The Wife Quiz

This past week a lot of friends on Facebook have been posting a list of questions that they asked their husbands – it’s sort of a “how well do you know your wife” quiz. I couldn’t resist. This morning I sat down with Yooper Stewart and asked him. Below is our conversation. The actual quiz questions are in bold type, for your reference.

Me: I’m going to ask you some questions, you give me your knee-jerk reaction. Don’t think too much about it.

YS: Oh no, am I in trouble?

Me: No, I just want to ask you some questions. What’s something I always say to you?
YS: Pet me.

Me: What makes me happy?
YS: Having fun with friends.

Me: What makes me sad?
YS: Being lonely.

Me: What was I like as a child?
YS: Loud.

Me: How do I make you laugh?
YS: You’re funny.
Me: How?
YS: You say funny things that are unexpected.
Me: Do you want to give an example?
YS: I can’t think of anything right now.

Me: How old am I?
YS: 36? I don’t keep track of how old you are, I just kiss you.

Me: How tall am I?
YS: I don’t know. 5’10″? Are you 5’10″?

Me: What’s my favorite thing to do?
YS: Watch movies.

Me: What do I do when you’re not around?
YS: Work on writing.

Me: If I become famous, what will it be for?
YS: Writing.

Me: What am I really good at?
YS: Writing.

Me: What am I not good at?
YS: I don’t know.

Me: What’s my job?
YS: You’re a freelance writer.

Me: What’s my favorite food?
YS: Lovin’.
Me: You realize that’s not a food, right?
YS: I don’t know. You’ve got a few. Are you writing down everything I say?? Oh man. Um…anything off the grill.
Me: Really? You’re going to go with that?
YS: Why?
Me: Pizza??
YS: Yeah, but we’re not eating that right now.
Me: That doesn’t mean it’s not my favorite.
YS: Okay, pizza.

Me: What makes you proud of me?
YS: When you get a story published above the fold on the front page.

Me: If I was a fictitious character, who would I be?
YS: You’d be you.
Me: But I’m not fictitious.
YS: I don’t know. That question is for people who spend too much time on Facebook.

Me: What do we do together?
YS: We laugh.

Me: How are we the same?
YS: We’re both hard workers who value productivity. We have similar financial beliefs and spiritual beliefs. We have the same cats.

Me: How are we different?
YS: We’re opposites.
Me: How?
YS: We have opposite personalities and love languages.
Me: What do you mean?
YS: You’re a shy extrovert and I’m an outgoing introvert. It doesn’t get much different than that.
Me: You stole that answer from me, didn’t you?
YS: Absolutely.

Me: How do you know that I love you?
YS: Because of the things you say and the things you do for me.
Me: Like what?
YS: Like the meals you cook for me. And you do the laundry.

Me: What do I like most about you?
YS: My camo pants (laughing). I don’t know. I know what you don’t like about me.
Me: You don’t know anything that I like about you?
YS: You like that I have a good relationship with the Lord. (long pause)
Me: You really don’t know??
YS: You like that I laugh at your silliness. You like that I’m fun. Outgoing. Responsible. In bed, SENSORED!!!

Me: Where’s my favorite place to go?
YS: The lighthouse in Ludington. I don’t know if it still is, but it was at one point.

 

Well-Rested = Well-Loved

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Yooper Stewart and Linda on their first trip to a Hobby Lobby.

Labor Day weekend 2012, my aunt Linda moved in with Yooper Stewart and me. She’s mentally handicapped and had spent the past 30 years in a nice care home downstate, but she was ready for a change. She moved in and our lives changed forever (you can read more about her adventures here). Though she moved out last month, her life and influence has given me lots of great stories to share.

I grew up with Linda, so I understand her personality, quirks, and capabilities. YS had to learn as we lived, and sometimes it was a sharp learning curve. At other times I had to flat out tell him the answers (e.g. Linda is very much like a child – if it’s noon and she’s cranky, she’s probably hungry. Feed her lunch and all is right with the world.). Over the years they learned to love and live with each other, though there is one rather interesting dynamic to their relationship – tiredness.

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Late-night Lego sorting.

When Linda is well-rested and refreshed, Yooper Stewart is her favorite person in the whole world. She brings him breakfast and coffee in bed while I sit next to him – no coffee or eggs for me. She helps him sort Legos, chats with him while he fixes the car, and even colors pictures for him if he isn’t feeling well. Well-rested Linda and YS are great.

Tired, however, is a different story. We can always tell when Linda’s tired because YS is basically the spawn of Satan – he’s too fast, too slow, too quiet, too loud. He’s just too much, and she’s not afraid to tell him.

Thankfully I recognized this pattern and helped YS see it too. Instead of becoming frustrated and hurt, he could relate to the so-tired-I-can’t-function feeling and acted with lots of love and patience. That alleviated a lot of stress around our house. Now Yooper Stewart knows that Linda does love him, she just needs to get her afternoon nap to show it.

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Organizing Legos. And I swear – that’s not the only hoodie YS owns, nor does Linda only wear red. It’s just a really funny coincidence.

In Defense of Poop Beard

If you’ve been on social media this past week, you’ve probably seen the shocking headline: Beards Contain Poop Bacteria! (read it here)

Seeing as though I’m married to this man …

winter beard

… I wanted to do some more research.

First of all, while I appreciate the attempt to inspire sheer panic among fuzzy men and the women who love them, the article instantly sent up a couple of red flags:

1. Which bacteria did they find? People tend to associate “bacteria” with “bad,” but there are many forms of bacteria in the world that are necessary and helpful to our digestion and immune systems. With that in mind, I’m not going to freak out until I know which bacteria they found and how the affect me.
2. Were these bacteria found only on bearded men? My apologies to those of you who prefer a baby-faced boy, but, guess what? Poop face! That’s right: “Some bacteria species actually showed up more frequently in the clean-shaven men than in those with beards, the study found.” (check it out here)

I also wondered if fecal matter has ever been beneficial. Sure enough, poop isn’t all bad:

Little Know Fecal Transplant Cures Woman’s Bacteria Infection
Benefits of Burning Poop and Fecal Matter
Using Human Waste As Fertilizer

tailgate2While I’m not advocating the consumption or use of human waste, I hope you understand why I wrote this. In case you don’t, let me point out the two biggest points I’m trying to make:

1. Research is necessary. If you haven’t yet figured this out, pretty much every news outlet in the world has an agenda. Rarely does anyone report a complete story. You get half of the information or an opinion disguised as news. If you want the truth, you have to dig for it.
2. Beards are awesome. Was there ever any doubt?

So, in the wake of the Great Poop Scandal of 2015, Yooper Stewart hasn’t changed his mind about his beard, and neither have I. If it bothers you that much, you don’t have to kiss him. I’ll take care of that.

 

 

Reusing and Re-purposing, Yooper Style

When you have limited space and resources, it’s often necessary to reuse and/or re-purpose items that you already own. When Yooper Stewart decided to start selling Legos, he had to get creative to find ways to sort and organize his stock. You’ve seen some of these things as the background in other pictures, but today they’re going to be the main event.

April 2015The most obvious recycle is the salad container. Not only do they stack well, but their clear sides make it easy to check on inventory and make sure things are stored properly. (Plus, it keeps us eating organic spinach and kale mix.) The salad containers are for storing purposes. Before things are stored, however, they must first be sorted.

April 2015-3We can completely off-set all of that healthy eating by providing the sorting containers. Breyers gelato tubs work well. I don’t complain – the strawberry cheesecake gelato is fantastic!

April 2015-4And who needs a drying rack when you can put garbage bags on a bed, then cover the bags with my nice, plush bath towels? I mean, I only need one towel to dry off – I can spare one (or three) for Legos.

April 2015-2And where do you put those towels? On the top bunk, of course. We rarely have more than one guest, so the top bunk is usually free. With the help of a collapsible step stool, the bunk beds make a passable sorting/drying station for all YS’s Lego needs.

The set up isn’t perfect, and YS could tell you the top 100 improvements he’d like to make, but until then he’s making the most of what we have. Some day when we’re rich and generous he’ll have his own Lego room. Until then, towels and bunk beds will do.

Yooper Stewart Gets a Cold

 

Happy Spring!

I know it’s been a while, and I apologize. Yooper Stewart’s been busy getting ready for the spring, and he experienced a minor set back when he caught a head cold. Not to worry though. Yooper Stewart is nothing if not a baby when it comes to being sick, so we take every precaution to heal him quickly (and stop the whining).

Please note that I’m not trying to slam my man – he’s the first to admit that he’s a wimp when it comes to viruses. (I discovered this the first time he got the stomach flu and wanted me to call the church to start a prayer chain for him because he was sure it was the end.) This time he confessed to his medical-induced hysteria, but it didn’t stop him from going overboard: asking for cough syrup with expectorant (for a head cold), wanting to take a dose of expired cough syrup with codeine (for a head cold), and drinking 5-6 cups of green tea to boost his immune system (which, instead, resulted in him staying awake until 4:30 a.m. because he didn’t realize green tea has caffeine).

I gave him a box of Kleenex and told him to get some rest.

winter beard

Before

It worked. He’s back to his normal self and ready to take on spring! You can tell because he shed his winter coat:

 

spring shave

After!

I’m looking forward to this new season as well. There are always so many more photo and story ops when Yooper Stewart can get outside :)

 

A Look at the Legos

Hi. I’m Yooper Stewart. Today I’m going to give you a peek at my Lego business. You’ll notice that I’m all dressed for work (plaid and camo – the uniform of champions). You’ll also notice that I’m wearing my vest inside. I do that when it’s cold, instead of turning up the heat (much like when I wear my headlamp at night instead of turning on the lights, but I digress).

The uniform of champions.

The uniform of champions.

Today you’re getting a peek at my world of Legos. I have four basic categories, which are then divided into dozens of subcategories. The four main basic classifications are: new pre-sorted, new sorted, used pre-sorted, and used sorted. Let me explain. Below are boxes of new, pre-sorted Legos. Soon I will rip open these boxes and sort the piece by color, shape, and size.

New, pre-sorted.

New, pre-sorted.

After I sort, I store. One of my favorite storage containers is the re-purposed salad clam shell: I can see what’s inside and they stack nicely. For the little pieces, I buy storage systems from the hardware store (or Michael’s – they have great storage bins).

legos3

Think this is a lot of Legos? WRONG! This is a small portion of my 30,000+ inventory of new parts.

legos2The used Legos aren’t always so organized, as they often arrive in garbage bags inside cardboard boxes. After a thorough washing (my Legos have their own pre-programmed setting on the washing machine) and a mineral-free rinse in distilled water, the used Legos are ready to go.

legos

I haven’t had time to sort these recently, so they’re currently being stored. That’s okay though – we have a guest room where I can keep these until I’m ready to sort.legos1I know my wife wishes these were the only Legos I have, but this is probably 10% of my inventory. I can’t show you everything because, well – trade secrets and all. Still, I thought you might enjoy a look at my world of Legos.

 

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.

Smith or Robertson – You Decide

Murphy’s law – I write a post about Yooper Stewart’s camera shy ways and the next week he lets me take pictures of him. Of course.

The Sunday before Christmas, the fam took a trip to the Music House Museum. You can read all about (and see some great pictures and videos) here. The picture of YS and me started a discussion – who does Yooper Stewart look like?

Is he a Smith brother…

SmithBrothers_04

Or a Robertson?

cast-of-duck-dynasty-7

You decide.

tailgate2

Camera-Shy Redneck

So, YooperStewart.com hasn’t turned out exactly as I expected. I thought things around here would be more regular, but apparently the prunes haven’t kicked in yet. My goal has always been to show you what it’s like to be Yooper Stewart, and I wanted that to include actual photos and videos. I’ve brainstormed a dozen ideas for blog posts, but I didn’t want to post anything until I had a visual accompaniment. Seeing as though I’m only posting once every 4-6 weeks you can guess how well that plan has worked out.

I’ve come to realize that YS is a bit camera shy. There’s no real explanation for the shyness – the reasons tend to change with the weather – but its popping up more than it used to. I think my organized ways are rubbing off on him and he’s a little embarrassed when things aren’t just-right or well-kept. Then there’s the issue of his trade secrets. He doesn’t want me to show too many of his Lego-selling tricks online. Believe it or not, he’s not very shy about is his appearance, so that’s not usually an issue.

With this sudden onslaught of shyness I’ve been hesitant to publish new posts because I’m a bit worried that my stories of Yooper Stewart aren’t enough to entertain you – I want the safety net of photos. Then again, we’re talking about Yooper Stewart, the man who recently informed me that he’s out of body wash even though I put a brand new bottle in the shower two weeks ago. I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but with those kinds of shenanigans happening I don’t think I have much to worry about.

I could tell you a hundred stories, and it’s time that I get back to that.

Happy Birthday, YS

camo plaid

Thirty-six years ago today, Yooper Stewart entered the world. How prophetic that he was born on opening day of rifle season during the deer hunting season. I doubt his parents imagined that camo would become an every-day pattern in their son’s life (at our house we now consider camo a neutral – we pretend like it matches everything because he’s going to wear it with everything anyway).

I’ve know YS for nine years now, and I love the man more and more each day. Here are some of the reasons why I love him:

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– He remembers the names of my favorite authors, then picks up books with endorsements by those authors because, “I figured if your favorite author liked it, you’ll like it too.”

– When everything goes wrong and I want to throw things out the window, he taps into his calm-reserves and talks me down (unless the problem is fudgie traffic – then I have to talk him down).

– Have you seen him smile?

DSCF0002

– Every night in the winter he gives me a foot rub before bed. EVERY night (even if I’m already asleep, he’ll rub my feet until he knows for sure that I’m unconscious).

– He’s taller than me. That means I can wear heels!

– Old ladies love him.

– Little kids adore him.

– He makes me a better person (whether I want to be or not).

Happy birthday, honey. I love you!

With Matt