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We made it

It really hit me this morning as I stood in the driveway taking that glorious last day of school photo that so many suburban moms snap as their little ones head off to finish off the school year — we really did it. It’s finally over. The full monthly payments to send our boys to daycare/preschool/summer camp are finally over and that era is behind us.

Now I know what you’re saying as you read that: “Oh, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Now they’re really going to break you financially.”

RELAX, Karens!

I’ve heard it all for the last decade as we took the plunge into bringing children into this world. To those folks, let me say…just let me bask in this moment for a second, please? Let me have a beer later tonight while watching it rain and think about all the hard work it took to get to this moment. Let me reflect on the coordination between my wife and I as we negotiated pickup and drop-offs. Let me reflect on some little baby giving my oldest son his first kiss at like 4-months old.

She was rather aggressive.

As for the signs, I know the first day/last day Karens of the world are having convulsions over the informal use of Amazon cardboard, but it’s a tradition around here. It’s the anti-suburbia sign movement. My kids have dozens of photos where they’re holding cardboard. Yes, my wife has her formal chalkboard photos. I have my cardboard memories with cliché phrases you’ll see all over Facebook as a huge cold shoulder to suburbia moms who want me to conform.

Another last day of school is in the books and life moves on to STEM camp, days in the pool being kids and hopefully memories of a decent life growing up here in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Adult hockey leagues are thriving

• Mike H., who recently relocated from North Carolina to northern Michigan, writes:

The debate raging on adult softball leagues is great, because it’s a discussion we have to have.  I think the weird societal shift toward parents existing to make their kids happy as opposed to existing to raise well adjusted adults is the simplest answer. 

I spent many an evening running around a field watching my mom play softball with colleagues.  And I loved it.  I also played travel baseball (but that was the only travel sport I was allowed to play) and went all over the country playing baseball.  My parents probably still slanted further than previous generations toward making their kids happy, but they absolutely refused to give up their own lives for our own pursuit of ours and I have so much respect and appreciation for that.

That said – as you know I moved from N.C. to Petoskey, MI a year and a half ago and one of the big things that kept us here was our men’s league hockey.  Our league is phenomenal, and it’s done right – two nights a week, WELL after dark.  So yes, pressure on our wives to put the kids to bed, but that’s it.  We aren’t missing dinner, we aren’t missing events, we sacrifice our own sleep for the love of the game.  I think that’s the biggest challenge with softball these days – it happens at a time of day that isn’t conducive to continuity.

Anyway – my answer – more hockey…

Nothing but ramblings

• Harvey D. writes:

League softball died when helicopter parents were made. Thursday night beer league was patronized by old guys with beer guts and hoped they didn’t peak in high school jocks. I was there for the beer and shenanigans. The only catcher to bat ninth. Lol.

The days of dancing in the outfield to SUPERFREAK by Rick James were replaced by marriages and liability policies for diamonds. 30 plus years removed from the fun and brotherhood, I would hope West Central Ohio didn’t abandon the fun. Mowing here in Ottawa County is hit and miss. The rain a couple of Saturdays ago turned the yard to a swamp.

Not kidding couple of inches of standing water on a good clay soil. It’s a good recipe for a 5 to 10 day hiatus from the lawn duties.      

The grill for 4k. One word WTF! That thing better turn the steaks and make perfectly perpendicular grill marks at the proper shade of char! Plus not make slightly pink chicken, and keep the beer in your hand cold. 

Stick with a good old-fashioned Weber charcoal grill, slow down, put pride in your grill skill as much as the lawn, and enjoy the time tending the heat and smoke to create excellence. 4k ain’t gonna make the meat taste better, Pride and attention to detail in prep and cooking makes the taste.   

Keep going with The Intimidator pics at the end of the photos. Gone way too soon and a 0 F’s given additude, would have been fun to watch for 10 or so more years.    

Well tomorrow is League Night for those of you with a well drained lawn. Enjoy! I am looking to see if JetSki makes a mower deck! 

SKOAL AND LET’S GO WALLEYE!!!

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Honestly, I’m a big fan of ramblings from emailers. Typically there’s one nugget in a ramblings email that catches my attention like Harvey mentioning Dale Sr. as our forever grand finale for Screencaps. Just when I think we’ve come to the end of the road with Dale content, the fans step forward with Dale artwork, some Dale photo they took 40 years ago or some sort of memory that just feels like the right way to end Screencaps.

Screencaps’ Moment of Dale will not end on my watch.

A Wednesday night mow to avoid a Thursday rainout & a battery-powered mower review for those thinking of making the transition

• Indy Daryl writes:

It was a game-time decision but with the threat of rain all day tomorrow and Friday, I went with the post-work Wednesday mow. Raced against incoming rain and battery life (more below) but got the cut in, trimmed the edges (yes, I trim post mow), and then finished it off with an ice-cold coors light. This is my first mid-week mow this year and damn it feels great!

As for the battery mower I recently purchased I have nothing but good things to say. Battery life for my Greenworks 40v 5.0amph battery is about 45 minutes and it has been a puzzle to get everything cut over the last couple of weeks. My mower only came with one battery, but for the size of my yard (>.3 acres) I definitely require two charges, which takes at least two hours. And depending on how wet the grass is sometimes three charges is necessary.

Now, I completely understand I could buy another battery to solve this problem, and plan to in the future. But the budget was tight (thanks federal government) and I think I will make it work this year. As for the machine itself, I couldn’t be happier with the cut, the weight, and the noise. I went battery for my trimmer 4 years ago and finally went battery for my mower and definitely won’t go back.

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On Aaron H’s cyclist email

• Tommy in Texarkana writes:

First of all, CONGRATS to Aaron H on the upcoming marriage.  That’s a fantastic thing, and is by far the greatest part of his email.  

I’m not a good dude.  I’m just a dude.  Work hard, play hard, stay hard.  That’s what the ole Tomster tries to live by.  But I value what you said and agree, we could easily have a beer (or ten), and still agree to disagree, hug it out like bro’s, and move on.  Ask my liberal pals, I’m equipped for that.  Life’s too short to get our panties in a wad.  Efffff that.

Your local cycling peeps are doing wrong if there’s an asphalt trail to ride and yet they overtake and disrupt traffic.  My sincere advice is to have you or someone you know get with local law enforcement and have them watch and give out tickets.  Because the dumbassery those cyclists are choosing to selfishly live by and display doesn’t help them, help you, or help me.  Only bad comes from it.  Only.

Efff that.  

I appreciate the open mind.  I promise we aren’t all bad.  And just so you know, Aaron H, I’ll be drinking one in honor of you and your marriage this weekend.  Because that’s what matters in this life. People.  Good people.

• Rick D. in Brentwood, TN writes:

As Bicycle riders create hazards for cars trying to pass on two-lane roads, cyclists have no safe or reasonable place on most public roads.

If I, or common sense was in control of all things needing a final word, this would be the rule on bicyclists and public roads: No human-powered bike is allowed on any public street where the speed limit is 35mph or higher.

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TNML forecasts are becoming a big hit

• Pat M. in Vancouver, USA writes:

Hi Joe, thought you might enjoy these screen shots of the news this morning. Really enjoy reading SC everyday

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Now I just need the Fox Weather team to do these for TNML. I’m working on it. One thing at a time around here.

On a different Aaron H.’s email regarding selling land in rural Kentucky

• Brandon in Chicago writes:

First-time emailer, long-time reader. Aaron H’s mention of selling the family’s 125-acre farm caught my attention as I am pretty familiar with Eastern Kentucky land valuations. Working in energy generation and transmission, I’ve negotiated a few farmland purchases for use as utility substations.

After a quick glance at the county (with the help of some enterprise-level land tools) and a short history of recent sales, I’d say the whole farm could fetch upwards of $875k ($5k/acre). I’m seeing an average of $5k-$7k an acre in this area. This is a little lower than the $10k/acre you tossed out due to its size and use.

Generally speaking, ag land commands a higher price the smaller the plat depending on the buyer’s intended use. I’ve paid anywhere from $7k-$25k per acre on plats as small as 5 acres when the land itself is probably valued around $3k/acre since farmers know we have the money. That said, land has skyrocketed as city slickers like myself are looking to get out to the country to start a family and raise kids in “real” America. Here’s hoping Aaron finds a good buyer!

Thanks, and keep up the terrific content. Screencaps is always a highlight while I’m on the road.

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Welcome to Brandon. It’s always nice to have first-time emailers, especially when they’re in Chicago. I know the big belief is that Chicagoans are all Lori Lightfoot clones with very few brain cells floating around in their heads, but Brandon’s clearly here to change that narrative.

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• Kenn H. writes:

Aaron asked about his sweet property in Kentucky. Here’s my advice from someone whose full-time job is selling real estate to pay the bills.

1. Everyone has a “friend” in real estate. Interview three agents that do it for a full-time job not a hobby.

2. Contact your lender and order an appraisal- land and use play an important role in its value.

3. Reach out to a property survey company and get actual legal boundaries and that makes title work and selling smoother. Sometimes I do this and that also can tell you best use of land or splits remaining.

4. Appraisers and lenders are usually on the same page and a perceived value may not actually line up with what someone will give a buyer for a loan.

5. Advice to give your clients when they want to wait and pull the trigger: 

“Prices are up +\-35% from the last time they announced a dangerous virus.  Let’s regroup in 6 months and bring an extra $30,000 with you”.

Memorial Day weekend

I know many of you are heading out later today to get out on the road to some exotic destination across this incredible country. Have a safe trip and a great time, no matter where the road may take you this weekend. I’ll be here hammering away with Screencaps, and I’d like to hear from some of you on Memorial Day reflections. It doesn’t have to be a long email.

Monday, we’ll fire up a special holiday edition of Screencaps so that all of you laying by the beach will have something to read.

Mark M. in Jefferson, GA sent in a suggestion that I’m thinking about buying this weekend.

“Deep Survival” by Laurence Gonzales. It contains the true-life stories of people who survived (or didn’t) extreme circumstances and what they did right or wrong.

It turns out to be about the rules of life.

That’s my kind of book.

And with that, Thursday is officially in the books.

Take care.

Email: joekinsey@gmail.com

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Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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