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Thursday, March 6, 2008
Today my intrepid husband and his lifelong buddies are heading north to Canada, for four days of ice fishing. This will be their 16th annual trip; Mike flies in from Chicago, and Steve drives over from Madison and they meet Doug and Chris and Dave here and then they all carpool to Duluth to meet John.
Usually they go in January, and only as far as Baudette, in northern Minnesota.
But this year they decided March would be better. Warmer! No fish house needed! And fish bite when it's warmer.
And they also decided to go all the way to Canada. They can stay at John's cabin! So what if they have to drive farther and deal with border guards and everybody needs a passport; it's free!
This trip, in my mind, is blinking with neon signs from God saying, "Bad idea. Skip it this year." Here's why:
1) Dave--the one who has the giant SUV that they can all fit in for the drive north--can't go this year. His wife is hugely pregnant. (Dave is the one in the yellow jacket.)
2) Doug's Jeep, despite repeated vacuumings, remains pretty full of dog hair. Mike (short, with glasses, giving the photog the finger) is seriously asthmatic and doesn't think he can handle riding in the Jeep.
3) So Chris will drive his Passat, instead. (Chris--big guy, far left.) A Passat. Ice fishing. Think the locals won't know he's a yuppie?
4) This means that Steve (dressed all in black) now has to drive alone straight to Duluth to meet John (fish cap on head, fish clenched in hand), so that the Passat doesn't get too crowded. Steve and John planned to head into Canada first, set up camp at John's cabin, and get in some early fishing while Doug and Chris and Mike are still on the road.
and then God spoke....
5) The forecast is for bitter cold. Much colder than it was in January. Like 30 degrees colder. So now they have to rent a fish house. And the cold front means fish almost certainly won't be biting.
6) Mike e-mailed from Chicago and said he thinks he's getting the flu.
7) John e-mailed from Duluth and said his truck has broken down. Needs a new transmission. They'll have to drive Steve's car to Canada, instead. That means they won't have a four-wheel drive and they need one for getting out onto the ice.
8) That means that Doug will have to drive the Jeep after all... (more futile vacuuming)
9) ...even though it means that Mike might wheeze and gasp and use his inhaler the whole six-hour drive north.
10) New forecast comes out; even colder than first predicted. Now they're saying a high of one below on Friday. A high. Of. One. Below.
My question: At what point do they realize this is a tremendous debacle, a bad idea, seriously awful timing, and call the whole damn thing off?
I mean, even if everything were going as planned, tell me: Is there anything bleaker than sitting out in a tin shack in the middle of a frozen lake freezing your ass off and trying desperately to catch a damn fish? Which, if truth be known, you're never going to eat anyway?