Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Shoe in My Mouth

You know what I haven't done on this blog in a while?

Simply told a story.

When I first started this blog I thought I would talk exclusively about the writing life, the craft of fiction, and the pursuit of publication, but I soon got bored with that. And to tell the truth not many people read this blog when I tried to make every post a how-to article. It wasn't until I began sharing anecdotes of my crazy life that I built up much of a readership. I will always consider myself a storyteller first and a writer second.

I've told you about my days working for Earl at the Feedstore, my flight on Sasquatch Airlines, my first set of swats at school, and of course my days as a second rate mall Santa Claus. There are others but not lately so I thought today I'd don my storytelling hat and share a humorous tale about one of just many times my wife has contemplated murder. Hey, it ain't easy being hitched to me.

"What was that?"
I wanted to ignore the question and drift back to sleep but my wife's elbow jabbing my rib cage made that impossible.
"Wake up. Do you hear that?"
Wind driven rain lashed at the window and thunder rumbled the panes of glass."
"Yeah, it's raining." I rolled over out of elbow reach.
"The tornado sirens are going off!" Panic filled her voice, but being that she was about five months pregnant I didn't put too much store in that. Only a few night before she'd woken me up in a panic because she smelled ketchup. I had to get up and turn on the lights to show her no evil band of home invaders had stormed our house and began painting the walls with ketchup at three in the morning.

I listened half heartily for a few seconds and then said, "That's not the sirens. it's just a dog howling somewhere."

She flung the covers off and with a sigh headed for the living room. To tell the truth I was just glad that her pointy little elbows were now out of reach.

I heard the TV come on and the first words out of the weatherman's lips, "Their is a possible tornado over the Lake Tanglewood area."

Our property is about a hundred yards from Lake Tanglewood so I knew my night of peaceful slumber was over.

My wife had never been a worrier until our first son was born, but she has made up for that ever since. He was twenty months at the time and she immediately ran to his room at the opposite end of the house. All the while shrieking that there was a tornado and that I needed to get up.

We do not have a cellar but our neighbors across the road do so I swing my feet to the floor and began searching for a pair of pants since I didn't figure they wanted to see me in my boxers. At this point my wife flew into our room with my son in her arms. She barked a few more orders my direction and then grabbed the phone to dial the people across the dirt road to let them know we were headed their way.

As I was dressing the hail began to fall from the sky. The sound of the ice chicks striking the roof drowned out even the thunder, but not my wife when she noticed me lacing up my shoes.

"WE DON"T HAVE TIME TO PUT ON SHOES!" And she ran from our bedroom.

I found her a few seconds later in the living room. She was trying to tie one of the throw pillows from the couch onto our son's head.

"What are you doing?"
Wide-eyed she looked at me, "It's hailing. I don't want him to get hurt."
"Give him to me," I said. Stuffing him inside the flap of the raincoat I'd just put on I turned to my wife. "Follow me. We're gonna have to run hard."

The rain and wind swirled when I opened the door and I leaned forward in an awkward stance to run so that the trunk of my body would shield my son from the rain and hail. By this point the hail as only pea sized.

I slogged through my front door and the ankle deep river of mud that was the road between out house and the safety of the a cellar. My neighbor's wife was on their front porch when I made the fifty yard dash. I handed her my son and turned back to help my wife, but she was no where to be seen. I started across the yard calling her name and then I spotted her on her back in the mud and muck of the dirt road.

As lighting crashed all around I helped her to her feet and we scramble for their house. They brought her a towel and a change of clothes as she explained that her feet had slipped because of her flip-flops.

I shouldn't have, but I did say, "You should have taken time to put on real shoes like I did."

Yep, I was met with an icy glare.

We stayed at the neighbor's for several hours as the storm passed. A tornado never did touch down and as dawn broke the rain had let up to the point that I was more than ready to head home. So our little family started back for home in a slight sprinkle.

My wife took one step onto the muddy road and .. You guessed it fell again.

And of course I said, "Bet you wish you'd have put on real shoes now." She wouldn't even take the hand I offered to help her get up."


Lisa said...

Great story! Reminds me of a few of my own :)

Bubblewench said...

That is a great story! Nice to see inside the "life of Travis" again! It has been awhile! You're one lucky man... your wife must be a saint!

Monnik said...

I love this story too!

but man... you need to hold your tongue. Smart-mouthing a pregnant woman who lost her balance and fel... You're a brave man, Travis. I'm surprised an icy glare is all she threw at ya.

debra said...

What a great story---well told.
BTW---does the T-shirt fit?

Jenster said...

Oh no you di'int! What's with you men? My husband once yelled over the wind for me to take the kids to the neighbor's cellar while he hung on to his precious red bud tree. I told him until he upped his life insurance at work he was going, too!

Barrie said...

Very funny! Thanks for sharing.

WordVixen said...

Bwahahah! Smart woman. I'd have gotten up and then pushed my husband straight down into the mud if he'd said that to me.

Well, no, I wouldn't. But I'd have wanted to.

The start of the story reminds me of the night I woke my husband up screaming that there was a skunk in my second floor apartment bedroom. Yes, I'd heard the crunch of a plastic bag, and there was a strong smell of skunk. At that time of morning, logic like "how would a skunk get into the apartment, let alone a second floor apartment?" doesn't enter into the thought pattern.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think they put that under the label "rubbing it in." And it usually doesn't help, especially if you have to live with that particularl individual.

JM said...

And you still have all of your limbs?

Beatrice, Bea, Bibi--That's me! said...

I can just see/hear all this! Great story!

preTzel said...

I'm still chuckling. Home invaders. Ketchup. LOLOLOL! Her falling? Not funny. She was pregnant. The funny part would have been her slugging you and then *you* falling in the mud. But, I am female and I stongly believe in vengeance so you're lucky to be married to her kind self and not me. :o)

Travis - I do agree with you that your story telling is wonderful. It's like sitting at grandpa's knee with the smell of BenGay and Old Spice mingling together to make this noxious odor that makes your eyes water but you forget all of that the minute the story begins. Bravo!~

Janna Leadbetter said...

Typical husband. :P

Gregory Anderson said...

And, in an amazing display of boldness, Travis now puts this out by the road every time it rains.

Clair D. said...

You just have the two kids? This might explain it... ;-)

Though, I'm on your side, Travis. I'm sure it took longer to help her out of the mud than it would have to put on real shoes in the first place.

Spy Scribbler said...

What killed me was she didn't think you guys had enough time to put on shoes, but she had time to try to craft a pillow into a hat.

That's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

You're lucky, very, very lucky...

Barbara Martin said...

Great story and if your wife finds out you wrote that for public viewing, you may be sleeping on the couch.

Robin said...

Too funny Travis, that same night we had the tornado's "out west". I don't have a basement either and I was hanging out on the side of the road with the storm chasers that had the doppler was fun until they said "oh shit..we have to head south!" Got a little tickle in my tummy then! So grabbed a bunch of confused motorists hanging about my house (I live on the highway, but in the country.) and took them to "my" neighbors...they just love Robins altruism I assure you! The funny thing? Another neighbor was there, her two year old was wearing a pillow hat that was cross stitched and read "I miss my ex-husband...but my aim is improving." Careful Travis, that it doesn't become your epitaph! I concur, your wife is a saint and like God, has a sense of humor by taking you on! Great story! You are prevaricator extraordinaire! I have this insane need to be a story teller too...but I used to get grounded for it. Being a "story teller" used to have such a bad connotation! But when I eventually get paid for it they will say, "I encouraged that her whole life!"

I love coming into my office and seeing what you have to say today...especially as another storm just rolled by me and is headed your way...good luck!

Mary Ann said...

So funny. Does she laugh about it now?

Patti said...

i would have taken my flip-flops off and beaten you with them. and i love that this story is very wizard of ozish...

ssas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ssas said...

Too funny, Travis.

My latest is the other night, after driving all day, and, er...doing that thing you can't do when you're on a family vacation, I wanted to watch tv, I recalled that my glasses had been left in my suitcase.

Three floors away in our basement.

So hubbin (full of warm feelings and good will) trumped downstairs to get them for me. And I was asleep when he brought them back.
And he didn't even give me shit about it the next day!!

He's so lucky to have me.

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. She really tried to tie a pillow around his head? That is too cute!

So glad you were all okay.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Travis, wow. Wow, wow, wow. I just read The Simplest of Sounds. It was amazing. I felt in it, and I loved the back-and-forth between the past and present. VERY well done. :)

Terrie Farley Moran said...


That is a great story. And it is very true--we who are not the worrying kind become massive worriers as soon as we have kids.


Sam said...

"I told you so" are among the most infuriating words in the English language, lol.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

You made those comments to a pregnant woman, not once but TWICE, and she let you live?

You are a lucky, lucky man . . . :-P

Travis Cody said...

I started my blog as a place for my poetry and other writings too. Then it just kind of evolved into posts about my interests.

I enjoyed the story! I've never been in a tornado. But I have experienced many severe rain storms with high winds.

Lyndi Lamont said...

And I bet she's real thrilled to have you sharing this story with the world. ;) Just kidding. Great storytelling, Travis.

Linda, glad she doesn't live in tornado country

texlahoma said...

Great story!
You were a brave man to make the "real shoes" statement the second time.
My wife woke me up because she could hear "water running in the pipes" and we were the only ones at home. After I got up to investigate she remembered that she'd turned on the dishwasher before going to bed.

Mom In Scrubs said...

I'm trying not to snort. The story is hilarious, but really hits home because JeepMan believes wholeheartedly that flip-flops are the root of all evil. I buy them for the kids just to get his goat!
Remember when "thongs" were flip-flops? Ah, those were the days...

Aaron said...


You could have left the story at her waking you up because she smelled ketchup and it would have been just as good. :)