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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: The mistress in my husband’s life: water skiing

Brothers Kelly and Logan Ditto enjoy water skiing, as do other members of the family.  (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
Brothers Kelly and Logan Ditto enjoy water skiing, as do other members of the family. (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

My family and I just got back from a three-day camping trip – a COVID-19-approved, mini Ditto family reunion of sorts. And I mean it when I say “just got back”; as I sit here typing this, I’m wearing noise-canceling headphones while my little boys run around outside like they’re still in the “Lord of the Flies” situation we had going on with cousins at the campground, and my teenagers are bumping into walls in a sunburned, over-tired daze.

The most important thing to know about a Ditto camping trip is that it’s really less about the camping and more about the 24/7 access to the accompanying lake. Dittos love their water sports, water skiing in particular; in fact, shared among the Ditto siblings and their spouses are no fewer than three boats. None of these boats is new or fancy; but still, I have been exasperatedly trying to understand this level of boat ownership for a while now. Allow me to explain in case you’re at a similar place of confusion.

Boat No. 1 is small, sleek and used exclusively for water skiing. There is not much room for anything or anyone else on board, but it “cuts a sweet wake,” so it is necessary. Boat No. 2 also is a ski boat, but it is larger and thus has more room for after-thoughts like a wife and children. It can be used for any number of water sports, including tubing, wake boarding and the all-important water skiing, so it’s the clear winner in this wife’s mind.

The problem is, as my husband has explained to me over and over, because of its larger size and ability to cart around the aforementioned after-thoughts, the wake of Boat No. 2 is slightly larger than that of Boat No. 1 and is therefore less optimal for the level of slalom water skiing in which Logan and his brothers prefer to engage.

Boat No. 3 is a surf boat, which means that every time you use it, you have to fill giant ballast tanks with lake water to weigh down the boat on one side, thus creating a perfect wave for a person to surf behind. Am I jealous of people who can effortlessly surf behind a boat like this? Yes. Do I think it’s a fad that will go the way of the knee board and human water ski pyramids? Also yes. That said, everyone loves the surf boat, and one time I managed to send my four boys out on an hourlong “surf sesh” with their aunt and uncle while I read a book on the beach, so I guess I’m a fan, as well.

Water skiing is an obsession for my husband and his brothers. From May to September, at least two days a week, they’ll be out on the water by 6 in the morning screaming Boat No. 1 through a slalom course that’s set up in the middle of the lake. This has been going on for as long as I’ve known Logan. In fact, I owe water skiing a debt of gratitude, because while it’s not something I personally enjoy or even know how to do, it’s one of the ways I came to realize that I was falling in love with him.

One day when we were first dating, he invited me to come water skiing with him at 6 o’clock the next morning. Being on the lake that early was something I didn’t even know was conceivable to the human mind, but I agreed to come along and watch.

Before I went to sleep that night, I wrote a note and left it on the kitchen counter so my mom wouldn’t wonder where I was when she woke up the next morning (because, yes, as a college graduate, I was living at home with my parents and working retail at River Park Square). The note said, “This must be love or something because I’m out water skiing at 6 in the morning.”

On that fateful day, I was introduced to what would become my good friend, my competition, my husband’s mistress: water skiing. We’ve spent all these years together, and we’ve come to a sort of understanding. She can stick around as long as I’m allowed certain privileges, namely: I never have to get up at 6 o’clock again, and sometimes she’ll occasionally entertain my children. So far, it’s working great.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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