April Fool’s Day is a Big Deal in my household.
Our pranks over the years have ranged from minor to complex, and from groan-producing to panic-inducing.
Greased doorknobs and short-sheeted beds? Mere inconveniences. Finding out that school isn’t really canceled due to a burst water pipe? Disappointing. Turning on my computer to see the “blue screen of death”? Heart palpitations.
While the kids and I get into the foolery, my husband usually remains above the fray. With no kids living at my home this year, I didn’t have any plans for April 1.
But pulling pranks is deeply ingrained in me, as it is in my dad. He has always been a trickster, a teaser, a jokester, a pest. Even now, in advanced stage Alzheimer’s and unable to speak, he will lean toward me, ever so slowly, staring intently into my eyes, as if he’s going to whisper something or kiss me on the cheek. But at the last second, he abruptly pulls back, and then laughs.
Really, Dad? You can’t remember I’m your daughter, but you can still remember how to joke? That’s enough to make me cry. Instead, I choose to see the humor in it.
Perhaps it was the visit with my dad on Sunday that inspired me to attempt an April Fool’s joke on Monday. On my husband.
With no fresh ideas, I chose the tried-and-true kitchen sprayer prank. Before leaving for work that morning, I stealthily rubber banded the kitchen sink sprayer into the “on” position, so that my husband would get squirted when he turned on the faucet to rinse his cereal bowl later.
But then I went to rinse my coffee cup and drenched myself, and had to blow-dry my sweater and blouse and then be all in a rush getting to work, still soggy. Happy April Fool’s Day, fool!
But the trap was still intact, and I spent the morning happily — albeit damply — imagining my husband getting soaked.
I arrived home for lunch only to discover that he hadn’t eaten breakfast and thus hadn’t fallen prey to my scheme. Yet. I carefully avoided squirting myself while fixing my lunch, reset the rubber band, and left again knowing he’d be home before I returned.
I got home again late afternoon and found him there, but still dry. I de-banded the sprayer to fix dinner, then re-banded it and left him to do the dishes while I went to a rehearsal.
I returned after 9 p.m. and entered the house cautiously, sure he would be out for revenge by this time. Instead I discovered that I hadn’t wrapped the rubber band tightly enough, so he’d escaped my Fool once again.
It was a Dick Dastardly moment: “Drat, drat and triple drat!”
In one last attempt for the day, I banded the sprayer tightly and went to bed, then whined for him to please get me a drink of water. He complied, but used the refrigerator dispenser instead of the kitchen faucet.
I fell asleep, dreaming he’d spray himself in the morning, and it would just have to be a day-late Fool, which was better than nothing.
Alas, he went to the kitchen on April 2 and found a flood. I’d left the faucet slightly dripping when I tightly fixed the sprayer so that, during the night, water had slowly trickled down the sprayer, through its hole in the sink, along the hose, into and out of the recycle bin in the cabinet below, and onto the floor.
The Foolee didn’t say a word, just calmly toweled up the water and set up a space heater to dry things out.
Days have passed, and the water from my April Fool’s Day prank has all dried up. But there are ripples across the hardwood floor now, and a spot on the ceiling in the basement. That’s enough to make me cry.
Instead, I choose to look for a lesson in it. Besides the reminder that my husband is a very good sport, you can probably guess what else I gleaned from this situation ...I need to get some better rubber bands.