Long Lost Yooper-isms

Today I was cleaning out my old writing files when I stumbled across a nondescript blue notebook. Since I’m a bit addicted to buying school supplies, that’s not unusual. When I opened the cover, however, I discovered a small stash of Yooper Stewart quotes. Based on the other contents in the notebook, I think these are about eight years old. I have no idea what inspired most of these, but they still made me laugh!

Here you go:

“Don’t give me that upper-crust, born-on-the-right-side-of-the-tracks look.”

“True Grits: The Real Story of Breakfast.”

“That could be a hillbilly love song – The Whistling Beer Bottle.”

“I like that pillow. If I was an executive, I’d buy that pillow.”

“I think the flora and fauna in my digestive tract are off.”

(I love that man!)

Yooper Stewart & Sister Stewart Hit the Road

After a CRAZY summer of family and fun, I’m finally back at the computer with Yooper Stewart stories (technically just one for now, but more will come)! I apologize for the delay, but the photos are worth it, I promise. I actually have photos this time because YS took a passenger with him – this is the story of Yooper Stewart’s road trip with Sister Stewart.

One of the perks to Yooper Stewart’s job is that he can bring visitor’s with him, so earlier this year Sister Stewart took a few days off to see the world! Instead, they saw the freeway and some parts of the East Coast. It was an experience for both of them, sharing a 6′ x 6′ space. Thankfully they get along, so they enjoyed most of it.

YS took SS took through Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, across the George Washington bridge, across Manhattan, under three skyscrapers, through the giant orange Hot Wheels loop and onto Long Island. From there, they went to Western Indiana (carrying pallets to be recycled). Then they picked up cardboard to drive back into Michigan.

The trip took five days, and YS had a blast. Lots of fun talking, he introduced his sister to the Waffle House, and – most importantly – someone else got to experience the sheer lunacy of how people drive around semi-trucks. Then there were the truly odd experiences – a deer walking past their truck on Long Island and a car parked along the freeway with people sitting outside it playing guitars.

Sister Stewart also had the chance to play with her “Ways” app – it’s a real-time traffic app. She got points for being the first person to spot and report different traffic issues, then got even more points when others commented on her reports. Apparently she collected lots of points, but – like “Whose Line is it Anyway?” – the points don’t seem to matter.

After that successful guest-trip, Yooper Stewart has decided that it’s not bad having someone he likes in the cab with him. That’s why I’m going with him next month! I’m sure the experience will be a little different than it was with his sister, but hopefully he’ll still enjoy it. As long as I don’t have to drive, I’m sure I’ll do just fine.

Keep scrolling to see even more photos from their trip!

Backyard BBQ, Yooper Stewart Style

Yooper Stewart and I have been lucky – his last two trips home we’ve had great weather. Because of that, we’ve been enjoying backyard cookouts and bonfires with the family. When you eat outside with Yooper Stewart, however, you can’t expect things to be normal. When it’s windy, for example, your “tablecloth clips” may be unconventional.

And there’s definitely nothing normal about starting a bonfire. Yes, he uses kindling and wood like anyone else, but why use fire starters or any other normal bonfire technique when you could use … hand sanitizer.

 

And after dinner, when the parents go home and your wife and sister go see a movie, what better way to relax than to sit back with … your laptop.

 

Really, it’s just another day in the life of Yooper Stewart, when he’s not on the road or selling Legos or running an Amazon business.

I didn’t know these things about Yooper Stewart when I met him, but I had an inkling when, on our wedding night, he introduced me to Red Green. Lucky for me, Yooper Stewart’s handy and handsome.

Life Hacks with Yooper Stewart

Yooper Stewart Bed Frame Flavor Bars. Patent pending.

Meijer – the preferred retail store of Midwesterners. It’s also where Yooper Stewart and I regularly hang out. We not only grocery shop, we restock his Amazon store, buy clothes, and laugh uncontrollably at ourselves as we cruise the aisles, often with a tactical shopping cart (a YS term for the smaller, dual-basket carts).

On our most recent trip to Meijer, Yooper Stewart clued me in to some of his redneck-inspired life hacks. Here are three of my favorites:

  1. Weekend Wear: why bother with an entire wardrobe when you can wear one outfit all weekend (saving yourself time and money)? Here’s how it works: take a shower Friday night, then put on a clean shirt. Wear that shirt to bed, and to your family picnic the next day, then to bed again. No muss. No fuss. No coconuts – just the same shirt all weekend.
  2. Flavor Bars: Open your gas grill. Look into it – below the grates you’ll see some metal strips. These strips cover the flames, protecting the fire from going out while also adding flavor to your food (the drippings heat on the metal, creating smoke and adding flavor). After a while the flavor bars may need to be replaced. Normal people go to the store and buy replacement bars. Yooper Stewart disassembled a bed frame and used pieces of it in our grill. Since I’m not keen on the flavor of burned paint on my food, I wanted to buy real replacement flavor bars. So there we are in Meijer – Yooper Stewart and I arguing because he didn’t trust the quality of the store-bought flavor bars. You know – the ones specifically designed and made for a grill. His argument: store-bought flavor bars will only last 10-15 years; his bars will survive at least two generations of grill masters. It took fifteen minutes to convince him that the store-bought bars were probably a better option than Aunt Linda’s old bed frame.
  3. The Belt. I have no words. Instead, I’ll let you see for yourself.

I can’t wait to see what I learn from him the next time he’s home!

Yooper Stewart Inspires Matt-less Shenanigans

There are pros and cons to being a trucker’s wife.

Pro: The house stays clean.
Con: Limited cuddling.

Pro: We have deeper, more meaningful conversations.
Con: We talk about what we’d like to do, but we don’t usually have the time to do it.

Pro: He gets paid better.
Con: I spend the extra money on comfort food to cope while he’s gone.

Overall it’s been a good experience – Yooper Stewart and I are both learning a lot about ourselves and our marriage. This past trip, however, has been hard on both of us, and we’re both counting down the days until he’s home again (though we actually don’t know when he’ll be home, so it’s a hypothetical counting). As I recently lamented my loneliness of Facebook, a friend said she wished she was closer so we could participate in Matt-less shenanigans (disclosure – Yooper Stewart’s real name is Matt).

Matt-less shenanigans.

I like it! Not the Matt-less part, the shenanigans part. I’ve been staying busy while he’s gone, but I’ve also discovered that I spend a lot of time on the couch killing time. Bleh. I realize this is Yooper Stewart’s blog, so I’ll be talking about these shenanigans on my blog (possibly my Facebook page), but since YS inspired them, I wanted to mention them.

I also used this opportunity to remind YS that I haven’t posted anything since February, partly because I’ve been busy and partly because he hasn’t sent me any more pictures (okay, mostly it’s my fault, but I can’t completely admit to that can I?).  That inspired him to send me a few pictures from his journeys. I hope that I’ll have more photos to share than of just his truck, but for now you can see what Yooper Stewart sees every day.

Except for this sign – he doesn’t see this sign every day, but it was worth the time to take a picture of it!

 

 

The New (and Improved?) Yooper Stewart

0220170943a_500x1000He did it!

Yooper Stewart finished his first solo week driving in his own truck. He drove to Connecticut through a winter storm, was woken up at 1 a.m. for a 5 a.m. delivery, and managed to drive 3,000 miles total.

The Saturday after his week ended, his company threw an employee party to celebrate people for their years of service and to recognize the company’s 45th anniversary. We decided to attend so YS and I could meet more of his co-workers. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to help him organize his truck (though he wasn’t sure that he wanted the help).

When I arrived, Yooper Stewart looked the same, but something had changed. I didn’t realize it yet, but after five weeks on the road (one by himself), YS had had a heart change. Miraculously he did two things he’s never done before.

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  1. He wanted to go to a party. That’s right – no more waiting until the last minute with me dragging him behind me as he tries to come up with a good reason why he should be able to skip another social function. I knew my bearded introvert would enjoy his alone time in the truck, but I didn’t realize that all that alone time would awaken his social side and lead him to seek out personal interactions. Not only did we arrive early, we were one of the last few people to leave.
  2. He let me organize his things. I’m a natural organizer. Yooper Stewart is not. I’ve been begging him for years to let me help him organize his office, but he’s never let me. After a tiring week on the road in a cramped, disorganized truck, however, he was willing to let me try. And he liked the results. (Maybe now he’ll let me into his office!)

0219171919_500x1000To celebrate his first successful week, he celebrated like any good redneck – with a medium-rare ribeye (thank you Mom and Aunt Linda for the gift card!).

With his first week behind him, he’s feeling more confident and relaxed. He’s ready to take on his first month, his first summer, his first year. (And I’m ready to take on his office…)

It’s Official – Yooper Stewart’s Truckin’

As you may remember, Yooper Stewart decided to go to school to become a semi-truck driver. It’s a job he’s been prepping for his entire life: long hours on the road, not having to interact with people, and optional showering. 13395

After school, he interviewed with two companies and received two job offers. We spent several days praying about it before he made a decision, though it wasn’t easy. His new employer provides a variety of delivery routes and locations, which appeals to YS. It also, however, delivers to New York City – a location YS was in no hurry to visit. Still, we had peace about the decision, and YS decided he’d face NYC when he had to.14076

YS accepted the job and took his first four trips to NYC: twice to the Citibank building and twice to Nassau Colosseum. He didn’t always have time to play tourist, but he did manage to dine out a couple of times.

To make sure YS was completely comfortable in a truck, his trainer took him to NYC for the grand tour: from Delaware to Manhattan to Long Island to Queens to the Bronx to Manhattan to New Jersey. After this training, I think YS is going to be ready to drive anywhere. 14211

It’s been an interesting transition. We both thought I’d have the harder time with it (not seeing him for two weeks at a time), but it surprised us both that YS struggled the most (primarily because he’s a hardcore introvert, and he had to spend a month in a 6′ x 6′ box with a complete stranger). Though the training surprised us, what didn’t surprise me was that YS mastered training faster than average. Shortening his training by 25%, he’s ready for his last run before he graduates to his own truck. 14208

 

I won’t lie – we can’t wait for him to be in his own truck. Not only will he have some much-needed alone time, he’ll be able to set his own schedule (which includes home time!). And then – in April – if everything goes well, I’ll get to pack up my bag and hit the road with him. (Neither one of us wants to speculate as to how well we’ll do together in that truck cab, but we take comfort in knowing that if it doesn’t go well, it’ll only be 3-4 days.)14214

We’re both looking forward to settling into our new lifestyle. Everything has been inconsistent and constantly-changing since December, but getting his own truck with put YS back in the driver seat (literally and metaphorically). We still don’t know what life will look like in three months, six months, or a year, but we’re excited to find out.

Eleven Years with Yooper Stewart

478Yesterday Yooper Stewart and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary. That’s right – eleven years with my redneck. Some days we’re amazed that we’ve made it this far. Pretty much every day we’re thankful that we stuck with it and pressed through.

We were married on November 26, 2005, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I recognize November 26 as our anniversary; Yooper Stewart recognizes the Saturday after Thanksgiving as our anniversary. Either way, we don’t celebrate the way most people celebrate.

For starters, sometimes our anniversary (Nov. 26) is on Thanksgiving, so the whole family is invited. Regardless of when Nov. 26 falls, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is always the U-M/OSU game, so there’s a football game involved (for me, not YS – he couldn’t care less). And some years we’re up at 4 a.m. for Black Friday savings.479

Our gifts are pretty unconventional too. We generally don’t exchange gifts – a dinner out (when neither of us has to cook or clean) is usually enough, but recently Yooper Stewart has requested – and received – Legos. I prefer practical gifts, so it’s not uncommon for me to get a mop or some type of cleaning supply. This year he surprised me by finally fixing the top two items on the to-be-fixed list.

The past eleven years haven’t always been what I’d expected, but it sure has been a fun ride. I can’t wait for the next eleven.

 

It’s a Birthday Miracle!

boys-and-couch

We’re back!

Okay, so it’s not as much a miracle as it is me finally getting my act together to pay some renewals and find a new home for YS. I did it, though, and here we are! Just in time too – YS is taking a giant, redneck step this year and leaving his job to hit the road. That’s right: he’s going to truck driving school. We’re excited and nervous (but mostly excited). He actually took today off work to go visit the school before he starts classes.

While he’s studying, I’ll be at home with these two hairy guys – Bucket (you’ve met) and our newest family member, Cooper. They aren’t nearly as handy in the kitchen as Yooper Stewart, but at least they’ll snuggle with me and keep me warm.

I’ll get back into the swing of things soon, but wanted to get this happy birthday, we’re-finally-back post up today so you’d know where you can find YS online.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Shovel It

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Tackling the plow snot – the worst part of shoveling.

 

Winter. Those glorious eight months of biting cold, sunless days, and piles and piles of snow. Yooper Stewart used to love the winter (because he used to own a lawn care business and didn’t work when it snowed). These days? Well, he’d rather not share his specific feelings about the season, but let’s just say it’s not his favorite.

A contributing factor to his waning love of the snow – shoveling. He now works doing outdoor maintenance at the local hospital. That means lawn mowing and flower beds in the summer, but it also means salt tubs, snow blowers, and shovels in the winter. Being paid to shovel a sidewalk isn’t too bad. Having toe clear out two parking spaces at home, however, wears on you.

Fortunately for YS, he married a helpful woman who hates shoveling as much as he does, so she shares in his agony to help reduce the number of hours he spends throwing snow. A couple of years ago my parents retired to Las Vegas, so they gave us their snow blower, but we live significantly farther north than they did and that cute little machine couldn’t handle the work. After we burned out the third motor, we stopped fixing it and broke out the shovel.

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Yooper Stewart & Mrs. YS (sporting the biggest, warmest coat you’ll ever find)

 

Shoveling on a good day is bad enough, but this picture was not taken on a good day. On this day we were shoveling snow while the snow fell on us while the wind blew the shoveled snow back in our faces. Then the neighbor revved up his snow blower (thanks – rub it in). Then we saw it – the snow plow. We’d just cleared the end of the driveway and the snow plow was three houses away, ready to drop another half foot of snot in front of our car. Awesome.

I won’t lie – I wanted to flip them off, but Yooper Stewart is a working man. He’s talked with the guys at the DPW before. He patted me on the head and waved at the snow plow driver. The drive waved back, lifted the blade, and drove past our driveway sparing us another 15 minutes of work.

I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned here, but with sore shoulders and an aching back all I can think about it buying YS a new John Deere for his birthday.