Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stomping win gets expected snide reaction

Spouse oblivious to glory of this victory

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I was feeling pretty proud of myself when I arrived home Wednesday night.

Not only had my team of local media personalities thrashed its way to a dramatic victory in the Winnipeg Wine Festival's annual Celebrity Grape Stomp in support of Special Olympics Manitoba -- my third straight win in a charity competition, if you must know -- but I managed to escape with all of my limbs and internal organs intact.

The thing is, while taking off your shoes, climbing into a barrel and stomping around in an erratic manner may sound like a non-lethal way to help raise funds and awareness for a good cause, it is also an activity fraught with peril.

A lot of things can happen to you when you are forced to spend two (bad word) minutes flailing around inside a grape-filled barrel, and most of them are bad, such as:

1) Due to the fact you are on an all-cheeseburger diet and have not exercised on a regular basis since the Liberals were in power, your heart, pounding like the drummer for a heavy metal band, will attempt to escape from your chest cavity like the drooling creature in the sci-fi classic Alien and then skitter around the floor in search of hors d'oeuvres;

2) You will break your big toe by smashing it into the side of the barrel, a fact you will not discover until you get out of the barrel because those (bad word) grapes are so (bad word) cold that your feet have been turned into two Hobbit-sized blocks of ice, but when someone shrieks and points at the floor, you will discover your mangled digit now resembles a mutant black-and-purple eggplant. Historical footnote: When you show your disfigured toe to your spouse, instead of sympathy, she will look at you and snort: "You're an idiot!"

3) After climbing out of the barrel, coated in a thick mucus-like layer of grape slime, you will briefly feel relieved because you have survived two minutes of intense cardiopulmonary exercise, but that feeling will evaporate when you slip on a huge puddle of grape juice, fly through the air and land flat on your back, mildly concussed and hugely embarrassed. Historical footnote: It is entirely possible this actually happened to a wine columnist at this newspaper, but I am too classy a columnist to mention that just to get a cheap laugh.

Getting back to my central point, when I arrived home Wednesday, I was feeling pretty smug, a fact I wanted to share with my long-suffering wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, who happened to be luxuriating in a hot bath at the time.

"HONEY!" I shouted, rapping on the bathroom door. "My team won the grape stomp for Special Olympics."

There was a brief pause. "That's nice, dear," is what my wife replied, her voice floating out from the tub, carried along on a cloud of steam.

"Honey," I sniffed, proudly, "I didn't even hurt myself this time."

There was another pause. "That's nice, dear," came her reply, in the sort of flat tone you would employ if you were having a heart-to-heart with a propane barbecue.

I felt a little disappointed, though, truthfully, I'm not sure what reaction I was expecting. A few years ago, when I returned home with a painful bruise in the buttocular region after a mishap while attempting a manoeuvre known as the "Fireman" during a pole-dancing class, I turned to my wife for sympathy. "You're an idiot!" was her medical opinion at the time.

Anyway, while my wife soaked, I drifted into the kitchen, looking to heal my wounded pride, with a late-night snack, and that's when I was violently attacked by our fridge. I wish I was kidding about this, but I am not.

You see, my wife wanted a brand-new fridge, but I said no way, so she replaced our perfectly fine old fridge with a slightly newer fridge a friend no longer wanted, but the problem is the freezer door on this replacement fridge refuses to stay closed and will, at random moments of its own choosing, fling itself open, which is what it did when I wandered into the kitchen, which is how I got walloped in the (bad word) face by the (bad word) freezer door, which caused me, a person who is easily startled at the best of times, to shriek ("WAAAAH!!!) like someone with a vital appendage caught in a bear trap.

This is when my wife, fresh from the bath, strolled in to see what I'd done wrong. I rubbed my face and glared at her.

"We need a new (extremely bad word) fridge!" I snorted indignantly.

A smile played on her lips. "I love you, dear," she finally cooed, then skipped away and climbed into bed.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2013 A2

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