Now We’re Brother Significant Others!

If you don’t understand the title’s reference (which you probably don’t, because it’s from a rather obscure cartoon that was on Cartoon Network a few years ago called “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”), here’s a clip that probably isn’t as funny out of context of the entire episode. (I know what you’re thinking – Yes, I love cartoons. What of it? And if you, by chance, did get that reference, please let me know, because we should probably be best friends.)

Ok, so now that you’re caught up there, allow me to explain:

I have a pretty cool brother. He’s nearly 18 (ironically enough, his birthday is December 21) and a senior in high school. But according to my dad, he looks older than me. I beg to differ, but I will admit that the kid is a large mammal.

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Tanner in cat form

Naturally, since I’m home for a relatively short while, we tend to go places together once in a while. Occasionally alone. Which is where the conundrum begins.

Do you have any idea how awkward it is for people to assume the person you’re out with is not, in fact, your brother, but rather, your boyfriend? It makes us both want to vomit.

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Another cartoon reference. From “Chowder.” If you are also familiar with this, we definitely did just become best friends and you need to come forward.

The first time this happened was when I was a senior in high school, making Tanner (my brother) about 13. We were minding our own business, going through the checkout line at Wal-Mart, the Mecca of Williston, when the cashier, out of nowhere, asked, “Are you guys dating?” Why would you ever ask a random customer that?

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I think we both gave the guy this kid’s awesome “WTF?!” look.

After cleaning all the vomit off the floor, I managed to explain, “Uh, no. He’s my little brother.” Don’t mind the fact that he’s 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He’s 13. Except I didn’t say that part. We both just silently grappled with the idea that people who don’t know better could think that we were dating, and then verbally accosted the cashier to ourselves once we made it to the parking lot.

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So unfortunate that the second “vomit” is, for some reason, misspelled. It would have prevented this spelling & grammar perfectionist from adding this, but you have no idea how hard it is to find photos that don’t induce projectile vomit when searching “projectile vomit” on Google images.

This has probably happened without me noticing multiple times since then, but it came to my attention again when my brother and I were shopping at the Verizon store. The characteristically clingy, albeit helpful, store clerk gave us information about different phone cases and made up prices and discounts on all of them, since there were no prices listed on anything. (Sketch, I know, but that’s what you get in Williston, ND.)

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Anyway, the clerk guy gave me the non-verbal impression that he thought we were dating the whole time. Enough to make me feel really awkward and kind of want to bolt. I was so tempted to drop into the conversation that we were siblings, but I wasn’t clever enough to think of anything other than, “Hey, BROTHER, come look at this,” so I felt like that would make things even weirder.

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Man, I need this shirt.

It didn’t help that the guy was making up deals and discounts left and right. And, of course, never one to pass up a great deal, I succumbed and bought a screen protector, while Tanner bought a whole bunch of crap. The guy gave us a weird look while Tanner and I haggled over splitting the price half and half, paying for exactly what each of us bought, or having Tanner “write me a check.” (Yeah, ’cause that’s really convenient, Tanner.)

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Exactly. We all know how that turns out. (Unless you never saw Popeye, in which case, that’s more evidence I’m getting old.)

Neither of us said anything about the weirdness that was The Verizon Affair, which it came to be known, until we got in the car and, as usual, vented about how awkward it was.

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On the opposite side of the spectrum, my high school boyfriend and I were often confused for siblings, which was not so much awkward as it was offensive, for some reason.

Luckily, I will never have that problem in the family I’m marrying into. I kind of stick out like a big Norwegian sore thumb.

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I also hope they don’t mind me putting them on my blog…

P.S. This is how I wrote the majority of this post.

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She loves to “help” me blog.

Has anyone else ever experienced this horribly awkward encounter?

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It’s A$$hole Tuesday

As if Tuesday isn’t one of the more depressing days of the work week as it is, my coworkers informed me as soon as I started that it’s known in our office as “Asshole Tuesday.” Maybe the fact that the week isn’t even close to over amplifies our general frustration toward dealing with jerks, or maybe the assholes all just decide to come out on Tuesday, but it really never seems to fail.

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The only thing worse than Monday would be an Asshole Tuesday happening on a Monday.

Unfortunately, even though we like to pretend at work that the assholes only come out in droves on Tuesday, the sad truth is that people, in general, tend to suck every day of the week.

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Ok, so that sounds kind of bleak. We could just feel that way because we’re in Williston … which also sounds unnecessarily negative. Don’t get me wrong – Williston has its fair share of great people, but many Willistonites agree that some of the people who come to the area in search of work aren’t simply down on their luck and looking for an earnest way to start over and make a living. Instead, this group of people are the type that blame everyone and everything but themselves for the trouble they’re in. Naturally, working in a law office, we get the joy of encountering a lot of these kinds of people.

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But, hey, we could deal with them, if they were the only ones who sucked. But they’re not. There’s a commercial that runs in western North Dakota, that starts out by saying, “There are 50 states in the nation, and every one of them wants to be North Dakota.” Until I lived in Williston again, I didn’t realize how true that statement was.

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For how mountainous this graph looks, the peaks only count for jobs. North Dakota is still flat as a pancake.

I would have never imagined that my boring little hometown would be a place anyone would want to live, let alone be jealous of. We are extremely fortunate to be experiencing economic happy times with the oil boom in our area. The sad thing is that money breeds conflict.

Random people living all across the country who never even knew North Dakota exists find out some long, lost relative of theirs that they never met owned mineral interest on land that’s got a producing oil well on it, and they’re instantly wanting and expecting more. They’re upset with me because I can’t get their paperwork done fast enough; they’re even fighting against their own family members to scrap for more.

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Come on, people! To come upon money just because you’re related to someone is an amazing stroke of luck – Isn’t that enough reason to just be happy? If you’re not okay with that, I’ll certainly take your pile of money …

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There’s my vent for Asshole Tuesday. All you assholes out there can crawl back in your holes now.

P.S. Just a heads up, I finally made a Facebook page for the blog. The link’s over on the right margin of this page, near the top, if you feel so inclined to click away. I’ll put some awesome little tidbits up, and links to every post, of course.

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P.S. Here’s an adorable picture of my cat, Sperry, being an asshole and hogging the remote. For the record, I did not stage this. She’s actually this much of a freak.

Sorry I’m Such a Tease…

Ok, so I had good intentions in, say, March, when I wrote all about how I was coming back to my blog.  Hopefully, I’ll stick to it this time. After all, I have no social life anymore, (Did I ever?) so I really shouldn’t have much of an excuse. Regardless, over a year of crazy happenings in the life of Kaitlin have left me with plenty to write about.

Forever Alone Meme

Or a few months…

I’m in a completely different place than I was at the time I wrote my last regular post. Literally. To begin with, I’m across the state (still in North Dakota, unfortunately) sitting on a bed covered with teddy bears and unicorns in my room….in my parents’ home. In Williston, ND. (You know, Wild Wild Williston? It’s even wilder. And Willistonier.)

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That’s my unicorn. I also have its baby now, too. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that…..

That may sound like I’ve become a total failure on the surface, but hopefully I’m not. At least, I try to tell myself that. You can’t really go anywhere but up when you come out of college bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your shiny, new several-thousand-dollar piece of paper and find yourself working at the local Olive Garden. I will never be able to hear the words “Unlimited Soup and Salad” again without cringing. (Fun fact: I worked at the Olive Garden Marilyn Hagerty went to when her review of the restaurant went viral. In college, I also worked at the newspaper Marilyn writes for and had her as a guest speaker in a ton of my classes. But the whole story about all that and my time at the ol’ OG is for another post. Or seven.)

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That’s me. Looking fresh as ever.

Anyway, I’m banking in on the cash cow that is Williston, ND, while I can. Yes, Wal-Mart’s starting wage really is $17.00 an hour. McDonald’s will get you $15 an hour starting. So, this is a great place to work at a law firm, getting some experience while saving for law school. (Yep, I got in! And I’d be there right now if I hadn’t been offered a rather significant scholarship to defer my enrollment a year. You know, because too many people accepted their offer of admission and they need to make themselves look uber competitive for the US News & World Reports Rankings. It’s all a big conspiracy. But, I digress.)

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Woot!

Living at home and banking money also has its perks for saving for a house, the big move across the country in a few months, and the WEDDING which will follow shortly after! Yes, in a little over 8 months, my blog title will no longer be a catchy little spin on my last name, but it’s a small price to pay for the lifetime of awesome I’m getting. Especially since Chris and I have been, and will continue to be, living across the state from each other until we make the move. It sucks, but at least I can get away with not shaving my legs very often. (Gotta always look on the bright side.)

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I was distracted by something shiny and didn’t see the random bowl of popcorn on the floor…It was Chris’s house, don’t ask why it’s there.

So, now that I’ve unnecessarily updated you, dear reader whom I probably don’t know on a personal level, on the biggest intimate details of the last year, I think I can successfully move on and begin blogging like I used to. Maybe not every day, but at least regularly. My original plan, in March, was to just let all my big new changes come out as they needed to in the process of writing different posts, in an attempt to not give off so much of my personal life. But I think that idea was a little too daunting. I guess it seems like I need to let people know where I am in life to make my posts relevant. Even though anyone who might still be interested in my blog probably stopped reading about my ridiculous personal blatherings after the first paragraph.

Anyway, yay for blogging again 🙂 I hope to see you around.

(P.S. I also got an adorable kitten. I’m obsessed with her. And she’s the one who loves the unicorns on my bed, I swear.)

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Yes, she is laying on a placemat. I may have been a crazy cat lady when I lived alone…

Guess who’s back — Back again. Kaitlin’s back — On her blog.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for some time now. Yeah, I know, I totally fell off the face of the Earth before. Not completely tactful, but there was a little air of mystery, wasn’t there? Maybe I died or got abducted by aliens or something, for all you knew.

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Yeah. I'm the cow.

Unfortunately (only for the sake of an interesting story to tell – not because I would have preferred to be abducted), I was the same old Kaitlin. That’s not to say nothing exciting happened. There have been some big changes in KaitlinLand. But for now, this is what you get to know:

– I’m currently back East sucking the juice out of the last few days of my vacation, but unfortunately, I still live in North Dakota for the time being.

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That's the statue they built to me after being abducted. Actually, that's Salem Sue, the "World's Largest Holstein Cow." You can see her from the highway when driving by New Salem, ND. Another claim to fame for ND.

– As for why I decided to pick my blog back up now, I have no idea. But, I will forewarn that it’ll probably be a limited time only thing again because, starting in the fall, I’ll have no life. But I won’t bore you with the details of my life because that’s not what’s interesting … Unless, of course, these details tie into a later post. And I find that I oftentimes reveal way more about myself to complete strangers through blogging than I originally intended.
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Because. Also, I realized I just used one, but can someone explain the whole meme thing to me? I mean, is the surface really all there is to it, or is there some massive Internet inside joke I'm missing out on? And WHERE did these characters even come from? Maybe I'm just overthinking.

– Um … I guess that didn’t necessarily warrant a bulleted list, since I don’t really have anything else to say. But I figured I owed any readers that may still exist a slight explanation post before diving into new awesomeness.

And awesome it shall be.

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Some things are better left unexplained.

Well, hello blog. It’s been a few days. Here are some tidbits that are just vague enough to either be confusing and unrelatable, or universally understood. You decide. Sometimes my inner beeyotch just has to come out, but never to who needs to hear it. I just smile and bend over backward. Eventually, it has to come out, and usually in this form … only, usually, not publically.

  • Passive-aggressiveness should not be allowed in the workplace.

  • Putting in one’s two weeks notice means, “I will no longer be employed at your establishment after two weeks.” Not, “Sure, I’ll pick up extra hours because you’ve continued to put me on the schedule two weeks after my two weeks notice.”
  • What is this “fluff” criticism crap? I like fluff. It’s a welcome distraction from how much people can suck. Fluff is not here to harm, it’s here to make people happy. Maybe everyone could use some more fluff.
  • Some people just never get the hint.

  • I’m sacrificing what small semblance of a life I’m currently grasping on to, is there anything else I can do for you? (The answer is always yes. I’ve learned the hard way to stop phrasing this in the form of a question … which goes into effect after this morning, when I did phrase it in the form of a question.)

  • Hot coffee, when given the chance, will always spill. Same with most other liquids. This also applies metaphorically.
  • On a related note, don’t leave that hot coffee alone too long. It gets cold really fast. That can be metaphorical, too, if you want it to.

  • Jack Johnson was mostly right. “Maybe” always means “no.” Same with a lack of response. It sucks to be on the receiving end, but, as mentioned earlier, other people need to also learn to take the hint.
  • People will generally make stupid, unwarranted, uninformed comments on most things you post online. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • There’s never such a thing as too much time. Or too much money. And, unfortunately, the two are not friends.

  • I wish I had nothing better to do than sit around in coffee shops being pretentious.
  • There’s only so much one can do before they reach the point of *metaphorical brain explosion*. This is characterized by silence, glazed over eyes, and extreme lack of motivation. This person requires a recovery period, or more caffeine.

I only wish a kitty was the source of my brain explosions.

  • A teeny bit of consideration can go a long way.
  • Those people who never get the hint? They’ll really rub it in your face that they don’t get the hint. It’s karma’s way of punishing you for not just spouting off to them. I’m currently suffering a terrible punishment.

  • Haters gon’ hate. Control freaks gon’ control. And the rest of us just have to deal with them apparently. I deal by writing long, bitchy e-mails to said Control Freak and then never sending them. Passive aggressive? Kinda. Therapeutic? Absolutely.
  • Just because someone isn’t working for you at the moment doesn’t mean they’re just sitting on their ass in a beanbag in front of the TV eating bon bons and getting fatter. Don’t assume they’re not working somewhere else.

  • Instructors of online classes should still make an effort to be a fricking teacher. You know, answering voicemails, e-mails, grading assignments before the last week of class …
  • It’s dangerous to bank on it not raining.

  • Don’t pass up an awesome deal because you assume it’ll still be there when you have more wiggle room in your wallet to buy it. When the time comes, the price goes.
  • Can I take back all the hours I never took naps as a child and use them now?
  • Weekends are never long enough.
  • Anxiety is more often used for evil than good.

  • There’s a fine line between pointing out errors in work to be helpful and being completely obnoxious.
  • Wow … and your computer will always short-circuit, displaying a huge error message that basically says, “You’re screwed” every time you’re in the middle of something important. Every. Time.

If I had a little more energy, I could have probably cleverly weaved these bullet points into a crafty little post. But I don’t, so this is what you get.

Can’t get enough over-analysis?

I’m going to assume you know about my neurotic tendency to over-analyze things. Rest assured that it doesn’t stop at text messages. As many readers commented on the texting article, any kind of communication that’s not face-to-face opens up the opportunity for misinterpretation. And I’m well aware. I planned to write this post before the texting one exploded, but I figured I had to wait a while, so it wouldn’t look like I was just trying to re-do that.

I LOVE this. So me.

I think the only form of technological communication I over-analyze more than texting is interactions on Facebook. Facebook presents the opportunity for so many more subtle, silent “body language” stand-ins, causing me, at least, to analyze my creeping to the max.

I’m guilty of contributing. I often have cryptic statuses, straight from the depths of my latest favorite obscure indie folk song. But I would never put up a cryptic lyric status unless it related in some way to what I was feeling that day, or my current life situation. There’s always a “hint hint” factor in hopes that whomever or whatever it’s directed toward over-analyzes.

Okay, so this one's not from an obscure song ("Flake" by Jack Johnson) but it's been a while since I had a cryptic status and this was the most recent.

If anyone ever gets the reference, though, they don’t tell me. I always make sure to say something if I sense an underlying reason for someone’s quoted status. Sometimes the person is like, “Wow, you got that? That’s totally what I meant!” But, most of the time, they either don’t respond (To me, that’s Facebook lingo for, “You’re totally over-analyzing, but I’m not enough of a jerk to call you out in front of the world of Facebook and make you look stupid”), or they call me out in front of the world of Facebook and make me look stupid.

This girl got called out. But she was totally asking for it.

On my inaugural creep of a new Facebook friend, if I find they have 400 profile pictures and 396 of them are MySpace-style self portraits in the mirror making the duck face, I judge. I don’t know if that’s entirely out of the ordinary — I think it’s safe to say most people will get the impression that user is pretty self-absorbed and really likes the way they look. Maybe that’s just general analysis.

Why? You're fooling no one. Your cheekbones don't look like that unless you're making that face all the time ... which I guess some people are.

While we’re on the topic of profile pictures, there’s always the “hidden meanings” in them, as well. If you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s not uncommon to set your profile picture as the two of you as a happy couple. But God help you the second you change it to a picture of, say, just yourself, or you and some friends. People will start wondering if maybe you’re mad at each other. Rumors will fly that you’re having relationship problems. Maybe one of you is cheating. It’s ridiculous, I know. But, believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

I try to limit my Facebook friends to people I actually interact with in real life (or used to and want to stay in touch with). But leave it to the one thing you don’t want that random acquaintance to see, and they’ll comment on it.

That always makes me wonder just how much of my personal stuff they’re actually creeping on. I like to imagine that only the people I have in mind when I post things see said posts but, of course, that’s not the case on Facebook. It’s times like those I wish Google+ would just catch on already, with their Circles. After worrying which things Random Acquaintance could have possibly seen in the past, I usually end up placing them on my no-no list in my privacy settings … for a little while, at least.

This was likely a hack, but if it wasn't ... Well, then I guess you're asking for it by posting it on Facebook.

Say it’s your birthday. (“It’s my birthday, too, yeah!“) Everyone and their mother will wish you a happy one on your Wall (literally). And if you have a close Facebook friend who doesn’t (which I would define as someone you know in person and interact with on Facebook a lot), it’s on.

See, your birthday is the one time of the year people will creep out of the shadows and post on your Wall. Even if I agree 100% with a post of someone I never talk to on Facebook, I’d feel like a creep if I commented on it. We’ve all got to admit, there are some people we’re friends with solely to “silently” creep on. But that inhibition dissolves on someone’s birthday, where you’re almost obligated to write on their Wall, or else you’ll look like a jerk. I admit, I still hold it against at least a certain person who I know purposefully didn’t acknowledge my Facebook birthday. It’s ridiculous, I know. But it’s like a virtual slap in the face.

I always try to avoid statuses asking if “anyone” wants to do something. (Although, I did, out of desperation, ask who was up for sushi last week because I was craving it and Chris isn’t a fan of the raw fish. It led nowhere. I never got my sushi.) These statuses are traps: Either no one will comment on it, making you feel like a loser who has no friends, or all those Random Acquaintances from before will comment on it, leaving you in an awkward situation.


The “liking” option is sometimes dangerous, too. “Liking” something is usually a way of saying, “I agree casually.” Unless you write something about how bad your day sucks and someone “likes” it with no explanation.  (A suitable explanation could be: “‘Liked’ only because I agree — Not because of your situation!”) Or unless it’s one of those “Bobby went from being “In a Relationship” to “Single” notifications. Those are always fun for attracting the wrong kind of attention. The only other acceptable case for a “mean like” is if you’re good enough friends with the “liker” that you know they’re just messing with you. An unexplained “like” on a depressing status is like kicking someone when they’re down, and is grounds for unfriending.

This is boyfriend Chris, so I know he's messing with me.

On the topic of “liking,” “liking” one’s own status is almost never okay. It says: “I don’t know how to use Facebook,” or, “I’m that much of a loser.” Exceptions, of course, apply in the case of intentional situational humor.

Acknowledged, rendering it situational humor.

Then, there’s the lingering friend request. You request to be someone’s friend, and they don’t accept or deny, but they just never confirm either way. This is a polite way of getting around things. You don’t want to feel mean and deny them, but you really don’t need them creeping on you. So you just let the request linger there in Friend Request Purgatory. I admit, I currently have over 20 of these — People I haven’t talked to since eighth grade who request to be friends with me, people I have never met in my life that come here for oilfield work and see I’m from North Dakota, and people I’ve unfriended because everything they post makes me want to vomit who just don’t get the hint and keep trying to re-friend me.

Straight from my page

I thought I was crazy with my over-analysis of texting, but with the responses I got, I know I can’t be alone here, too. Or maybe I can. Feel free to let me know if I just need to take an extra dose of my happy pills with this one.

Come on over! We’ve got Kegs!

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. Some people might call me a fatty. Either way, I enjoy food, and I’m not ashamed. When I had cable, my TV was on Food Network at least 80% of the time because I find it interesting, and because it’s relaxing background noise for doing homework. Now, I have to resort to planning my workouts around my TV schedule, and end up being “that girl” who’s watching Food Network while she’s running on the treadmill.

I can't believe I actually found this picture. That's me. Only I'm not tan or brunette.

If you watch Food Network semi-regularly, you’ve probably seen a pretty popular show called “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” It’s one of my favorite shows on the channel, along with “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” That’s probably because these shows pick out awesome little restaurants around the country and feature them for making fantastic food. I’ll totally stop at restaurants featured on the shows if I’m ever near any of them on vacation. (North Dakota doesn’t really get a whole lot of airtime.)

In fact, I would make a road trip out of it to go to some of the nearby places. It’s nothing to me — In high school, we used to drive 45 minutes to get a Whirl-a-Whip in Stanley, ND. (It’s kind of like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, but known around the state.)

This is an image from Stanley, ND's, website. The Whirl-a-Whip is their claim to fame.

Although North Dakota (specifically, Grand Forks, ND — since that’s where I’m currently living) has never been featured on one of those Food Network shows, we’re home to some spots that are definitely worthy of some airtime. I finally visited one for the first time today, after a lot of curiosity and recommendations.

“Have you gone to Kegs yet?” my parents often asked me. I’d always do the mental head-slap, wondering why I didn’t think of it last time Chris and I were sitting around playing the “I dunno — What do you want to eat?” “I don’t care. What do you feel like?” game.

This is actually a website. The F-word makes it somehow more funny and entertaining than your average recipe website: http://whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com/

My dad often told me how he was a regular at Kegs when he was a student at the University of North Dakota, grabbing a monster burger or some onion rings on his way to work. The student-friendly prices haven’t changed. A huge, homemade cheeseburger was around $2.

I probably forgot about Kegs because it’s tucked in the middle of town. It’s plopped right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Kegs definitely takes you by surprise a little when you first approach it. Aside from being a little dilapidated on the exterior, you can’t deny that it’s got a curiosity-sparking gravitational pull.

The Kegs Drive In at three on a Monday afternoon.

When my family and I pulled up, we were the only car in the lot. It’s a true old-fashioned, 1950s drive-in. You press the button on the menu when you’re ready to order, and the waitress brings you your food on a tray. It first opened in the 1930s, as part of a local seven-restaurant chain. This Kegs is the last one that remains.

The Kegs Menu

We were a little unsure it was still open until we saw a fluorescent-shirted worker passing behind the counter inside. We discovered she was pretty disgruntled, to say the least, but I think it added to the whole experience. Besides, the food is worth it.

They’re known for their sloppy joes — That’s what I had. I didn’t think you could really do much with a sloppy joe recipe, but there was definitely just something better about it. They’re also known for their root beer, as you can probably tell by their signature keg-architecture, but they have a whole slew of beverage choices, like homemade vanilla, lime, and cherry Coke and even a chocolate Coke, which I might have to try next time.

Their burgers and onion rings were perfection, too. I had a bite of my dad’s and will definitely be trying that next time. As my brother said, it tasted like 1953. And in the best possible way. There’s just something about a really great cheeseburger that makes everything seem right in the world. Or maybe that’s just me and my foodie-fattiness.

Not long after we arrived, Kegs quickly filled up with cars full of people young and old. Battle Axe Waitress and her younger counterpart remained efficient, although Battle Axe also remained pretty crabby.

There’s just something about places like Kegs — They’ve been around forever because they’ve been doing things right. Grand Forks, like any city, is rich with tradition, but a lot of those traditions stem from the University and its hockey team.

Kegs is a place that hangs onto a tradition of its own.

“You never know. This could be the last time we eat here. They’ll probably tear it down by the time we get back to Grand Forks,” my parents were saying, acknowledging they’d said the same things 20 years ago when they were in school.

I’ve got a feeling Kegs isn’t going anywhere.