I think we - me and the kids - started a tradition last winter by sleeping out in the fish house (wife Shelley is not a lover of the cold, and her excuse for not joining us was that there were only four beds in the fish house).
Our decision this year was very spur of the moment, and we scrambled to get all of the necessities together so we could get out to the house for prime time.
The night of the sleepover - last Saturday - was a snowy one. We packed the pillows, sleeping bags, a couple of electronic games, Monopoly and some sleeping attire.
The next stop was the shop, where I had to gather the fishing equipment. Then it was off to Holiday, where I purchased $25 worth of goodies (mostly unhealthy ones except for a few bananas).
We were thinking of getting to the fish house and fishing for a while before heading into Rafferty's in Nisswa for dinner, but then decided to order to go and scooped up our pizza on the way out of town. Once to the fish house, the pizza was inhaled before I could get a line down the hole.
It was about 5 p.m. by the time we got situated, and Elizabeth wanted to get Monopoly rolling right away. I told her that we were going to fish for a while and could play in a bit.
The crappies were biting pretty good and we would alternate bringing fish up. That got kind of boring - for the kids - after about eight or so crappies in the bucket, so I told them that we could get the Monopoly game going.
After the game, a few more fish and some more ginger ale, it was time to make the beds. We didn't have mattresses and a slippery sleeping bag on a slippery piece of wood is about as uncomfortable as it can get.
Soon after, it was lights out and story time. Scary stories. I had a couple, but that was about it.
The fish pretty much shut off by 8 p.m. The cold front blew in about bedtime and the holes starting to slush-up, eventually freezing. And wow, was that ever a horrible night of rest. Mattresses are a must next year.
The heater needed to be cranked up in the morning and the milk that I had left outside overnight was rock hard, with the exception of a little slush. We managed to melt enough on top of the furnace to get everyone's cereal cup moist.
Before we packed up and got off the lake, the Ice Buster bobber went down one more time - it was crappie number 13, the biggest one of the trip. Nice job Mac Edward.
The kids were getting restless as I started to load the pickup, and as Alex pushed Elizabeth as she climbed her bunk, Elizabeth's leg went straight down the hole and she had water up to her thigh.
That was the end of this year's sleepover on the ice.
WALLEYEDAN Eigen may be reached at (218) 839-5598, walleyedan@brainerd. com or www.walleyedan.com.
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