This week, the Shortarmguy Family had the pleasure of attending Dan Patch Days in Savage. Dan Patch was a horse who ran races in the early 1900's. His owner was apparently a good guy named Marion Savage who was so cool the town decided to change their name in his honor. And for some reason, every year we go to this festival to get hammered and celebrate this guy and his horse. Good enough reason for me!
The boys loved the petting zoo. Where else can they have a whole bunch of animals completely cornered so they can attack them from multiple angles. The animals seem to love it also as they ran in terror from the 2000 kids who visited them each day.
What the Quack?
Avery and I both really love turkeys.
The boys spent the next several hours rolling around on some really dirty slides. They received unlimited rides and several forms of new bacteria attached to their bodies for only $8.00 each.
Casablanca Orchestra Rocked The Crowd All Night!!
Every year, I try and I try. But I really suck at taking pictures of fireworks.
On Sunday, we attended the Dan Patch Day Parade so we could race other kids for gobs and gobs of candy whipped at us from people walking in front of us on the street.
I thought Luke looked pretty cool in this Viking mask, but he had no interest in wearing it for the rest of the day as I suggested to him.
The highlight of the parade was getting a glimpse at one of our favorite idols, Mr. Rob Bauer. I'd sit on a hard sidewalk in the hot sun for a couple of hours to see him any day!!
After the parade, we stopped by Gander Mountain to see part of The DOCKDOGS Dog Jumping Competition! Them dogs got Hops!
Avery's Accomplishment of the week: His first head first dive!!
Luke's Accomplishment of the Week: Raising 10 baby caterpillars!
It was so sweet how he nurtured them as they transformed into cocoons and than hatched into healthy butterflies.
We than let them go in the backyard where Luke and Avery proceeded to chase them down and start jumping on them until we yelled at them to KNOCK IT OFF!
It's The Circle Of Life!
The Shortarmguy Family was featured in this week's Prior Lake American.
We were quite pleased with the general tone of the article even if we did come off as a bit of a weird family.
I guess you can believe some of what you read in the newspaper!
It was a bit strange having a reporter follow us around as we went through our routines of playing in the backyard and taking Sunny for a swim down at the lake. In hindsight, we probably should have been prepared to show him more exciting parts of our lives. Like reading books or clipping our toenails. Something that shows who we truly are...
On Wednesday night, we continued our roller coaster lives with a trip to our local utility company's Customer Appreciation Day.
Minnesota Valley Electric Coop is awesome! Not only did we get a free meal from them, the kids also got some little yellow plastic hats. If I'd have died immediately after this picture was taken, I'd have died a happy man.
According to the energy experts, these so called Smart Cars are supposed to be the wave of the future. You can fit two of them into a standard parking space!! Not sure why you'd want to go parking in one of these things though....there's definitely no room to do anything!
After we were done eating, we went out with boys to play on the inflatables and ride ponies. Please note the looks of the sky in this photo because it's going to be relevant in the next few pictures.
Karma was with Avery on this night, not so much with Luke. Right after we were done jumping on the bouncy things, we walked back to the main area where we heard them announce that Avery was the winner of a totally cool new Schwinn Falcon bicycle. Had we walked up any later, we would have missed hearing his name and lost it because you must be present to win. Luke was pissed that his brother won such a cool prize and he didn't win Jack. As we tried to teach him to be happy for his brother and not be a poor sport, the skies responded with a torrent of hail stones literally a minute after this picture was taken. We all had to run into the buildings to avoid being pelted.
It took some coaxing, but we finally convinced Luke that it was a good thing to have a new bike in the house. He relaxed and let us take this picture celebrating his brother's good fortune.
I went out and took a bunch of pictures and video of the golf ball sized hail as it pounded the fairgrounds. I was fortunate to not get hit while I was out there so I relaxed my parenting a bit as Luke ventured outside. I swear I told him to come back into the building, but I guess I didn't push him as hard as I could have. He looked like he was having so much fun as he turned around and danced for the crowd huddling inside the building. I just couldn't bear to tell him to stop since he was already kind of bummed out for the night. He was only outside for about 30 seconds, did a quick little jig, and then tipped his plastic hat at the crowd. Upon removing his protective headgear, a piece of hail beaned him right in the forehead. His brother got a bike, he got a goose egg on his head and a lesson about dancing outside in a hail storm. He didn't cry at first, but eventually we heard about it for the rest of the evening.
For next year's event, we're going to get Luke a T-shirt that says "I went to the MVEC Customer Appreciation Night and my brother won a really cool bike and I took an ice rock in the skull."
I think he'll like that.
The Shortarmguy Family did something extremely cool on Thursday night! Underwater Adventures had a special Members Only sneak peek at their new sharks they brought in to launch Sharkfest XI. We thought we were going to go there just to see the new fiendish creatures, but when we arrived they told us we had full access to the aquarium!! This meant for the first time we would have Abovewater Adventures!
It was an extremely surreal experience to watch the sharks, rays, and other sea beasts from the top of the tanks with nothing but a rickety fence standing between us. Grandma Linda became very paranoid every time the boys leaned forward to get a closer look! It was really amazing that we had such open access to the animals. I found myself quite tempted to just jump in and swim with the Sea Monsters but held my desires in check. I just kept thinking what a pain in the neck it would be to switch my website from Shortarmguy.com to Noarmsguy.com.
The pictures don't do the experience justice, because these sharks are huge. Standing directly above dozens of them is really quite awe inspiring. I asked one of the employees if anyone had ever jumped in there without a diving suit, but he said No. He told me that wouldn't be a very wise move because when they do enter the tank they have to take quite a few precautions to make sure none of their staff turn into Chum.
On Friday, Grandpa Bob and Grandma Joyce came to town to celebrate Father's Day with us. We told them that Father's Day wasn't until Sunday, so they'd have to keep their celebration feelings in check until then.
On Friday night, we had a picnic with our Cub Scout Pack. We had it at a really cool campsite called Cleary Point at Cleary Lake Park. The area is surrounded by an algae ridden pond giving the boys all sorts of opportunities to hunt for frogs, turtles, busted glass bottles and empty cans from previous campers. The food was good too!
One of the families was doing a Support The Troops project so we took this group photo and they were then sending the flags to some soldiers afterwards. I thought that was a pretty cool thing to do even if it doesn't look like Grandpa Bob is paying attention in the picture....
On Saturday morning, we had a soccer game which Luke wasn't extremely thrilled to be participating as can be seen on his face in this photo. He's made the determination that soccer probably isn't going to be his thing, although he was impressing us with a new set of moves we dubbed "The Windmill" in which he runs near the other boys swinging his arm in a big circle. It doesn't appear to make much difference in his game, but it does look pretty cool. Avery does want to continue with his soccer career and has been developing a style he calls the "Slice and Dice". Although it hasn't been extremely effective yet, I'm thinking if we can get him to implement "The Windmill" at the same time, we may have a future Beckham on our hands.
I don't care what anyone says, our family looks pretty dang good while watching soccer.
Grandpa Bob gets so intense cheering on the boys while watching the game, I honestly thought he was going to pop a blood vessel.
Saturday afternoon brought us to Candy Cove for a little boat swimming. The boys are seen here trying to land on the hundred blue gills swimming around our boat. I thought I'd be clever in the picture at the top of the site and would try the Nestea Plunge off the back of my boat. Sadly, part of my brain said try to land on my butt while the other part said do a backwards dive so my head landed first. Neither part won out before I ended up slapping the water with a massive back flop that turned my back bright red for the next few hours. As Forrest Gump said "I'm not a very smart man."
This is Shawn Hogendorf. He's a reporter for the Prior Lake American. I spent a couple hours with him on Friday doing an interview for a possible future story on Shortarmguy.com. Although I haven't met a whole bunch of newspaper reporters in my time, Shawn struck me as one who is extremely talented with an eye for stories with significant global relevance. I'm thinking we may be looking at a future Pulitzer Prize Winner here. Probably with the story about my website!
The Shortarmguy Family spent most of the weekend at Cub Scout Camp! We sang campfire songs and did all sorts of fun things in the woods.
Camp Kiwanis is located on the Minnesota border next to the beautiful St. Croix River just north of Stillwater. I took this photo at 6am after waking up freezing cold, leaving my tiny bed, and resigning myself to being awake for the day.
I loved everything about camp except for our sleeping arrangements. The boys and I bunked with 19 other men and boys. Many of whom were smelly, loud people. On Friday night, we had lights out at 10:30PM. Until about 11:30 or so, the boys fought with each other via mouths and flashlights. Then they finally settled down and fell asleep. Right about then, the snoring chorus began and seemed to go on until morning. One of the other dads remarked that he woke up and thought it sounded like guys were arguing with each other in SNORE LANGUAGE. Rather than subjecting ourselves to a second night of similar joy, we ended up sneaking away from camp after the final campfire on Saturday night. Call me a WUSS if you want, but my bed has never felt more comfortable in my life!
Miss Sheri had it a little better sleeping in a dorm room with another mom, but she was happy to leave camp early as well. She was pretty sad out that our attempt at spinning our own rope didn't go that well. Our group tried to twist & pull things the right way, but just ended up with a big stringy mess!
The boys fared much better in their activities. They did all sorts of cool stuff including shooting BB Guns, doing archery, going for canoe rides...
...carving soap... swimming...learning knife safety...
riding ponies...scaring goats...tying knots...
...and flying through the air on ropes during the obstacle course! The pictures don't do the heights of this adventure justice, but Avery probably was at least 20 feet in the air at the peak. Too high for his Nervous Nellie Father!
Luke didn't go quite as high as his brother, but it was still pretty dang far up there. Honestly, I don't even know how many feet he went up in the air because I couldn't bare to watch most of the time. I was too dang scared that he was going to fall!
Lucky for the boys, the guy pushing them was their Wild Man Den Leader, Joey. He's a great outdoorsman who teaches them a lot of things their father doesn't know. As a matter of fact, our entire den is filled with pretty cool people that are enjoyable to be around.
Except when I'm trying to fall asleep.
All in all, the Shortarmguy Family had a bunch of fun at camp.
Glad we're home now.
Last Sunday, the Shortarmguy Family spent a few hours at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. We saw all sorts of pretty flowers and crazy animals.
Como Zoo is one of my favorite places to visit because I just love Gorilla Butts!
Miss Sheri and the boys sit on about 40 flowers to pose for this picture crushing them in the process. Personally, I think it was worth it because it's a very nice shot.
Krazy Kory, Krazy Kelli, and Young Master Ben Kenobi came to visit and joined us for a boat ride on Memorial Day Eve. Then we took the kids home and made them go to bed early telling them they had to get up at the crack of dawn to open up presents under the Memorial Day tree. They were sure disappointed the next morning to discover there was no such thing, but at least it gave us parents some quiet time to enjoy with one another.
Krazy Kory and Krazy Kelli are getting married this August making their Krazy union legal and moral. Now the question will become.....
Where are the Krazy Kidz?
Luke, Avery, and I marched with our Cub Scout Pack in the Memorial Day Parade. The boys were so excited to throw candy at the crowd, but I had to disappoint them by telling them it wasn't that kind of parade. This parade was to honor the lives of people who sacrificed themselves for their country and their community. We'd just have to wait and throw candy at each other when we got home.
It was a very nice event. We marched through the streets of Prior Lake on our way to Memorial Park where the memorial service was held. We had such a nice time that we decided to try to do the same thing again later that day, but it didn't work out so well. We were almost run over by cars three times.
Our family and friends seemed so proud of us as we marched past them. The crowd wasn't quite so happy with us though as we held up the entire parade for 3 minutes while I tried to get this picture of them just right.
Yesterday we took the boys to the driving range for the first time and I was quite pleased with their initial skills hitting the ball. They out-drove their father on several occasions.
Grandma's golf game still needs a little work.
Check out this video of her channeling her inner Tiger Woods!
Movie Update. After a very disappointing summer of threequels, Miss Sheri and I saw our favorite movie we've seen in a long time! Knocked Up is the latest creation from the folks that brought us The 40 Year Old Virgin and it is every bit as hilarious as that fine tale. Seth Rogen is my new hero and I'm in love with Katherine Heigl. I'd give the movie 2 thumbs up, but since I only have 1 thumb, I'll just give it 5 stars.
I loved these pictures of the Silver Surfer we took at the Lakeville Theater yesterday! We've been to see each of the major threequels this spring. I guess I thought Spiderman 3 and Shrek 3 were OK even if I didn't think either of them was as good as their predecessors. But seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 3 yesterday made me want to rip my eyes out of my skull! Nearly three hours long and the plot went no-where!!! If you're thinking about going, but can't decide....Take it from me and save your money. Hopefully, Fantastic 4 Rise of the Silver Surfer will be as cool as the previews look!
On Saturday, we had our annual Cub Scout Pack Picnic at Hidden Valley Park in Savage Minnesota. It's an incredible park with a stream running through the middle and trails to blaze all over. Top that off with some burgers and brats on the grill and a seriously good time was in the making!
That is until I realized my boys are getting older and more reckless! Luke insisted on walking down the stream with a bunch of other bigger boys and I didn't quite feel right letting him go on his own. I had no clue if the water became deeper down farther or what other obstacles he might encounter. So I decided to go with him. As I followed, I enjoyed the many, many flies that feasted on my legs and the sharp rocks digging into the bottoms of my tender feet. Of course, Luke loved looking for frogs, turtles and crayfish and didn't seem to be bothered at all by my constant whimpering.
Avery didn't seem too interested in the water instead choosing to go deep into the woods with some other boys. We didn't think much of it until we discovered that there were some steep drop-offs alongside some of the trails. The boys were fine, but I still had my head filled with visions of nasty spills head first into the trees and rocks. One of these days I'll learn how to quit worrying so much and just let go. I'm guessing that will be some time around the year 2029.
On Monday night, Sean and I manned the Nor-tech booth at the AMD/Microsoft Tech Tour in Minnetonka. We showed off the new Voyageur 1330 system featuring Vista Business and the new AMD 690G chipset. We talked to a bunch of fun computer dealers and generally had a darn good time.
On Friday night, a large gang of Nor-tech employees congregated at Primetime in Burnsville.
The reason for the big get together was to say Good Bye to our buddy, Bad Brad Nelson. Brad is leaving Nor-tech to pursue another opportunity and we're going to miss his smiling face around the office. I don't think I'll ever be able to cheer "I say Bad, you say Brad" with nearly the same glee when he's not around any more. Best of luck, Mr. Nelson!
Out with the old, in with the new. This is Greg. He's our newest salesperson straight outta Tampa, Florida. Greg was with a large distributor named Tech Data before moving to Minnesota and joining up with Nor-tech. He's moving in to Brad's old office and now we just need a nickname for him. Bad Greg just doesn't have the same ring to it.
I say Bad, you say Greg. Nope.
This is Jon. He's the genius behind the new nor-tech.com. Jon's not real big on having his picture taken, but I wanted to include him on this week's update because he told me something really smart on Friday night. I asked him what the secret to being rich is and he snapped back to me:
"The secret to being rich is being happy with what you got!"
I think he also called me a Mother F----R at the same time, but I can't be certain. In any case, I thought that was one of the best answers I've ever heard to that question, so thanks, Jon!
On Sunday, we had a most awesome Mother's Day! The boy made these fabulous hats at Sunday School and then we all took turns wearing them and celebrating what wonderful mothers we have.
On Monday, Shortarmguy traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the annual Microsoft Channel Partner Summit. It's a great opportunity to meet with old friends at Microsoft and learn all about their slate of new products including Vista and Office 2007.
This year was extra special because Nor-tech was invited to showcase our newest product, The Portable Cluster, at the event. This mobile supercomputer is targeted at scientists and researchers who have a need for high performance computing applications out in the field. It was featured in a beautiful display case in Microsoft's Local OEM Innovation Lounge so all of the 700 Microsoft employees and partners in attendance could check it out. It proved to be quite a popular exhibit which made all of us very happy.
On Tuesday night, we were one of the only companies outside of Microsoft to have a booth at their EXPO so we could show the Portable Cluster in a more intimate setting. Dr. Bollig, the Dominator, and I worked the crowd of hundreds of computer industry executives late into the night.
This nice gentleman was from a little computer company called DELL. He asked us for 13 Nor-tech HPC Cluster T-shirts so he could hand them out at his office to some of his co-workers. We got quite a kick out of the idea that a bunch of DELL employees would be walking around wearing Nor-tech shirts! If you're not in the computer industry, you might not see the humor in that. But for us, it's worth a bunch of giggles.
This gentleman is named Gabor. He taught us about an innovative program for creating and implementing new business strategies called Blue Ocean Strategy. It's a really neat concept where the basic theory is that so many businesses try to compete in red oceans where the competition is so brutal and bloody it turns the water RED. The strategy teaches people how to seek alternative routes to differentiate your business and strategy to seek out BLUE oceans where there's plenty of profitable opportunities to pursue without the crowd. Real eye opening stuff!
I put a link here for anyone who might have interest in learning more:
There's some weird ducks in Arizona!!
On Wednesday night, Shortarmguy went to a club called Axis Radius in Phoenix. They had a rock and roll band there backing up anyone in the audience with the desire to sing. Naturally, microphones control my life, so I had no chance to resist it's alluring draw. I figured I'd give it a shot and sing Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" with the band. Sadly, they didn't have lyrics displayed so I had to wing it. I had a Blackberry there and was able to find the lyrics online, but I lost my place several times. Under the circumstances I'd like to think I did OK. As a matter of fact, after I was done, the lead guitarist described it as his best experience he'd ever had doing this. Not sure if that was a compliment or not! Here's a link to the video of my performance:
It was a pretty quiet week in Shortarmguyville. On Tuesday night, we went to a picnic with the boy's Cub Scout Den. Other than some fine cooked hot dogs and burgers, we thought it was going to be an uneventful night.
Suddenly, we found ourselves under attack by a crazed gang of young school girls brandishing menacing weapons like light sabers and large orange bats. They were extremely frightening looking and demanded access to our grilled delicacies. Naturally I found myself screaming and running around in circles in a panic until I eventually found shelter under a van in the driveway. I wasn't sure what to do, but luckily that's when my brave sons took charge.
These young warriors stepped up and courageously faced their challengers. They somehow were able to wrestle some of the weapons away from these super beings and started to take charge of the backyard.
There were some epic battles and I found myself cowering in fear at the ferocity of the assault. But Luke and Avery stood up and faced the onslaught. It was the proudest moment of my life.
Eventually they vanquished their foes and we were able to resume eating the fantastic barbequed meal still warm on our plates. All in all, a relatively quiet week had taken an exciting turn. All I could think in my head was that my weekly website update was saved from just putting up more boring pictures of my kids. Thank goodness for marauding gangs of young girls.
Of course, we couldn't go without celebrating Mother's Day and giving props to the lady who somehow keeps us 3 boys in line. Luke and Avery made Miss Sheri some very fun gifts at school including a list of chores they're willing to perform for her on command. I followed suit and gave her some gifts including a list of chores I expect her to perform for me on command. I thought it was the least I could do!
Another Saturday, Another Soccer Game. Avery is seen here slapping 5 with one of his teammates after trading some passes with one another. We actually had some substitute players this week so the boys weren't forced to play the entire game which was a nice change of pace.
Luke told us earlier in the week that he didn't like soccer because all of the running. But come game time he sure seems to like giving it his all. He made several in the crowd laugh by again letting out a loud karate "Hiyahh!" yell while kicking the ball away from an opponent. If he ever makes a goal, I'll be amazed. But it sure is fun watching him compete!
Sunny came to view his first game of the season and was a big hit with the kids on the sidelines. It was especially sweet when we discovered that the half time snack consisted of the appropriately named fruit juice, Sunny D. In the second half, the nice family next to us gave him some beef sausage sticks which he thought was probably the nicest thing in the universe.
Sunny D and Sausage Sticks. I guess it was a pretty cool week after all.
Wednesday night brought a Shortarmguy and the Dude reunion as Sean and I hooked up with our old buddy to go see the movie, Hot Fuzz. The movie was pretty funny with a lot of ironic twists and shock humor. It's an English parody of American buddy cop movies from the creators of the movie, Shaun of the Dead. Check it out if you get the chance. It was good to catch up with the Dude and treat him with a bit of shock humor and ironic twists of my own..
On Friday, Nor-tech hosted a Microsoft Small Business Server training for a few of our customers. It was pretty technical so I stayed out of the room as much as possible else the possibility of my head exploding from information overload. But the customers who attended the 6 hour hands-on lab seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.
After the training, Nick, Sean, and I went out with a couple of our friends from Microsoft. Eric is our rep who coordinated the training. He brought in Jaison to teach the class since he is one of Microsoft's server geniuses. Jaison was bragging up on his foosball skills throughout the day, so we had to go and spin the sticks for awhile. I won't mention the win/loss record but will say that each of our battles was intensely contested and went down to the wire. And that the little arm did me proud once again!
Since I have very little self control when entering into a bar environment, I had to go seek out my favorite designated driver, Miss Sheri. We spent a few hours with Sean and his Gal Pal, Ann, consuming some of our favorite adult beverages and enjoying good adult conversation. At least I believe that's what we did, my memory is a little fuzzy.
I do remember standing in front of this speaker video taping local rock group, Pipewrench. At the time, I didn't mind the fact that my ear drums were on the verge of bursting because I thought I was Spike Jonze filming these young Lords of Rock. I thought I could upload the finished video masterpiece to Youtube so the night could be enjoyed by millions. Sadly, my little Canon's microphone isn't designed to capture blaring audio two feet in front of the speaker so instead the music sounds like I recorded the song while my camera was being drug down a gravel road. So no video.
Saturday brought us the first soccer game of the summer. This was Luke's first game in 2 years because his hand surgery put him in a cast shortly before the season began last summer. Although Luke struggles to keep up with the other kids running because of his heart condition, his effort always keeps us smiling. When the ball gets near him, he attacks it with zeal and a loud karate scream accompanies each one of his kicks:
One time, he yelled so loud, it scared the opposing player and caused him to back off the ball allowing Luke to send it sailing! Pretty cool!
Avery is seen here directing traffic on the field. Although he has faster wheels than his brother, we still need to work on him passing the ball. He likes to get it and go. Since most of the players on the other team tend to be quite a bit bigger than our boys, this strategy doesn't seem to work for too long. But he keeps pushing to do better and we're confident one of these days he'll get his breakaway goal!
It was rainy and cold which always makes for excellent soccer watching conditions! The boys were great and didn't complain at all about playing in the rain. I wish I could say the same thing about Grandma! She belly-ached the whole time that the game should be called! It wasn't.
But Grandma eventually dried off and became quite a bit happier. We took her out for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day since she's going to be in Texas with my sisters next Sunday.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
And to the rest of you wonderful mothers out there,
I wish you all a fantastic holiday!
Grandpa Bob and Grandma Joyce came to town for another visit this weekend. We had a huge debate on which restaurant we'd visit and finally decided to pay homage to our Australian roots by visiting the Outback.
A G'Day was had by all.
On Saturday, we enjoyed the eighty degree temperatures by taking the boat out on Prior Lake for a three hour tour. No storms arrived so we didn't end up on Gilligan's Island or anything but we did get splashed by a few waves. We just spent the day slowly floating around oohing and aahing at the beautiful houses on the lake and the occasional beautiful people in boats that floated past us.
Although the fishing opener isn't for a couple of weeks yet, we decided to maim some minnows anyways by pretending to fish for Crappies. Luke had much more fun pulling the minnows out of the bucket to put on the hook than he did trying to be patient while watching his bobber in the water. After 45 minutes with no bites, we gave up on fishing to just play with the minnows some more. Than we let the survivors go.
Avery had a good time manning the rear of the boat and casting his pole over and over again. He'd cast it and reel it in. Cast it and reel it in again. Several times I had to remind him that he lost his minnow and he really needed that if he wanted to catch a fish, but he didn't seem to mind. He was having more fun just casting and reeling it in.
Probably the highlight of the day was sneaking up on turtles sunning on logs near the shore. These two seemed like a couple of nice fellows from afar, but as we came closer we discovered that they were both snobs with their noses held high in the air. So we told them to "Go To Shell."
While sneaking up on the turtles, I suddenly was awash with fear as I noticed these huge vulture looking creatures peering down upon us. I sensed they were predicting our imminent demise, but didn't know what danger was set to appear. I figured it may have been an alligator or hippopotamus attack from below the boat, but quickly remembered that we were in Minnesota and the odds of that were unlikely. So we just drove away leaving these drooling birds of prey wanting.
So my boys keep getting wilder and wilder. When I finally remembered they were with us at the grocery store on Saturday night, I discovered that they climbed on top of this big pile of Rock Salt bags. I just knew that this was the wrong thing for them to be doing. I kept waiting for someone to step in there and tell them this, but no-one was taking responsibility for their outlandish behavior. After finally looking around in disgust at the people around me and seeing that no-one was going to do anything about it, I took this picture and told them it was time to go home. There's something wrong with the world today.
It was a busy week in Shortarmguyland. On Monday night, we celebrated the boy's advancement from Wolf Cub Scouts to the coveted Bear Cub Scout position. They walked over a bridge which represented their achievements and dumped their yellow neckerchiefs for some fancy new baby blue ones. We're so proud of them. I know I've said it before, but for anyone with young boys, I highly recommend joining scouting. It's just such good, wholesome family entertainment!
We had a bit of a mystery this week in our backyard. The boys were so excited when they discovered these 3 eggs near a big tree. We guessed they were going to hatch into baby ducks. Miss Sheri and I secretly worried about what Sunny would do to them after they were born since he loves to chase all kinds of critters out of the yard. We never were able to find out, though. When we went to look at the eggs today, they were no-where to be found. No eggs, no shells, no nothing! We're quite puzzled regarding what happened to them. My guess is that Sunny snuck out there and had some baby duck omelettes.
On Friday night, our old buddies, the Hornbuckles, came over to spend some time with our wild little munchkins. The boys had so much fun playing with Jonathan and Alyssa. They played soccer, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings, and then came home to have our first campfire of the year!
We then stayed up real late and had some crazy matches of Jenga. We didn't get the towers very high because I think the kids were all still pretty jittery after stuffing their faces with S'mores at the campfire.
On Saturday night, we had some dinner with some friends. I went upstairs to refresh my wine and a couple of the ladies asked if I was going to take a picture of them for my website. This made me real happy! I always think I drive people crazy when asking for pictures I can take of them for my website. I was so excited that I went back downstairs to tell the guys what happened. I then asked if I could take a picture of them as well. But they just looked at me like they wanted to punch me in the stomach.
On Sunday, we also were able to pull the boat out of the garage and get it into the water for the first time of the season. We didn't go for a long ride because there were rain clouds in the sky. Of course we then had to wait at the boat launch forever because some guy was trying to take his boat out of the water without getting his feet wet! This was pretty annoying considering I started getting rained on while waiting for him! But into each life a little rain must fall and that's just the way it is!
The boy's hearts were all aflutter last Sunday when they discovered that some dirty bunny creature trespassed in our backyard and dropped off some eggs filled with candy and some baskets full of toys.
Although we continually tell them that they're not supposed to accept gifts from strangers, they didn't listen to us and insisted we allow them to keep their newly found booty. Kids these days.
On Friday, we drove down to Iowa to visit Miss Sheri's family on the farm. Luke and Avery climbed over this fence several times until boredom set in and they returned inside to their video games. They did show a little excitement when Sunny rustled up a large pheasant that flew out of the bushes at us. Not as much excitement as the Ms. Pacman and Galaga games they preferred playing, but at least a little fresh air seeped into their lungs while they watched it fly over us.
We didn't encourage them to spend too much time outside, because it was pretty wet and muddy at the farm. It's not much fun for mom and dad to spend our entire trip cleaning shoes and dog paws.
We did have a brief brush with the forces of nature when Luke discovered this rotting pig carcass in the back field. It smelled almost as good as it looked. We had to keep Sunny far at bay because I'm not sure how much I'd like him licking my face after knowing he'd chomped on this thing for awhile.
The reason we went to Iowa was to attend the wedding of Miss Sheri's cousin's daughter, Becky Broesder, and her new husband, Travis Day. Personally, I'd never met either of them before in my life but I'm quite certain they enjoyed having me there. I mean every time I saw either one of them at the ceremony, they were smiling. It's nice to know I have that kind of effect on people.
Laura and Karli also spent a lot of time smiling at the reception. Karli is growing up to be quite the little cutie and she spent a lot of time on the dance floor dazzling us with the moves she could make in her Ruby Red Slippers. I asked her if I could borrow them so I could also make an impression on the guests, but she refused.
Miss Sheri, Uncle Jerry, and their three Broesder cousins posed for their first picture together in years. I believe the last picture taken of them together showed the four boys holding Miss Sheri's head in a toilet while giving her a swirly. I'm not positive, though, since I've never had the chance to see it.
Grandma and Grandpa Haack seemed especially frisky at the wedding reception rarely leaving each other's side. I kept spying on them to see if I could catch them necking, but they kept things pretty discreet.
The boys and their cousins kept pretty rowdy on the dance floor and running around in a back hallway. They even got in to a bit of a tussle with some other kids who they claim were invading their turf. But we broke that up pretty quickly. Those girls looked pretty tough!
The weekend started on a pretty mellow note. We had a family game night consisting of a Chutes and Ladders battle which had to be ended early because of too much arguing. Grandma gets really upset every time she lands on a "slide" and unloads her venomous anger on the children. So we then followed up with a stressful match of Jenga.
Pulling blocks and building towers can be pretty tense, especially with the boys crawling all over and shaking the table. But we persevered through the architectural challenge and pushed ourselves to build a structure that made each of us proud. Then Grandma pulled the wrong block and the whole thing crumbled to the ground in a loud crash. Our beautiful tower stood tall no longer. We thought we were building a dream, but instead we were faced with disappointment. It was a tough way to spend an otherwise quiet Friday night.
Saturday morning brightened our weekend, however, since we were able to spend some quality time with our old friends, Bob and Sonya Dornik. We had a phenomenal breakfast at the brand new Original Pancake House in Eden Prairie. Bob and I have worked together for 12 years at three different companies and we're still the best of friends! I think it's because he let's me sneak into his office every morning and sit on his lap for awhile while I mentally prepare myself for another rigorous day of sales calls. I really think it helps me find my center.
Thanks for all that you do for me, Bob!
On the drive home from breakfast, Miss Sheri spotted this big beaver on the side of the road so we went back to check him out. We snuck up on him, but saw no signs of Wally or Eddie Haskell in the vicinity. I tried to get closer for a better picture, but he ran away the second I got within 20 yards of him. It made me sad, because there's really nothing I like better than a close-up Beaver Shot.
Saturday night was reserved for some old fashioned Easter Egg Coloring! There's something magical about the tradition of dying Easter Eggs. Both Miss Sheri and I have fond memories from our own youth when we colored eggs in much the same way we do today.
Luke had been driving us crazy all day until we finally allowed him to sit on the table with the liquid colors in front of him so he could get started. He was just so excited! All of the colors of the rainbow were represented except Fuchsia and Magenta. We tried to mix colors to get them as well, but just ended up with some muddy looking eggs.
Avery, on the other hand, could care less about coloring eggs. We kept coaxing him to help his brother, but instead he preferred sitting at the table with his work book calculating math problems. We couldn't believe he chose Math over Easter Eggs! There's something wrong with the boy.
Once again, Miss Sheri saved the day when she pulled out her Star Wars Themed Egg Decorating Kit. This woke Avery out of his educational slumber. He liked the idea of creating eggs with light sabers that he could imagine trying to kill one another. It's much better than that silly learning stuff he was doing previously!
Grandpa Bob and Grandma Joyce were here last weekend and in good spirits as you can see from my father's expression in this photo. We had a very nice time together except for the fact that dad always wants to figure out ways for me to spend money. Now he's convinced that my family won't be happy unless I buy a brand new hot tub for the backyard. I think it's his subtle way of telling me he thinks I need to bathe more often.
In a nice reversal, Luke figured out a way to get Grandpa Bob to spend more of his money instead. He was able to get him to agree to buy a turtle, but mom and dad nixed that idea because of the hassles involved. So Luke convinced him to buy the newest addition to our family, Echo the Gecko. Echo loves to crawl up and down my short arm and doesn't require live food which is a big plus for mom. It's a big plus until he escapes from his cage and sneaks into her bed at night. Then she won't be so happy.
On Friday night, we went to the Mall of America where we were treated to the Contest of Kings competition. Thirteen different Elvis impersonators sang and hip swiveled their way into the crowd's hearts. Congratulations to Steve Marcio who was this year's big winner! He was a hunk of burning love if I ever saw one!
Grandma Linda was in heat for most of the night surrounded by so many versions of her favorite singer. We had to drag her away from several of these guys and she had her hand slapped away from the seams of more than one tight spandex jump suit. She kept telling them she was having her own Contest of Kings competition after the show, but I didn't dare ask her what that meant.
The real reason we were at the Mall was to visit Underwater Adventures. We just love to go there to harass the animals. They have this great petting tank where the boys and I get to touch sting rays and sharks. You're only supposed to touch the animals with two fingers, but sometimes we get crazy and use three. One time I was going to be really wild and touch one with my thumb, but quickly remembered that I don't have any digits to spare so I quickly reigned in my temptation.
Miss Sheri, Grandma Linda, and the boys were sucked into the open jaws of what we're guessing was once a shark. They remained frozen in this position for quite some time until we finally realized that the teeth weren't going to clamp down on them. Then they walked away.
Miss Sheri liked the jaws concept so much, she decided to slip into a set of her own. I told her I had an inappropriate dream once where she was wearing a mask exactly like this, but she didn't want to hear about it. So I want back to the petting tank and rubbed some more fins.
Spring is in the air and we were greeted this week by one of our Guardian Angel Albino Squirrels. These little creatures started appearing in our lives at our old house in Savage shortly after our boys were born and we continue to see them on a regular basis 7 years later at a different house. They sure do make us happy! And some day we'll find out if they make good eatin'.
Sunny loves the Spring thaw and doesn't hesitate diving into the icy water. Personally, I find him a little crazy but he absolutely loves it. He'll walk into the water and just lay down in it like it's a warm bath. Then we'll have him chase sticks and watch him hop from ice berg to ice berg to get them. Lucky dogs don't suffer from "shrinkage" because I'd have to think this could cause permanent damage if they did.
The spring thaw brings another special treat when we get to start finding all Sunny's winter deposits under the newly melted snow. It's amazing how much poop one animal can create in just a few months. Miss Sheri filled up three bags like this before we could allow the boys to play in the backyard without worrying about them getting "pudding shoes".
On Sunday, Dr. Bollig and I flew to San Diego for the Intel Solutions Summit. We stayed in the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina and enjoyed seeing all the beautiful boats...even if we didn't get to ride any of them! We pretty much stayed in the hotel attending classes and socializing with other people in the crazy computer business.
We did get a chance to see our old friend and former Intel rep, Ratika Arora, who now works at the factory in Beaverton, Oregon. She had just been on a Hot Air Balloon ride shortly before this photo was taken so I don't think she was in the mood for a bunch more Hot Air from us. But she's a good sport and took our harassment without complaint. All right, maybe there was some complaining, but no formal charges.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini gave the opening keynote speech which was full of exciting things happening at the world's largest semiconductor company. Of course, I can't say anything about what he discussed since it's all NDA information and if I peep a word about it I'll get the lights sued out of me. I found out later that I wasn't even supposed to be taking pictures during the presentations so I'm sure now that I've posted this photo my good friends at Intel are going to track me down and throw me in prison.
This is Robin. She was there with a green screen to help attendees star in their very own Intel commercial. I asked her if I was the first person to do it and she said there were many more before me even though I didn't see anyone doing it yet. So I stepped in there and danced myself silly. I later discovered that I was the first sucker to dance for them, but several others finally did later in the evening. Here's the video of the end result:
Shortarmguy Multiplies His Possibilities
This is my old buddy, Byron Hay, who I always connect with at the Intel shows. I recently learned that not only is Byron a computer expert, he's also an accomplished singer. You can hear some of his tunes at his myspace page here. You sound pretty dang good to me, Byron.
Dr. Bollig and I did get a chance to sneak away from the show for a couple hours to take a tour of an honest to god airline carrier called the USS Midway. It was really cool and further cemented the fact in my mind that I would never have been able to handle a career in the military. Taking a tour of the inner workings of this ship were quite sobering. Between the tight spaces, and the heat, and the stress of the situation, I would have definitely cracked under pressure and ended up being shot at sea by some of my superior officers. At least that's what I think would have happened.
This is Jack. He's one of the brave men who served in the Navy although he was quick to point out to me that he worked on destroyers and not aircraft carriers like this one. Jack also proved himself to be a funny chap and turned on the fire alarms when Dr. Bollig and I had our backs turned. The alarms were about as loud as any I've ever heard and when you didn't expect them coming, it proved to be quite a startling event. Jack just smiled and told us that if we heard that alarm at sea, it meant we had 1 minute to evacuate before the room was flooded with deadly firefighting chemicals. Dr. Bollig told him that he was so scared by the noise that he flooded his pants with some deadly chemicals also.
Back home we had a fun week with friends including Joey and Jenni Frechette. Joey is Luke and Avery's cub scout leader. They joined us with their four sons on Saturday night for dinner and a lively round of the "bean game" where you have to out negotiate your fellow card players away from their best beans. While we played, the 6 boys proceeded to destroy our house for 3 hours which made for a fun evening for all!
Grandpa and Grandma Swank were able to spend the weekend finally with us now that we had cooperative weather to allow them to drive up from Missouri. Grandpa's latest blood results were quite promising and the leukemia that bothered him so much last year seems to remain strongly in remission which makes us all very happy.
We also had the opportunity to spend some time with Sheri's college friends, Robin and Cathy, which capped off a very, very busy week. Cathy told me she didn't want me to post her picture on my website again, but I'm pretty sure she was kidding. If not, I'm going to probably get a nasty phone call from her as well as the Intel people this week.
It's tough to maintain a website.
So last week we had a blizzard, this week it's 60 degrees. You just gotta love Minnesota's weather. I'm sure next week we'll have an ice storm, than it will be in the nineties, than we'll have our first Midwest Hurricane. In the mean time, the boys and I had to get outside and enjoy some of our sudden warmth. We followed the streams of melting snow down to the lake so we could play in all that wonderful water.
Now in hindsight, this seemed like a great idea. The flowing water from the streets had melted an area of water at the shore and Sunny was jumping in and having a great time splashing around. Since the boys were so close, it didn't even occur to me to worry about them being on the ice in 60 degree weather. Moments after this photo was taken, the ice broke beneath Luke and he fell forward into the frigid lake. He landed on his feet and stood in water that rose just below his waist. It took me a moment to comprehend what just happened and I exclaimed "Luke, what are you doing? Get out of the water!" This is when things took a scary turn for the worse. He turned to step back to his original position and suddenly fell backwards. For a split second, he was completely submerged lying on his back and I couldn't see him in the muddy water. I pounced on him and pulled him out by his arm where he stood soaking wet after taking a bath in water that couldn't have been more than a few degrees above freezing. Needless to say, Angry Luke made an appearance and cursed my parental incompetence for pretty much the entire cold walk home. Now I've played this over in my head about 100 times since it happened. I think I've blown the actual danger to him slightly out of proportion. In my head, the water was deeper, the flowing stream had a faster current, and losing site of him in the muddy liquid was more pronounced than it probably was in reality. But it still scares the crap out of me to think how quickly things can change when you think you have a situation under control. Needless to say, Miss Sheri wasn't really happy with me when I told her this story. I think I'll be a little bit more diligent in the future when I take my boys down to the lake to enjoy the spring thaw.
So the next night, we decided to stay closer to home and play with a friend that's lived in our front yard for many years longer than we've lived in our house. This old pine tree is kind of crooked and sad looking, but it hosts a fantastic little tree fort beneath it's sagging branches. We hadn't really paid it much attention in years past, but now that the boys are getting older, we're discovering all sorts of fun things to get us into trouble with mom.
I told Luke and Avery that this kind of tree was good for climbing because there's so many branches and they're close to each other making convenient steps. I warned them that many of the branches were also weak so they had to be very careful before committing their weight to them. Before I knew it, they were climbing up high enough to be over my head. Than I remembered my experience at the lake the night before. So I told them to climb down and went to talk to Miss Sheri. I said the boys were climbing pretty high in the tree. She looked at me dumbfounded and said "Why are you telling me this? Are you trying to scare me?" I said "No. I'm just trying to let the boys have fun, but want to make sure I'm not being a poor judge of the situation again." She didn't respond, but her eyes told me that she may soon be seeking full custody of our children and I'd only have access to supervised visitations. It's just so much fun being a parent.
So I'm sitting there enjoying my lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings when I look down at the little placard sitting in front of me advertising the restaurant's new burger. I read the title 2 or 3 times until it sank in that these people were taking a shot at me. They were trying to claim that I don't have freakishly small hands. They're trying to steal my identity with this little psychological reversal of words. I never knew that Buffalo Wild Wings was so manipulative!! Who are these people and what is their motivation in trying to take down Shortarmguy? There's evil afoot at my favorite place to buy chicken fingers! Wait a second......Chicken Fingers?!?!? That's another shot at me!! The bastards!
Krazy Kory kame to town this weekend with his fiancée , Krazy Kelli. They're getting married this August and Kory has asked Shortarmguy to be his best man. I said Yes....As long as I get to join them on their honeymoon with my camera so I can properly document things for my website. They said they'd have to get back to me on that.
On Friday night, we went over to Nick Rahman's house for another Boozeball tournament. Kory and I played quite a bit of foosball together in college, but never had the opportunity to be on the same team this night since we have to draw for partners. This particular game was a tough one going down to the wire, but Rob and I lost 10-9. Then I wept.
The night started strong for me...I think I won my first 8 games in a row. Pete and I even won the first championship. Then we re-drew partners, things fell apart for me, and I was kicked around for the rest of the night.
Rick Soper was the Grand Champion. He and Krazy Kory won the next two championships and he went on to win a third with Rob as his goalie. I had to bow down to the man. Not really out of respect, but more because I was passing out from all the booze we consumed through the previous 15 games. Then Kory and I went home.
Krazy Kory's Kosmic Karma was on full display on Saturday morning. He was all excited to take my old beater snowmobile out for a spin on Prior Lake, even though it was 50 degrees and there was a bunch of standing water on top of the ice. He had so much fun on his first ride, he came back to take out Kelli. A half hour later, his beloved fiancée walked through our front door saying she just took a long hike and Kory was with my dead snowmobile on the other side of the lake. Apparently the drive chain or something like that broke on it....and it wasn't going anywhere.
Thank God for Linden! Kory went to the only ice house still left on the lake and met this fantastic guy. Linden grew up in Prior Lake and plows snow for a living along with a bunch of other stuff. He had a big truck on the lake, tied up my snowmobile to the back, and dragged it back to my house. I don't know what the heck we would have done without him. Kory proceeded to tell me that I was fortunate that it broke down when it did because had it been me out there with it, I might not have been as lucky to find someone like Linden to help. I thought that was a good point.
On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Mall of America where we saw fun things like this Simply Irish dancing festival and financial guru, Suze Orman, autographing her new book. Sadly, tens of thousands of other people were also there seeing these fun things which made seeing them not quite so fun.
These girls were kind of fun in their colorful outfits. I have no idea what they were doing or trying to represent, but they gladly held up their arms to take a picture with me and Kelli. So I liked them very much.
The Mall has a huge Legoland area with all sorts of Lego creations like this Life Sized Boba Fett. Star Wars and Legos are two of Luke and Avery's favorite things in the world and Legoland has all sorts of them on display! They have huge kits you can buy to create replicas of things like Imperial Starships and the Death Star. Coming soon is a kit you can buy to make the Millenium Falcon! And it is only going to cost $499.99. Only $500 bucks! For Legos! I'm going to be first in line to buy one of those!!
We had a big blizzard in Minnesota this week and were blanketed with bright white snow! Seventeen and a half inches of Satan's Spit landed here on Thursday causing school to be canceled for 2 whole days! But the sun came out on Saturday allowing us to get down to the lake for a little bit of Funshine.
Luke and Avery wanted to come with me to take Sunny for a walk, but then they belly-ached the whole time about the frigid wind making them cold. When they saw this hill of snow, however, their blood must have gone through a warming cycle because they suddenly were ready to play for a long time. Then I belly-ached the whole time about the frigid wind making me cold.
We haven't seen this much snow in years. Our furniture on the back porch was piled high causing all of our upcoming BBQ plans to go out the window.
The snow has been causing us all sorts of problems. Even the mailman won't stop by to see us. We thought we had the mailbox cleared out enough to be accessible, but he just drove by on Saturday. It could be that he just doesn't like us because I also think I saw him flip me the bird. But that may have just been my imagination.
Sunny's favorite winter time activity is eating snow. It's kind of odd how much he obsesses over it. Any time we go outside he starts nudging us to throw him snowballs or kick snow in his face. He leaps in the air, jams as much in his mouth as he can, chews it up, and makes a strange squeaking noise as the frozen drink slides down his throat. I'm sure it's not healthy for him, but he seems to enjoy it so much that we just have to indulge him. A short time later, he'll go outside and pee for 10 minutes straight.
Of course the boys insist on accommodating the dog by pelting him with the largest snow boulders they can find. They pick these up, throw them at his head and laugh as he suffers multiple concussions while trying to catch them. But no matter what, he won't give up trying. I'm sure the animal services people will be by to visit us soon.
Sunny finally showed them, however. He pulled a Dumbo move out of his bag of tricks. He ran really fast, extended his ears, and then just flew away. We haven't seen him since.
The only other exciting thing we did this weekend was went to visit the local Noodles restaurant in Eagan. We're big fans of their pasta and Pot Stickers.
Noodles emailed us a coupon for a buy 1 meal and get 1 free. We thought it was very nice of them. We proudly walked in the front door thinking they must have wanted to Honor us for some reason. When we arrived, we were surprised to see it was crazy busy. Apparently we weren't the only one to receive this coupon. This made us sad. All this time we thought we were special in the eyes of the Noodles People.
February 25, 2007
It was a pretty mellow week in Shortarmguyville. On Sunday, we accompanied our cousins to Grand Rios Water Park in Brooklyn Park. Avery impressed me by going down every water slide they had including the 2 story Hurricane Plunge. That's the one where you drop into a big bowl, spin around a couple times, and then get flushed out the bottom. Although he said he liked it, I could only get him to do it one time. The boys are seen here pretending they're not urinating in the Hot Tub.
On Monday Night, we attended the Cub Scout's Blue and Gold Banquet where we celebrated one of the dens ascension into the ranks of Boy Scout thus leaving our pack. They do a fun little ceremony where the boys are roped together at the wrists and then led to one of the boys in the local Boy Scout Troop for their passage ritual. I didn't realize it was OK to tie up the children otherwise I'd have been doing that long ago. Great way to keep them in line.
The entertainment of the evening was from Dazzling Dave who is a National Yo-Yo Master. He entertained the kids for a half hour as he spun his little toys up, down, and all over the place. The boys laughed as he did tricks, told jokes and stories, and taught them new techniques. Then shockingly enough, Dave said he had Yo Yo's for sale! It turned out to be a big long infomercial!! And of course the boys were so worked up they just "HAD" to have one. Good Show, Dave! Best sales presentation I've seen in a long time!
On Wednesday night, I hooked up with Sean and The Dude to go see the wonderful movie, Ghost Rider. We thought it would be enjoyable since the previews looked good and it did well in the Box Office. We were wrong. It was a lousy movie. Predictable and boring. Nicholas Cage spends nearly the whole movie with his head on fire. Michael Jackson did that more than 20 years ago! Been there, done that.
We had a blizzard go through Minnesota this weekend so we pretty much just stayed home and worked on some neglected projects. Miss Sheri moved some furniture around to see if we could get our Feng Shui better in line. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. Our lives have been pretty messed up lately and I've long had suspicions it's because we had this barn picture hanging in the wrong room.
Luke's main project of the weekend was building a bunch of farm machinery with faux Legos. The set was comprised of a product called Ertl Building Bricks, but they looked awfully similar to the more popular brand of colorful assembly toys. But don't worry, I made sure my son didn't call them Legos. I don't want him getting mixed up in some sort of trademark lawsuit just because he wants to build a silly little tractor.
Avery avoided the controversy all together by keeping his head buried in one of his work books. He spends a lot of his free time writing in books like these solving math and reading problems. I haven't let him in on the secret that what he's doing is much like school homework because I'm afraid he then won't enjoy it any more and stop. We'll just continue keeping him in the dark on that topic.
February 18, 2007
I finally received my purple bracelet!! Many of you will remember my exchanges with Will Bowen, the minister in Kansas City who has started a movement to help people create happier lives for themselves. The goal is to make it 21 days without complaining, criticizing or gossiping. Every time you slip, you switch the bracelet to the other arm and start over. You can read more about it here. Sadly, I haven't been off to a great start and have been switching arms on a regular basis! But at least I'm recognizing my negativity and doing something to change it. Maybe that's the first step...
On February 12th, Miss Sheri and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary! Lucky number 13. Hard to believe she's put up with me for that long. We went to a restaurant in Lakeville called Copper Bleu to celebrate. The food was great. They serve Smash'd Potatoes and bring a cart around to prepare them right at your table. That was pretty much the highlight of the evening.
We started the week off on a tough note. Polar Cubs was last Sunday and we prepared for a week to make sure the boys would be bundled up enough to spend 8 hours outside in the sub-zero temperatures playing winter games with their fellow cub scouts. Miss Sheri bought them new wool socks, hand warmers, gloves, scarves, and everything else we could think of to keep them warm. We woke up at 6:30 am on Sunday to caravan along the 45 minute drive with the other Scout Families. We pulled into the camp grounds and the place was packed with people so we had to navigate hard to find a parking space. Right when we finally started to get settled, Sheri exclaims "Oh my Gosh! We forgot their coats!" We brought snow pants and layered them in multiple shirts, but somehow we forgot their coats meaning there was no way they'd stay dry enough or warm enough to last long in the frigid conditions. So we went home. In the above picture, Luke shows his pleasure with our decision by pelting me with a snow boulder.
The temperatures rose up to a balmy 21 degrees yesterday and I saw multiple people walking around outside with no coats and even some wearing short sleeve shirts like this lady above who I spotted walking into Burnsville Mall. Only in Minnesota!
Miss Sheri's brother, Jerry, his wife, Laura, and their kids drove up from Iowa to spend the weekend with us. Luke and Avery always have a tough time sharing their cousins, so it adds some extra stress into our lives trying to keep the peace between them. I think I had to switch my purple bracelet three or four times just dealing with these fun issues!
Uncle Jerry is a Race Nut and dragged me to ProKart Indoor Racing in Savage on Saturday. I've done Go Karts many times before so I thought I'd have no problem handling these even though I heard they were for more advanced drivers. Big mistake! Steering was more difficult that I was used to and crashing was much more jarring than I'd experienced elsewhere. After three collisions and two near panic attacks, I decided that one race was enough. I sold my other two rides for a big discount. No way was I getting on one of those Hell Cars again!
On Saturday night, we celebrated two different fortieth birthdays. Cynthia Bollig's birthday was on Valentine's Day and her husband put together a nice celebration in her honor. I started working with David in November of 1993, so Cynthia and I have known each other for more than 13 years now. It will be 14 years in November, 2007 and I'm hoping David will also throw some kind of party to celebrate that significant event!
The other fortieth birthday party was for Sean Quinlan. There was a lot more cuss words in the party decorations at Sean's party than I saw at Cynthia's. He had balloons, plates, and napkins that all said Happy F**king Birthday. I told Sean now that he's forty, it might be a good time to look into some anger management classes.
This guy was a party crasher who Sean busted filling up a plate at the buffet line. When Sean confronted him, he said it was OK that he was there, because he was a friend of Carl Mueling. Of course, none of us had ever heard of Mr. Muelling before but apparently he must have some pull because the next thing I know Sean was sharing chicken wings with the guy and they were chatting like old friends. I wish I knew Carl Muelling.
February 11, 2007
After months of looking, Shortarmguy finally bought his loving wife a new bed. She'd been belly-aching about our old bed for quite awhile claiming it was causing her back problems. She also said it was too small to accommodate the frequent visitors that sneak into our room in the middle of the night. We did a lot of research and tried a bunch of air beds and foam beds and even one bed that was stuffed full of live snakes. Their slithering bodies massage your spine as you sleep, but they only last a few months before they die and you have to go out and get a new mattress. So we passed on that one. We ended up stepping in there and bought a new Vera Wang mattress with a Mega Euro pillow top. I figured if I was going to spend so much time in this thing, how could I go wrong with something that had in the description Mega Wang!
It was dang cold in Minnesota this week! I heard on the radio on Thursday that the temperature was 45 degrees below zero with the wind chill! So we figured it was time to toughen our boys up and make them start walking to school instead of taking that luxury bus they usually ride. Just kidding. This picture was actually taken outside of their school on Friday morning after they rode with me. We had to walk a half a block from my van and we all whimpered like little babies the entire way. We'll toughen ourselves up better next year.
It was the "Doughnuts with a Cool Dude" celebration at Luke and Avery's elementary school. On this day, each of the kids gets to invite a Cool Dude to spend the morning with them. I felt pretty good to be there until I covered my trousers with a bunch of powdered sugar from my doughnut and suddenly felt like my Cool Dude status might be in jeopardy. But I shook it off and walked down the school halls with my boys and my head held high. Mission Accomplished.
On Friday Night, Nick and Tori invited the gang over for a Foosball tournament in Nick's basement. The competition was intense and went until well past 3am. I'm thinking we should start calling them Boozeball tournaments because there's a heavy amount of alcohol consumption involved and losing because of boozing is no excuse. Pretty much everyone is in the same boat.
We randomly draw teams and the winning team stays on the table. Every time one pairing beats all the other pairings, we re-mix up the teams. On this night, this happened three different times. Upon final victory, the winners get to loudly slur the word "Championship", hug, stumble out in the freezing cold to go potty, and then slam a beer or three. We then start over again. You might not think a guy with the moniker of Shortarmguy would be any good at a game like foosball, but you'd probably be surprised how I can make these little arms flick those sticks. I've angered many long arm guys in my day. But that being said, I couldn't win a championship until late in the night.
Jay and Rick were the first champions of the evening. Jay was so focused, his gaze never shifted all night. He didn't speak...didn't even utter a sound. He just kept strong with this Eye of the Tiger. And it served him well. He went home early as a proud Champion. Rick stayed and got hammered with the rest of us.
My championship came when I was paired with young Jedi Master Gavin who played a mean goalie while I slugged home goals up front. There was a lot of swearing and trash talking during those final games. Some people wouldn't think that a table game like foosball could create such vicious animosity amongst players, but those people probably haven't met Nick Rahman. He could make a game of "Go Fish" incredibly ugly. Luckily for Gavin and I, we were able to stay focused enough to keep sliding the balls into the hole. And that's what it's all about! Championship!
You say Bad, I say Brad.
Brad and Dennis hadn't met before this night, but they seemed to hit it off quite nicely judging by Brad's appearance of intense concentration candidly snapped in this photo. I'm guessing Dennis just said something extremely profound for him to be thinking so hard.
Either that or someone just puked on Brad's shoe.
Peter is a relatively new employee at Nor-tech, but he sure is a fun guy to be around. He sneaks up behind people all the time making this pose. Peter is currently in training for an Ultimate Fighting style competition and I'm hoping to attend one of his matches some day. I'm thinking that would make a pretty good update for Shortarmguy.com!
February 4, 2007
It was a Cub Scout Week in Shortarmguy-ville! On Wednesday night we went to Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minnesota to enjoy the balmy 15 degree weather in style by racing rubber inner-tubes down a really big hill. The Cub Scouts rented the hill for the night, so we could go down a whole bunch of times without waiting in line freezing our coconuts.
Avery kept close count to the number of runs we did and said we had to go at least 10 times before the night was through. When pushing him, we made sure to spin him repeatedly to try to get his little head dizzy so he might have trouble remembering his numbers. But no luck. We had to go down all ten times.
Luke was a trooper going down the hill so many times. Sometimes he gets grumpy dealing with the cold, but he was in rare form on this night demanding to keep going even when we offered to stop for hot chocolate and cookies. He saved his grumpy attitude for immediately after we were done and he was ready to leave. He just doesn't understand the fact that we can't teleport him straight into a hot bath tub, but we actually have to get in the van and drive home first.
I know many of you in warmer climates might think that tubing sounds kind of lame, so I thought I'd try to video tape one of my runs so you could witness it live as I flew down the frozen path. So now you have proof that it's lame.
Grandma has been missing male companionship since Grandpa Denny passed away, but luckily Sunny seems to really have taken a shine to her. They spend an awful lot of time together and he freaks out with excitement every time she comes to the door. Although some people outside the family may think it seems kind of unnatural, in our house any kind of love is Good Love!
On Saturday, the Cub Scouts had the Pinewood Derby races and Luke and Avery were ready to go! We showed up bright and early to get good seats so we could cheer for our cars to do well. We were tempted to cheer for the other cars to do poorly, but quickly realized that wasn't within the spirit of being a good Scout. So we pretended to wish them well while secretly cursing their little wooden monstrosities under our breath.
Luke had a good day. Not only did his little Moon Buggy win the award for being the most Patriotic, he also had the third fastest car amongst the Wolf Scouts. He smiled from ear to ear when he went up to receive his awards.
Avery's day was a little tougher. Although his car did get 5th out of the 10 cars in his division, he didn't get an award for that. To top it off, his Skateboard riding Hulk was beat twice in head to head races by some other kid's rotten little moon buggy. Nothing brings out brotherly love quite like public competition. Avery was a pretty good sport, however. I don't think he punched or kicked Luke at least until we arrived at home, so we're making progress with the parenting techniques.
January 28, 2007
Shortarmguy's High School buddies came to town this weekend for our annual ski trip! Although there were a few bumps and bruises sustained, no arrests and no major injuries means that it was another Normal, Happy, Fun weekend with just a touch of pandemonium thrown in to keep things interesting.
We like to start the weekend by pulling a near all nighter card game. This one wrapped up at around 3:30am which wasn't bad considering we only had to get up at 7am to head to the slopes. We figure sleep is way over rated when it comes to downhill skiing. It's easy to sneak in a cat nap when you're barreling down a Black Diamond at 40 miles an hour full of booze, testosterone, and adrenaline.
We picked the coldest weekend of the year for our trip. It was -1 degrees and probably 20 below once you factored in the wind chill from the 35 mile an hour wind gusts we had to endure. Lucky we brought along plenty of antifreeze!!
We try to mix in as much cross country skiing as we can on our trip, because just going down the hill gets a bit boring after awhile. It's kind of fun trying to avoid slamming into the guy in front of you while traversing the ice covered trails in the out of bounds area.
Ron "Sugarman" Myers acted as our designated driver since he is the only one of us with professional experience. Driving that is, not drinking. I think we've all graduated out of the amateur ranks in that latter category.
"Jammin'" Jason Davis has greatly increased his skiing ability from a couple of years ago when we had to call the ski patrol to come drag his butt off the mountain on a snowmobile because he was "injured".
Joel "Jo Jo" Anderson was under a lot of stress for most of the weekend dealing with a recurring concern that really affected us all.
A couple of our friends really stink.
"Krazy" Kory Madson led the pack in number of wipeouts. He really didn't do too bad in the morning but the amount and intensity of his falls seemed to steadily increase throughout the day. It was observed that after each visit to the chalet bar, his number of accidents would rise. Although complete statistical analysis hasn't been finished yet, we're pretty certain there is a significance to that correlation.
Lincoln "Loghead" Allen had the worst collision of the day. We were attempting to move from one chairlift to the other meaning we had to climb a pretty large hill in to get there. Lincoln told me to go as fast as I could to make sure I had enough speed to get to the top. I was following him closely when suddenly a girl lost her ski in front of us and it started sliding down the hill. Some drunk dude attempted to help her by darting down the hill after it. Little did he know, the Lincoln Freight train was coming through. They both tried to swerve, but their legs caught somewhere around the knees sending them both high into the air in a spinning motion which could best be described as a Beautiful pirouette rivaling that of Olympic Figure skating tandems. There would be no Gold Medal for this performance, however. Lucky for them, they both were able to walk away from the scene unassisted.
January 21, 2007
On Friday night, the Shortarmguy family enjoyed some fine dining at Jensen's Supper Club. It was a lot of fun, but probably not the best place to bring a couple of rowdy kids. They're really not big into the whole ambience thing at fancy restaurants and quickly started ranting and raving about how long the food took to be brought to the table. Eventually we started making them eat new treats like popovers and mandarin oranges which just seemed to add fuel to the fire making them angrier and angrier. Next time we go to a nice place like this, we're going to recruit Grandma Linda to baby-sit rather than join us. Either that or make them wait in the van in the parking lot.
Once the food did arrive, though, Miss Sheri seemed to turn into a wild animal. I tried really hard to get a nice picture of her, but just didn't have any luck. After 45 minutes of trying to snap a photo of her not putting food in her mouth, this was the best I could do.
On Saturday, we had the boy's Cub Scout Den Meeting where we began the fun process of building their Pinewood Derby Cars for the upcoming race in 2 weeks. The boys loved holding their blocks of wood on the power sander until they were badly misshapen. The rest of the time they complained about how cold it was and why the heck were we hanging out in a garage in 10 degree weather. Then we left.
The boys were able to use the power sander this year, but the band saw is still for daddy! This machine has some real power! And I was able to experience it for almost a couple of minutes.
It was quickly determined that an oscillating blade and a guy with only 8 fingers aren't a great mix , so Miss Sheri took over the block cutting job. I then went and joined the boys complaining about how cold it was in that dang garage.
On Saturday, Avery and I took Sunny out for a walk on frozen Prior Lake. We saw several cars and trucks driving on the ice, so we figured it was finally safe enough to walk out to the ice houses and see what all the fuss was about. We then realized that the ice houses weren't open to the public and we didn't know anyone there so we walked back home. It was a lot of fun.
On Sunday, we returned to the frozen lake with our snow-mobile and went to try to make friends with the ice house people again. However, no-one waved us in for a visit, so we didn't stop. Next week we're going to walk out there with fishing poles just to see if someone finally gets the hint! And if they don't, we'll just practice casting.
January 14, 2007
Our beloved nieces/cousins left us this week. They flew back to warm Dallas, Texas on Monday leaving a sad void in our house. You get used to having people around after they live with you for a few weeks. I'm sure the girls are glad to be back home and not having to deal with their little cousins chasing them around constantly making demands. And their crazy Uncle pestering them with statements like "You gotta take Life by the balls, because nobody's going to bring you Happiness on a platter." And there's probably just a bit too much singing around our house.
On Friday night, the Shortarmguy Family continued our Quest for a new King Sized Bed for mom and dad since their current Queen just isn't accommodating enough for some late night visitors who like to sneak into our room and try to sleep with us. Of course, we had to bring along our old pal, Jason Hornbuckle, to get his opinion as well since eventually he'll probably be sleeping there as much as anyone.
This is Richard. He was our mattress salesperson for the night and turned out to be a Heckuva Good Guy! He basically bashed all the overpriced beds we'd been concentrating on and turned us on to some lower priced options. Although it was quite funny hearing him trash talking many of the brands his store sells, it was an effective tactic. We ended up trusting him more than most of the other "Bed Hustlers" we've been negotiating with, but we still haven't decided what we're going to buy.
After our bed shopping, we went to the boy's favorite restaurant, Red Lobster. I don't think the boys have ever even tried any seafood, but they really like going there and seeing all the angry red creatures in the lobby's aquarium. It's really a good marketing tool for them. I think McDonalds should copy them and put some cows in front of their counters. Or maybe KFC could install a chicken coop in their stores. I'm sure it would increase their business from us, although the poop smell would probably be a little bit disconcerting.
On Saturday, we all went to the Mall of America to bump into people walking by us. It sure is crowded at this silly place. I thought the heavy shopping season was supposed to be past us by now? But no. Everybody is still out there buy, buy, buying. And bump, bump, bumping into us. Secretly I kind of like it.
The reason we went to the Mall was to go visit Underwater World. It's an incredible experience where we first walk through the Minnesota Woods and then enter a huge underwater tunnel that takes us through a Minnesota Lake, down the Mississippi River, and through a huge tank of sharks! We also get to go to a "petting pool" where we get to rub baby sharks and stingrays. The guides say you're only supposed to touch the animals with two fingers, but sometimes we get a little rebellious and use all four.
The tunnel has a moving sidewalk that carries you through a 300 foot long curved tube which is 14 feet under 1.2 million gallons of salt water. I'm always curious what would happen if you tried to chisel a little hole in the glass, but I'm guessing the workers wouldn't like it much.
One of my favorite displays at Underwater World features this friendly little guy. I don't know what it is, but I have just been an absolutely huge Beaver Fan since I was 13 years old. I honestly think I could sit and stare at beavers all day long!
January 7, 2007
The year ended with a small blizzard and our first actual snow on the ground. Luke asked to make a snowman and the three of us gave it our best attempt. Not a ton of the white stuff was available, so he wasn't very tall. There was also quite a bit of mud, sticks and leaves rolled up into his body giving him a speckled appearance. We gave him one short stick arm, one long stick arm, two rocks for eyes, and called him Dirty Frosty Jr. He fits into our family well.
Bailey and Mallory were still with us this week so we thrilled them with activities like going to the Minnesota Zoo. This was at the Bird Show where we were treated to lessons and visits from many feathered friends including a huge Bald Eagle and an owl that flew right over our heads. I just can't imagine anything more exciting for a couple of teenage girls. They're sure lucky their aunt and uncle are so hip.
Grandma just loves playing in this tunnel. Right when we arrived at the zoo, she bounced up and down and insisted on going straight to the Tropics Trail so she could crawl around in her favorite spot. After a half hour, we tried to drag her away, but she rolled onto her back, kicking and screaming, and had a good old fashioned tantrum. She then crawled back in and refused to leave. We finally had to threaten her with taking away a "privilege" if she didn't start listening better.
Our old buddy, Jason Alexander, invited us up to his Maple Grove Estate for New Year's Eve. We had to venture out in the snowstorm to get to his house and passed many cars in the ditch on our trek. But we had to do it. We had to get there. The Good Times were just screaming our names. It was worth risking life and limb for the opportunity to drink and celebrate the end of 2006 with our friends. I didn't feel the same way the next morning when my belly was screaming in pain. That Dang Jason Alexander. It was his fault
It was also these people's fault. The Hornbuckles. Their presence in the room is just like a magnet for sinful behavior. God bless them. We started the night by playing the 80's Version of Trivial Pursuit. It turned into a drinking game where every time one team received a piece of their pie, the other team had to drink a shot of tequila. My knowledge of Family Ties served me quite well I must say!
This is Malisha. She works with Heather and also enjoys telling tales about how she 's been corrupted by Jason, Heather, and Jason. It might not have been in that order. She might have said that she was corrupted by Heather than Jason and Jason, I just can't remember.
We counted down the New Year at a place called Sawatdee in downtown Minneapolis. It was hopping. We dirty danced until all of us had our groins bruised from bumping into each other.
Since Grandma Linda was watching the boys all night and we were out partying with the Horntroubles, Miss Sheri was feeling Especially Frisky on New Year's Eve. It was a side of her that Shortarmguy doesn't get to see that often since she normally lives her life in "Mom Mode". She really let loose downtown and acted kind of naughty in public. It created quite a dilemma for me. Because for the rest of night all I kept thinking was: "How do I get rid of my kids more often?"
This picture was taken at 2am. It was our final stop of the night and I was kicked out of the establishment for taking the photograph. I'd like to explain more, but Miss Sheri has denied me that privilege. So let me just end by saying, We had a darn good night. I feel real good about our prospects for fun and glory in 2007!!
Shortarmguy Diary 2006
Shortarmguy Diary 2005
Shortarmguy Diary 2004
Shortarmguy Photos 2002 - 2003
Shortarmguy Photos Pre 2002
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