Jul 22

Last summer, the family and I went on a cruise for our summer vacation.  It took almost 3 years of scrimping and saving to accumulate enough money to go on this cruise.  It was an awesome experience and we had a good time.  However, since we went on the expensive cruise last summer, our plans for this summer’s vacation are a little less… well, less.

I had really hoped that by the time I reached my forties, I would be in a financial position to be able to take a decent vacation every summer.  Life and the panhandle of Nebraska had different plans for me, and we have to save up for a decent vacation every two or three years.  But, with our oldest son entering high school this fall and our youngest not really that far behind, we want to do something fun over the summer to create some memories before the boys are all grown up and far away from the panhandle leading their own successful lives.

This summer, for our family vacation, we are going camping.  Camping vacations are kind of our go-to vacation during the summers where we are saving up for a real vacation.  Now, we have been camping in Yellowstone National Park and Tetons National Park in Wyoming.  We have been camping in Estes Park, Colorado.   This summer, we thought we might do something different than a beautiful mountain retreat.  This summer, we are going camping near… Omaha.

Okay, we really didn’t plan on going to Omaha on purpose… not really.  The oldest boy is in this AYSO soccer thing and the one tournament that it looked like he would actually be able to participate in was in North Platte, NE the same week we were planning our vacation.  We still wanted to take a vacation, but we wanted the boy to be able to play in this tournament, so we decided to go camping in Mahoney State Park outside of Omaha.  We figured we could visit the Omaha Zoo and whatnot and stop in North Platte on our way back so the kid could get his soccer on.

Well, it turns out that the oldest boy’s age group didn’t have enough kids that could go to North Platte… that and the fact that they didn’t really have a coach.  I, being Johnny on the spot, already had made non-refundable reservations at Mahoney, so it looks like eastern Nebraska is our destination for this summer’s vacation.

Omaha…

Nebraska…

Does anyone really take a vacation in stinking Omaha?!?  Well, Adventurer Rich and his family are.  We’re trend setters like that.  Oh, who am I kidding…

Okay, so I’m sure we will have a good time on our vacation.  Any time spent with the family is fun… until the boys start fighting… and I lose it and yell at everyone… but there will be good moments.  Still, a vacation in Omaha seems a bit oxymoron-ish, but it is what it is.  It is an eye-opening exclamation that I need to make more money.

So, Adventurer Rich is looking for a way to make some additional income. I need to do something so the family and I can take real vacations every summer.  I’ve thought about delivering pizzas in the evening or something like that, but I’d like to make more money doing something that doesn’t completely suck.  I’ve tried a couple of different multi-level marketing things, and I just don’t have what it takes to be successful with those (people who are successful with MLM seem, to me, to be a touch annoying).  I don’t mind making people mad, but I really don’t want to annoy anyone…

I’ve messed around on Mechanical Turk, and the work there is kind of fun, but I really need to make more than a couple of bucks an hour or it’s really not worth my time doing it.  I’ve thought about writing articles for eHow or about.com, but I don’t really  know enough about anything to be able to write any articles that would benefit anyone.  ”How to Put Your Walmart Shopping Cart in the Cart Corral, You Flipping Moron” probably wouldn’t get a lot of hits and, thus, would not really be a money maker.

sigh

Well, I’ll keep thinking on it.  Something will come to me, I hope.  In the meantime, I need to go pack.  Omaha awaits…

sigh

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Oct 05

A friend of mine runs a state preschool in North Platte, NE. The preschool is funded with grant funds, which are in short supply this year. The friend has made a video for a contest that could help get her preschool $300 in winnings to help pay for supplies. If you happen to stumble across this and would like to help some preschoolers out, please visit the following link, register (you don’t have to buy votes, you get 20 free just for registering), and cast your 20 votes for the Lincoln Preschool video. They are getting really close to winning some much needed funds! The voting ends tonight (10/5/2011) at midnight (central time).

Thank you in advance for helping a preschooler out :)

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May 18
Graduation

Every year, thousands of small birds are inexplicably killed near commencement ceremonies :(

WARNING!!!

Recent high school or college graduates, please don’t read this post.  I don’t want to be held responsible for harshing your mellow at this time of great accomplishment in your lives.  As you travel the road of life ahead, you will have plenty of time to discover the truths held in my words for yourself.

The wife and I took our boys to our niece’s high school graduation this past weekend in North Platte, NE.  So, we spent a weekend watching young people being recognized for their accomplishments. This all got me to thinking… thinking how much people could accomplish with their lives if the stinking real-world didn’t have to come along and jack everything up.

I remember graduating from high school feeling like the whole world was out there waiting for me to conquer it. I remember having the same delusions at my graduation from college. At my niece’s graduation, I could read the same thoughts in the faces of all of those graduates. They were imagining their futures filled with limitless opportunities. Give them a few years. They will find the limits. Actually, the limits will hunt them down and stomp many of them into the ground.  I know.  The graduating class speaker was a well spoken young woman who reminded the graduates that they were solely responsible for their own futures. Graduates and school administrators say that kind of stuff at graduations. Graduates and school administrators believe that kind of stuff at graduations.  Now, with graduates being young and naive, such dreams are expected.  School administrators, on the other hand, should know better but are extremely biased in their perception of the true value of “education.”  Aside from the field of education, I can’t think of a single line of work in the United States of America where further education guarantees higher earnings, seniority, and advancement.  A large percentage of people employed in the field of education seem to have lost touch with what it is actually like outside of the field of education, and those people probably should not be allowed to speak at commencement ceremonies; they paint an unrealistically-rosy picture.
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Well, I guess we want to give these young people hope for the future, right?  No need having them give up when a very small percentage of them are going to accomplish those dreams.  As for those who will not accomplish their dreams, they will have plenty of time to figure out what their futures hold.

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Soon enough, most of these optimistic young people will be just like the rest of us… wondering why everyone misled us about how bright our futures were.  For the kiddos, when someone tells you that you may need to set “new goals” or dream “new dreams”, this is them gently telling your dreams and goals are unrealistic (see, they lied to you at graduation… you can’t accomplish anything you want).  Pick something less-hard to accomplish, or maybe just settle for what you have.  Less hard and settling are what most of us do on a daily basis…

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Jul 07

Alright, I had been sooo looking forward to a long weekend for quite some time.  I had been really wanting to go back to Montana for the 4th for several months.  There is this big softball tourney in the town I grew up in and a lot of my old friends were going to be there.   One of my friends is in a band and his band was going to be playing at one of the local clubs (ok, there are no clubs in Montana… it was a bar, but it would still have been cool to see him play).  My wife’s sister, however, has been begging us to go to North Platte, NE for a couple of years now.  There is a Christian camp that puts on this big 4th of July extravaganza every year and it’s supposed to be fun for the whole family.  Well, listening to my friend wail some good old rock n’ roll in a bar sounds fun to me, but the family friendly fun of Maranatha Camp wins out and it’s off to North Platte we go.

We drive the 3-plus hours to North Platte.  The kids don’t even fight the entire way and I’m thinking this may have been the better choice for our July 4th activities.  We arrive at the in-laws.  We are bringing in our stuff and unpacking our weekend bags when my sister-in-law gets a phone call from some dude at the camp.  Her kids are counselors at camp so she has an “in”.  The dude on the phone tells her they are cancelling the 4th celebration at the camp because of an outbreak of swine flu.  Hold on, wait a second, it’s July 3rd and I just drove over 3 hours to North Platte, Nebraska for the sole purpose of going to a July 4th celebration that’s no longer going to happen?  Well hoodeedoodeedoo… at least I’m in North Platte.  North Platte is known for… there is a lot to do… at least in North Platte there is a… oh, who am I kidding, North Platte is just like crappy Scottsbluff but is a 3 hour drive away.

Ok, I’m not quite ready to put on my complaining hat yet (no… I have no idea what a “complaining hat” is and I know it sounds stupid… but it is what popped into my head and I’m going with it) and am ready to give this weekend in North Platte a try.  So, me and my family and the in-laws put our heads together and try to come up with a plan.  We decide we’re going to have our own little celebration.  We’re going to buy our own fireworks.  We’re going to buy our own food.  We’re going to have the best darn 4th of July celebration that money can buy.  So we head into town and quickly realize that in order for the phrase “that money can buy” to mean anything, you actually have to possess large sums of money, which we didn’t.  CRAP!

You see, in Scottsbluff, we have a few crappy little roadside fireworks vendors, but we also have a couple of dudes that have actual warehouses they set up chock full o’ goodies and they sell the crap at a decent discounted price.  Oh sure, it’s still WAY too expensive for little bits of gunpowder that take a few seconds to blow up in a multitude of colors, but it’s way cheaper than the little roadside guys.  In North Platte, all they have is the little roadside guys.

Was it really that long ago that, on the 4th of July, grocery stores would have really good pop sales?  You know, like four 12-packs for $10.00?  Now they run specials like “Hot Sale – two 12-packs of Pepsi for $10.00… with a stupid club card”.  Seriously, like twice as expensive for stuff as it was just a few years ago… and I guarantee you I ain’t making twice as much money as I did a few years ago.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work: the price of stuff rises over time, but so do wages?  I see the price of stuff still going up, but my wages remain unchanged.  I thought Obama the Holy One was supposed to fix this crap?  C’mon, he’s had half-a-year already; that’s more than enough time to fix the economy, right?  Stupid politicians… and stupid pop manufacturers (I mean, how much can a stupid can of soda with some carbonated water and some high fructose corn syrup really cost)… and stupid overcharging roadside fireworks vendors!  Soooo, the outcome of our 4th of July was some of those stupid little snappers you throw at the ground (they were only like 25 cents per box), ramen noodles to eat and all the hose water we could drink!  Stinking 4th of July in stinking North Platte!

Ok… actually it wasn’t so bad.  The in-laws felt horrible about us driving all that way from crap-hole Nebraska to expensive-fireworks-crap-hole, Nebraska, so they pitched-in more than their fair-share for the meal and the fireworks.  We had a decent little display and a feast of bratwursts, pork ribs, macaroni salads, coleslaw and sweet corn.  It was yummy.  The camp even let the niece and nephew come home from camp to celebrate with us (all of the kids were supposed to be quarantined whether they were sick or not… apparently this swine flu thingie is really contagious.)

So, all things considered, we had a pretty decent 4th of July.  Good food, good fireworks, good family.  With the odds against us, we had a good time.  The overpriced pop vendors, the outrageously overpriced roadside fireworks stands, and the stinking lame swine-flu infested camp we drove over 3 hours to go to but didn’t get to go to didn’t ruin the 4th of July for the family of Adventurer Rich!

You know what’s weird, though?  Ever since we returned home, I’ve felt a little feverish and have had an intense desire to roll in the mud…

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