Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: rain

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.

Welcome Back Gray Skies: Just in Time!

It is a nice gray skies here in Seattle (actually I live in a ghetto suburb next to the garbage dump and local meth lab) and we seem to be out of our deep freeze. My pond hasn’t quite defrosted but we will have rain and some windstorms this weekend. This weekend is going to be a sports weekend for me. I have the Pub Night (Guy’s Night Out) to the local Seattle Thunderbird hockey game on Friday night, then the University of Washington Husky Football game on Saturday evening (kick off at 7:30 pm), and finally a Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday. Luckily, Sunday will a “stay at home day and watch the game” event. I like the comfort of my living room with the family around. The old living room is warmer and the food and drinks are cheaper. Plus my wife is an awesome cook so we usually get a stellar meal out of the deal.

Any bring plans for you guys out in blogger land? Any patios to build, leaves to rake?

Let’s Talk About YOU! (Because obviously talking about me isn’t working….)

With the weather turning to gray overcast skies, even the die hard optimist can get a bit depressed with the rainy weather. Everything around you can be depressing; the wet roads, the bad traffic, the gray skies, the rain, the gray skies, the rain, the cold 40-50 degree weather. Did I mention the gray skies and rain?

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It isn’t always bad here in the Pacific Northwest but you would think it is because of all the lousy weather we are currently having. We had great weather up until the middle of October. Now, it is the normal Seattle weather. I tend to be very busy at work (since I am a school photographer) during this time of year. I don’t notice how bad it is until I have a little breathing room. And with Daylight Savings Time ending, you really notice that it isn’t nice here anymore. It isn’t as bad as Alaska but you do notice that it gets really dark around 4 pm everyday. We haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. The shortest day of the year: December 21 Winter Solstice.

That means from now until December 21, the days will get shorter and the people of Seattle will die a little more each day.

I don’t really care. To me, it is just another day in a series of depressing days where I live my life. Oh, before you get all concerned about my well being, just know that this blog post is about you, not me. I can weather any storm my way. I just jump on YouTube and get all pumped up by listening to some Tony Robbins or Les Brown. I like the crappy weather because it forces me to look at what I’m doing in my business and life.

Now, some people can’t handle all the rain and gray skies around Seattle. They complain, they mope around, yet here they still are…wet and whining in the Emerald City called Seattle.

For me, the rain and gray skies bring my busy work season. I know during this time of the year, I’ll be making the bulk of my income as a school photographer. I know that I’ll be busy working 60-80 hours a week. I know I’ll be getting up at 5 am, putting in a 12-15 hour day. On top of my work day I will also need to be a dad, a Scoutmaster, an aikido student and teacher, and a blogger. I will be attempting to balance my work life with my personal life during the months of the fall school photography season.

My darling wife is also more than willing to point out that I pretty much have summers off (work free) as a trade off for my busy, crazy fall. However, during this hectic fall season, I also think I should be creating an online business of some sort to balance out my income. I imagine it would be extremely nice to have a summer schedule during the rest of the eight months of the year. Don’t you think it would be nice to have a few extra thousand or tens of thousands of dollars to live on and invest in my retirement? People who say money isn’t important must not be too concerned about the future (or even the present). Money can’t buy happiness? But it sure makes life a lot more enjoyable!

What makes you survive the fall season? Do you feel you live in a better area and therefore can make fun of schmucks like me?

As always your sarcastic and non-sarcastic comments are welcome! At least hit that like button!

Hello Saturday! It’s a Volunteer Day!! Bring on the rain!

Today will be a nice stormy day in the Seattle area which should make my day interesting. This morning we are doing some volunteer clean up work with the Boy Scout Troop for the church that we meet at. Gusty winds with rain and temperatures in high 40s to high 50s. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Luckily, the clean up is from 9 am to 12 noon. These are the times I honestly hate having to “set the example”. You read all the time all about leading by example. I would much rather be at home this morning, sitting by my wife’s gas fireplace, watching some college football. Or even reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and Damned” (it is my current book).

However, this is a good opportunity to give back to the church that allows us a place to meet and stow our Boy Scout gear. For a few hours of simple help, we can show others that we appreciate their sponsorship.

Being a leader is stepping up to the plate and setting the example even though you don’t feel like it. And being a sarcastic leader makes the leadership even more fun!

At least today will give me the opportunity to yell at Scouts and make them cry. Hopefully, it pours down rain and makes it a miserable experience. We wouldn’t want them to have fun, right? Giving back should be painful, right? Oh, I hope there are some blisters on their hands too!

Sorry, if my post today isn’t worthless advice to you. Have an awesome Saturday doing whatever you like!!

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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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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!

Giving back to the community by being a drunk!

Today is one of those rainy wet days you’d expect living here in the Seattle region. Luckily, today I’m giving back to the community as an alcoholic drunk. As a volunteer, I’ll be hoisting multiple alcoholic beverages (whisky and scotch are my drinks of choice) and doing my civic duty in the “wet lab” at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) in Burien. Basically, I get to drink all day, eat lunch, hang out with other volunteers, and allow the trainees to give me some field sobriety field tests, etc.

I have to drink until I’m drunk or to a mutually agreeable upon level of being trashed. I couldn’t drive myself here and I can’t leave until I am at .03. In Washington State, DUI/DWI is .08. Now, I’m no expert at drinking or DWI/DUI law and I can’t even tell you which crime is worse: a DUI or a DWI. I just know I don’t want to get one!

Anyway, this is my first time doing this type of volunteering. Most of my other volunteering work is on the tamer side where I need to be sober 24/7. This definitely will be a change of pace and an interesting way to start the weekend.

Have a great Friday!

Why wear sunglasses on a dark, cloudy day?

You know what drives me nuts?

People who wear their sunglasses on dark cloudy days.

Sure, I know you can have a bright cloudy day and need your sunglasses. You need your extremely cool sunglasses on bright sunny days; I get that.  I’m a photographer and I am aware of the amount of light I see every day.

No, I’m talking about dark, overcast, ready to pour down rain on you days. I’m talking about people who insist on wearing sunglasses regardless of how dark or light it is outside. I’m not talking about the old grandma types that need them because of cataracts. I’m talking about people who are old enough to know better but want to look “good” in their shades. They can be in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties, and they still insist on wearing sunglasses when they clearly don’t need them.

Granted, some people’s prescription eyewear does change with the amount of light that hits them but they have a free pass to wear them. They need them and they aren’t trying to be a model from a hip clothing line. It makes no sense to me. You look like an idiot and it seems to me that you are hiding something.   A little too many martinis at lunch today? That hit off the old meth pipe too much? You were crying because you realized your boyfriend was an ass and you should have dumped him three months like your friends told you to? Why wear the sunglasses? Why look like someone who is clearly an idiot?

Being from the Pacific Northwest region, we have over 200 days of cloudy weather. I understand you might want to wear the sunglasses but it makes no sense. Accept the fact you live here in a cloudy, rainy area of the world with no hope of sunshine except for two months out of the year. Get use to it. It is cloudy here most of the time and the weather is cold (40-50 F) most of the time. If it is 65 F and sunny, we are in heaven here!

Comments? Please for the life of my blog….make some comments!Image

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!

Hawaii Life TV Show: Honolulu

A few of you might remember that my parents still live on Kauai and I went to high school on Kauai.  I like Kauai and am enjoying the TV show “Hawaii Life”.  The show is most likely produced by the real estate company “Hawaii Life” because they make Hawaii look awesome.  On the flip side, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” shows the meth heads, wife beaters, and bond jumping thugs of Honolulu in such a positive light.

The most recent episode of “Hawaii Life” was about a couple that lived on Oahu looking for a condo in downtown Honolulu.  The couple was recently married and living with her parents but looking to move out.  Ideally, they wanted to live in downtown Honolulu since it was close to his job.

I have a few friends that live on the island of Oahu so this particular episode was interesting to me.  As a father, I would prefer to live in a house with my family rather than a condo with no yard.  As a married couple (with no kids), I could go with a condo living and a nice view to enjoy.  No lawn to mow?  No bushes to trim?  No leaves to rake?  Where do I sign up?

As long as I have access to some good grocery stores and can go for a walk, I’m happy.  Throw in some good golf courses, some sandy beaches, and a library, I’m good to go.

When you live in Western Washington, you see about 220 days of cloudy gray skies a year.  On the eastern side of the great state of Washington, that ratio of cloudy weather to sunny days flip flops to 200+ days of sun.  Sure, winters are colder with actually freezing temperatures and the chance of snow and ice, but there is sun and blue skies.

Am I complaining about wet Seattle again?  Yes, I am.  I live here and I can complain…it’s a great combination.

Back to the show “Hawaii Life”….the couple picked a nice condo, the real estate agent made a good commission, and everyone is happy.  Except me, sitting here in wet Seattle, with the temperatures in the 40’s and raining.  Life is perfect and you should move here to Seattle.  We could hang out and be friends in person (versus you reading my blog and wishing you could talk with me in person).

The parents must have been really delighted to finally get their daughter and their son-in-law out of their house.  I’m sure they wanted to take care of their daughter and husband forever….

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