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December, 2009:

Ice Fishing? Seriously?

As you may or may not know, I spent the first 23 years of my life in MN. That would explain my hatred of all things small that buzz around your head while you’re trying to sleep and my love of that fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky.

I now reside in the lovely state of Colorado, right on the front range with an amazing view of Pikes Peak. How anyone could ever get sick of seeing that in the morning is beyond me – 13 years and I still smile every morning when I see it :-)

There are a lot of transplants here . . . lots of people form all over, but really lots of people from warm places like Texas and California. So today at work, my boss (an avid hunter and fisherman) said “Ahhhhhh . . . just four more inches of ice on the lakes and we can head out for some ice fishin’!” I was all “Ooooooh I’m so jealous. I LOVE ice fishing!” The other ladies, who are both from Texas, looked at me with the craziest eyes and said “Ice fishing? Seriously? You love ice fishing?” Then they got to hear all about my memories of ice fishing . . . maybe I only had this experience once, I don’t know, but I remember it vividly, right down to the coat I was wearing – bright pink with fake gray fur around the hood.

It was a beautiful sunny winter day in MN – the kind of day where you stared at the flaming sun against the beautiful blue sky and wondered how the sun could be so big and bright yet your nostrils still froze together instantly when you accidentally forgot yourself and took a breath through your nose.

My Dad loaded my brother and I into the plastic blue sled – the one with the twine for a handle. He put the hand auger on Pat’s lap and the poles and bait on my lap. He carried the three 5-gallon buckets, the thermos of hot chocolate, and the butter and bologna sandwiches in one hand while pulling us in the sled with the other.

As we rode out across the lake in the sled, listening to the ice cracking beneath us, Pat dared me to stick my tongue to the zipper on my jacket to see if it would stick. It did.

We finally got to what Dad announced was the perfect fishing spot. Pat and I hopped out of the sled and ran around throwing snowballs and ice chunks at each other and slipping on the ice while Dad manually turned the auger to dig us a some fishing holes. Pat and I got to take turns with the little strainer scooper thingy and scoop the ice out of our holes. When all the holes were ready, Dad set out the 5 gallon buckets, put a fishing pole in our right hand and a cup of hot chocolate in our left, and we fished.

I don’t remember if we caught any fish. I don’t remember how many times we had to pound the ice out of the holes with a screwdriver after they froze over on our lines. I don’t remember how the frost bite on my cheeks felt.

But I do remember spending that bitter cold sunny winter day sitting on a 5-gallon pail in the middle of a frozen lake with my brother, my dad, and a cup of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

$1700 Later – Again

So ya – the garage door broke yesterday. It’s always sagged a bit in the middle – OK, a lot – like enough that my step-dad who is over 6′ tall can’t walk through the middle or he hits his head. Enough so that we couldn’t drive the Jeep or Highlander in the garage in the middle without risking hitting the luggage racks. So we need a new one – which is not a surprise since we’ve lived in this house with a heavey saggy garage door for the past 6 years.

Hubby starts looking around and pricing them, etc. We decide on one – a regular 7′ tall double garage door, metal with insulation and then metal on the other side. No windows. Not an expense we were planning for, but whattya do.

So the guy comes out to measure our garage door, and guess what . . . the people who lived here before us are stupid. yes, that’s mean – but one of the 1st two owners cut corners ALL. THE. TIME. You can see the cut corners everywhere in the house, to painting around toilets, putting 3 layers of walpaper over the original, laying 2 layers of linoleum and one layer of fake hardwood over the original floor in the kitchen so it was 2″ higher than it should have been, etc. You see, this house was built in 1979. It’s basically a very Brady house with wide hallways. Given it’s age, it was originally built with a single car garage under a bedroom. At some point between 1979 and 2003, when we bought it, they added on a 400 square foot ‘office’ onto the back of the house on the ground level. They put hardwood in it and taughht dance lessons in there. They build a deck on top of the flat roof of that room – flat roofs are always a great idea in climates where it SNOWS so the snow sits right on top for weeks on end. They changed the single car garage into a bedroom (but heaven forbid they add extra insullation!) and added a double garage out in front. To do so, they had to get an easement because the wider driveway would be too close to the property line and the house itself too close to the road, even though our houses are at least 3 car lengths away from the road. And then they build the garage, with a peaked roof. YAY! However, the peaked roof comes right up to the bedroom windows in the master bedroom – like the peak is higher than the bottom of the windows in our bedroom. Why do I share all of this with you?

Because their master plan for this garage involved digging out a bunch of land (granite I might add!) to make the driveway wide enough. Then they had to add retaining walls on either side. As you go up from the road to our house, the wall gets higher – probably 3 feet at it’s highest. A fair amount of work. Then they put in the garage and garage door.

Back to the guy who came to measure . . . our garage door is not a regular 7′ garage door height. Oh no no no no. It’s 6′ 9″. The people chose to NOT dig an extra 3 inches to get a regular sized garage door way back when.

So now, we get to pay for a custom ordered door to fit on our freaky garage, which means our $1000 simple almond colored metal garage door with no windows has now become at least $1700.

Bah humbug!