erik lundegaard

Things I Learned on Vacation in Minnesota

  • Legos are insanely popular.
  • What Bakugan is.
  • Left to their own devices, kids will reduce the vastness of the world to Wii and Cheezits.
  • When attempting to extract young, Wii-playing nephews from the basement, even to go to a place where they want to go (swimming pool, Lego Land), never begin a sentence with: “Do you want to...?”
  • Losing your temper with children is way counterproductive.
  • “Tin Tin” still works for eight-year-olds. Even though it has “bad words.”
  • For eight year olds: If you’re writing all the bad words you know for your friend, who doesn’t read and write as well as you do, and you don’t want his parents to know who the author is, don’t sign your name.
  • The best time to go to the Mall of America is just as it opens, particularly on a holiday, say the Fourth of July. It’s still relatively calm and manageable. The huge crowds, and the unrelenting din, haven’t arrived yet.
  • On a weekday afternoon, you can still walk for blocks in south Minneapolis and see no one.
  • Kids in south Minneapolis still put up lemonade stands.
  • South Minneapolis is still a great place to grow up.
  • Roseanne Cash has pipes. Her voice transcends genres. (Thanks, Jim and Jean.)
  • It helps to know someone at Coastal Seafood. (Thanks, Doug.)
  • Minneapolis is solving the unemployment problem with more summer road construction than is humanly possible...and yet that stretch of Hennepin between the Walker and Franklin Ave. still sucks.
  • When putting helium-filled birthday balloons into a car, make sure the sun-roof is closed.
  • Eight-year-old nephews can almost outrun their 46-year-old uncles now. And around a bouncy house in the backyard? In socks? The uncles have no chance.
  • When unable to win at conventional warfare, everyone resorts to unconventional warfare. And by “warfare,” substitute “a game of Monster versus four kids around the bouncy house.” And by “everyone,” substitute “me.” I.e., Unable to capture all four kids in the dungeon (the hammock) without one, usually the eight-year-old nephew, freeing them, tell that nephew, currently in the dungeon, that the other kids, currently on a “water break,” are enjoying cool, refreshing water while he has none. And yet who always freed them? He did! And yet were they helping him now? No! They were enjoying cool, refreshing water.
  • Caveat: Such psychological warfare won’t help you win the game but it’s still satisfying.
  • The kid version of this is to call for a water break just as you’re about to be captured.
  • Iphones are great for checking work e-mail. Particularly to let you know you have no important work e-mail.
  • The best time for a conversation with an eight-year-old is while biking to and from tennis lessons.
  • Be grateful, and almost melt, when your nephew takes to heart your comments about tennis lessons, and pays more attention to the teacher, and acts more like an eight-year-old should.
  • Don’t be surprised that he’s only doing this to get back his “T for Teen” Wii game, which his mother took away from him the night before “until he acts more like an eight-year-old should.”
  • The best place for kids to pick out presents for adults, that the adults don’t need but can’t possibly give or throw away, is the Minnesota store at the Mall of America.
  • Any woman who agrees, on her birthday, to go to “Star Trek” for the nephews, and then, when the six-year-old balks, to go to a matinee of “Ice Age 3,” is the best woman in the world.
  • The best potato chips in the world are Old Dutch Rip-L potato chips.
  • The best french fries in the world are at Nick and Eddies.
  • The best ice cream in the world is Sebastian Joe’s.
  • The time to go on a diet is after vacation.

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Posted at 09:51 AM on Wed. Jul 15, 2009 in category Personal Pieces  

COMMENTS

Robb wrote:

Yeah, what's the deal with road construction? I've never remembered a time in Minnesota when they just completely shut down major highways and interstate for 24 and 48 hour periods - all lanes and both directions. Is that just laziness and bad planning or utter contempt for the people who must travel those roads?
Comment posted on Wed. Jul 15, 2009 at 10:13 AM

DiMarco wrote:

I'll be heading to Minnesota myself in a couple of weeks - your blog has captured the spirit of Minnesota perfectly, Erik!
Comment posted on Wed. Jul 15, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Tim wrote:

Awesome. I cannot possibly imagine anything similar in an experience going back to my old hometown. Except the road construction thing -- Tucson's been doing that for decades.
Comment posted on Wed. Jul 15, 2009 at 05:08 PM

carol troy wrote:

Who is this insane woman who chose to see StarTrek on her birthday? She needs a vacation far, far away from Mall of America!
Carol Troy
Comment posted on Thu. Jul 16, 2009 at 01:40 AM

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