Last Sunday, my sister-in-law, Monica, was telling me some of the many April Fools Day jokes her kids (there are 13 kids, so lots of potential for many, many jokes) had played on her and her husband, Thom.
She mentioned one that had to do with shoes and I said, "Hey, I did something like that to Hal before we were married."
She said, "I know, the joke was based off of what you did. It's legendary at our house."
Well, very rarely is anything I do considered even mildly entertaining, much less "legendary", so I thought I'd chronicle it here for posterity. It was kind of funny at the time.
First, let me tell you how we met.
Hal and I met at Cambridge Court apartments when we were both going to USU. I also had to work, doing drawing board drafting at LMC, and I would arrive home from work as he was getting home from his morning classes. We lived next door to each other and I would always give a short, "Hi." as we would each walk into our front doors, which were directly across from each other. I didn't get much back in the way of acknowledgement though. According to Hal, he would say "Hi." to me and I didn't say much back. Unfortunately there is no security footage to back me up on this one, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, one night I was running up the stairs to another neighbors' apartment. There was a group of people gathered around outside Hal's bedroom window. He was telling jokes from inside his room. I have to say, he is the worst joke teller I have ever heard. He'd get through a whole elaborate set-up and then say, "Oh wait, I forgot the punch line."
He would then proceed to tell another, equally elaborate joke, only to forget that punch line too. I can't believe all those people actually stuck around to hear more. (He still can't tell a decent joke. The only one he knows is "What's Irish and stays out all night? "Patty O'Furniture." He pulls it out every St. Patrick's Day and on other special occasions. We try not to roll our eyes too much.)
Anyway, from then on I had something to talk to him about. I'd either ask if he'd heard any good jokes lately or entertain him with one from my own repertoire. After that we became somewhat friendly. I didn't think of him as boyfriend material for a long time though, because I thought he was younger than me. It was only after I'd found out that he had already been on a mission AND he was a senior and about to graduate, that I gave him my full attention.
Now, back to the shoes:
When we started going places together, it would take a long time for Hal to leave his apartment because he had a ton of shoes to choose from. I've never seen any other guy who has as many pairs of shoes as Hal had in that bedroom. And they were ALL over the bedroom (even under his roommate's bed). I'm surprised his roommate put up with it. Hal would pick up a shoe to wear and then search all over for the matching shoe. After a while, he'd throw that one down and pick up another shoe to try and find the match so he could wear it. Eventually he'd give up on that one too. I must have been in love, because I don't think I'd have the patience to deal with that these days. I'm sure he was late for a lot of things just because he couldn't find two matching shoes.
One day my roommate, Michelle Hoekstra, and I decided to play a little joke on Hal. He had a baseball game so we had roughly an hour and we barely had enough time to get it pulled off. We walked into his apartment and started gathering up all his shoes and lining them up in the hallway by the matching shoes. I am still amazed by the sheer amount of shoes that were hiding in that bedroom. As we were about halfway through the process, we saw Hal's roommate, Matt Fisher, walk past the window and make his way to the front door. We ran around like crazy people, slamming into each other, trying to find a place to hide. First we hid in the other bedroom, but then we worried that one of those guys might come home too. Then, as Matt was actually walking into the front door, we ran across the living room into the bathroom. I know he saw us. We waited to see what he would do. It seemed like we were in that bathroom forever. Finally we peeked out and he was sitting at the kitchen table, calmly eating a bowl of cereal. We came out and asked him why he didn't wonder what we were doing. He said he thought we were visiting the other roommate and that he was chasing us so he didn't worry about it. We explained what we were really doing and easily recruited him into helping us.
We continued lining up all the shoes, which took a lot longer than we had expected, so it was a good thing there were now three of us. After sorting them into pairs, we threw all the right shoes into garbage bags. Then we dragged all the garbage bags full of shoes into the maintenance room of our apartment and hurried back just in time for Hal to arrive home from the game. On his feet was a red pair of cleats.
We acted casually, like we were just there visiting Matt. Hal asked if we wanted to go to a movie with him and a few (other girl) friends. We told him, "Sure, we'd love to go."
Then he said what he always said, "Let me just find some shoes."
We got comfortable.
He grabbed a shoe and started searching. Then he gave up and tossed that one and grabbed another shoe. No luck there either. I'm sure he picked up some of the same ones more than once. It didn't dawn on him for a long time that anything might be up. The rest of us did a pretty good job acting like we normally would, so he wouldn't get suspicious.
Finally we confessed, because we were getting tired of waiting. By then the movie had started and the others had gone on ahead. Hal took it pretty well and even laughed along with us.
You'd think it would have cured him of his shoe problem, but unfortunately, it didn't. He was just as messy as ever with his shoes.
He has gotten better over the years, though because there can only be one shoe diva in the house and that honor belongs to me.