Tag Archives: spring

My Best Face Forward

Wisconsin fishing opener this weekend. Traditionally I’d be out on the lake, at least I’d consider it an option. But this year that won’t be happening,  I have another responsibility. Team Sank is  off to Houghton Michigan this instead. Yay us. Crazy to think that I’m old enough to have a college graduate. Crazier still, that on May 3rd I have to think about a gawd damned snow storm.

The snow that falleth in May, doth smite my hope in the promise of spring.

In otherwords I continue to grow weary of this fucking weather.

Here’s a picture of lake, taken this morning by the nice folks at Sherrard’s Resort who I’m sure would like to be open and running a resort the first weekend in May, fishing opener in Wisconsin and all, as opposed to whatever it is they are doing at the moment up there. Sure ain’t boating or fishing.

 

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See that white stuff out there? That’s ice. We’re still frozen.  We got 12 inches of snow at Blake Lake last night. Fairbault, just south of us, 18 inches. Previous record for the entire month of May… 3 inches.

Looking at the picture I can’t help but feel a little down. I’d like to be out there on the boat about now.

Hmm

Cold is a small price to pay to live in paradise.

Keeps down on the riff raff.

I don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, or doing any yard work.

No mosquito’s. I don’t have to worry about malaria or dengue.

I haven’t re-strung my fishing reels yet, have more time to do that.

I get to take my first annual May cross country skiing trip.

The local ski resort can reopen, for the 3rd time.

I don’t have to overload my refrigerator, nature is providing a free one.

I get one last snow cocktail- root beer schnapps and snow.

Summer sledding party.

Don’t need to buy sunscreen yet.

The more I think the more I can enjoy this weather.

Yay me.

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The Fantasy of Baseball

Baseball is in the air again.

Despite the ice and snow and the NBA this is the time when I start thinking about baseball again. Fantasy baseball, good summer fun. Kinda.

I realized a long time ago that winning the lottery just isn’t the cards for me. Nor is making money in real estate, the stock market, or anything other kind of investments including fantasy baseball. My fantasy baseball record, lifetime now, is 0-17. My teams tend to finish in the bottom third of every league, usually right above the guys who setup their teams and never revisit them again for the rest of the year. Actually, a couple years ago one of those “never revisit the team” guys came in second, goes to show you. How a guy can win a game that requires minimum weekly attention much less daily befuddles me. I wonder if he buys lottery tickets.

My typical fantasy season goes something like this;

  • 2 weeks of pre-draft research as I dig into stats and discussion of every player in Major League Baseball. This is the most fun for me BTW. Also the most expensive as I usually purchase a couple different $10.00 magazines for my reading pleasure.
  • Create my cheat sheets of players, ranked by performance, morals and how much I like them or not like them depending on the player.
  • Eliminate all Dodgers and Red Sox from my list. Actually I don’t eliminate them per se anymore since this might be one of the reasons for my poor performance. But I rarely pick a player from either team because I hate them. Strong word hate.
  • Participate in a “mock” draft to see how my picks might work out.
  • Participate in the real draft. That’s highlight of the season for me.
  • Get my team and congratulate myself on my excellent draft strategy.
  • Season starts, I zoom to the top of the charts and typically lead the league for the first month or so.
  • Watch the injury reports come rolling in while the team sinks like rock.

I believe that I could make a few bucks by contact players in their contract years and making the following blackmail like proposition. For the sum of $11.75 I promise I will not draft you this season and thereby will save you from the going on the DL in your contract year. I can produce a list of players who have been subject to the Sank-a-Curse, maybe a brochure about what kind of injuries guys I pick incur; torn ACL’s, rotator cuff, the dreaded sports hernia, or even worse a California 50/50 Divorce.

If Tommy John has a surgery named after him, I should be honored with anterior capsule repair, aka shoulder surgery. Ask Johan Santana about that.

So we’re off and running on a new fantasy baseball season. I have no expectations. I’ll do my study, work on my team, make my picks and watch them fall to every injury a baseball player can get. And along the way I’ll have a great time.

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Dutchweed

Rained most of the day yesterday, that meant I did NOT have to go outside and work on the yard. This is a good thing. Unlike my bride and most of my neighbors I do NOT relish the chance to get out into the yard and plant, turn soil, harvest Corgi poop. As a matter of fact, about 4 pulls on the rake and my mind becomes with preoccupied with buying a damned condo somewhere. I do not need to be a land owner to feel worth.

Last year we had some serious yard improvements done, the island jungle, a rabbit warren of junipers and assorted other stuff that was a wee bit over grown was removed and replaced with sod. This did two things, first of all, our corgi has been deprived of the joy of flushing rabbits and teaching us all a lesson about dreams. As in dreaming that he’d actually catch one, despite a life time record of 0 for 5,340.. The other thing we got from this is a 15’ diameter circle of nice lush grass in a sea of shitty stuff. Looks like a nice putting green and probably will for a while given my penchant for having crappy grass.

The old push mower did not come too after her winters sleep. I pulled the cord and get nada, no spark no nuth’n. I paid $35 for the thing on Craigs List two years ago and I’m not satisfied that I’ve got my monies worth from it yet.

mulesearThe string trimmer is working, it’s electric after all. We had some really weird looking weeds growing along the side of the house. reminded me of mule’s ear, a plant I used to see up the Sierra’s when I was out west. Last year we had morels growing in the back yard so you never know what’s going to pop up out there.

After about 20 minutes of yard work I felt the need to go sit down and watch basketball. Mrs S was a little surprised to find me watching basketball and inquired as to how the yard was coming. Her big concern, the dog crap harvest. She wants to get out there and start working on her many projects, but, before she does, she wants to make sure that the winters worth of dog crap is gone. You know, I think because of the mild winter and early spring.. mother nature must have taken care of her most biodegradable product on the planet and already reabsorbed all the processed Purina that had been deposited out there over the winter, because frankly after hunting hard, I couldn’t find any.

“Gone” I told her, but if she’d like to come out with me and point out any I missed I’d be grateful. She did not. Told me she’d let me know later.

I mentioned to her that I went above and beyond and weed whacked, pruned and made a very valiant attempt to mow the lawn, couldn’t do the last one of course to do to catastrophic equipment failure.

She reminded me that last summer we had invested $800 in 1/3 ownership in a rider mower which as we spoke was parked in a garage across the street and that I should go use that sometime. I was hesitant to bother other owners and last summer had mostly mowed with my push mower. Or my son did. I still don’t feel comfy barging in on people.

Mrs S went out and took a walk around the yard, inspecting my work, framing up her projects.

I was watching basketball, snug in the knowledge that I’d participated in the spring cleaning, for that would probably not be asked to much more, when in she came, by bride. Front door slammed for some reason. She walked into the den and looked at me in a way that only a married guy can understand. 28 years of marriage experience screamed “uh oh”. She stared, clearly she was trying to come up with something to tell me,  “use you words” I mused.

“Com’ere” she said, and dragged me out to the yard. We walked around to the side of the house, I’d just cleaned up all the weeds over there and it looked great. Ready for her to plant her flowers.

Apparently we don’t really grow mule’s ears in Minnesota, there was a reason I’d never seen them here before.

“One word Sank” as she pointed to the remains of the weeds. “Tulips?”

The way she said it was kinda mean to be honest.

“Seriously dude. Tulips.” oooo Really shitty time for me to remember that she’d planted bulbs in a new place now that our island was gone.

“You know ‘tulip’ is Dutch for ‘weed that looks like an onion’ right?”

I may have gotten out of the rest of the yard work now, so in the big picture, it’s a win.

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Spring Time Comest

Spring time means I’m getting out of the house a bit and talking with few surviving neighbors, spring time in Minnesota is kind of like coming out from the shelter after the nuclear  bomb has gone off. The grass is flat and covered with snow mold, trees are bare, sun is shining a bit brighter these days, but it’s not exactly warm enough to do anything .. why it must be Spring, that season that I rank #4 on my list of the most favorite seasons. Right after Winter, with this difference. I like all the seasons ranked #3 or higher.

Spring however, sucks.

I like to say that Spring is like a woman; finicky, changes it’s mind all the time, inconsistent, illogical, capable of the most tender affections and the most brutal icy chill.

Not that I actually know of any women like that, and any resemblance of the above statements to any real woman, dead or alive, or any woman who hasn’t yet been born or initiated into womanhood is strictly coincidental. No specific woman or women,  implied  or otherwise was considered when these lines were composed, this is simply prose and stereotyping. Which I’m told, is wrong. Fact is, I’ve never even known a woman to change her mind, ever.

So be it.

Here’s the deal with Spring, it’s 35 degrees one day, it’s 70 the next. It’s raining and mild one the first of April, we get 8 inches of snow on the 15th. The month is a down right tease. I hate that. By May we’re into the more reasonable stretches of nice weather occasionally punctuated with tornados and flash floods.

I can live with reliable.

 

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Spring is here

I saw some grass on my lawn today for the first time. If you’re keep track the last time we had visible grass at the Sankary house it was Nov 3, 2010, 131 days ago. Now the grass I saw.. was only on the edges, There’s still about 18 inches or more on most spots on the lawn. Based on the weather report this weekend I would expect that it will be gone by the weekend, except for the big piles.

For you stats types, we’ll have had 1 inch or more of snow on the ground around for a whopping 36% of the year.

Feels like a long time. Even for me. Even for Giggs who’s tired of walking around on crusty snow, falling through every few feet. Now I certainly find this really amusing. Not so much when he drops the lawn sausages along the only part of the yard without snow, that narrow band along the side of the house, that I can’t get to because I’d get my slippers wet.

I can’t wait to see dogs get uplifted by aliens so they can have opposable thumbs. Then they can pick up their own poop, and we humans would be emancipated from cleaning up after lower life forms. Thank goodness.

Look, first sign of grass. Shut up, it counts. Why in a few short months it’ll be green.

Meanwhile, back in our old stomping grounds, yards are looking like this:(thanks to CyberPal/Flicker Friend MadDonovan for these shots) Donovan lives in Los Gatos Ca. Down the street almost from Mrs S’s parents.

 

 

Meanwhile on March 14 our yard looks like this:

 

Here’s a shot from Sunol Ca, around the corner from where Mrs S and I lived. I’ve been on this very road many times.

We have a hills in our neighborhood too! I bet he’s pretty jealous that he doesn’t have one of these in his street.

Snow Mountain. This sucker is about 15 feet tall at the moment. I predict we’ll see last of it melted away about May 1st. Seriously.

Heh.. enough winter whining. The days are longer, the pool at the YMCA is downright tropical, and there’s still 18 inches of ice on the lakes. I don’t have start complaining about summer stuff for at least another 6 weeks or so.

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Ice Dam(n)s, the 2011 Edition

Ice dams… AGAIN.

Weather was beautiful, as forecast, this weekend. Beautiful in Minnesota this time of years means about 40. 40 freak’n degrees, a 55 degree improvement over Thursday morning. We had meltage people, real meltage, which meant at our house, we once again had water dripping into the house.

Which sucks.

Big time.

The lad and I spent part of the afternoon raking off the roof, pulling snow down on our heads. The ice dam we have on the front of the house this year, it’s beyond impressive. I’m guessing and this is no exaggeration, that it’s 12 inches high. It is, the three gorges dam of ice dams. I’m sure there are many cultural and natural artifacts on the roof that are being covered by this sucker. Not the least of which is the insulation and drywall in my living room.

*sigh*

Ice dam removal, which is accomplished with steam, currently runs about $300.00 an hour in the Twin Cities. We have about two days of work. These ice removal dudes are the types of folks who would sell bottled water in an earthquake for $10.00 a bottle I’m sure. Bas. Tards.

The fellows down at the hardware store tell me the poor mans solution is to fill a woman’s stocking with salt from your softener, and lay that across the ice, apparently it will melt a channel through the ice to allow the water to come through.

Two problems with this.

The rate of melt is slow. Really slow, to the point that April will come sooner than any channel making me wonder, what’s the point.

The other thing is, there’s no garter belt big enough, that I know of, to keep the stocking up on the roof and since my wife only wears fishnets, the salt falls through.

And then, I wake up.

Of course my support hose would work as well so maybe we can try those.

This whole experience is really putting a damper on the love I’ve occasionally felt for my house. While I was playing with the snow on the roof, Mrs S was downstairs repairing sheetrock in the basement from other water damage.

Water damage that I’m not all that certain isn’t going to be a repeat this spring. Now that I’ve been pulling snow off the roof all winter, there’s a spot in the front of the house where the snow pile is approaching 5 feet high, again no exaggeration. I can stand on it, which BTW, compresses it nicely, and the roof line is at about eye level. Since science has proven that snow is in-fact water, this water has to go somewhere, and I’m afraid that somewhere is my basement.

When I’m standing on the Sank-A-Horn mountain and looking at the roof, and the attached Three Gorges Dam of Ice is staring at you in the face, you, or at least I, get a little primitive. Here is where bad ideas come from, men left unsupervised.

Call me stupid.

Thank you. I am.

Seems to me that if steam can get the ice off a little old fashioned muscle would work as well. Last year I had a drill that I used to drill holes in the ice to weaken it and make it easier to break apart. The holes did not make it easier to break apart, but were somewhat therapeutic to make.

Feeling a little frustration in my heart, I went after the ice with a shovel. My son, who is growing up so fast now, and really becoming a full grown man, suggested that I try something else, and proceeded to hand me, a uh.. well, a full sized axe that he found in the garage.

When I mentioned that he is becoming a man, I mean he’s coming up with bad ideas too, and of course I didn’t recognize them as such.

“Perfect” I said.. and took the thing and went Lizzy Borden on my roof. Massive chunks of ice were flying off the thing, I attacked it top ways and side ways, whacked away. After about an hour of chipping, which for some reason was only 5 minutes on the real clock I had to passed the axe to the kid, who I should mention was salivating at the idea of chopping on the house.

“I’m too old for this.”  I handed him the axe and stepped off the snow mountain to watch. He was doing exactly what I had been doing. Balancing on a snowbank, in front of our new front windows, swinging an axe with full strokes at my roof.

What, could possibly go wrong, he was wearing safety goggles for goodness sake.

Here’s what could go wrong, and it did. Mrs Sankary could come out of the house to see what all the pounding was and catch my son mid-stroke.

She had audacity to suggest that this was not our finest hour and recommended that we  cease before we “you do something you can’t hide” and pointed out that for all our efforts, we’d made very little progress on the ice.

K.

“You know, I told him it would work, but sometimes he has to learn on his own dear, don’t you agree?”

If you’ve ever been tagged by snowball in the ear, you know that it is, the worst possible place to catch one, the snow gets in your hear and hurts, goes down your shirt and you freeze and well, I had it coming so I couldn’t get mad at him.

But I will, at the time of place of my choosing, get even.

That’s what we old guys do.

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Finally pt 2

Signs are unmistakable now. Last of the snow departed Apple Valley around 8:00 last night.. that’s when I noticed the last bit on the street was actually gone. Today there’s just a pile of sand and grit where Snow Mountain used to be. Last night, for the first time time this year the opening choruses of the annual frog love season kicked in with first wood frogs singing away last night.

And finally, sometime yesterday the ice went out of Alimagnet lake. According to my records, about three weeks later than it did last year. First shoots of tulips broke through this week and the streets are filled to hoards of children playing out side in mass for the first time since November.

Won’t be long now before we change over and start bitching about the heat. Love the change of seasons.

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