What I did during the lockdown

Fly fishing guide and columnist, Don Oliver, ties on a dry fly in anticipation of the morning ahead, fishing for trout along Lime Creek — one of his favorite haunts.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

My email inbox has been filled with things to do during the stay-at-home edict. They have ranged from making the house spotless, finishing your entire honey-do list, gaining weight, and developing a serious drinking problem. Not to be left out, I also accomplished some good things while staying home.

Two weeks ago, SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) found me standing in her closet. When she asked me what I was doing, I told her I had some suggestions on how she could rearrange her closet and drawers. SWMBO promptly told me not to touch anything in her closet, and to stay out of her drawers. She said that without even hearing my really good ideas. SWMBO then gently took me by the hand, led me to my man-room, and said, “Start here, when you’re finished, I’ll have a new list for you.”

So, that’s where I started on my list of worthwhile things to do while quarantined at home. Since SWMBO had never set foot in the man-room to help clean it, the picking up and rearranging was going to take some time. I generally do better when smoking a cigar, so I started with my humidor. I put the cigars in an order determined by brand, length, and ring size. I also set my cutter and lighter by the humidor. With that successfully done I lit a cigar to help me tackle the rest of the job.

I next went to my fly rods. Having been a fly fishing guide for a number of years I managed to accumulate a large number of fly rods. Some I bought, some I inherited, some just materialized. At least that’s what I told SWMBO. I divided the rods by saltwater and freshwater. Next, they we’re divided by the material they were constructed from. Lastly, they were divided by line weight. I then went to my reels. They were put into two categories, salt and freshwater. These categories were further divided by their line weights. Extra spools were placed next to the reels they would fit.

I now had cigars, rods, and reels organized in a manner that made selecting the correct item for the day easier. I lit another cigar to help me through the next task, my tying bench.

I decided to start at the top and work my down. I opened all the drawers and meticulously arranged everything in each drawer by material, color, and size. I then committed to memory everything that was in each drawer. That way I wouldn’t have to dig around in the various drawers looking for gray hackle. Next was the surface of the bench. This is where all the hard work takes place.

The first thing I did was put all the scraps of tying stuff into various piles. The piles were arranged, again, by material, color, and size. Anything that was too small to use went into the trash. It was amazing how much trash I had saved. Next was my box of hooks. I dumped all the hooks onto the desk and separated them by size. I was surprised at how many size-18’s there were compared to other sizes. My friends at the fly shops will be happy to know I need some bigger hooks. I did draw the line at counting all the hooks.

To go with the hooks were all the various types of thread. Again, I separated them by material, size, and color. It is amazing all the different types of material used in threads for tying flies. As I was doing the separation, I did discover I had purchased numerous spools of the exact same thread. For me, being in the tying section of a fly shop is like a kid being in a candy store. Just one more treat couldn’t possible hurt. Normally all the drawers holding flies would have been next. However, by some strange insightfulness of things to come, I had earlier arranged all my flies into two new cabinets of drawers.

With all this hard work done, I poured an adult beverage, leaned back in my chair, and admired my handiwork. It was beautiful to behold. I will now be able to grab what I need for a day of fly fishing in ten minutes.

I did such a good job in the man room, as-soon-as SWMBO leaves the house for a day I’ll be able to get into her closet and drawers and do the same for her. She’ll be really proud of me.

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