Introducing….

I am very pleased to introduce to the world, the newest addition to the cast of characters in “The Life of a Father of Five
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Tobias James6lbs 8oz
21 inches
Born 6:55pm

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First and foremost, I am happy to report that “C” (the new mother) is doing well! 
I am also very happy to report that the “cute as a button” baby is doing very well!
Finally, I am happy to report that #1 of 5 (the new father) is doing well. 
Although everyone is doing well, continued thoughts and prayers for this new little family would be greatly appreciated!




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I was at work when the excitement all started taking place.  I was being given updates over the telephone as they happened.
By 9pm we had enough staff on that I could burn a couple of hours of my vacation time to drive out to the hospital and see how everyone was doing. 
The Mother of Five was already there visiting with “C”.  I arrived and heard the whole story from start to finish. 
Prior to leaving #1 of 5 took me into the nursery to see the baby while the Mother of Five stayed with “C”. 

Since “C” was required to stay in her room, the baby was still required to stay in the nursery, and the Mother of Five wanted to stay with “C”, I (unfortunately) did not get any photos of baby with mom, baby with grandparents (except myself), or baby with great grandparents.  I promise to get some tomorrow, as it turns out there are some new uncles and aunts that are pretty excited to meet their new nephew!
Since it was only us, it turned out to be a nice little little Grandfather / Father / Son moment…

The Weather Outside is Frightful

I chose to avoid the overused terms “Snowmageddon” or “Tsnownami” – but what we have going on here today is frightful indeed! 

We are in the midst of the biggest snow storm yet this year – we are told to expect anywhere from 16-19 inches of snow (depending on where you are at).  We are also getting sustained winds 15-20 with gusts up to 35 mph – and to top it all off, temps are dropping (quickly) and we are being advised to expect wind-chills in the 20 – 35 below zero range.

When you live in a rural area, the roads between towns are the most dangerous means of getting around (even though they can be the ONLY means to get around).  If the road does get plowed, it will “disappear” under blowing and drifting snow again in a matter of minutes.  It’s easy to get get stranded or trapped in your vehicle in weather like this.  Given the current weather conditions and expected drop in temps, choosing to drive is choosing to take your life in your own hands.

This is quite the weather event!  But, it’s Minnesota – and anyone who has lived here long enough (or, their whole lives – like me) come to expect these types of “events”.  What makes this one unique is that #2 of 5, #3 of 5 and I committed to work the Salvation Army’s Red Bucket this morning at Radermacher’s Grocery Store.

Unfortunately, #2 of 5 was home sick yesterday, and was not feeling any better today.  Given the weather outside today, and our morning plans, I excused #2 of 5 from his bell ringing duties.

Our shift started at 9am.  I took this video out our front window just prior to leaving.   

 

We arrived, met with the store manager, got our bells and aprons, (literally) dug the stand and bucket out of a snowdrift, and set up.  It was cold, but not “frigid” outside (the temps had not yet dropped down).  Since we were on the first shift of the day, we watched the lot get plowed (for the second time today – according to the manager). 

It seemed as if 1 out of every 10 vehicles that we noticed had a snow plow blade attached to it.

As the morning progressed a few folks started braving the weather and showing up to stock up for being snowed in over the next few days.  As we have noticed in the past, the generosity of folks simply amazed me!  Perhaps they felt sorry for #3 of 5 and I for having to stand out in the blizzard?    

#3 of 5 - ringin' the bell  Rare poto of "The Father of Five" - bundled up and ringing the bell! 

Radermacher's Ice Sclupture - It's a grocery cart made of ice!  #3 of 5 - ringing the bell

We stuck around long enough to finish up our shift, and (unfortunately, our relief never showed up (very likely due to weather)) so we worked half of the next shift.  By the time the weather started getting to us, you could not even tell the lot had been plowed (twice already).  We decided that we had done our part (and then some) so we called it quits.  We turned in our aprons and bells, picked up the few things that the Mother of Five asked us to pick up from the Grocery Store (since getting in and out would be pretty much out of the question in a few short hours), stopped for a hot chocolate and headed home.

One of the things I like about living in a small / rural town is seeing things that others may find quite odd.  Things like snowmobiles driving along side of you, and folks gassing up those snowmobiles – not on trailers mind you, no, they drive up to the gas pumps ON their snowmobiles and gas ‘em up right there at the pumps! 

Snowmobiles gassin' up at the pumps, right next to cars and trucks!

By the time we finished our shift, got our hot chocolates, and started driving home – the snow was really starting to accumulate.  The main road (County Road 9) had been plowed, but 190th had not yet – and the drifts along that stretch of the road batted my little car around like a toy.

My car, burried in the snow bank, stuck at the bottom of the drivewayI nearly slid past the entrance to our development, and I really struggled to keep my car moving (with forward momentum) through the deep snow that covered our (unplowed) street.  I slowed slightly as we approached our driveway – wanting to get the garage door open so I could keep the momentum going up the driveway and into the garage. 

The door opened, and I “punched it” as I turned into the driveway.

I made it on to the driveway, but that is about it.  Thankfully, my car was completely off the roadway, but far enough down the bottom of the driveway that if the snow plow had come by My car would be half buried in the mound left behind.

I spent the next hour plowing the driveway around my car, then digging the car out. 

Snow blower - you can see the snow depth in the background.  A twenty inch snow drift

Once I successfully freed my car from the snow bank, I tucked my car back into the garage.

Car, finally freed and tucked safely back in the garage  Car, finally freed and tucked safely back in the garage

With the car safely back in the garage, I finished blowing out the rest of the driveway, and some of our front sidewalk.

Sidewalk  Snowblower upon completion.

Afterwards, I headed in to warm up, dry off, and spend some time with my family.  (Watching It’s a Wonderful Life).  But before heading down, something caught my eye. 

Huh?  What's that???    Is it possible??It sure looks like it!  Snow drift, as deep as (or even deeper than) our kitchen table!

Yup!  That is snow, drifted up to the height of our kitchen table!!  So, that’s it.  I’m calling it quits!  Time to write up a quick blog post, and enjoy the rest of the day “snowed in” with my family!  I LOVE Minnesota!!

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