A realistic view of things that are learned through the first couple years of parenthood.
As I write this, I’ve been a parent for 1,344 days, and a parent of two kids for 516 days. I’m by no means an expert, but I think I’m getting OK at it. According to what I hear on the news nowadays, I think I’m in the top 90th percentile. This isn’t going to be one of those “parenting is the best job in the world” bits, I promise. There is a lot that I have already learned as a parent, a lot more left to learn, but here is what I know so far. This is the real sh*t I’ve learned.
1.) I’ve never almost counted to three so many times in my life.
I tried a bidet this past weekend. That’s all you need to know.
I’ll bet that got your attention!
So this past weekend, my family and I were invited to the family cabin of our good friends Adam & Bridget. Side-note check out Adam’s photography business. Dude knows how to use a camera! ADH Creative Solutions. My family made the “family section” see if you can find me, 10 points if you can.
Anyways, I’ll do my best to set the scene for you without losing all of my followers and grossing you out. . .
So as I start this post, it’s 9pm on Saturday, May 26th and I’m 3 Captain Morgan & Sprites deep right now, so we’ll see how this post goes. Spelling and grammar could become an issue later in the post as the Captain takes over. The timeline might not make sense either-because I’m not going to do the whole thing in one shot. You’ve read my blog, its never only 2 paragraphs…Anyways, this is the first post I’ve written sitting by a campfire surrounded by in-laws; hence the Captain & Sprite (kidding guys—if you read this).
I don’t post nearly as much as I wanted to when I started itmightbemike.com. I had big dreams of doing 4 posts, gaining 23 million followers and making stacks of cash off advertisement placement. So far, I’ve earned $.37 since the blog started and no big endorsement deals yet… I’m barely making enough to cover my typing costs.
Anyways, I have gotten so many people reach out to tell me how much they enjoy the blog. Kate’s cousin John (John’s wife Michelle took the above picture…more on that later) told me “yeah, they’re….they’re….yeah-they’re pretty good” when referring to my blog posts-and John just doesn’t pass out compliments willy-nilly. So, thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my lengthy blog posts. I genuinely enjoy when people tell me that they enjoy the posts. So, again-thank you! Conversely, if you don’t like them-please never tell me because I can’t take it, but I’ve covered that before.
Memorial Weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year! Something about the 3 day weekend to start the summer off just seems to hit the spot. Also, tied along with Memorial Day is Bass Opener. I love fishing for bass; they fight hard, they’re generally easy to catch for a part-time fisherman like myself; and early in the year when the water is cold-they taste pretty good. Please know that I’m very aware that Memorial Day isn’t for me to have a 3 day weekend to go fishing and golfing. It is a time when we reflect on the men and women we have lost serving our Country so that wimps like me who don’t serve our Country, can go fishing and golfing whenever we want to.
To those who have served or currently serve…Thank you.
Every year we go up to Area Lake in Central Minnesota to catch some bass. My in-laws and I always have a competition between the two boats. 9 times out of 10, my brother in-law Rob and myself win the competition between my other brother-in-law, Dan; and father-in-law, Ryan.
This year, was number 10.
The night before launch, my cousin-in-law (is that a thing?—I’m calling it a thing), Mark texted me and said “I’d be willing to fish with you and Rob, if you had an extra spot and extended an invitation”. Well, Rob and I delineated for hours over the decision. Do we dare offset the delicate balance that has existed in the 1984 Lund that has been so good to us the past several years? Well, Mark is good people, so we decided to let him join in the fun.
Heading over to our favorite spot on Area Lake, the boat motor hiccupped, gagged, and then projectile vomited. We had been zipping the across the lake at break-neck speeds, when all of a sudden we were dead in the water. Luckily, we had Firestone Auto’s finest mechanic sitting center position in the boat. So, I expected Mark to pop up and MacGyver something out of a gum wrapper, empty beer can, 5” piece of fishing line, and the anchor. Unfortunately, he doesn’t work on boat motors.
We were only about ¼ of a mile to the honey-hole, so my father and brother-in-law had no trouble pulling us the rest of the way, ribbing us the entire way—which was expected, of course. So, that is story of the picture above: John & Michelle and Jeremy & Betsy (that’s right, I’m calling you all out by name) thought it would be fun to take a picture of us getting towed instead of, I don’t know…helping. Well the picture turned out pretty darn cool looking, so jokes on them. I think we caught more fish per person than they did anyways. ;)
Anyways, as you can imagine, Rob was a bit upset that his boat wasn’t working on one of the most important fishing weekends of the year. He wasn’t necessarily complaining-just negative, as was I. Well, the aforementioned Mark, who is having open heart surgery at the end of June (with a 1 month old at home), spoke up and said “Ok, I’m having open heart surgery in a month—so, only positive vibes in this boat!”.
It was at that time, that both Rob and I decided that maybe a boat motor lower unit wasn’t that important.
We spent the rest of the morning making fun of each other, laughing excessively, sharing stories of marriage and parenting, and generally talking smart; all while catching a couple fish. It was genuinely one of the most fun times that I’ve had in a boat. One of those times where you remember laughing your ass off, but you don’t remember any specifics or why you laughed. It was tons of fun! We trolled around for another 3 hours before deciding to head home, knowing it was going to take at least an hour to get home at a top trolling speed of 30lbs thrust.
While on the troll home, we went over a spot of the lake that was about 75’ deep and I thought “why not try to catch a sea monster” and threw a deep dive Rapala over the edge of the boat and caught….
A snail. An actual, literal, real life, slow-moving snail. In 50’ of water. Here’s the picture.
Saturday afternoon, after we limped the boat home, the in-law cousins came over for a fish fry from the morning’s catch. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing Kate’s aunt Mary brought potato salad. But, it was a lot of fun watching all of the “grandkids” playing together for a couple hours. Even if it did involve yelling “KEEP THE SAND IN THE SANDBOX” at least 43 times.
Sunday morning, we decided to head over to Carlos Creek Winery to sample some wines. I’ve sampled them all-I’m a Wine Club Member (humble brag), but it’s free and it’s a 5 mile drive from The Lone Birch (a name that has been bestowed upon the cabin due to one birch tree on the property). They had a food truck, but only served burgers, hot dogs, fries, and cheese curds. I was a bit disappointed because when I heard “Food Truck”, I expected to see tens of tens of food trucks lining the driveway of the winery, not one tiny truck parked in an handicap space. Whatever, it was overpriced good food and we had a great time tasting wine. If you’re in Central Minnesota—give Carlos Creek Winery a shot, they have a very good selection of different wines from dry reds to sweet white dessert wines.
Kate and I always have a habit of kind of “going with the flow” with whatever plans are made, which makes it easy for everyone else; but can get stressful for us with the kiddos if plans are made. We’re both passive people pleasers—it’s a curse, but it is what it is. This weekend we made a conscious effort to do our own thing. So, we decided to take the girls to a beach to let them get their feet in the water a bit! They had so much fun and we really enjoyed watching them laugh and play by themselves! One thing I noticed is that people need to pay attention to their kids around water. I watched this one lady scroll through her phone for 15 minutes at a time before looking up to check on her kids. I couldn’t believe it. How easy would it be for the water (or some creep) to grab those kids and go? Look, I know I’m addicted to my phone, I get it—but around dangerous situations and/or when they are laughing and smiling and being kids, I’m addicted to my kids. Be addicted to your kids. This picture is my favorite!
Later that evening, we went to get Ice Cream at Tip Top Dairy Bar in Osakis, MN. It was 90 degrees out and we had a very busy day. The entire famdamily went out to get ice cream with us. I had a post several weeks ago about eating healthy, well that goes out the window with Ice Cream. Tell me with a straight face that something tastes better than a hot fudge and caramel sundae. You can’t. It was a great end to Sunday!
Memorial Day morning, I was able to get 9 holes of golf in. After hole #3, my clubs and shoes were for sale on eBay for $5 . I actually finished the round with 3 straight pars, so now they’re listed at $200. I shot a 48-not great, but I’m not an avid golfer. They’re probably still for sale. When I got home, I took my 3 year old fishing off of the dock for some sunfish. Fishing with her basically involves me holding a $2 garage sale “Bratz” fishing rod watching a bobber while Grace sits next to me for 18 seconds before running up to the shore to get rocks to throw into the water. I guess it helps alert the fish that we’re there. On occasion, one fish will dodge the barrage of incoming pebbles and bite the hook. This is when Grace takes over-I’m not allowed to reel the fish in. After a 5 minute intense battle between a 3 year old and a 3 inch fish, I get the enjoyment of taking a flopping sunfish off of a hook. Once it’s off, she lets me hold the fish (at this point, the top fin spikes are usually firmly lodged in my palm) so she can touch the fish. Always the eye. She always has to touch the eye. There are at least 20 sunfish in Area Lake with poor eyesight.
It was a very fun and enjoyable weekend! We left about noon on Monday, so the kiddos could sleep on the way home.
How’s that for a poor ending to a blog post? Truthfully, the little “word counter” in the bottom right hand corner of my screen currently says “1,762 words”, so I’m getting self-conscious of the post length. So, that’s why I’m wrapping it up now. BYE!
Again, thanks for reading and if you enjoyed it-please share!!
A quick story about getting my car fixed after it was rudely rear-ended.
This is a very popular term whenever someone is in need of electrical work, auto repairs, plumbing issues; and for some people, “certain medication”. It makes sense to ask someone that you know and trust if they “have anyone” for a certain project. You trust that person and if they’ve had a good experience with the person or business they’re recommending, you can usually bet that your experience will be similar. In today’s age of social media, a thousand positive reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook can sometimes get discarded by a poorly placed negative review. So, its’ nice to “know a guy (or gal!)” outside of all of that noise.
Great! So, eventually after doing a bunch of “sleuth” work on my own, I filed a claim against the person who hit my car through State Farm directly. The gentleman with the vintage Impala told State Farm that he hit my vehicle, but said that there was no damage. Well, ladies and gentleman that statement equals “admission of fault”. So, State Farm said they would pay for the whole cost of replacing my bumper and nothing goes on my record with my insurance agency, so my premiums stay the same. In all honesty, had the guy not run me all through downtown Minneapolis and just apologized initially; I probably wouldn’t have pursued anything because you could barely see the mark. The moment that he tried to run away from me, I wasn’t giving him a brake (pun intended). Actually, now I hope his premiums go up 372% :) Whatever happens to him, I needed to get my bumper fixed.
Well, I know a guy. His name is Todd. He and his wife Amy, own Collision Pros & Glass located in the very small town of Clarkfield, MN. I grew up in Clarkfield and actually spent a year or two working with Todd detailing cars after he repaired them. Actually, as I’m writing this–I have no idea how or when I got hired there or when I really left-maybe I’m still employed? Todd, if you’re reading this and you remember-let me know. Did I just show up with donuts one day and leave a couple years later? Did I dream the whole thing?I’m completely drawing a blank–must have been a real intensive and thorough interview process. Either way, I think I was OK at my job. I had a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville that I washed about every other day at the local car wash, so I knew how to clean a car. Maybe that’s how I got the job! It was a small town, so word probably got back to Todd that I had the cleanest grandma car anyone had ever seen and he was like “I gotta have this kid at my shop”.
Yeah, that’s probably what happened.
I had a lot of fun working with him in my late teenage years. Him and I have pretty similar personalities, very sarcastic with tons of ‘tongue in cheek’ comments. So there was plenty of barbs tossed back and forth and even more practical jokes between us. When I worked there, he had a makeshift dirt track just outside of his shop, where he could practice his jumps. If he wasn’t an auto body specialist, he would have had a career as a race-car driver. Not NASCAR though, it would have been something off the wall-like school buses, tractors, or dump trucks, maybe 4-wheelers. I would like to put this out there that he challenged my grandma car to a drag race against his 4-wheeler (quad as he called it). The race took place about 3 miles east of town, and I forget how the race ended up——–wait-no I don’t- he lost. Todd has never met a gas pedal that he didn’t like, I can appreciate that.
Anyways, I called Collision Pros & Glass and said “Todd, I need a bumper” and he said “I know, I saw your Facebook post and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s such an honor to be speaking with you! I can’t believe I’m talking to you on my personal cell phone!!”. I’m just kidding, only about 3% of that happened-like the first 12 words, the rest was me trying to pump up my ego. He did enjoy my story, however.
Todd let me know his estimate and how it ties in with insurance, etc. Since I’m such an impeccable driver, I wasn’t really sure how it all worked. I told Todd that whenever he was ready, I would meet my dad halfway and switch vehicles so dad could drop the vehicle off with Todd (my dad would find out later that he had agreed to this). Thanks Dad.
After I made the switch with my parents, I got the vehicle back in ONE DAY. Not even one day, less than that: 23 hours-exactly. Do you know how long it would take me to YouTube ‘how to remove a bumper’, actually remove the bumper, put the new one on, and clean an entire vehicle? Me neither, but it would be more than 23 hours! The coolest part about the vehicle getting fixed was how unbelievably clean it was when I got it back! I have 2 little kids, so it’s dirty again-but WOW was it clean for a day! He even touched up some paint chips and included touch up paint for any future door dings. When I dropped my car off, I had 42 cents in the cup holder, when I got it back there was 53 cents in there. This is an honest company my friends! Or I miscounted the first time.
I think my blog posts are turning into “Small Business Review”, but that’s OK. My parents owned a Coast-to-Coast (True-Value, & Hardware Hank) hardware store in town for a majority of my childhood and I watched as a Wal-Mart 15 miles away help put it out of business. It’s not any fun to watch your parents’ business basically get pushed out of town by a business not even in the town. So, I’m going to give some love to the small businesses out there! Or at least for this post and this one. There is absolutely a level of service that is not matched by the big companies. Admittedly, I’m as guilty as you are and have 3 Amazon packages delivered seemingly daily at my house, but I still get a feeling of satisfaction when I buy something from the local hardware store, coffee shop, or restaurant. I generally make a conscious effort to help them out.
So if you need a vehicle fixed, repainted, rust removed, add some fender flares, or even a hitch added; please give Collision Pros a call!
If you don’t want to drive the whole way, my dad can meet you halfway.
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As you probably know, I live in Minnesota. Living in Minnesota, there are two things every year that you can bet on. It is going to snow and it is going to be cold–you can’t avoid it. Minnesotans, for the most part, embrace the cold and fluffy winter snows. We joke about it, we laugh at the southern states when they get a “dusting” and all hell breaks loose; and for a couple times a year, we enjoy the bragging rights of owning the coldest city in the contiguous lower 48 states-International Falls. This year, even the Super Bowl branded the events leading up to the big game around the hashtage #BoldNorth. Its cold and it snows, but I challenge you to tell me another natural event that can transform a landscape from dull and dirty to clean and bright like a fresh coat of snow. That is, of course, until we dump salt and sand everywhere making it look more like a spilled chocolate malt than a winter wonderland.
When we get the first snowfall of the year, everyone seems to embrace it and we say things to each other like “Well, I think this is here to stay”, “Have you gotten your snowblower ready, yet?”, and my personal favorite: “They’re predicting a bad one this year”. Who is? The talking weather heads on TV with the inevitable weather reports claiming that the next winter storm will be the end of life as we know it. Dramatically, we still find a way to survive. The first snow, will always bring two things: 1.) the obligatory “my view of the snow is more beautiful than your view of the snow” social media pictures, and 2.) Idiots. . . Every. Single. Year. The idiots come out of hiding.
Living in Minnesota, we have winter 4-5 months out of the year. We claim that we know how to survive in it. Yet every year, there seems to be a 3 month learning curve for some people remembering how to drive in snow again. Now, I get it; if you’re driving safely and something happens that’s one thing; Or, if you’re a 16 year old kid trying it out for the first time-you get a free pass for a couple years. However, if you pass me at 92mph in a snowstorm driving a 250lb Ford Focus while adjusting the radio; you’re an idiot. If my kids are in the car and the road conditions are “iffy at best”, I’m going 18mph–tops. You can flick me off, you can make fun of me, I don’t care. I’m not an idiot (when it comes to winter driving-other topics are up for debate). Also, every year we also hear about someone who thinks that the 3 day old ice is going to be strong enough to hold their 18,000lb SUV so they can shave 4 minutes off of their commute or get a fish before everyone else does. Unfortunately, a lot of these end up tragic.
With a 3 year old daughter who loves being outside, it makes the winter a little more manageable. I never thought at age 32, that I would voluntarily jump headfirst into a snow bank just to hear a 2 second giggle from a kid! There is something about those laughs that is almost addicting…once you can get your kid to genuinely laugh and smile at something you are doing; it’s really hard to stop! The “playing outside” days seem to be few and far between, but they definitely make you appreciate the time that you get with the kiddos in the snow. Ultimately, every winter that passes gets one more winter closer to my kids not wanting to go outside and play in the snow with dad.
December comes and goes, and the same with January. Once the calendar turns to February, even the most die-hard winter lovers are doing the ‘ol “Oooooookaaaayyy. I’m ready for this to be done”, full well knowing that we have at least another month and a half left. I’m not even sure it’s the snow that makes us start to despise winter-I think its the cold. 3 straight months of being cold and paying high heating bills start to take their toll.
The silver lining is that the weather is generally warmer in February/March and the sun stays out past 4:15pm. If you have kids like I do; it is so much more appealing to bring them out to play in the snow when its 30 degrees (this probably still sounds cold to some, but remember #boldnorth) than when it’s -20. The sun also seems warmer as well. But that might be because we haven’t’ seen the damn thing since Thanksgiving either, I’m not sure.
Also-Groundhog Day is the dumbest thing that has ever been used to predict anything. Groundhog Day doesn’t apply to Minnesota. We’re having 6 weeks more of winter every year, I promise.
When March arrives, it might as well be June 20th. If you’re looking to people watch, come to Minnesota and watch the native Minnesotans walk around in our shorts and T-shirts, myself included. Prime people watching time is around mid-March, book your hotel now. After months of being cryogenically frozen, it doesn’t take much to thaw us out. 50 degrees should do the trick.
All things being equal, and they’re not, Minnesota winters can actually very fun and Minnesotans DO enjoy it for the most part. We embrace the cold, we embrace the snow, and it makes us get that much more excited for Spring, Summer, and Fall (by far the best 2 weeks of the year in Minnesota). There are so many things to do (personally, I don’t do many–but I know people who do and they seem to enjoy them): Ice fishing, downhill skiing, ice skating, dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, sledding, pond hockey, snowmobiling (I’ll have a blog post about my near-death experience on a snowmobile in the future), snow-kiting, fat-tire biking, and snow-shoveling. The last one sucks, but people do it I guess for “exercise” or something like that.