Praises, The Husband, Uncategorized

Another Disappointing Season

Almost exactly 8 years ago on my other blog, I shared this story about Carl and his passion for the MN Vikings. At that time, the Vikings were headed to the Championship game against the New Orleans Saints. We were making plans for an all-expenses paid trip to Miami for the Super Bowl. Sadly it was not-to-be that year as the Saints won that game. I thought it was worth sharing this story again.

Thirty nine years. Forty-seven years. That’s how long my husband has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. Thirty nine Forty-seven long and often painful years. Thirty nine Forty-seven years of waiting and watching and hoping and praying.

It all started when he was 7 years old and his dad took him and his brother to a Chicago Bears versus Minnesota Viking game at Soldier Field. It was the Purple People Eater years…with 3 trips to the Superbowl in 4 years and domination across the gridiron. Offering to buy each boy a souvenir pin, his brother, Jim, picked a Bears pin and Carl picked a Viking pin. And thus begun a lifelong rivalry between brothers and loyalty to their chosen teams (although Jim has now switched his loyalties to the New England Patriots after his move to Boston).

When I first met Carl in college, his Tommy Kramer (the quarterback at the time) poster was my first glimpse into his obsession. I soon found out that Sundays during football season were off-limits. Watching games was an intense and emotional experience…one that I found too overwhelming and soon learned was better to just stay away from. When we married, I learned to just leave the house on Sundays to avoid the yelling and intensity. A loss on Sundays meant hours of bad mood and anger. And I learned to never, ever make plans on football Sundays. Boy, Kelly is lucky she wasn’t born in the fall on a Sunday. It would have been a toss-up for Carl to attend the birth or watch the Vikings. Actually, he would have demanded that the game be put on in the labor and delivery room :).

In college, when we would talk about the future, our future, we would jokingly imagine Carl working for the Vikings. That would be the ultimate accomplishment for him, we’d think. So, in college, Carl wrote to Mike Lynn, the general manager of the Vikings at the time, asking what an economics major needed to do to get a job with the Minnesota Vikings. Mr. Lynn’s advice was to get a Master’s degree in Sport Management, work hard and make connections in the sport’s field.

At that time, there were only 11 colleges/universities in the country with Sport Management programs, the only one in Illinois being at Western Illinois University. So while I completed my senior year of undergraduate work at the University of Illinois, Carl went off to WIU to complete graduate work in Sport Management, returning to the U of I to visit me every few weeks or so. After that long year of traveling back and forth, I graduated with my Bachelor Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Carl graduated with a Master’s Degree in Sport Management and we were married a month later in our college town of Champaign, Illinois.

After graduation and our wedding/honeymoon, we headed off to spend the summer in Wichita, Kansas for Carl’s internship with the Wichita Wings Soccer Franchise. And thus began a 10-year career in various professional soccer positions…next with the Memphis Storm (Memphis, TN), University of Memphis Athletic Department, U.S. Soccer during the World Cup tournament in the U.S. in 2004 (Chicago, IL) and finally D.C. United (Northern Virginia). During that time, Carl also earned his C.P.A. certification and worked in public accounting for a number of years in between sports positions, solidifying a solid sport management and accounting expertise. All the while, Carl was making contacts and connections in the professional sports industry.

It was in 1998 while living in Northern Virginia and working for D.C. United as the Director of Finance that Carl got his big break. The Minnesota Vikings were sold to Red McCombs. Carl used his contacts to try to find someone who had a relationship with anybody in the new management. He did talk with a friend from soccer that had previously worked with the guy that was named the Vikings new general manager. Carl sent the general manager an email, dropping his friend’s name. When nothing came of it, we resigned ourselves to live happily ever after in my dream house in Virginia with Carl working in professional soccer for ever and ever. It was after the New Year in 1999 that Carl got the call from the general manager of the MN Vikings. The Vikings had a vacancy in the finance department. There was an opening for Assistant Controller. Was he interested? WAS HE INTERESTED?? Hello…this is what he waited his whole life for. The call that he always dreamed of. They flew him out to Minnesota for an informal interview but basically the job was his if he wanted it.

April 12, 1999, on Kelly’s 9th birthday, Carl began his life-long dream to work for the Minnesota Vikings! And was it a dream-come-true? Well, yes and no. Although Carl loved where he worked, he did not love what he did for them. Although he was promoted after a few years to Controller of the Minnesota Vikings, in charge of all things finance, including payroll, bookkeeping, audits, budgets and money-stuff like that, it was boring and repetitive work. He would have loved to be involved in other aspects of the team, like Salary Caps or Stadium Management. But truly, at that time, with the country in a recession and people losing their jobs all around us, he was grateful for a job with good benefits and fun perks (like an all-expense paid trip to the Super Bowl for him and his wife).

And in case you are wondering, what did working for the team do to his passion for the Vikings? It actually helped to soften him. Being involved with the team on a regular basis and having day-to-day frustrations with his job made him less emotionally attached. Given the choice, he would watch Anthony play hockey over watch an away game on television (nothing would keep him from a home game though…one of those great perks of working for the team was season tickets).

So for any young person with a far-reaching life-long dream, know that your dreams can come true. Your truly can do anything that you set your mind to. Carl is living proof!

(Written in 2010) Hopefully this post helps explain why this season is such a big one for our family. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve waited a long time for this. All the Viking fans have. We are hoping that this is the year they will go ALL THE WAY!

(Written in 2018) Well, that year wasn’t the year and this year wasn’t the year either. We really were hoping to FINALLY see the Vikings in a Super Bowl. And even better, at the new Vikings stadium in Minnesota. We even bought our airfare just in case. But no, another year of disappointment. And what’s even more amazing is that the Jaguars, Carl’s current employer, almost went to the Super Bowl this year as well.  In fact, they did better in their championship game than the Vikings did. Two out of the final four teams were our ticket to the Super Bowl and neither one panned out. Darn it. I hate football.

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The Family, Uncategorized

New Year, New Updates

For the first time in forever, I did not send Christmas cards in 2017. There wasn’t really any reason why I didn’t, other than I just never got around to it. As I get older, I find a desire to simplify my life and not get stressed out over things, especially things that I don’t really want to do. So that includes removing undue pressure to send Christmas cards to 100 of my closest family and friends. (Apparently it also includes eliminating the pressure to blog on a regular basis and after this post you can expect me to go back to my slacker ways).

Since I didn’t send out Christmas cards (and a Christmas letter), let me catch you up on some random family news.

Kelly: Kelly is finishing up her graduate work in psychology. She should have her coursework completed this summer. Next fall she will need to complete an unpaid internship and write her thesis paper. And then, if all goes well, she will get her Master’s degree next December. In the meantime, she’s holding down three jobs: substitute teaching for MSP public schools, nannying for Ollie and working as an AuPair coordinator. Keep up the great work, Kelly! 

Anthony: Anthony found out that he only had two classes to take his last semester (Jan to April, 2019). So by taking one extra class each of the next two semesters, he will be able to graduate early, in December, 2018 (with our luck, it will be the same weekend that Kelly graduates).  He is very excited to move-up his relocation to Hawaii by one whole semester. He’s also informed us that upon graduation, he will be proposing to his Hawaiian girlfriend, Kameko. All-righty then! We can’t wait to meet the future Mrs. Miklas.

Zack: After dropping out of tech college back in September, Zack had a January 1st deadline to 1) be enrolled in tech school/college 2) be working full-time or 3)enlist in the military. He went with Option 2 and just began a new full-time job at a local lumber yard, pulling orders and stocking lumber racks. We are hoping that the boredom and tedium will eventually lead him to Option 3 but for the time-being he is working Monday through Fridays from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

That’s all the latest news of the kids! Happy New Year!

 

 

It's About Me, Praises, The Family

My 53rd Birthday

We returned from our cruise on my 53rd birthday. I was so happy to have Kelly and Avram return to our house to spend one more night together before heading back to the tundra of Minnesota. We got in one more afternoon of games.

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Then we ordered Chinese food for dinner but failed to get any photos of that. The kids gave me some cards and chocolates, which was very sweet, especially my hand-made card from Anthony. I think he was trying to make up for the whole dinner-ware fiasco on the cruise ship :).

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Then we ended the evening with a fire in the fire pit.

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Anthony even serenaded us with a song on his ukulele.

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It was a great day to celebrate me!

Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Formal Nights

Cruise ship formal nights are always a great time for photos! So allow me to share some of my favorites with you now.

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Carl with his new tuxedo which he bought a few months ago since we are cruising veterans now! Since we apparently are avid cruisers (this was Number 6 for us), he figured it was worth the expense.

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Where was Anthony in all these photos, you ask? Several times before the cruise, I asked Anthony if he had clothes to wear for dinner each night. He kept telling me he had it covered. When shopping a few days before departure, I even texted him several casual shirts that I wanted to buy him but he again said he had it covered. And then when we got on the ship and we were all getting ready for dinner, he informed me “I have nothing to wear.” So much for having it covered, Anthony! Arghhhh! (But at least he still came to dinner with us each night, wearing the one Hawaiin shirt that he brought with him.)

 

Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Fourth Port-of-Call: Costa Maya, Mexico

Our final port-of-call was in Costa Maya, Mexico. For this port, the boys decided to stay on the ship with the grandparents while Carl, Kelly, Avram and I went to see the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben.

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Our bus and tour guide, Hugo, guided us through the countryside and ruins, explaining all about the Mayan culture.

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We got to see several ruins and were able to climb up them as well.

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The highlight of the day, however, was seeing the spider monkeys in the trees surrounding the ruins.

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It was a very interesting and educational day.

Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Third Port-of-Call: Mohagany Bay, Roatan, Honduras

Our third port-of-call was another new stop for us in Central America in the country of Honduras. For this port, I arranged a snorkeling excursion to the jungle on the east side of the country.

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We had another 45-minute van drive with one other family to the resort. The drive was very interesting to see the poverty of the country and the little gem of a resort hidden among the squalor. Our hostess, Barbara, fell in love with the country about 11 years ago and left corporate America to build her dream in the jungle of Honduras.

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Her property includes a 7-room bed and breakfast and daily kayak and pontoon boat snorkeling excursions among the expansive coral reef. She also hosts yoga retreats in her large yurt hut.

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The day started out overcast and gloomy and we had to wait for a passing shower to head out on the pontoon to the coral reef.

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When it finally cleared enough to head out on the water, we spent about 45-minutes in the water around the coral reef for the best snorkeling we have ever experienced. There was so much living, vibrant reef and a huge variety of fish of every size, shape and color.

My favorite was the lion fish that looked just like this:

Lionfish (Pterois mombasae) in a Moscow Zoo aquarium

After we got back on the boat, it started to rain, making us all cold and miserable. It actually felt better getting back in the water for our second snorkeling location. The second time we got back on the boat was sunny and warm and felt wonderful!

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Barbara served an authentic Honduran lunch in her dining hall/yoga studio before the driver returned us to the port.

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Here are glimpses of our ship in the background.

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Despite some rain, it was a great day snorkeling in this beautiful place!

Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Second Port-of-Call: Belize City, Belize

Our second port-of-call was a new stop for us in Belize in Central America. For this port, Carl, Kelly, Avram, Zack and I took a private Ziplining and Cave-tubing excursion in the jungle. (Anthony was originally scheduled to go with us but decided it sounded too lame to him but boy did he miss out because it was so much fun!).

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After an hour van drive, we started with our zip-lining adventure.

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After getting suited up, we headed up onto the first platform in the jungle.

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We did five different runs that were super fun and very high over the jungle and river.

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It was way more exciting than we thought it would be and loved every minute, although I personally was scared to death for most of it, especially when I would turn backwards on the zipline and couldn’t see where I was going!

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After a short van drive down to the river, we then began our cave-tubing adventure.

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Although there were many groups in the river, it was just our family, plus another mother and son attached together for our trip through the cave.

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Again, it was way cooler than we thought. This was a 45-minute journey through a gigantic tunnel full of interesting formations in complete darkness, except for our head lamps.

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When we emerged from the cave, we then traveled another 20-30 minutes down the river.

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Although we thought we would have plenty of time for this excursion, due to some waiting around, we ended the river excursion with just one-hour to get back to the ship (with a one-hour drive ahead) for the last tender back to the ship. We briefly stopped at the office, where they handed us lunch-to-go (it was supposed to be enjoyed outdoors at a BBQ) and our driver skillfully and speedily got us back to the ship just in time. However, since there were at least 1,000 people in line for the tenders, it turns out we really didn’t have to rush at all and had an hour wait to get back on the ship. Talk about worrying for nothing!

It was a fun day doing something unique that turned out to be way more fun than any of us imagined. So glad we got to enjoy this exciting adventure in Belize!