Archive for November, 2010

A Coke And A Smile!

A quick update to Friday’s post…

I am happy to report my mission to make a “Coke Can” Halloween costume for my daughter was a success!

However, not without few anxious moments!

With pieces to assemble on Friday and the clock ticking down to when the costume needed to be finished, I was feeling the pressure to get the thing done! I had everything ready to go but, as with every project, there were glitches to overcome.

Specifically, how to assemble it and have it stay together!

My plan was to use a hot glue gun to secure everything. When that proved unsuccessful, it was time for “Plan B”!

Time to break out the duct tape!

I began duct taping the upper and lower portion of the can to the poster board sides, while keeping my fingers crossed that it would hold, since there wasn’t a “Plan C”!

Much to the delight of my daughter and much to the relief of me, the duct tape held and I finished the costume in time for her to proudly wear it last night!

She had a big smile on her face as she left our house to go “Trick or Treating” with her friends.

The hours spent making the costume were more than repaid when my daughter gave me a hug and told me how much she loved the costume!

I was equally relieved when I saw that our weather held and no rain was going to ruin my efforts!

(I had rolled the dice when it came to water proofing the costume!)

I do owe a big “thanks” to Richard Drew of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, who is credited with inventing duct tape in 1920’s.

Not sure where I would be without that wonderful product!

My happy "Coke Can"!
My happy “Coke Can”

Wanted: Ice!

“Be patient, it’ll be here soon enough!”

That’s what I’ve been telling my son.

You wouldn’t think a nearly eighteen year old boy would care, but my son and a few of his friends are the exception!

What is it that they are in such a hurry to get?


Specifically, lake ice!

The kind thick enough to drive a truck on!

Yep, my son and his buddies are anxiously awaiting for our 10,000 plus lakes to become solid!

Why, you ask?

Because, believe it or not, they love to ice fish!

Yep, the kind of fishing where a person ventures out onto a frozen lake, drills a hole (or two), drops a line and hopes a fish would like to get some sun!

You’re probably thinking that sounds rather cold!

You’re right, it is!

That’s why winter fishermen and fisherwomen here in the northland use something called an “ice house” to protect them from the elements. It is basically a small structure made out of wood that is placed on a lake for about two and half months depending upon our temperatures. There are holes cut into the wood floor that will be used to drop a line after a device called an ” ice auger” is used to drill through a layer of ice that can be as thick as two feet.

These houses can be simple or they can be elaborate.

The more decked out versions often have satelite TV’s, microwaves, beds, heaters, etc…

Portable ice houses are also an option to use. They are taken out onto a lake, unfolded and set-up, then after a person is done fishing for the day, it is packed up for the return trip home. They are usually made of some type of fabric or plastic and fold up pretty small. My son and his friends purchased one of these last year and used it a lot.

That was last year!

THIS year, the plans called for a permanent structure, one that will have a winter home on one of our area lakes.

So my son and his friends designed an ice house that could be built in our backyard, but would come apart easily for transportation to the lake, where it would be re-assembled for their use.

I was a little skeptical!

But over the past couple of weeks, I have watched the thing being built and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed with what is almost the finished product!

Yesterday, the finishing touches were started.

A handle and latch were secured to the door, all weather carpet was laided inside and a map of nearby Lake Minnetonka was prominently placed on the wall.

A vent to bring in fresh air was installed and reflectors were added to the outside so people on snowmobiles at night can spot the thing.

A license will be purchased soon to be displayed on the outside of the house.

And the plan is to paint the exterior this weekend.

All that is needed is a good thick layer of ice!

Unfortunately, for my anxious fisherson, it sounds like that’ll be awhile.

With the temp forecasted to be at or near sixty this weekend, I don’t think “Mother Nature” will be making any ice too soon!

But on the bright side, it does give me a chance to get some last minute “winterizing” done of my own.

Clean and organize the garage.

Store the outside flower pots.

Cover our deck furniture.

Turn off the water to the outside.

One last lawn cutting.

Drain the gas from the mower.

All of these things need to get done because it won’t be too long before my son gets his wish and things around here will get mighty frozen!

Happy Weekend!

The ice house construction…

The beginning!

The beginning!

Floor complete, ready for the walls!

Floor complete, ready for the walls!

Walls going up!

Walls going up!

An ice house is born!

An ice house is born!

Ready to use!

Ready to use!

Monday Morning Dad

Back at the drawing board following a busy weekend of putting things away for the winter and adjusting to standard time once again!

As I mentioned on Friday, our weather forecast for the weekend could be summed up in one word…


And as it turned out, it didn’t disappoint!

We enjoyed mild temps on both Saturday and Sunday. It was the perfect time to do one of my least favorite things, that being, clean the garage!

Yeah, it was time to make my annual switch of summer and winter gear. Time to store the mower, golf clubs, bikes and roller blades and break out the snow blower, snow shovels, ice scrapers and boots!

It was also time to sweep and purge!

Sweep away a summer’s worth of dust and dirt to make way for a winter’s worth of slush and road salt!

Time to throw away stuff that hadn’t seen the light of day for months and certainly wasn’t missed!

I cleaned, swept and purged for several hours and by the end of the day I had a clean garage! One that is sure to stay that way for ohhhh, about a week!

There’s a couple of weeks a year that my garage looks pretty good. You can probably guess when that is…

Yes, one week in the fall and one week in the spring.

The times when I make the switch between seasons with all of our stuff!

So I am going to enjoy the next few days of a clean, somewhat oraganized garage, while counting down the days until I do my next clean-up sometime next spring!

The nice weather gave me the chance to mow the lawn one last time. One last time to bag the few remaining leaves that waited until the last minute to drop on my lawn. From here on, any leaf that decides to land in my yard will either get blown to a neighbor’s yard or spend the winter burried under a couple of feet of snow in mine!

After the mower was successfully drained of any remaining gasoline, I washed it off and made the sad, but necessary switch of storage positions in my garage of it and the snow blower!

I also made sure to turn off the water supply to our outside faucets, another item on my “to do” list.

Making the mistake of leaving the outside water on is one you’ll probably only make once, since frozen water pipes are not pleasant to deal with!

Ice House Update…

My son and friends put the finishing touches on their shack. A couple coats of paint were applied to the exterior and everything now seems ready to go.

Waiting & waiting for ice!

So with work complete, it was time to relax and enjoy one last barbeque when a shovel wasn’t needed to get to the grill! The steaks tasted particularly good following an afternoon of hard labor!

And to top that off, we got an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night! Next to Christmas Eve, it is probably my kids favorite night of the year!

Mine too!

Locked Up!

Note to self…under NO circumstances will I dive for a ball in an attempt to catch said ball in order to allow a teammate back into the game!

Been there, done that, still feel that!

What game you ask?

Pin Guard, of course!

What is Pin Guard, you ask?

It is a version of the classic, “Dodgeball”. But in Pin Guard, in addition to avoiding get hit and knocked out of the game, teams need to protect a pair of bowling pins that are placed in the corners of the gymnasium. The team that knocks down both pins first, wins the game!

Of course if a player CATCHES a ball that is thrown at him or her, one player that has previously been knocked out, can return to the game.

More about that rule later.

Why am I spending time worrying about my pin guard strategy you ask?

Because tonight the Boy Scout Troop my boys belong to will be having their annual “Lock-In” event and I will be participating in one or two or three or four games of the above mentioned game!

The lock-in, which will take place at a local area church, will be begin at 6:00 PM tonight and end at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. We have 48 scouts and many adults that will spend the early part of the evening bowling and consuming large amounts of pizza and soda at an area bowling alley, then return to the church around 9:00 PM for when the real fun begins!

That being, loud raucous, sweaty, surprisingly competitve games of pin guard!

Two, three, four hours worth of pin guard!

You see, very little sleep occurs at our lock-in. Oh, we have a quiet room and yes, scouts are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and get some sack time, but usually only a couple of scouts actually get any sleep.

The consumption of Mountain Dew may have something to do with that!

This will be my fourth lock-in, second as the “Adult Coordinator”, which basically means I’m the one who makes the reservations, gets the keys to the church, pays the pizza bill and then gets out of the way so our Senior Patrol Leader can run the show!

But tonight the adults get a chance to participate in the pin guard tradition!

The adult “Patrol” in our troop is affectionately referred to as the “Old Goats” and of course the “Old Goats” will be playing to win tonight!

Which brings me back to that rule of pin guard which allows a knocked out player to return to the game if another player catches a ball thrown in his or her direction.

Tonight marks the two year anniversary of when I, in the spirit of being a good teammate AND attempting to win what was probably our tenth game that evening, dove for a ball in order to catch it!

And in the spirit of Charlie Brown, I not only failed to make the catch, thus knocking myself out of the game, but I also proceeded to land on my hip, which required a month of physical therapy, made me walk with a limp for a couple of months and to this day, still bothers me from time to time!

All in the name of pin guard!

So my plan is to play “smart” tonight and avoid getting injured.

Of course all bets may be off once the Mountain Dew takes effect and if my son starts “talking some trash” to this old goat!

Happy Weekend!