LAND O' LAKES - Staring at snow for months on end can start to wear on your psyche. Add a trip to the dentist and it can make even the heartiest Northwoodser shutter. But Painless Pete Schindelholz of Land O' Lakes wants to change that.
"It started from all of us wanting to get away this time of year that couldn't... instead we thought, 'Well, let's make believe,'" Schindelholz said.
Dr. Schindelholz came up with the idea for Cabin Fever week about 20 years ago. He cranks of the heat, throws on a pair of shorts and sandals and serves his patients tropical drinks.
"Some lady just told me, 'You know, you made my day,'" Schindelholz said. "And I think she just saw the waves out on the road and thought that was kind of nice."
Patient Barbara Nehring thinks so too. She looks forward to this week every year.
"The colors and shapes just really, really make me happy," Nehring said. "To come into this office in the middle of the winter, or end of the winter and to find all of this joy... it really is a joy."
After about three months of staring at white snow turn into dirty, filthy snow it certainly is refreshing seeing bright blue waves crash into Painless Pete's County B sign. That's the point he hopes you realize: you don't have to go to the tropics to get a taste of them.
"It's kind of fun," Schindelholz said. "I enjoy dressing scantily and just being a little more nuts than normal."
Barbara wouldn't have it any other way.
"For the people who haven't experienced this, it's a bit of a surprise," Nehring said. "But it brings a smile to their face. Those of us that do know [Pete], it helps us realize spring is on its way."
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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