The Move

Oh boy has life been busy.  It’s been busy for everyone, I know.

New man (not so new anymore now), another job (not a new one, another one, up to four now), new adventures, pool season and just plain life being crazy.

This is our 5th month in the new place but it seems like yesterday we packed a car hauler full of crap, hoped for help, didn’t get any, and moved 15 miles south of town.  Back to country living for both of us.  Our joke is we rented a two car, insulated, heated garage and a three bedroom two bathroom house came with it.  Needless to say there’s way too much room for just us two but we’ve been getting creative with things.

  1. Our dining room table is now an extension of the mudroom/laundry room.  It’s very convenient to drop the unfolded laundry on the table when switching out loads, then it stays there, for days, wanting attention it doesn’t get until we dig through it for something to wear.  I’ve also noticed when we bring our clothes into the mudroom to sort and do laundry, there it sits for all to see as that’s where we come into the house, our front door is rarely used.  If someone does come to the door we don’t answer it because our friends and family know better.  Nothing against the Jehovah Witnesses but we’ve got that part of life handled, no muddying the waters there.
  2. We have more TVs than we need so we are now those people with two in the living room.  The first excuse was that NASCAR and football were on at the same time and now there is no excuse, he will play PS3 on one and we watch the other.  I can’t be bothered to argue, that’s one of those things that aren’t worth it.  In fact, I had a discussion with him the other day about a more permanent set up for the TVs.
  3. We each have our own bathroom.  I use the one in the master bedroom and he uses the other one.  He does shower in my bathroom but will take a bath in the other one, don’t ask, I have no clue since we have a garden tub in our bathroom.
  4. We’re turning our second living room into a bar.  Yup, jukebox, pool table and bar décor.  Why not?  All we do now is walk through it to go to bed.  Friends think we’re crazy at first but when they think about it for a few minutes they’re pretty excited.  Especially because we have two bedrooms for them to crash in if things get out of hand.

Outside of being creative with rooms we’ve set some ground rules.

  1. He prepares the dishes and loads the dishwasher.  I cannot be bothered to wash the dishes just to wash them.  He’s a complete fanatic about it so it’s his job.  I empty it and clean the rest of the kitchen.
  2. The garage is his.  Unless he needs help finding something, cleaning it or I need to do a piece of furniture.  But it’s his.  We’re going to stick with that.
  3. He dictates the lawn mowing and the frequency thereof.  We have two riding lawn mowers, not because we need two but because he THINKS we need two.  One is not working 100%.  I guess that’s what happens when you live with a mechanic.  The lawn was like a putting green, every time I came home he as on the lawnmower.  From August to November he mowed it two to three times a week.  Unnecessary in my book.  I do have to say it looks great though……don’t tell him I said that.
  4. He fixes the things I break.  Period.  I recently sucked up a wash cloth with the vacuum cleaner hose, he was not a happy man.  He looked cute all covered in dust though……don’t tell him I said that either.
  5. I freak myself out when I’m home alone.  Lots of windows, very minimal window coverings, no neighbors close and lots of new noises for me to get used to.  So I don’t spend much time there alone and he is very aware of that rule.

Life is still very funny, I just need to find time to write more.  I will attempt to make it a priority since it is good therapy for me.    Bottom line is things are good, I’m happy and very content.  We laugh a lot, I just don’t write it down as often as I used to.

Keep smiling!

The Eye Twitch

I’ve had an eye twitch since sometime in the summer of ’82.  Okay, I’m exaggerating, it’s been about two months but it feels like a lifetime.  I was going to start writing about it the second week and journal all the places my eye twitch came with me and what it did but that got out of hand very quickly.

There’s so many theories on why an eye twitch happens and a ton of them point to stress which would make sense since my life is one big stress ball, you know,sort of like a hair ball except I never get to cough it up. This is one of the most irritating things I’ve ever been through, imagine sitting in a meeting and suddenly your left eye starts twitching like the Energizer Bunny just got new batteries.  Then it looks like I’m having some sort of seizure and the other meeting attendees are looking at me scared.

I started doing research on eye twitches, the results were interesting:

Web MD:  They read me my last rights and wished me luck on my remaining days, as they do with everything else.  Why is it that the first possibility with them is the worst?  No matter what I look up it’s either that I have an incurable disease, I’m going to have to have a limb amputated or my family is going to be wiped out by famine.  I really try not to look at Web MD anymore.

Friends:  It’s stress, quit two of your jobs.  Yeah, can’t do that so let’s move on.

Vision Website:  They say there’s eight possible causes:

  • Stress – we’ve already covered that
  • Tiredness – yup, got that one covered too
  • Eye Strain – you mean sitting at a computer for hours a day? Ok, that’s covered.
  • Caffeine – oh sweet, back on Mountain Dew after years, got that covered
  • Alcohol – lack of or too much?  Got both of those covered, depending on the day
  • Dry eyes – perhaps sanding in a basement without eye protection, covered here
  • Nutritional imbalances – one square meal a day, that doesn’t cover it? ok, fine, got this one covered
  • Allergies – which ones? winter, spring, summer or fall? covered

After reading this site I’m surprised both of my eye lids on both eyes aren’t twitching 24/7.  It seems I’m just going to go on my merry way and be happy with several minutes of uncomfortable and embarrassing twitches each day and be thankful I’m not losing my eye, losing a limb, dying tomorrow or losing my family to famine.

I will take any suggestions for making it go away other than vastly changing my lifestyle.

The Newest Craze II

The newest craze has developed into Chubby Chicks Garage.  Reality TV as it sits does not hold a candle to what happens with us.  I would hope for a TV show but our language would have to be censored and people would think our antics were staged, which they wouldn’t be because you can’t make this stuff up.

A little background on the Chubby Chicks:

Me:  You all probably have a good idea of who I am from my stories so I will just add a few things that you may not know.  I am a list maker, I love crossing stuff off of a list, done, complete, yes!!  I am a perfectionist when it comes to projects, no drips, precise painting, the lines need to match up, etc.  I get caught up in the moment no matter what it is, buying, selling, story telling, laughing, you name it.  I have the patience of a saint when it comes to my partner in crime, always have, probably always will.  I think it’s because she severely lacks patience.  I’m starting to think I’m hard of hearing.  I am a smart alec and very very sarcastic.

Her:  She gets caught up in the moment, especially buying, selling and getting a good deal.  She has the ‘if it’s a good deal then I need to be the one that gets the good deal’ attitude, even if it’s something we probably can’t use.    She has a short temper and flies off the handle one second and is back to your friend the next.  It’s incredible to witness sometimes and sometimes it’s not so incredible when she flies off the handle at me.  She’s funny.  Her sense of humor matches mine and lots of times that can be dirty and raunchy.  We’ve both been bartenders for a long time, that definitely gets into your personality.  She mumbles and talks to me while she is walking away.  She does too many things at once so doesn’t listen well and the story is usually mixed up. She is ADD, she will start something, not finish it, move to the next, not finish it and move to the next.  This too is entertaining to watch.  I end up going behind her to finish stuff up.

With both of us having the trait of getting caught up in the moment you can imagine what our ‘to do’ pile is like.  We were short on dressers after our sale, we are no longer short on dressers…..at all.  Our pile of undone projects has taken over our entire work area.  With refurbishing and painting furniture you don’t have to be a perfectionist and my partner knows this. So the first coat of paint is sloppy, and that’s okay….with me…if she does it.  It’s not okay with me if I do it.  Because she mumbles, I say “what?” a lot and it irritates her. Sometimes I do it just to get under her skin. It’s my sick and twisted little way of getting back at her for something…or nothing I suppose.

We manage to get ourselves into situations that are hilarious….at least after the fact.  The other day we were bringing the skinny guy’s (her husband)  truck home.  His truck has a broken small side window that’s fixed with cardboard and duct tape (classy, yet effective).  We call it the McGyver truck because it needs a key made out of a popsicle stick and two pieces of wire, or something like that, in order to start.  I believe you also have to walk around it twice, jump up and down three times and say a small prayer before getting in to start it.  Once we dropped off the McGyver truck my partner in crime got in my car and put her head in her hands.  I immediately said “what did you do?”  She looked at me and said “drive, I can’t talk or I’ll cry”. So of course being the supportive friend I am I started driving and immediately started talking “who called, did someone die, did you pee your pants, I can’t help you if I don’t know what the problem is”.  She’s yelling at me in the passenger seat “shut up, don’t make me laugh, this isn’t funny?”  I said “well, it must be your laughing” to which she replied “I’m laughing because you’re an ass”.

After a bought of laughing and a couple of miles down the road she said “I locked ALL my keys in the truck”.  I laughed hysterically and said “why didn’t you take the duct tape off the broken window and grab them?”  She looked at me as if I had grown a third arm and her face turned red with embarrassment.  She looked at me and said “turn around and go back, shut up and don’t tell anyone about this”.  It took me about 15 minutes to stop giggling and her to stop laughing and crying.  It took me about 30 minutes to tell someone about it.

Here’s to many more adventures from Chubby Chicks Garage.

 

Black Friday

Black Friday came and went, one of the worst days of the year.  I’m not a fan of shopping anyway and then the gates are opened for all crazy shoppers to be even more craz.  Now, I’m not one to back down from a challenge but I would rather stick my tongue to a light pole in January in Minnesota than go shopping on Black Friday.

To me it’s like the county fair, a parade of the mutants.  Those people who only go out once a year, some of them probably haven’t seen the light of day since last year.  I have no idea where they come from but there are thousands of them.  Every year one of my friends tries to talk me into going.  No way.  Not on your life.  Been there, done that, barely survived.

It happened at Kohl’s, which I think was our second stop of the day.  I had already broken out into a rash and the cold sweats from the first stop but I was going to be a trooper and find the joy like so many others do.  I was with my best friend, shockingly enough, we’re still best friends.  We parted ways and I grabbed a cart because I was so confident that was the place where I would find all the deals.  Kohl’s would turn my attitude around about Black Friday shopping.  That was wishful thinking.

We parted ways, not by choice, the crowd swallowed us up and we were separated, no worries, this was going to be good.  I started filling my cart with a few goodies, clothing, candles, a pillow.  I started heading for the checkout when a lady snatched my pillow right out of my cart.  We made eye contact and the fight began, I yelled, she yelled back, I grabbed the pillow and hit her with it, she screamed….then I have no idea what happened and I was out by the car.

That’s where my friend found me.  I had not purchased any items and I was banned from the store like I ban someone from the bar who’s had too much to drink.  So we left and went home.  There was no way she was bringing me to another store.  Black Friday has been off-limits ever since.  I apparently cannot be trusted.

As I was listening to post Black Friday conversations this year I was glad I didn’t go.  Several people told stories of items getting ripped out of their carts.  I would have most likely needed bail money.

 

The Joys of Bartending IX

It’s been quite some time, sorry about that.  Even though it’s been ages, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing things down or that nothing funny has been happening.   What it means is that life has been crazy busy and something has to get pushed to the side.  Unfortunately that’s been writing for me.  I’m going to try my hardest to be better…but I digress.

This last weekend was terribly entertaining as far as bartending was concerned.  It’s also much more entertaining after the fact then it was during the chaos.  Here’s how Friday night went for us.

It was a typical full moon night…..WEIRD.  Early in the night nothing specific stood out but the vibe was weird, the crowd was weird and people were drinking…. a lot!  My bartending partner and I would look at each other and shake our heads or shrug our shoulders every now and then to prove we knew, we just knew it was strange.  Her and I were even running into each other behind the bar more than normal, it was one of those days we were acting like we’d never worked together.  Even our karaoke singers were all over the board, normally we’re middle of the road with talent but this particular night we had amazing singers and then those singers that made you want to jab yourself in the ear with a sharp pencil.  Like I say to my customers “always applaud, for those who are bad, you applaud because it’s over”.

Around midnight the downhill slide reached warp speed.  One of our regulars who is normally very well-behaved became not so well-behaved.  On a normal night if we tell him it’s time to go home, he says ‘okay’ and promptly leaves and walk home.  On this not so normal night he said ‘okay’ and walked out the front door……only to immediately return through the back door.  Rinse and repeat seven times!!!  Yes I said SEVEN.  He had his eye on a woman he thought he was going to take home.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have to go into detail here when I say that would not have turned out so great for him.  It would have been like stepping up to the plate at a major league game with a wet dishcloth rather than a bat.  Finally my bartending partner raised her voice to a thunderous level, took him by the arm and escorted him to the corner and watched him cross the street.  I think we saved him from humiliation by making him leave without her.  He should be thanking us.

About the time we got done dealing with him, karaoke wrapped up and we were discussing the ‘weirdness’ of the night with the DJ, three guys walked in who had clearly been elsewhere for a few.  One of them is a regular and the other two we had seen before but were unfamiliar with any of their drunken habits.  They had a beer and the regular asked for a shot.  I said “no, no hard alcohol for you”, as usual, the regular agreed and we went on our merry way……until one of them wasn’t merry anymore.

It started with this kid accusing us (all of us, even his friends) of stealing his $50 bill.  We all stood around as he searched every pocket, more than once, and finally dug it out.  No apology, no nothing, just attitude.   Finally we had enough of him and asked him to leave…..now this is where all hell breaks loose.

We made him leave out the back door, he came in the front.  We made him leave out the front door, he came in the back.  Rinse and repeat too many times to count.  I would guess about the eighth or ninth time he started calling me a retard very loudly and over and over again.  Now, I don’t want to get physical with anyone but I will if I have to.  My hundred pound partner escorts him out the back door once more and tells him not to come back.  We spotted him walking around the building so I was waiting for him at the front door with my hands on his hips.

He opened the door, stepped in, saw me standing there and threw himself on the floor and started throwing a temper tantrum.  I would have started giggling here if I wasn’t so mad so I said “get off the floor and get out, just because we throw you out the back door, doesn’t mean you get to come back in the front door”.   About the time my lecture was complete a new song came on the juke box and no kidding, he looked up at me and said “oooohh, I love this song” and started playing air guitar while laying on the floor.  Again, hilarious now, not so funny then.

I put my head in my hands so I wouldn’t scream at the top of my lungs and he got up and got in my face.  He pulled back his arm like he was going to hit me and I said “please, please hit me”.  I’m pretty sure his buddy yelled “don’t hit her” so he ran to his buddy at the other end of the bar.  My partner then herded him out the back door once again, that time he grabbed onto everything he possibly could which resulted in tearing a bunch of posters off the wall.  One of the regulars followed her out for support.  I picked up torn pieces of posters and thought I better check on the situation outside.  When I got out there my partner said “grab the phone, we’re calling the cops”.  I asked if she was okay, she said “yes, he’s just very verbally abusive and called me the word you never call a woman” so I grabbed my phone and told the guy I was going to call the police.  He started running across the street, lost his shoe, fell and was rolling around in the middle of the street when I dialed 911.  That’s where he stayed, screaming and swearing while I was on the phone with dispatch.

I had to go back in because there were customers still in the bar, my partner and the regular stayed outside to wait for the police.  Once the police got there the kid tried to run and ended up in a fenced in apartment complex so couldn’t get away.  He did attempt to stand very still so the cops couldn’t see him….that didn’t work.  Once the spotlight was on him and the officer got out of the car, the kid threw his shoe at him which promptly got him arrested.

I was tending to matters inside which consisted of attempting to calm one of our giggling regulars down who couldn’t seem to control herself, we now call her the giggle patrol.  The officer came in to question me and the giggle patrol was right behind me giggling uncontrollably.  The officer asked my name and of course I had to be a smarty pants and make a comment about being one of America’s Most Wanted.  The giggle patrol only got worse and we struggled through the questioning.  Finally I told the officer “I really wanted to run him over when he was in the middle of the street”.  The officer looked at me, smiled and said “I would have looked the other way”.

I’m thankful he had a sense of humor at 1:45 AM after what I can only assume was a long Friday night for him too.

The Newest Craze

I’m not sure if anyone else is like this or if it’s just me and a few of my friends but it seems like there’s always some new hobby or addiction. Lately there’s definitely a new addiction for me and it’s something I didn’t expect.

Before I tell you what this new craze in my life is I should recap some things about me so you can understand why this is so unexpected.

  1. I despise shopping…………of any sort.
  2. I loathe going to garage sales. Why would I want someone else’s crap when I have too much of my own?
  3. I waste a majority of my patience on people so I have none left for myself.
  4. I am sleep deprived and that may be the understatement of the year. I think my nightly average over the last five years is about four hours.
  5. I start things and don’t finish them. I have a cross stitch project from 1984 in my sewing basket – I sure hope my brother Dan still isn’t waiting for that. I have about 100 half-written stories that started back in college and I have a gallon of paint for my basement that’s been unopened for two years.
  6. I’m not “creative’ in an arts and crafts way like my sister and my mom are.

Ok, now back to this new fad of mine…..

About four years ago my sister and I loaded up my Chevy Blazer with ‘stuff’ from my parent’s place.  A dresser, a church bench, a piano bench, a night stand, a couple of trunks, some crates.  You name it, I took it, loaded it into the Blazer and away we went….to bring her to the airport, that’s right, she got to go home to New York and I got to bring the stuff home with me to ‘redo’.  I forgot to mention the green church bench was bungied to the top of the Blazer.  Oh yeah, we were hot, laughed the whole way.  I got it all home and the stuff I didn’t immediately use went into my basement with a pile of other projects.

Fast forward two years and the flood happened.  3.5 feet of brown water from the sewer systems of Superior, Wisconsin.  The piano bench didn’t survive, a table didn’t make it, the church bench was on its way to the dumpster when the neighbor salvaged it and the dresser was already next to the dumpster when one of my girlfriends said “oh, you’re not throwing that away”.  I said “listen, the back is ruined, the bottoms of the drawers are ruined and it’s soaking wet”.   She said “you’ve put too much work into it to let it go, we can replace the back and drawer bottoms”.

Fast forward two more years.  The same girlfriend had been talking about all these refurbishing projects she’s been doing.  I mentioned that I really should get that dresser done but I had to throw away all my stuff including the sander, etc. because of the flooding.  She said “bring it over, we’ll do it here”.

And that my friends started my latest craze.  I have now started refurbishing stuff.  I find the solitude and concentration on one single thing until completion peaceful and I love seeing a project from start to finish; however, the longer the project takes the shorter my patience gets and I want to move on to something else.   That’s not good because she’s very ADD and has 10 to 12 things going at once.  I do my best to be the voice of reason.  For those of you who know me, ‘voice of reason’ is not on my resume.

Here’s my first finished project.  This started out as a very homely blue dresser.

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Reality TV has nothing on what goes on when we’re working on our projects.  There’s yelling, there’s swearing, there’s paint and stain everywhere, there’s hysterical laughter and all of this is happening in a single car garage and we’re attempting not to disturb her husband’s motorcycle.   There’s now garage saling and flea market stopping. Craigslist browsing and wheeling and dealing before we’re done.  I have become my parents.  I have completely become my parents.  And it scares the crap out of me because I don’t have three sheds and a garage to fill with things.    My goal is to buy, redo, sell.  Quick and painless.  Ha ha, if we get to that point, it will be a miracle.

Just this last Saturday we took my car on our little mission because ‘we find the good deals when we have the car’ and come home empty when we take her truck.  Well, we not only took her brother with, we found the deals.  By the time we got home we had the trunk bungied shut and both passengers had items in their lap.  This is what she looked like in the back seat.

 

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The stuff we found for three and four dollars was incredible.  The hardest part of the day was hiding it in the single garage so her husband doesn’t notice.  I know that  he’s not that naive, he knows exactly what goes on, he just turns the other cheek.  Plus, I think he secretly likes it because he’s always willing to help when we’re in need of a man’s opinion or help.

That was not the first time it happened like that with my car.  Last time we took my car we had to call her daughter to bring the truck because we found the mother lode of all sales.  Needless to say we filled the car and the truck.  That day my passenger had a bar stool on her lap hanging out the window .  I didn’t think about taking a picture that day though, we were laughing too hard and bribing her son to let us use his shed to store stuff.  There’s something wrong with us and we have no trouble telling each other that every day.

We’ve been trying to think of a name for our little venture and her husband always says “don’t forget about the skinny guy”.   Perhaps someone will put us in our own TV show.  No unlimited budget, no nice clothes, just real life, maybe slightly censored when things get really bad.

Here’s my second project that I did and I needed the skinny guy’s help on.

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There’s some sort of story every day we work together.  Something breaks, spills, gets lost  or gets ruined.  One or both of us have paint on our face, has had a tantrum or is sunburned.  There is usually uncontrollable laughter or an all out brawl  but at the end of it all we’re still friends and we get something accomplished.  Even if it’s only to move stuff around so we look organized.

The Sauna

Why is it so hard for people to understand the concept of a sauna? That’s sow-na for you non-Finlanders. Say it with me……SOW NA. That’s it, one more time….SOW NA. For the record, Webster was not a Finlander. Okay, now that we’ve got that straight.

I’ve been dealing with the questions, the looks, the snubbed noses and the non-understanding of the sauna most of my life. I grew up in a town where probably 75% of the people had a sauna or at least access to one on a regular basis so there shouldn’t have been questions or concerns but there was. So here it is, my thoughts on the glorious sauna.

The sauna is a cure all. Pretty much no matter what ails you, the sauna will cure it. Sunburn, yep, sure does. Runny nose, yep, sure does. Headache, yep, sure does. Sleeplessness, yep, sure does. Crabbiness, yep, sure does. I’m not sure about constipation or diarrhea, I’ve never actually tested out either theory, that’s one you can test on your own if you want.

The sauna at the gym is not a real sauna. You can’t throw water on the rocks. It’s a steam room and it’s a decent alternative if you don’t have a real sauna available. The sauna at the gym should not be taken naked, not once, not ever.

A ‘real’ sauna should be taken naked. Yes, I said naked. Naked as the day you were born. Naked as a jaybird. However you want to look at it, it’s NAKED. It’s a bath. It’s sacred. It’s life altering. It’s relaxing. Be naked.

Don’t ask me about public saunas. I have no idea what goes on in there and if you do know what goes on, that isn’t going on in all saunas.

After you are done throwing water on the rocks and sweating all the toxins out of your body, you bathe. Either under a shower or from a pan that you’ve scooped clean cold and hot water into to use as bath water. You wash up while your pores are open, head out to the bench, chair, couch and relax for several more minutes. Sometimes you even fall asleep because you feel so good. Uber clean.

There are times you go to someone else’s house to take a sauna. That’s okay, it’s perfectly acceptable. Yes, that’s like going to the neighbors to take a bath but it’s okay, you may not have wanted to start your sauna that day or you just plain didn’t have one at home. Growing up, we tended to go elsewhere for sauna in the winter, since our sauna was in a building of its own and it wasn’t electric.

Sauna can be a social thing. More so with the men in my family, two or more people will sauna together. I remember the first time an ex of mine was invited to sauna with the boys. He looked at me as if the Deliverance theme song started to play in his head. I explained to him he could say no and it wasn’t some sort of initiation into the family. I also explained it’s just what they do, there’s no judging, no weirdness, just conversation and sometimes a beer.

Yes, there were times when we would sauna as a group, with bathing suits on, and jump in a snow bank or a cold lake after we had poured lots of water on the rocks. Not so great for the old ticker but we were young. I’ve even done that when I wasn’t so young I guess. Keeps your blood flowing or something like that.

Saunaing as a couple is allowed and encouraged. It’s a nice relaxing time to spend together, talk or don’t talk, whichever floats your boat. However, extracurricular activities are not encouraged unless both parties are very accustomed to the sauna. Overexertion can easily lead to heart palpitations, shortness of breath or dizziness. I do not have the official Finnish doctor’s word on this one but I’ve heard stories.

Fibbing to ‘sauna rookies’ is encouraged. For those of us veterans, it is a must to ‘mess’ with the rookies. We tell them that if you pour cold water on the rocks the steam will be cooler. Tell them this as often as it takes for them to finally get it.

You will experience things you will never encounter in your bathtub or shower. Such as: scalding hot shampoo/conditioner (always leave it on the lower bench), soap that is literally melted to the bench, again, leave it in the dish on a lower bench, same goes for razors and any other paraphernalia you may have in there. It’s hot. Just to remind you, it’s hot! Say it with me, IT’S HOT!

Antics are not always encouraged but happen nonetheless. My sister used to make me sit on the floor. The floor of a sauna is not hot, it’s actually fairly cool and rather creepy. It was my punishment for her having to take care of me I think. A friend told me that they used to put the hot metal ladle (you know, to scoop the water onto the rocks) on another’s bare butt cheek, ummm, ouch. That didn’t happen at my house thank goodness. Plugging the chimney while siblings or friends were in there to turn the sauna into a ‘smoker’ was another of my friend’s antics. We didn’t do that one either.

A sauna is a way of life, a culture, a special occasion, almost a religion in some households. We crave a sauna like a fat kid craves Twinkies. Don’t judge, embrace. Don’t assume, ask. Don’t knock it, try it.