Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: parenting

How to Foil the T-Shirt Thief: Decoy Shirts

Image from http://www.mainstreetts.com/t-shirts.jpg

  Who wouldn’t be insane witImage from http://www.mainstreetts.com/t-shirts.jpg

I have a T-shirt thief in my house; my T-shirts have become her pajamas and I only get to see my old friends as I do the laundry.  However, I have a clever plan to foil this T-Shirt thief.  Well, more like limit the shirts she decides to use.  I have a decoy drawer of shirts!  To give you a little history of men and their love for T-Shirts, I have two drawers of T-shirts (Tee Shirts).  Why two drawers? I have two drawers because everyone knows men NEVER throw their T-shirts away.  Unlike my worthless advice, my T-shirts never become worthless.  If a man does get rid of a T-shirt, it is clearly a mistake or an accidental lapse of sanity.  Who isn’t insane with your T-shirt collection is in consent danger of being stolen?

Keeping that in mind, I put all of my least favorite shirts in the top drawer and move my nicer shirts to the bottom drawer.  We won’t talk about the other stack of T-Shirts in my closet; those are back up T-Shirts and we don’t need to talk about those.  Then there is the guest closet with the T-shirts that I only wear during the winter months because clearly they are used underneath my sweaters.  Those T-shirts aren’t allowed to mingle with the summer T-shirts.  Everyone knows Summer T-shirts have sarcastic sayings so you can express your brand of humor to the world and show everyone how clever you are.

Now, I have my T-Shirts in two drawers which allows the thief to use my least favorite shirts as pajamas.  She ALWAYS gets the T-shirts from the top drawer, thus never accessing the bottom T-shirt drawer.  So the good T-shirts go in the bottom drawer.  She gets to use some of my T-Shirts and I get to keep my favorites hidden away in a safe location.  It’s a fair deal, right?

Organizational Tip: Instead of stacking your T-shirts one on top of another, put them sideways in your drawer.  This way you can see the different colors of shirts quickly.

Another Tip: Always organize your shirt drawer by color.  All the red shirts go together, blues, greens, etc.

I think I failed to make this a worthless advice blog post with those two awesome tips.  Oh well….

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Time to Start Doing….Something?

Yes, it’s Friday night.  This is the time when you reflect on your week and think about what an awesome weekend you have planned.  That’s if you aren’t too busy.  Now, being busy can mean different things.  For a middle age guy that lives in the suburbs, that might be watching your favorite shows on Hulu.  For the twenty something douche bag crowd, you might be in the hip bars of your city doing the douche bag crowd things you like to do.   You might be the retired grandma at the country club, and throwing back a few glasses of wine to drown the sorrows of your life.  Remember wine isn’t for disenfranchised PTA mothers anymore.

I personally enjoy folding my laundry on a wonderful Friday night.  Maybe eat some microwave popcorn while enjoying a little Tullamore whisky to fulfill the image of a suburban father on a Friday night.

Whatever you have planned, enjoy your evening.  Best of luck to you!

Back to School and a Ruined Labor Day Weekend

Here in Washington State, our school kids don’t go back to school until the last week of August or the first week of September. In fact, my kids went back to school on August 28. In comparison, the Seattle School District started yesterday September 3, 2014. This makes a heck of a lot more sense than starting August 28, going to school for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off. It puts a bitter taste on the last week of August and Labor Day. You can’t milk summer out for a bit longer. Instead, you must think of getting your kids back in time for starting school on Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

It isn’t like anything is done the first two days of school when you have Labor Day weekend right there. Everyone knows that Thursday and Friday (before the Labor Day weekend) are “throwaway” days of education. You might as well let the kids watch TV because they sure aren’t paying attention to the teachers during those two days of school.

Labor Day Weekend wasn’t ruined for me. I always have fun. This year instead of heading to Anderson Island for the three day weekend, we went camping at Sun Lakes State Park. It was a good choice because we left the rain behind. Sun Lakes is located on the eastern side of Washington, roughly three hours away from our house. While western Washington might be experiencing rain and misery, the eastern side of the state will have sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns and rainbows but you get the idea. The weather is nice. We don’t have lots of rain and huddle under blue tarps. In eastern Washington, we don’t do the “blue tarp” camping made famous on the west side of the state. In eastern Washington, you slap on the sun block (SPF 45) and a big hat

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What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

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It's all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

It’s all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

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On the negative side, it was windy in the evenings and the state park was full. Truth be told, it was very windy and miserable in that respect. The first night was bad. The tent was flapping around, keeping both myself and my wife wide awake. You would drift off to sleep, and then a gust of wind would pop up and wake you up. The second night, the wind was just as bad but I wore my ear plugs and I enjoyed the evening a bit more.

Sun Lakes State Park has a few different lakes within the park boundaries. On Sunday, we hiked along the Deep Lake Trail which was about 2 to 2.5 miles round trip. It goes right along the lake and is an easy hike. There is an opportunity to do some cliff diving or jumping off the cliff edge but we didn’t do it this trip. Perhaps next time we can jump off some basalt rock cliffs into the water below, have a scary monster grab us and drag us under.

I did manage to get some swimming in Sun Lake itself with my daughter and her friend. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing, and the water was a little colder than I would have preferred. However, it was probably going to be the last swim of summer so I toughed it out. I’m not a little baby (well, I really am but I try to act tough).

My son and I also did a twilight walk where he was almost hit by a bat. Lots of bats on the Park Lake Trail, however I can’t complain about the bats because they keep the bug population down. Go bats!

Overall, the camping trip was a good one. No flat tires, no lost sleeping bags. The drive home wasn’t too bad. I’d go again but probably opt for a RV campsite further and with less wind.

 

Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome!

Oh Man, Where are the Followers and What Do They Read?

The other day I was reading a blog posting about how one of the bloggers I follow on WordPress just got his 11,000th follower on his blog.  In July 2013, he only had 6,000.  He wrote a brief “success” blog about how and what he did to reach 11,000 followers.

I am a bit jealous of his success. In his humble opinion, he isn’t the world’s best writer or blogger. His blog is so poorly written it is hard to read and gives me a headache.  I want to take my red ink pen out and correct it like a murderer/slasher on a 1990’s flick.  A lot of his problems are due to the run on sentences, bad sentence structure, and terrible grammar.

Yet, he has some great stories and 11,000 followers so I can pretty much suck it, right?  I have measly 400 or 500 followers so I really can’t say how to build up a huge following, can I?  Of course, my blog is built on Worthless Advice so maybe I’m killing myself and my blog?  He spins his tales like a drunken sailor (his description of himself) and people love it.  Imagine what he could do with a ghost writer living on Kauai?

What is the secret to his success?  He uses a bunch of tags that the magic internet search engine spiders love and brings in his type of readers (followers).  Even if his blog post has nothing to do with those tags, he still uses the same tags and categories over and over again.  Now, I’m not sure he is making money online but he has written a book and has self published it.

Oh, and a lot of his terms are about sex, crime, and drugs.  His life experiences are downright scary.  So we do know what the general public is looking for, don’t we?  And I don’t have anything against others blogging and writing exactly what they want to write.  I admire anyone willing to throw themselves out there and open themselves and their writing up for the world to see.

Your thoughts and comments?

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 Keep the Inmates Happy: Teaching Your Children Good Manners!

One of the best parts of being a parent is getting rid of your kids.  During the summer, some parents like to pawn their kids off to the grandparents for various lengths of time.  The problem with grandparents is that your kids have access to the telephone or electronics.  This means they have a way to bug you and complain about how bored they are.

I know some parents that like summer camp where there is no electronics.  The kids actually have to wait for a letter from their parents for any sort of love.  And heaven forbid that your child actually has to write to you.  With their terrible spelling and texting skills of a monkey, you can totally blow off their requests to come home early.  When you pick them up at the end of camp and they are complaining “Didn’t you get my letter?”  You can honestly say that you couldn’t understand their strange “texting” language and the handwriting was so bad you couldn’t read it anyway.  But it did make an awesome nesting place for their pet rabbit.

I’m pretty much a fan of both ways to get rid of your kids during the summer.  Honestly, I like to get rid of my kids all the time.  If I can’t send them to a friend’s house, it means I’m a failure as a parent.  If no one wants my perfect kids, then I know they must be some of the rudest worst brats around.

With skill and considerable talent, I have trained my children to be polite and well behaved. When they are at other people’s homes, the friend’s parents love them.  They use their manners and we get reports back raving about how wonderful they are.  Man, are my kids the greatest actors or what?  Because if you saw them at home, you’d think they were from two rival gangs in prison, ready to jab a sharpened toothbrush into the other inmate’s neck! 

I keep asking other parents if they are talking about my kids when the good reports come back. Are they sure they have the right kids?  Because the facts and observations they make certainly don’t match up with my in home data that I collect EVERYDAY.

Now and then, my kids will surprise me and get along for an extended period of time.  Usually I start to think that maybe they do love each other and that we should take a vacation together.  It is a moment of weakness on my part to think this way.  I think a 2-3 hour car ride with two rival gang members is a smart idea.  Now who is the fool?

March: The Month of Killing my Children’s Memories

Bears not included

Bears not included

We had a rare weekend of sunshine here in the Seattle area and it was wonderful.  These days are few and far between so when they do appear, we take advantage of them.  We had a little warmth of 50 degrees plus the sunshine for the past two days.  It was today that I killed my children’s memories.

Actually, I started to destroy their memories two weekends ago when I took down the swing set in the backyard.  This weekend I destroyed more childhood memories by tearing down the play tower.

While I may be removing the play structures from our backyard; we aren’t throwing them away in the landfill. I moved the swing set to my cousin’s house for her daughter to enjoy and play on.  I always underestimate how long a project will take to complete.  I always think that something will take 15 minutes but then it turns out to be 2 hours later and I’m only half complete.  The same thing happened with the moving of the swing set.

The floor of the playhouse on the swing set was rotten out so I put in a new floor.  And then the climbing ramp, needed to be rebuilt so I did that.  Then I thought I had better make a new railing because we had taken out the slide and there was a big hole.  A child could fall through that.  While my cousin’s daughter isn’t a moron and I know she wouldn’t fall out of the playhouse, I don’t know if her friends are that smart.  Last thing my cousin needs is some kid getting hurt on the swing set and complaining that they dislocated their shoulder.  Jeez, like I’m responsible for your kid being stupid.

I also figured my cousin could find her own broken glass and rusty nails to throw underneath the play set.  Give it that urban playground feel to it.  I can’t do everything for her kid.  What kind of example is that?  Bad enough I gave her a swing set when we all know she should be sending her daughter out to the local park.

Now our swing set has moved onto another backyard and I have a huge empty spot in my backyard to fill.  Maybe a nice fire pit would be a welcome addition to the backyard.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?

The picture I found from this website: http://www.tcnj.edu/~hofmann/playground/Playground.htm

Sorry, in my neck of the woods (pun intended), we don’t have black bears.

Teaching Kids about Disappointment and Adversity: What Valentine’s Day is All About!

Argh, it’s another one of those “holidays” where parents, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. are suppose to buy “gifts” for each other to prove their love to one another.  I view this as an opportunity to teach your kids (and your significant other) about Disappointment and Adversity.

You should know by now that if I talk to you or live with you, that you are pretty special.  This extends to my friends as well.  I’m pretty picky on who I hang out or interact with.  If you are reading this, you are even more special than others.

One of the ways you can teach your kids about Disappointment and Adversity is to NOT give them gifts or cards on Valentine’s Day.

What?  But…but…where’s the love?

You want love?  You want gifts?  Here are the gifts of love you should be giving them: Disappointment and Adversity.

They shouldn’t expect this day to be any more special than any other day.  It isn’t Christmas or their birthday; they shouldn’t get presents.  And according to my friend Mike, if you bought a Valentine’s Day card for your wife (or husband), you spent too much on her (or him).  His wife and he have mutually agreed not to exchange gifts or cards on these kinds of “fake” holidays.  I admire that.  They both get a gold star.

If you shower your kids or significant other with gifts now, you have already set unrealistic standards for them later in life.  You have created the opportunity for them to be disappointed later in life, yet not given them the experience of adversity to overcome their disappointment.

For example: What if you are in a different country and are gone for Valentine’s Day?  If you give your children gifts all the time for every Valentine’s Day, you have already set a standard you must constantly live up to.  Your kids will still expect a gift even when you are gone.  You just gave yourself more work to do.  You have to plan something and that takes work and effort on your part.  And will those kids remember your gift in a week?  Will your husband remember that gift in 24 hours?

No, they won’t.

All of your hard work, planning, and effort for nothing.  Your hard work wasted away in the hands of time.  What did you learn from this experience?

What if you don’t do anything?  You just taught a valuable lesson to our children about Disappointment.  After they cried their eyes out and say their mommy and daddy doesn’t love or care about them, they will be stronger.  Nothing makes your kid tougher than tears streaming down their dirty face, a little disappointment entered into their thought process.  They will learn a great lesson on how to overcome adversity.  How will they learn from this experience?  How will it make them stronger?  How will it toughen them up?

Let’s fast forward to your kid in a relationship with someone they care about.  This person forgets about Valentine’s Day.  Because you were such a “good” parent all these years, your kid (now an adult) goes ballistic because their significant other screwed up Valentine’s Day.  But really…whose fault is it?  As a parent, it is your fault because you chickened out and didn’t introduce Disappointment and Adversity at a young age.  For Pete’s sake, everyone knows that ALL problems stem from “daddy” or “mommy” issues we have as children.  Ask any stripper; they’ll tell you.

Life is all about Disappointment and how to overcome it.  A lesson in Disappointment will also teach your children about Adversity.  Your children will cry but this experience will make them stronger, they will overcome the adversity that they are now experiencing.  This lesson would be better taught to your children at a younger age.  Better to learn a valuable lesson at a younger age than later in life (when it will turn you bitter and just make you a miserable person).

As always, your sarcastic and bitter comments are welcome.  Heck, all of your comments are welcome.

Slave Child Labor: Is it really a bad thing?

This is my first blog using Google Docs so I’m not sure if I’ll actually get it right. Today was a great day because I had an awesome visit with my parents on Anderson Island. We had a good time talking and discussing a lot of different issues. I was quite pleased with the visit if I do say so myself.

Upon my return to my lovely home, I managed to get a few more items done on my Yard Project 2011 punch list. I even made my neighborhood demon twins (4 year old twin boys) help me. As previous reported, the twin boys’ parents let them do whatever they want without supervision. They are allowed to play out in the front yard and the upper part of the cul-de-sac (where I live) without anyone watching them. The neighborhood (or God) will watch over them. The neighbors have reported sightings in the next cul-de-sac and up the street. Totally stupid ass parenting in effect and child neglect. Anyone could take these kids.

Anyway, I put the twins to work sorting out the rocks in my driveway. The rocks are part of my landscaping project so they sorted the round rocks from the broken basalt rocks. They are good workers; pretty smart too. I can’t wait until they get older and can do some real heavy lifting. Overall, they aren’t bad kids. Just unsupervised.

After the rock and stone sorting, I had them sweep up the remains of the pile of rocks I had. I must admit child labor turned out in my favor this time. So much for Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle” (a really good read, slightly communist towards the end but I read it 18 years ago so my memory maybe foggy) and child labor and the American Dream.

At least these kids weren’t unsupervised for an hour or so while they worked. Still, very disturbing the parents aren’t around to watch them.

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