I had a pretty craptastic week last week. There wasn’t anything that would be deemed an actual, real problem – I was coming off of a cold, Kyle went out of town for work just as both of our kids decided to have their own minor ordeals, my band didn’t get hired and then my nonconformist friend needed me to go back in time with him to make sure my parents fell in love at the school dance or else I’d cease to exist, etc etc – but combined made it one of those situations where my nightly routine was to get in bed and think, “Blech.”
Fortunately, though, there were a few bright spots (specifically, people) that ultimately got me back on the path to jollyville, and so I’m going to tell you about two (technically three) of them now.
The Cushman Classic is an annual football game between Grand Forks Central High School and Grand Forks Red River High School. The first Cushman Classic was held in 1997; since then, it’s grown to a communitywide event with bouncy castles, dunk tanks, face painting, and, of course, chips-and-queso (Grand Forks loves queso almost as much as ranch dressing). If that wasn’t enough fun-ness, this year, a bunch of my eleven-year-old’s friends were playing in their own mini-football game on the field during the half.
By the time gameday rolled around, I was so pooped out by the week’s suck that I only wanted to curl up on the couch in my “Fri-YAY” underpants with a bowl of ranch dressing in one hand and a bowl of queso in the other. Since Kyle was out of town on his aforementioned work trip, however, it was up to me to feed and care for my children…and also to take my son (and, by lack of a babysitter, his unwilling younger brother) and his buddy to the Cushman Classic as promised.
You know how in Looney Tunes when a character is disheartened they drag themselves, weighted by their melancholy, through the motions while a mournful violin plays in the background? That was me through the making and cleaning up of an uninspired soup-and-sandwiches supper, through the half-assed brushing of my hair, and through agreeing to absolutely whatever my children wanted so long as they ate eat some portion of their meal (“You want cotton candy at the game? Sure. You want a Coke at the game? Sure. You want cocaine at the game? Sure.”). I was begrudgingly tying my shoes when I heard my son’s friend pull up and his dad have a short conversation with the kids before popping his head in the back door.
“Hey, Amanda,” the dad said. “Do you want me to take the boys to the game?”
Now, I’m sure he was doing this to be polite after my son probably told him that Kyle was out of town. Also, I’m sure he had something to do after dropping off his son at my house that didn’t involve high school football. So, my brain told me to say, “No, thanks, we’ll have a great time.”
Instead, my mouth said, “You know, that would be awesome.”
While my eleven-year-old went to the Cushman Classic with his friend and his friend’s dad and had a whale of a time (someone streaked across the field, so they could have cancelled the game right then and there and it would have been a major success to those boys), my seven-year-old and I got ice cream and popcorn and watched Minions: Rise of Gru (v good) in our jammies and the entire week turned around with the absolute nicest, most necessary-in-the-moment gesture.
Okay, the second story: Kyle and I have been good friends with this (now) married couple for almost as long as we’ve known one another. They are the type of good friends who stick with you even when you become terrible friends. For example, we were some of the first of our group to become parents – thereby going from SUPERFUN Kosiors to REALLY BORING WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS WITH THEIR BABY Kosiors. Because they are good friends, this couple would organize movie dates by selecting the film with the lowest possibility of an audience, and then sitting there with us and our baby in an empty theater watching movies like Cowboys Versus Aliens (which was undeserving of its universal panning, by the way).
In addition to being good friends, this couple is really smart. Kyle is also really smart, so when the four of us get together at least once during the gathering I will think to myself, “I am the dumbest person here.” Before you’re like, “Aww, Amanda, you’re smart, too,” listen: we all have our interests and skills. For Kyle and our friends, it’s historic, scientific, and world-based knowledge. For me, if there was a Jeopardy series solely about Laura Ingalls Wilder and quotes from the movie Back to the Future THEN I WOULD CLEAN UP, I REALLY WOULD.
Our most common get-together with this couple is to go to lunch, during which we do the “Tidbits” trivia. “Tidbits” is a free newsletter in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks that is basically everything great about a newsletter – in its own (accurate) words, “[‘Tidbits’ is a] non-controversial, weekly paper dedicated to publishing entertaining morsels for the mind, food for thought as it were: trivia, fun facts, amusing stories and oddities.”
There are two trivia segments in “Tidbits,” one for sports, and one for general trivia, which is usually on the same theme as the week’s newsletter topic itself. One of the reasons why “Tidbits” is so charming is because of its fast-and-loose attention to detail in the trivia. For example, this past week’s theme was “Four-Letter Words” and one of the questions was, “What’s the largest country in Europe?” The answer was “Russia,” and Kyle and our two friends spent the rest of the lunch discussing how much of the Russian population was actually IN Europe and what role the Urals played in that population spread.
(In case you were wondering, my guess for that question was, “Asia.” Obviously, I knew that Asia is neither a country nor in Europe – but it was the only four-letter place I could think of; I’m the dummy of the group, anyways; and, most importantly, the answers in “Tidbits” often require a bit, “Well, whatever”-ing…like how “Russia” being is in Europe and spelled with four letters.)
In addition to enjoying lunch with our friends, I like doing “Tidbits” trivia with them because I can be the information deadweight and still answer like 40% of the questions correctly. In fact, the writers of “Tidbits” must anticipate dumb-dumbs like me needing a little nudge in the right direction (I guess “Babe Ruth” for every single sports question) because my friend shared this gem from one of the past issues and I haven’t stopped laughing about it:
If the image didn’t show up, the question is this: “How many NFL teams do not have an official mascot? (hint: 5 teams)”
Anyways, those three people (and “Tidbits”) helped right my ship, and this week started off about much, much better than the last.
The photo above was taken at the hospital gala this past weekend. Last year, I had gotten rid of all of my fancy dresses in the move and had to wear a pink-sequined ice skater number that I had originally purchased as a Halloween costume (I think it’s on my Instagram if you feel like scrolling, which I do not). For my birthday this year, Kyle got me a real dress so that we could look like a normal couple, and not like a normal Kyle and his pretty-sparkle-unicorn-princess wife.
This week’s news has Family Feud and Chateau Nuts. Read on.
In “These people are living out my childhood/adult dream” news, the Meyhuber Family of Fargo will soon be contestants on “Family Feud.” (KVRR)
Grand Forks County’s Shane Rothenberger – the only drug recognition expert and the first cultural liaison officer for the GFCSO – is the third North Dakotan to be named to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s 40 Under 40 list. (Grand Forks Herald)
In “News we all knew was happening but in true North Dakota fashion kept it a secret,” two North Dakotans got married a couple of weeks ago. (Facebook)
Linton Public School, Larimore Elementary School, and Roosevelt Elementary School in Bismarck have all been named Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Education. (Valley News Live)
If you are thinking of visiting Medora anytime soon, you should probably check out Chateau Nuts in Medora. (Fargo Forum)
Let’s Be (Official) Pals!
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