on the box is that it will take seventeen hours and gallons of sweat to actually pump up a 3 meter x 3 meter duck (I first tried using a scuba tank with an inflator nozzle which didn’t work, so I resorted to using my kite pump). So inflated he must stay. The dilemma continued.

Finally, in the interest of continued marital harmony, Island Boy and I settled on a compromise. The inflated duck could stay in the guest room. Which only required two people to maneuver the damn thing through three doorways, down a hallway and around two corners. Thankfully there were no stairs involved in this impromptu Duck Odyssey. Eventually we tucked our new yellow friend in for the night.

I hope our next houseguests don’t mind an extra roomie.

And as I was sitting on the terrace later, sipping a final glass of wine for the evening, I had an epiphany.

Sometimes, you just have to do irrational things. You have to just say “what the duck” and go for it. I know a $55 inflatable toy isn’t a break-the-bank proposition, of course. But it speaks to a larger issue I have. Saying “no” because it is my default response. Sometimes saying yes leads to totally unexpected greatness. Or at least a memorable afternoon with friends.

My takeaway (besides the epic – in my mind anyway – IG-worthy photo), is that you just have to say yes, even when all logical signs point to no. If you want a giant inflatable pool float, just buy the damn thing. Life is short, don’t deny yourself enjoyment along the way.

And, of course, have a plan for storing a giant yellow duck.

 

*****

 

P.S. I subscribe to this cool email thing called Notes From the Universe. The deal is that every day, first thing in the morning, I receive a motivational, thought-provoking note from “The Universe.” It is really cool. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. (Of course, again, I may be the last person on earth who (a) heard of it and (b) subscribed…island life, the struggle is real, y’all!). But this morning, just as I put the finishing touches on this blog, I received the following message. The timing was perfect, as The Universe tends to be.

In the end, Liz, all you have are memories, and usually the ones you have with friends are the ones you treasure most.

I got you, babe – 
      The Universe

 

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