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Christmas Eve 2020

Today (well prior to 11 minutes ago) is Christmas eve.

Seven months into this pandemic.

Christmas is a love hate relationship for me.

I thoroughly enjoy doing everything for the kids.

But it is exhausting.

I’m literally stressed and sweating wrapping presents.

And it’s particularly difficult to do when the kids hardly leave the house.

At around 9:30 tonight my eyes started to get heavy.

Eventually the anxiety kicked in because I definitely cannot fall asleep early on this night

So now I’m fully awake.

At least everything is done.  Probably in record time.

And despite having a teenage who decided to make her way downstairs at 11pm on the dot … tragedy fortunately avoided.

Most of my work was done before school got out.

I realized during the course of that work that there was an uneven distribution and I had to scramble last minute to fix that.

But now all is done and I’m sure they’ll have an amazing day.


Summer 2020

Some things have remained normal while other things are, well, different.  The “pandemic” (I can only imagine how crazy things would be if this were something like Ebola or major natural disaster or war) and all the rioting and a president who continues to divide this country … things are nuts 🙁

School started a week late in August.  It’s not normal school.  We had the choice between full day remote or half day in / half day remote.  At first he was going to do all remote but we switch to the “hybrid” option.  It seems to be going okay.  They have to wear masks the entire time in school but do get outside breaks where they can take off their mask.  Still the lack of total social contact is concerning, like not being able to see the teachers face or visa versa


Still we made it through the first day, picture day, and all the days of mask-wearing thus far.  We now have a rack of masks which used to hold our keys but now has a dozen or so hanging on it.  We also have a container of hand sanitizer next to the door.  And a stock pile of those things in the car as well.

The summer was not all too different from usual for us despite cancelled camps and sports which were a total disappointment at the time to the kids.  Still we spent a ton of time at the lake and even had some small groups of friends & family visit with us.

Both of them learned how to kneeboard and then kneeboard standing up as well (Brett on the right in this picture wasn’t as successful)



We created a makeshift slip & slide and surpassed the mandated 2 people per boat pandemic restriction multiple times 😐


We watched fireworks on the lake (amazing) and numerous sunsets


Once we had a butterfly visit and ride around the entire lake on the boat with us


The kids actually took a 10-mile bike ride with me.  Success!


I learned how to catch crappy.  I caught a giant walleye too this summer (unfortunately no picture though) and numerous bass, one perch and some bluegill.  One morning maybe hundreds of gnats died and landed on the water.  There was no wind in the portion of the lake I normally fish and the gnats piled up near the docks.  The bass were literally jumping out of the water to get the gnats.  I’ve never caught fish so easily in my life before.


I even somehow snagged this little thing


We found a local butcher and I swear I’ll never buy meat anywhere else if I don’t have to (these are country ribs, yum!)


This giant yellow garden spider spun a web next to the front door.


And Grandpa gave him some advice on how to repair decking (FYI I did nearly all the work on my own)


Sports were abbreviated this year.  Softball & Baseball began in early August and just wrapped up this week.  Unfortunately she missed out on what likely would have been a solid District team and hopeful state qualifier.  She has turned into one of the leagues best pitchers 🙂  His team just won their league’s championship game.  He struggled a bit at the plate early on but after borrowing Grandpa’s wooden bat and working on his swing he hit the ball multiple times in nearly every game after that.  Fortunately both kids were picked for the Gold Sox in their respective league, hence the matching jerseys (I coached her team)


Grandpa came to all of his games and wasn’t afraid to give him regular advice


For me I spent most of my free time (and some time when I should have been working) in our attic.  Nearly done … 4 (almost 5) months later


This was my birthday present to myself this year (a dumpster rental), lol


The garden wasn’t much of a success this year.  Totally bummed about that.  It produced one pumpkin, zero potatoes, zero orange peppers (although some are still growing), zero jalapenos (although some of those “may” still be growing too), 2 cucumbers, a couple green onions, a few michiana peppers, a few green peppers, lots of red/yellow cherry tomatoes.  Broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts as well as some peppers are still growing but it’s nearly October 🙁  I was however successful with basil, oregano, thyme and dill.  Spring can’t come soon enough.  I think a lack of sun because a tree grew over the garden this year caused some or maybe all of the issues.  Or maybe it was the weird May weather we had.


Some of the flowers I planted as seeds did really well though


Personally, I don’t mind the pandemic.  I don’t need the big parties or social events.  Concerts, sporting events and dining out are fun but I don’t miss them.  If I could have anything I’d be happy on the lake fishing every single day.

Things are way better for the kids than in the spring.  The social isolation for them really affected their personalities.  They’ve both found small groups of friends to hang out with.  Sports helped too.  As did spending time at the lake.  I’m worried about the winter though and how things will play out.  When it’s warm it’s easier to socialize outside but once it’s freezing cold out I’m not yet sure how things will work.

Everything else in the world though seems out of control.  I’m worried how this isolation and social unrest will affect groups of people.  The news and social media cause most of the problems.  People are using social media platforms to create chaos.  And the news focuses on it.  Looking back at the news before all this they’d focus on terrorism around the world but now they hardly talk about it.  Why?  Did it disappear?  Is it no longer important?  I don’t get it…  And the president is simply a fool elected by fools.  I don’t care if you’re democrat or republican this idiot doesn’t belong leading our country.  He’s no good for anyone.  Sigh

I’m hoping for a better 2021 but the upcoming election period is sure to be a mess …

In the meantime I’ll spend time in the attic, at the lake, catering to the needs of my kids, and working occasionally (assuming my client has work for me to do).

This is 2020

These past few months have been a whirlwind.

The year seemed to start out (somewhat) normal but then things went awry.

Our presidency is a mess.  I hope my kids generation can look back on this and are aware that their votes do matter.

The economy is in shambles over a worldwide concern of a flu-like virus which closed down businesses everywhere, the result of which we are still dealing with today and probably for years to come.

Schools were shut down and kids forced to learn from home with parents required to act as a teacher while still attempting to work full time.

While the virus is serious to a degree I can only imagine how things would be if this were an extremely deadly disease like ebola or a major natural disaster of some kind.  If the world is in turmoil over this then we’re in trouble if something more significant were to ever happen.

Nevertheless we continue on …

E-Learning was a challenge but we made it through.

Sports were cancelled including her last Major’s season in softball (fortunately they are going to begin a modified season in a month or so).  Baseball, Floor Hockey, Dance, Volleyball, Scouts, Soccer … everything was cancelled.

Summer camps were canceled.  Their week at Loras, her trip with wyldlife.

We spent 4 weeks straight at the lake.  Plus numerous weekends.  All those times where we would have been at home playing sports we were instead able to be at the lake.  So there is a plus side.

I hope the impact to them is minimal in the long run.  I’m not so worried about these two but way more concerned about those kids who were already dealing with challenges in life.  Those kids with some sort of pre-existing issue.  The kids whose guardian(s) weren’t able to manage e-learning, who cannot handle dealing with them 24/7.  The kids who are given unlimited access to video games and the internet … I’m not too optimistic that this period of chaos won’t result in some major social issues in the future.

On top of all that we have protests going on in the world over racial inequality.  I am not blind.  It’s there.  But all races have endured over the centuries.  Slavery in the early years of America is inexcusable & horrific & appalling.  The massacre of Native Americans is inexcusable & horrific & appalling.  The treatment of all sorts of immigrants over the years … Across the world all races & religions, yes even white races, have been tortured, killed, and treated in ways that are completely unacceptable.  I’m afraid the current uprising is simply just noise that will eventually fade away without much change.  Personally, I see good people and I see bad people.  I don’t see the color of your skin.  There are a whole lot of white people who are bad (and good) just as there are for any other race or ethnicity.  I don’t believe treatment based on skin color will ever develop into long term change, people need to change, people need to make their community and those around them better and then continue to build off that in order to make real difference in the world.  Besides, there are bigger threats to us than how we are treated … pollution, homelessness, disease, violence, corruption … it’s sort of sickening to think about.  Like those ever growing garbage dumps that’re out of site out of mind?  Or that island of plastic garbage floating in the ocean?  Or the pollution spewing out of thousands of factories?  Or the number of trees being cut down to make way for farmland or other industry?  Well guess what, it’s that shit that’s going to matter in the years to come.  Not how you feel you’re being treated but whether you are able to survive in a world that pollutes and ruins our ONLY world.

I digress …





Death Sucks!

I don’t like death


And when it affects us directly … @#$%

I can talk to the kids about it and am able to explain it in a way that hopefully helps

But this week we lost an uncle

I hadn’t seen him in a number of years

This past Thanksgiving I invited him

When he said he couldn’t come I tried again

And a third time …

Unfortunately that didn’t happen

And now he’s gone

Today was the funeral

Unfortunately one of the kids is sick so we couldn’t go to the wake

We did try though

This is day 4 of the being sick

He really tried to get ready to go

He was willing and took a shower but became dizzy and nauseous so we didn’t make it


Today I took the kids out of school to attend the funeral

There were a LOT of tears

I told them later that I don’t want sad sappy music at my funeral

How about some lizzo or billie eilish?

Death is exhausting

I wonder what goes through my dad’s head or anyone’s head when they get closer to death

If your older brother passes do you think to yourself, how much time do I have left?

Or maybe it’s best not to think that way

It’s not, I know that

We need to live each day like it’s the last

Because we simply never know when it will happen to us …

We ski!

We just wrapped up our 3rd major ski trip in as many years.

With them having zero previous skiing experience, that first year I was prepared to have driven nearly 7 hours just to swim in the resort pool.

Fortunately, and despite quite literally sub zero temperatures (-20+ no joke), they took lessons and thrived.

This year I would consider them more or less advanced beginners…mastering the greens but still skittish when it comes to blues.

I remember taking my first ski trip maybe in junior high with the local park district … failing to have much success using the pull rope to get up the hill but quickly finding my way and flying down any hill on skis.

Skis didn’t last long though, I’ve been snowboarding now for decades.

This trip she went mostly on her own with her friend. I would run into her here and there and take a lift together every so often.

I stayed with him most of the trip although he had a friend as well.

He moved to snowboarding on day two but he finds skiing much easier so boarding didn’t last long (maybe next time, hopefully)

She took one big spill, face-planting she said (I wasn’t witness).

We brought most of our food with, cooking tacos, soup, chicken, sandwiches and ramen for lunch, potatoes, pancakes and cereal for breakfast with snacks, hot chocolate, coffee and other things throughout the day.

This particular resort has a waffle stand. Yum. Sugar and chocolate covered belgium waffles … the kids had seconds and thirds.

Day 1 was warm and slushy. Day 2 they made snow and the slushy stuff froze. Day 3 it snowed about 4-5 inches. We night skied on Day 1 & 2. Unfortunately we weren’t early risers and never made it out for a first run.

I’m super proud of these kids. I created a couple skiers 🙂 I cannot wait for a trip west or up to Canada in the not-to-distant future.


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