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)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Road trip | July 8, 2021

Kyle and I just got back from taking our kids on our just-about-annual road trip from Thompson, North Dakota to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We got there by driving through Minneapolis, Minnesota; Madison (I love Madison), Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; and then over into Michigan.  The total distance is somewhere around a billion miles, which translates to roughly fifteen hours of drive time each way.  Each year, I am lulled away from the beautiful, shiny airport and into my poor, overloaded Honda Pilot with personal promises of a stop in Madison (I love Madison) and also by reminding myself, “Once we’re in Minneapolis, we’re basically there” – which is as factually and geographically correct as saying, “Once we’re in New York, we’re basically in Paris.”

Road trips are a fairly new concept to me because my mother and her family are from New Jersey and people on the east coast (and I’m pretty sure also just Jews in general) aren’t really known for a propensity for long car rides.  As an example, my best friend and her boyfriend drove Kyle and me from Newton, Massachusetts to Salem, Massachusetts (total ride time: 45 minutes) and they packed enough snacks and blankets for us to survive in the wilderness for a week.  My own family drove from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Brainerd, Minnesota (total ride time: 3 hours) once a year to take my sister and me to sleepaway camp, and my memory of those rides is the car leaving the driveway and the car pulling into camp.  We never stopped; in fact, there’s no evidential proof that my parents were even aware that any gas stations, restaurants, or bathrooms existed between Grand Forks and Brainerd.  We did, however, get moccasins in Nisswa after camp was over, so we were informed of non-essential retail.

Kyle, however, is an expert-level road tripper.  The Kosiors are so experienced at road tripping that they actually built their family vacations around being in the car.  My father-in-law was/is a farmer, and so once he was done spraying and July 1st (Canadians, as a reminder) had passed, he and my mother-in-law would pile the three boys – and one time a neighbor kid – into the station wagon, and they would drive until they’d see something they’d want to see, and then they’d stop.  After about a week, my father-in-law would start to hem and haw about his crops, so they’d drive for a few more days and then turn around.  As a result, their vacation stories go like this:

One trip took them south.  They were somewhere in South Dakota when my mother-in-law noticed that it was starting to get late; and when they passed a sign that read, “Cabins for rent,” the Kosiors pulled in.  It turned out to be a small resort owned by a family with four kids.  The Kosior boys and the resort kids got along so well that the Kosiors decided to stop and stay for a couple of days, and the resort owner hiked all of the children over to an abandoned quarry connected to a stream, gave them a stack of canned corn and some hooks, and left them to fish.  The kids dipped the can of corn and the hook in the water, and pulled up so many rock bass that they had to throw some back.

Another time, on a drive west, my mother-in-law put the boys’ dirty clothes into a garbage bag to keep them separated from the clean so she could wash them at night.  On that trip they stopped at every scenic outlook; and when they did, my father-in-law tossed out the trash that had accumulated in the car.  Obviously, as you can probably guess, he accidentally threw away the clothes.  This was so hilarious that they felt they should take a picture – making it one of only a handful of Kosior family vacations with a photographic record.  Kyle would also like me to note that they turned around before they got to Vancouver and he is still is still salty that he didn’t get to see the ocean.

We stopped a Kosior amount of times on our trip to Ann Arbor, but it was mainly to go to the bathroom.  Our six-year-old is an interesting specimen in that the act of putting on his seatbelt triggers a need to pee, even if he had just accomplished such a task moments before.  So, we pulled off the road.  A lot.  Each time, Kyle and I would shovel enough garbage out of the back seat to keep the car from dragging on the ground while we drove.  The amount of garbage in our car had no relationship to the items was consumed or carried, meaning it was either spontaneously reproducing or other vehicles were tossing it in when we weren’t looking.

When we were actually moving, Kyle coached us through two car games.  In one, we had to find license plates from all fifty states.  We never cracked 40, mainly because Kyle wouldn’t let us count semis or trucks or just vehicles in general.  This game fell apart a bit when we reached Indiana, Home of 10,000 License Plate Designs.

The other game required one person to shout out “Score!” whenever he or she saw a yellow vehicle.  This game was also a major point of contention, as the “yellow” color wheel apparently sometimes, but not always, included tones of orange depending on who was doing the Scoring.  I don’t know who won the Score points-off, but I won the moral victory by only scoring actual yellow vehicles.

Anyways, we made it to Ann Arbor and back.  Traffic was heavy in Indiana, so I never did get to stop in Madison (le sigh).  On the return trip, Kyle reached into his bag of Kosior travel and booked us a hotel room as we were pulling into Tomah, Wisconsin for the night.  It turned out to be a hotel AND waterpark, which our children deemed a “must-do” next year…which I guess means we’re driving again.

While we didn’t make it to Madison, we did go out of the way to take a photograph at a park in Michigan.  It is above.

This week’s news has an edible forest, a wool house, and pelicans.  Read on.

Are you a veteran or active-duty military?  If so, you can see the Medora Musical – as well as partake in a keg social – for free this weekend. (KX Net)

The City of Williston is about to have an Edible Forest, complete with apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees, at the corner of Harvest Hills Avenue and 32nd Street West. (Williston Herald)

Underwood was rockin’ and rollin’ with its annual Midsummer Classic Car Show. (BHG News)

One of the first stories I wrote for ND Nice was about the Nome schoolhouse – which is now the Nome Wool House, a cozy spot for fiber artists. (Fargo Forum)

It has been a pretty dry year – tough for farmers, but great for American white pelicans, who are nesting in droves at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (AP News)