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!

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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!

Happy Birthday, YS

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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?

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– 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

July 4th Extravaganza

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Redneck in a fireworks store!!

It all started with a “quick” stop at the Pro Fireworks store in Williamsburg. Knowing that he and my dad would need supplies for their annual explosives display, Yooper Stewart came home with $25 worth of artillery shells and Black Cats. He also cruised the store, checking out supplies and prices. Having purchased fireworks with my father before, he knew right away that he could get twice as many supplies at Pro Fireworks for the price they usually paid at the fireworks tents. That led to another stop at the store.

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I literally couldn’t fit all of the fireworks in one photo.

Watching YS in a fireworks store is like watching my seven year-old niece cruise the doll aisle at Toys R Us set to the theme song of The Lego Movie: “Everything is AWESOME!” At one point we were looking at another fireworks box (they all looked the same to me) when we heard an employee in the next aisle say, “loudest one in the store!” Yooper Stewart ran around the corner to find out what it was. Thirty minutes (and $75) later, we had quite the supply (which, of course, doesn’t mean he and my dad didn’t still go to a fireworks tent to buy just a few more things).

Set-up started at about 8 p.m. on July 4. The past method has been setting all of the fireworks on a piece of plywood on top of two saw horses. After last year’s excitement (a Roman candle accidentally setting off some of the stand-by fireworks), they decided to upgrade: active fireworks on the plywood, back-ups in a wheel barrow (we’re very high tech).

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Almost ready…

The first firework went off around 8:06 p.m., with additional “test runs” happening until 9:30 p.m. That’s when the big show started! And kept going…and going…and going. Yooper Stewart, my dad, and my  second-cousin Mike blew things up until 11 p.m. Some of the fuses were loose, but they lit ’em anyway. They didn’t know how loud, big, or bright some would be, so they lit ’em to find out. Not sure if you can light that cake within 3″ of another cake? Why don’t we light it and see what happens?

They had a BLAST! (I spent much of the night ducking behind patio chairs). I’d love to say that I can’t wait until next year, but honestly, I could have bought a really nice pair of shoes with that money. Yooper Stewart, however, is already looking forward to bigger and better explosions (the neighbor’s show was louder – he and my dad need to top that).

The Organic Influence of Yooper Stewart

Meet my nephew, Butter Bean. He lives on the other side of the country. His dad is a city boy from Long Island. His uncle, however, is Yooper Stewart. Notice the influence:

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Camouflage – check

Something Lego – check

Something Star Wars – check

Scruffy beard – give it a few years

Butter Bean has tapped into his city-boy roots, though, and loves to wear some stylish headgear. For that reason he has earned himself a new nickname. You may now call him Yooper Hipster.