Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Worthless Advice: Back to School Tips from Your Uncle Kev

I sometimes forget that I am here to help my readers in their life.  Now, I know everyone doesn’t have kids in school and some of my readers look to me as an inspiration to when they make the choice to have children.  Seriously, I am an awesome father that knows how to raise awesome children.  Who wouldn’t want some worthless advice from me?

For those of you with children, you will probably learn from my worthless parenting advice that you have been raising your children all wrong.  Yes, you are incorrect in the way you parent your offspring.  Perhaps there is still time for you to reverse those bad parenting habits you have learned from the so-called “experts” out there.

One of the major things we worry about is when our kids go to Back to School and whether they will survive.  Will they be able to make it through a day without us?

To prep your child for the first day of school (and the beginning of another exciting year of learning! Oh yeah!), you should set up an imaginary school at home.

 Bullying:

Have your children dress up in the worst possible clothing combinations and make fun of their clothes.  This teaches them that bullies come in all shapes and sizes and they aren’t safe anywhere….even in their own home!

Lunch:

Ask your kids what they want for lunch.  To simulate a school lunch, take these tips to heart.  If they want hot pizza, make sure it is cold and half cooked.  If they want a cold sandwich, warmth it up so it taste terrible.  Make sure the milk is warm too.  Nothing like that taste of spoiled milk to ruin your child’s appetite!

School Supplies:

Do you get those crazy school supply lists?  We do.  I merely view them as suggestions.  If every parent bought everything on the list then the teacher would have way too many school supplies.  You should be that one parent that holds out and refuses to be a puppet in the educational supply purchasing machine complex that is controlled by our robot overlords.

Backpacks:

One way to strengthen your child’s back is to overload their backpack with useless stuff.  Throw in their favorite rock you collected from your back yard.  Add in a brick from the neighbor’s walkway.  Have them take cans of food back and forth to school.   What doesn’t break their little spines and spirits makes them stronger!

Reading:

Did your kids read during the summer?  Well, if they didn’t your kid is probably in the same boat with about 80% of the other kids in their class.  Not to worry, you can still have them read a cereal box or an old phonebook.  That counts as reading doesn’t it?

Good luck with your student this year!  Only 179 more school days for my kids until Summer Vacation 2014.

First Day of School! Happiness returns to my Home!

Back to School!Today was the first day of school for the Kent School District here in the rainy Puget Sound area.  To be honest, I cannot remember any first day of school being so rainy.  Sure, maybe we did have a rainy day on Kauai when I was a kid but usually in the Seattle area we luck out with no rain on the first day of school.  Most years, we enjoy a nice September of great sunny weather (and wish our kids were out of school in September instead of rainy June).  Last year, we had awesome sunny weather until October 1st.

That doesn’t mean that our Labor Day Weekend is always good.  We’ve had Labor Day Weekends full of solid, miserable rain where we were stuck in the lake house the whole three day weekend.  On the bright side, this upcoming Labor Day Weekend is looking fairly good according to the TV weather folks.

Yet happiness has returned to our household with the first day of school.  Over the summer, the kids did argue and have a few fights.  I know that is shocking considering what an awesome father I am and how well behaved my children are.  I also may have forgotten to feed my daughter lunch a few times during the summer.  But in my defense, she is 10 and knows how to make a sandwich.  Besides, I was doing yard projects and my hands were dirty….well, not really I wear gloves…gotta keep my hands soft.

The kids returning back to school is always a mixed bag for me.  I like having my kids around but I need them to go back before I go nuts.  The internet and Xbox can only entertain your kids so much during the summer before you actually have to do something with them.  You know, take them to a beach, do a vacation together, etc.

However, our summer is now over.  It just blew by in a hasty mess of activities, summer camps, vacations, and trips and still left me with the feeling that I didn’t do enough with my kids.

So for the next 9 months of school, I’ll plan a really fun summer of 2014.  We’ll do a bunch of hiking, road trips, vacations, river rafting, and stay weeks on end at fancy resorts paid by my hugely successful Blog of Worthless Advice!  So hit that “Like” button now.  Make some insane comments and have your cute photo below this post!

A Must Have for Every Music Collection!

Luckily, a few weeks back while I was on vacation in Newport, Oregon, I found a music CD that will make every road trip more enjoyable forever!  I was given this idea by a friend Kris who did a huge road trip with his sons to Boy Scout camp.  How I envied him and his kids after I heard what kind of music CD he had and all I could think about was I must look high and low for this remarkable music CD.

It is a CD that everyone should have.  But what is it?

It is called “Irish Drinking Songs”.  It really doesn’t matter who the artist is, you should have this CD in your music collection (or download it and add it to your ITunes collection).  If you happen to be Irish, like to drink, and know all the Irish drinking songs, then you get a pass on not having this CD in your collection (or on your iPod)Irish Drinking Songs

However, for the rest of you, it is a must have!  Think of the hours of pure enjoyment and bliss you’ll have singing along to songs like “Wild Rover” and “Bog Down in the Valley-O”.  You don’t really sing along as much as mumble along to these delightful tunes.  Frankly, I can’t understand most of the words the singer is singing but at least I can pretend to know what the heck the singer is singing.

I’m pretty sure that I can find the lyrics online and really learn these songs but what would be the fun in that?  It is much more exciting to mumble along and struggle to understand the thick Irish tongue.

What if you don’t drink?  Not a problem, just because these songs are called Irish Drinking Songs doesn’t mean you have to drink when you sing them.  I’m driving my car when I am listening to the songs so I can’t be drinking alcohol.  But I can still treat myself to these wonderful tales of woe and misfortune that only the Irish can truly express in song.

With Irish Drinking Songs, I know my whole family will be banded together in common song on any road trip.  Even a short jaunt to the neighborhood store should allow us a tune or two to soak in.  Can you imagine if I have to drive up to Seattle in morning traffic?  I almost faint in the sure joy it will bring knowing I can listen and sing along to the songs while stuck in the Seattle crawl of doom.  Perhaps there will be hope when I have to drive to Bellevue by myself, hope in the form of an Irish Drinking song!

So raise your glass and toast to the Irish Drinking Songs CD I have recently acquired!

As always your comments are enjoyed and encouraged.  And hit that “Like” button so you can make my writing career skyrocket upwards to fame and fortune.

Please kill me now…another “Informational” Meeting!!

Please kill me now…another “informational” meeting…..

Last night I got stuck going to my son’s “informational” meeting for new parents at his high school.  It is our second time through this school but he is doing the Jump Start program which is new.  The meeting was scheduled to be an hour long and that should have been my first warning sign.  Any meeting that is an hour long is mostly a meeting of wasted time and worthless advice.  The two papers that the school handed out could have easily been emailed to me.  In fact, I think this whole “informational” meeting should have just been uploaded onto YouTube video.  Then I could have had the option to ignore it online instead of being subjected to a hot stuffy theater stage for 55 minutes.

On the bright side, it did end five minutes early.  Or I feel asleep.  One of the two.

Getting back to my annoyance…..Yes, I understand parents like to know what is going on in their kid’s life.  Sure, these informative meetings are helpful for some people.  But really, when you basically go over the same information that I have in my hand (as a piece of paper), you are wasting my time.  I’m not saying it is worthless advice. I’m saying it was a waste of my time.  Time better spent relaxing at home and enjoying the last summer evenings before school starts.

 I know better.  I knew I should have skipped this meeting.  This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.  But I thought I should go.  And I was strongly encouraged by my wife to go.  Hmm, the same wife that is out of town on a “Girl’s Trip” with her two best friends.

So blinded by love for my wife and children, I thought I should show my face and be a good parent.  You know that kind of stuff where you look like a good parent but are really just going through the motions.

Ahh, high school….

It’s not like I’m totally against the idea of having an informational meeting that will aid parents when they send their children off to high school.  I’m just against the wasting of my time with a meeting that really didn’t need to happen.  It didn’t need to occur; a simple tactful email with the two documents attached to it could have accomplished the same thing.  Think of all the valuable time that could have been saved!  Hours and hours!  My time wasted, my friends’ time wasted, teachers’ time, people I hate…their time was wasted as well.

That time is gone forever.  And I am forever reminded of the pain of that lost time whenever I drive by that school.

 

 

 

 

Want to Know a Secret?

Hey, you want to know a secret?  I’m actually a pretty positive guy.  I actually believe things are getting better and you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it.

Whoa, what happened to Mr. Sarcastic?  Has he been killed by aliens and replaced?

If you think about it, I haven’t changed.  I still like to believe that the future will be a good one.  I still like to believe that people will change for the better.  And I still like to believe that we are put on this Earth to help others.

Yet, I am a realist.  I know that some people will never change, they are evil, and something is wrong with them.

I’ve currently been reading about a serial killer in the 1890s, who went by the name of Henry. H. Holmes.  The book is titled “Devil in the White City” written by Erik Larson.  This is my second book I’m reading about Holmes.  However, it comes with the added bonus of being a book about the creation of the 1893 World’s Fair called the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  The book goes back and forth between the men and women who carried out the planning, and building of the World’s Fair, and the serial killer Henry H. Holmes.

Side note: The other book I read recently was “The Scarlet Mansion” written by Allan W. Eckert and where I first found out about Henry H. Holmes and his “castle” of murder in Chicago.

Honestly, this Henry H. Holmes killed people for fun and profit.  Now, I really don’t think that this Holmes would ever change for the better.  Am I a bad person for thinking this?  Is being a realist going to make me less of a positive person?

Or am I really a positive person that knows that some people are capable of positive changes and others are incapable of changing for the better?  Some people are evil and will never change.  This reality does exist.  For those of us that are good, this is sometimes a hard reality to accept.  We want to believe people can change, that they have some good in them.  However, there are psychopaths and sociopaths that make the world unsafe.  There are people that can not help but lie.  There is mental illness that can not be cured no matter what.  There are people that are pure evil.

I would argue that with pure evil people you also have the opposite type of people that are pure goodness.  They think only of others and put others before themselves.  That makes them happy and fulfills their lives.  I admire this trait and their ability to see the good in others.  Does a person who believes only in the good in people know that there are pure evil individuals among us?  Do they know that some people will never change?

Overall, I understand that most people tend to be honest and decent individuals.  I want to trust and believe in others.  I want to have faith that the world is moving towards being better for future generations.

Girl Scout Day Camp is Over!

Well, Girl Scout Day Camp is over and we all survived!  It was actually a very well run camp and I would go back next year.  It isn’t easy have running any kind of camp and a day camp is especially hard.  Luckily, this is Girl Scout Day Camp and as a father, I can skip out on being a senior manager of such a function.  I don’t mind helping but don’t stick me in charge of anything.  Let me be a warm body that makes sure your kids don’t kill themselves.

Trust me, I like to be in charge but at Girl Scout Camp, I firmly believe that the mothers are totally capable of handling all functions of the day camp.  Heck, we have lots of great moms in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts so I know they can handle a Girl Scout event.  Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts events are tough.  You are a volunteer leader running a bunch of teenagers and other clueless adults (not really) and everything has to run smoothly.  Nothing ever runs smoothly when you are a volunteer.

However, my hat is off to the wonderful mothers and daughters that ran the Service Unit 026 day camp this past week.  They did an awesome job and I was very pleased with everything.  I will recommend this day camp to all of my Girl Scouts.

As always your comments and thoughts are welcome on my worthless advice blog!

Girl Scout Day Camp: Hump Day is Over!

Girl Scout Day Camp

Today was hump day at our local Girl Scout Day Camp.  Day 3 out of 5 days is now done.  For my all my kids, I have attended their Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Girl Scout day camps as a parent volunteer.  I have served as staff member or just as a guide parent.  Regardless, most of these camps are run by volunteers who do their best to give the Scouts the best experience possible. However, since we are all volunteers, sometimes things don’t run as smoothly as possible.

In the first place, it is extremely hard to get parents to commit to help out for four or five days.  Sure, let’s give up some more of our limited vacation time to work at summer camp.  A lot of parents want to help but they may have other younger children that they actually need to take care of.  You can’t just lock them in the car with a bag of potato chips, some water, and a few coloring books and call it good.  Gone are the good old days where your parents left you unattended in the hot car and told you and your siblings not to kill each other.  And if one of your siblings was stupid enough to get hurt after a playful game of “Smash Your Sibling into the Car Door” and was crying when your mom got back, heaven help you and them.  Even the victim of the crime was guilty.  Everyone was punished.

Ah, parental justice.  Everyone is guilty….even the crying kid.

So naturally, when I get halfway through scout camp week and get to the ‘hump’ day, I’m pretty delighted.  I know it is a downhill coasting trip and I just have to make it through the next couple of days and then I’m done.

It isn’t that I dislike Scout Camp. Scout camp is a lot of fun for these Girl Scouts.  The thing I dislike is the fact that this is hard work.  It is much harder than my actually career job as a school photographer.  Even in my role as a safety advisor where I just shadow my group of ten girl scouts around to make sure they don’t wander off or get left behind, it is a tough job.

Girl Scouts is very focused on having the older Girl Scouts lead, train, and teach the younger scouts.  It is an excellent program for that but they still need adults around.  I’m one of those adults.  My job this week is that of a safety advisor.

For example, my unit leader is going into the 11th grade and she is in charge of 10 Girl Scouts (Junior Girl Scouts).  These eight to nine year old girls like to wander off.  This is especially true if their mother is one of the main people in charge.  Just like the mayor’s kid is the worst, the poor people running the game have the worst behaved kid (except my kid of course).

My unit leader is also learning that kids move at their own pace.  Girls (and boys) take forever to change from their swim suits back into normal clothes.  They are always leaving behind their backpacks or water bottles at an activity station.  They really don’t pay attention to where their lunch pail is at or that everyone is headed to the next station.

On the plus side, the Girl Scouts are definitely better behaved than Cub Scouts that are same age (or older for that matter).  Boys always have a stick in their hand in an insane effort to hurt themselves or each other.

The only major drawback for me when attending summer day camp for Girl Scouts is the singing.  I’m a terrible singer and I hate singing.  Even in Boy Scouts they like to sing songs in the hopes that they will drive me nuts.  I hate singing so much I don’t bother to learn the lyrics no matter how many times I’ve been subjected to the same song.

It reminds me of a prisoner torture scene where the prison warden starts playing “It’s a Small World” over and over until the suspect talks.  That is how I feel when I have to sing songs.  And in Girl Scouts, we sing lots of songs.  Songs about birds, songs about watermelons, songs about squirrels, songs about bears in tennis shoes, and then when that is all done, we have songs about singing more songs.  It never stops.

So let’s start singing a song about the end of my blog!  Leave your comments and hit that “Like” button so Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) can buy a new dress.

How to Make Your Husband feel Bad about having a Blog

The other day, my wife pointed out that one of her classmates from high school was a writer and had a blog.  She mentioned that I should read it because it was not like my blog, that it was “uplifting”.  Ouch!

She also told me she doesn’t read my blog.  Double Ouch!

I enjoy mentioning this story to everyone I know because it is an excellent example of when your best client might not be your friends and family.

Certainly, some of your best clients will be people you know such as friends and family members.  However, most likely your best customers will be people who are not related to you but respect you because you do an awesome job.  They somehow discover that you are more than a stick in the mud and will get the job done and will make them happy.

My wife informed me years ago that she wouldn’t work for me because she says I’m too intense.  That doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least bit.  I also know she doesn’t do the best job for me as she could do.  She does an awesome job for everyone else but me.  What is the difference?  Why do I get average business support?

Marriage is the difference.  I know if I screw up, my wife loves me no matter what.  I also know that if I’m late, she might be mad but in the end, she loves me and knows that me being late isn’t that big of a deal.  Again, I know she’ll be pissed off but in the end she loves me.  And when she makes a mistake, I know that I can tease her about it for years to come.  We both know that that after 17 years of marriage, this is what you get.  Baby, if you wanted to end it, then you should have done it a long time ago.

We complain about each other (of course she says she never says anything bad about me but I know she has a lot to complain about.  Seriously, she is married to me!).  Every couple has there ups and downs and we are no different than any other normal couple.  If a couple says they have no problems, they are lying or one of the members is a dishrag.  Everyone has disagreements.  Claiming you get along all the time is you denying who you really are.  You are a liar.

Oh, did I hurt your feelings with that last statement?  Good.  Come to grips with reality.  If you love someone, they make a mistake, it happens.  Forgive them and move on.  If your life as a couple is so awful, then it is time to move on.  Cut your losses.

I read a lot of different types of blogs.  And if you were a good foller you’d know this, right?  I follow blogs that range  from ex-spouse horror stories, to dating horror stories of twenty somethings, to miniature horse advice stories (seriously…now that is some good stuff!).  If you want to become a great writer, you need to read a wide variety of different stories, blogs, novels, to know what is god writing and what is really bad.

Keep in mind, that I’m not a great writer or a marriage/couples counselor so my advice might be labeled as “worthless advice”.  Or perhaps it is advice that is so true to your heart you just don’t want to listen to it?

So if you were reading this blog for some worthless advice then I probably failed you greatly.  If you read this blog because I write about the truth, then you should be delighted with the reading experience.  The knowledge I have bestowed on you should keep you going for years (or at least days) to come.

As always, your comments are welcome as long as I love them.  Who are we kidding?  I’m a whore for comments….keep them coming and hit that “LIKE” button too!  Make me feel important and prove my wife that I do have some followers besides Cyndi my Imaginary Stalker!

 

Dad Decides To Cancel All Future Vacations Due to Lack of Interest By Children

Wait…what just happened?

In a swift and bold mood, Jack Fernwood announced to his family this morning that all future vacations will be cancelled.  Citing his children’s lack of interest in doing anything other than playing on their smartphones, iPads, iPods, computers, and watching TV, Jack made the announcement over breakfast while drinking a non-fat mocha while on vacation in Hawaii.

As Jack drank his fancy coffee drink and made this shocking announcement, no one in his family bothered to comment because they were all too busy playing on their various electronic devices.  When he made the announcement for the fifth time, his 14 year old daughter Sarah was quick to post on her Facebook a scalding post about how unfair her father was.  She followed this post with a self portrait of herself with the sand beaches of Hawaii behind her.

Jack’s 12 year old son Brad was quoted as saying “Whatever” and continued to play his computer game.

Cindy, Jack’s wife (age undisclosed) gave her husband the “I’m going to kill you” look while she texted messages back and forth with her best friend Jackie.

Jack did say that he was tired of spending thousands of dollars on family vacations while everyone was just going to sit around and play on their “stupid phones”.  He cited their recent whale watching trip where his children were texting their friends back home and totally missed the family of humpback whales that went under their boat.

Jack’s friends back home, upon hearing the news, were not surprised.

His friend Raymond offer this insight into his friend Jack’s reasoning.

“Jack can fly off the handle once in while but we’ll come back to his senses.  I mean, really, do you think he has the guts to follow through with this?  His wife Cindy is going to kill him if he tried to implement this policy.  I’m sure we can attribute this outburst to Jack being overtired and grasping at the idea of his family actually enjoying a vacation together.  We all know in this wired world that he is a dinosaur when it comes to old family vacation ideas.”

Jack’s wife Cindy, shrugged her shoulders when asked to comment about this new “No Vacation Policy”.

Sources close to Cindy did give us a little insight into her thinking by mentioning the terms “over my dead body” and “he’ll rethink this little misstep if he knows what is good for him”.

Don’t you dare call me “Brown Bag” (and other offensive terms)!

If you haven’t heard….Seattle is political correct to the extreme.  In the City of Seattle, government we have the Office for Civil Rights which has recently issued a memo to city employees in regards to some terms that could be offensive.  Include in this list is the terms “brown bag” and “citizens”.

Don’t you dare call me a brown bag…I’m clearly a taupe bag!

 

 Yes, I’d like to talk to you today about your offensive use of the term “brown bag” at lunch today.  Um, I understand you were talking with Sarah from accounting and mentioned the words “brown bag” to her?

 You do know that the City of Seattle has banned this offensive word and others like them, from every city employee’s vocabulary?  She also mentioned that you liked her red apple, the white milk, and her yummy leftover pizza.  Again, where you aware that these terms clearly violate the new City of Seattle’s updated offensive word policy?

 We at the City of Seattle want to make sure that the city’s workplace environment is friendly and hassle free.  You pushing your political views when you mentioned the red apple and thus referring to communists is strictly forbidden. I was appalled when you followed it with the derogatory term “white milk” comment.  Which is very offensive to Dutch people, and the pizza reference will likely alienate Italians you come in contact with.

I have also heard that you offered to share your Twinkies with some of your coworkers if they would share their Ding Dongs at a later time.  I really can’t let you mention Twinkies while you are on a site visit at the Farmer’s Market in Ballard with your fellow inspectors.  It could be offensive to the farmers in our fair city.

And since we are on the subject of fresh fruit, I should probably warn you that you can not mention Linda’s melons anymore when you see her at breakfast.  I know she is a prize winning gardener with national awards but you have to stop talking about her melons.

And please, please lay off on how extremely good the oatmeal tastes or how you like chocolate milk around our co-workers in the Sewer Treatment Plant.

For God’s Sake, stay away from asking Jose in the real estate department when you offer your nacho flavor chips to anyone as a snack.

And Carol was very shaken when she told me the story of how you ask if she liked sushi while in Chinatown outside that Japanese restaurant. What where you thinking?

 I really have to wonder if you at all a human sometimes.  When you are at the Pike Place Market, don’t wonder out loud what it would be like to have tuna instead of salmon flying through the air.  What kind of sicko are you?

 I’m rather disappointed that you didn’t take my new memo seriously.  I’m putting you on a 90 day probation period.  I strongly suggest you take this time to reflect on your recent behavior and read the updated offensive word policy.  If your behavior doesn’t change, we have to arrange for your sensitivity training in the next 30 days.

 Remember, I’m watching you.

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