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Steve Eaton: Anniversary celebration nearly leads to arrest

Published: Friday, Aug. 23 2013 4:36 p.m. MDT

There's nothing that can disrupt an anniversary celebration quite as permanently as felony charges. Ask your wife to look out for you if you think you may be prone to burglaries.

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Last weekend my wife and I traveled to St. George, Utah, to celebrate our 30th anniversary, and I almost ended up marking the event alone in a jail cell.

It is an unbelievable, wondrous and amazing thing that my wife even wanted to celebrate being married to me for 30 years. She surprised me by reserving a room at a very nice luxury resort for three nights. No other woman has ever done that for me before.

Our room opened onto its very own private walled-in patio with a gate that I think was designed to look like the resort was home to some very wealthy, pampered zoo animals.

All these zoo enclosures opened onto a central area where there was a nice pool that was open 24-hours a day. For some reason there didn’t seem to be many people who had decided to vacation in St. George in August, so most of the time the pool was empty.

Late one night my wild streak surfaced and I began to consider putting on a bathing suit and dashing for the pool, hoping I could get in without being seen. I’m just a tiny bit overweight, and being seen in public in a bathing suit is something I avoid during the workweek and on vacation. Barefoot and wearing cutoffs, I opened the gate to the unloved pool, walked over to the water and dipped in my toe. The temperature of the water was perfect and the pool looked so nice that I began to imagine I had amounted to something and had my own pool.

When I got back to the room I realized that I must have pulled the door shut behind me and as I tried to open it I realized it was either stuck or locked from the inside. After rattling the door for a few minutes, I knocked in hopes my wife would let me in. Instead, she surprised me by having her voice come to me from the neighboring courtyard.

“Honey, what are you doing?” she said with that alarmed tone she uses when she sees me taking initiative and doing home repairs. I could see the puzzled look on her face as I suddenly realized that I was not in our courtyard but was shaking and knocking on the doors of the room next door. Thankfully, no one was there.

I can only wonder how long it would have taken me to realize there was a problem if someone had opened the door and I had walked in to share with them the plan that had me so preoccupied.

How would you react if a barefoot fat guy in cutoffs woke you up in the middle of the night and came into your room to excitedly whisper, “There’s no one around. I think I’m going to change into a swimsuit and go swimming. No one will ever see me.”

This kind of thing runs in the family. My father once was frustrated when his rental car wouldn’t start. It took him just seconds to realize that he was in someone else’s car. There was no one else in the car to be alarmed by his mistake. Even if there had been and he had managed to start the car, I’m sure that once he heard sirens and coupled that with the screaming people in his car he would have immediately recognized he was accidentally kidnapping someone and would have surrendered to authorities. He’s very smart.

Speaking of smart people, we have a similar story that I sometimes tell about two people I know who got themselves into a felony fix. In order to protect the reputations of my wife, Barb, and my daughter, Sara, I’m not going to use names in this story. They don’t want to look stupid.

This very bright woman I know and her gifted daughter were going to garage sales when they came across an estate sale. It’s been only recently that we discovered an estate sale happens sometimes when someone wants an iPad or a trip to Maui so bad that they decide to sell everything in their parents' house, including their parents if they are still around, which they usually aren’t.

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