Archive | June, 2016

Summer Vacay the Eight Year-Old Way

30 Jun

Last week, my daughter and I took our first lengthy road trip together.  We drove from the Twin Cities to St. Charles, Illinois, to watch my nieces dance in a competition.  It was exciting to plan and look forward to seeing family and vacationing in a new place.  I had an itinerary, a list of things to bring in the car, what to pack, and then….the 8 year-old got involved.

I thought I would be nice and pack suitcases for each of us.  Big mistake.  She rolled her eyes and said, “Mom, seriously? Why would you pack this?”, and proceeded to empty her entire suitcase and start over.

Next was shopping for food and beverages to have in the car so we didn’t have to hit every fast food restaurant between here and Illinois.  I was aiming for granola bars and sparkling water,  and she’s grabbing chips and pop.  Granted, I needed the caffeine to stay alert, but giant bottles of Coke aren’t quite what I had in mind.

I figured we would need some music to listen to, since we’d lose our local stations fairly quickly.  Of course, my song list is full of “old and boring songs”, so we compromised and came up with “The Chicago Playlist”.  This consisted of 10 percent my songs and 90 percent hers.   I was SO looking forward to bonding with Justin Bieber and One Direction for several hours (not).

The drive actually went really well.  She was great about tracking our journey and very excited when we were close enough to pick up Chicago radio stations.  Everything was looking good and spirits were high.  I couldn’t wait to take her into the city to see it for the first time.

We took the train in which was very exciting, since she had never been on one.  Once we arrived in Chicago, we were pumped to hit the ground running and head up to the John Hancock building to take in the views.

Twenty years ago, I worked and had an apartment in the city and knew the area like the back of my hand.  So, I was convinced I knew where I was going and didn’t need to reference Google Maps to reach our destination.

Boy, was I wrong.  When I thought we were going north, we were actually going south.  All of a sudden we were in a quiet little neighborhood away from the tall buildings.  She was worried, I was overly confident, telling her I knew where I was going.

I knew once I saw a sign for the South Loop, I had screwed up big time.  What once was an excited and happy child, turned into a whiny, frustrated kid who was convinced we were lost and a tornado was going to hit any minute (there were tornadoes southeast of where we were staying the night before).

Hoping to salvage our city visit, I told her this was part of the journey to find an amazing place to eat lunch…like the Emerald City of food….it led us to Qdoba…and it saved us.  A burrito and some nachos there, and we were as good as new.

She led the charge up Michigan Avenue and up the elevator in the John Hancock building.  What once was a frown, was replaced by a smile and awe at the amazing views from the observation deck.  All was good, especially once souvenirs were purchased.

Overall, it was a great trip and experience.  We plan to hit Chicago again, except next time, I’ll put my ego aside and let her lead the way.  🙂

Stop the Hate

16 Jun

The past several days, unfortunately, have been an opportunity to talk with my daughter about hate.  Orlando, Fl has been the scene of three awful events, two of which were rooted in pure evil.  It’s hard enough for an adult to grasp and understand, let alone an eight year-old.

Every news outlet is showing images and telling stories of what happened.  All you can do is shake your head in disbelief and wonder what in the world is going on.  It seems like a light switch has been turned on and events like this happen all too frequently.

A child sees this and starts to think everything is bad and scary.  She starts to question if someone is going to shoot her and if it’s okay to leave the house.  I try to reassure her there are still plenty of nice and good people out there but honestly, I struggle to believe that myself.

I don’t understand what happened.  It seems like there’s hate everywhere and it makes me sad.  I want my daughter to grow up safe and happy, not scared and withdrawn.  We all need to come together and figure out a way to address the anger and get back on track.

I’m not saying we should all hold hands and sing, “Kumbaya”, but we need to accept and embrace our differences, work on compromise, and stop the judging and divide.

Beer and Cheese Diet

8 Jun

This past weekend, CF and I were in Chippewa Falls, WI.  We’ve visited the last few years and love the area.  However, we always come back at least five pounds heavier, and bloated for a week.  Metamucil and Pepto-Bismol are your best friends, and you don’t want to see another cheese curd until the MN State Fair.

Granted, we could eat healthy and drink water, but hell, you’re in Wisconsin!  When in Rome, right?  There are a few nice breweries we visited, and a couple of restaurants that were on bodies of water, that had great food and nice views.

Of course, the restaurants had cheese curds, and plenty of beer.  You wonder why they even bother to offer anything else on their menus, since that’s all everyone orders.  There was an outdoor wedding at the one venue.  I was thinking, “Why do they have a buffet?  All they need is a keg and baskets of curds.”

The motel we stay at is very cute and old school.  There’s a woman who owns the place, and she is like your mom away from home.  She makes a hot breakfast every morning and if you don’t show up, she’ll ask where you were.

It’s not a five-star place, so the furnishings are out-of-date, but the rooms are immaculate.  She will come in to clean when you’re there for only a couple of days.  We found that out the hard way on our first visit.

We were complete slobs, leaving our bed unmade, towels all over, and clothes on the floor.  When we returned, the bed was made, new towels and sheets were in place, and our clothes were hung and folded.  We were embarrassed that we left the room in such a tacky state.

Overall, the Chippewa Falls area is awesome and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  Just be prepared, if you don’t dig beer and cheese, you’ll need to pack your own Perrier and kale.  😉

My Name is Stupid

2 Jun

I don’t know if there’s something in the air but in the last few weeks there have been two clear examples of people who need to get some sense smacked into them.

First, there was the father and son who were at a national park and put a baby bison in the back of their SUV because it was cold.  Really?!  Did you have a conversation with the baby bison?  Was it shivering and pointing towards your vehicle? You didn’t realize they’ve been here FOREVER and have adapted to the cold?  It’s not a dog, you idiots, it’s a BISON WHO LIVES AND SURVIVES IN THE WILD!

Thanks to these knuckleheads, the baby bison was rejected by its herd and had to be euthanized.  Wherever you two dopes are, please don’t step outside of the city limits again.  Limit your animal interactions to a zoo or by watching Animal Planet and call it a day.

Speaking of zoos….it was terrifying to see the little boy being dragged around by the gorilla after he fell into an exhibit.  If that were my child, I would be terrified.  However, my child wouldn’t be in that situation because I PAY ATTENTION AND WATCH MY KID.

This poor gorilla did not need to die, but unfortunately had to, because the mom was not being a responsible parent and watching her son.  It’s funny how the barriers around the exhibit have been safe and had zero incidents since it opened, but now it’s a giant safety hazard.

Nice to hear the parents aren’t going to sue the zoo for lack of proper safeguards.  Can we have the ability to sue people for being crappy parents and not watching or taking care of their kids?

I feel like common sense has gone by the wayside.  It’s too frequent that parents are distracted by their phones or by their surroundings, and they’re not paying attention to their kids.  It’s your responsibility to watch them, not ours.  Yes, it takes a village to raise awesome, healthy kids, but you need to take ownership of your chunk of the parent pie.