My lovely wife of 124 years had informed me three weeks before opening day of fishing that we didn’t have it in our budget to afford my upcoming fishing trip. I reminded her that I have been making this trip for the last thousand years and I wasn’t about to miss one now. I fish opening weekend and the following week, always returning home on Mothers Day. I calmly explained to my wife that we had enough money for this and that my brother and I would be able to live off of the fish we would catch and some dry noodles in a foam cup. The gas expense would be split by both of us. I told her that $300 would cover the whole trip. (I never mentioned the fact that I had about a thousand bucks saved up and stashed behind the walleye clock in my outdoors room down in the basement.) I explained how I was going to go no matter what!! (Ok–I pleaded and begged on my knees making promises I won’t remember when I get back) Just to show I was a good husband, I went outside in the back yard to do some cleaning. A winters worth of dog dirt took plenty of time for her to see I was doing my duty as her husband. Upon my return into the house, she informed me that “WE” were going to move all of the furniture out of the carpeted areas and clean the carpets. She opened the windows as I moved sofas, chairs, tables and an entertainment center that was never meant to be moved once it was put together. I may have used a few not so nice words as I did what I thought was my part.
She pulled out our carpet cleaning machine and some kind of soap product and informed me that she was going shopping. I informed her that it wasn’t my idea to do this so she can stay and help or it’s not getting done. I received “The Evil Stare”. (Note: This would be a good time to inform you that although my wife is just under five foot tall, she scares the heck out of me when she gives me “The Evil Stare”. My four brothers, who are all much larger than me and at least twice the size of her, are scared of it as well. The one time they came over to watch a football game and some chips accidentally fell on the carpet. I think she heard the crunch of the chip and came running from the other room and whipped out “The Evil Stare” from somewhere in the depths of her angry face pocket. I’ve invited them back for other games, but they always say they have prior commitments.) After cowering in the corner from those death piercing eyes, I noticed she had her duffle bag of a purse on her shoulder, glancing at the carpet before she left. I know she will have made a mental picture of where each stain was, so that upon her return, she will know if I need to clean it again. “I’ll be back!” She turned away and the front door closed. Being a man’s man, I put my foot down right there and then. I let her know that I wasn’t going to do anything of the sort and the carpet would remain the way it was until she got home. Although she didn’t hear me because she had left already, I meant what I said. In about two minutes time, I came to my senses (ok, I was scared) and put the soap in the carpet cleaner. When I pressed the “ON” button, there was a puff of smoke and the smell of burnt wire filled the air. Being the “Mr. Fix It” that I am, I knew there was more than one way to skin a cat.
I pulled some cleaning products from under the kitchen sink. One of these was a spray to clean spots of dirt and the other was a powder that was supposed to disinfect the carpet as well as leave a scent pertaining to some kind of floral aroma in the mountains. After applying my arsenal of cleaning supplies, I was to let them sit on the carpet before vacuuming them up. Just to kill a little time, I decided to go to the store and try to find some replacement parts for the carpet cleaner. I walked straight to the housewares department and picked the parts I needed as well as some other carpet cleaning chemicals for the next time my wife decides that she wants me to clean. On my way to the front of the store, I passed the outdoors section. From my view, I could see that all the checkout aisles were packed full of customers, so I figured that checking out the fishing aisle would allow time for the lines to get smaller. I put my carpet cleaning supplies on a shelf and walked down the aisle to see if there were any new products on the market. I found a few new items that weren’t there a week ago, but the shelves were still being restocked for the upcoming season. Sticking way up in the air at the far end of the aisle was something I had been looking for – a Frabill fishing net with a POW’R LOK handle. I pulled it out of its holder and extended the handle a full nine feet. I know it was nine feet because a lady rounded the corner coming into my aisle and I hit her with the metal hoop from nine feet away. At this point it didn’t matter because she gave me the same “EVIL STARE” that my wife had just given me at home. (Do they teach a class on this stuff that husbands don’t know about?? EVIL STARES 101??)
I apologized and retracted the handle. I was amazed at how the handle stayed in place and the metal hoop didn’t bend as the lady hit it with her wrinkled up forehead. This is one strong net that I would be purchasing. As I tried to get away from her quickly (she was swatting at me with her purse), I grabbed a few other items as I ran down the aisle. A few hooks, night light bobbers and some bobber stops. I accidentally knocked a display of crank baits down as she landed her patent leather purse on me again when I stopped in my tracks to look at something shiny (I’m easily distracted). I thought it best at this point to get to the checkout lane before I really got hurt. I drove home, parked my truck and immediately put my purchases in my boat so that my wife wouldn’t know I bought anything. I don’t know if you remembered, but I forgot to pick up the carpet cleaning supplies off of the shelf as I ran from the lady. This is when my wife pulled into the driveway behind me. Being the quick thinker I am, I pretended to be looking at some plants along side the house. I greeted her and started to help unload the groceries. She entered the house as I was filling my arms full of grocery bags when I heard two words I’ve heard many times over the years. “Christopher Charles!!” I fear hearing this almost as much as getting the evil stare. When she yelled this, every animal and man within a three block radius went ducking for cover. Most times I would probably run and hide behind my garage until she calmed down, but I figured she was just mad that the carpets hadn’t been cleaned. I would just let her know that the instructions said to let it sit on the carpet for a while.
Upon entering the house, I received the evil stare once again and I immediately knew why. Now- because of my extensive television viewing on crime scene investigations, I could tell that not one, but both of my daughters cats (R.I.P.) had walked, played, licked and vomited on the carpet. My lovely wife informed me that I should have locked the cats in a room to have avoided this. (Sure–hind sight is always 20/20.) Surprisingly the newly deposited kitty vomit didn’t stain the carpet and vacuumed up easily with the carpet powder. As an added bonus, the room really did smell like mountain flowers. After putting the furniture back into place, we held a funeral out back for the dearly departed. I went all out by placing Fluffy and Mittens in a nicely decorated box made by my Mother-In-Law the previous Christmas. I got yelled at for that too. Something about using that box that her mother worked so hard on. I explained that we didn’t use the box and that we should give our loved ones the best we could give them, so that I was actually complimenting the handiwork of her mother. She didn’t buy it and my daughter put an evil hex on me as the hole in the ground was filled in. Sleeping on the couch the next few nights wasn’t all that bad. I was able to watch TV all night long and catch up on some fishing magazine reading I had been putting off. My dogs were mad at me as well because they weren’t allowed in the bedroom either. At least the dogs weren’t dumb enough to lick the carpet. (Maybe it’s because they were on their chains outside–I’m not sure though.)
Friday after work, I had my truck loaded up; the boat attached and was saying goodbye to my wife. My daughter gave me a hug as she lifted the curses imposed upon my soul just a few weeks prior and wished me luck. I picked up my brother John and we were on our way to the north woods. We fished in the rain, wind, cold and even a few snow flurries here and there. A group of my buddies that also make the annual trip got together with us and we played poker until the wee hours of the morning. I heard one story after another how they had to beg to get permission. I told them how I just told my wife I was going to go and how I put my foot down. Their laughter subsided after a few minutes (they’ve met my wife and know better). The fishing was great and the weather was less than appealing. No matter what happens, I am always sad to leave. The five hour drive home seemed to last forever. The whole time I had the feeling I had forgotten something. Did I forget to lock my trailer? Did I leave the gas on or some light? I knew there was something, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. After dropping my brother off at his place, I drove home and unloaded my gear. I didn’t receive the warmest welcome due to the fact that I had forgotten a Mother’s Day gift. I tried telling her that my brother must have accidentally packed it in his things and that I would go get it from him right away. Sleeping on the couch again for the next few days started to hurt. I think I’m going to buy new furniture because after all, if I’m ever going to sleep good again, I need to have a couch with springs that don’t poke me in the ribs. Oh well, when it’s all said and done, I guess I am pretty lucky. My wife still lets me sleep inside the house, I still have my dogs, there’s no more kitty litter to clean and the carpet smells like mountain flowers. I wonder what she’s going to say when I ask to go up north again in July, August and again in October? I better get a hide a way bed with a good mattress!! Best wishes from the dog house,