Archive for March, 2010



Monday Morning Dad

Back to “work” on a bright, sunny Monday in the Twin Cities!

The temperature was 39 degrees here yesterday and it felt like about 80! We’re finally starting to lose some of our snowpack, unfortunately, there is a possibility of a big storm next Monday. So I guess I won’t be putting away the snowblower just yet!

I managed to get my 18 mile run in on Saturday morning. It was a brisk 14 degrees at the start, which was shortly after 7:00 AM. At the 10 mile mark, I stopped at my car to consume an energy gel and a shot of “Power Ade” to get a much needed boast for the final 8 miles. At the break I also noticed that a nice icicle had formed on the side of my sunglasses. I left it as a notice to all of the other runnners out there that I had indeed been out there, trudging away since sunrise! I managed to complete the 18 miles in about 2 hours and 40 minutes, which was my target pace.

Following the run it was time to head home and see if my son’s basketball team had won their opening game in their tournament. A win would mean they would play again shortly after 1:00 in the afternoon, a loss meant they would have played a second game right away and I would have missed it. They in fact did win and following a post-run meal and shower, I headed off to watch game number two. It was a rough, hard-fought game with my son’s team trailing at the half 37-30. For awhile it looked like they wouldn’t make it to Sunday’s championship game, but they rallied in the second half, took control of the game and won 71-58! The team was excited to get the chance to play in the “ship” as they call the championship game!

My wife had attended the first game on Saturday morning, but didn’t see the second since she had made plans to reconnect with some old high school friends in her hometown in Iowa. She left shortly after lunch on Saturday and was only gone one night. It was going to be me and the kids Saturday night so it was time to cook some steaks and watch a little Northern Iowa vs. Illinois State basketball on ESPN 2! The University of Northern Iowa is my alma mater and they are having a fantastic year in basketball and are more than likey headed to the NCAA. So the plan was to have a good “hearty” meal and enjoy watching my Panthers kick some “Redbird” tail! Only one problem…something called NASCAR! Yup, rain at a race in Las Vegas delayed the start of a NATIONWIDE, not even the weekend’s main race, for an hour and a half! That meant the UNI game was being switched to something like ESPN 30! To be fair, it was actually being switched to “ESPN Classic”, which I found out is no longer in our channel line-up! Oh I checked…we have ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN News, ESPN-U, a whole lot of other ESPN’s that are on “pay-per-view”, NFL Network, The Big Ten Network, FOX Sports North, even something called,”Versus”, but NO ESPN Classic! So it was agonizing to watch this race with it’s multiple “cautions”, which I believe they did on purpose just to slow the darn thing down AND the lengthy “post-race” interviews of what seemed like every driver in the race and quite possibly every fan in attendance as well! If I were the reporter I would have loved to ask, “So, Johnny Racer, tell me how it felt to spend the last three hours making high speed, left-hand turns!” ESPN 2 finally ended it race coverage and got to the basketball game by the start of the SECOND half. UNI managed to pull out a close victory and finish the season with 25 wins and 4 defeats.

Sunday brought the championship game for my son’s team. My wife made it back from her short weekend trip in time to join the rest of the family to cheer on the squad. The game was played in the “main” gym at the high school and their was a nice crowd in attendance. Unlike Saturday’s semi-final game, David’s team pulled away early and pretty much controled the game throughout. They survived a small run near the end of the game to win by 9 points and complete a perfect 20-0 season! There was a moving moment during the post game celebration when the coach addressed the team. The tournament had been dedicated to a gentleman who coached for a number of years in the league and tragically passed away about a year ago. His son, who was hesitant to play this year, was on the team and was presented with the “game chart” following the win. Also, all of the players received championship shirts that had a specially designed logo with a picture of the player’s father on it, which was a very fitting tribute. The family had also made a generous donation to the league to privide “scholarships” to kids who needed financial assistance with fees.

Following the game, we headed home and managed to catch the third period and overtime of the Canada-U.S. hockey game. Dispite living in “hockey heaven”, I’m not a huge a fan of the game, but I have to admit, yesterday’s game was one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever seen! It was thrilling to watch Team USA tie the game with twenty seconds left! Unfortunately, it was disappointing as Team USA fell short in overtime. However, much like the “Miracle On Ice” game, I’m sure people will remember this one for years to come!

I watched part of the Closing Ceremonies Sunday evening and loved how the Canadians poked fun at how the one arm of the “inside” version of the Olympic calderon wouldn’t come up during the Opening Ceremonies. In case you didn’t see it last night, with all but the last arm of calderon erect, they had a “mime” dressed as worker, pop-up out of the stage and act like he was looking for the problem. He wandered around to the front and “found” the problem, a supposed, unplugged electrical connection, which he preceeded to “reconnect” along with a big spark and then the arm quickly rose! It was very well done and made up for the glitch that plagued the ceremony sixteen days earlier. However, one of my lasting memories of the Olympics will certainly be “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky being driven around downtown Vancouver on the back of a pick-up during a downpour, holding the Olympic torch, while the drivers of the pick-up “appeared” to be lost and looking for something for Gretzky to light! At times it looked like they needed to stop and ask for directions, but of course being male, they refused to do so! “We’re find that thing if we have to drive around the city all night!” Gretzky, didn’t look like he was fully “briefed” on what was occurring and appeared to be less than pleased with his ride thru rainy Vancouver! In all, the Olympics were a fun two weeks to watch!




TGIF!

Today marks the introduction of a new character to the strip!

He’s a fellow “Stay-At-Home Dad” named, Tony. He has been at the “job” longer than Dave and look for him to share his wisdom with his “protege” in the coming weeks!

A busy week for our household this week. We are at teh mid-term point for our kids in school and that means conferences! My wife and I had them for each of our kids at various times throughout the week. It also meant the kids were off from school-yippee! My daughter hit the jackpot with being off yesterday and today, while the boys had to “settle” for just having today as a “day off”! My daughter had a friend over for a sleepover on Wednesday night and it went well. Surprisingly they both fell asleep relatively early, but on the other hand, they were also up early yesterday!

Things I Learned This Week…

*I should get paid commission!

Judging from the tally of the first two months of my “count my loads” of laundry in 2010, I’d be rich if I earned a little something for each load!

*Jay’s back at 11:35 (10:35 in my neck of the woods)!

Good to see him back, he does deliver a better monologue than Conan. I can’t say I’m crazy about keeping the theme song from his failed 10 o’clock show along with the same basic set. I realize time was tight, but I think it would be a good move to get rid as many reminders of that show as possible! I was glad to see that they did in fact return those awful glass doors to whatever “Macy’s” store they took them from! His first week had good guests and the ratings were predictably strong, we’ll see how he fares in the long haul. Rumor has it that band leader, Kevin Eubanks may be leaving the show, which I believe would hurt. Hopefully, they can work something out, much like Conan did with Max Weinberg, that allows Eubanks to “tour” and still return to the show when he can. One final note…I loved the opening bit on his first night with the takeoff of “The Wizard of Oz” to explain Jay’s past few months. The whole thing was very funny but once again, Betty White stole the show!

*Be careful when you bring you kids to work!

I don’t have that problem, mine are always here, but if you are a air traffic controller at a major airport, it’s probably not a good idea to let your kids (yes, he did it TWO times) send out clearance controls to jumbo jets! Even though I think they did a great job and certainly provided a fair amount of comedic material, it’s would be a good idea in the future just to drive past the airport with the kids in the car, point at the tower and say, “Daddy works there!” or sadly in this case, “Daddy, WORKED there!”

By the way, who in the world spends hours upon hours listening to air traffic control conversations anyway?

Happy Weekend!




Order Up!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to eat at a famous landmark in St. Paul. It is an old-style “diner” named, Mickey’s which is designed to look like a railraod dining car with it’s “Art Deco” style.

Mickey’s is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and seating is pretty much limited to a long counter and a few booths. We were there at about 2:00 PM on a Saturday afternoon and the place was full. The menu, as you might of guessed, is pretty much limted to burgers and fries and of course breakfast anytime. The portions are huge and no matter how hungry you are when you come in, you will be more than full when you exit!

My son and I sat at the counter while the rest of our party did manage to snag a booth. I’m glad we had the vantage point we did because we got the privelage of watching the cook do his job! He was a “veteran” looking cook, one that you could tell had long ago mastered this trade. He worked in VERY tight, cramped quarters and while order upon order came in, he managed to make the whole process look so simple and carefree!

He had burgers going, fries in the hopper, eggs and bacon, and of course, pancakes the size of manhole covers! One man cooking all of this food and making it look so easy!

It made me think of another “short-order” cook…

ME!

Oh sure, I don’t deal with the volume that “Mickey’s” does and my pancakes aren’t the size of manholes, but my morning breakfast routine does resemble that of a cook working in a diner.

Most mornings, my day in the kitchen starts off with preparing breakfast for my wife and myself about an hour before the first kid is due to get up. I’ll usually start off with some turkey bacon and eggs that include some ham, onion and a little cheese. Other days, it’s oatmeal, cereal or bagels. Coffee is already done when I get up since I get that ready to go the night before and set it on a timer. While enjoying the food, I get a chance to scan the newspaper and take a deep breath before the “breakfast” rush!

As I have mentioned before, our kids have staggered start times in our school district. The first two are up at 7:00, with oldest going out the door at 7:30, followed by our daughter at 8:10. Our other son gets to sleep in until 7:30 and leaves the house at 8:40. So as you can tell, I have a little bit of an assembly line going in the morning.

I want to make sure the kids don’t leave the house on an empty stomach. I do believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately…

This means making different things for different kids! My oldest likes eggs and hash browns, along with orange juice. He also likes baggels with low-fat cream cheese, which on some days he’s rushing to take with him. My other son also likes eggs and toast, but also likes pancakes, which son #1 doesn’t! My daughter is pretty flexible and in addition to enjoying my pancakes, she likes cereal and oatmeal. However, she doesn’t like my scrambled eggs! They all like muffins, which I try to surprise them with on occasion, especially on weekends.

So when I see a cook working hard in a diner, I can relate to that and of course I try to show my appreciation when it comes to the tip! In today’s strip, Dave has left a “tip jar” as a subtle hint to his family that they might show some appreciation for his efforts in the kitchen.

Hmmm…not a bad idea!



Got Milk?

My name is Mike and I’m a milkaholic!

There, I said it!

The first step with any “addiction” is admit you have a problem!

I admit it, I love milk and drink it everyday! I have a glass with every meal, with snacks and I even put it on my cereal for goodness sakes!

I can’t stop!

It’s my source for calcium, which helps make my bones and teeth strong. I “crave” the the essential amino acids that milk provides, which by the way, the body can’t produce by itself! Milk also helps me meet my daily requirement for vitamins. One glass of milk provides about 44 percent of the daily recommended amount that a person should have.

So it’s good to finally get that off of my chest!

I want to thank actress, Lindsay Lohan and her incredibly stupid lawsuit against “E-Trade” for what she claims was an insensitive Super Bowl ad for helping me finally address this issue!

Remember the ad with the E-Trade babies?

The one where they introduce the new baby named, “Lindsay”, who is outed as a “milkaholic” by another baby in the ad.

Apparently that ad hit a nerve with Ms. Lohan, as she is under the impression that the good folks at E-Trade were actually talking about her and her many troubles with a beverage, which is more of the “adult” variety!

Either that, or she is just looking for some much needed publicity! My guess, probably the latter.

Anyway…

I saw the ad during the Super Bowl, as did millions of people worldwide and I have to admit when I heard the name, “Lindsay” and the term, “milkaholic” my first reaction was they were talking about Lindsey Buckingham from the band, “Fleetwood Mac”!

It made total sense to me!

You know how those bands are after a concert, they can pretty much have anything they want and I was sure milk was probably readily available for Mr. Buckingham! I could also see where he might develop an “addiction” to the beverage during a long tour with the band! Thus, I believed the “Lindsay” in the E-Trade ad HAD to be him!

One problem…

The baby in the ad was a girl!

After realizing the flaw in my thinking, I then thought of U.S. Skier and Gold Medalist, Lindsay Vonn! It made even more sense! She’s a world-class athlete, who would more than likely, consume large amounts of the white stuff and would have to be considered a “milkaholic”!

That’s it! She was the “Lindsay” they were talking about!

But, that theory got shot down too!

Dispite having AMPLE opportunities during the Olympics to “fire back” at the makers of the ad, she chose to remain silent! She never once mentioned during her hundreds of press conferences that she believed she was being labeled a milk addict!

So I was puzzeled, who exactly was the “Lindsay” they were talking about?

I did a little research and found that the name Lindsay, spelled with either an “e” or an “a” was the 240th most popular baby name in 2009. That means there are A LOT of possibilties out there…

There is U.S. Senator, Lindsey Graham, professional hockey player, Ted Lindsay (as you may recall, the ad never said if it was a first or last name), Irish boxer, Sir Martin Lindsay, pop singer, Mark Lindsay, and Lindsey Cardinale from American Idol, Season 4!

I even considered my next door neighbor’s daughter, Lindsay!

Nahhh, couldn’t have been her!

So the search continues!

But in the meantime, I want to thank Lindsay Lohan, who incidentally, was WAAAY down on my list and her 100 million dollar lawsuit for helping me realize and publically admit my love for milk!

Think I’ll go have a glass!

Things I Learned This Week…

*It’s probably a good idea to check the battery in your camcorder BEFORE you get to your daughter’s school performance and realize it is low!

With conservation, I managed to record about half of the show. Hmmm, I think I feel a cartoon coming on!

*I love to finish all of my training runs with the song, “Wake Up” by the band, Arcade Fire playing on my I-Pod.

A song that will get you pumped up for a strong finish!

Happy Weekend!