In my nearly 42 years on this earth, I've learned a thing or two. Incidentally, I've forgotten way more than I've learned, but that's not important here. But this past weekend definitely taught me a few things I should have already learned the last time I was in Pierre:
2) A 10:45am tee time is MUCH better... unless you start in on Bloody Mary's before your first tee shot.
3) Contrary to popular belief, drinking Vodka-RedBulls does NOT give you the strength of 10 men - no matter how many of the drinks you consume.
4) My good friend, Mueller, is the nicest guy in the world to claim he actually enjoys hearing the same story from me over and over six times in one night.
5) A seven hour drive TO Pierre is much easier than a seven hour trip back home from Pierre (especially if your Taco John's fetish causes you to stop and buy yourself $11.48 worth of super burritos and hard shell tacos while passing through Huron).
Something else I remembered upon my arrival home is that Claire is the greatest gift I could ever ask for in life (and I'll never forget it). When I got home she ran to me yelling, "Happy Father's Day, Papa! I got you a present!" Then she ran to the kitchen table and grabbed a little Father's Day bag of goodies (chocolate) and a homemade card she designed... decorated with her favorite things to draw - a hotdog, a curvy road, a pond and something new that I've never seen. Sometimes it's a chicken leg, and other times it's a soccer ball. Regardless, it's golden!
* I've also learned my Blackberry camera is about as useless as the 10-year old Kodak Easyshare I've been using for blog pictures.
Then today, as if my brain wasn't already pounding hard enough after a rough weekend, I learned the entire wooded area behind our home is comprised mostly of ash trees and buckthorn. So what, right? A couple years ago, I would've thought, "Oh, that's nice... ash trees seem lovely enough, and buckthorn sounds sorta cool." Then one day while walking with Claire and Bogey down a nature trail, I saw a sign asking people to report any buckthorn sightings. Upon closer inspection of the sign, I learned buckthorn was a very popular hedging material brought to the U.S. in the mid-1800's that has since been determined to be invasive to native plants for nutrients, sunlight and moisture. So if you're a native MinneSOtan, you've no doubt heard about the evils of buckthorn. And if you've read any sort of Minnesota newspaper or watched the TV news within the last two years, then you've heard about the cute little critter known as the emerald ash borer. The same emerald ash borer that's known to be killing millions of ash trees throughout 14 states and two Canadian provinces. So after I noticed the number of dead trees in our back yard rose from about six to 16 during this spring season, it didn't take me long to figure out, "Hey, something's not right!" Then about a week ago I saw a beautiful bright green bug darting through the grass into the large rocks separating our yard from the wooded area and thought to myself, "Oh shit... that bug was way too cool looking to be anything good." So today, a certified arborist confirmed the presence of ash trees - many dead and some just starting to die - and buckthorn. So it's obvious we've been invaded by the emerald ash borer. But he was the cup's half-full kinda guy because he told me, "Well, at least your yard is gonna look bigger after we clear out all the dead trees and buckthorn." Then he handed me his estimate. That's when I looked it over and told him, "And at least your schedule is going to be free next week, because it doesn't look like we'll be hiring you for this amount of money!"
So another certified arborist will be here Monday to give us his estimate, and I'm sure my head's gonna be hurting... again.