How I met your father | August 3, 2022

This Friday, August 5, is our 16th wedding anniversary.  While it’s never explicitly stated, I can tell the undercurrent question in every one of my conversations with friends and strangers is this: How do I find myself a Canadian who is both a master of World War II facts and accidentally leaving the remote control in the refrigerator?  Well, I’ll tell you.

The year was 2005.  Okay, wait – technically the year was 2004, but it was December 27 so we can round up.  I had recently moved back to Grand Forks, North Dakota from Boston (Massachusetts, in case you were thinking, “Boston, Georgia?”).  As I was packing up my maroon Honda Civic and my “Internet Explorer 4EVA” t-shirt, one of my high school friends called me on my brand-new flip-phone and said,

“Listen, Amanda, tell me the truth: are you coming back to find a husband?”

Obviously, I was incredibly offended.  I was minorly offended because I had very good eyesight at the time and I was certainly capable at locating another human being in New England as effectively as the Upper Midwest.  I was majorly offended because “Sex and the City” was all the rage and I had decided that I was, obviously, a Samantha.

“I’m a Samantha,” I told her.

If you haven’t seen “Sex and the City,” here are the things that I imagined the character Samantha and I had in common:

  1. We both were very glamorous.
  2. We both were known for witty and fabulous repartee.
  3. We both loved to drink cosmopolitans.
  4. We both looked great in plunging necklines (see: glamorousness).

Here are the things that the character Samantha and I actually had in common:

  1. We both worked in public relations.
  2. We both didn’t need no man.

I hadn’t realized our commonality in not needing no man until my conversation with my friend, after which I decided that I would not be finding a husband (not the reason I moved back to North Dakota regardless) until all of my Samantha glamorousness and plunging necklines had worn out.

Our chat happened in September.  In December, another girlfriend called to see if I wanted to go to a World Juniors hockey game, hosted that year in Grand Forks at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.  I was pretty busy with my very glamorous lifestyle of going to work, playing The Sims on my computer, and drinking Natty Light with my high school friends, but I decided to make time in my schedule to see and be seen on the international hockey circuit.

My girlfriend and I were standing in the beer line in an absolutely PACKED arena when I pointed to a different mass of people not far off from our own mass of beer line people and said,

“What’s that?”

Instead of my friend – who, unbeknownst to me, had wandered off – a tall drink of Canadian water (beer) answered back,

“They are taping a TV show for TSN.”

“Oh, neat,” I said, which was the #1 wittiest and most fabulous reply of all time.

We stood together in the beer line for a few moments.

“So…” the dude said, “Do you like stuff?”

I did, in fact, like stuff.  I tried to think of some of the cooler things I enjoyed doing and seeing and came up with the following list: architecture (I worked for an architecture firm), archaeology (I took a bunch of classes at college), and my birthday (I am one of the few people in the world to have one of these).  He was so impressed that he asked for my phone number.

As a reminder, this was 2005.  Facebook was only available to college students, MySpace was still going strong, and text messaging had just recently become a method of communication.  For those of us who remember the olden days, early text messaging required a person to press the numerical keys to represent letters – so if you wanted to write the word “Hey,” you would hit 4-4-3-3-9-9-9-9.  Also, you paid per message whether you wanted to receive them or not.

I wasn’t about to give this random guy access to my precious text messages, so I did what any Samantha would do and wrote down my email address.  As was also the case in “Sex and the City”, Kyle was intrigued (and not, as one would expect, turned off) by this response, and emailed me almost immediately.  We wrote back and forth over Christmas and New Years – Kyle was on winter break from law school at UND – until he invited me over to his apartment to watch the movie, “Slapshot.”

I said yes.  The next day I told my coworker,

“This guy invited me to his apartment for a first date, so he’s either a weirdo or a murderer.  Would you check in with me midway through to see which one it is?”

It turned out he was neither a weirdo nor a murderer, just a dude who rented “Slapshot” from Blockbuster because he thought I might like it.  It also turned out to be a good thing that I didn’t give him my number, because he only had a landline and my cell phone was still a Boston number and so he would have had to pay for long distance.  I knew I was going to marry him after our fourth date, but we waited three whole months to get engaged.  When I was putting together our wedding invitations, I stuck a note on the back of the one going to my coming-back-to-find-a-husband friend that read, “This was just a coincidence.”   I still don’t think she believes me.

The photo above is, as one would probably guess, from our wedding.  It was 900,000 degrees, there was a tornado in Fargo, and we got married in the middle of an area with a nesting hawk.  We were undeterred.

This week’s news has two different nice stories about mail carriers, and also dinosaurs.  Read on.


The Copper Ridge community showed their appreciation for their favorite mailman in the sweetest way possible. (KFYR TV)

This is a short-but-mighty message from a restaurateur in Grand Forks. (Facebook)

This isn’t technically North Dakota Nice but it is North Dakota-adjacent, so here it is: Ozzie Tollefson of Underwood stepped in to help deliver 102 miles’-worth of mail after the mail carrier’s car broke down.  Best line: “I found it was six hours on the road.  I was glad I didn’t take my prune juice, if you know what I mean.” (Fargo Forum)

Grand Forks’ David Snyder was one of the talent on this week’s “America’s Got Talent.” (Grand Forks Herald)

It’s that time of the year: Dinosaur dig time! (KFYR TV)

Good luck to Jessica Rerick, who will compete for the title of Mrs. America next month! (Grand Forks Herald)

The headline for this says (almost) it all: “When illness sidelined a lead actor in Grand Forks SPA production, backup steps in with only hours to prepare.”  What the headline doesn’t say is that the Abbey Kinneberg wasn’t the understudy; she just wanted to be of service. (Grand Forks Herald)


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