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!

Winthorp, WA: Land of Sun!

Sure, it is Sunday and sunny here in Winthorp but it isn’t blazing hot. We have blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50’s and low 60’s. For people from the Seattle area, blue skies is great and something we treasure. I’m a sucker for blue skies, what can I say?

Winthorp is a cute little town on Highway 20. The pass is closed for the winter and won’t open until May. We took the long way here but it was a fun drive. We even stopped at WalMart in Wenatchee. Sadly, I left my phone in the car and I wasn’t able to photograph the people of WalMart for you. Seriously, I wasn’t disappointed when we got in there. My wife had to tell me to stop staring at the mom with tattoos and inappropriate short jean shorts that were way too tight. I know her son will grown up to be so proud of his mom one day!

Getting back to Winthorp, the Mrs. Worthless Advice and I are hanging out here for a long weekend. The town of Winthorp is a little sleepy this time of year but for us, we just needed a nice break and this is perfect. We have a good little two bedroom cabin on the Chewuch River at the River’s Edge Resort. The deck overlooks the river and features a refreshing hot tub. And it is sunny (have I mentioned that??)

I’ll write more later, in the meantime have a great Sunday!

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Overreacting to Problems: How to Make Mountains out of Mole Hills.

dishwasher2I love to overreact and make small incidents into extremely big deals.  Today, I did just that to my children.  My kids are now 10 and 14 years old and they love to bicker.  They argue about who’s turn it is to do that or who’s turn it is to do this.  We have a loose chore schedule (because we believe in keeping our kids guessing at all times) of emptying out the dishwasher when the dishes are clean.

This morning, I announced that this afternoon, when they got home the dishes would be clean.  At this point, you would think that my kids would argue over who was going to empty it out.  To my surprise, my daughter said it was her turn.  Good job daughter!  Step up to the plate and do the job.  Where she gets this sense of “doing the right” thing I’ll never know.

However, my 14 year old son had to say “Yup” right after she said it was her turn.  She was offended by this comment and told me he didn’t need to add it in after she said she was going to do the job.

This is when I lost it.

To my wife’s and my defense, we harp on the “getting along with your siblings” thing in our house.  For the most part, they are good kids except for stupid nonsense like this.  So, I went overboard and took away all electronics for the day.  No TV in the morning, no Xbox, no Kindle, no iPods, etc. and it doesn’t stop in the morning.  It is all day.  Once they get home after school, the “no electronics policy” is still in effect.

In reality, I never do this kind of stuff.  Frankly, I like the electronic devices because it keeps me from having to socialize with them and they can watch cute cat jumping videos on YouTube!  Isn’t that what the internet was invented for?  Cat videos and reality car chases?

And think of all the great education they’ll miss out from watching “Family Guy” ,“The Simpsons”, “Wizards of Waverly Place”, and countless others.

I hope they enjoy reading a book, drawing a photo, doing homework, staring at the wall, petting the cat, folding clothes, etc.  And the weather sucks here today.  They can’t go outside.  Well, they could but they would be miserable.  It is pouring down rain and windy so going outside doesn’t look appealing to anyone.  Even the cat and dog have no interest in stepping out the backdoor.  Hmm, might be a great day for some yard work chores.

80s Dance Attack 2012 in Portland, Oregon

Last night, my wife and I attended the 80’s Dance Attack at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon and had a fantastic time.  If you enjoy dancing to the music of the 1980s, then I think you’d really enjoy this event.  VJ Kittyrox does an outstanding job spinning the tunes and the Crystal Ballroom is an awesome venue in which to host this event.

Being from the Seattle area, I was a little hesitating in my desire to make the drive down to Portland for a Halloween party.  However, my wife encouraged me to consider this a getaway from the kids for the weekend and to enjoy our time away.  I agree with her in this observation and glad we made the trip.

We stayed at McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel  and found it to be a delightful hotel.  The staff was helpful, friendly, and courteous.  Our room was clean and the bathrooms just as clean.  It is a European style hotel (however they do have bedrooms with private baths if you like).

We managed to enjoy happy hour at Zeus’ Café and the food was excellent.  We dined on mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, & basil pizza, Chickpea Plank Fries, and a Zeus’ Piedmontese Burger.  Not to miss out on a fine beverage from McMenamin’s Brewery, I enjoyed the limited Black Widow Porter (which is advertised as only being available from October 15 through October 31 each year).

We had a great time dancing to the mighty songs of the 1980s decade in our Halloween costumes.  The Crystal Ballroom was packed the whole evening and the music was nonstop.  The crowd seemed to really get into the spirit of the music.  Songs from Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Madonna, and many others filled the evening with hours of dancing.

After an evening of dancing, an added bonus was the fact our hotel was only a block away.  A short walk back to our hotel and it was time for bed.

We’ll definitely be back for next year’s event.

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.

I am wrong.

I was wrong, I am wrong, and I’ll be wrong in the future. I have made mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes. I’m not perfect. And I’m sorry that I have made mistakes that have hurt people and the mistakes I’ll make in the future that will hurt people.

One of my greatest regrets is my failed relationship with my stepson that has lead to his current path of destruction. I’m not perfect and I made mistakes in how I raised him. However, I do remember that I had a very tough relationship with my father when I was a teenager. My brother also had a tough relationship with our father when he was a teenager. Mind you, my father and I never came to physical blows and I never had any physical confrontations with my stepson either. It was a verbal disagreements and heated discussions between my father and me. I think my stepson just doesn’t believe that I do love him; I just don’t love the choices he is making.

Am I to blame for all the problems my stepson has? Did I cause him to do poorly in school? Over the years, I went to a lot of parent teacher conferences, paid for math tutoring, sent him to summer school, and encouraged him to switch schools to complete his schooling. We went to Cub Scout camp together and canoed on Cooper Lake. We had some really times over the years.

One of my favorite moments I have of him is when after three years of his basketball team loses every game, they won! You would have thought they won the NBA Championship! It was a wonderful game to watch.

Was I to blame for him blowing off work? Did I not set a good example as an owner of a small business? Where did he think our home came from? How did he think we paid for his bedroom? He never had to share a room with his little brother or sister while he was growing up. He had his own bathroom and didn’t have to share it.

How did we pay for our family trips to Disneyland and Hawaii? Did we do it by skipping school, sleeping in, and not having a job?

So now I really have to dig deeper to find the answers. How did he come to hate me so much? Am I really that bad of a parent? Should I have put my foot down harder? All I asked was to pass high school and have a job (any job). When that didn’t happen, I wasn’t the one who kicked him out of our house. I must admit, I didn’t lobby for him to stay either. Seriously, one has to make an effort to do something…complete school, find a job, etc.

Tough love is hard. I can still love him but I refuse to accept his bad behavior. Things will improve and he will turn his life around. I have the belief that he will become a better person.

School Conferences

Ah, school conference half days are here and the kids are getting dismissed from school a whole three hours earlier than normal.  Yippee!  I get a whole three extra hours of fighting and disagreement among my loving children.  You don’t really know the joy of parenting until you heard the click of the car door shutting and the immediate start-up of the bickering and fighting.  The whining…let’s not forget the whining.  Music to a deaf man’s ears!

Now my darling wife insists that I am being punished for all my misdeeds and minor disagreements I had with my sister and brother over the years.  At least I didn’t sit on little brother and try to squeeze the last breath out of him, almost ending his life but I digress to a simpler time.  A simpler time of attempts to kill your sister with a well placed shove or a minor psychological torture of your brother warmed your heart.  Wasn’t it fun to tell your younger siblings that they were adopted?  The look of panic in their face as they realize they might be returned to the orphanage at anytime.

Hmm, such fond memories come flooding back whenever I hear the fighting in the backseat (remember young folk can’t sit in the front because of air bags.  Some might say I’m a bit of an airbag but let’s get back to the topic on hand).

Whoa, not another whining blog about my whining kids or my whining about them or me being a whiner…let’s stay positive..it’s an upbeat blog, right?

Now Cyndi (my former imaginary stalker but now appears to be real stalker) would probably agree that kids are the best part of parenthood.  Well, unless your son grows up to be a loser, can’t hold down a job, doesn’t know how to flush a toilet or use a toothbrush, and lives in an alterative reality where lying is an acceptable form of communication.

Parenthood, the breakfast of the narcissistic man!

 

Sarcasm: It just isn’t a late night treat…it’s a lifestyle!

Ok, basically my day starts out with a cup of coffee and not trying to get my wife pissed off at me.  Usually I get one cup of coffee down before I manage to upset the dear wife.  Sometimes, I can get through breakfast in one piece.   Please keep in mind, that my dear wife is under the assumption that I do nothing all day but sit around and watch tv.  Really, do the dishes actually wash themselves?  Do the clothes magically hop into the wash machine and dry themselves?  What about dinner?  Who takes care of the kids?  There is a lot of sarcasm to fit into the day and it won’t happen by itself.

Forgive me, I’m not trying to be a martyr.  I just don’t think the clothes fold themselves.  Heaven forbid that someone fold some clothes while watching tv and drinking wine.  See, that is the type of senseless and unthoughtful comments that get me in trouble.  One could argue that I bring it on myself (however Cyndi my stalker would disgreed) with my lack of self control with respect to my comments.  I really should just keep my mouth shut.

Keeping my mouth shut would be easy…but then my a little piece of me would die.  I’ve tried to tone it down and be less sarcastic but it is hard.  Everyday life brings a well of sacrastic sitautions to take advantage of.  I’m addicted to my sarcasm because it is just so fun and easy to do!  If I didn’t have sarcasm my life would be so boring.  According to this article from the American Psychological Association (APA)., if you don’t understand sacasm then you probaby have some brain damage or trama.  Here’s the link: http://www.apa.org/releases/sarcasm.html