Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lots of Fishing

No catching.

It's like prom night all over again, as they say.

I had grand Plans for Saturday. Grand Plans, I tell you. I planned to get up and take HannahC to check out the Riverbend Pond area. I would take along The Mrs. and MaxieC if they were awake, but it wasn't an imperative.

Naturally, as with all Grand Plans, they went straight to hell. HannahC slept in late, and then The Mrs. needed to have a massive breakfast. The kind that involves hash browns and sausages and soft-cooked eggs with dipping toast. Good Lord, it was nearly 11:00 before we finished with breakfast. The Mrs. started in on me about if I had any plans for the day. I was cagey, which I have found is the only way to interest The Mrs. in my plans. Anything I am willing to straight-up say is clearly not interesting or important enough not to be changed.

But, after the appropriate stonewalling interval, I let The Mrs. know that I wanted to go "a couple places". This was a masterful plan, as it got us out of the house without me having to reveal any of my junket scheme.

Naturally, as always happens on a weekend "morning" when we are going out, The Mrs. said, "We have to go to the library." Now, the library is all the way over on the west side of town, and we live south and east of the town, and Riverbend is up in the north part. So the library was, while not directly in the opposite direction, completely orthogonal from the direction I wanted to go. This is always the case, as there isn't a gosh darned thing for miles around the library except for a nursery where we got most of our vegetable garden plants.

Now, going to the library is never straight-forward. It involves finding everything that is due and putting it into a very, very womanly bag of some sort. Either a bag from Curves or, lately, a pink and orange and brown and green polka-dotted retro bag that The Mrs. got at Target for $6 marked down from like $26 or something. (The Mrs. is kibitzing in the background.)

Anyways, The Mrs. usually has roughly 42 books checked out at any given time, so finding the ones that are due is no small task. Saturday, one was missing. There was a great deal of searching high and low. After a while, The Childrens and I got bored, so we went out front to feed the koi. This, as it turned out, would be a fatal mistake.

See, the pond needed a little water, so I turned on the hose and stuck it in. (The Mrs. finds that statement quite hysterical - she's been drinking.) Then, I decided to add some of the pond water treatment junk, like the buffer mix to buffer the tapwater and the "superbugs" bacteria that eat the stuff that floats in the water. After I added the buffer mix and before I added the superbugs, I noticed that the waterfall had stopped. Hmmm...

The pump wasn't running. Unplugged it and plugged it back in. Nothing. I grabbed something from the garage that I could plug in to see if the outlet had power (a drill sharpener, of all things, was the nearest such device), and there was no power. This sent me off on a little obsession. I had to figure out what was wrong with the outlet before we could go gallivanting around.

I took apart the plug and glow-sticked the wires. Dead. I checked the breaker box - nothing tripped. The GFI outlets were fine, even the one labeled "pond pump". I shut that one off and back on just for good measure. Still, the outlet is dead. I figure, well maybe this is on one of the many other GFI circuits in the house so I checked the one in the first floor bathroom, the two in the bar, and the one in the basement bathroom. Nothing was tripped. Damn.

Now I really had the proverbial bug up my arse. I started taking apart outlets that were on the other side of the wall to see if there was a bad splice. The second outlet I checked was dead. I opened it up, and the wires were loose. I tightened them up (by pushing them into the little push slots), and the outlet came to life. Ah Ha! Victory!

Went outside. Pump wasn't running. Grrr.

Oh. Pump wasn't plugged in. Doh. Plugged it in. Victory!

Wait. Pump still wasn't running. Outlet was still dead. WTF?

Now The Mrs. was sniffing around, as she had The Childrens all belted into the minivan watching a DVD and ready to go, but I wasn't there. I sent her on a mission. Go check if the pond in the back is working.

She reports back. Only one of the two pumps is running. I check its outlet - dead. Oooo - this means there's got to be another GFI somewhere that I haven't found. I start searching the house again. I realize that I never looked inside the furnace room, and there tucked into a corner, is a lone GFI outlet, and it's tripped. I reset it. It stays reset. Victory!

I got outside. Pump isn't running. Pump wasn't plugged in. Doh. Plugged it in. I heard the pump start up. Victory!

MaxieC comes wandering back. "Daddy. It's still broken. There's no water in the waterfall."

Wha? Go out to the pond. Pump isn't running. Check outlet. Dead again. AAAAAHHHHHH!

I unplug the two things plugged into the outlet and go reset the GFI again. Come outside and check the outlet. It's alive. I plug in just the pump. It starts up and keeps running. Victory!

But this means I have a ground fault in the UV water sterilizer. Oh well. That can be fixed.

We head off to the library, where The Mrs. fritters away about 20 minutes filling out a lost book report, as the book was never discovered. While I achieved victory in my quest, The Mrs. tasted only bitter defeat.

It's like prom night all over again, as they say.

Only after we were leaving the library did I let The Mrs. in on the little secret that I wanted to go to Jax to pick up a fishing license and some gear. I did not tell her about checking out Riverbend, which is where I actually drove. So it was quite a surprise to everyone when we showed up there instead of Jax.

There were about ten people fishing (this was around 1pm), and a ranger on a bike was riding around checking fishing licenses. We walked around Trout Pond, with HannahC complaining nearly the whole way about being too cold or too hot or too tired.

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

The Mrs. then made an executive decision. We were all four of us going fishing. She wanted to get a rod and reel for herself and one for MaxieC, who is far far too young to be trusted with such a thing. But it was decreed, and so it was. We picked up a bunches of stuff and went home.

I rigged up MaxieC's little fishing rod (though with no hook), and I taught MaxieC how to cast out into the lawn. Then I got HannahC's out, and then I got out some of my trout bait (Berkley Power Dough, garlic salmon eggs, and cheese marshmallows), and I put some on their swivels and let them "fish" in the back pond. They fished in the back pond for well over an hour, and then we had to pack the stuff up lest they lose interest in fishing Sunday morning.

The goldfish went absolutely berserk for the sinkers. They didn't care one bit for any of the bait. But darn did they want to eat the shiny sinkers.

Sunday morning, I got up at 5:30am. Got The Mrs. and HannahC up about 15 minutes later. MaxieC got to sleep in until almost 6:30 and we were on the road at 6:45. We watched hot air balloons fly by in the opposite direction as we drove to the ponds.

At the ponds, there were fish literally jumping in the water all along the banks. They were loud. We though this would be a good sign, but it wasn't. We caught nothing all day, though both The Mrs. and I got our worms eaten off the hook once. These fish were uninterested in anything else - none of the trout bait, none of the spinners, none of the flies, none of the Rapalas. Just the worms.

HannahC caught a couple trees, to the tune of two swivels, two bobbers, one hook, and one Rapala original floater. The Mrs. spent most of the time claiming that her reel didn't work, and then handing me a big rat's nest of fishing line, and then appropriating my rod and reel while I sat to fix hers. I know she's just mad that I spent only $35 on her rod/reel combo whereas I spent more like $100 on mine. In fact, my day was best characterized as me sitting on the shore with the tackle box and my Leatherman fixing everyone else's gear and not getting to fish much. This used to be StinkyJ's job. I can't say as I like it.

But, truth be told, I didn't really spool up The Mrs.'s reel properly with line. I didn't have a pencil at the time to use as a spindle for the spool the line came on, so I just let it some off the side. That makes it so that the line can be twisted on the reel, and thus prone to spontaneously wadding itself up. I redid it properly tonight.

We spent about 4 hours fishing. Here is MaxieC, "feeding the fish" as he calls it, given we don't let him have a hook.

HannahC fishes in the shade. The fish liked the shade and were jumping all over the place here. HannahC has little to no patience with fishing, needing to put the hook in, then take it out, then move somewhere new, then change bait, then change the bobber every 30 seconds or so. She got not a nibble.

MaxieC eventually decided it'd be a better use of time to stop feeding the fish and start feeding himself. He had fruit snacks, actual fruit, and Twinkies. He was happy.

The Mrs. has declared it time to go home, but I had just had a worm stolen off my hook and had put a brand new worm on. I'm trying to get another strike before she starts hollering.

On the way out, the ranger bumped into us, and he said he thought the fishies that live along the bank are crappies. I'm gonna hafta look that up. [Update: After looking it up, I'm pretty sure these fish were bluegill, not crappie. That would make sense, as these ponds are supposed to be loaded with bluegill.]

It was a nice hot, sunny day, and MaxieC found a way to cool off in the garden in the afternoon. You can see how well the sugar snap peas are doing behind him.

HannahC, on the other hand, likes her entertainment to be more dramatic.

We're heading back to the ponds tomorrow. I am confident we will catch nothing.


Rhonda said...

these pictures are priceless!
you have a great family.

blogauthor said...

Holy smacks your kids are cute.