Day 215 – Thankful for the Conspiring of My Boys

This is my current view…

Due to rain in Madison Dominic’s soccer games were cancelled.  This meant an unexpected no travel day.  Then something else happened that helped the view above.  If you look closely you’ll see that there are no kids.

When I picked up Gavin from school he mentioned that some of his buddies wanted to get together for a sleepover on Saturday night.  No one had gotten anything set up so I figured that the conspiring that the four of them had done was not going to amount to anything.  Shortly after Gavin brought it up again at Festival today Becky got a text from his friend’s mom!  They were on and we were short a Gavin for the night.

Dominic called one of his buddies and then set up a sleepover for him and a handful of his friends.  Next thing we knew he was loading into his friend’s mom’s car and we were short a Dominic for the night.

Now it’s just Becky and I (and the animals) and we’re enjoying a very unexpected and relaxing night at home due, in part, to the conspiring of our boys!


Day 214 – Thankful for Starting the Day with Stillness

When Becky and I knocked out our morning run we had a pretty interesting surprise…  as we started down the road an SUV driving by stopped, the window rolled down, and the driver asked us, ” do you know what that light in the sky is?  I’ve been watching it for fifteen minutes and it hasn’t moved.”  Looking up we saw what he was talking about just above the horizon.  It was stationary and it was much too bright to be star.  “I’m thinking it’s a planet,” was my response and then he drove off.

Our curiosity got the better of us and while Skywalker made a “pit stop” I loaded up the Star Walk app.  It was Neptune – lit up brightly by the upcoming sunrise.  As we ran by the beach we stopped to pause and enjoy the view and the bright planet I don’t think we really ever pay attention to seeing.

It was so peaceful, the water was so still.  The cool crisp air wasn’t moving, the dogs were slowly walking and smelling, the duck quietly swimming, and, if you look closely, there’s an eagle soaring.  We only paused asoaked it in for a fleeting moment, but that was exactly what I needed for the day.

As the day went on my world got crazy.  Busyness and chaos ruled, some great, some stressful, it was a day of constant motion.  While it was easy to be swept up in non-stop action there were a few times in the day when I paused, took a deep breath, and looked at the picture above.  As I closed my eyes I could feel the stillness in my bones…  and for that I am thankful.


Day 211 – Thankful for a Weather Forecast that Makes Me Chuckle

Day 211 – Thankful for a Weather Forecast that Makes Me Chuckle

Normally if I see this in the forecast:


…  I feel the sudden urge to cry a little.  Not today!  Looking at this forecast for tomorrow in little Westboro, WI is making me giddy and I have a huge smile on my face!  (Full disclosure:  I will not be anywhere near Westboro, WI tomorrow!)  The reason that this is what I am thankful for today isn’t because I’ve gone senile (but I’m pretty sure I’m inching closer), but because of the memories it brings up.

On April 25, 2002 the weather in northern WI was AWESOME!  It was so warm that I was wearing shorts.  The sun was out and it was a perfect Spring day.  On April 26, 2002, the weather took an incredible turn right about the time we went into the church in Westboro.

While we were getting ready and our guests were arriving there was an incredible snowstorm that took over the northern half of Wisconsin.  The snowstorm was absolutely awesome!  It snowed so hard that the power to Medford, WI was cut off due to downed power lines at about 10:30-ish, thus ending our wedding reception a little on the early side.  Becky and I were fortunate to be staying in one of the only hotels in town that had a backup generator.

When I looked at the forecast and saw a little bit of snow possible for Westboro early tomorrow morning it brought back a flood of memories and I’ve been smiling ever since.  To be clear, I’m not a fan of snow, but I am a fan of weather that brings back amazing memories!


Day 210 – Thankful for an Awesome Relationship Origin Story… Part III

Not going to lie, I’ve been looking forward to this post all day!  It’s fun to go back in time and remember how all of this craziness started.  There’s a part of me that’s also very happy to get this all written out because, who knows, maybe our grandkids and great grandkids might get a kick out of hearing this story.

To bring everyone up to speed, I fell head over heels for Becky at the wedding and pursued her for several hours.  With the help of my wingman, Captain Morgan, I was finally able to talk her into going on a date with me.  The next day I saw her at the gift opening and re-confirmed our date…  which she was hoping that I had forgotten. 😂. Which leads us to today’s blog, the first date…

Earlier in the week as we were setting up the details for our date I mentioned that I would be picking her up in a truck that was older than she was.  She thought I was joking.  I wasn’t.

While I was planning on leaving the Cities a little early to make sure I was on time work got busy and I left right on time.  “No sweat,” I thought…  Until I got a flat tire between Red Wing and Lake City.  Keep in mind that at this time (1999) the coolest piece of technology I had was a pager that showed me live baseball scores!  No phone, no way of calling, I was frantic to change the tire.  As I fumbled with the POS (it’s a technical term) jack it was starting to sink in that I may be in big trouble.  Fortunately a car passed by, jammed on his brakes, shifted into reverse and got in front of my truck.  He pulled out an awesome hydraulic jack that lifted the truck up in a hurry.  Tire changed and many thank you’s later I was back on the road.

At this point I was already running late and was getting nervous.  As I rolled into Lake City I hit a payphone (anyone else remember those?) at Kwik Trip to let Becky know that I was running late.  Her directions were pretty solid, and thank goodness for that!  There was no GPS to help guide my way.

We talked for a few minutes and then headed out to Chi Chi’s for a bite to eat.  It was obviously going well – we hardly touched our food, we were both a little too nervous to eat.  We then headed out to the riverfront downtown and then up to Granddad’s Bluff.  The entire night is still a blur for me.  All I know is that when we got back to her place and I got ready for bed (she’d offered up the couch in the living room so I didn’t have to drive) we ended the night with one of the best kisses of my life (second only our wedding).  It was AWESOME!!!  The entire night was a fantastic mix of happy nerves, giddy excitement, and lots and lots of emotional fireworks.  She was even cooler and more incredible than I’d picked up on at the reception.  The night was, in one word, perfect.

Not from the first date, but not too long afterwards.  Maybe the 2nd or 3rd trip down?

The next morning she had to head out early for a field trip for UWL so I got up and moving.  Wanting to leave a good impression I decided to go back to the floral shop I had driven by to pick up flowers for her.  With no GPS and zero sense of how I had gotten to her place (I was way to nervous and stressed for our date) I headed out.  Next thing I knew I was at Goose Island.  I realized that wasn’t the right way so I headed back through downtown and hit I90.  Confused, I headed back towards her place again and finally found the florist.  For anyone who doesn’t know La Crosse – I drove about 50+ minutes to get to a place that was about 5 minutes from her apartment.  Oops!

Dropping off the flowers and the note I headed back up to the Cities.  I knew that my life was going to be different from that day forward.  Within 24 hours I had made my plan to move from the Cities to La Crosse.  My life was set in a different direction, I had found the girl of my dreams, my soulmate.  Fortunately for me, she was starting to come around to thinking that I was pretty okay. 🙂

For her, that moment, and everything since, I am incredibly grateful.


Day 209 – Thankful for an Awesome Relationship Origin Story… Part II

Day 209 – Thankful for an Awesome Relationship Origin Story… Part II

Over the past few days I’ve continued to giggle unexpectedly as memories of the start of our relationship.  I may have shared the very beginning of it, but, as usual, there’s always more to the story.  As I’ve continued reminiscing it’s been funny to chuckle at the way it all started way back in the day…

As we left our happy couple from the last story (Day 206) I was riding home with my parents (again, very important to point out that I was NOT living with them at that time, I was merely crashing at their house that weekend) and telling them that I was heads and tails in love and had met the girl I was going to marry…  All of which I realized in the span of approximately 12 hours.  She had given me her number and we were set to go on a date the next Friday in La Crosse.  I slept like a champ.

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After all these years I’m still amazed that I still have this…  And I always chuckle at her drunken scribbling!

I awoke from my slumber just in time to hear girls giggling in the living room as my dad walked into my bedroom.  “Don’t worry Mike, I just told Becky that she was off the hook and you understood that she had her beer goggles on.”  Seriously Dad???  Yup, that’s my dad!

As my brain was trying to comprehend what the hell was going on I remembered that the gift opening was at my parents’ house and everyone, including Becky, was already there.  I quickly showered up and got moving.  Once cleaned up I “just happened” to find a spot right near Becky.  I don’t seem to remember her being too impressed by that 🙂

After the gifts were opened and people were slowly starting to head out I “just happened” to leave exactly the same time Becky did.  Smooth and subtle have never been my strengths!  I loaded my stuff in the car and asked, “So, we’re still on for Friday night?”  Her response was something along the lines of “yes, fine, whatever…” in a very tired voice.  To some that may have been a strong signal to back out of the deal, but in my twisted brain it was like a beautiful song from heaven.  For all that I am sometimes missing in social cues and the art of romance I make up for with persistence.  Our date was set, the rest was history.

Which leads us to our first date…  but it’s getting late and that story will have to wait for a later date…

Not from the first date, but definitely from way early on…

And we lived happily ever after…


Day 208 – Thankful for Dominic’s Soccer Team Winning a Tournament

While today was another great day for me with Gavin, I’m most thankful for Dominic’s team winning their tournament this weekend.

Dominic and his teammates are a great group of kids.  Last season they had a tough go of it but kept fighting hard.  The may have lost many games, but they almost always won the second half.  It seemed only a matter of time before they started to win the first half too.

This weekend they did just that in Des Moines, winning each of their four games.  The last one tested their guts, they were losing by one late on the game and got two in net before the end whistle.

I’m super proud of them all, it’s awesome to see their hard work turn into excellent results!


Day 207 – Thankful for a Great Saturday Hanging Out with Gavin

Becky and I are running man to man coverage this weekend.  She headed to Des Moines with Dominic and his soccer team while I stayed back with Gavin to take him to his soccer game and multiple birthday parties (I swear that kid has a more full social schedule than I do!).

Tomorrow we have a bunch of chores to get done, but today was all about enjoying some time together.  Between soccer, playing games, building a workbench for him, getting some great grub (pizza with bacon slices, Canadian bacon, and bacon bits), and now chillin’ out watching a movie it’s been a pretty excellent day with Gavin!

Gavin is #15 in blue



Day 206 – Thankful for an Awesome Relationship Origin Story

In movies, books, and comics (graphic novels) one of the best ways to develop a character is to have an incredibly awesome origin story for the character.  As the present unfolds you slowly get to learn more about their origin story and things kind of click and make more sense.  The more you learn of it the more you get to know the character and can start to see why they act the way they do, why they value what they do, and see some of the potential faults they may have.  When well done, the origin story really completes the character and helps you see the world through their eyes.  When done poorly, you slowly quit caring about the character or just never get into them in the first place.  An awesome origin story really helps to set the tone of the future.

In just under a week Becky and I will have been married for 15 years.  Maybe it’s that big number starting show up more and more in my brain, but I keep thinking back to the craziness we’ve lived for the close to two decades we’ve known each other.  The universe is somehow conspiring with me on this one as in the past couple of weeks there’ve been more than a couple of comments recently about how we met, how we make it continue to work, and how the hell Becky can put up with me after all of these years!  One comment in particular inspired today’s blog…

“How did you and your wife meet?”  That question always makes me laugh out loud!  It depends on how well I know them and how much detail I think they can handle 😀  Truth is, we have a pretty awesome relationship origin story.  It starts with a wedding, finds one of the protagonists looking across the church and seeing the light of the heavens shining down on a beautiful girl with an amazing smile.  That smile makes them realize in an instant that this is the woman he’ll marry…  At the same time the beautiful girl with an amazing smile is thinking, and I quote, “oh shit…  he likes me…”  The night continues with laughably terrible pick up lines (“you can trust me, I’m an Eagle Scout”) and a lot of Captain Morgan (that sailor was my wingman that night and I’m forever in his debt!), moves on to the girl finally giving her number to him (mainly due to exhaustion and my buddy the rum pirate), and then ends with man riding home with his parents (just to clarify, I wasn’t living with my parents, just staying at their house that night) and explaining to them that he just met the girl he is going to marry….

And they lived happily ever after…


Every time I get asked about how we met or have some reminder that pops up and brings it to the front of my brain all I can do is laugh and smile.  Who ever would’ve thought a story like this would have an origin story like that.  Put a beer or two in me sometime and I’d be happy to share more of the story.  I can guarantee two things after you hear it in its entirety…  You’ll hurt from laughing so hard and you’ll wonder why Becky ever said yes.  If you have daughters, you might even consider teaching them the dangers of drinking too much Captain Morgan at a wedding reception!  I’m thankful to have such an awesome relationship origin story to share.



Day 205 – Thankful for the Release of Listening to Great Music

Long day, but a very good day.  Between driving to a couple of offices, helping teammates in setting up their development plans, and giving my difficult conversation presentation to a huge client of our’s it was a pretty intense day.  Most of the day was spent with brain locked in and dialed on a what had to be done.  By the time I started the long drive home I needed release.  

After a few short miles I pulled over, opened the trunk, dug around, and found exactly what I needed…

Forget my iPhone and Apple Music account, I was kicking it old school with my CD binder.  Great music from the 90’s and 00’s poured from the stereo.  There was no stress, no tension, nothing…  just my tunes, my voice singing (not sure that it really qualifies, but whatever!), and the road.  It was the relief I needed, the air bleed valve on this air tank.  It was amazing.  I’m incredibly thankful for the powerful release of listening to great music.