September 16, 2010

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Sometimes I wonder, what could be more difficult than living in a house full of women? How about taking said women fishing...

As a father of three young daughters, I know many challenges lay ahead for me, especially since the teenager stage hasn’t even erupted yet. So I guess I should enjoy thesimple things now, such as a Saturday afternoon fishing outing.

Let me start by explaining that I will speak in generalities and some stereotypes, which I’m sure will only further alienate the opposite sex who may read this, but hopefully you all will chalk it up to a frustrated father and not just a male chauvinist.

My first shot across the bow really can’t be aimed at women in general, but should specifically target the finer sex in my family which apparently were absent the day the Lord handed out our internal clocks. I call my ladies, clock challenged, which is a nice way of saying they have zero concept of time. I don’t think Superman flying backwards around the earth to halt time would help us arrive at our destination less than a few minutes late.

A big part of the “problem” is the preparation. I feel like I need to get out a giant chalk board and draw out all of the equations to prove my theory that one cannot pack 97 tasks into the five minutes you have left prior to your planned departure time. Those figures also should pinpoint the logic behind my assumption that one can not arrive on time, if one departs the home at the time when one is expected to be arriving at said destination. For some reason we always seem to forget it takes just a tad bit of time to load ourselves, let alone any luggage, gear or carry-ons we always seem inclined to require for even the shortest trip across town.

Anyway, I digress... So after my wife informs me we are going fishing (at around 6:00 p.m. on Saturday) she also announces plans to shoot bows, and cap off the night by sitting in the hot tub.

As I’m working on loading up the fishing gear, I notice the girls are excited about the opportunity to fish. Unfortunately their enthusiasm did not translate into speed. Fifteen minutes later, after I have piled eight arm loads of rods, reels and tackle into the truck, they still haven’t changed clothes or even begun to prepare. As it turns out, there was no rush, since the wife decided we had time to make some supper.

I knew we would be lucky to have an hour of outdoors time, but as you can tell by my expanding waistline, I like to eat, so I held my tongue.

Once the chow was downed, I sat patiently in the truck, as each one of the girls made at least two trips back into the house to get something they had forgotten or failed to load during the already half hour delayed departure time. You know, such things as fingernail polish, Nintendo DS, juice box... all fishing essentials.

The whole time I’m doing the math in my head, 15 minutes drive time to the farm, 5-10 minutes to untangle all of the fishing poles they threw on top of each other in the pickup bed... two minutes of fishing then repeat steps one through five (I have no idea where she is going to fit in time to shoot bows and search for the arrows everyone but me will lose?)

Somehow I was able to put my obsessive quest to teach my family better time management on hold, and focus on the task at hand, and was it ever worth it.

After the normal arrival meltdown by one of the children who somehow forgets her boots at home, we work things out, getting a pole in each wanting hand and head down to the water.

My desperate need for a tranquil moment or two chasing that lunker bass, is immediately interrupted by a huge splash at the other end of Whitey’s first cast. I look over to see her holding the base of her fishing pole, reeling away as if she has hooked into Moby Dick. What the seven-year-old doesn’t realize is, the upper half of her fishing rod, a two-piece unit, has come off when she made her cast.

Fortunately the lure is large enough to prevent losing the section of rod, which is now under water and picking up weight as moss and other debris make my daughter’s “fish” feel bigger and bigger.

She tells us all to stay back, she needs no help in landing her giant fish. I fully expected there to be some disappointment, but she proclaimed quite joyfully to us all... “Hey I caught a fishing pole.”

That was enough to make time stand still for me.

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