Archive for December, 2009




‘Tis The Season

As we turned the calendar from November to December the weather took note and decided our warm, unseasonal ride needed to come to an end.

Our temps have steadily dropped this week and yesterday we received a “dusting” of the white stuff. But that’s okay, it’s what you expect when you live in Minnesota.

To paraphrase Sarah Palin, I can see the Arctic Circle from my house!

But on the positive side, with apologies to southerners, it does get you in the spirit for the holidays.

I finished putting up our outside decorations last weekend. We lit the lights and one blow-up Santa sleigh for the first time last Saturday night.

And of course, within minutes, blew an overloaded breaker! I felt very much like Clark Griswold in the “Christmas Vacation” movie. After some “rerouting” of the many electrical cords in my yard, I am happy to report the lights have been on every night since and no breakers have been blown! Oddly, the next door neighbor’s house has been dark all week, oh well!

I even managed to successfully synchronized three timers so the lights go on and off without any effort from me!

But the decorating isn’t over yet!

Tomorrow we’re going to get a “real” Christmas.

Much like the choice they give you at the grocery store, we’ve chosen to go the “plastic” route with our tree the past several years.

Pull the box out of the closet, assemble the sucker, throw a few strands of lights on it and within minutes you’ve got yourself a festive tree!

AND, I might add, there is no watering required!

I mean, with a real tree, by December 25th, in dry Minnesota, that tree is very much on “life support”! In year’s past, when we had a real tree, it seemed like I was watering the thing every hour in hopes that it wouldn’t turn into a seven foot pile of kindling!

However…

The kids REALLY want a live tree this year and so sometime tomorrow we’ll head out to a tree lot, pick out one that hopefully looks as good when we get it in our living room as it does when we are hurrying to pick one because we’re freezing! We’ll then need to secure it to the top of our van and pray that it is still there when we get home!

Let’s hope the Boy Scout who helps us tie it to the roof of the van is “up” on his knot tying skills!

I’ll then struggle to get it inside our house, try to straighten it in the stand and finally we’ll decorate it!

Then we’ll finish with all the other decorations that go up inside our house this time of year.

Finally, some time to relax!

Except, we need to get a family photo taken for the Christmas card we’ll be sending out, write the accompanying letter, attend a few holiday parties, there’s shopping to be done for the family, teachers, family pets, the mailman, the paper carrier, etc, etc!

‘Tis the season!




Ready, Set, Snow!

Sorry for the later than normal post this morning, just got done digging out my driveway for the third time in the past three hours!

Winter “officially” arrived for us last night!

The southern part of the Twin Cities got hit with about six inches of snow late yesterday afternoon, which is not a big deal in this neck of the woods, but along with the snow came high winds and falling temps.

When I got up this morning the wind was howling and the temp was in the single digits and that nasty word, “windchill” was being talked about on the morning news.

We could have had it worse. South of the Twin Cities, all the way through Iowa, it is a blizzard. They had significantly more snow than us and even stronger winds. Basically, the whole state of Iowa is shut down today.

My kids were hoping for a “snow day” from school, but alas, no such luck!

School was on time this morning and being the caring & loving father that I strive to be, I drove my daughter to her bus stop this morning so she wouldn’t have to wait outside for the bus to come in these conditions. I also drove my son to his school to avoid a longer and colder bus ride.

However, my personal battle with good ‘ol Mother Nature was the real story today.

We had drifts in driveway that were two to three feet high at 5:30 this morning and my wife needed to get a jump on the anticipated nightmare of a cummute, so it was time for me to spring into action and get the driveway cleared!

I had a plan and in preparation for this attack, I got my snowblower ready yesterday.

I filled it with gas, got the cord necessary for the electrical start ready and even “aimed” thing, much like a real plow, so it was ready go right out of my garage this morning at a moments notice!

As I mentioned, the call came (okay, my wife asked me) to clear the drive shortly after 5:30. I threw on multiple layers of clothes, a pair snowpants, a heavy winter coat, neck warmer, hat, gloves, boots and even ski goggles!

I looked like I was ready to go explore the north pole!

I fired up the snowblower, it took off like a champ!

It had been stored the past seven months and it acted like it was “opening day” of the baseball season at Wrigley Field!

It couldn’t wait to start blowing snow!

Of course my next door neighbor, who happened to be “down wind” probably wasn’t as excited about the whole experience!

It took me about a half hour to clear the driveway and send my wife on her way.

But just as I had finished I saw them!

Down my dark, deserted street, I could see them coming!

The flashing lights of a city snowplow!

It was as if the plow was saying, “Here I come and there’s not thing one you can do to stop me!”

Agghhh!!

Within seconds, my nice clear driveway had more snow in it than it had when I started!

Why does it always seem the plows wait until you finish before coming by?

I think it’s a conspiracy among the plow drivers. They probably have a good laugh at the end of the day and share stories how they buried some “poor sap” at the end of his driveway!

My family may wonder, “Gee, whatever happened to Dad?”

Then next spring when the glacier at the end of drive finally melts, they’ll find me and say, “Oh, a snowplow must have gotten him!”

So following the city plow I spent another fifteen minutes redoing the end of my driveway.

And a final note, by the time I got home from taking the kids, Mother Nature had done a nice job of filling in the driveway again.

So I cleared it one more time.

But I didn’t mind too much since I’m up for a good battle!




Tiger Tales

Well, it’s finally gotten colder here!

The kind of cold that wakes you up in an instant when you go out for the paper in the morning!

It’s cold, but not as cold as it is right now in Tiger Wood’s house. That kind of cold usually arrives for us in January!

There are deep freeze warnings for that house, with no end in sight!

What a two weeks it’s been for Mr. Woods! Better yet, what a gold mine it has been for Saturday Night Live and late night comedians!

Between the “White House Party Crashers” and Tiger, Christmas certainly arrived early for comedy writers!

But it is sad to see the fall of an icon.

My sons & I are Tiger fans and we enjoyed watching him this past summer at the PGA Championship at nearby Hazeltine. We had the opportunity to see him on several occasions throughout the run of the tournament. We were following him on the final day, my boys were decked out in red shirts to help cheer him on. We were on the 18th hole when Tiger made his final charge, but fell to Y.E. Yang.

So the past couple of weeks have been a disappointment to say the least. Of all the sports heroes, Tiger was the one you thought you could count one and hold up as an example to your kids.

Not anymore!

Tiger always did things “his” way when it came to the PGA Tour.

He played when he wanted, talked when he wanted, held a grudge against reporters who dared ask a wrong question and he was able to get away with it because he was and is the greatest golfer the planet has ever seen!

This just in…

Jack has moved back up a couple notches since Thanksgiving!

One of things that has always bugged me personally, was Tiger’s lack of desire to play in more tournaments and give more people a chance to see him in person. Would it be so terrible to add a couple of “smaller” tournaments to his schedule?

Maybe that will change when he decides to return to the tour. I guess he can’t use the “spending time with my family” excuse any longer!

My oldest son & I attended the 2002 PGA Championship that was also held at Hazeltine. We had week long tickets. My son was big on getting autographs back then and we had received a bit of advice from a Hazeltine employee that hanging out near the parking lot was a great place to get autographs.

So that’s what we did on the second day of the practice rounds and it was a gold mine for my son!

He had a huge smile on his face all afternoon because he was able to get so many autographs that he would have never gotten otherwise. Of course we weren’t the only ones who had this strategy, but it was still better than fighting the crowds on the course.

The majority of the golfers were very gracious and took the time to sign as many autographs as possible. Some even spent as much as an hour just to make sure every kid who wanted an autograph got one.

Most, except one…

Tiger “snuck” (which apparently he is skilled at) out of the clubhouse by first having his friend, Mark O’Meara come out from the other side and draw everyone’s attention. People swarmed to the fake out and before anyone noticied Tiger was standing behind his Buick.

All, except my then ten year old son, who was standing behind a fence, maybe a dozen or so feet from Woods.

My first thought was, “This is great! He’s actually going to get Tiger’s autograph! My son will remember this the rest of his life!”

These were my son’s EXACT words, “Mister Woods, may I please have your autograph?”

Tiger Woods ignored him. Much like he did with the fake coming out of the clubhouse, he pretended not to hear the request and left without signing a single autograph.

My son wished him “good luck” in the tournament.

By this time there were plenty of other kids who were disappointed as well.

Of course Tiger is not required to fill everyone’s autograph request!

And yes he does sign plenty throughout the course of a practice round, but it would be nice to see him spend the time he used to come up with the “O’Meara Fake” and make a few more kids happy, like MANY other PGA professionals did that day!

It’s called, “giving back”.

I know he has a wonderful foundation and he supports many charities.

I’m talking about doing the small things, playing in more tournaments, taking time with the fans, especially, the younger ones.

I’m not sure how many people will still give Tiger rousing cheers when he makes his return.

I’m hoping for two things…

One,for the sake of his kids, he gets his personal life in order. And two, when and if he makes a return to competitive golf, he takes a little more time to give back to the fans.