Persistence of Time

I think that the people at the Holiday gas station are getting sick of seeing me. I’ve seriously been in there for three meals in two days, and it’s always the same people working there. They all recognize me. Today at lunch, two of them even engaged in some sort of witty-ish high school banter with me. I have forgotten the meat of the conversation, but I fear that over the course of the last 48 hours I have inadvertently established myself as a Holiday regular.

Just saying that out loud (OK you got me. I didn’t say it out loud at all. I typed it.) makes me think of all that it would entail to actually be a Holiday regular. There would be a few types. First, you’d have the massive traveler, who stops at a multitude of Holiday gas stations in his (or her) travels across the nation. Second, there’s the guy that works down the street from a Holiday station and stops in for gas, food, whatever. Last, you’d have the creepy guy that hangs out by the magazine rack, and after being turned down by the high school aged clerk when he asks for her number, buys an issue of Hustler and a tub of Neutrogena. Weekly. I’m thankful on so many levels that I only fit into category 2.

Kerry, Gwen and I are heading back to the lake on Saturday evening, because the lake is effing awesome. That place is just summer exemplified for me, and I plan on spending a lot of time there.

Ahh, time. I think I’ve just figured out the title for this entry. Hee hee. Summer always kind of bugs me because of how quickly all of the time gets filled with stuff. It’s crazy. I know it’s not just me, either. Planning to do anything with friends is harder during the summer than it is while I’m in school, because seriously, everybody’s always got stuff going on. It’s madness. But it’s SUMMER, and I love it even if it’s hectic.

In other news, I’ve decided that I need to drop 20 pounds. I think that I’m going to use the time-honored method of “eat less and exercise”, but motivation is, as always, a factor. It really doesn’t help that I brew my own beer…it’s like I’m cultivating my beer-gut with my labors. Still, admitting there’s a problem is the first step to recovery. Wait…that sounds like I’m saying I have a beer problem. No, I have a beer-gut problem and an “I’m terribly lazy” problem.

It’s my goal to have Google hits on my blog from people that are just trying to look up Anthrax lyrics and stuff. I love to disappoint.

I'm the Man

OK, I'll admit that that title was just for the Anthrax reference. Other than that, it's not terribly applicable, except that I actually am the man. Oh yes.

The long weekend was fun, stressful, and full of driving. As mentioned in the previous post, my weekend started at noon on Friday with the whole beer fiasco. It got better from there, though.

My girls and I left home at about 5:45, headed for Bemidji. I always like the drive up there in the summer…it seems more relaxing. Not so at 5:45 PM on a Friday before a holiday weekend, however. At that time, it’s just a freaking traffic nightmare.

Actually, traffic was moving along pretty well until we got out of the city a ways. Just before our exit in Clearwater, we slammed into the stop-and-go crud. Since the monster-girl was sound asleep by that point, I proceeded with my Bemidji-trip tradition of driving through Culver’s and gorging myself on butterburger goodness.

As we approached the Clearwater exit, travelling at a breakneck speed of like 3 miles an hour, we saw a sign that read “MAJOR delay, Clearwater exit.” Oh, woo hoo. I looked at Kerry and asked if she wanted me to take an alternate route. In true wifely fashion, she replied that it was up to me. I then said, “OK, but you have to promise not to be mad.” She nodded agreement, which I knew meant basically nothing. I flipped a coin in my head and opted to try a different route. Skipping over some details, I made it just about to Kerry’s breaking point on this lovely new path, and suddenly ended up exactly where I had meant to go. Everything turned out wonderful, and I owe it all to me being awesome. I'm the man! Yay, it's applicable after all!

A 3 ½ hour trip to Bemidji ended up taking 5 hours, but we got there and had a good (albeit windy) weekend. We headed to my parents’ lake cabin on Sunday night. We used the same tactic of leaving late so that Gwen would sleep, but she didn’t sleep at all. She didn’t really cry or anything, she just chilled out in the back seat and talked to herself about cows. Fine with me --I listened to Clutch.

The weather was chilly on Monday, but it was good to see my relatives and we had a really good time. We came back Monday night.

We saw an astounding amount of Huge Beings this weekend, throughout our travels. As far as I can remember, we either drove past or walked up to:

Paul Bunyan – Akeley
Paul Bunyan – Bemidji
Babe the Blue Ox – Bemidji
Native American – Bemidji
Niimii – Bemidji
St. Urho – Menahga
Big Ole – Alexandria

Ahh, Minnesota…land of huge doods. Kinda like a Lundo green deck.

Among the Living

Apologies for the lack of correspondence lately – once summer hit, the things to blog about gave way to relaxing nights and lack of motivation to write. Also, I’ve had a heck of a time finding time to write. These two things combine, and suddenly even weekly blogging becomes less likely.

Last week was pretty rad. Everyone in my house is finally starting to feel better, which is awesome. We’re finally able to actually enjoy summer, instead of suffering on sick beds. It’s nice to be back among the living. (Spreading the Disease, Among the Living…what’s going on here? I don’t listen to nearly enough Anthrax for all of these references).

Last Thursday night I got together with Ryan and Corey and did some brewing. We all hung out in Rhyno’s driveway with turkey burners, kettles, and beer recipes. It was a fantastic time.

I woke up the next day and, as I always do in these situations, I checked on my beer to see how it was coming. Nothing was going on with it, but I didn’t worry about it. I knew that it would start fermenting soon. I went to work.I got off at noon on Friday and went home to mow my lawn before the holiday weekend. I gasped, because the airlock on top of my beer had filled completely with beer and was oozing out onto the floor. I forced myself not to panic…in situations like this (according to books on the subject of brewing and the FAQ on, this is an ok occurrence, because the escaping CO2 is going up and bacteria isn’t usually getting into the beer in this situation. Luckily, I had another airlock. I sanitized it and replaced the other one with a fresh airlock.

Not fifteen minutes later, I heard the new airlock clatter to the floor as my vigorous fermentation blew it from the top of the glass carboy. Yikes.

I ended up rigging up a blowoff tube, which was something I’d never done. Thankfully my kit had the necessary tubing. It appears that all is well, although I’m worried that there’s been some contamination. I always worry about that, though. I really won’t be able to tell until I’m able to taste some of the beer when I bottle it. We’ll see.

Well, that’s enough of a blog for today, I’m thinkin’. I’ll recap the weekend’s travels sometime in the near future.

Spreading the Disease!

So it’s been a while since I’ve written. Sheesh. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve felt up to it. What a crazy week it’s been. Let’s see if I can remember it all….

I finished my last final on Saturday, May 10th. It felt good all around. I wrote a solid exam, finished nicely early, and headed home with joyful thoughts of summer in my head. After arriving home, the girls and I promptly left for my Grandparents’ house. It was Mother’s Day weekend, and we wanted to make sure that my mom and grandma could see the Gwenner.

I started feeling a sore throat when we got home that night, but it wasn’t that big a deal. We cracked open a very nice Bordeaux that my parents had brought us from Paris, and watched House while drinking wine. It was pretty much a perfect evening.

The next morning was Mother’s Day, and Gwenster and I let Kerry sleep in. She got a nice break that day, and I hung out with the Punk. We went out for dinner that evening, and had a great day, but Gwen was starting to get really cranky, and had some kinda goopy looking earwax. Didn’t think too much of it at the time…

And then on Monday she got kicked out of daycare with a temperature of 103. Luckily for me it was the afternoon, so I only missed an hour of work. I came home with her, and started feeling pretty lousy myself. I checked my temp that evening and I was sitting at 101.5. Sweet. We took Gwen to Urgent Care that evening. It turned out that she had an ear infection in both ears, and one had ruptured. Poor thing.

Kerry was off work on Tuesday, as she usually is. So she stayed home with the bambino and I went to work like a schlep. I was home by noon, and slept on the couch for 3 hours. I felt like total crud.

Wednesday night the madness continued. Gwen had developed some blisters on her hands and mouth. We knew that there was at least one confirmed instance of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease at daycare, and a trip to the doctor on Thursday proved it for Gwen as well. So, I was home with her one more time. To top it off, Kerry had come down with a fever on Wednesday night. So she was home in bed on Thursday, feeling like total crud.

Kerry felt slightly better on Friday, and Gwen was able to go back to daycare that afternoon. Gwen got progressively better all weekend, but Kerry’s sore throat kept hanging on. She finally went to the doctor today to get it checked out. Thankfully, it wasn’t strep.

It was freaking Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Seriously?!? The chances of that in someone over the age of 5 are really slim, but she managed to get it. Poor Kerry. With adults it’s really just a fever followed by a sore throat…no blisters on the hands or feet. So thank heaven for small miracles there. So yeah, this past week was like some sort of crazy run of diseases. Not cool. Hopefully we can be healthy for a while now. Kerry’s doctor prescribed some “Magic Mouthwash” which sounds like something with a street value, but really is just kind of numbing or something.

Ramblers, let's get rambling.

I’m really freaking excited to go out and get some golfing done. It’s that time of year again. Spring is in the air, the snow has finally melted, and I’m more than ready for the wonderfully frustrating sport that I adore so much. I’m fixing to hit the links with Rhyno if he’s available sometime next week. Next week is the golden week, because I’ll finally be freaking done with finals!!! My other golf partner won’t be done until May 15th. Sucks for him.

I seriously can’t believe how fast this year has gone. It’s rocketed by. My baby girl is suddenly this little kid that walks up and says things to me. It will seriously be way too soon that she’s walking up and saying, “Hey dad, can I borrow the car?” Sheesh. Anyway, the year has gone by at turbo speed, and next year at this time I’ll be just about done with law school. Like, completely. Wow, that’s just a crazy thought. Nothing left after than but a bar exam. No problem, right Lars? ;)

I’ve been watching a bunch of Metalocalypse lately. T-Rav "lent" me season 1 some time ago, and I’ve only just now gotten around to watching it. The 15-minute episodes make excellent study breaks. If you’ve never watched it before, I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious. What made it even more hilarious for me was watching it with the subtitles on. I did this for a couple reasons. First off, there’s a lot of loud music in it, and Gwenner was sleeping at the time. Second, some of the members of the band have horrid accents that are almost unintelligible. Anyway, by watching it with the subtitles on, I was able to read the lyrics to the opening song. If you have never done so, watch the opening song with subtitles. Pickles the drummer, doodily-doo.

Also, when Jamming out to the Sword’s new album, I noticed that they totally ganked Ghola’s “Rawk Into Mordor” for the main riff for Under the Boughs. What’s up with that, Sword? That’s it. We’re suing. Unless you can somehow prove that there’s no reason for you to have ever heard Rawk Into Mordor, and also prove that we most likely heard your song before writing ours and oh crap whatever we give up.

May 1, 1982

May 1st is always a difficult day for me. It’s a lot of kind of personal stuff, but hey…I think I’ll go ahead and type it all out anyway, because when you get right down to it, this is a site where I type about myself.

I had a twin brother by the name of Joseph. Joey was a really cool kid, but I only knew him until we were five years old. If you haven’t figured it out by that sentence, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. On we go. He was definitely the “alpha dog” in our twin dynamic. He always got to be Luke when we played Star Wars. (It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that being Han was actually the better deal). I was quiet and laid back, and he was the one that was kind of in charge. That said, we did everything together and had a connection that only twins can have. It’s really not possible to explain.

On the morning of May 1st, 1982, Joey was sleeping. I was awake and watching Saturday morning cartoons with my sister (who was 3 years old at the time). I heard my parents upstairs trying to wake Joey, but he just wouldn’t open his eyes. The memory has obviously become kind of fuzzy after 26 years, but I think that he had been sick with something like the flu the night before. I went upstairs to see what was going on, and my parents were shaking him and trying to get him to wake up.

After some time, an ambulance came to the house to take Joe to the hospital. Apparently at the hospital they were able to wake him up somehow, at least for a while. I don’t think I was there, but I’ve heard the story enough times to know that the doctor was asking him questions to see if he knew who he was. He gave some witty little five-year-old answers. The doctor asked what his daddy did. Joey replied, “He’s a lawyer.” The doctor asked what lawyers do. Joey replied, “They make a lot of money.” Funny kid.

Soon after that, Joey slipped into a coma. When he woke up, he was in a vegetative state that lasted until his death in the summer of 1991. It’s funny…I can’t remember the exact date of his death, only the date that he got sick. Perhaps it’s just because it’s an easier day to remember. I don’t doubt for a second that I’ve blocked parts of his actual death from my memory. When he died, my family and I were on vacation. Joey was still back home, being cared for at the hospital. I was downstairs at the home of some friends in Colorado or Utah or something…it was a vacation out to California. My mom came downstairs with tears in her eyes and just said, “Bad news.” We left for home the next day, and had a funeral shortly after that.

It’s now been 26 years since my brother got sick. My parents cared for him by themselves for over nine years. I simply cannot explain what amazing people they are. There is no way to put it into words. Sometimes people go through terrible things and it breaks them. Other times, it shows the world how strong they really are. I love you, Mom and Dad. Rest in peace, Joey.