It is cold. Cold, cold, cold. Obviously, it’s not a surprise that we have low winter temperatures in North Dakota (“Warmer than Outer Space!” is my favorite weather-related headline); however, I still shrivel up like a helium balloon whenever I step outside and am hit with a blast of that brisk fifteen-below air.
In the past, winter hasn’t affected me all that much because I make it a point to stay inside at all costs from January through March. Lately, however, I’ve spent so much time in hockey rinks and walking back and forth from my car to said hockey rinks that I’ve developed a permanent chill settled deep in my bones.
My solution to de-popsicle myself has been to take hot baths. I’ve taken so many baths that I’ve turned from a helium balloon into a raisin. I’ve taken so many baths that I have started to squeak when I walk. I’ve taken so many baths, in fact, that my husband has suggested we get a hot tub so that we can all have a warm soak together.
Hot tubs feel like the kind of thing where they are super-awesome when you’re not the one responsible for them, like a house party or an over-sugared baby nearing naptime. I imagine a hot tub experience at the Kosiors would go something like this: 1) spend days filling and heating the tub, adding and testing chlorine, and searching up cool Spotify playlists for hot tubs; 2) sit in the hot tub as a family for a total of twenty minutes, or until the boys get in a fight and splash all of the water out; 3) use the next month to clean up, change and re-chlorine the water, and build an enclosure for the hot tub after slipping and falling on the splashed-out-water-turned-ice; and 4) say, “Take a bath instead” every time someone suggests using the hot tub moving forward.
The thing is, though – we are a hot tub family. On vacation, we choose our location based on its access to a pool/hot tub combo (and ice cream). Kyle (and our six-year-old, who is secretly an 80-year-old Caribbean cruise dandy at heart) will at least make a gesture of swimming in the pool for a little while before getting in the Jacuzzi; I have dropped all pretense and go straight for the hot tub so that I can lord over “lifeguard” in comfort.
I don’t know how you all hot tub but clearly, I’m a hot tub chatter. There’s something about sitting half-naked in a big pot of bubbling water that really brings people together. Out of pity (for the other party), Kyle will often join into the conversation, and together we’ve made twenty-minute business contacts and friends. It’s all the intimacy of sitting next to someone on an airplane, with the added mystery of wondering what percentage of the water is made up of farts.
Recently, a semi-long-lost friend and I found ourselves at the same hotel and in the same hot tub after a decade of only seeing one another on Facebook, and we had such a great catch-up that it made me realize I should stop setting up lunch dates at restaurants and instead invite people for noon hour hot tub/sub sandwich get-togethers.
Writing this just reminded me of another hot tub friendship story: When Kyle and I were first married, Kyle’s family decided to spend Christmas in Tampa, Florida. Turns out Tampa is not a well-known holiday hot-spot, because we were the only guests in a big, beautiful hotel. Every day we’d go sightseeing around town, and every night we’d hang out in the hot tub. As the only patrons, we got a lot of attention from the staff, including a nifty old security guard who went out and got us a 12-pack of beer and sat with us and shared both the beer and his crazy Tampa stories.
I had to leave Tampa on Christmas Day – twenty-four hours ahead of everyone else to get back to work. That night, the rest of the Kosiors went down to the hot tub, and found a small, brown-haired, fast-talking Jewish girl who had checked in (with her pilot father) and decided to go for a soak. “We don’t really miss you,” Kyle texted me, “Because we found an Extra Amanda.”
(Also on that trip, my father-in-law bought a Garmin, which was a totally amazing and new piece of technology at the time. Our Garmin was so bossy that everyone took to calling it Garmanda. I hope these two stories have given you an accurate understanding of what it’s like to deal with me on a daily basis.)
Anyways, we’re not getting a hot tub because I can spend a fraction of the cost on bath bombs and smell better after its over. Plus, it’s going to warm up at some point in this calendar year, meaning Kyle and the kids will have a new obsession: a pontoon.
It turns out I don’t take a lot of photos of myself in a hot tub, so the picture above is of me on a pontoon. (I DO have a hot tub photo from Tampa, but since I don’t have Extra Amanda’s permission I figured I should keep it in the archives where it belongs.)
This week’s news has a cooking celebrity, a national coach of the year, and a pair of igloos. Read on.
Grand Forks’ Hayden Haas has become a TikTok cooking star with his one-minute videos on food – and he credits his success, in part, to his former Grand Forks Target manager, Lasha Oss. (Grand Forks Herald)
The girls’ basketball team at Bismarck High School has put together a little free pantry for kids who need food or hygiene products. The pantry is well-used, and the school is always taking donations. (KFYR TV)
Dickinson’s Gregg Grinsteinner is one of eight high school coaches up for a national Coach of the Year award. (Dickinson Press)
Fargo’s Dave Vacha has a unique hobby: building igloos. (Jamestown Sun)
This is a post from Watchter Middle School’s Assistant Principal: