No sleep till Scottsdale | March 22, 2023

My boys and I recently returned from a vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We were gone the exact amount of time it takes a human body to decide, “Hear ye hear ye, pull out yer flip flops and lawn chairs because it will now be warm for the next several months and it’s lemonade season, ring-a-ding-ding,” which means our transition back into North Dakota Springtime (it’s 24 degrees outside as I write this) has been a bit of a seeeeeeprise.

We planned this trip several months ago – by “we” I mean that Kyle did all the work and I sent messages like “Sounds good” and “Okay” – and a major factor in this planning was our outbound schedule.  Spring Break started on a Friday, our eleven-year-old had his Hunter Safety test the following day in Grand Forks, our seven-year-old was signed up for a weekend-long hockey tournament in Marshall, Minnesota, and airfare prices ranged from approximately $1 million to $1 billion per ticket depending on when and where a person wanted to go.  Somewhere in the “Sounds goods” and “Okays” it was determined that Kyle and Seven would depart for Marshall on Friday, Eleven and I would follow post-test on Saturday, and then together we’d drive from Marshall to Minneapolis after Seven’s final Sunday game and leave for Phoenix on the 9:40 PM Central Time flight.  We chose the flight (scheduled to arrive at 10:30 Mountain) because it was the cheapest one available in the entirety of March; and we justified it by saying, “We’ll be on vacation, so the kids can just sleep in on Monday.”

Wellllll, it turned out the United States got itself into a bit of a blizzard that weekend. Eleven and I never did make it to Marshall, Kyle and Seven had a 30-MPH-white-knuckle drive to Minneapolis, and Delta sent us a series of notifications that ultimately pushed our departure back by two hours. We got on the plane at 11:45 PM Central, sat on the runway until almost 1:00 AM Central, and walked into our Airbnb at 3:30 AM Mountain (5:30 AM Central). I spent the entire flight repeating to myself, “It’s a vacation, we can sleep in; it’s a vacation, we can sleep in.”

We didn’t sleep in. We were on vacation! It was warm and lovely and sunshiney and we were all up and raring to go at 7:30 AM (Mountain). No one in the history of awakeness has ever been as AWAKE and energized as the Kosiors were that morning. Prior to the trip, the boys had selected one must-do activity each: for Seven, it was to eat breakfast at his favorite restaurant. Hear ye, hear ye, we were AWAKE! On VACATION! We Would Eat Breakfast!

There was a short wait at the restaurant so, naturally, Kyle made a friend.  We were standing on the patio hopping back and forth due to our massive amounts of AWAKENESS when Kyle realized the gentleman standing nearby was wearing an Edmonton Oilers t-shirt.  As there are very few people in this world who like the Oilers enough to advertise it on a piece of clothing, Kyle felt compelled to talk to him.  The man was Canadian (Kyle, as a reminder, has both American and Canadian citizenship), and was in town for the U.S.-Canada game as a part of the World Baseball Classic.

When was said game, Kyle asked?  TONIGHT, the (not-Kyle) Canadian told him.

What luck!  Here we were, WIDE AWAKE, on vacation, American AND Canadian, and Kyle’s chosen activity was to see a baseball game.  “The last time they played each other was six years ago,” Kyle said as he punched in the series on his phone.  “I want Canada to win!”  Seven announced.  We had our tickets before we had our pancakes.

Eleven’s selected activity was to swim, and we had rented an Airbnb with a pool and a hot tub.  Should we take a nap after breakfast, we asked one another?  NO, we should SWIM.  Besides, we weren’t tired, WE WERE AWAKE.  Awake People do not nap.  They swim.

We swam.  We soaked.  We had lunch.  We swam and soaked some more.  We showered.  We ate dinner at one of our other favorite restaurants.  We drove from Scottsdale to Phoenix, parked the car, walked to the stadium, found our seats, and sat down.  And then we all got very, very, very, very, very tired.

Here is what happens when the Kosiors get tired: Kyle develops big, dark circles under his eyes.  I get angry.  Eleven leaves reality, and Seven turns silly and irrational.  All of this happened in the first inning of the U.S.-Canada World Baseball Classic game, surrounded by 50,000 of our closest strangers.

Here’s something else that happened in the first inning: the U.S. scored nine runs.  If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, you’ll know that it takes a long time to score nine runs.

“I want to be on the big screen!”  Seven shrieked.

“I want you to stop wiggling in your seat,” I grumbled.

“They aren’t showing any fans on the big screen,” Kyle said.

“But I’m not even a fan!” Seven wailed, bursting into tears as Mike Trout hit a home run.  Two men sitting in front of us turned around and high-fived Kyle and Eleven, snapping Eleven back into this plane of existence.  He looked around, confused.

“Why did they do that?”  Eleven asked his dad.

“The U.S. scored again,” Kyle said.

“Again?”  Eleven asked in a tone that made it unclear if he knew they had scored previously.

We made it to the fifth inning only because we got ice cream in the third.  The game itself only made it to the sixth because it turns out the World Baseball Classics has a Mercy Rule.  Both boys – and maybe Kyle, who was driving – fell asleep on the way back to the house.  I powered us forward on fury alone.

I’d like to say we caught up on sleep that night or any night in Scottsdale, but we were ON VACATION.  We returned to my parents’ house five days later, and everyone celebrated with a deep sleep in…a much-needed vacation from our vacation.

The photo above was taken at the baseball game about four seconds before we left. As you can see, Eleven was 1000% checked out. You can’t see him but Seven is also in the photo, leaning against Kyle, possibly asleep.

If you’re reading this on the newsletter, I stuck a few more photos from our trip below the news (for those of you reading it on the website, I’m sorry, but my website company makes me pay for photos and my newsletter company does not).

The New York Jets’ (and Fargo’s) Connor McGovern came to Grand Forks to teach middle schoolers some ABLE games. (Grand Forks Herald)

This year’s Limitless Fashion Show in Minot – designed to empower people with disabilities and foster friendships – has grown so large it has to be moved to a new venue, and will also now include male models. (Minot Daily News)

Fargo’s LaVerne Aventi helped save a Canadian (as in, it originated in Saskatchewan, Canada) great horned owl with a broken wing. (Fargo Forum)

It took a whole group of six dads and sons from Colfax to reel in a great white shark – which they named the Colfax Crusher before releasing it – on a fishing trip in Florida. (KFYR TV)

According to Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, North Dakota is a worthwhile investment opportunity. (Fargo Forum)

The largest public art project in North Dakota will be turning an unused grain silo in Minot into a work of art. (KX Net)

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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)

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A journey of 974 miles begins with getting out of the house | July 6, 2022

The boys and I are on our way back from our third annual Fourth of July road trip to Michigan to visit Kyle’s cousins.  We break the fifteen-hour drive into two days in order to test the strength of our marriage because it’s important to me that we stay overnight in Madison, Wisconsin – approximately eight hours from Grand Forks – so that I can spend the remaining seven hours of the second day’s drive telling the boys how much I love Madison, Wisconsin (note: I love Madison, Wisconsin).  This leisurely approach to travel means that our departure time from Grand Forks is more of a suggestion than a necessity, as leaving at 10:00 am versus noon just translates to the kids swimming a bit less in the hotel pool in hip, cool, cheese-filled Madison, Wisconsin.

Of all of the myriad of life lessons I’ve gleaned from my mother, the most impactful is this: When Mom is ready to go, we go.  As a child, it didn’t matter if my sister and I were half-dressed with our toothbrushes hanging out of our mouths or if (more likely) the event we were attending had ended hours before – the moment our mother, the Queen of Time, hustled out of the bathroom in a cloud of steam and perfume and announced, “Okay, we’re leaving,” we were expected to be belted in the car and halfway down the driveway.

Upon the emergence of our firstborn babe, I looked lovingly up at Kyle and said, “Okay, we’re leaving” – and with that, took my rightful(?) place on my own throne.

My dear and patient husband has taken a “I’ll be a good sport about this so long as we’re not really late” stance to his circumstances – and so, as thanks for over a decade of aforementioned good sportsmanship, I decided to surprise Kyle this year by departing for Michigan on his (instead of my own) defined schedule.

“What time do you want to leave tomorrow?”  I had asked breezily so as to not give away my big plans.

“Oh, mid-morning, I guess.”  He had answered with the equally-breezy-albeit-slightly-defeated air of a man who had stood in our kitchen looking at his watch many, many, many times before.

I got out of bed the next day at 9:00 am, which you may think is mid-morning but I can assure you is not.  My plan was thus:

8:30: Wake up to Kyle’s alarm (if not up already)

8:30 – 9:00: Feed the kids; clean up breakfast

9:00 – 9:10: Drink quick cup of coffee

9:10 – 9:40: Shower and get dressed (minimal effort since we were going to sit in a car for eight hours)

9:40 – 9:45: Pack up toiletries (because I had packed the boys’ and my own suitcases the night before)

9:45 – 10:00: Put away any remaining clutter; make beds; start dishwasher; take out garbage

10:00 – 10:01: Let Kyle know I was going to wait in the car “for him to finish up whatever he needed to do”; pat myself on the back

Kyle’s alarm went off at 8:30, and it turned out I wasn’t up already because I had gone to bed at 1:00 am after packing up every single thing in the house and putting away 50,000 loads of laundry (this number is factual and not an exaggeration).  I actually got downstairs at 9:05 because I needed to scroll Facebook to see if it was anyone’s birthday, and also do the Wordle.  No matter, I was a fast coffee drinker.  I was an even faster coffee drinker when I was doing something while drinking coffee (don’t question this sound logic), so I decided to sort out the mail and a pile of countertop papers while also “making” the children breakfast of cereal and grapes.  Meanwhile, Kyle was quietly drinking his own coffee and puttering about packing up all of the real stuff we needed that I had missed the night before.

“I’m going to shower and get the van,” he told me.

Oh, right; I forgot to mention the minivan.  In the past, we had driven my car to and from Michigan, and then set the whole thing aflame when we arrived back home because it was the only appropriate solution for the Category Alpha Biohazard that had developed inside after thirty hours of non-stop Kosior-ness.  It was getting pretty expensive constantly buying new cars and setting them on fire, so Kyle decided that this year we would rent a minivan (which we would take care of because we are only disgusting in our own vehicles).

“Great,” I said breezily.  “What time do you think you’ll be back?”

“Probably about 9:45,” he said.  “Is that okay?”

“Oh, yes,” I said.

He walked upstairs, and I slugged back my coffee like it was a ye olde tankard of ale.  After coughing and sputtering (but like, in a totally regal way), I amended my schedule thusly:

9:20 – 9:30: Put away any remaining clutter; make beds

9:30 – 10:00: Shower and get dressed

10:00 – 10:05: Pack up toiletries

10:05 – 10:10: Start dishwasher; take out garbage

Now I may not know how to shoot down a cup of coffee, but I, like all mothers everywhere, know exactly how long it takes to put crap back in its place.  I stepped into the shower exactly at 9:30.  Except it was more like 9:45, because my seven-year-old had needed a second breakfast and I had wanted to send a couple of emails and text my mother.

Kyle was (obviously) back at 9:45, and he popped his head into the bathroom as I was shaving my legs with the speed and quality of a farmer shearing a sheep in order to save a few minutes.  I stopped and pushed the hair off my face, breezily.

“I’m going to put a few things in the van,” he said.

“Great,” I said.

“Anything else you want me to do?”  He said.

“Would you take out the garbage?”  I said.

“Sure thing,” he said.

“Oh, and water the plants?”  I said, suddenly remembering something that should have been on the original schedule.

“Yep,” he said.

“Start the dishwasher, too, would you?”  I asked, deciding to hedge my time bets by Cinderella-ing him with so many to-dos that I could still beat him to the van.

“Yes,” he said.

Five minutes later (10:00), I was out of the shower and drying myself off when I realized there was going to be a stack of wet towels molding away in the basket for a week.  No good.  I did a quick mental calculation; I could do a load of laundry and have it in the dryer by 10:45-ish if I started it this exact second.  I sprinted like Lady Godiva on her horse (aka nude) to the laundry room down the hall from my bedroom.  I was standing there pouring soap into the machine when Kyle walked past holding a load of blankets.  The look on his face said something like, “My wife is so beautiful and smart and wonderful and I’m so lucky to be married to such perfection.”  His mouth, on the other hand, said after a long pause, “You wanted to bring a couple of pillows, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

By 10:45, I was dressed and 10000% packed up and cleaned up and everything else-d up.  I carried my suitcase down the stairs and presented it to Kyle as if it were a box of gold.

“Where are the kids?”  I asked.

“Outside,” he said.  “We’re ready when you are.”

“Great,” I said.  “I’m just waiting on the washer.”

We stood in the kitchen together for another five full minutes until I heard the laundry buzzer go off.  I switched the wet towels to the dryer, checked to make sure the garbage was taken out and the dishwasher was running, and locked the front door.  The boys were playing basketball in the driveway; Kyle was talking to the neighbor.  I got into the driver’s seat.

“Okay, we’re leaving!”  I shouted.  First one in the van; you’re welcome, Kyle.

The photo above is of the minivan and also Kyle.

I try not to read the news – good or otherwise – while I’m on vacation; so I’m sorry to say (but not too sorry, I guess) that I don’t have any nice news to share this week.  I’ll have extra-nice news next week to make up for it.  Happy July!

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