Getting out of your comfort zone

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After 42 years of wedded bliss, Ellen Gutowski of Hayden still thinks her husband, Mike, is all that. As an avid Ellen (DeGeneres) Show viewer, Ellen entered her husband into a contest the talk show was holding. It was a contest to model The Ellen Show's underwear brand.

Mike, 62, is retired and a defensive line coach for the Coeur d'Alene Viking football team. Much to the couple's surprise, considering the thousands of entries in the contest, there was a call from an Ellen Show producer and less than 24 hours later they were whisked off to Los Angeles. Met by a limo at the airport, put up in a ritzy hotel and then off to the show's soundstage, it was only then that Mike knew he was a top five finalist. He appeared on stage with four 20-something finalists ... in underwear, pink underwear. Wow, talk about getting outside your comfort zone.

But Mike was enjoying the experience. On stage Ellen asked him the secret to such a long marriage. His reply ... doing whatever your wife wants you to do. Mike's 15 minutes of fame might be diminished slightly by the talk show host telling the audience he was from Hayden, Indiana, not Idaho. Though I'm thinking his fellow football coaches and players are not likely to let him forget anytime soon. Mike laughed about a woman approaching him in public not long after returning home from the trip, recognizing him from his appearance on the show.

Kudos to Mike for embracing the adventure and to his wife, Ellen for paying her longtime husband such a compliment.

Note: on YouTube, there's a clip of The Ellen Show underwear finalists.

High fives to North Idaho College Student Union Building manager Matt Sebby and Executive Chef Eddie Nelson. The Make-a-Wish Evening of Wishes event took place at the SUB on Saturday night and it was not only a great venue but with an outstanding dinner served.

Another weekend of entertaining choices ... on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Bryan Elementary School's production of "Genie of the Lamp" will be performed at Coeur d'Alene High School. Tickets only $2 at the door! Kudos to Bryan for producing an annual school play for over a decade, the only Coeur d'Alene Elementary School to put on a full production!

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Special Olympians will take a plunge into Lake Coeur d'Alene at City Beach near the bandshell. I attended this last year and it was great fun!

Lakeland High School senior parents are putting on a fundraiser for the grad night party, also on Saturday ... 5 p.m. at the high school for an Hawaiian-themed dinner, dessert auction and auction. $10 at the door.

All you can eat crab and music by the Renovators ... the Viking Crab Feed is only $10 on Saturday night at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Happy hour 6-7 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing 8-11 p.m.

Happy birthday today to Gladys Schneidmiller (95!), Rich Winter and Adam Johnson. Tomorrow is a special day for my sister Janna Scharf, Heidi Rogers, Todd Gilkey, Wayne Larson and Julie Sandstrom. Friday birthdays will be celebrated by Cyndie Hammond, Lisa Ferguson, Robert Page, Linda Koehler, Joni Morrow, Chelsea MacEntee, Kylie MacEntee, Veronicka Peacock and Catherine Brown. Saturday, March 9, Karen Roetter, Bob Frazey, Keith Van Slate, Debbie Myles, Megan Round and Giuliana Roge will blow out the birthday candles. Nancy Frazey marks her milestone 60th birthday on Sunday, sharing the date with Jon Dingman. Starting the week out with parties are Clay Larkin (77!), Ed Robar, Mindy Newby, Sue Walker, Jim Faucher, Rachel King and Bill Paradee, Jr. on Monday and DeAnn Johnson, Will Henderson and David Wegner on Tuesday.

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. She was voted Best Local Writer for 2012 by the readers of the North Idaho Business Journal. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri is on the air Mondays and Wednesdays on 1080 ESPN AM (KVNI). Find her on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com.

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