1,586 Posts

richtatum The Hat of Happiness.

Last weekend, Jen and I hit the town for a small Christmas gift-shopping spree. Of course, it was tiring, semi-expensive (we’re on a tight budget), but also fun to pick out gifts people we love will enjoy.

Not everyone was as plucky as Jen’s bouncy hat. We encountered good-spirited but tired shoppers and clerks everywhere. Slumped shoulders, tired feet, long lines, and exhausted checking accounts conspired to suck the cheer out of the Black Friday weekend discounts.

But at every turn, when people spied Jen’s trippy hat, a grin slipped out, a slight glint appear Ed in the eyes, and a handful either openly laughed out loud or thanked Jen for her funny cap.

At the end of our successful excursion we took our own tired dogs to a local sushi joint and my Bride got to enjoy an early Christmas gift of her own.

Merry Christmas, friends. Make someone smile this week!

Family shots here: #RichTatum_Family. Link directly to this image here: #RichTatum1517.
3w

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richtatum It’s Hinting Season!

I was presented with this list of items, just in case, you know, I'm out shopping in the next few weeks.
I have been warned.

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1mon

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richtatum Meu nome é Vasco da Gama!

Today, Ellie was part of her class’s “Wax Museum,” a presentation including costumery, a poster/collage, and a memorized presentation that she was required to give any time a visitor pressed her “button.” It was an impressive feat!

I was proud that she actually memorized her presentation when so many of her classmates merely read off of index cards or read the poster they stood in front of. Way to go, Ellie!

See more of my family shots here: #RichTatum_Family. If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1514.
1mon

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richtatum Sleepy girl is hungry.

It's time for bed and Juli has dark circles under her eyes, but she insists that she's not sleepy! Rather, she's hungry. Or maybe she's thirsty. Or maybe she just wants to dance a little more!

It doesn't matter. I'm tucking her away despite her many protests. “My eyes aren’t purple!” She wanted you to know.

See more of my family shots here: #RichTatum_Family. If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1513.
2mon

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richtatum Today is Pumpkin Day for li’l pumpkins.

Let the carving begin!

Personally, I'm in it for the pies and roasted seeds. Yum!

See more of my family shots here: #RichTatum_Family. If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1512.
3mon

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richtatum I am an artist
by Ellie

I wonder how to draw a horse
I hear my family talking
I see art
I want to draw a horse
I am an artist

I feel my crayons
I touch my crayons and paint
I worry about my picture going in the trash
I cry when it does
I am an artist

I understand my Aunt when she talks about art
I say, “Pretty!” when I see art
I dream I can draw a horse
I hope I can draw a horse
I am an artist

Ellie is ten years old. If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1511.
3mon

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richtatum Home, at last, where my heart is safely kept.

Late Tuesday afternoon, our trip of over 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) finally came to an end. Hurray!

After their first day of school, Grandma took the kiddos shopping so they could be surprised upon their return home. They were well and truly delighted!

Poor little Juli, my youngest, buried her face in my neck and cried. It was heartbreakingly precious.

I've been holding all three, hugging them, and telling them I love them almost non-stop.

After a long drive, a blowout, good and bad customer service, too much beef jerky, and a broken foot—Ellie broke a metatarsal on the way home :( — it is good to be back.

I am rescued.

If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1510.
4mon
  •   dazongguan Excellent 4mon
  •   richtatum @dazongguan Thank you! 4mon
  •   humbertosk8 Greaty friend!!! 4mon
  •   richtatum @humbertosk8 Thanks Humberto! 4mon
  •   butchergabi I have to say i just found 'you' on jj's tag of the day and you gave blogging a whole new perspective. I just read you past days experience/stories and feel like I met your family. Hope you all have a great new start with the move and jyst so you know you and your family just made my day happier by sharing these stories. THANKS 4mon
  •   richtatum @butchergabi thanks so much, Gabi! Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you very much! 4mon
  •   bonni3 Family is where the heart is. Welcome home! 4mon
  •   richtatum @bonni3 Indeed! 4mon

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richtatum Flagging at Black River Falls.

We were all set to drive. And I have nothing witty or even relevant for this photo. Except that I hope there's a good tailwind. Like, one that’s stronger than the one pushing this flag.

If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1509.
4mon

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richtatum You Are Here.

Not any more!

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4mon

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richtatum Under fair skies atop fresh tires.

Outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with lovely skies dotted with puffy clouds.

Good driving weather, great tires!

I'm taking a nap, naturally. Good job, Jen!

If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1507.
4mon

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richtatum New tirez & fresh oil @ Sears. Auto spa day!

The crew at the Sears Auto Center in Alexandria, North Dakota, were super-nice, competent (they pointed out a bushing that needs replacing), and efficient, replacing two tires and rotating the old ones in record time.

Labor Day is, apparently, a great time to fix a flat!

Not that I would recommend it. Really.

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4mon

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richtatum McDonald’s vs. Culver’s.

Went out for a tasty Culver’s malt last Sunday night, in ND. I desired a bit more comfort food after a tough weekend and a blowout… But despite the lights being on, cars ahead of me in the drive-thru lane, & customers inside—I was turned away at the speaker. “Sorry. We’re closed.” Seriously? Like, just now? “We closed five minutes ago.” As much as I wanted the salted caramel pumpkin malt, I was happy to let McDonald’s help.

Previously, in Bismarck, I went to grab a meal after checking into our room. Everything was closed… but I saw cars in the McDonald’s drive-thru. They actually *were* closed, could not take credit cards, & could only sell a few items—they sold me two meals anyhow.

My family ran a business for decades & this I learned: a customer with cash in hand is worth more than a well-heeded schedule.

Thanks, Ronald!

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4mon

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richtatum Comfort Food Ambience.

After a rough day on the road this last Sunday, suffering a blowout on the highway in North Dakota on our trek to Michigan from Washington state, I was in need of comfort.

Great Hunan Chinese to the rescue!

For the record, I have no idea what these glyphs represent. It could say, “Eggs roll better than foolish drivers with old tires.” But I hope not.

If you want to link directly to this image, please use this unique ID tag: #RichTatum1504.
4mon

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richtatum Flattened.

So, we had a blowout. Jen was driving and handled it beautifully, coasting to the roadside onto the grass shoulder just past some barrels and orange cones.

We emptied the trunk as quickly as possible and I manhandled the tire change to our spare donut tire as fast as I could while she kept an eye out for errant holiday drivers.

A friendly trooper stopped and provided some extra coverage for us while we hastily crammed everything back into the trunk. Then we spent the next hour literally driving in circles because we thought we should go back to Fargo while I tried calling repair shops after 5 PM on the Sunday eve before Labor Day.

No dice. So, we turned around and headed to Alexandria to bunk for the night. I knew, at the very least, Costco would be open.

Sadly, this delayed us by a day.

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4mon

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richtatum Do-Re-Mi-Fargo.

100 miles to go till Fargo!

I've always wanted to visit Fargo, after watching the movie and TV series of the same name. Unfortunately, we saw neither Mr. Nygaard nor Mr. Lundegaard. And there was no snow.

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4mon

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richtatum Men are from Mars, women are from Venetian blinds?

Good morning, Bismarck. It’s time for us to depart. Thank you for the bed and sunshine!

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4mon

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richtatum Halfway home!

We were at Beach, North Dakota—exactly halfway to home (in highway miles). It’s all downhill from here!

Only 1,175 miles to go. <blink /> Looking forward, not back.

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4mon

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richtatum Feelin’ Lil’ Lucky?

Today I learned that Wyoming and Montana are overrun with casinos.

As if driving 2,300 miles weren’t gamble enough…

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4mon

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richtatum Ever eastward.

We were on the Michigan side of Billings, Montana. Motoring on!

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4mon

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richtatum A chance to stretch, perchance to uncramp…

About 560 miles into our journey. Near Missoula, Montana.

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4mon

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