Postcards from the middle | NNoTW October 13, 2021

Kyle recently came back from a work trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“Great!”  He said – and then, forlornly, “But I couldn’t find any postcards.”

Every single time Kyle travels, he sends a postcard.  By “a postcard,” I mean upwards of a dozen of them.  And by “travels,” I mean if his head hits a pillow that is not his own, it counts as a trip – including once in Grand Forks when we booked a hotel room because we were having some work done at the house.

Pumpkin spice and everything nice | NNoTW September 30, 2021

Fall has officially…fallen; and with it millions of pumpkin spiced Pinterest boards have sprung up featuring porches and front doors and lawns covered in physical celebrations of autumn.  Obviously, I, too am all aboard the trainful of haybales.  This meme (which I did not make) pretty accurately represents my feelings on the matter:

Surrender, Dorothy | NNoTW September 9, 2021

When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was an obscure little indie film called The Wizard of Oz.  In it, a girl named Dorothy is transported out of her home state of Kansas via tornado, dropping generally into the magical country of Oz, and literally onto the head and torso of the Wicked Witch of the East.  Dorothy is eager to return to Kansas (presumably to avoid both manslaughter and theft – she walks off with her victim’s shoes – charges) and is given instructions to do so by visiting an entity named “The Wizard” located in a single-building casino-esque metropolis called The Emerald City.

Sofa, So Good | NNoTW September 2, 2021

We just passed the one-month mark of living in our new house.  At least, I *think* it’s our new house.  Considering there are stacks of stuff everywhere, we may be living in a box fort.

This is the exact text conversation I had with a friend right after we moved in:

Friend: How’s the unpacking going?

Me: Slow.  But my parents are taking the boys this week so we’ll have it all done by Saturday.

Friend: Ha ha!

Me: Ha ha!

Good Advice | NNoTW August 26, 2021

A huge part of my job is understanding social behaviors; and if I had to use one word to describe all grownups right now, that word would be TIRED.  It’s like being at a party where you were ready to leave 45 minutes ago but your ride is debating whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich with a large group of people, and so you sit there with your empty wine glass, avoiding a refill or a trip to the bathroom or anything, really, that would delay your exit, responding to all attempted conversations with, “Oh, yeah?  Oh, okay.”

Ten weird minutes | NNoTW August 19, 2021

I recently came back from a work trip, my first since February 2020.  The actual travel portions of my work trips are typically completely unremarkable – transport to destination, check into hotel, complain to coworker about the air conditioning/pillows/ice machine/Wi-Fi, sleep, eat breakfast, leave – but the universe wanted me to remember this particular trip (as well as remind me that I apparently do not belong in normal human society) because this is what happened in the span of about ten minutes:

Camp Bubbe Zayde | NNoTW August 12, 2021

My children are currently nursing a grandparent hangover after spending a week at my parents’ house at the second-annual “Camp Bubbe Zayde” (Bubbe and Zayde are the Yiddish words for Grandma and Grandpa, respectively).  As you might expect, Camp Bubbe Zayde was a happypalooza – fishing, baseball, Valley Fair, the zoo and the waterpark, and casual texts from my mother that read, “The kids wanted a snack, so we got them two ice cream bars a piece.  They must be growing!”  Of course, there was also teethbrushing and vegetable eating, but even following the rules – such as picking up toys and being kind to your brother – was turned into a game, with the prize being a trip to Dave & Busters.

Friends | NNoTW August 5, 2021

I recently read an unattributed Internet fact that the percentage of men with at least six close friends has fallen by half since 1990; and that men today are five times more likely to state that they don’t have a single close friend compared to similarly-aged men thirty years ago.  As the mother of two boys, I’ve been noodling on this (quite possibly completely made up*) information and I have a theory about it.

Moving Day | NNoTW July 29, 2021

I wasn’t planning on writing anything else about our move because, honestly, who wants to read that – but the whole thing was such a wild ride that Kyle basically insisted I record it here for posterity.  So, here we go:

Squeegee | NNoTW July 22, 2021

We are moving; and between packing up and saying goodbye to our current house, renovating and unpacking our new house, working at my job, and doing the bare minimum at parenting, I have reached my complete maximum mental bandwidth. Read on.

The politics of cake | NNoTW July 1, 2021

Our friends hosted a family birthday party for their ten-year-old last weekend.  The jury is still out between my sons as to the second-best part of the soiree (right now it’s a tie between the slip-and-slide covered in dish soap and “playing” in general), but they both have agreed that the number-one spot goes to the cake.

Fort Abercrombie | NNoTW June 10, 2021

My ideal vacation consists of strategic lounging.  I lounge on beaches; by pools; in restaurants; on patios.  In the early morning I lounge with books; midday I lounge with pina coladas; and in the late afternoon I lounge with my eyes closed.

On the other hand, the only time anyone lounges on a Kyle-planned trip is when…[Read on]

Good Sport

This is the origin story of the Central/Red River hockey rivalry, as told by a family of Central grads (so 100% irrefutably accurate).

It originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of The Red Cent and is reprinted with permission. Read on.

No bother | NNoTW April 8, 2021

This week’s story is about staying out of trouble, and this week’s news is about healthy families, a new kidney, and a garden of healing. Read on.

Box Set | NNoTW April 1, 2021

This week’s story is a tale of two infomercials, and this week’s news has friendly fire departments, a Fueled Force, and a four-time award-winning artist.  Read on.

Hockey Tournaments | NNoTW March 25, 2021

This week’s story is about Hockey Moms, and this week’s news has free food, free braces, and and a shipping-container-turned-cabin built with free materials.  Read on.

The Lawn Ranger | NNoTW March 11, 2021

This week’s story is about the first time I mowed our lawn, and this week’s news is about a new definition of a “LOAN,” a black-footed ferret, and a bunch of North Dakotans competing on a national scale.  Read on.