Still winter…

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.


My Crazy Super Bowl Story

What a night!

We made the decision to bring our daughter down to Super Bowl Live (Thank you Grandma!) on January 30th and had an interesting “mishap” before we even got there…
While sitting at a stoplight on Marquette and 10th, about 3 blocks from our parking ramp, we got rear-ended. Not bad, but enough to scrape up our bumper pretty good. Not how we envisioned starting the night. I got out of the car and the approached the guy who hit me. He was driving a very nice, early 2000’s, very dusty Impala. He obviously had taken very good care of his car over the years, so much so that he had replaced his driver’s window with a plastic sheet….I suppose this was to keep the original in that pristine “Mint condition” that window collectors covet so dearly.

As he got out of his car, his phone dropped on the road (I wonder why that was). His girl friend yelled “THANK GOD THERE’S NO DAMAGE, HUH?”. In my most pleasant, passive-mostly aggressive, Minnesota-nice, yelled back “Thank god you have insurance, right?!”. Remember-the young lad didn’t have a driver’s window. “Oh yea, I got State Farm”, he replied confidently. State Farm is great, I’ll take it!

Blocking traffic, I yelled for instructions to the traffic cop directly in-front of me; “pull over right here and call 911” she said. I told him to do the same, he agreed to do so. I pulled over, he did not. You read that correctly…away he went. Now, in my most Minnesotan “I’m done being nice and passive, now I’m aggressive” tone, yelled back at the traffic cop pointing at the car speeding away “THAT’S HIM!”. This is where this gets good; the Minneapolis Police Traffic cop told me these exact instructions: “Call 911 and chase him.” You also read that correctly. “Chase Him”.

So, I did. Jason Bourne-style, in my AWD 7-passenger Acadia. Dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging in and out of traffic, narrowly missing buses, pedestrians, armored vehicles, and helicopters (OK, most of these might have been there for other reasons-but still), all while on the phone with the super nice 911 lady explaining every turn the guy (whose brakes must not have worked-otherwise he probably would have stopped) and myself were making. My wife was an exceptional second set of eyes, keeping a visual on the car at all times and telling me cross streets as I burned up downtown. Finally, after I got a really good description of the car (Dark Blue Impala, early 2000s, License Plate XXX-XXX; if you see him, tell him ‘Hi’ from me). I let him go. Remember, I had my kiddo in the backseat.

Now, before everyone who gets nervous about everything nowadays says “YOU DID ALL THAT WITH YOUR DAUGHTER IN THE CAR??!” Relax. Everything was on green lights, and ‘basically’ within the speed limit. We were a couple cars back. She was on her kindle–had no idea what was happening.
Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story, right?

After I let him go. That’s right. I LET him go, he couldn’t shake me. I had All-Wheel Drive. He had a plastic sheet. We sat outside Target Field for the police officer to file the report (Thank you Officer Hernandez). He told me it wasn’t standard protocol to tell civilians to chase down a suspect, but he was glad that if anyone was going to–it was someone with my sheer driving talent. (I may have added that last part).

Anyways, we finally did make it to Super Bowl Live about an hour and a half later than expected and even though, we were rushed–had a great time! I would recommend taking in the sights and sounds of the Super Bowl!


OK everyone–you win. I started a blog.

Oh, Hi!

So, for quite some time people have told me on numerous occasions “Wow Mike, you should start a Blog” or “You’re a good writer (Story teller), you should start a blog!”, or my favorite: “Mike; you’re one of the most fascinating people that I’ve ever met…It would be so much fun to follow your every day life in order to live vicariously through you!”

Ok, I think that last one is made up. But, just because I’ve never heard it doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t thought it before. So, we’ll call it 99.9% false. I’m an insurance agent – I’m not sure that many people have ever wanted to live vicariously through an insurance agent before.

I have, however– been told that I’m a pretty good story teller. I like to make people laugh with my writing and in general conversation. I write exactly like I talk, I think it’s called “voice”, although-I use a lot of “dashes”, semi-colons, parenthesis, periods of ellipsis; and commas—probably all incorrectly. It helps me portray what I’m trying to say, deal with it. Anyways, back to “voice”…you can probably hear my voice even while you’re reading this. If you’ve never heard me talk before, I have a pretty low and sultry, manly voice; and like most Minnesotans, I say my “R’s” extra hard. I obviously never notice this until I hear myself on a recording, when it shocks me to my soul and I vow never to speak again. So, when you’re reading this; just read it like this: “Today foRR dinneRR we had RRibs, RRed potatoes, and RRice.”

That was dumb. I’m sorry, I’m still learning. . .moving on. #amateur

Enter peer pressure. I started a blog.

The bulk of my blogs will probably be utter nonsense and give no real meaning to your life other than perhaps a laugh or two. I will however focus generally on daily life in the rural western Minneapolis suburbs with 2 young daughters [2020 update: and now a younger son]. I also have a Big Green Egg that I use quite frequently, so I’ll probably post a few things that I’ve made on that and if you’re lucky–pictures. This blog isn’t intended to make me money (unless anyone wants to put an ad on my site; then you certainly can; I’ll give you a deal), it is for me to have an outlet to share my thoughts to the world. I’m not sure that the world is going to care–but it hasn’t stopped other people with a higher profile than myself. So, if you don’t like my blog-don’t tell me. I’m Minnesotan-I hate rejection and confrontation and I’ll spend the next 3 or 4 days wondering why you don’t like it.

I hope you enjoy this!

I can’t promise they’ll get any better or worse, but I’ll keep them coming.