Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Category Archives: Parenting Advice

It’s a beautiful day for Track Practice!

Ah, today is the first day of my daughter’s middle school track practice.  Of course, we live in Seattle and it is raining. Oh boy, nothing like being wet and miserable for track practice.

Our family isn’t much for running. My brother completed at the high school date level but he is the only runner in the family.  I’m always surprised when my kids went out and joined the track team. It’s a no cut sport so they make the team no matter what.

My daughter has stated she doesn’t like to run, however, she is joining the track team as a show of support for her friend. Kudos to her!

The other nice thing she said: we don’t have to go to any of the track meets! Yes!!!!  It is truly an awesome thing to tell your lazy father (little old me) that he isn’t required to go to any track meets. Yippee!

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a watching my kids compete in their various sports….as long as it is sunny outside and I’m comfortable.  And I don’t mind being in a pleasant indoor, heated arena.  You know, sports like volleyball, swimming, basketball.

With my daughter saying I don’t have to attend her track meets, it really means I don’t have to be out in the rain, in the wind, or in the typical miserable spring weather we have in the Puget Sound area.  It also mean I avoid sitting on an uncomfortable outdoor metal bench and watch my daughter run in the forementioned miserable weather.  Instead, I can sit on my big butt on the couch and watch afternoon talk shows and order a pizza via my smartphone.  Heck, I might even have a hot cocoa and flip on my gas fireplace while I stare out my living room, watching the rain pour or drizzle down.


Thanks again daughter for giving me a get out of track jail free card!  I will truly enjoy staying home and not watching you not run.

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Thank You Idiot Parent Dropping off Your Kid at school today; you make my day even more miserable than it already is.

Parent drop offThe last day of school was last Friday and it was the last time I dropped off my spoiled little princess for the school year.  Sure, we should make her walk the half mile to school but we don’t.  We would much rather subject ourselves to the misery of the Student Drop Off Line in the morning.  You would think that after 180 days of dropping off their kids, more parents wouldn’t be complete idiots when it comes to dropping off their kids in front of the school.

Seriously, they have had 180 drop offs.  Can’t they figure this out by now?  But every morning when I drop off my princess, some moron in front of me stops short and plugs up the whole system.  It really isn’t that difficult to figure out that you drive all the way to the end of the semi-circle driveway and then drop off your kid.  You don’t stop at the beginning and let them out.  When you drop them off at the beginning, it stops the whole flow.

See all the free space in front of you?  Use your common sense and move up.  See all the cars behind you WAITING for you to move?   That’s because we aren’t morons and can see that there are other parents that are dropping off their kids too.  We know that we need to move as far up as possible so that the whole system works.  You, on the other hand, are a complete moron who thinks of no one but themselves.

I bet you hate puppies and snowflakes too.

Maybe next year, you can figure out this incredibly easy drop off system.  Until school starts up again in the fall, I bid you a fond farewell.

Pajamas in Public…Just Say No!

I recently wrote about my travels to Kauai and how I disliked the airline system.  Upon talking with my FAA friend today, he mentioned that I had totally forgotten to mention how much I hate passengers who wear their pajamas while traveling.  Mind you, it isn’t just airline travel I see this trend happening in.  I also notice it in the grocery stores, at gas stations, and even at my kids’ school (most often parents being the offenders).pajamas in public2.jpg

It floors me to see grown ups wearing Hello Kitty pajamas at 3:20 pm in the afternoon.  For example, I was walking my daughter home with her friends and two adults were putting something in their car wearing their pajama bottoms like khaki slacks.  It is 3:20 in the afternoon and I have to see your Hello Kitty pajamas?  How old are you? Three years old?

Getting back to the air travel pajama problem, I really don’t think that as an adult I need to see your pajamas.  The only acceptable people that are allowed to wear pajamas on an airline flight are children under the age of 5.  If the kids are in Kindergarten, I’ll cut them some slack.  However, first grade and above, you need to put on your “big boy” pants and act respectful.  Heck, the next thing we’ll see is teenagers wearing diapers and pooping their pants on a cross country flight.  How would you like to sit next to that mess on a five hour flight?

So grown up and stop wearing your pajamas around like they are a pair of jeans.  Society made sweatpants so you could wear pajama style clothes in public.  Sweatpants are marginal more acceptable to wear in public.  You really should wear sweatpants when you are working out at the gym or jogging in the park.

Places I don’t want to see you wearing your pajamas:

At my kids’ school

Grocery stores

Gas stations

Post Office

Shopping malls

7-11

Liquor stores

Pizza parlors (really any kind of restaurants)

Again: Grow up, wear some jeans, some khaki slacks, or even a kilt or skirt.  Leave the pajamas at home so I can keep my lunch down.  Just give me one day where I don’t get grossed out by your lack of compassion to my sensitive stomach.pajamas in public

Bad Parenting Just Keeps Coming!

I always enjoy watching the news in the morning.  It’s just a nice reminder to know that I’m not the worst parent alive. 

Just a week or so ago, we had a family let their kid climb into the Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo.  The kid falls in and the zoo officials shot and killed the gorilla.  Concerned parents all over are asking “Who the hell was watching the kid?”

But let’s be honest, who hasn’t been too busy on their smartphone to watch their kid?  I mean, people text and drive and nothing bad ever happens.  Why not let your kid run around and do whatever they want?  Being a parent is hard.  Those clever Facebook posts aren’t going to post themselves.  The boy’s mother also had three other kids she was watching at the time, so losing one isn’t that bad.  I can live with a 25% kid loss ratio.  I bet that is acceptable in most places.

The other story that was on the morning news was the seven year old Japanese boy that was lost.  I wasn’t sure why this story made international headlines.  It was one kid and he had two parents watching him and yet they still managed to lose him.  Sure, they left poor Yamato Tanooka by the side of the road to discipline him for throwing rocks at people and cars but they did go back for him (after a few minutes).  Yamoto just had wandered off by the time they got back.  They probably called out for him in low voices but he ignored them because he was sobbing so hard after being abandoned by his parents.  I know I cry every time my cat Mr. Whiskers leaves me.

Don’t worry; the story has a happy ending.  He was found six days later after sleeping in an unmanned building.  No wolves chased him down.  No bears made him jump over a cliff into a river below.  At least he will have a great story to tell of how he sat around in a building for six days without his smartphone, TV, or internet.  Think of the trauma of no internet or video games for six days.

“Hey Mom and Dad…remember how you lost me for six days?  You do? Ya, so do I.  Now can I have that cookie?”

Crazy Teacher Night- Spanish Teacher Introduction

Bueno Dias!  Ya, that’s about it for my knowledge of Spanish.  But for some reason, my son’s Spanish teacher thought she should give her Parent’s Night speech in 80% Spanish and 20% English which equals 100% Annoying!  Now, I admire someone who wants to flaunt their foreign language ability as much as the next guy, however, I would like to understand what the heck you (the teacher) are saying.  Really, when I’m in your classroom (wasting my time), listening to you rambling on in Spanish, I’d like to know what the hell you are saying.  If I wanted to listen to an all Spanish dialogue, I’d flip on one of the many Spanish cable channels. (On a side note, why are the Spanish actresses so hot looking?)

Most of the other parents present,  were just as confused as myself, no doubt thinking that perhaps they were suppose to be fluent in Spanish BEFORE their child took her class.  Maybe they should know spanish so they could understand what she was yelling at us about.  (Why do Spanish teachers always seem like they are yelling?)

I’m was only in her class to see her grading system and how much percentage she allotted to homework points (grade) versus quiz and test points.  However, since most of her speech was in Spanish, I really don’t know what my son will be learning (besides Spanish…I hope).  I’m still not sure how she grades.  Maybe after I become fluent in Spanish, I can ask her.

There was a Question & Answer session at the end of the class period, and it took all my sarcastic willpower to not ask a question in German.  I just want to ask her ANYTHING in German, then when she said she didn’t speech German and didn’t understand, I could say “Exactly. You don’t speak German, I don’t speak Spanish, but we both speak English. Perhaps next time you could speak English and all of us could understand you.”

But I didn’t because I’m trying not to be “that” parent.  You know the parent that the teacher (and everyone else) hates.  And because the teacher hates the parent, the student gets a bad grade and the teacher acts like a jerk to kid.  My poor son has enough problems dealing with me, he doesn’t need a pain in the ass Spanish teacher bugging him as well.

So I bit my tongue and rolled my eyes in a passive aggressive way.  Then I decided to blog about it and express myself so my three followers know how upset I am.  I’m sure Cyndi (my imaginary stalker), my mom, and Mr. Whiskers are equally upset.

Enjoy your Friday! 

 

Why I’m changing my kids’ names to Names of Prescription Drug!

Recently, I’ve discovered I have made a terrible mistake by naming my children just plain, old normal names.  How will they ever stand out in the world with average, run of the mill, names? Sure, they could change their names later on when they are old enough but why wait?  Let’s do it now!

Think of all the neat drug names that could belong to your kids.

Lyrica

Zoloft

Adderall

Cialis

Crestor

Abstral

Akten

As you can imagine, the list is endless! I really have only looked at the A’s and names I remember from some vague TV ad.  But all of these fantastic names are just waiting to be used!!  I really have only scratched the surface with potential names in which to express my child’s uniqueness and individuality.

Since we are on the topic of TV ads, I’ve noticed no matter what the drug is, the TV ad is tailored to make sure you know that this drug will make you appear normal to everyone else.  You have an unsightly third eye? Just take some buxtinlininepo! (Not a real drug for you people with a third eye…which would make you a space alien).  Side effects may include vomiting, projectile diaherra, excelarated heart heart, dizziness, laziness, fatness, heartlessness, and funny spots on your face. If you die, please discontinue this medication.

Every drug on television comes with scary ass warnings.  So in my mind, I think: Well, if I had that disease, and I could live with X side effects, would I do it? And in mind, I do the mental checklist, and I think “yeah, I could handle that”. Maybe it’s a itchy rash or my left earlobe swells up for a bit, but sure I could handle it. Sometimes the side effects are “death may occur” and I’m not ok with that. Heck, I guess we all have to weigh the positives and negatives, right?

I believe the best part of my new prescription drug name idea is that it will become a fashionable trend and I will be a trendsetter for a brief moment!

Last Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

This morning, I did some quick brainstorming ideas for your last minute costume rush!

1. Overzealous Sports Fan: just wear your favorite team’s jersey and paint your face.  Scream at all times and talk about how the next week is going to be awesome when we crush our rivals on Sunday!

2. Disenfranchised Employee: Have that look of discontent across your face, shake your head, and carry your coffee cup around.  Mumble how the company is going to shit and no one cares anymore.

3. Pissed off Dad: basically the same as Disenfranchised Employee but replace coffee cup with a bottle of beer (or glass of whiskey).  Ask when the hell these kids are cleaning up their mess.

4. Douche Bag Frat Boy: wear a Tank Top with some Greek letters, some dark sunglasses, carry a red solo cup, and say “Bro” at the start AND end of every sentence.  Bro, you know what I mean, bro?

5. Wear a very short skirt and be a “sexy” whatever.  Wear the apporiate color skirt for the costume: white for nurse, red for firefighter, black for witch, etc. Skirts can be mixed in with Overzelous Sports Fan to make Sexy Overzelous Sports Fans. Flashing your breasts to random strangers is optional, especially if you are a man.

6. Prescription Drug Mom: just grab that Zoloft and float through life. Start a sentence and just never let it finish….. 

7. Overworked Mom: Frazzled hair, disconnected husband, multiple children, minivan, attempt to balance career and home life. Optional: “surprise baby”. You know the one that was the “oops” kid…but you forget that one at home….

8. Hipster: wear a goatee, mismatched clothes, bowling shoes, white T-shirt with vest, and a fedora. Basically, every male movie friendzone character you have seen for the 1980’s.

9. Inappropriate Sexual Comments Guy: Just sneer and jeer at all the women at the party, add in at the end of every conversation “That’s what she said.”  Then talk about how big those “melons” are. If you like to have your face slapped, pinch a few ladies’ butts and see what happens.

10. Absentee Father/Baby Daddy: This guy is at every party….he just isn’t there.

Pig out and enjoy your kid’s candy! 

 

Twin Falls State Park Hike – North Bend, WA

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Twin Falls in North Bend….no one fell in so the hike was a success in my book!

The semester ended for our kids this past Monday so the whole school district has to let the kids off for the day. I’m not sure if my kids really go to school for a full five days in a row. What, with all the holidays, late start days, etc. my kids never seem to go to school for a full week.

Wait children….

However, we aren’t here to complain about the state of our education system. Instead we are here to chat about another great little hike here in the Seattle area. It is the Twin Falls Hike off of I-90 in the North Bend area. This is a short hike coming in at only two miles round trip.

Of all the years I have live here, I have never done this hike. With all of this great winter weather we have been having lately, I thought we should take advantage of going on an easy hike during the “off season” of hiking. (Die hard hikers would say there is never an “off season”). From what I have read about this hike, it is a fairly popular hike especially during the summer. Consider it is January and we usually have a bunch of rain, I figured this is as a good time as any to do this hike.

Luckily, I checked the trail report at wta.org and learned that there was a washout on the trail to the Twin Falls. This would stop is if we left from the traditional trailhead off of Exit 34. Good thing I check it out before we started our hike. The Wta.org website is an excellent resource for all hikes in Washington State and I highly recommend checking it out before any hike.

We modified our starting point to the Ollalie State Park parking lot off of Exit 38. You start your hike on the Iron Horse Trail for about half a mile until you come to the spur/trail to the Twin Falls trail. The Iron Horse Trail is an old Burlington Northern railroad bed (now a service road) so the downhill grade is mild for about half a mile. The trail to Twin Falls is clearly marked (from the Iron Horse Trail) and you won’t miss it (unless your face is buried in your phone texting a friend).

After you leave the Iron Horse Trail and use the Twin Falls Trail, you will be going downhill for about 3/4 of a mile. Just remember, you will be going down and that means the way back is uphill.

Easy trail down for my hiking partners and myself. In our hiking band, we had my wife, my daughter, and another Girl Scout (and friend) with us. No one complained about the hike so that means it is a fairly easy one for 12 year old girls and 40 year old parents.

For all you math geeks, the different route brings this hike in at 2.5 miles.

Awesome detailed map of where you will be lost. The best part? You won’t have a clue of where you are at!

Overall, this hike is a good family hike and easy to do. We left the Covington area around 2 pm and we’re back to Covington by 5 pm. That included a stop at McDonalds for hot fudge sundaes (for the girls). Hey, I’m working out so I can win the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge so I’m skipping that stuff. Well, until I get home…then I pig out and cry into my bowl of chocolate peanut ice cream….

At least Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) cares….

See those two dots? Those would be the kids I’m suppose to be in charge of.

The Noble Profession of Changing People: You Can’t Change People, But You Can Change Yourself.

We have this misguided notion that we can change people.  We believe it is a noble cause…we are the righteous ones that are here to correct the errors of others.  If we can just make people see the same way we see things, then everything would be just fine.  Our friends would always call us back in a timely manner, politicians wouldn’t lie, our dog wouldn’t hate us, and the neighbors would stop staring at us (or is that just paranoia?).

You can’t change others but you can accept them.  You can accept them for who they are and how they act whether it is good or bad.  Once you accept them for who they are, you can change how you interact with them. You can accept their behavior in a way that is beneficial for your own sanity.

In reality, we are utter fools for wasting our time on trying to change others.  People will not change unless they want to change.  You can try to tell people how they should live their lives and what they need to do to make their life better, but they won’t do any of it.  Sure, go ahead and talk to them until you are blue in the face, they won’t change until they want to make the change.

So sit back, enjoy a frosty beverage of your choice, and relax.  Embrace the concept of acceptance.  Modify your thought process and teach yourself that is OK not to be the overbearing, control freak you want to be.DSCI0254

This is Boy Scouts, not Whiney Scouts!

Yesterday, our Boy Scout troop hiked through the Ape Caves. This isn’t the easiest of hikes, nor is it the hardest of hikes, but it is a hike. You will be walking, climbing, scrambling over piles of boulders, and getting wet. Now, my Boy Scouts took all of this in stride. However, we had some visitors (age 11) from a local Cub Scout pack with us. The Cub Scouts were fine, it is their adult leader that was a pain.

One situation that sticks out in my mind from yesterday’s hike was climbing the lava fall (like a dry waterfall). It is an eight foot wall (drop) and we were climbing up it. To be honest, if your kid likes to climb trees or climb the playground structure at his local elementary school, he can climb this wall. My Girl Scouts could climb this wall (disclaimer: My Girl Scout troop is pretty much fearless and they do an awesome job. In fact, they do a lot of things better than boys. That is for another blog post. And there is nothing wrong like “throwing like a girl”.)

So Mr. Gung Ho Webelos Leader gets to this wall and says “Oh, we can’t climb this. Looks like we need to turn around.” What? I don’t think so. We don’t give up because of a small wall. We passed little kids in this lava tube cave that made it up and down this wall. We passed people that had extra padding on themselves (they were overweight) and they made it up and down this wall. You bet your candy ass, we are making it up this wall.

Sure some of the younger scouts were a little scared but nothing to the point where they were having an epic meltdown. They were frightened but nothing to where we needed to turnaround. Using the EDGE method (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable), we allowed the older scouts to go up, then some of the younger ones, and finally the fat ass old adults.😄

We helped the Webelos Scouts up and they didn’t have a problem making it up. Sure, it might be a little scary but you don’t give up. Overcoming a little hurdle makes a big different in helping to build their self esteem and demonstrating that teamwork helps to accomplish your goals.

You also have to push your child sometimes. A little motivation from older Boy Scouts and other leaders (other than your parents) can be helpful to get over those whiney moments. A little push in the right direction never hurt anyone.

So what happen to the scouts that were a little afraid? They all made it up the wall. Five minutes later the fear of the wall was a distant memory and they were scrambling over the next pile of rocks.

I asked the scouts afterwards “Did you have fun?” This is when they all broke down, started crying uncontrollably, and said they hated me and Boy Scouts. They screamed and asked in their high pitched voices (between all the sobs and sniffles), why I made them do it.

I didn’t wait for an answer, I just turned and walked away. Jumped in the Green Van of Doom and drove myself home. Bye, bye whiney scouts!!

Some other data from the cave hike: we had six Boy Scouts ranging in ages (12-15), three registered Boy Scout Adult Leaders, a Webelos Leader, and three Webelos scouts (ages 10-11). It took our little band about 2 hours to go through the Upper Ape Cave. We started at the lower entrance and exited out thought the upper entrance. Due to recent rain, the cave/tunnel is wet and there is a lot of water dripping. Be sure to wear waterproof clothes to stay dry. Temperatures in the caves average 42 degree F year round. A single person or a group of two (in reasonably good health HWP) could probably whip through the tunnel more quickly. The hike back is very easy. Make sure you take two sources of light (headlamps were better than flashlights), extra batteries, etc. No food is allowed in the caves.

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