Archive for January, 2010

Happy 2010!

Hope 2010 is off to a good start for you!

I got started on one of my “resolutions” this morning and I am happy to report I was able to check it off my list before noon today!

How’s that for getting the year off on the right foot?

My resolution, you ask?

To run a 10K on New Year’s Day.

In Florida?


In California?


Arizona? Hawaii? Any place where the term, “windchill” isn’t talked about in a weather forecast?

No, no, and no.

How ’bout good ‘ol Minnesota?

You betcha!

Number one on my resolution list was to run the “Polar Dash” on New Year’s Day, right here in Minneapolis/ St. Paul!

The race is part of a series of local races put on by Team Ortho, of which I am on their e-mail list. I ran the “Monster Dash” on Halloween, which is another of their races, so I have been getting notices about the Polar Dash for awhile.

Last week, after seeing a picture of their very cool “Finisher” medal, I decided it sounded like fun and a good way to get 2010 off to a “running” start.

The race wasn’t until 11:00 this morning, so I was even able to sleep in a little. After I got up, I immediately checked the outside temperature, which was a “balmy” 1 degree!

Ahhh…perfect for a run through the winter landscape of the Twin Cities!

I wanted it cold!

The colder the better!

The last thing I wanted was to run a polar race when it was 30 degrees, that would be “wimpy”!

On second thought…

As I was making the half hour drive to the race I was listening on the radio to a live broadcast of another proud New Year’s tradition here of taking a “Polar Plunge” in one of our 10,000 plus lakes and I was happy instead to be running a race in my multiple layers of clothing!

How many layers?

Three technical long-sleeved race shirts, a pull-over race jacket, two layers of sweatpants, two layers of gloves, a neck warmer, a skull hat, a stocking hat and finally, ONE pair of sunglasses!

I was like the “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man”, but I was determined to stay warm!

I got to the race about an hour before the start. I was very happy to see a large warming tent that was very inviting to spend the hour before the race in.

Inside, they had heaters to help keep the place slightly above freezing.

I became good friends with one of them, the “TempPro” portable heater, just to be specific!

I didn’t let it out of my site and if they would have had a long enough extension cord, I seriously thought about carrying it with me during the race!

No such luck!

I’d have to brave the cold all by myself and my mulitple layers of clothing!

I said good-bye to the “TempPro” and off I went to the starting line.

It was about ten minutes before the gun was to go off.

I took my place and anxiously waited for the race to begin and hopefully begin generating some body heat.

As I was waiting, I couldn’t help but think of the movie, “Vacation” and specifically the scene where Chevy Chase’s character was going to jump into the swimming pool with Christie Brinkley and he was clapping his hands saying, “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!”

That’s how I felt before the start!

Then Chase’s character jumps into the pool and yells, “Ahhhh, it’s cold!”

Yup, it is!

Let’s get this thing going!

The finally race started and it really wasn’t that bad.

The was little wind and the road had been salted so the surface was pretty ice free- almost!

At mile 4 there was a sharp turn, almost a 90 degree turn and it was ice covered. Two women ahead of me slipped and went down. I slowed to see if they were okay and you guessed it, I went down too.

No big deal. I got up and finished the race in 51 minutes and 18 seconds.

After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my medal and headed straight for the car!

Cranked the heat and drove home!

New Year’s Resolution Number One-


With medal, still cold!

With medal, still cold!

The real MVP-The "TempPro" Heater!
The real MVP-The “TempPro” heater!

Monday Morning Dad

Some random thoughts on the first Monday of the New Year!

We purchased a computer for my parents for Christmas and they are getting a internet connection later today, so welcome to the web, Mom & Dad!

(Bill Gates can now relax, ALL of the civilized world now has a computer!)

It took a little time to get back into our routine this morning and Mother Nature wasn’t about to help us out!

When I got up this morning it was 9 degrees BELOW zero in the Twin Cities! That was the ACTUAL temperature, not the windchill, which happened to be 22 below!

With those kind of temps, it meant I was driving my daughter to the bus stop.

And I wasn’t the only one, most parents in our neighborhood drive their kids to the stop when it is this cold and this morning was no exception! The kids stay in the warm cars until the bus shows up.

I also drove our youngest son to school this morning, so he could avoid the cold too!

A cold start to 2010!

A cold start to 2010!

Spent the weekend getting our Christmas decorations put away (only the inside ones, outside will probably be there until July).

Our real tree was officially pronounced “dead” last Wednesday.

On Thursday it was time to get the thing out of our house, something was I really dreading!

Strange thing, none of our kids, who badly wanted a real tree this year, could be found when it was time to deal with the mess!

If you recall from last Wednesday’s strip, Dave had a difficult time dealing with his tree and all of the needles falling when he tried to move it.

I had a similiar experience!

The plan was to remove the ornaments and slip the tree into a plastic bag, take it out through our sliding door onto our deck and throw it over the side!

(My oldest son wanted to keep it for kindling for a backyard fire.)

So much for plans!

I think half of the needles fell when the ornaments came off!

Since a good share of the needles were now on our family room floor I decided to adjust my plans and skip putting the thing into the plastic bag before I took it out.

There was already hundreds of needles on the floor, how much worse could it get?

I got the tree out of it’s stand and took it to our sliding door.

Surprisingly, it didn’t quite fit!

Note to me…

Next year, in addition to the ceiling height, be sure to measure the width of the door frame too!

It was pretty evident that this tree was not going to go without a fight!

After a few tense moments I was able to get the thing out onto our deck, but not without it dropping another couple thousand needles or so.

I gave it the heave-ho over the side of the deck and it is now waiting for son to build a fire!

I spent the next half hour cleaning up it’s trail!

The leftovers from our tree!

The leftovers from our tree!

Something new for 2010…

I am going to keep a tally of ALL of the loads of laundry I PERSONALLY do this year!

I thought it would be funny (or scary) to see what the number looks like on 12-31-10!

As of six o’clock this morning, there are 8 loads done so far.


There is no “official” betting line on this in Vegas, but feel free to let me know your guess!

I hope our trusty ‘ol Whirlpool is up for another huge year of what seems like non-stop cleaning action!

Ready for action in 2010!

Ready for action in 2010!

Things I Learned This Week…

This is the first time for this feature since before the holidays, so maybe it should be entitled, “Things I Learned The Past Couple of Weeks…

Anyway, here we go!

*Pay close attention to where you park your car in a very crowded parking lot when you are Christmas shopping.

If you don’t you may suddenly find yourself in an episode of “Seinfeld”. Remember the one where the gang forgot where they parked in a ramp? I found out the hard way that if you don’t take note of what row you’re in, you can easily spend more time looking for your car than shopping for your loved ones!

*According to a clerk at our local Costco, that store was the number one producer of holiday cards for their entire nationwide chain.

How many you ask?

Approximately 6,000 per day!

*I learned how or should I say why “mudrooms” got their name.

With three kids home for almost two weeks and plenty of snow outside, need I say more?

*$42,000 and ninety days in jail for making a false report that your son is floating away in a hellium balloon is not a sufficient enough!

Richard Heene, aka, “Balloon Boy Dad” now claims he didn’t make anything up and the only reason he pleaded guilty was to protect his wife from possible deportation.

He made appearances this week on Larry King and the Today Show.

What is more pathetic…

Richard Heene OR the media for putting him back on?

Looks like he’s getting exactly what he wants-more publicity!

However, he may now get something he wasn’t expecting- a PERJURY charge!

*Actor Charlie Sheen must have been upset that Tiger Woods was working his side of the street and attempting to steal some of his “bad boy” image. Sheen allegedly took matters (or his wife’s neck) into his own hands on Christmas morning!

*After staying up late this past Tueday night watching the Iowa Hawkeyes defeat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, I learned that one pot of coffee the next morning is not enough! Thank you Starbucks!

Oh, in case you didn’t know…

The score was Iowa 24 Georgia Tech 14.

*It is being reported by TMZ that following the Winter Olympics in February, Jay Leno will return to his 11:30 PM EST time slot. According to the report, it probably means that Conan O’Brien will be out as host of The Tonight Show.

I liked Leno when he was host of the Tonight Show. I”m not a huge fan of his new show, but I don’t see it that often either. When I did see it, I thought it seemed like he was trying too hard to make it different from his version of The Tonight Show.

O’Brien has started to grow on me and I think he has gotten a bum deal from the beginning.

Leno got all of the publicity when it was announced he was coming on at 10:00 PM.

It has seemed to me that O’Brien has struggled get “A-List” guests.

Out of fear that NBC will lose Leno to another network, it appears O’Brien won’t be given the same chance Leno had when he took over for Johnny Carson to bring the ratings up. You might recall that Leno trailed David Letterman badly in the ratings until Hugh Grant made a “timely” appearance on Leno’s show.

NBC says they plan to keep both.

Conan, can you say, “Hi-yo”?

Looks like the late night wars will surely continue!

Happy Weekend!

Monday Morning Dad

Getting back into the routine following the weekend.

It’s FINALLY getting warmer in the Twin Cities, never thought 20 degrees could feel so good! The forecast calls for us to get above 30 degrees this week, which means it will be time to head to the beach and golf courses!

Seriously, it will give me a chance to get our vehicles washed!

As you can see, the van is pretty much a moving “salt block”! I think I’d better get it washed soon or I’ll have deer lined up to lick it!

Our salt covered van!

Our salt covered van!

It was my youngest son’s thirteenth birthday on Saturday.

I can’t believe we have another “teenager” in the house!

I have a tradition of making a pancake breakfast for my kids on their birthdays.

To make them feel a little more special I always make the pancakes in the shape of their age.

As you can see by the photo, “13’s” are a little hard to make, but I managed to pull it off!

(By the way, my wife is perfectly fine that I don’t make pancakes in the shape of her age on her birthday!)

Happy 13th Birthday, Matt!

Happy 13th Birthday, Matt!

My wife is leaving tomorrow morning on her first business of 2010.

She’s only going to be gone one night, so it’s really no big deal, but it’s kind of like driving during the first snowfall of the season. It’s not a lot of snow and you know how to drive in it, but you haven’t done it for awhile.

It’ll probably be a little challenging at first, but we’ll soon get used to it, especially since she is gone again next week!

One of the questions I get asked often is how I come up with ideas for my strip?

I try to explain how I write down ideas that come to me or I see and then later on, take the idea and expand upon it.

A perfect example is today’s strip where “Max” is being a bit of a backseat driver.

Last week, I was driving through a parking lot and met a car that had a large dog sitting in the front passenger seat.

I thought it looked pretty funny!

I then thought of “Max” and what he might say if he were riding in the car with “Dave” and in a couple of seconds I had an idea for a strip.

Of course, I don’t think the real dog was critiquing the driver like Max did today!