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Just one of the things to see at IndyFest.
Just one of the things to see at IndyFest. (Photo: IndyFest )
The race is Sunday!
The race is Sunday! (Photo: IndyFest )

A chance to ride in the pace car and 5 things you shouldn't miss at IndyFest

Racing returns to Milwaukee for the 2015 ABC Supply Co., Inc. Wisconsin 250 presented by
The Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers, part of Milwaukee IndyFest July 11­-12 at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

IndyFest hours are Saturday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

To help get you excited for the big racing weekend, we have the chance of a lifetime for you.  That's right, you can ride in the pace car on Sunday morning.  One lap with an IndyCar driver.  You'll feel the speed and hear the cheers, and you'll help raise money for IndyCar's official charity. Bid now by clicking here.  The auction ends July 9 at 3 p.m.

What else is on tap at IndyFest? Here are five thing you shouldn't miss.

  1. Get served a drink by an IndyCar driver — drivers will serve as celebrity bartenders Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. at the MillerTime Pub (Hilton Milwaukee City Center, 509 W Wisconsin Ave.) -- this is obviously at a different location Friday evening before the festival kicks off Saturday/Sunday at State Fair Park.
  2. The chance to tailgate inside Turn One — return of tailgating, the first time in 5 years -- purchase a tailgating pass in advance here
  3. Bring the kids to the Family Fun Zone — free carnival rides, face painting and driver autograph sessions.
  4. See vintage racers from the Harry Miller Club on Saturday.
  5. The race! Sunday at 4:35 p.m. The thrill of IndyCar racing at the Milwaukee Mile — the longest continually operating speedway in the world. Ticket information is here.

See you at the Mile, Milwaukee! 

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All organized with Monkey Bar.
All organized with Monkey Bar.
Cleaned out and stuff moved off the ground.
Cleaned out and stuff moved off the ground.
Before.
Before.
After.
After.

Monkey Bar does a garage good

Until two years ago, I’d never owned a garage. Once we rented our condo in Downtown Milwaukee and moved to a larger house closer to schools, we suddenly inherited a two-car garage that quickly filled up with stuff that we didn’t want in the basement. 

It was a disorganized, cluttered mess that I just wanted to go away.

So, I began strategically throwing stuff out, giving stuff away and researching ways to better organize this old garage space. Several people recommended hooks, hangers and organizational systems. 

But I found Monkey Bar via a search, and contacted the local rep.  We worked out a deal, and I said I’d write about my experience – good or bad.  

Bottom line, I wanted my garage stuff accessible for and my family and needed to maximize the walls to provide more storage. This is exactly what Monkey Bar did. 

The local guy, Jim Reidel, is a garage expert if I’ve ever met one.  He cares about his work, and as a Monkey Bar franchise owner he’s his own business as one of Monkey Bar Storage’s 120 dealers throughout the country. 

Monkey Bar does industrial grade garage flooring, garage cabinets, space saving garage shelving systems, and new overhead racks, too. 

After a first visit and a short wants and needs analysis, Reidel worked out a plan for the southern wall our garage. Basically, he hung shelving that’s rated for 750 pounds when hung from the ceiling and 1,000 pounds when one side is mounted to a wall.

Using hooks to hang our stuff, he made it all easier to get to the activities items our kids love
by more effectively using the garage space you have. He took all of our crap off the floor, and moved it up. It functions well and looks even better. 

Garages are easily cluttered, but systems like Monkey Bar's not help you find your stuff but they help keep your cars cleaner and stuff safer.  You can research the systems out there but Jim’s the real deal.  The guy knows storage and really takes the time to understand your need…

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Wisconsin ranks!
Wisconsin ranks!

Wisconsin rates well in "The Definitive and Final Ranking of All 50 States"

There’s a new list every day, and Thrillist helps lead the charge. 

Recently, Thrillist released its ranking of all the States in these United States of America.  Called "The Definitive and Final Ranking of All 50 States," here’s how it set the stage, "Seeing how it’s America Week at Thrillist, and we’ve already danced with state rankings involving food/drink and beer, we thought it was time to use the perfectly American cliche 'go big or go home' and rank the states based on everything."

Wisconsin, not to our surprise, faired very well landing at No. 4. Milwaukee, of course, was a big reason as the editors called our fair city "sneaky, underrated."

What state came in No. 1?  Michigan. Yes, Michigan.  Illinois, by the way, ranked 27.

Kevin Alexander, Thrillist's executive editor, and Matt Lynch, Thrillist's deputy editor, compiled the list. 

On Milwaukee and On Wisconsin.  Here’s the full blurb about Wisconsin:

4. Wisconsin

Any state that loves beer enough to name its baseball team after it and loves sausage enough to make anthropomorphic versions of it race during said baseball team’s games has its priorities well established. Wisconsinites must chuckle at the notion that a bar focusing on fine ales, house-made charcuterie, and artisanal cheeses can endeavor to position itself as trendy -- beer, cheese, and meat -- really reinventing the wheel there, everybody! Milwaukee’s a sneaky, underrated big city and Madison’s properly rated as one of the finest college towns in the country. Step by Step was an underrated TGIF sitcom. On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin, indeed.

She was fast asleep but delivered a very fatherly message.
She was fast asleep but delivered a very fatherly message.

Fatherly encouragement from a fast asleep daughter

My message was the same that night.  No change in the delivery, tone or intent. But, my 3 year-old reacted quite differently than she usually does. In fact, she'd never even reacted at all during similar encounters.

Every night before I go to sleep , I stop in the kids' rooms to check on them, give them a kiss and a short positive message.  It's usually along the lines of I love you, you're a great boy or girl, you impress me and/or make me and mommy proud. Sometimes it's deeper, kinda depends.

This night, April 26, was different. My Dad was into his second day of full incubation as his body battled sepsis, a severe blood infection.  His numerous doctors were working hard, but delivering their hope with candor and odds that were in the infection's favor. I prayed, somewhat ignoring the odds and put my trust in God, the medicines, my mom, my family and a history of medical advances and miracles that never cease to amaze.

So, needless to say, when I walked into Pierce's (our 3-year old daughter's) room that night I was very tired.  Long days and nights at the hospital take their toll. I kissed her forehead, arranged the family of dolls she sleeps with and said, "you know, Pierce, you can do anything you want in life. Daddy loves you." Instantly, and still seemingly fully asleep she sat up and said "I know." Then, she fell right back to sleep.

On most nights this would have freaked me out or at least irritated me because it probably meant her waking up and wanting to jump into our bed for the night. Not on this night, though. It meant - at least to me in the moment - "I know, Dad. Papa (my Dad) is going to be all right."

Her message was encouraging and amazing at the same time. And it made me realize that these were two things - encouraging and amazing - that my Dad's always been to me. I didn't need a sickness or a sign from my 3 year-old to tell me this. But, they both helped reinforce it.

My Dad's finally out of the hospital after nearly 10 weeks and he's…

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