Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Epic Barbie Swim...

The first Rafting Barbie
     When my daughter was born I searched high & low for River dolls... you know, rafting & or kayaking dolls. Let me tell you, they are few & far between (basically non existent,) and what does exist is lame... more like wind surfing, or touring kayak, no whitewater dolls. None. So, I took matters into my own hands, and made a rafting doll! The first one I made was from one of those super cheep waxy plastic naked craft store type barbies that old ladies crochet ornate victorian dresses for. I made her a PFD out of a beer koozie, a few accessories, and stuck her in a mini Hyside raft! We soon discovered though, that those dolls really are made for old ladies & do not hold up to play... arm & legs regularly come off...

     I later found a surfer Barbie who had board shorts, a bikini top & get this... Flat Feet!!!! OMG! No high heels for this doll! And so the next rafting Barbie was born! Because the doll looked a little bit like me, (blonde with pink shorts & purple PFD anyways,) Charlotte & I decided to make her look more like me, so we chopped off the hair & painted some tattoos & voila! Rafting Mommy Barbie! Charlotte then decided that her friends Faith & Laurel needed a rafting Barbie of their awesome River Goddess Mamma, Jeremy. Hmmm... this one was going to be tougher... how do you give a Barbie doll dreadlocks? Bees wax! Also, the dolls started riding the bull through class III, so it was time to make helmets, and easter eggs proved the perfect fit!


Jeremy and Elisha Barbies riding the bull through Zoom Flume on the Arkansas River, CO

     So here is where it gets even funnier... our friend Carla came to visit this summer, and did a good bit of rafting with us. Of course the Barbies came along as well, and Carla's first question was "Where is the Alan doll?" So of course I had to buy a surfer Ken & make a rafting Alan Ken doll. Then Carla had to have a rafting Carla Barbie, and of course we were not compete without a rafting Charlotte Skipper. Charlotte likes the grown up rafting Barbies well enough, but she Loves the Charlotte doll! She happily plays with her Charlotte doll all over the raft and generally leaves Mommy doll to ride the bull.

The Crew:
Carla, Alan (complete with kilt,) Elisha,  & Jeremy


Happy Rafting Barbie Family!





     























A lovely family outing in Browns Canyon.
      One day recently we are all on a family outing in Browns Canyon. Alan was rowing, while Charlotte, the dogs, and myself bow flowered. It was a lovely day and I was thoroughly enjoying my position of bow flower, Charlie snuggler & beer getter. Charlotte had her dolly and was dancing her up and down on the side tube when she suddenly burst into tears! Realizing what had happened and seeing the Charlotte Skipper doll floating away down the entrance to the rapid raft ripper I instinctually yelled, (Despite the fact that he was rowing, not paddling, and that I was in no way in charge of the boat whatsoever...) "Alan! Paddle forwards!" while shoving my foot under the thwart and extending myself as far out over the bow as I could possibly stretch, reaching, reaching, just out of range... 
     Alan of course obliged, rallying to the absurdity of my command, having realized the dolls peril and an urgent need to make the crying stop. He rowed forward with all he had, but the doll eluded us, dropping over a small pourover and recircing for a moment. We eddied out just down stream watching for her to flush, then intercepted in mid current. She was ferrying across the current at remarkable speed and encroaching upon the swiftly approaching rapid. I grunted, I stretched, my foot twisted in the thwart, I touched the doll and closed my hand upon empty water as she disappeared under the boat. Uttering unintelligible noises I surged forward, loosing my foothold and only barely keeping my balance of torso upon tube, and blindly grab at guessed space under the boat. 
     Teetering back into the boat, my arm shoots triumphantly into the air holding the rescued swimmer aloft as I shout "Got it!" Charlottes sobbing tears instantly turn to squeals of joy as she jammers on about how "safety" her doll was by keeping her feet up and floating on her back, and how proud she was of her doll for knowing what to do.
Charlie happy to have her Charlie doll back,
below raft ripper after the dolls epic swim.
     Charlotte Skipper doll lost her helmet during the final dynamic grab, and we watched the current below raft ripper for a while looking for it, but to no avail. It's ok though, because when we got home that night she got a brand new pink helmet. Charlotte called her Grandma and told her all about the epic Barbie swim, and how "safety" she was in her whitewater swim position.
     As was the topic of my last blog post, I'm still freaked out about the idea of Charlotte taking a swim someday. This time though, I'm glad it was just the doll & not the girl.