Things I’ve Learned In My Time As A Parent. (Volume 1)

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.

Continue reading “Things I’ve Learned In My Time As A Parent. (Volume 1)”

“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

Memorial Day Memories

Isn’t that a beautiful picture??!!

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.

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Look closely…the hook is actually through the snail!

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!

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Isn’t she cute? :)

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!

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Brain freeze!!!!!

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!!

Thank you,

ML

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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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10 Things I Learned From Staying At a Hotel (With My Kids)

As I mentioned in my previous post, last weekend my in-laws paid for a hotel room for all of their kids/grandchildren to be together and have fun for one weekend. There were definitely some things that I observed, that I would like to share with you.

Here’s at least 10. . .

1.) A hotel is a pizza joint’s main source of income. In cities with both a hotel, (motel—Holidaay Iiiinnnnn) and a pizza joint, it absolutely has to be. I saw a different pizza delivery person every 20 minutes. I suppose that people get to the hotel and think “I just carried 27 bags, 6 kids, a table, cooler, food, walked the longest hallway of all time…pizza sounds like a great ‘pick-me-up'”. Besides, it’ll go great with the beer. (Hot Tip: if you live in a town with a hotel but no pizza place – move; if that isn’t an option-open a pizza joint and thank me later. A phone call from your yacht will be just fine.)

2.) Related…It’s nearly impossible to eat healthy at a hotel. Let’s be serious-no one brings bags of salad into a hotel room. Maybe a neglected fruit or veggie tray; but the stars of the show are generally licorice, cookies, pizza, and soda/alcohol. OR..you and the family go out to eat, which is usually unhealthy as well. This isn’t a “health and fitness” blog, just saying…

3.) No matter how bad of a parent that you think you are; a hotel is a great place to see parents much worse (portrayed) than yourself. Especially at the pool area. There are kids swimming while parents are scrolling through their phones. Disclaimer: I’m not immune to this–I definitely check my phone more often than I probably should; but I was also in the pool with my kiddos-playing with them. There are a lot of impatient and grumpy parents out there as well…

4.) And, no matter how great of a parent that you think you are; a hotel is also a great place to see parents much better (portrayed) than yourself. You know the ones, the parents who are always bright and smiley, with a million things to do with the kids. More importantly, they look like they are genuinely enjoying every little activity that they are doing with their family. Weirdos.

5.) There are no good places to get rid of dirty diapers. I used the men’s room bathroom down the hall…. :D. As most mens’ rooms go, the diaper was the best smelling thing in there.

6.) Pool/Court side rooms are awesome, until they’re not. When everyone has a room court-side as we did; all of the cousins could run around, play basketball, volleyball, go swimming etc. It was awesome, they could do it all together while the parents could either go play with them, or watch from the “Base Camp” 20 feet away. They’re not awesome when your little kids go to bed at 8pm and the pool/court closes at 11pm. 3 hours of agonizing over which stray volleyball banging against the door is going to wake the kids up or, more importantly, spill my cocktail.

7.) You look forward to quiet time! From 11:01pm to 8:00am there was almost complete silence! It was marvelous! The downside is that quiet time basically means that the area is closed; not “you can sit here, you just have to keep your voices down”. It means “go to bed, it’s 11pm-you have kids who don’t care you’re on vacation they will wake you up early.”

8.) Quiet time is strictly enforced by Ruth. Ruth was the enforcer of the hotel; the Derek Boogaard of the hotel if you will. If you weren’t in your room at 11:01pm; she was going to put you in there, and wait awkwardly until you fell asleep. I’m fine with this at night, but when your kids wake up at 6am and the curfew doesn’t get lifted until 8am, you’re kind of stuck in that hotel room for a couple hours. “THIS PLACE IS LIKE A PRISON!!”

9.) Pools are dirty. Breaking news, right? I distinctly remember a point when I was holding my 10 month old and I saw some brown stuff at the bottom of the pool, looked at my wife in horror and said to her: “is that us?” Sometimes I don’t think; and this was one of those times–I slid my foot through the brown mystery substance. It was sand (whew!). Sand, at the bottom of an indoor pool- in central Minnesota- in the winter. How does that even happen? Also, the amount of snot that gets smeared into the pool water is disgusting. I saw my kids do it, I saw other kids do it. I saw parents do it. Kids, this is why you don’t drink pool water; you could die.

10.) For now, my kids like me. They loved swimming with mom and dad in the pool, jumping in from the side while I caught them, and absolutely had a blast when I could throw my 3 year old into the air about 10 feet and catch her. We had a blast! I know that eventually, they aren’t going to want to do that with me, so I really enjoyed the time we had while they wanted to have it!

Thanks for reading the entire post! If you made it down here, here’s a bonus number 11!

11.) When called upon, my kids can sleep through the night! My wife and I were borderline terrified of how both kids would sleep in the same room after the past couple weeks we’ve had at home. Both of our kids are LOUD criers and inevitably, if one wakes up the rest of the block wakes up. Somehow, both slept through the night; allowing mom and dad to get a full 6 hours!

Thanks for reading!

-ML

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