“Clever and Witty Title”

My first post in over a month–I hope you enjoy it!

Hi….I couldn’t think of anything good for a title for this post…I’m open to suggestions.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Actually, I haven’t posted anything since Memorial Day. I’ve been….whats the term??…busy?

…no….

…Lazy? Yeah, that’s it!

I’ve been lazy!.

Kudos to people who do daily blogs or social media posts. Even weekly is tough! Apparently I’m on the Dane Cook plan. A ton of stuff right away, and then not so much. I ran into some old co-workers/friends yesterday and they all told me that they thought that the blog was funny! Obviously this renewed a fire in me to post something again. So, if you really like my blogs, tell me every single day and I’ll put one up every single day.

No I wont….Good God, can you imagine? I would alienate all of my Facebook friends and lose a bunch of Twitter followers in a matter of months. And we all know, that’s all that matters in life, right?

Anyways, I’ve had a Google Drive document with a long list of topics that I thought would be interesting to talk about. Obviously, my stories are probably my best work–but stuff just doesn’t happen to me very often. So, instead of trying to put a bunch of thoughts together for one topic. I’m going to touch on a few of the topics that I have written down. I have no idea where this post is going to go from this point forward, but one of my favorite radio personalities on KFAN, Dan “The Common Man” Cole’s ‘bit’ is that he never does any prep-work before a show and just flies by the seat of his pants. He’s got a daytime job on a major market radio, he’s doing OK. I can probably do the same thing-as I’ve said before, I’ve been winging it for awhile- how hard can it be?

[Editor’s Note: I was going to have a bunch of topics lined up and comment briefly on each one, but I couldn’t stop typing during my second topic…so now it’s only two topics and, shockingly, a long post]

First topic on my list: “Digital Parenting”. So, my 3 year old can navigate her way around an iPad (Amazon Kindle–but iPad is shorter) better than I can drive in the city-so that’s great….. My 1 year old is now getting the hang of it as well. Now, I want to start by saying that my kids are not on the iPad all day long; in fact–my 1 year old threatens to burn the house down anytime she is inside it and my 3 year old is getting into riding her bike–which is awesome. They would just rather be outside-and they should! They are 3 and 1 and it’s summer-I want them outside! I just find it fascinating that kids that can’t tie their $7 shoes can operate a $1000 smartphone. However, I will say that parenting is “easier” with these devices in certain situations-such as car rides. If we don’t pack the iPads for a drive longer than 20 minutes; I will turn around and get them. I would rather listen to the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” or “PJ Masks” than a crying child. Man….typing this out makes me sound like a bad parent! Let’s be clear–argue with this statement all you want, but this is the way the world is going: Kids are growing up in a digital age and they know how to use technology at an age that was unheard of even 20 years ago. But, 20 years from now (2038–yeah its a real year) if they DON’T know how to use and adapt to technology–they’re going to be in trouble. Go ahead, prove me wrong-I’ll wait 20 years.

I don’t believe this makes you a bad parent if you give your kid some sort of screen time-but for Christ’s sake…set a time limit. Truthfully, our iPads are out on road trips and maybe 10% of the time at the house. Seriously. My wife and I are very aware of how much time they are on it. Obviously childhood obesity is increasing by the year, so kids definitely have to get outside and do things, but the digital age isn’t going anywhere and they are growing up right in the middle of it. Speaking of screen time (and I’m a giant offender of this), try to put your phone away when the kids are around. I know that I’m not good at it, but I’m trying to get better. It bugs my wife and it even bugs me-and I’m doing it! I read something on one of my friend’s Facebook posts the other day that hit home: “You only get to spend 18 summers with your kids”. Let that sink in.

We’re off to a good start, right? Nice controversial topic right out of the gate.

Let’s lighten up a bit with Topic #2: “My Emotional Attachment to Sports”: My wife is either going to skip right over this or go through it with a fine-toothed comb and call me out on every little thing that I say that she might have a different view on. Love you, honey.

I don’t remember the exact day and time that I became a big sports fan, but I can remember certain things growing up that definitely contributed to the addiction. The first thing I remember is going to Twins’ games in the old Metrodome when my favorite MN player ever was manning center field, the late Kiiiiiirrrrbbbbyyyyy Puck-Ett. The first game that I ever went to was right around the time of the ’91 World Series team. I don’t think it was that year however. Kirby was forced to retire in ’96, so it was definitely before then. My first game was against the Seattle Mariners; Kirby Puckett and Ken Griffey, Jr.—baseball immortality! There was even a home run hit to the lady DIRECTLY behind me. Seriously, had I been 6″ taller and not deathly afraid of a ball hurling towards me at what felt like 900 miles an hour…I’da had it. I remember walking into the “field area” of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for the first time and just being in awe. It was the biggest building that I had ever been in–the lights and sounds were almost overwhelming to a kid from a town that would have fit under the Teflon roof. This was probably my gateway drug.

The next step into the emotional sports attachment abyss was the Randy Moss and Kevin Garnett era. KG in ’95 and Moss in ’98 (like you didn’t know that one) took Minnesota sports to a media fame level that hadn’t been seen for quite some time, if ever. I was never a giant Timberwolves fan, but I remember watching a skinny high school kid play with NBA players, whose cards I had in a shoe box. It was surreal–the skills and attitude that he brought to the team at 18 years old was awesome. That patented KG double shoulder-shake, turnaround fade away jumper was something everyone tried to replicate. Speaking of attitude, Randy Moss: He had a negative attitude, famously took plays off, nudged people with his car, paid fines with “straight cash homie”, walked off the field, mock-mooned Green Bay fans, and squirted an official with a water bottle. Still, he was the reason that every kid in Minnesota wanted to play wide receiver. Everyone wanted to catch that 45 yard bomb and score 20 touchdowns. Unfortunately-99.9998% of MN kids probably weren’t 6’4″ and running 4.25 40’s. I was a bit under that…5’10” and like a 5.0 40 yard time (any high school teammates reading this are wholeheartedly disagreeing with that number). I played Tight End anyways-we’re supposed to be slow and sit on the bench, which is what I told myself. Anyways, if you forgot how good Moss actually was, click here; I bet you watch the whole thing. Moss is the greatest receiver to every play the game. KG and Moss were stepping stone #2 into the addiction; the ball really was rolling now. Also-kinda off-topic, Michael Jordan is better than LeBron James, don’t @ me. It’s the truth…you’re forgetting how good MJ was, OR you’re too young to fully appreciate how good he was.

I can clearly remember stop #3 along my journey. The 2003 NHL Western Conference Playoffs… Quarterfinals: Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche. This was the Wild’s first playoff appearance since becoming a team 3 years earlier. I started watching during game 5. Wild were down 3-1 in the series. I had NEVER been a big hockey fan at all; never played hockey-can’t skate to save my life. I turned on the game in the 2nd period basically for background noise. The Wild were winning 3-0 in Colorado and they ended up winning the game 3-2. I was really intrigued with the pace of the game and how intense every single shift was. If you’ve never watched hockey or don’t think you like it–watch playoff hockey; it’s different. The next game was Monday and the series was back in St. Paul. The Wild were still down 3-2 in the series, but I figured I’d turn it on anyways. The game was relatively boring until the 3rd period. It ended up going into overtime tied 2-2, when Richard Park scored to force a game 7! I was almost hooked. Wednesday night in Colorado (9pm start time on a school night) I turned the game on and watched the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche, again in overtime on a Andrew Brunette goal, scoring on goalie Patrick Roy (pronounced “Wah”, for some reason), who retired the next day. The Wild then faced the Vancouver Canucks and DID THE EXACT SAME THING!! They came back from being down 3-1 in the series only to force and win in game 7. We won’t talk about the Anaheim series in the Conference Finals, bit of a hiccup there…But at that point, I was completely hooked.

#4 was my wife (awww): I am not athletic. At 32, I’m still coming to grips with it, but I’m just not. I have some attributes that are better than average, but overall–I’m just not athletic; I get it. I’ve fully embraced the dad-bod, insurance agent lifestyle. I was on the football team in high school and played Kickoff, Kick Return, Field Goals, and Tight End/Defensive End if we were up by 5 touchdowns with 7 seconds to go. Kate, on the other hand, has enough athletic talent in her pinky toe to make up for my shortcomings. I used to play Pep Band while she was lighting up scoreboards at Yellow Medicine East basketball games. During the early years of our courtship, I used to drive 4 hours to watch her play college basketball at St. Catherine’s University each weekend; eventually I only had to walk about 10 minutes to watch her after we both transferred to Bemidji State University #BestDecisionEver. Kate’s dad was an extremely good basketball coach and she learned a lot from him, but she also put in the time to get very good. She used to tell me how, if she made 1,000 baskets, her dad would buy her a CD. Kate has amassed quite the CD collection. You’re probably wondering–“OK, Romeo; how did this affect YOU?” Well, I watched Kate play most every single basketball game since high school and there was an emotional attachment to watching her succeed and the competitive spirit that she had. Although she never showed it… whenever Kate played basketball, she always looked like she would rather be taking a nap. But I got into those games, I got to know the teammates and the dynamic of the team chemistry and the friendships that they formed. I never really had much of that sitting on the bench.

Also, I hope my kids have her athletic ability.

Sports has always been an emotional outlet for me-whether I was playing or not (most likely not). There’s just something about it that I can’t describe. I know there are a ton of people that think I’m crazy–but I know there are a ton of people who know exactly what I’m talking about. Since the birth of my daughters, I can say that I’ve eased up on watching every single game (especially the Wild–82 games plus playoffs is a bit much). But I follow the social media accounts of the media writers, players, coaches, national outlets, etc. This might sound crazy, but when the Vikings win on Sunday; I’m in a better mood on Monday. The outcome of 22 millionaires on a grass field has literally no bearing on my life at all; but I care and it affects my emotions for a day or so. I wear the purple colored glasses, I think the Vikings are winning the Super Bowl every year or the Wild are hoisting the Stanley Cup; but then I remember that…you know…Minnesota.

Remember the ’98 missed field goal by Gary Anderson against the Atlanta Falcons; I had to ride a bus to Sharing and Caring Hands with my church group immediately after (most of us were late)–and I don’t think anyone said anything the entire 3 hour bus ride. So, I know I’m not the only one that gets affected by the outcomes of games. If you’re a glutton for punishment, feel free to relive it here.

I wish I had a better way to end this; I really do… I honestly didn’t think that I would get to be such a long post-but I can’t seem to stop typing. I hope you enjoyed this post! I’ll try to keep posting a bit more often than I have been. I’m still trying to grasp onto the fact that people actually enjoy these.

Thanks for reading!

-ML #83

I know a guy…

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.

Do you remember about 2 months ago, when I got rear ended on my way to the Super Bowl 52 festivities? If you haven’t read that story; go ahead and click that link quick-have a laugh and then come back here. I’ll wait.

Done?

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.

-ML

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Patient of the Day!

I went to the dentist; and I didn’t die–more importantly, it didn’t suck!

 

There was a long time in my life; I really disliked going to the dentist. Frankly, I hated it. I know this isn’t breaking news that people generally don’t like going to the dentist. However, this is my blog and I’m going to talk about whatever I want to-this time it’s my dental experience that I had yesterday. Anyways, there was a period in my life that I think I went almost 7 years without going to the dentist (gross–I know). I knew I had issues with my teeth, I was reminded every time that I chewed, drank anything, took a breath, slept, laughed too hard, sneezed…you get the picture; it was bad. Finally, after I had a job with amazing dental insurance, I decided to take the plunge and “get back to square one” so to speak. It wasn’t any fun-college and remodeling a house had taken it’s toll…

Anyways, when my wife Kate and I moved to our current home, we needed a new and closer dentist. I knew that I needed a checkup, so I did a Google search and the one with really good reviews showed up as “Norwood Dental“. So, I called them and set an appointment. (Disclaimer: I’m not being paid or anything to post about my experience–although, since I was so brave at my appointment yesterday, they did anoint me “Patient of the Day“, no big deal).

About a year ago, my awesome hygienist, Nyssa (Nee-Sah) and Dr. Ross told me “You have a cavity that is building underneath one of your old fillings”. Obviously, I was like “yeah-OK, whatever Doc…I’ll be fine-I’m a grown ass man, where’s my free toothbrush.” Well, it turns out Dr. Ross (and Dr. Bussler) knows what he’s talking about! At my most recent checkup, Dr. Ross said “you need to get that fixed, or someday your mouth is going to be in so much pain, its going to jump off of your face” (paraphrasing). So, I scheduled an appointment to get a crown and a cavity fixed, with the possibility of a root canal if the cavity had gone too deep. Yay!

By the way, I’m talking about Dr. Ross because that is who I have dealt with 96.8% of the time I have been a patient there; in the small interaction I have had with Dr. Bussler it’s been terrific as well. I’m not sure what comes to mind when you think of “Dentist”, whatever it is; I’m willing to guess it isn’t Dr. Ross. He looks like he could fight middleweight division in the MMA tomorrow night; bald head and all. He’s hilarious and makes you feel so much more at ease by talking to you like a friend; and not a patient. Listen, when people are digging in my mouth I’d rather have them be lighthearted, funny, conversational, and look like they are genuinely having fun with their co-workers.

Anyways, before I scheduled yesterday’s appointment, Nyssa and I were talking about “the gas”. I told her that I had never had it before and her exact quote was “It’s like having 4 glasses of wine”. So, I tried it for the first time, and- IT’S LIKE HAVING 4 GLASSES OF WINE!! I don’t know why people just don’t do this for fun? There are Oxygen Bars that literally give you no feeling of anything (don’t you dare tell me otherwise)–can you imagine Nitrous Oxide bars? Sit there for an hour with your friends after work, relax everything away and then take a quick 5 minute shot of pure oxygen and you’re good to drive home. I might be onto something…Investors, please contact me

As I was sitting there floating away with my happy gas, Dr. Ross and Rachel (a new hygienist to me; Nyssa still stopped by to say ‘Hi’) were walking me through everything that was happening throughout the process. They made sure that I was still with them and felt comfortable during the whole operation. I understand that this is turning into a review of the dentist office and not a blog post–I’m sorry, but when you’re “Patient of the Day” you can do that… During the entire appointment, Dr. Ross kept making jokes about this being his first day “on the J-O-B” or how “we had a procedure today that almost killed all 3 of us, but I’m sure you’ll be fine”. He even called me a “Bloak”, I’m not sure where it came from, but at one point we got on the topic of me having this blog. As talking about myself is one of my favorite activities-I’m sure that I started the conversation; which somehow turned into me being a “Bloak who Blogs”. It was pretty funny, but as I’m writing this-I think you had to be there…

I get that this style of dentistry MIGHT not be for everyone-but again, I’d rather have someone talk to me in the same way that I talk instead of (Ben Stein voice:)”Ok Michael, it looks like you have a Grade 3 plaque buildup on tooth number 16 along the anterior side of your gumline next to the peripheral incisor with a possible Level 1 low-grade cavity” (None of that makes any sense–it was just to prove my point). So, I enjoyed the banter between him, myself, and Rachel.

I even took a selfie with them. I’m the one in the middle.

dentist 1
Rachel, Myself, & Dr. Ross

Anyways, they fixed my teeth (one crown and one small cavity–on the back side of one of my front teeth; seriously who gets a cavity there). It was a completely painless and *pause for drama* enjoyable experience. Things have clearly changed in the way that anesth….annesthest…..numbing stuff is administered as well. I literally did not feel one thing. I know that I had NOS flowing through my veins, but I could still feel things-and not once did I ever feel any pinch or pressure, etc. It was awesome.

I didn’t mean for this to turn into a Google or Yelp review of Norwood Dental; so if you were looking for a funny story or something like that, I’m sorry. You should probably just subscribe so you don’t miss the next one. But in all seriousness, go to the dentist if you haven’t in awhile. Its only going to get worse if you put it off–trust me, I know from experience. I don’t care if it’s Norwood Dental or not, just go.

If you do go to them, however—tell them that the Patient of the Day from 3/14/18 sent you.

-ML

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. 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.

-ML