Oh, did I tell you Kyle broke his elbow? Because he broke his elbow. | August 31, 2022

Five days before we were set to leave for Las Vegas, Kyle started limping.

“My Achilles’ is bothering me,” he said, wincing.

“How about some ice?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about some heat?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about some rest?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about a doctor?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

The next day, he had devised a solution.

“I’m going to go play hockey tonight,” he said.  “I think I just need to stretch it out.”

“Maybe instead of hockey, you should try resting it first,” I said.

“No,” he said.

An hour later, I was sitting on the couch – I’m EXCELLENT at resting my body parts – when Kyle returned, nursing his left forearm.

“I think I broke my arm,” he said.

“How about going to the doctor?”  I asked.

“Okay,” he said.  And then,

“My Achilles’ feels much better.”

“Terrific,” I said.

Lo and behold, his Achilles’ had actually and miraculously healed itself.  Also, he had broken his elbow.  Fortunately for both our trip and Kyle, he didn’t require surgery, and didn’t need a cast.  The doctor’s instructions were simple: wear the sling, work the arm a few times a day, and don’t lift anything high or heavy.

That last rule has been a real problem for me because it turns out I’ve become pretty dependent on Kyle having two working arms.

Here’s an example:

Before we left for Vegas, I decided that we would share one giant suitcase instead of taking two smaller ones because I figured Kyle would appreciate having one free usable arm to protect himself from tripping and breaking another elbow.  This was a good plan in theory but less so in practice, as I am both short and only able to lift something above 50 pounds if I’m carrying it on my back and it’s the same size, shape and grippiness as my children.  Our enormous suitcase weighed exactly 50 pounds (we were nothing if not prepared for every outfit-related vacation scenario), and was so tall that I couldn’t hold the handle on the top while also gripping onto the bottom.  This meant that in order to get it into a vehicle, I had to squat on the ground and use my shoulder as support.  (In hindsight, I’m sure there was a better way to do this, but when I got married I not only stopped dating other men, I also stopped putting suitcases in cars.)  Las Vegas (and Kyle) will forever be changed with the memory of a small, sweaty Jewish girl hoisting a suitcase into an Uber like Atlas with his globe.

Here’s another example:

We have a number of items at our house that are above my eye level, but it’s never been that big of a deal because I’m married to the human version of one of those grabber things.  Except that now that grabber can only reach with one arm.  As luck would have it, all three of the light bulbs in our walk-in pantry burned out simultaneously, and the only person in our family who is both allowed to climb a ladder and has two available hands to twist open the light fixture and pull out the bulbs is this girl right here.  Which means that I have spent the last week using my cell phone as a flashlight to get the canned peas because the only time I remember I need to change the bulbs is when I’m in the middle of cooking something or typing this story and am otherwise indisposed.

The whole thing has been so much work that I’ve taken to “jokingly” asking all of our male friends to do things for me.  Just the other day, I tripped and one of those friends caught me.

“You have really strong forearms,” I said.  “Can you come over later and help me with something ha ha?” 

Then, after he looked really nervous and I realized he thought I was suggesting he come over and “help me with something” untoward, I said,

“No, no, I need you to move a table.”  And then he looked REALLY nervous and walked away.  Now not only do I no longer have a friend, that table is still unmoved.

Kyle feels badly that I am apparently incompetent at life’s simple activities, and so he’s been sneaking around trying to do things to help me out, like fold sheets out of the dryer or move tables.  This means I’ve had to not only do extra stuff – like LIFT SUITCASES OUT OF THE CAR AND CHANGE LIGHT BULBS – but I’ve had to anticipate his every move so as to ward him off.  We recently attended a hockey tournament in Fargo, and I was forced to wake up early because Kyle thought he’d surreptitiously put our son’s goalie bag (which is the equivalent weight and floppiness as an adult body bag) into the car.  After he was caught, he pretended to walk away and instead slipped out of the room with two heavy coolers.

We’re a few weeks away from the arbitrary “healed” date set by the doctor, and I’m marking the minutes off like a person would on a prison wall.  In the meantime, I’ve ordered a ramp to get things from the ground into the trunk of my car.

The photo above is of Kyle on vacation in Las Vegas.  You would not be surprised to hear that a great many people asked him what happened to his arm.  You would also not be surprised to hear that every single one of them was incredibly, deeply disappointed that it didn’t happen to him in Vegas.

This week’s news has a neighborhood greeter, an annual block party, and the Babe Ruth World Series. Read on.

In North Dakotaish news, the FM Legion riders honored Moorhead’s John Cunningham, who is best known for sitting outside his building waving to passersby. (KFYR TV)

The entire community of Jamestown throws an annual block party in order to welcome University of Jamestown students back to school. (Jamestown Sun)

Dr. Richard Faidley, the superintendent of the Williston Basin School District, goes around to all of the local and rural schools and says hello at the start of the school year. (KFYR TV)

Fort Yates now has a new mural thanks to group of Denver-based and local artists. (KFYR TV)

Speaking of murals, Fargo’s Lauren Starling has brought the world of Mario to the downtown. (Valley News Live)

Williston was the hot spot of baseball after hosting 48,000 people for the Babe Ruth World Series. (KFYR TV)

Finger’s crossed, it’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty successful year for North Dakota’s farmers. (Facebook)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Hockey Tournaments | March 25, 2021

I saw a mug the other day that read, “I didn’t realize I had to know everything by my second rodeo.  Seems like a pretty small number of rodeos.”  The closest I’ve gotten to a bull is through my credit card (get it, because they both charge), but I do know that two times is plenty when it comes to mastering another type of event: youth hockey tournaments.  And because we just came back from my third out-of-town youth tournament, I’d like to use this opportunity to recognize its unsung heroes: Usually, The Moms.

Youth hockey tournaments are a wild ride because they are simultaneously 100% and 0% about hockey.  In this particular tournament my nine-year-old played in three games over two days: two on Saturday, one on Sunday.  Each of his gameplays required a sprinted checklist of unpacking/drying/repacking equipment and kids, cajoling snacks/chocolate milk/chicken fingers into said kids, traveling to and from the rink, buckling up goalie equipment, filling water bottles and taping sticks, and watching the game closely enough so as to answer questions such as, “What were your top five favorite saves that I made?” and “Did you see that one time that one player did that one thing and I did this other one thing and what did you think of that?”

That was the hockey portion of the tournament; the rest was one big party.  Tournaments are basically like going on vacation with one hundred of your friends and their offspring, except instead of sitting on the beach or riding roller coasters, your fun is spent in the time hanging out between games (and watching/playing the games, obviously).  While sometimes these tournaments are held in cities with extracurricular activities such as laser tag or shopping, most of that hanging out happens in and around the hotel and involves socializing (by the parents) and running around like wild animals (by the children).

And since they are one big party, the standard rules of parenting become as casual as “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”  Bedtimes, gone.  Limits, gone.  Day drinking out of the back of a truck while your kids play hide-and-go-seek in a haunted junkyard, fine.  I missed one of my son’s hockey tournaments and when I called Kyle to find out its status, he specifically announced that our child had eaten a vegetable on the way home, meaning that he hadn’t eat another vegetable at any other point during the weekend.

This is where Usually The Moms come in – because while there are plenty of dads who say, “Hey, stop pouring melted chocolate into your friends’ mouths and go have a little rest,” if anyone is going to poop on this 48-hour parade, it is Usually The Moms.

Do the dads tell their kids to order milk instead of Mello Yello, or make them wash their hands after rubbing them all over their friend’s armpits, or pack a toy backpack for the younger siblings, or put the kibosh on using bad words?  Yes; but it’s Usually The Moms.

At this particular tournament, we got back to the hotel at about 8:30pm after Saturday’s second game.  Knowing we had to get up at 6:30 the next morning for an 8:00 puck drop (after losing an hour to Daylight Saving Time), I ruined my son’s existence by only allowing him to go screeching through the halls with his friends for a half-hour before forcing him to take a shower and fall asleep before his head hit the pillow.  The screeching continued without my son until 9:59, when I heard three different doors open, three different moms give muffled lectures, and a zillion kids go, “Awwww, finnnneeeee.”  By 10:01, it was completely silent.

While our children will be surprised to hear this, Usually The Moms don’t want to be the fun killers.  The second tournament I attended was held at a hotel with a giant pool and hot tub.  There’s an unspoken group parenting agreement at these shindigs; and so, in this case, the first four adults to enter the pool area – four moms, as it were – took up the role of lifeguarding for all.  I was one of those four moms.  Kyle, and all of the other parents, sat outside on the bar patio having a grand ol’ time.

Our four sets of kids were the initial wave in the pool; within minutes, their compadres had joined them.  I’m not sure if it was a case of bad architecture or too much tile or (probably) a gazillion children shouting at the tops of their lungs, but the decibel level hovered somewhere near “sonic boom.”  Every ten minutes or so, one of the dads would pop his head in the pool door, make a comment about the noise, give the moms a thumbs up, and then go back to the bar.

We moms did our best to chat through the din, but after about an hour I could see it on my pals’ faces that they were working out the amount of time remaining until we could pull these creatures out of the pool without looking like jerkfaces.  Fortunately, that’s when our fellow moms started to arrive.  A few brought mini coolers with the intention of starting a mom pool party; but the minute that sound pierced their eardrums, their kid was out of the pool and on his or her way to bed.

As much as no one wants to admit it, these human hammers – Usually, The Moms – keep these tournaments from descending into Mad Max-worthy anarchy.  And so Moms (and sometimes Dads), I raise my half-drank juice box, my Gatorade bottle without a lid, my airplane wine bottle to you.  At the next tournament, as you’re trying to get a sweaty, half-crazed, sugarcoated kid to pointlessly brush his teeth before bed, know that this mom still thinks you’re cool.

The photo above is of my little goalie.

This week’s news has free food, free braces, and and a shipping-container-turned-cabin built with free materials.  Read on.

Call it his flow, his salad, or his hockey hair, the Fargo Force’s Nick Strom is now quite neatly shorn after donating his locks to the Cullen Children’s Foundation. (KVRR)

Fort Yates’ Kylen Running Hawk is the 2021 recipient of the National High School Heart of the Arts Award due to his passion for sharing the theatrical stage experience. (Dickinson Press)

The YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties has a new food delivery truck that is taking to the streets – stopping at 30 different sites – to get a week’s worth of food to 500+ area kids in need. (KVRR)

Bismarck’s Viktoria Gilliam is getting a mouthful of free braces thanks to her fellow girl scout troop members. (KX Net)

The Williston Boy Scouts filled up the Salvation Army food pantry with 2,861 pounds of non-perishables and household goods – and then they handed over a $1,170 check, to boot. (Williston Herald)

Linton’s Frank Kuntz and his 300 Nokota horses – half the world’s population – are the subject of an upcoming Netflix movie entitled “Vanishing Knowledge.” (Minot Daily News)

The kids at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo raised over $3,000 for their teacher’s son who is undergoing brain cancer treatment. (KVRR)

Two dozen Mandan high school students spent the school year building a farmer a two bed, one bath hunting cabin out of a shipping container (the farmer funded the project). (KX Net)

Washburn’s Juan Vadell Jr. has figured out how to tap into boxelder trees in order to make a unique blend of syrup. (KX Net)

Grand Forks’ Beck Thompson has a dozen-piece fashion line debuting at MartinPatrick3 in Minneapolis. (Grand Forks Herald)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out this other story about Hockey Moms.)

Nice news of the day – December 28, 2018

The Energy and Environmental Research Center is going some truly amazing things – including finding a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. (Grand Forks Herald)

University of Jamestown’s Anthony Vereen was named first team All-American by the NAIA. (Jamestown Sun)

A 10-year-old from Fort Yates competed in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (Bismarck Tribune)