Only in Minnesota

I am a bad wife.

Yes, that is Joel sewing his own buttons onto his favorite, really old, really ugly coat.  This coat has been safely hanging in the closet for the last several years.  It has been missing buttons and my refusal to help sew them on has kept it there until now.

Joel has decided to take matters into his own hands and sew the buttons on himself.  It took him 28 minutes to sew on two buttons.  I did end up helping a tiny bit.  I felt guilty enough to help him tie off the knots.

Now he is all happy again, back to wearing his favorite old coat.

My buckiness over this coat goes beyond my disdain for Joel’s wardrobe at times or fashion.  (I will be the first to admit that I am not fashionable at all)  The problem is it reminds me a little too much of this – Do you recognize it?

It’s Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in Grumpier Old Men.  And yes, Walter is wearing pretty much the same coat.

And guess what - Joel has the hat to go with it.

(Actually, I should say DID have the hat to go with it.  The dog got a hold of it and chewed it up – and No, I did not pay the dog in doggie treats to do away with it (though I would have liked to). )

I watched this movie years ago – before I even met Joel – and found it to be a cute movie.  Now I realize that I am married to a future Walter Mathau – He already has the coat and hat.  Somehow, the movie doesn’t seem so cute now.

This is another typical outfit from the movie and Joel would love to wear this.

He is obsessed with ice fishing.  (These are fish houses, out on a lake.  I hate to point out the obvious to anyone else from Minnesota, but if you are from Florida, you may have just thought it was a typical neighborhood)

Like many other men from Minnesota, this is Joel’s favorite way to spend a weekend – out on the ice, wearing one of these fashion-forward outfits.

Look like fun to you?

Joel also wants Walter’s vehicle from the movie – this very classy Scout International.

1974 International Harvester Travelall

Wouldn’t I just love to go for a ride with him in this beauty – um No!  For those of you who have seen the movie, you may remember Jack’s character hiding a dead fish in the backseat.  Joel has been known to do the exact same thing to his friends.  Have you ever smelled a rotting fish?   Try getting that smell out of your car.

Before I know it, Joel will have turned into this – trying to stab his fishing buddy with a fish.

Please pray for me ladies.  This could be bad.  Can I also point out that Joel is only 37 and appears to have quite a head start on turning into a Grumpy Old Man. 

I believe that the coat is just the tip of the iceberg.

What am I going to do now?  Anyone else feeling my pain?  Also married to a typical, Minnesota ice fisherman? 

We could start a support group.  Anyone?

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About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
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56 Responses to Only in Minnesota

  1. Melissa says:

    Sounds like Joel and my husband, Philip, could be brothers! He has a coat just like it and loves ice fishing as well:) I feel your pain. I have always said that my husband was born an old man.

  2. Elaine says:

    SO funny! I really enjoyed both of the movies – but especially the out takes at the end of Grumpy Old Men – the first movie! You have to be from good stock to tolerate the winters in Minnesota! I’m actually a SNOWBIRD in Florida at the moment – avoiding the winter in the Chicago area! Loved your post – AND that plaid coat!

  3. That is an awesome blog post today! I love that movie and the sequel too. It’s ok to be married to a real man, one who feels good in his own skin no matter what. I’d like to see ice fishing then go get warm. Yes, be proud. He looks like a great Dad.

  4. Annette says:

    No grumpy old guy in my home in NW Iowa – but I loved your story!

  5. Cathy Anderson says:

    I rather like Joel’s red jacket. But…I am from Wisconsin and know these jackets are really warm. You should see a winter jacket that my guy wears to work on his car in the winter months! you would appreciate the red jacket! I also enjoyed the ice fishing pictures…didn’t see much of that around here this winter. Fun stuff!

  6. GeeGee says:

    I really like the red plaid jacket. (I am very fond of plaids, have made 4 plaid quilts.) Bravo to Joel, every man should know how to sew on a button!! Have a great day!!

  7. Kirsten Blake says:

    I tell my husband that I don’t mend, only quilt. And sometimes I do feel guilty about that, although it quickly passes.
    He tells me it’s toasty warm in those ice houses & I should join him. I don’t believe him. However, I do get a lot of quilting done while he’s out on the frozen water!

  8. Beth says:

    I’m a Minnesota girl who’s husband has never gone icefishing, but this story was priceless! Made me laugh out loud. He’s a keeper if he can sew his own buttons! Good for him!

  9. Jill Reynolds says:

    Too funny! I have to admit I liked the jacket. My husband and his best friend remind us wives of Grumpy Old Men, and physically resemble them too. We give them grief about it. Since we’re older than you are, the shoe fits pretty well, although they’re not fishermen. Our biggest problem is deciding which of us wives is Sophia Loren and which is Ann Margaret, since we decidedly do NOT resemble them.

  10. Ailsa says:

    I laughed out loud at this, I love Walter but being from the UK I know nothing about ice fishing.

  11. Diann Kremer says:

    Thanks for the fun blog. Tom works too many hours to have spare time to ice fish, but who knows, retirement is coming soon! He sure has picked up on the quilting. We ran up to Bemidiju just to buy two kits that had the MN fabric in that he needed to finish his king size quilt…he’s hooked!

  12. Rachel Hayes says:

    I don’t think Joel is unusual. Although we don’t have ice fishing here in Tennessee, my husband is an obsessive bass fisherman. He too, chooses function over fashion, with his fishing gear. He also doesn’t like any kind of change and will wear the same coat/pants/shirts/ until they wear out. But, think about it this way, he keeps his old stuff, and you get to buy new stuff for you and the baby!

  13. roadsage1 says:

    Of course you don’t mend buttons! You are a quilter. You don’t ask a chef to do the dishes, so you don’t ask a quilter to sew on a button! Hubby and son just spend a weekend living on Red Lake, way up north. If he’s not wearing a plaid shirt or jacket, he’s wearing his orange camo jacket. Both are worn with the fur ear flap cap also. Only in Minnesota is right!

  14. Jocelyn says:

    Oh this is so hilarious!!! I love it!! One thing for sure, your life will never be boring :-)

  15. LOL! I agree with Jocelyn. :-) Look on the bright side~ you will be able to spot him in a Minnesota blizzard! Have a happy day!

  16. Christine Thomas says:

    I would go for a ride in the Scout International. Almost anywhere.

  17. Deb C says:

    Aaah. I can commiserate being from Upstate NY. I am very familiar with the ice shanty as well, though your seem a bit more lavish than what I’m used to seeing. NO! Are those power poles next to the shanties?
    My hubby did have one of those ear flapper hats as well and my GSP got after it also. Mine hates anything made of fleece, including his bed, so I have to buy my GSP all cloth or poly covered throw beds. I kind of dig Joel’s jacket. He looks so happy to be wearing it too.

  18. ColleenM says:

    I have seen worse…being married to a Packer fan, I much rather see a red plaid jacket. Kind of reminds me of my dad, he always had a red plaid jacket. Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men are a couple of my favorite movies. Ice fishing can be a lot of fun, too!! Up here in MN you have to made due!

  19. Shiella says:

    Just read your blog for the first time. Love it! I too have refused to “repair” things belonging to my husband in the hopes they will disappear forever.

  20. Candie says:

    I have the same jacket in the ladies version, and I actually love it :) also have one other in another colorway… my gramma wore those when I was young and guess they remind me of her. At least Joel’s is clean and in good condition, probably worth tent times what he paid when new! Bet you wouldn’t have him any other way, right?

  21. Kelly says:

    I can’t relate to ice fishing, but I can relate to that Scout International! I went with hubs on the annual elk hunt in Co last Sept. For one day of yarn shopping I had to borrow his hunting buddy’s GDI Scout. After a quick “get to know you” drive through the field, I was off on my own. It was great up around 50 mph, but then when I got to the curvy canyon and it started to rain, things got real interesting! It was fun trying to figure out which push/pull knob was for the wipers, lights and heat! Thank goodness there was a rag in the backseat that I could wipe the windshield down with! I was so thankful that I insisted leaving the doors on, much to hubby’s disappointment. When I got into town, I think the Town of Manitou forgot to put in drain pipes because main street was a river! Trying to navigate the water and the tight gears was quite a feat, but proved to be a very memorable experience. I stopped in a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and had a wonderful visit with the young gal there who served me a latte and a free scoop of pumpkin ice cream … Y-U-M! I told her about my experience and pointed out the GDI vehicle. She literally went gaga over it! Which to my surprise, proved the hunting buddy’s pet name for it – GDI – “Girls Dig It”.

  22. Ok don’t get me wrong… I’m happily married 16 years… But even if he wore that hideous red coat, I’d still find myself lost in those beautiful eyes of his! Seriously…. he can wear anything, right?

    I appreciate your ability to find the humor in winter-wear! We Californians just don’t understand…..

  23. This Minnesota neighbor of yours got quite a chuckle out of today’s post Heather. I brought my husband out here to lake country from the big city, so he is lagging in the Grumpier Old Men category, but in some ways has a head start… It will be interesting to see how that little one will change (or not) Joel.

  24. Deb Praus says:

    Heather,
    All I am saying is that I would like to sign up for the support group. Thanks for the giggle.

  25. Denise Briggs says:

    This was so funny!
    I live in windy South Dakota. My family men, wear Stormy Kromer hats and consider them a necessary winter fashion statement for ear protection. Wool warm without the fur lining of Minnesota fishermen….
    Maybe Joel would be interested?
    You are a wonderful seamstress…Thought you would like the credit given to ole Stormy’s wife for being the designer of the hat !!!
    http://www.stormykromer.com/history

  26. I am married to a Wisconsonian who pretty much has the same dress code and desires. I feel your pain. Does your husband wear the train conductor overalls? You know, the Dickies that are blue and white striped? That’s my husband’s weekend wardrobe. With a flannel shirt underneath. And the hat with the earflaps. Yep. It’s a pretty sight.

  27. Amy says:

    OMG, Heather, I about died laughing at your post today!! I live near Rochester, MN, so not very far from where Grumpy Old Men was filmed (in Winona). I totally get the scout – my girlfriend growing up had one, so I actually kind of like them. And the wardrobe – well, let’s just say that my hubby is a grumpy old FARMER – and has the farmer version of that disreputable coat and hat (think ripped, huge, warm carhartt coat and ugly brown stocking cap – with the cow poo to go along with it!). At least we know they’re comfortable with their masculinity – cuz no 20 year old guy would be caught dead in these outfits LOL!! Ah well, that’s the price we pay for living in God’s country – I wouldn’t be anywhere else (except maybe on a beautiful white sandy beach when it’s 40 below here, but I guess we can’t have everything!!).

  28. I’m ROFLOL. I have got to put Grumpy Old Man on my NetFlix list. I had forgotten how funny it is.

  29. karen says:

    I DO feel your pain…my husband hunts & loves to ice fish but doesn’t have Joel’s attire. I do think the coat is hip, the hat not so much?!

  30. Nancy says:

    LOLOLOL…Oh Heather, what a fun post! I loved both of those movies and even though I live in Northern Utah, my hubby also loves Ice Fishing, and though I love fair weather fishing, I can’t tolerate the cold at all, nor in all honesty would I want too.
    Now, about that coat…I really don’t think you have anything to worry about, I’m mean really Heather, Joel doesn’t look anything like a Basset Hound. *note how Walter looks in the photo he and Jack Lemon are standing back to back…Basset Hound all the way.* Big Hugs….

  31. Lynne W says:

    Isn’t it amazing how men hang onto things? Just like mine – the shabbier the better. Just found your blog today and LOVE it. I live in the UK and so envy the frozen lake, snow and the SPACE you have in the US. And as for the fabric…….so delicious!

  32. Chris says:

    I am very familiar with Joel’s wardrobe as it is quite popular here in NH also. My husband has several plaid flannel shirts but usually wears only this one particular one (unless I am washing it) and it is the ugliest plaid in the world. I need a dog to chew it up.

  33. Kris says:

    This post tickled me. I am married to Walter too. Although he is much older than your husband, my husband has decided that now, at age 56, he can wear whatever the heck he wants to on the weekend, and he does! He has these awful knit pants called Zuba’s that are Zebra stripe. He ADORES these! He has jean pajama pants that our daughter got him for Christmas, and he loves them! We live on a one acre orange grove property and when we bought it, my parents got us both overalls and all of the picking tools for the grove. He wore that pair out, and I got him a new pair, and he LOVES them! He wears a head lamp, and has a flapcap just like Walter’s and he has no shame in wearing it. He swears I keep the house cold enough to hang meat. (just wait, you might too when you hit 50!!) In truth though, I don’t mind a bit. I guess that is because I am getting older too. Just go with it!
    XO
    Kris

  34. Becky in Indiana says:

    Thumbs up for the red coat! :)

  35. Pat says:

    Have you ever tried going ice fishing with him? I have gone for the day before but this year we went up to Lake of the Woods with another couple and spent 4 days ice fishing. What a blast, had a fun time. Try it, you might like it.

  36. Kare Ybarra says:

    what is really sad about this is that after years of sitting in the closet, the coat still fits him . . .

  37. Elizabeth S. says:

    Wow. This is so funny! I so don’t have these problems in NW Iowa, but there are others… ;)

  38. Ahhh…Yes…we are Minnesotans all the way!!!! Yep! My husband has the Stormy Kromer, red plaid…I might add…he loves it…the hair is getting pretty sparse up there, so he appreciates the wool on the top! And yes we LOVE ice fishing,and summer fishing. And I have a red and black checkered coat just like Joels…..But the attire around here is mostly Carhartt, but lots of chamois and plaid shirts, and of course you have to have the Under Armor to go out in the cold! Yep…we have the portable fish house and the permanent fish house and the ice augers, minnow buckets, rods of all sizes and shapes—ones that are short, long ..ones that light up, ones that are light weight, bobbers of all sizes and shapes, etc…. lots of tools to go with the sport… and your just not anybody if you don’t have a clamp on fishing weight hanging from your jacket in the winter time…. all winter long, but then we need to get on the ice when it’s not too thick (For the truck) so now we need a four wheeler or a sno-cat (they call’em snowmobiles around here, but when I grew up everything was called a sno-cat, did’nt matter the brand- Ski-doo, Polaris, Arctic Cat…etc..) and then a trailer to pull behind the sno-cat….to haul all that gear! I don’t know… but quilting looks pretty cheap compared to that winter time enjoyment we all call ice fishing… But we love those icy cold fresh fish for supper… You really should give it a go! It’s a nice distraction… Hey, at least he matched the buttons when he sewed them on…he could have had a white one and a green one! My boys all know how to sew on a button and how to iron a shirt, and they could use the sewing machine if they had too! You just have to become a Jack of all trades, ya know… Enjoyed your post! Springs comin’ our way…. and I can’t wait!!

  39. marsha nelson says:

    I laughed so hard that I showed the pictures to my husband and he laughed to. We loved both the movies. I’m not much of a mender either. Love to quilt. The worst thing I ever did to my husband was send a sports jacket to “good will”. Boy that was one ugly jacket. When he couldn’t find it, I finally told him. He really liked it but what does he know, he’s color blind.

  40. DianeY says:

    You just about got me peeing in my pants laughing! Loved the Grumpy & Grumpier movies! Too funny!

  41. KerryQ says:

    Hilarious! Now I will time myself the next time I sew on a button. I never know when to say “when”. And my knots are probably sloppy, too. And I call myself a quilter. And don’t get me started about my husband’s wardrobe. Blue shirt. Khaki pants. To infinity.

  42. AnnieO says:

    Very funny! The photo of all the guys face down on the ice looking into a hole is proof what a damaging substance testosterone is, right? OMG!

    P.S. I actually like THE COAT. The hat I could do without, and certainly the overalls!

  43. Cindy says:

    I’m so sorry Heather!

  44. Ida says:

    Well sunny Australia sure doesn’t have ice fishing and I’m guessing the gear my husband wears fishing even on the “cold” winter mornings here in Queensland doesn’t come close to the warm jacket your husband wears, but I must say the girls and I don’t really like to be seen associating with him when he kits out and heads out fishing… the daggy floppy hat and yes a plaid jacket only his is blue, then there are these rubber shoes they call, “crocs”…..a sight to see I assure you!
    And the sewing….every man should be able to sew a button on, I don’t have time I’m busy quilting!

  45. wendysquilting says:

    Being further north than you are, it all looks pretty “normal” to me :) and to think soon Joel will have a new fishing buddy in training of his very own :)
    Great Post Heather I esp love the pic of the guys laying on the ice. Of course with our mild weather all the huts have to be off the lakes this week.

  46. wendysquilting says:

    oh and by the way lol if you ever want to get him a more stylish hat..check out Egli’s Sheep Farm it’s near Dryden Ontario.. http://eglifarm.com/index.php/cPath/22/osCsid/83e2a60d3ba34b27dd3475fe7a09172e

    they also have waterproof camo pants on sale!

  47. Erica says:

    I am laughing out loud at your post. I’m not from Minnesota, but here in the rural bits of Canada, the guys dress and behave in a similar fashion, my brother-in-law, for one. I love Grumpy Old Men and your comparison is just hilarious. Thanks for the smile!

  48. Lorraine says:

    Heather, I think that first photo is absolutely charming! And, thankfully, no, my husband doesn’t ice fish!! I did recently ask my husband “When did you become a curmudgeon?” :) But he’s 14 years older than Joel. But isn’t it great that he’s out fishing so you can quilt???? (I also love the movie Grumpy Old Men.)

    Lorraine

  49. SuzK says:

    It could be so much worse! On our first date, my husband made reservations at a very fancy restaurant. I wore my crepe dress and beaded jacket. He showed up in brown herringbone double knit pants (it was the late 70s) with the knee permanently in them, and they were too short; he addeded a rayon brown striped shirt and a brown spotted tie to that. He also wore a brown tweed sports jacket (the only thing that survived the wedding!). I almost passed out. Now, add to that the fact that he is 6’7″…well, he stood out, but fortunately I was small enough to pretty much hide behind him. Now see, bet that jacket doesn’t seem so bad, does it!

  50. Cindy says:

    Okay…my husband and I live in TN, but he is from LA…lower Alabama! In our neck of the woods specimen such as our husbands are called rednecks. Thankfully, mine can dress up all nice and fine and pretty if he wants to. Down here we don’t have ice to ice fish, but these fine specimen love to hunt deer, goose, and duck. Grouse is another favorite. We have a red coat exactly like the one your husband is wearing, but it is in our hall closet. The coats are long lost identical twins! I must confess…I’m the one that won’t throw out the coat. At first it was because I wore it while pregnant with our three children; even though I knew I wouldn’t be pregnant again. Then Chris decided he didn’t want to part with it because it was his father’s, who died when Chris was 18. When he decided it was again okay to part with it, I said NO!! Do you know how much 100% wool costs!!!! So it is still waiting in the hall closet, but now to be stripped to make a primitive hooked rug. (I love rug hooking!) We get to keep all the sentiment, it will be used practically in our home, and it will be the longest lasting rug due to the 100% wool. It’s a win-win all around!

    And…if you get to a point where you are overdue, just get your husband to take you for a ride in the lovely Scout! All that bouncing around will help things along :-)

  51. sandi says:

    Thats cute! Got to love our fishing husbands. Is that picture really what your lake looks like in the winter time.

  52. sewstylish says:

    That is hilarious.. The hat also reminds me of Dennis Quad in the movie Christmas Vacation.. As long as you don’t have a motor home that needs it’s ahem septic thingy pumped your all set;) C’Mon I know you all know that “famous” line of when he’s standing there wearing his hat, tshirt, and boxers with a cigar in his mouth, as long as Joel doesn’t do that I think your safe…

  53. El says:

    Your post made me lol! From a neighbouring quilter who lives in yooperland.
    El

  54. Vic says:

    GREAT! I read your post and had a good laugh. I don’t hem, I don’t mend and I do NOT sew on buttons. He always looks at me, at the quilts around the house and says, “Seriously!!!!” The coat is ok, I don’t mind the hat, and I have a spouse who wears t-shirts with holes under the arms, because he didn’t notice :).
    My spouse has taken his ice fishing to another level, he’s designed the ultimate Ice Pole Holder, The Stand, can’t fall through a hole, is lightweight, and fits in your “bucket”. Let me know if you want to order a few, I can share the link :)
    I do remind each of us … “Ladies, we picked them! I know I’m not in an arranged marriage. I picked this man, only have myself to blame.” But hey, if he’s out ice fishing I have more quilting time and shop hopping time!

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