August 25, 2013

Dick Hornbuckle's Birthday Celebration

Dick Hornbuckle's Birthday Celebration
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 25, 2013

Monday night we celebrated Miss Sheri's birthday.  She knew she was in for something pretty special when she saw the fancy wrapping paper we used for her gifts.

Tuesday night brought us to Prior Lake High School for the Freshmen Orientation.  I really can't believe my kids are going to be in high school and in theory moving out of the house in only 4 years.  Where does the time go?

Wednesday night brought us to the Rollerskating rink.  I told the boys that I used to go to J4 Rollermania in Mason City, Iowa every week when I was in elementary school.  People knew me as Ernie because I used to wear a Sesame Street football jersey with his name on the back of it.  And I skated fast.  This evening certainly brought back memories of those great days!

Although my rental skates were garbage with wheels completely out of alignment, I still was able to get around pretty good and do some of the old tricks.  Although I was really glad they don't do the limbo any more.  I don't think my fat butt would have allowed me to get very low in that competition!

Friday night brought me to Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy's house for the annual Nor-Tech Fantasy Football Draft.  It was good seeing my old co-workers again, but nostalgia didn't make me go easy on them.  They know this is my year to win the league Super Bowl!

Our league uses an Auction draft format and every year Steve hires some SuperModel named Curtis to be our auctioneer.  We're also a keeper league so if you draft someone at a bargain the year before you can keep up to 2 players at that same value the next year.  Last year, I drafted Adrian Peterson at only $49.00 because everyone thought he was going to be hurt.  This year I won the bids for Aaron Rodgers and Alfred Morris which gives me a pretty solid core, but I had no money left over for receivers.  So if any of you know any deep sleeper wide receiver locks, let me know about them.  Thanks!

Saturday afternoon brought me to the Hornbuckle Hell Weekend celebration of Dick Hornbuckle's birthday.  They told me to meet them at Canterbury Downs to watch the horse races.  Lucky for me they were pretty easy to find once we got there.

We didn't do too hot at picking the horses, but it was such a beautiful day nobody seemed to mind much.

For dinner we went to Gasthof in Downtown Minneapolis which is a German restaurant and has all sorts of crazy traditions like drinking beer from a glass boot and the whole place yelling "Oy Oy Oy" every time someone takes a shot.  It's my kind of place because I really like being able to yell in public!

We all had a pretty good time, but the birthday boy seemed to be in the Happiness Zone the whole night!

I'm not sure I heard how old Dick turned, but it's gotta be like 100 or something.  That lovely wife, Vic, sure keeps him looking young and handsome, though.

Some of the nastier Hornbuckles kept accusing me of wearing one of the table cloths, so I had to prove to them that they looked nothing alike.

The night ended with several rounds of Polka Dancing.  The kids had a great time showing off their moves and I did my best to make some new friends in the bar.  I really like Polka People. 

August 18, 2013

KDWB Lake Patrol at Prior Lake's Candy Cove

KDWB Lake Patrol at Prior Lake's Candy Cove
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 18, 2013

Thursday night we thought it would be fun to go to Canterbury Downs.

We like to watch horses run fast.

The little people who ride on top of the horses sure do get dirty.

On Friday night, we went to see the movie, Jobs.  Since I've now been selling computers for almost 20 years, I thought it would be good for my boys to see the story of one of the greatest computer salesmen of all time.  I enjoyed the movie, but it was a little slow and boring for the family.  The reviews on it have been pretty rough as well.  I think they would have been better served if they would have spent less time focusing on all the negatives of the man's life and instead spent more of the story highlighting the inspirational aspects of it.  Then it would have really rocked.

My boat hasn't been feeling very cute lately, so I invited Jason and Jen over on Saturday to cuten it up a bit.

Our twins and Jen's twins rode the tube together.  The water was a little choppy, so they all got a bit more bumpy ride than they were expecting!

We stopped by candy cove to do a little swimming and catch some rays.   But first, we thought it would be fun to line up by height from left to right.  We ended up doing this for about a half hour before the thrills wore off.

Suddenly the KDWB Lake Patrol appeared and we jumped into the water to swim over to meet them.  Steve-o from the Dave Ryan in the Morning show was very friendly and welcomed us aboard to meet the crew.

Right after taking this picture, Miss Sheri said to Steve-O that he just did the Shortarmguy pose.  He said "Oh.  I didn't realize that was what I was doing."  Yeah, right Steve-O.  Yeah, right.

Nice email from a long time visitor of

Hi Todd, just wanted to let u know I now have an antique business in down town Utica , in the historical area of Utica, I have a web  site please check it out and let me know what u think. It would be nice of u if u could mention it on your web site and put the web address on also. 

Thanks mate, hope to see u sometime. 

Best regards Chris.  Chris Mitchell

August 11, 2013

Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp 2013

Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp 2013
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for 8/11/13

On Friday, Miss Sheri and I drove deep into Cheeseland to Birchwood, Wisconsin which is home to Tomahawk Scout Reservation.

Luke and Avery had spent the previous 7 nights with their friends camping out in the woods and working on merit badges.  I wish they would have also spent at least a couple of those nights showering and cleaning themselves up, but that doesn't seem to be a big activity at camp.

In previous years, we'd show up earlier in the week and spend at least a couple of nights at camp.  But as I get older, my tolerance for sleeping in tents gets to be less and less, so we showed up right before the final dinner hour.  It was just in time to see the boys get ready to go to the dining hall.

Since eating in the camp dining hall is also low on my tolerance level meter, we ate on the drive up instead.  So while the boys ate, we had the opportunity to hang out with the cool kids, Karl and Bob.  Not necessarily in that order. 

We headed to the final campfire which is dubbed the Court of Honor.  At this event, the boys perform several hours worth of skits where they basically beat on each other and tell inappropriate jokes.  It's somewhat hilarious.

The evening starts out with the boys starting a massive campfire.  I always get a little nervous about the fire, but I know that fire safety is something they get drilled into their heads over and over throughout the week.  Besides, these boys look pretty responsible.

They started the blaze this year with a bizarre ritual that was choreographed surprisingly well.  I kept expecting to see some kind of mystical creature erupt from the flames but it ended up being just regular old smoke.

At the end of the ceremony, the boys were rewarded with congratulations for all the merit badges and rank advancements they earned throughout the week.  Then we headed back to the tents to sleep on sticks and stones and listen to really loud loons throughout the night.

The next morning the boys woke up bright and early, took down their tents, cleaned up the campsite, and packed up the van.  They were excited to get home to their TV, XBOX, and warm bed.  We were excited to get them home to hose them down.

They had a fantastic week with the men of Troop 331.  We heard that they had over 80 boys at camp and 100 people in attendance with adult leaders.  This was the largest troop the camp had hosted all summer!  We're so glad the boys have stuck it out in scouts because it gives them so many opportunities they wouldn't get if they had to rely on their father.  I'm just not really big at sleeping on sticks.

Say Combine

This video was taken when my my son, Luke, was just a baby.  He was learning to say his first words.  The video begins with him fascinated by a toy in his hand.  

He exclaims "Mama, car!  Zooma!"  

Since I just started filming him, I wanted him to say another one of his new words.  

So I speak "Say Combine."  

Either I shock the crap out of him or he thinks the word Combine is the most profound thing he's ever heard because he jerks his head very fast and with an extremely quizzical look that we've watched it about 1000 times over the past 13 years or so.  

I hope you enjoy it as well.

August 4, 2013

Cowboy Jack's Bullriding

Cowboy Jack's Bullriding
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 4, 2013

It was time for Boy Scout Camp this week, so Luke and Avery went without their parents.  There used to be a time when they were stressed to leave us, now they seem really excited to do it.  I don't know if that should make us happy or sad.

Right after we dropped them off, we headed straight to the Farmer's Market to get fried egg sandwiches covered in Guacamole.  The boys love these sandwiches also, but at $8 a pop it's better if we enjoy them on our own.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

We went to Cowboy Jack's in Bloomington to have dinner and drinks with Jen and Jason and Kim and Mike.  The conversations were electric.

After Kim and Mike left, we decided to get a little bit crazy with a couples game of bean bag toss.

Jason and Jen had the advantage on us with experience, but Miss Sheri and I earned a lot of style points for our unique technique and ultimately triumphed in the match!  

We then spent an hour or so admiring how cute Jen and Jason are together.

Right when we were getting tired of that, Brad and Shonda arrived to spice up the rest of the evening.

Shonda gave me some tips before we rode the mechanical bull.  She told me to squeeze as hard as I could with my thighs.  She did it way better than I did, though, because the dang thing threw me off in just a few seconds.  And that whole thigh squeezing thing lasted with me for the next 24 hours as I walked around all day aching from the experience.  Normally, I enjoy having a groin pull but this one was no fun at all.