Wendy Wortham- The Lake Whitney Adventure- Boats, Batteries, Floats & Fun

Friday Evening, our family friend Tammi Leggett and her two children Samantha and Ricki along with my son and his wife, Robert and Stephanie Hafele, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney and their mom, Stephaney Mahaney set out on a trip to Lake Whitney. The convoy of vehicles involved two suv’s, one truck, a trailer and Tammi’s Mercedes.  Tammi’s son, Ricki had left earlier with Sandra and an SUV to arrive first.

Robert & Stephanie Hafele With Tammi Leggett

My friend Tammi rarely (one or twice a summer) makes the 1 1/2 hour trip to a summer home she has many fond memories of with her family as both a child and an adult because packing and journeys to this summer home can be a lot of work.  Tammi told me of a special memory shared with her siblings of riding their bikes to purchase candy down the road from her home and showed me the many places that had “changed hands” over her years spent at Lake Whitney.

Wendy Wortham and Son Robert Hafele

Thankfully, she could count on myself and my son along with my niece to help carry the workload and hopefully ease the burden of feeling as if she “had to do everything herself” after her maid, Sandra left Friday evening due to an accident that her sister had been involved in.

Cove Tammi Leggett Lake House

I asked Tammi why she didn’t often head down to her lovely home in the lake more often and was surprised by her answer “The kids never want to help me.”  Understanding her answer since I had also had a lake home in Arkansas and therefore knew the work involved to load vehicles, buy groceries, clean boats and change beds at my own “vacation home” years ago, I decided to do everything I and my team could to ease the responsibility for Tammi.

Robert and Stephanie Hafele

Sibling squabbles over everything from taking out the trash to choosing a float can be a challenge for any parent.  You see, much like “rounding up” my Texas Twins Events/Pawning Planners Team to be on the “same page,” everyone had their own ideas about unpacking, which room they would be staying in and even which float to take on the boat. Robert and Stephanie along with Samantha spent 3-4 hours attempting to get the “favorite” float “lake ready” while the Little Pawners Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney went on an adventure tour of the cove. 

Children love a good time and often have no idea how much work and expense their parents go through to create “happy childhood memories.”  There were several other floats but, most of Saturday was spent on the float below.

Samantha Leggett Robert & Stephanie Hafele

Lost car keys, cell phones, clothing and other items continued to be a problem for the “older children.”  Vacation homes often involve friends who love to lounge but are invisible when the loading, unloading, cooking and cleaning are necessary.  My life at my own lake house was so exhausting and fraught with work and expenses that frankly, I didn’t miss it a bit!  Vacation homes are resorts for your friends and family but never for you.  Your responsibility is often to cook and clean while friends and family enjoy your home.  I decided after the the Beaver Lake Home that vacation homes are like a second job, leaving you so exhausted upon “returning to town” that you wonder how a “vacation” could be so much work.

Floats & Fun Video Lake Whitney When  you have friends or family that aren’t “helpers” in the first place, your second job has suddenly turned into a third job as the cook, the maid and the entertainment too.  This happened so many times at my previous “vacation home” that it became more work than I wanted to pack and drive 6 hours to the Beaver Lake “vacation home” throughout my second marriage with friends and family who assumed that “enjoying themselves” prevented them from helping out with the chores associated with “Lake Life.”  Pitching in is part of enjoying someone else’s home so please consider doing more than lounging around and enjoying yourself when a guest at a friend or relatives vacation home ya all, room service isn’t offered and your help is appreciated! 

Maryssa & Makenna Mahaney with Stephaney

We started our “day at the lake” at 9 AM and didn’t get on the boat and in the water until well after 7PM upon arriving at the Marina at 5 because the older children who had “cleaned the boat” earlier had not given it a proper cleaning with a snake and several spiders left behind.  While I ran to Hillsboro (hour round trip) to get a pump for the tube Samantha wanted while the older children cleaned the boat, I had no idea that another pump had been in the trailer the entire time because no one had taken it out while unpacking the previous night.  Leaving the house at 4:30 to drive to the marina, the twins were very excited to get into the boat and get out on the water!  Tammi has a stairwell that boat toys and the children wait at as we travel the distance from the Marina to the Cove.



The boat refused to start for Tammi who did everything from having her son take the battery out of the Nissan to charging the battery as we waited.  Two hours later, hero Tammi did get the boat started to cheers from everyone!  Boat problems happen all the time in “Lake Life” as anyone who has had a boat can attest.  Excited to get out on a beautiful lake, the twins and family pets, Tex and Tessa climbed aboard. 

Tex Leggett with Maryssa Mahaney


Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney

 The twins were overjoyed about getting out on the lake and everyone rejoiced at overcoming the many hurdles faced in order to get there until approximately 8:15PM, when the boat died and refused to start again.  My son used Morse Code from his phone to flag a good Samaritan passing by who pulled us back to the dock shivering and starving. Putting a charger on the boat for today’s activities and returning home to unpack all the drinks and snacks packed earlier for an expected day on the lake, Tammi began cooking dinner while the children got showers and I washed towels and handled the laundry. By 11PM dinner was ready and my niece, Stephaney and I washed the dishes and planned today’s activities.  At 1PM we finally made it into bed to prepare for another day.

We all plan for “wonderful vacations” and time for our families, often our “vision” of the perfect vacation involves a lot of work and some unexpected twists and turns.  Vacations can be exhausting for the adults and “boring” for the children but seeing that “spark” in the twins eyes as we finally darted across that lake with their mom, Stephaney Mahaney made everything we faced worth it for me last night because for a moment- we were all happy at the same time and excited to enjoy the journey as a team. 

Makenna and Stephaney Mahaney

 This morning as I made coffee and got the “crew” ready to begin packing for another day of “fun in the sun” one of our cranky adventures complained that I had made caramel coffee?  Oh well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time but you can tell them to make their own coffee while enjoying your own which is exactly what I plan to do. Getting everyone up and ready, I drove my niece, Stephaney back to Weatherford to return to work and drove back to Lake Whitney making a “pit stop” at Walmart to get a new battery for the boat and checking in on the Lake Team with Tammi.  I arrived back at the house and we headed to the marina where Tammi amazed me with her skills of changing out the battery and working the boat lift as we prepared for our second day on the lake. 

Makenna and Maryssa Mahaney with Tex Leggett

Robert and Stephanie ran to town to get more ice for the coolers as Tammi, Sammie, the twins and I headed to get gas for the boat only to find the locks on.  As usual, Tammi “saved the day” by whipping out her cell phone to call the owner who drove down to unlock the gas for us.  From the boat not starting to being stranded in the lake to the float not staying inflated- Tammi always found a solution for every “issue” with her knowledge of the boat, the lifts and by purchasing patch kits prior to leaving Fort Worth and planning ahead.

Makenna amd Maryssa Mahaney

The twins loved the float and had a grand ole time playing in the lake with Makenna and Tammi practicing skiing, Makenna is very determined at everything she does and Maryssa decided she may try “next time.”  The patience she had working with Makenna reminded me of the many times my Uncle Bob and Aunt Mildred wanted my twin, Cindy and I to just “pop up” and stay up learning to ski.  It was a skill that they finally decided we weren’t capable of doing with two skis and instead, both Cindy and I learned to ski by using only one ski to “master the sport.”  But, they lacked the patience that my friend exhibited when working with children.  

Tammi Leggett with Makenna Mahaney

Tammi stayed in the water working with Makenna to get her “comfortable” with the skis while my son, Robert Hafele drove the boat. Driving a boat or teaching children skills they will remember for years to come takes a great deal of patience!  Cindy and I were terrified of falling when learning and I believe a large part of the reason was the lack of patience from my aunt and uncle. 

Samantha Leggett with Maryssa and Makenna

Teaching Maryssa how to get up on the float took a bit of patience but, she got back on and gave us all a wave upon realizing that she could on her own. 

Stephanie Hafele with Maryssa Mahaney

Sunday turned out to be a “perfect day on the lake” for everyone and after Saturday being a bit of a challenge, both Tammi and myself were relieved that everything “worked out” and everyone had a great time creating memories and fun together at Lake Whitney.  Vacation homes require a bit of work to enjoy the vacation aspect of it all but, if you work as a team, you can overcome all the things that go wrong and while you may be tired- realize that the effort involved to “pull it all off” we’re well worth the effort. Wedding & Event Services and Vacations are similar in a lot of ways as they require planning and effort but with proper execution, even the unexpected things that happen can be overcome.  Thank you Tammi!  We had a wonderful weekend with you at Lake Whitney and your ability to overcome anything from a boat that wouldn’t start to floats that wouldn’t stay inflated and everything in between, I had a wonderful time with you. 

Wendy Wortham