It’s Been a Long Winter

When I wrote Winter is Here I had no idea how true those words were.  Old Man Winter and Mother Nature are still shacking up in the empty lot down the street and they have now added a foundation under their RV.  We may never see the other three seasons again.  All I can say is they best not be reproducing, I can only imagine how tragic that would be.  I’ve been dropping off birth control outside their door so hopefully they get the hint.

There was no easing into winter this year.  Winter hit us like the fat kid hits the buffet, hard and fast.  There was a storm, then another storm, then a thaw and then another storm and now the cold.  The roads are bad, the alleys are worse and my parking spots are the worst.  Putting the trash or recycling out to be picked up is like working your way through a corn maze in a blizzard.  You need climbing ropes, an ice pick and some oxygen.  Then you have to go through it again to put them back.  I’m thankful my neighbor does the garbage so I only have to do the recycling.

Each time I go outside I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands.  The odds of falling are at about 90%, the odds of getting stuck somewhere is about 60% and because I haven’t had one in this vehicle the odds of a flat tire are increasing every day.   Then I take into consideration the other drivers on the road and I completely panic.  The drivers that are out on the bad roads are the crappy drivers that were on the good roads during the good weather!!!  Not a pleasant thought.

School has been canceled around here so often the kids are all going to flunk this grade, they’re just going to have to do the whole year over again.  They may as well call off the rest of the year and get the little buggers a job.  Preferably clearing snow and shoveling for those of us who aren’t supposed to.  I’m not sure I remember a time when school was canceled due to it being too cold when I was a kid.  However, I actually wore boots, a coat and mittens to school and the bus picked us up.  I live near a middle school and those kids who have to walk to school should dress better.  I say my prayers for them every day.

I have to remote start my car twice before I can even get in it.  Then I have to go out and start it and let it run for 20 more minutes.  I’m averaging about 12 miles to the gallon right now because I let it warm up so much.  I also received a lesson in changing my car battery.  Wasn’t really a lesson I asked for but I was bound and determined to not be such a girl and do it myself.  That probably won’t happen again, nothing wrong with being a girl who needs to be rescued sometimes.

Here are my Facebook posts from the battery changing incident:

“Battery dead and won’t jump.  Determined to take it out myself so I text knowledgeable man for instructions. Instructions good, toolbox bad, smarty comments from knowledgeable man.   (Below is the picture of my pathetic excuse of a toolbox I sent him).

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Find wrench that might work hidden under hammer.  Get one cable loose. Open roomies truck to take off gloves to check phone.  Coffee container escapes and rolls under truck.  Lay on ground to try to reach it, need wrench to help retrieve it. Now wet from head to toe with one battery cable sort of off. If the battery weren’t already dead it would have been after my tantrum with the wrench. On a mission to find socket set and maybe a Valium. This is going to happen!!

Later that evening post..

“Thought I posted earlier but apparently in my celebration of still having all my fingers and toes I did not.
Borrowed a socket set.  Took out battery according to texted instructions, 10 minutes to get nuts and bolts off and another 30 minutes to figure out how to get it out around a plastic filter cover and a boatload of hoses.  Had battery tested.  Dead (obviously).  Bought battery.  One last text question to make sure I didn’t electrocute myself during install. Put it in and used all the parts to get it secure!  It only took 4 hours, a little frost bite, no tears, no booze and no drugs.  I did think I gave myself a black eye at one point but it hasn’t bruised yet so I think I’m good.  It’s been quite the day.”

Next time I think I can get the battery changed in under 2 hours!!

I procrastinated putting up plastic on my living room window this year.  That was a really dumb thing to do.  I now have folded laundry stacked on the back of a chair in the living room and I leave it there because it blocks some of the cold air.  A very redneck way to take care of the issue but who’s to say I’m not a redneck deep down.  Okay, okay, I’m a redneck on the surface too.

I have discovered that I do the ‘sneak and floor it’ move several times a day.  You know the one I’m talking about.  You’re at an intersection you sneak, sneak, sneak out to attempt to see beyond the giant snow banks to see if anyone is coming.  When there comes a time you believe you can make it you put the pedal to the metal and say a quick prayer.  You certainly don’t go very fast because it’s slippery but your wheels are turning like you’re in the Daytona 500 until of course you hit a small patch of dry pavement, then you get a mild case of whiplash.  It’s a tricky move but I think I have it mastered.

It was 20 degrees here in the Northland today and someone posted on FB they spotted a man on a motorcycle.  We sure are a desperate bunch around here!  Sounds like it’s going to be in the high teens and twenties over the next few days so I think I’m going to sneak over and pack up Old Man Winter and Mother Nature myself and run them out of town.  This is Wisconsin and I’m pretty sure I can find a mob of people to help me.

Sleepless in Wisconsin XIV

I really have no idea if that’s the roman numeral for 14 or not but tonight I don’t care.  I am so tired of this not sleeping thing I could throw up.  I’ve had another run of bad sleeping the last couple of weeks but have been trying to ignore it……as we already know, that doesn’t work.

For a few days I had heartburn to the point of being on the verge of throwing up which I know was part of the problem.  I would imagine some of you are thinking…..’hey chubby, stop eating’, but heartburn has never been a problem for me.  I can eat the rear end out of a rhino and things are fine…..normally.  That’s why this has been so upsetting to me, although I haven’t been eating rhino lately I haven’t been eating much of anything because of the burn.

I visited the chiropractor today for other issues and when he had me lay down on the torture table he asked “suffering from heartburn are ya?” without even touching me.  He freaks me out like that now and then.  When I told him I did he took his index finger, poked me near my left shoulder blade and said “I bet it hurts right here”.  Pretty sure my scream and jerk were enough of an answer.  He adjusted me and miraculously I haven’t had heartburn since.  I forget about him for things like that and wish I didn’t because the 8 rolls of tums sure didn’t help.

While I’m ranting I may as well share that not only am I struggling with heartburn, I feel as though I have been drug behind a snowplow by my arms.  A friend and I got ourselves into a cleaning project that was more than we could have imagined.  At this very moment I would rather be kidnapped by an unknown Amazon tribe and tortured for days than ever wash walls again.  I was already suffering from some unknown issue with my elbows (thus the chiropractor and the not sleeping tonight) and I’m pretty certain the cleaning made it worse.  The chiro isn’t very impressed with me but he’s used to it.

The person we’re doing the cleaning for also has a sleeping problem so we’ve been swapping stories of insomnia.  The difference between us is he has money so infomercials are actually useful to him.   I noticed several purchases from crappy late night TV in his apartment.  I thought about leaving a note for him with the things I think I could use but knowing him he’d actually purchase them for me.

Tonight I’m watching a Finding Bigfoot marathon instead of infomercials and I can’t decide which is actually worse.  The episode on now is in Idaho.  Tomorrow when I speak to Idaho (the guy) I will have to see if he’s interested in doing a little squatch hunting the next time I’m there.  Maybe we’ll film our adventure and push these four yayhoos from the show and take over.  I bet we could be entertaining.  To end the show they said “Idaho is part of the pathway from the Rockies to Canada for the sasquatch”.  The squatch are migrating north to Canada??  What does Canada have to offer that we don’t?  How do we know this for sure?  Maybe the Canadians aren’t actually trying to find bigfoot so they’re going there to be left alone………interesting concept.  Maybe our show could center around keeping the squatch here in the states.

If there was anything else on I would turn the channel but there’s not.   What the hell do I pay $85 a month for if I can’t watch anything better than this in the middle of the night?  I’ll call the cable company tomorrow and ask them…..wait…..no, I won’t. I’m pretty sure they won the “Worst Customer Service on the Planet” award last month.

Those were some super random writings tonight, I think it’s time to find something else to do like the dishes or laundry or something.   I’m not even making much sense to myself……and that’s bad.

Sleepless in Wisconsin IX

Oh boy, I really thought you had heard the last of my sleep-deprived ramblings but I was so very wrong.  You’re a little lucky, I waited 3 nights before I started writing about it again.

I guess I haven’t checked in with you after my sleep clinic…..I got my results back which said I didn’t have sleep apnea, thank you captain obvious, but they did let me know that I wake up almost 20 times an hour due to sudden movements.  Whatever that means.  To them it meant they prescribed me Trazodone, yup, a depression med that doubles as a sleep aid.  I’ve been taking that since I returned from Idaho, almost three weeks and I’ve been sleeping much better.

Some nights I’m super tired or I bartend late so I don’t take it and still sleep pretty well.  Now, when I say I’ve been sleeping well, I mean I get a good five hours of sleep, that makes me happy as a pig in poop.   I go in for a follow-up next week so I’m going to request they prescribe that by the truckload, we’ll worry about the side effects later or addictions late.  I think the list of side affects is the same for this as every other med out there, they just keep adding things to the list.

I did find out from my prescription drug guru, I’d tell you who that is but I’d have to kill you, that once you take this you have about an hour or so window to hit the sheets in order for it to work well.  If you happen to blow through that hour and get to the other side, it can have the opposite effect and keep you up for quite some time.  That seems to be where I am today, and where I was last night.  Idaho called a little late both nights so sleep has eluded me once again.

Tonight I got up and moved to the living room, obviously not looking for something good on TV because we already know how that goes.   I also decided I needed to have some nachos while I watch and write, why not make it a full-blown party while I watch people working out on infomercials.  Not sure how it is that I can stuff my face at 2:30 AM other than the fact I went to the dentist and didn’t really eat anything after the invasion of my molar.  I should be out walking every chance I get after what happened to me on Friday night.

Do you have that pair of jeans that’s so comfortable you just can’t get rid of them?  They’re several years old, on their third button, the bottoms are frayed and they’re so light blue they’re almost see-through?  That’s exactly what was going on with the pants I wore on Friday night.  I was sure I was going to get one more good wear out of them.  I did feel that the button may not make it through the night as the two threads holding it on were strained pretty good.  No button I can live with.  No butt or leg I cannot live with.

The pants made it through the bbq at my house and three bars, truly being troopers.  I was headed back to one of the previous bars to pick up someone we left behind and got into the car and felt the left butt cheek area give way.  I looked over at the guy sitting in the passenger seat and said “nothing good is going to come out of this”.   He looked at me as though I was crazy and then I said “I just ripped my pants”.  He laughed and said “oh I’m sure it’s not that bad”.  Wow was he wrong.

I got out of the car and pulled my t-shirt down over my butt, hoping to cover the damage.  He laughed hysterically when I showed him what was happening and then said, “it will be fine, we’ll be in and out and no one will notice”.  Well, he was partially right, at that place no one noticed.  As I got in and out of the car again I could feel the rip creeping its way down my leg.  Hindsight tells me I should have dropped him off and headed home to change my pants.

We got back to the rest of the group and all hell broke loose from there.  There was no covering the damage, not only was I freaking out but with every movement they ripped a little more.  Apparently once they were done, they were done.  At one point one of my friends decided to be a complete jackpot and grab my pocket and pull.  Needless to say that’s all that was needed to rip the pants down my entire left leg and through the bottom, leaving me with a right pants leg and my right butt cheek covered and nothing else.  The worst part of this story……..I wasn’t wearing underwear.

After some futile attempts to cover my bare ass, I turned to leave the bar with as much dignity as I could muster, which wasn’t much, and walked out the back door.   I got in the car to wait for everyone else to join me.  I then had to get out at my house with everyone still in the car laughing to go in and change.

I’m pretty sure when he grabbed my pocket he got more than he bargained for, no one deserved to see that…..well, maybe he did.  I’m sure the sight of my cottage cheese thighs and butt cheek are forever burned into his brain, that’s what he gets.  Lesson learned for me, don’t wear the pants out of the house that you think have ‘one more wear’ in them.

Oh boy, enough embarrassment for this evening and I think I finally yawned.  It’s 3:00 AM and I better try to get a few hours in before I get up for work.

Sleepless in Wisconsin VI

Urgh.

It’s 3:30 AM and I’ve been up for an hour.  This has been the story of my life since Idaho left.  I’m certainly not blaming him but I have seen 4:00 AM for a week and I don’t like it one bit.  Today will be no different.

I’m mad and frustrated so that doesn’t help the situation.  My cold from hell doesn’t seem to be gone either, this morning I have an ear ache and I constantly feel like I’m going to sneeze.  I hate everything right now…….except for tennis.

That’s right, I said tennis.  The Australian Open is on live at this time of the morning so it has fast become my favorite early AM show.  Why is it that I can turn on a tennis match on a Sunday afternoon and nap like it’s nobody’s business but at 2:30 AM it’s like an adrenaline rush for me?  If I still owned a tennis racket and knew where a tennis court actually was, I would probably be out there playing right now.  Of course I would be in winter boots and a parka but I’d be given it a go.  Mind you, I haven’t played tennis in at least 20 years.

Do you ever do that?  Watch a sport and think ‘I can do that, no problem’.  I’ve caught myself several times this morning talking to the players, as if I’m some sort of an expert.  I should probably tell you at this point that tennis was never my sport, I’ve played quite a bit but was never more than a novice.  But right now, in my mind, I could do this seemingly simple game quite easily.  Ya right.

I do this with golf as well.  My clubs ride around in my trunk most of the summer and rarely get used but I watch a tournament on TV and I’m suddenly a pro.  I have perfected my swing, adjusted my attitude and become a lover of my woods…..until I actually get on the course.  As we all know, my only golf outing last summer resulted in a groin pull because I slipped in the porta potty.

I’ve watched some pretty good matches in the last 90 minutes but right now I have to conclude my little rant as I have to find Mary Jo Fernandez’ email address because she is wearing a terrible shirt.  Yup, seems I’m the fashion police at this time of the morning as well.  My contribution to society never ends.  🙂

Sleepless in Wisconsin V

Here we go again, after a couple of hours of sleep I’m sitting on the couch and have been attempting to watch TV for over an hour.   Tonight I’m not only wide awake but I’m restless which isn’t good.  I’m thankful at this moment the grocery store isn’t open or I would be there with my list, coupons, bad hair and inappropriate outfit.  Yes, I could go to Wal-Mart but that would be tragic, completely tragic, as I would end up in the next people of Wal-Mart email.  Some of those people already hit too close to home, I don’t actually need to be one of them.

I watched college football a good portion of the day today so Sports Center is out of the question and I’m sure I don’t have to reiterate why that is.  My channel surfing went well beyond my normal limits and I’m watching Comedy Central.  Not that I don’t ever watch Comedy Central, it just happens to be in the channels I rarely get to and tend to forget about.  I’m enamored by the commercials on this station.

The commercials that are on at 3:30 in the morning are kind of crazy.  Did you know that Jimmy Johnson does a commercial for Extenze?  Seriously Jimmy, Extenze?  I don’t even know what to say about that.  Are you really that hard up for money?  I bet one of my next posts will be another one about search engine terms, some poor guy trying to find out how to enhance his sex life is going to find this blog because I’m flabbergasted by Jimmy Johnson.  Sorry buddy.

Along with Jimmy there are tons of commercials for a chat line of some sort.  Apparently this isn’t a date line, it’s a phone call with benefits.  And the commercials aren’t for the same one, there’s several numbers, I wonder if it’s really the same people answering all of those numbers.  They show these sexy men and women on the commercials and you know darn well the people actually answering the phones do not look like that.  There’s a good chance they’re toothless home bodies that haven’t showered in three days.  Sexy huh?

There’s two other commercials that are completely disturbing to me this morning.  One is for something called Forever Lazy which seems to be one piece pajamas.  Ok people, I understand we might want these; however, the commercial shows people running through a field, having drinks with the neighbors and having dinner with the family.  What?  You couldn’t put actual clothes on to do those things?  I really think they could have stopped with the scenario of watching movies at home and being snuggled up on the couch because I’m pretty sure that’s the only place anyone is going to wear this thing.

The second commercial is for something called Good Vibrations or something like that.  This is a personal item for women.  Ok, fine.  The commercial shows a woman getting this in the mail and talking to her neighbor about it.  This is not something I’d be sharing with my neighbor, let alone standing on the street opening the package for the world to see.  Again, can’t we think of better scenarios to portray this product?  No matter how good this product is I’m most likely not going to be talking about it and showing it to my neighbor.

I’m afraid if I keep watching there will be more so I better attempt to get some sleep.  It’s after 4:00 AM and people are actually getting up for the day.  Maybe I’ll read and stay up until the grocery store at 6:00.  Hmmmm.

Wisconsin-Speak

I moved to Wisconsin almost 9 years ago.  One of the things I learned early on is that they have their own language here.  Of course, I have picked up some of that language as well, even though I still say “I’m from Minnesota, I just happen to live in Wisconsin”.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

The County – “We’re going out to the county tonight.”  I had no idea what that meant at first but realized it basically means the country or out-of-town.  I find myself going to the county quite a bit now because I shoot pool for a bar in the county.

County Run – this is some sort of initiation into the Wisconsin lifestyle that is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.  In short, this is where a bunch of people get together, leave early in the morning, get in a vehicle (or several), drive to the county and bar hop.  Up here in the north land there are two county run loops, a short one and a long one.    Usually the rule is to have one drink at each bar.  My first experience with this was not long after I moved here and thank goodness we did the short loop.  Eleven of us loaded in an orange van with a sober driver (this is another rule) who was also the treasurer.  We met at a bar in town, each chipped in $20, loaded in the van and took off.   There was drinking, food, karaoke (bad karaoke), arguing, a lot of fun and laughter and almost a fist fight.  The whole thing was over 12 hours and I can’t count how many bars.  The three of us ‘newbies’ somehow made it through this initiation but of course you get no trophy, no t-shirt and I really don’t think you’re supposed to talk about it.  I think it’s a secret society.

Buying Beer – Although this term is used everywhere, it means something different here.  In Wisconsin you can purchase adult beverages before 8:00 AM and after 10:00 PM.  Being from Minnesota I had no idea these two things existed.  There are bars here in Wisconsin that open at 6:00 AM!!!

Punching In – Again, this is a term that is used all over the world but here in Wisconsin it doesn’t mean going to work, it refers to when  you had your first adult beverage of the day.  This tends to happen a lot before noon.  Time means nothing here, it’s a lot like Mexico that way.

You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning – I believe Wisconsin is the birthplace of this saying.  They take their beer very seriously here.

Cheesehead – Being a Vikings fan I will just say….you’re seriously wearing a piece of cheese on your head!!??

We’re Going to Watch Bucky – Little did I know they were talking about Bucky the Badger and college football.  I thought we were going to a rodeo, wow was I disappointed, not being a Badger fan and all.

Let’s Go Bang on the Machines – Excuse me? What did you say?  I had no idea when I moved here that you can gamble in bars.  What a strange concept.

Let’s Go Have a Beer at The Garage – That’s odd, it’s cold, why do we have to stand in the garage?  And, why are we getting in the car?  I finally realized The Garage is actually a bar, granted, it is a guy’s garage, he’s just turned it into a bar.  We park in his yard and drink in his double garage, it’s a great double garage but still.

Beer-thirty – Whatever time it is, it’s beer-thirty here in Wisconsin, they don’t judge, unless of course you’re going to wait until 5:00 to have a beverage, then they judge.

Bubbler – This is what they call a drinking fountain here.  I don’t understand it, I don’t get it and I won’t use that term.

Duck Duck Goose – ?????  No idea how that differs from Duck Duck Gray Duck but I won’t play it, sounds scary.

What Kind of Cheese Would You Like With That? – Pretty much any dish you order with cheese here in Wisconsin, you get your choice of cheese.  And it’s not just a couple of types of cheese, there’s some offered you’ve probably never heard of.

There are tons more and I’m sure I’ll get comments and suggestions on others to share.  I will do so when I gather enough.  Until then, I challenge you to use one of the above and see how your friends react.

Sleepless in Wisconsin IV

Oy ve.  This no sleeping thing is for the birds.  2 nights in a row it’s been bad, bad, bad.

Here are my ramblings from those 2 nights.

Sunday morning 3:37 AM.  What in the sam hell am I doing awake at this time of the morning again??  Going to the gym has helped me tremendously with my sleeping, at least I’m giving the credit to the gym, I actually have no idea why I’ve been sleeping better.

Here I am once again, on the couch, surfing through channels hoping to come across something that will lull me to sleep.  I’m also looking for something that won’t embed itself into my unconscious if I do happen to fall asleep.  I’m down into the ‘normal’ channels and I see nothing but infomercials and sports shows.  Not good sports either, a Big Ten football game from 1991, a classic baseball game or some ultimate fighting rerun.  Hey, guess what, we know who wins!!

The infomercials actually do lull me to sleep but then I wake up certain I have an acne problem, wanting to get rich quick on real estate or feeling like I need to order work out DVDs.  It’s the same with overnight news programs.  I think I know the news but get it mixed up because it’s buried deep so I wake up thinking there was guerrilla warfare in Canada, a plane crash in Kansas and a factory fire in Russia.  When in all actuality there were gunshots reported in Minneapolis, a train derailment in Seattle and wildfires in California.

Perhaps if I’d stop writing at this time of the morning I could sleep!!  Now there’s a thought.  Back to my attempt to sleep.

It’s 6:30 AM and last night I couldn’t even get to sleep, forget the couple of hours of sleep BEFORE being up for the night.  Well, last night I decided that I wasn’t going to look at the time, get out of bed or play Minesweeper or solitaire.  Unfortunately what was left was to let my brain run wild.  Not sure why I would do that…..well, actually I do know why, you just read how middle of the night TV works for me so I’m boycotting that.  My back is also boycotting the couch, no matter how comfortable it is, it’s still not a bed.

My mind was mostly on my vacation that’s coming up so in my mind I:

  • Packed my bag, mad I haven’t been buying new clothes, then went off on a tangent of how I spend my money.
  • Got my outfit situated for the plan ride.
  • Worried about our room – I have to call the resort today.
  • Made plans for a day in Daytona.
  • Paid my credit card bill.
  • Made a work to-do list for before I leave.
  • Counted the number of times I can go to the gym and if I starve myself for 2 weeks how much weight I can lose.
  • Wondered if we’ll be ‘that couple’ at the airport when we see each other for the first time in almost 10 weeks – no, not ‘that couple’ looking for a broom closet – get your mind out of the gutter.
  • Made a home to-do list before I leave, like turning down the heat, having someone check on the place and doing laundry so I don’t come home to a mess.
  • Got off on a tangent about housework, work presentations, New Year’s (possibly traveling to North Carolina) and people from high school (don’t ask, I have no idea).
  • Thought of people who I could ‘borrow’ pain killers from to help me sleep.  I have to be careful what kind though, some make me itch and I don’t mean a little itch.  Itching from pain killers will be a story for later.

How is it you go through these things step by step in your head and they work out so perfectly?  Then, when it comes time to actually do them, they don’t seem to go as planned?  I will get to Florida and have forgotten to pack a pair of actual pants and it will rain every day  or I will forget my ID or credit card for renting the car.  Perhaps if I’d stop obsessing about it I would sleep!!!