I just read one of the most stunning, honest posts I think I have ever read.
My Hat is off to One Bug Is Fake for rocking some good old fashioned angst. Don't mistake what I am saying here: I hope he finds his peace. I really do. What I AM saying is that it takes balls the size of church bells to get that honest in such a public manner.
Thanks to OBIF, I feel empowered to spew a little honesty of my own. Life seems to be hitting below the belt lately here at the MacLoosh mansion, so here goes:
I don't want to be typing right now. No offense, but I really wish I was in a place where having a laptop a "smart phone" and an internet connection would be both useless, and pointless.
Where is this place that I would rather be?
Next to a nice, but not too big of a fire. My only concern would be to keep the fire going to ward off the cool October evening. The noise that I would hear, would NOT be the tap tap tap of a keyboard. It would be the crackling of finely split oak in the process of pyrolysis.
In this fantasy of mine, the biggest stress I would face would be getting from the fire to my sleeping bag. When I wake up, some warm coffee, and the work of getting ready for the next night: collecting more fire wood, camp maintenance, time spent in the woods or just lounging at the campsite, and making simple meals over an open fire that are seasoned to taste with a healthy dose of hunger.
I think a week would be a good start. From there, I would re-evaluate whether or not I was ready to enter the "real" world again.
Would fishing be included in this little fantasy of mine? Maybe, maybe not. I can't say for sure. If I were to go without fishing...I think that even I could live with that.
What would NOT be included? I'd love to give you a list of reasons, but I don't want to give those stresses any more energy than they deserve. I am guessing you could probably come up with your own list anyway.
I don't like pie. Especially humble pie. But even as my life marches on, and I have ample opportunity to eat said delicacy, I haven't acquired a taste for it yet.
With the "off" season for Wisconsin inland trout fishing in full swing now, I spent some time cleaning up my fly tying station. A little re-arranging here, organizing there, and general preparedness for the upcoming winter was just what the doctor ordered last weekend.
With the lab in good shape, and a hearty Bloody Mary in hand, I settled in for some good old fashioned "MacLoosh" time at the vise. What quickly became apparent was that I am sorely out of practice. I had figured that I would start off with a nice simple pattern that I have tied more times than I care to admit. A bead head pheasant tail.
It was, in a word: clunky. I can't quite figure out what wasn't clicking correctly, but I have never had to work so hard to come up with truly un-refined flies in my life. That muscle memory that I was planning on utilizing, had flown the coop. Is it possible that fly tying is a use it or lose it skill? Had I already lost it? I was starting to wonder.
I suffered through a few mediocre PT's, then promptly said "to hell with it" and switched to an activity that I am REALLY good at: drinking. We all have our innate talents and alcohol consumption is among mine. And,Yes...that's right...I can work up one hell of a good Bloody Mary in a time of need...
Fast forward to tonight, when my son asked me to go to the basement with him for some "guy time". I was all in. I had visions of the two of us having a farting contest and talking smack while I tied flies. But as soon as I hit the basement and took a long look at my last effort (still sitting in the vise), I said "well, what do you want to do?". I was hoping for an answer that was ANYTHING other than tie flies. I just didn't have it in me tonight.
His answer was to do origami with him. (He has been VERY into origami lately)
Sure, I said. No small amount of relief in my voice. Teach me something simple. In a flash he had the computer fired up and was Googling "Simple origami". We mutually agreed on a flower pattern neither of us have ever done, figuring we would give the fruits of our labors to Mrs. MacLoosh. (With the obvious unsaid ulterior motive in the back of both of our minds...already counting the brownie points we could score with a few folds of paper...)
After nearly an hour of suffering through vague online instructions and multiple pieces of paper, my son noticed that I was starting to unravel. Like a true diplomat, he put his own flower down to help me. I was floored at his ability to work through the problems that I had created with errant and sloppy folds. I was also floored at my own inability to follow simple directions.
So as he corrected my paper flower as much as he could, I wondered if I shouldn't have just sucked it up and gone straight to the lab for some fly tying while he did origami. I might have fared better, that's for damn sure.
What I now know for certain is that the next time I am having a hard time getting into the swing of tying flies, I am sure as hell not going to turn to origami as a back up plan.
Oh, and those brownie points we were supposed to earn?
As I begin typing this note, I am struck by my own apparent wild mood swings. (My wife is nodding her head in agreement right now...)
What is obvious to her, is not always obvious to me. Tonight, however, I fully realize the different ends of the spectrum that I have a tendency to inhabit. This dichotomy strikes me as somewhat comical and makes itself perfectly clear in my online ramblings. For those with a short memory, just a week ago, I had a meltdown. I (intentionally) brought my angst and poor parenting etiquette into full public view here on the MacLoosh Chronicles. Partially for the sake of humor, and partially to help relieve some of the pressurized air that I was breathing; I ranted.
With a full 180 degree swing, I was struck today with a moment of absolute peace. It happened without warning, in the middle of a hectic day, but it was a very welcome feeling.
I heard a poem that took me right back to the stream.
As I sit here in the off season, dreaming of next year's adventures, and remembering this last season's worth of fishing, this poem takes me there.
I think (hope), that my fellow anglers out there will understand immediately. Enjoy.
So here is the set-up: Mrs. MacLoosh is away on business. That leaves me solely in charge (stated with a smirk on my face) of two very active kids.
Experience has taught me that once I lose control of any given situation, that means that the whole shittin' thing is in danger of collapse. Once chaos has raises its ugly head, it has staying power. Trust me.
In tune with that, today was nothing less than a slippery slope to the kind of pandemonium that only a deranged clown on meth could come up with. This happened DESPITE my concerted efforts to keep a lid on things. That's right. When the wheels begin to slide...the harder I hit the breaks, the worse the slide gets. Sailors call it a "yaw", when describing a deviation from the direct course.
With the above in mind, it shouldn't have surprised me when my son started in with the questions after a slight case of road rage with associated Tourrret's syndrome on my part. I may or may not have even made up a few new swear words while spewing at a knucklehead driver today.
My boy was in the vehicle to witness my meltdown My daughter, thankfully, wasn't. He is very literal, that boy of mine. He thinks in black and white terms, so when I started inventing adjectives; his mind needed answers.
With the frustration of people who need remedial driving lessons fresh on my mind, coupled with the sudden awareness of what I had just said in front of my son.....he asked, in the way only a kid can ask: Dad? If that person is a pigfucker, does that mean they do bad things to pigs?
I think I did a nice job of keeping my own vehicle on the road as the blood drained from my head. I was (admittedly) blinded by the simple desire to say "Yes, son. I am pretty sure that asshole was having his way with Wilbur when he should have been driving".
Instead, I copped out. Big time. My reply? "So buddy, Bean is eating with the neighbors...what do you want, McDonalds or Culver's?" Thankfully, he took the bait. Culver's it was. "Hamburger or chicken strips?" "I think I want a corn-dog". Sounds good..A corn-dog it is.
Still not 100% out of the woods, the drive through dork nearly pushed me over the edge again. It went something like this:
I'd like a kids corn-dog meal with a chocolate milk.
"you want a side of corn? What would you like for a meal?"
That is a CORN DOG KIDS MEAL WITH CHOCOLATE MILK.
Snickering, and a condescending tone out of the blue squawk box: Oh, OK, that is a CORN DOG KIDS MEAL WITH CHOCOLATE MILK. WOULD YOU LIKE ANYTHING ELSE?
Do you just want to go home?
Yes. More than anything.
I bet you want a beer, huh?
Yes. More than anything.
The night really didn't get better from there. With Mrs. MacLoosh out of town, even the dog is out of alignment. So with a tip of my Bud Light, from the safety of my home: I toast to all the peckerwood drive through smart-asses and idiot drivers out there. Touche'. This round goes to you.
It's 4:30 am. I am awake and coherent. This only happens when I am going fishing. Can't be too many other reasons to be up at such an ungodly hour on a Saturday. Right?
Not so much.
Today's impending visit with the sunrise is courtesy of a sick little girl. Guessing by the way things have gone so far, those chocolate chip pancakes for dinner had something to do with this. She has been puking for a while now. About every 15-20 minutes we go another round. Fun. But she is 6, and in the way only a daughter can do-has tugged so hard at my heartstrings that I wouldn't think of doing anything else but offering moral support, and dutifully rinsing the "puke bucket" as needed, getting it ready for the next round. Then wrapping her back up in her blanket and laying a hand on her foot so she knows I am here.
She is tired, so between rounds, she snoozes. Sorta. And by the looks of things, she is starting to work through those pancakes and is down to stomach bile. A good sign because that usually marks the beginning of the end.
I'm tired too, but in a rare moment, I am not consumed with stress of my own. Feels good to be here for her, but I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge my own calm mind.
This picture was stolen from the internet
On Monday October 8, the MacLoosh Chronicles turns 1 year old. I'm not sure it is as much a "birthday" as it is an "Anniversary"? I'm not sure it matters either. Semantics..I suppose, because either definition meets the same intent. A chance to look both forward and backwards. An exercise that I believe is necessary if a site like this is to survive.
Looking back, I can say with some certainty that I have learned a hell of a lot, although I am not always confident that my grammar has improved. :) Topping the highlight list: This goofy blog has offered me chances to fish with old friends and meet lots of new friends. Having gone from a primarily solitary fisherman to sharing the stream with such good folk has certainly heightened my experience. With a little bit of luck, that trend will continue next year.
Looking forward, well...I am just not sure. The blog survived the summer, which I understand as the time where blogs sort of......die.. because we would all rather be out in the fresh air swinging feathers, beads and tiny hooks. At this moment, the blog has it's own URL. Yes, thanks to a friend who knows more about this kind of thing than I do, www.macloosh.com will point your browser our direction. This same friend has piqued my interest in some "other" aspects of managing a website. What does that mean? I'm not sure myself, but I am certainly going to entertain any way possible to make this site better.
I have also tried to take cues from some peers out there. While this blogger and I haven't met in person, he sure did a nice job of exploring some of these thoughts. Check out the Functioning Fishaholics and his post about Shutting down the site. For what it's worth, I am glad that he has decided to keep his site up.
By the way, Sweets hasn't ralphed in nearly 40 minutes. At the risk of being too optimistic, I think this is winding down for her. At least I hope it is. Now all that will be left will be to keep her from eating after she decides that she is REALLY hungry.
Anyway, at one year old, the MacLoosh Chronicles wants to say thank you for being a part of this last year. It has been a lot of fun, and I hope to keep you coming back.
To that end, please don't hesitate to leave comments or to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org