three things: Wisconsin observations

So I took a little drive up to the great state of Wisconsin, much like many Illinoisans do periodically.  We like to travel up there to make sure that they aren’t up to any funny business – like organizing an army to invade Illinois.

There’s a love-hate relationship between Wisconsin and Illinois.  For anyone not from the Midwest, it probably seems like two hungry super models calling each other fat.  The folks that live on either coast of the USA have no idea what business goes down in the Midwest, and it’s better that way.  The subtleties of Midwestern culture are for a more refined palate.

So, like I was saying, there is a love-hate relationship between Wisconsin and Illinois.  Illinoisans will concede that Wisconsin has a far superior landscape throughout much of the state.  While both states are flat when compared to, say, Colorado, Illinois is far flatter and a lot less pretty to look at.  Wisconsin has lakes and rivers and hills, making it an idyllic situation for weekend get-aways and crazy Uncle Oscars who just want to live alone in the woods gosh-durn-it! As a matter of fact, many Illinoisans have set up a secondary residence in Wisconsin in order to enjoy a more rugged and earthy life experience.  You know, the kind that involves personal watercraft and snowmobiles.

Anywho, Wisconsinites love Illinois for the shopping that can be done at our malls and on Michigan Avenue, and for the money that Illinoisans spend in Wisconsin (both on consumable goods and speeding tickets).   Which brings me to my first thing about Wisconsin.

thing 1: speeding tickets

To all of the Illinois drivers heading north: You know and I know that there is a really good chance that if you have an Illinois plate, you will get pulled over.

However, I want to be clear about why Illinois drivers get tickets.

See, in Wisconsin, the drivers drive exactly the speed limit. The only time they don’t drive the speed limit is when they are driving a combine, in which case they drive considerably slower than the speed limit.

In Illinois, the speed limit is a suggestion for how fast you can go on the shoulder while passing slower moving traffic.  By no means should you ever go anything less than 10 mph over the speed limit in Illinois or someone will shoot you with the gun they use for hunting cats up in Wisconsin.  (OK, no, they do not hunt cats in Wisconsin, but they did try to pass a law to make cat hunting legal.  It failed, narrowly.  ‘Nough said.)

It is the Wisconsinite penchant for driving the speed limit that makes all of the Illinois drivers hurrying off to their cabins for a little rest and relaxation such easy targets: Illinois drivers are going at least 20 miles per hour faster than their Wisconsin cousins.  The police don’t have time to figure out who is from Wisconsin and Illinois when your car is breaking the sound barrier on Interstate 94.

thing 2: abandoned cars

Driving through Wisconsin today, I saw no fewer than 5 abandoned cars on the side of the road in 40 minutes.  I’ve seen two abandoned cars in the past 6 months in Illinois.  What happens to cars in Wisconsin that they are just left on the side of the road??

thing 3: left hand turns

I hate left hand turns. I avoid them at all costs.  I will go around the block in order to avoid a left hand turn.

In Wisconsin, there is something really messed up about turning left.  First of all, the way the medians are set up for left hand turns in Wisconsin has always thrown me.  The medians are set up so that cars making left turns are off-set just enough so that neither car can see any oncoming traffic. After sitting through the light cycle three or four times, I find that I just hit the gas and pray when making a left in Wisconsin. This actually brought me closer to God.

Plus, the U-Turn reigns supreme in Wisconsin.  Instead of turning directly left into a shopping center, they would much prefer that you drive past your destination, do a U-Turn and make a right-hand turn into the parking lot.

Ah, I miss Wisconsin!

three things: traveling with the k fam

There is traveling… and then there is traveling with the K Fam.

Thing one: Where is Emily?

Being that I am a model of a light traveler, it takes me about a decade to get through security.  Between getting my shoes, sweater and belt off, tossing my quart sized plastic bag in the bin and pulling out my lap top from my bag – it’s practically a 30 minute process.  If Frank goes through security ahead of me, he’s already at the gate requesting the exit row before I can even get my sweater back on!

Thing two: “Did you know the girl sitting next to me has a cousin who knows your sister’s brother-in-law’s aunt?”

While Frank is happy to hold my hand and listen to his iPod in flight, I love finding out about the people sitting around me.  I’ve had the pleasure of being seated next to a President of a Lutheran Seminary, a guy from the UP going to his son’s wedding in Pennsylvania, an RV Magazine sales rep, a Mormon mother, a singer in a band who recently suffered an unfortunate accident that involved falling on a shard of glass and a guy who was in the mob (seriously – I’m pretty sure he was in the mob!).  Not to worry – if I see someone is reading a book or listening to their iPod, I leave them alone.  But if someone is interested in talking, I just can’t say no!

I’m not saying Frank isn’t chatty, I’m just saying he enjoys solitude a little more than I do.

Thing three: Repeat after me – no checked baggage!

Since one of our primary travel destinations has been Atlanta, Frank and I have had a few… ahem… discussions about my occasional decision to check bags, resulting in at least thirty minute waits at the baggage claim.  Oh, and did I mention the one time that my bags went to Midway and I went to O’Hare?  Yeah.  That was excellent.  Since then, Frank has given me a few lessons on how to pack a bag and has written on my forehead in Sharpie Marker: “No Checked Baggage!”  What can I say?  I hate dragging bags around the airport…

So yeah… “No chopped cabbage!” or… wait… was it,  “No dropped garbage?”  Frank? Hey hon?

three things: what I love on TV

… which could also be titled “TV Confessions.”

I wonder if Jesus reads my blog?

Well, regardless, here we go (sorry Jesus!):

thing 1: Kendra

I’m not kidding.  I love this show.  I can’t believe that I am putting this in writing, but that show ALWAYS makes me laugh.  And I believe, perhaps naively, that Kendra and her husband, Hank, are going to make it work.  It just seems like he loves her too much for it not to work… well, ok, I really don’t know anything about them other than what they edit the show for… but whatever – I LOVE THE SHOW.  It’s my TV sugar: doesn’t give me much value, but fills up some time.

thing 2: sci-fi

I love, love, LOVE sci fi.  Not the channel, but pretty much every show with a sci fi theme.  Frank and I watch an embarrassingly  long list of shows together – I’ve actually been banned from introducing Frank to anything else at this point.  We watch Chuck, Fringe, Flash Foward, Lost, and V. And I definitely think I’m missing something here…

thing 3: Greek

I know.  A show about collegiate Greek life.  I watch it.  I love it.  I’ve watched every. single. episode.  And really, there’s nothing you can do to stop me – except maybe take the show off the air.  Please don’t take the show off of the air.  waaah!!!

I need to get a hobby…

three things: on the ice

We love, love, LOVE the Blackhawks.

And we are NOT fair weather fans.  We used to go when it was just us and the Wirtz family at the games.

And even though it was just us and them at the games, they never bothered to send a Christmas card.


Anyway, since we love, love, LOVE the Blackhawks, there are a few things you should know about our familial obsession.

Thing One: Dance Like You Mean It!

Whenever the Hawks score a goal and the Chelsea Dagger goal music is played, Frank and I give eachother “high fives” and dance.

Yeah, that’s right.  We dance.

And I don’t care who knows about it.

When a goal is scored, you freaking stand up.  And dance.

Don’t fuss with me.

Thing Two:  NO TALKING (when the puck is on the ice)

When Frank and I were first dating, I reviewed some fun facts about hockey to prepare for our first hockey game date together.

And I shared this information with him liberally.

Unfortunately, I would only remember to tell him about the fun facts when the puck was on the ice.

Our relationship almost ended before it began because of my disrespect of the “NO TALKING” rule.

Thing Three: There is No Such Thing as Lady Like at a Hawks Game

If you ever attend a hockey game with me, you should prepare yourself.

I may seem like a nice person, but, figuratively speaking, the gloves come off when I go to Hawks game.

There isn’t a hit too hard (well, except for the Wisnewski hit on Seabs, but that’s a discussion for a different day) or a fight too wild.

I’ve been known to yell, on more than one occasion, “TAKE THE GLOVES OFF AND GET HIM! GET HIM!”

Does this concern Frank?

I don’t really know.

I’m too busy yelling to notice.

three things: i love you

Frank and I are quirky.  Not overtly quirky.  Subtly quirky.

And nothing is quite as quirky for us as the somewhat strange ways we say “I love you.”

thing one: making the bed.

When we were first married, I told my new, sweet husband that I loved it when the bed was made.

I neglected to tell him that even though I loved it, I really only loved it when SOMEONE ELSE made the bed.

Frank, trying so dutifully to be the good husband, made the bed frequently, all the while wondering when exactly I was planning on making the bed.

Finally, after about a year of his dutiful bed making, he finally pointed out to me that for someone who loves it when the bed is made, I certainly don’t do much to make it happen, and I realized (insert lightbulb moment here!) that Frank ALSO liked it when the bed was made.

As Frank has been traveling more, even if I can’t do anything else, I try so hard to at least make the bed when he comes home.  And when Frank leaves, he makes the bed for me.

Just seeing the bed made, with the silly stuffed dog in the middle, and I know that he loves me.

thing two: tm,a. mgd.lyb.bbq.

To you, those may only be letters.  Letters that don’t mean anything.

But to me, those letters sum up nearly 8 years of togetherness with Frank.

When we were first dating, if Frank did something to annoy me, he would ask me how much I hated him.  I would say, “This much” and he would say, “Which way?” and I would point in no particular direction and say, “This much, that way!”

But as we fell in love, on of us would ask “how much do you love me?” (or, sometimes, “how much?”) and the other would respond, “this much!” and the first would say, “which way?” and the other would say “always!”

When we were married, we each engraved something on the inside of each other’s rings.  We didn’t tell each other what we were engraving, so after we were married, we both pulled off of our rings only to discover that we both engraved, “This much, always.”  And now, for short, Frank will often text me “tm, a.”

Along the same vein, I would call out to Frank as I got out of the car at work “Make good decisions!” (or mgd for short) It became a game to see who could say it last as we were hanging up the phone or jumping out of the car.

And when Frank is taking off at the airport, he will often just text me “leaving ATL [Atlanta], LYB!”  And of course, as anyone could guess, he is just saying “Love you, bye!”

But the icing on the cake of our love story is BBQ.  What does it mean?


Yeah, that’s right.  One day Frank texted me “tm,a. mgd.lyb.bbq.”

“BBQ?” I asked him.

“Yeah, BBQ,” he replied casually.

“As in barbecue?”


“Any reason?”


“Oh. Ok.”

So when I see this long train wreck of mangled letters, I smile.  It’s how we say, “I love you.”

thing three: the game.

Frank and I play a lot of games with each other.  Weird games.

These games keep our marriage light and playful.

But let’s be real, we’re still a little bit weird.

One of the games is that everything becomes a game.

If he taps me, I tap him back.

Not wanting me to get the last word in – he taps me lightly, just so I might not notice.

And I tap him back, even lighter.

And we do this until one of us finally breaks down and laughs.

Usually it’s Frank who breaks down first.

I’m just telling it like it is.

…… tap….. shhhh.

And in our own way, it’s how we say “I love you.”

three things: marriage edition

I was just thinking today, outloud, about how far Frank and I have come since we were first married.

I’ve only really witnessed a few marriages up close and personal – my parents and my maternal grand parents.

And both were marriages were/are very fiery, passionate, yet humorous, pairings.

I guess they raised my tolerance level for my own marriage.  Which is good because, man, Frank really tested my limits.

And from time to time, I tested his…

Here are three things about our marriage:

Example 1.  The Shower.

When Frank and I were first married, he liked to test the boundaries (many of you who know me in real life know these stories – so you can feel free to skip ahead).

Frank thought it was quite novel that now that we were married, it was for LIFE.  And he liked to see exactly how long I would let him live.

His first test of the longevity of our union was simple: pour cold water on me over the top of the shower.  Awe-some.

Unfortunately for him, I got wise and I could hear him running the water in the kitchen and yell at him pre-emptively.

When that got old (which was rather quickly), he decided to go for the grand-daddy of all shower pranks: he threw cold water over the top, flushed the toilet and turned off the lights.

And he’s still alive today.

Example 2. The Bugs.

When I am stressed out, I dream about weird things.  When we were first married, I had a very stressful job and we had a bug infestation. Specifically, the bug infestation was a colony of earwigs.  You know, the ugly bugs with pinchers on them?  In one night, Frank killed 19 of them in our master bedroom.

It was nasty.

As a result, I would dream about bugs crawling on me and I would wake up at 4 a.m., turn on all the lights in our room and pull back the covers.

Thankfully, the only thing I found in the bed was a very confused husband staring back at me.

One night, as we were falling asleep, Frank gently brushed my leg with his finger, mimicking the sensation of a bug crawling on my thigh.

Squealing, I jumped out of bed, turned on the lights and pulled back the covers.  Frank grinned back at me, proud of his accomplishment.

“FINE!” I said, snatching my pillow off of the bed.  “I will sleep on the COUCH!”

Sidebar: If you know nothing about Frank, you should just know that he HATES being startled, especially by people jumping out at him. Continuing on with the story…

As I stormed down the hall, Frank realized that he went too far and followed me out to the family room.

What he didn’t know is that I ducked into the laundry room.

As he passed the dark laundry room on his way to the also dark family room, I jumped out at him, yelling.

Frank screamed.  I smiled.  We both went back to bed and eventually fell asleep.

Example 3. The Penny.

There are a few things that happen in our marriage that Frank and I are fully aware of, but we don’t say anything about them.  I can’t tell you about the most current examples of this because, well, Frank reads this blog and it would break the code of silence prematurely.

When we were first married, there was a penny on the floor of the kitchen.  I’m not sure how it got there, but when I noticed it I wondered if Frank would pick it up.

And Frank wondered if I would pick it up.

For months, we walked around this penny in the kitchen.  I even washed the floors around the penny.

We said not a word to each other about the penny.

One day Frank’s mom was visiting and she saw the penny and bent down to pick it up -but I stopped her.

“Oh, no, go ahead and leave that penny there.  I’m waiting to see if Frank will pick it up,” I explained.

She sort of cocked her head to one side and looked at me, puzzled.

She still does that.  Our marriage often causes people to pause and wonder.

And I don’t blame them.

three things…

So, there are quite a few things online that make me smile.  Here are a three of those things:

First, for the laugh, check out this guy – his face truly does say it all.

Second, this dog just makes me laugh, every time she posts a picture of him.  He makes me want a bassett hound.  But only for just a second.  And then I realize what I really want is ice cream. Yum.

Third, I love this video.  It’s interesting and I was almost inspired to set up a similar domino situation in our own home… almost.  I got as far as getting four dominoes set up and then I fell asleep.