Saturday, May 16, 2009


No, seriously.

Had it stuck in my head since visiting my Dad last month that I wanted to take the kids fishing.  I have great memories of camping and fishing as a kid (another benefit of blocking out the bad things), but have never been fishing before with them.  Nor with Amy.  (And probably for good reason, the rational, very sane side of my brain tried and tried to forewarn.)  But, eh, why not give it a shot?

So, I try not to give Amy too much advance warning for these things, as the element of surprise very often works in my favor when it's going to minimize the amount of time she'll be pissed at me for dragging her somewhere outside of her comfort zone.  So, she only found out the night before, and then, only 'cause the little tattletales couldn't keep their mouths shut about it.

But I tried not to rush anyone this morning.  Tried not to act excited.  Tried not to make everyone anxious.  Waited (ever so impatiently) for everybody (read: Amy) to be up and dressed and ready to go on their own terms ('cause that would set the mood for the entire day), and I just sorta did my thing.  

But I don't do nonchalant very well.  So, I started with watering the garden, then picked up around the house, then cleaned a bathroom, then threw in a load of laundry, then couldn't hold it in anymore and began prepping the sandwiches, got everyone's individualized snacks together, ensured we had at least one first-aid kit packed, several changes of clothes, and charged the cameras.

I was a machine, people.  A quiet machine, yes, keeping it all inside, of course, but I was ON it!!  And everything worked seamlessly.  Loaded up and out of the house with plenty of time to stop and pick up some ice and, of course, our Starbucks.

And it helped, too, that the lake was less than a 7-minute drive from our home.  But the hike from the parking lot to our choice fishing spot, however, took the better part of the morning.  Not that we had one already picked out, but choosing one, the right one, back and forth, here and there, how about this one, what about that one, ugh! 

You just don't understand the pressure I was under here.  Had to find a spot that's not too far away from the bathroom, so the hike back while squeezing their legs together won't be unbearably long (or messy), but it also has to be far enough away from the crowds of people and flocks of geese because, well, Amy hates both.  

And it has to be shady enough because it was going to be a scorcher (which it was!).  But it also has to be sunny enough because Amy's a sun worshipper.  

And then it has to have plenty of room for us to sprawl because, well, we tend to sprawl wherever we go -- 'cause you just need room to spread out, you know, to sit comfortably, and even lay down should one of my brood manage the art of relaxation enough to actually nap, but then you also need enough room to prepare and lay out lunch, have everything at the ready, and, essentially, recreate a mini-roughed-out-version of home.

But once we found the perfect locale, it was all about making everyone comfortable and happy.  The goal, of course, being that if I could make everyone else comfortable and happy (oh, gods of the lake), there might be a moment or two in there that I could steal for myself.  But in between setting up our little picnic grounds, ensuring everyone had cold drinks, pulling out snacks for Amy, snacks for the kids, cold drinks again, snacks again, moving chairs to slightly better spots, cold drinks again, snacks again, it was practically noon by the time we figured out that the brand new fancy schmancy little fishing rods we just bought at Target yesterday and were just about prepared to cast didn't even come with a bobber OR A HOOK!!!

A HOOK, people!!  Seriously.

But with Amy already thinking she'd pretty much rather be anywhere but here, and the monsters getting restless because When are we going to catch a fish, Mama? When are we going to catch a fish, Mama? and let's not forget the When are we going to catch a fish, Mama? it just took everything I had not to burst into tears right then and there, scream out fuckinggoddamshit! at the top of my lungs and toss the icechest, bags, and chairs off the pier and onto the family of squawking ducks swimming by!!

But instead (you'd be so proud, Daddy) I just strapped on my MacGyver hat as tight as I could and tried to make it look easy.  

Luckily, the world is full of polluters, so it took me about two seconds to find aluminum can pop tops, which I broke in half and twisted into a faux hook.  With a tampon string and a piece of bubble gum, I then...

No, not really, people!  Come on, now!!  

Onto the bobber.  A couple of pieces of driftwood performed stand-in duty there.  And, yes, they looked like floating turds, and, no, the "hooks" were definitely not hooky, and, yes, it was totally half-ass, but HEY! backthefuckoff, it worked!  And now for the bait.


We didn't stop to pick up any bait.  Yes, really.

Kick in small town Texas girl, and out come the hotdogs.  Well, okay, turkey dogs.  It IS California, people.  Chopped that up into bitesize chunks and we were off and running, baby.  So much so, in fact, that the fish, the mutant-amazonian-beasts-of-the-lake fish, were practically clamoring to come up onto the shore and help themselves.  They were seriously jumping right there in front of us, less than 3 ft away.  And taunting the kids with their snatch and run maneuvers, making off with like half the pack of weiners before we'd even learned how to properly cast.

Real fisherman about 25 yards away (you know, the kind with actual hooks and bobbers and worms and beer) came over and offered to buy whatever it was we were using as bait, as they enviously coveted our little turd-and-weinnie thingamabobs.  So we generously handed them a couple of gratis turkey dogs and literally watched them just roll their eyes and laugh as they kept saying (very loudly and over and over) how they'd never heard of such a thing in their lives, even as they went on to rebait their hooks with our dogs.  

But we were well into our own fishing nirvana, folks.  Some of us more than others, true.  But still. 

So...blah, blah, blah. Cast, sit, wait, reel it in, recast, replace lost weinnie, recast, sit, wait, reel it back in, recast, replace lost weinnie, recast, sit, wait, reel it back...STOP REELING IT BACK IN, SANTIAGO!!!! 

"But I lost my weinnie."

Well, there is that.

And when three pm finally came around, I asked Amy how much longer she'd like to give it. Magnesium thermal deathrays shot straight out of head. We went ahead and packed it up and headed for our favorite brewpub for pizza and reds.

Here we are post-pub.  A much happier, though still motley, crue.

If you're feeling particularly masochistic, feel free to enjoy the entire fishing slideshow here: FISHING SLIDESHOW


Anonymous said...


Incredible content on your blogs. I am truly impressed and simply amazed by your incredibly witty, honest, thought-provoking & sassy (cue the late Phil Hartman saying "ssssaaassy") writing style.

I came across your blog by a totally isolated and random act and just found myself captured by your observations and recollections.

Being a father of two, the stories of parenthood and those two precocious twins of yours really enlighten the soul.

And, is a hint of just who this cat is that is writing a little old comment, the stories of your trip to my old hometown of San Diego, TX really got to me. The descriptive style of your writing made me close my eyes and just feel those warm breezes...hear the roosters crowing (and I didn't live in a ranch!..but you know that. The critters roamed the streets in our stinky little town) and smell my favorite aroma as well. (the fresh cut grass..nothing beats it!) a fellow Vaquero who may have been in your class..may have been a year or two older..or may have been a year or two younger...let me just state again that you are an incredible talent. I'm find myself writing as well. Mostly fictional based stuff though. I wrote childrens stories for my two kids (now ages 4 and 8) and some short stories as a form of catharsis. But, stuff doesn't compare to your style.

Okay..I wish Amy, Chago, Saia the best. (I feel like I know you all from your writing already..haha) Take care. I wish I had known you better in high school. You are truly something special.


Well, you obviously know me well enough to know that flattery will get you everywhere. :P

I can't even begin to tell you what it means to me to hear you say such amazing things. Like you, I write for me, but if and when it touches someone else, even remotely, in a way that moves you enough to actually comment...I tell ya, I'm just beaming right now.

Would love to chat with you more about your kids and your writing and San Diego (if we must). Feel free to drop me a line if you ever decide you want to reveal yourself. :)

Thanks again. That was incredibly sweet. And totally motivating!

Jo Anna

Anonymous said...



Thanks, Trace. :)