Family outings are always a mixed blessing. I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband, but in small frequent doeses ideally. An easy accessable exit is always a plus as well, in case I need a pause from the mini-mite battle royal and my husband's redneck routine. So to say I was less than thrilled about being dragged onto "The Mudpuppy" ( the affectionate name for my husband's small john boat) after a fulll day of work was truly an understatement. Something about small children with pent up energy in an enclosed setting didn't convey relaxation.
Despite my grumblings, come Friday evening I found myself being eaten by mosquitos and lectured on proper fishing technique from the bow of The Mudpuppy. We cruised up and down the Econ and St John rivers all in search of the big one. My fish whisperer hubby at the helm doning his traditional flip flops, jeans, off beat humor t-shirt and of course the sacred Dale Jr hat. Just when I thought I may have to break down and admit this was a pleasurable outing, the traditonal Rupe pay-per-view event began to unfold.
Through the marsh grass the poke heard round the swamp was felt. My son screams and yells "MOM!" "She poked me and won't stop...make her quit!" Then I glare at my 5 year old nemisis. This petite, sprite like girl normally envokes visions of a sweet little angel from those less familar with her true nature. Don't let those baby blues fool you! Under her sweet facade is a take no prisoners tyke who never relents nor waves a white flag. Just as the grouchy Mom almost reared her head to snap at the peanut gallery some little voice held my tongue.
My daughter's eyes lit up and she began to frantically point toward the water. Skeptical that she may be simply employing a diversion, I turned my gaze. There swiming with a small pink life jacket was Annabelle! Annabelle is a dachshund-poodle mix I groom every month for the past year. I couldn't believe it! Had I finally let the grooming madness envelope me?
As she paddled along, I traced her path back to a small white canoe. There waving like Ms America was dad who obviously had registered that the woman on the verge of a conniption fit was Annabelle's groomer. Silently, I thanked the heavens for steading my temper only moments before. We all waved back and my kids oggled over the small puppy with the pink manicure to match her pink life jacket.
With our parting, I was so grateful that my client had not witnessed what could have unfolded. I would have never dreamt that on a secluded stretch of river I would run into a client. For heaven's sake there are more gators than people out there, what were the odds. Despite the baffling odds against our meeting, fact is it still occured and reminded me that you never know when you might cross paths with a client, current or potential, at the least convenient time. I used to tease my grandmother about getting into full war paint and regala for a trip to the grocery store. However, after this occurance it doesn't seem so ridiculous. Just remember that when out in pubilc you are on a stage and your actions off the clock still have the potential to effect your business reputation.