Sorry, went out of town last minute for the last couple of days...
@ rivotter- awesome! would love to go out soon! next weekend likely won't work but if you wind taking a class then I think you would find it really beneficail. I skipped into to lake (day 1) and went straight to intro to river (day 2) but if i could do it over again I wouldn't have. There's some really simple things I missed in day 1 that I am just now figuring out, like how to rotate your torso into paddle strokes, that I would really have benefited from in the long run had I not skipped day 1.
Defintely go to the lake and paddle around! Just make sure you know how to get skirt off and do a wet exit first. Most people find that they flip over just paddling on flat water in the beginning. Also, for your roll...you'll probably wind up working on it for awhile and will likely not be able to on your first runs. no worries, swimming is a part of it and your paddling buddies should expect that and be willing to help you out with your self rescues. While I roll well in flat water, I've got a develpoing "combat" roll and still swim sometimes too. I know everyone has been throwing alot of books at ya and I'm going to add on to that. I would really reccomend the library. I got some great dvd's there like paddling basics (body positioning, paddlle strokes) and rolling (The kayak roll learn it! tune it! teach it!) most helpful thing i've done for my roll but it teaches the sweep roll so maybe do some research and see what type of roll you'ld like to learn.