2018 New Year’s Resolution Recap

A quick recap of my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions. Some went better than others!!

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m starting off 2019 by immediately looking backwards into 2018! In 2018 I set some New Year’s Resolutions and for the first time in my life, made a semi-conscious effort to adhere to them. This may make you feel really good about your own resolutions!

Let’s recap with letter grades…

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The Mattress Story

Buying an online mattress has big perks, some downfalls, but this has a happy ending. No-not THAT type of happy ending…

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, so I wanted to make sure that I got one or two more written before the end of 2018.

I was trying to think of a story to write that I thought everyone would enjoy and my wife suggested “The Mattress Story”. So here it goes…

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I Tried A Bidet

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. . .

Continue reading “I Tried A Bidet”

Nashville on Stage

We made it to Nashville and did some things!

Ahh Nashville, the destination of choice for our vacation! After leaving St. Louis about 11am, we took a quick refueling break completely by chance in Metropolis, IL (home of Superman).

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We arrived in Music City around 3:30 to check into The Capitol Hotel in the downtown area, across from the Capitol building…thus the name. The staff at this hotel was very nice; the hotel itself was OK. It was the cheapest downtown hotel. This may shock you-so please sit down or stop driving; the pictures were better than the actual hotel. It’s basically a 3 story motel with the room doors facing the outside. Not a big deal to me; as we were planning on going out downtown and having a good time until the wee hours of the morning anyways! However, if you’re looking for a cheaper hotel close to Broadway, I’d recommend it. I’d probably even stay there again-just don’t expect the Four Seasons.

About a week before we left for our trip, I had reached out to Minnesota Vikings long-snapper Kevin McDermott (who is originally from Nashville) via Twitter in hopes that he would give me some advice on local things to try. Well, he actually responded!!

KMcDermott
We’re basically best friends.

Big “Thank You” To Kevin for taking the time to actually give a thoughtful response to me, I was impressed. So anyways, after checking into the hotel, we decided to take him up on his recommendation of great BBQ and headed to Peg Leg Porker to try some authentic Nashville BBQ. It was pretty good! I’m not going to say it was the best I’ve ever had, but it was very, very good. I really liked the flavor, but honestly–the ribs were a bit dry. The mac and cheese was phenomenal–something about shells and cheese that drives me wild.

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My meal at Peg Leg Porker, Dry Rub Ribs, southern style baked beans, and shells and cheese

That night we went out to Broadway and checked out some of the bars and I was immediately blown away by the amount of talent on every single stage. So we enjoyed some music and some long-neck bottles. It was really a good time! Also, I think Nashville must be the Bachelorette Party Capitol of the world. I think there was at least one at every single bar-unless it was the same one and they were following us…Either way, we both had a blast and enjoyed some really good music.

SO, anyone who knows me also knows that I get borderline obsessed with taking recommendations from people I know. Well, that obsession goes to a whole ‘nother level with a celebrity. So, I was ready to go right down the line of suggestions from Kev (yes, I can call him Kev); but Kate thought maybe we should do what we had already planned to do instead. #marriage (KIDDING, KATE …if you’re reading this …if you’re not, then #marriage…)

Well, I was in luck because one of the things we had planned to do anyways was go to the Ryman Auditorium. This got us out of the 35 degree weather that plagued the city all weekend anyways. I was indifferent about seeing the Ryman, I’m not a giant country-music fan and I generally don’t like old buildings (right now, my mother is reading this and nodding in agreement–and now she’s laughing at that statement). Kate and I splurged and bought the “behind the stage” tour, and I will say that it was really cool. We were in the same dressing rooms that once had Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, Hank Williams, and most importantly, Carrie Underwood getting ready for a show at the Ryman (The Grand Ol’ Opry was also held there from 1943-1974). That was a pretty cool experience, as well as actually standing on the same stage as some of the greatest musicians ever. Our tour-guide was terrific and really made sure we understood the history behind the building. Basically, the building started as a church to offset the number of saloons that the city had. #History101

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View from the stage at the Ryman
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Hank Williams, Johnny Cash & other stars’ memorabilia

After the Ryman we needed to get something to eat, and although the on-site cafe looked REALLY good; we opted to try out Nashville’s famous “Hot Chicken”. Apparently the place to eat Hot Chicken is at Hattie B’s . We arrived at the closest one to our current location (I believe there are 3 around Nashville) and the line was out onto the street and parking was tough, so we found one about 5 minutes away and figured that would be a little quicker. It wasn’t. We arrived and again saw the line into the parking lot just to get in! Well, that obviously means there is something inside worth waiting for. So we did…for an hour and a half…in 35 degree temperatures. Once inside, you can order chicken with six different flavor levels: Southern, Mild, Medium, Hot, Damn Hot, and Shut the Cluck Up. Kate had Southern and I had Medium (could have handled hot); and we both agreed they were the best chicken tenders we had ever eaten. They were giant, juicy, and just enough breading to make them crispy without overpowering anything. Absolutely delicious! Again, I had Mac and Cheese because…just because.

After we ate, we checked out the Parthenon. It’s big….its fine. I dunno what to say about it… It was cold and rainy/snowy..so we were already kind of hating being outside walking around. Worth seeing…I guess? Judge for yourself.

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If you got all hot and bothered by this picture, then you’ll probably enjoy it. We didn’t go inside either.

After the Parthenon, we went back to the hotel to regroup for a bit and then headed back out in the cold. We decided to walk to the Wild Horse Saloon because of how famous it is and Kate wanted Deep Fried Pickles. After walking for quite awhile, we finally got to the front door and saw a sign that read “Closed for a Private Event”.

Terrific.

So, we decided to check out the pedestrian walking bridge that went over the river. This was really cool both literally and figuratively. The view of downtown Nashville is awesome from the bridge!

See (can’t you feel the cold?):

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View from the Pedestrian Bridge

After walking for quite awhile around downtown, we were hungry (almost hangry) again. This time we went to Puckett’s right down from our hotel. Again, I had BBQ and mac $ cheese. Are you sick of hearing what I had to eat yet?…Me too..sorry…but here’s a picture anyways.

Pork, Sweet Potato Fries, Mac & Cheese
Yum!

That night, we went out to some more bars–this was probably the first time that Kate had actually started feeling better since we left Minnesota. Unfortunately, we had a long road trip to Charleston the next day. (Read about Charleston)

We are definitely heading back to Nashville for a long weekend when we both feel 100% healthy and it’s not the same temperature as the place that we escaped from.

‘Till we meet again Nashville!

-ML

Here’s some more pictures:

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.

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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