Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

The only blog that you really want to read…or ignore.

Tag Archives: Christmas

End of Winter Vacation & Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge

It’s back to the salt mines tomorrow for my family. The kids head back to school and I return to my job as a mild mannered photographer. I have some projects and billing to finish up this week. My wife has been working on and off over the holiday break so she is more in tune with returning to work. I’m optimistic that I’ll get back into the grove of things.

Over the break, I warned my fellow Fat Ass Dads that this would the tough part of the challenge: surviving the holidays and all the treats. Ah…Christmas cookies, fudge, chocolate, cakes… All the good stuff. What about New Year’s Eve? Did you stuff your face? Did you consume huge quantities of your favorite beverage?

So here we are on January 4, now I’m hoping your hangover is all cleared up and you can focus on your life. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do the resolution reforms or goals. I know there are some things I need to improve on. I also know that some things are out of my control and cannot be changed. Keeping that in mind, one should always be working to improve themselves. Work to better yourself and everyone around you will benefit.

Thanks for reading. Now get back to improving yourself.

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The Holidays are here…Are You Ready?

I have to admit, I don’t feel stressed out about the holiday season…yet. We have all the parties scheduled on the family calendar and my wife has figured out the gifts for the kids. I was even proactive and purchased my wife’s Christmas gift for her this past week (a week ahead of schedule). I have pretty much given up on guessing what she wanted about ten years ago. I ask her to create a list for me so I can avoid feeling like an idiot on Christmas morning. Honey, you don’t like the gun rack I got for you? Camo ain’t your favorite color for a nightgown?

Some wives would say “You should know me by now and know exactly what I want”. Really? Isn’t that a recipe for disaster? Would you trust your husband?  This is the same guy who burns water and can’t cook a hot dog correctly.  I know who I am: I’m a moron when it comes to gifts and presents. My wife is way too smart to leave her present up to chance. She knows I am clueless when it comes to gifts. Sure, you can buy your wife a new car, a diamond necklace, or maybe even plan a trip to Kauai and you would be safe. But can a husband really think what his wife wants? No, he can’t. Those gifts are fool proof. Who wouldn’t want those things?

Yes, I’m safe and sane when it comes to the gift department. Why try to disappoint my wife? She doesn’t deserve to be disappointed (seriously, being married to me is already a disappointment). Let her enjoy Christmas morning with a gift she really wants. The wish list makes life so much easier and safer. Of course, I must admit those fuzzy Hello Kitty bathroom slippers would look pretty good on her feet….

Enjoy your day!

Kevin Hellriegel

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving is Over! Bring on the Old Fat Guy in a Red Suit!

Ah, the big Thanksgiving holiday here in America is over.  You can now bring on the Black Friday sales and the endless hours of holiday music.  Who can wait for the crowds at the malls and the endless lines that are produced by Black Friday?

 As you can imagine, I’m not one who gets up early to get the best deals on Black Friday.  My family is lucky that I even buy them anything at all consider how uninspired I am when it comes to gift giving.  I really haven’t a clue on what is a good gift.  I know you aren’t supposed to give kids liquor or cigarettes but beyond that I’m pretty clueless.

 If you talk to me, all you get is a bunch of worthless advice on what people want.  Sure, I seem like an expert because of my awesome blog (and I probably am) but gift giving is not one of them.

 I do know that some people frown upon the idea that all gifts are worthless.  I can tell you that you can find worthless gifts everywhere if you look hard enough.

 Where to Find Some Worthless Gifts:

Garage Sales – totally awesome place to find gifts that are totally worthless.  Plastic containers without lids, clothes that are too small, too big, far too ugly, broken toys, empty Mason jars, etc.

Hardware Stores – While this might be the perfect store for a man, for a woman it is the worst.  What woman wants a hammer for a gift?

Auto Part Stores – Almost as bad as the Hardware Store.  No one likes new windshield wipers or motor oil as a gift.

Things you shouldn’t buy as Gifts:

Artwork – your taste in artwork is not the same as your friends.  Of course, you can certainly use some bad artwork to annoy your friends.

Clown Related Items – this stuff is just scary.  I grew up watching The Poltergeist movies and Stephen King’s “It”.  Clowns scare me to death.

Ashtrays – I don’t smoke so I have a total bias against ashtrays.  Hence they are totally worthless to me.

Garden Items for Apartment Dwellers – I don’t think your cousin that lives in an apartment in New York City really needs a shovel.  Unless he is a serial killer, that shovel is worthless.

Bathroom Scales – unless you are shipping large packages, don’t bother buying a scale as a gift.  Your spouse doesn’t need to be reminded about how much they ate over the holidays.

Stuffed Animals for Adults – you aren’t a redneck at the country fair.  Just leave the stuffed animals for the children under ten years old.

 Enjoy the rest of the weekend and good luck with your holiday shopping.  I know you’ll need it.

Opening Up those Family Lines of Communication

My wife asked me the other day, what do I do all day long.  I wanted to tell her the truth that I usually do nothing but watch TV and read blogs, but that isn’t entirely true.  I usually try to think up of ways to amuse other people with my witty commentary and open the lines of communication between family members.  For an example, the other night, we had a post Christmas celebration with some family friends.  Their children are now 22 and 24 and are both males.  One has a serious live in girlfriend and the other one is in his final year of college.

After a fun evening, they were on their way out the door and I saw the After Christmas Sales Ad for Toys R Us.  I asked the older one (with the serious girlfriend) if he wanted to look through it for some good toys.  However, this was a joint ad flyer with Babies R Us as well as the Toys R Us section.  I told him he should take the flyer home, circle a few of the car seats and baby strollers and then leave it out where his mom could find it.  He would depart to his home two and a half hours away.  She would freak out, frantically call and text him numerous times (which he could ignore and chuckle to himself) as he drove home.

See?  Doesn’t that help to open up the lines of communication in the family?

Like I said, I’m a communications expert in family relationships.

The School Holiday Sing Along (or better known as punch to my head would be better than this crap) Holiday Assembly

I hate singing and I hate Sing-A-Long Caroling style assemblies.  I know that my singing sucks and should be left to people who are either professionals or are really good at it.  I purposely left out the people that enjoy singing because someone might enjoy singing but that means they are most likely just as bad as me.  Just picture Johnny Cash performing at Foslom State Prison.

Every year at our children’s school the last day of school has a “Sing Along” before the Christmas break.  They start an hour before school is dismissed and it is an hour of the worst children’s singing around.  This isn’t a pleasant experience in which you would be listening to the voices of the angels singing your favorite holiday tunes in perfect key.  No, this is every off-key student, teacher, and parent singing to every holiday song the music teacher dragged out five minutes before the concert started.  We have a majority of Christmas songs, a few Jewish songs, and a Kwanzaa song.  Most of the kids don’t know what a Kwanzaa is and they only know Hanukkah because of Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song on Saturday Night Live!

The worst part is listening to them scream the lyrics of the songs instead of singing them.  I might as well be at the zoo listening to the monkeys scream.  At least monkeys shut up from time to time so they can throw their poop and eat.

After about seven years of going to these caroling Concerts, I came in for the last song but managed to trick my daughter into believing I was there the whole time.  She tried to call me out by saying I came in late.  I quickly rattled off some Christmas songs we had “sung” and she was convinced that I was there the whole time.  This year was no different.  She didn’t notice I was in the back 30 minutes after the concert (I use that term loosely) started.  My wife on the other hand was like a rookie at the first day of summer camp and comes in the front left door right where everyone can see her.  She is a little hard to miss with her red hair.  Again, she’s a rookie but you never come in the front door where everyone is looking.  You have to look for the back door.  If it is locked, you gently knock on it and some kind parent will let you in.  You sneak in and no one is the wiser.

After I suffered through the rest of the Sign & Torture Along Songfest, my daughter never did asked me if I was there the whole time.  In her mind, I was there the whole time.  That is the difference between being a “good” parent and a “great” parent.  If your child thinks you were there the whole time, you were there the whole time and therefore you are a good parent.  On the other hand, my wife is the parent who comes in late and is lumped in with the other parents that didn’t show up at all.  This fact clearly demonstrates that those parents really don’t love or care for their children because they chose to stay at work and provide for their families a warm home and a hearty meal.

If you want to know more about Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, feel free to read below:

Kwanzaa: A seven day celebration (actually pretty cool life lessons – see below)

Click on this link to visit the History Channel’s page about Hanukkah http://www.history.com/topics/hanukkah

As always your comments are welcome and enjoy the holidays!Image

Worthless Gifts for Your Friends: Making the Most Out of Christmas

Christmas is around the corner and I haven’t been good to you.  I haven’t helped you in the least bit in your holiday shopping.  What kind of planner am I?  Everyone and their drunk uncle seems to have a creative Christmas List of “Must Have Items”.  But does that really help you?  Doesn’t it just make you a slave to the latest trends?  It makes you lazy and slow.  My list is much more helpful and productive.

Worthless Gifts for Your Friends:

Napkins from Fast Food Restaurants.

Let’s face it.  Most of your friends are slobs and need napkins.  If they have children the need for a napkin is even greater.  Those little beasts always have messy hands or snot running down their noses.

Mini packets of ketchup, mustard, and that pink sweetner stuff for ice tea.

Do you know how annoying it is to carry around a ketchup bottle?  Well, it is really annoying.  So giving your friends portable, serving size ketchup packets are a perfect gift.

A Cat

They don’t do much but eat, poop, and meow a lot.  My cat is available if you need one.

Beer Coasters

I use to collect these things because I love the designs and artwork on them.  That means since I like them, every other beer drinking man should also like them.  If they don’t, they are slobs and you should dump them.

Cookbooks

They look good on the window sill for the babes.  Of course, after your guests taste the crap you call a gourmet dinner they know the cookbook was for looks.

Video Tapes

This shows you are “Old School” and they are really a cool size for building forts with your nephews while Grandpa snores away.

Traffic Signs (Stop signs, yield signs, etc.)

I prefer the “No Parking” signs right in front of my house.  Keeps the rift raft (like your relatives) away from my nicely decorated house.

Refrigerator

Who doesn’t want an extra fridge for the garage?  I love my friends so much I am willing to depart with my my two extra ones sitting in my garage this very minute!  I have a wine one and a nice black side by side model.

I’m Dreaming of a Rainy Christmas

Christmas in the Pacific Northwest is not dry.  On the west side of the Cascade Mountain Range, we get our fair share of rain which seems to happen for 10 months out of the year.  People in general love to complain about the rain (yet we still have people moving here from out of state) but for all of the folks that live here, the rain is a part of our lives and we accept it.

I personally would like to have more snow and less rain during Christmas time.  Snow enhances the beauty of the Christmas lights we have on our house and in Seattle, shuts down the whole city.  Since I don’t have to commute to a job, I really like the snow.  Call me “selfish” but I like to have a day or two in the snow with my kids, sledding and building snow forts.  Let’s be honest, I really don’t want to work.

With the coming of snow, the news coverage is insane with the reporters stationed at the bottom of every steep hill (right in front of the STREET CLOSED sign).  People are always sledding down and having an awesome time.  I’m not the only one that is enjoying a day off from work; think of all the school staff happy that the students are home with their parents and they can sleep in.  Snow brings joy.

Howwever, rain is much more common in the Seattle area for our typical Christmas weather.  The Christmas lights are still very appealing and festive.  Our cul-de-sac is great (except for one family who doesn’t do anything).  My neighbor Dan is way ahead of me in the Christmas lights display.  My friends come over to take photos in front of his house because it looks so awesome.  Everyone asks if I’m trying to compete with him (since my house is second best) but I know I can’t.  I just can’t keep up with the sheer amount of lights he has.

Dan’s display does inspire me and today in the pouring down rain, we added to our display.  We added some multi-color lights to the vine maple tree, and some more strings of purple and blue lights throughout the bushes.  If it wasn’t pouring down rain, I might actually be able to post some photos online.  But as you guessed it, it is pouring down rain so I’m not going outside to take photos.  Sorry, I’m just going to stay inside and enjoy the gas fireplace and not watch Frosty the Snowman.

When should you kill Christmas?

Image

Ok, it is January 18, 2012 and I really think it is time for the Christmas decorations to be put away.  As I wander around my neighborhood, I notice a few string of lights on houses.  Maybe that is OK because the weather is a bit dicey and it is hard to take them down.  Sure, they have squandered away the numerous good weather days when they should have taken them down.

However, I just can’t excuse the Christmas tree in the living room.  Really?  Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve has come and gone, and we even had Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations at school and you still have your Christmas tree up?  Did the weather hamper your ability to take the ornaments off the tree?  Did the rain keep you from untangling the string of lights from the branches?  The tree is inside.  There isn’t any bad weather to keep you from taking the tree down.  You just have to let Christmas go…it’s dead.

Christmas is almost here! And I need more time!

Sure, the major gift giving holiday is almost here and I have yet to figure out my Christmas card situaton.  As a photographer, I usually like to send out a photo Christmas card with a highly entertaining holiday newsletter.  Well, in my opinion it is highly entertaining.  Needless to say, I don’t have a family portrait for the holiday card, I don’t have a decent newsletter written (the first draft is awful) and Christmas is a mere nine days away.

The New Year’s card option is looking really good right now.

From the seat of my car, written on my phone, I was wish you all the bewt this holiday season!

Oh Man, the holidays are here!

Well, most of my neighbors have their holiday lights up on their houses.  Even my lame next door neighbors managed to do something this year.  I’m a little slow on the draw due to a few valid and extremely good reasons:

  • I don’t like to climb up on my slippery roof to hang lights.
  • I usually wait until after my son’s birthday (December 4).
  • I’m lazy.

That last reason really isn’t a reason as much as a character trait.  I really am lazy.

OK, not really lazy but busy.  It is the Christmas delivery crunch time for my photography business so between getting all the school retake photos done and finishing up the digital retouching on my family orders; I’m busy.

Tomorrow, we are headed out to a U-Cut tree farm run by Jeff Coates (a fellow UW business student).  This will be our first time out there and we are excited to go.  Unlike my pumpkin patch experience (https://khellriegel.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/yes-it-is-my-fault-a-pumpkin-patch-adventure/), I’ll be sure to tell my family that in the Seattle, in the month of December, you will most likely be walking through muddy areas and your shoes will get dirty.  I highly recommend wearing some good boots.  I should further mention that it will be cold (currently temperature is 37 degrees) and they should wear warm coats, pants, and maybe some gloves too.

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