This is a story about karma. | January 4, 2023

Last week, Kyle took the boys to a hockey game and I stayed home to tackle the literal mountain of laundry that had accumulated after our Christmas vacation in Canada.  I had no sooner tossed up my Tide Pod Grappling Hook (patent pending) and gotten a foothold on a stack of socks when it dawned on me that it was a beautiful day and I would much rather go for a walk.

“You’re always at work in the middle of the afternoon and aren’t able to go for a lovely walk,” I told myself as I slipped on my shoes.

“Well, you’re always at work in the middle of the afternoon and not at home to do lovely laundry, either,” the Tide Pod Angel (patent pending) on my other shoulder reminded me.

No problem, I thought.  I’d make up for it by doing DOUBLE the laundry tomorrow.  TRIPLE.  I’d do the neighbor’s laundry.  I’d pre-wash clothes that we hadn’t worn yet.

Now, normally when Kyle and I go for a lovely walk we take a route up and down the street by our house.  However, there were three unique factors on this particular day: One, Kyle wasn’t there to put any limitations on distance; Two, it was twenty degrees outside (if you live in a cold-weather locale you know there is a phenomenon where the moment the air dips below zero all temperatures above feel like springtime); and Three, earlier in the year I had purchased a coupon book from one of my friend’s kids for $20.  Another phenomenon that exists is one where the moment I clip a free coupon I lose it immediately – but if I have a financial skin in the game, by golly I will do whatever it takes to get my $20 back.  Wouldn’t you know it, I had a coupon for a free cup of coffee at the coffee shop two miles from my house.

My coupon (plus $1 for a tip) and I set out for our lovely walk.  I didn’t bring any additional money – even though Kyle also loves coffee and would have totally appreciated me thinking about him while he took our children on an outing – because I didn’t want to walk back with two cups instead of one.

“It would get cold anyway,” I told myself.

“You could get him an iced coffee,” Tide Pod Angel suggested.

No, I thought, because if I slipped, I’d have my hands full and would have nothing to break my fall.

“What are the chances of that happening?”  Tide Pod Angel asked, but I didn’t hear her.

Now, normally when I go outside for any amount of time over nine seconds I wear my hot pink snowpants; however, it was so warm that I opted to eschew my typical layers for the ripped jeans (follow me for more fashion-related tips) I had put on that morning.  It took me (and my ripped jeans, coupon, and $1) about ten minutes longer than anticipated to get to the coffee shop because something had been going on with the street clearing situation in Grand Forks and so all of the crosswalks were mounded with snow.

As the shop, I traded my coupon and $1 for a 16-ounce cup of coffee.  I put on my brand-new leather gloves – a gift from my parents – opened the door, walked outside, took a deep breath, and slightly shifted the coffee sleeve.  With that, the entire cup of coffee exploded all over my gloves and shoes.

Now, normally I don’t appreciate it when things explode all over me and so my typical reaction would be to throw the cup of coffee away.  Except that I had $1 and a $20 coupon book invested in this particular beverage, and I had just walked two miles to get it.  Plus, while it seemed like the quantity of liquid soaking into my socks was the equivalent of 16 ounces, when I looked in the cup it was still about four-fifths full.  So, I shook off my gloves, picked up the coffee lid from the ground, stuck it back on the cup, took a sip, and started off on my way.

I walked to the first crosswalk hill.  I took a step onto the crosswalk hill.  And, apparently, I slightly squeezed my cup of coffee at the crosswalk hill because, once again, the lid came off and, once again, sprayed coffee all over my gloves, coat, and jeans (or rather, knees, since my jeans were torn).  Not to be deterred, I did that cross-legged thing to use the back of my knees to wipe the front of my knees, picked up my lid, and took a sip.

I then repeated this scenario five more times over the next five crosswalk hills.  No matter how I held the cup, the minute I stepped down, the coffee went up.  As this was the magical Mary Poppins purse of coffee, the actual amount of liquid in the cup seemingly never reduced.  By the third crosswalk hill, the rim of the cup simply started rejecting the lid, slowly disintegrating over the next couple of blocks.  I finally gave up on the lid and decided to pound back the entire cup of coffee because 1) it was sloshing everywhere now that it was lid-less, 2) it was quickly getting cold now that it was exposed to the air, and 2) I didn’t want to dump it out because I am a nutjob.

When I had blessedly finished the last drop, I stuck the lid into the cup to make it easier to carry.  It, too, launched out of the cup, lodging itself in my hair.  I put the lid in my pocket.

Unencumbered by the cup of coffee, covered head to toe in liquid in freezing temperatures, and POWERED BY A BOTTOMLESS CUP OF CAFFEINE, I felt the best course of action was to power walk home.  I don’t have much of a memory of this walk, although I’m pretty sure I flew during part of it.

Finally, I – and my soaked gloves, coat, shoes, jeans, and hair – reached the house.  Kyle and the boys came in a few minutes later.  My seven-year-old hugged me.

“You smell weird,” he said.

“I smell like coffee,” I said.

“Did you get coffee?”  Kyle asked.

“Yes,” I said.  “I went for a walk.”

“That’s good,” Kyle said.  “I feel like a cup of coffee, too.  I’ll make a pot.  Would you like another cup?”

“No thanks,” I said, peeling off my coffee’d socks.  “I’m going to do some laundry.”


I took the photo above as Kyle and the boys were walking in the door, although in hindsight I should have left my coat and gloves on because this just looks like a normal person with slightly redder cheeks. On an unrelated note, Kyle proofreads my stories for me and so he’s finding out about all of this right now.


The Minot community baked up 9,000 cookies for the service men and women at the Minot Air Force Base. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Fargo’s Mike Nelson, Josh Zeis, and Jay Ray, who took home bronze at the U.S. National Snow Sculpture Competition in Lake Geneva, WI. (Fargo Forum)

Lace up your sneakers, because North Dakota’s state parks are challenging you to 12 hikes in 12 months. (Williston Herald)

Welcome to the world, Kyson Kadrmas – the first baby born at Bismarck Sanford in 2023 (and, notably, born on his due date)! (KFYR TV)

Like Fargo’s Liam Loree, my seven-year-old LOVES the history of the Titanic; however, Liam definitely has Seven beat when it comes to turning that passion into Legos. (Fargo Forum)

I have a nice story all of my own (or adjacent, I guess) this week.  I was sent a Purposity link from the Grand Forks School District, on which teachers made requests for their students such as new t-shirts and weighted stress learning equipment.  I forwarded the link to Kyle and asked him to send money for one of the lower-cost listings – a student who needed snacks over the holiday break.  In turn, Kyle texted the link to his group of dads and suggested that everyone chip in $5 and they would fulfill as many of the requests as they could.  Well, those dudes sent more than $5 and they were able to purchase 12 of the remaining 16 requests.  They are the nicest guys, and I’m glad they are our friends.


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