It sure was a lot easier being a single dad when my son was 4. I would even say I could still wing it when he was 9, but now at 14 (very soon 15) I really am going into unchartered waters. I can’t bluff my way out of conversations as easy. Not only do I have to act like I know what I am talking about, I actually MUST know what I am talking about. I am both a mother and a father to a young man who uses phrases,”I will wack you on a game of Xbox”. Nowdays he still remembers what I said the day before, and he catches me and makes me sweat when he grills me about going shopping, and if I have enough loot to get him shoes and jeans. At 15 he can tell when I am not telling the full truth, and it’s times like that , I swear I see vultures flying overhead, just waiting for me to drop. I will live to see another day though, he makes sure of that. After all, while he is in school I have a list of things he wants done during the day, and the afternoon snack had better be on the table when he comes in the door like Outlaw Josey Wales from school! Man, what ever happened to the times I could make up excuses and he would believe me? Gone…never to return till he has kids, and I can get by, by telling those little white lies to HIS kids!
As a single parent of a teen boy, my ‘worry-meter’ is reaching new heights. These are troubled times, one that my own parents had no problems with, give me cause for worry the minute he steps out of this house. Is it the area we live in? If I thought for one moment that there is an area in these United States that a parent does not have to worry about sending their teen out into the world each day, I would have my bags packed and headed there. So we start a new school year and all I can hope for myself and the other parents is that we can make it as worry free as possible.
School starts in a couple of weeks. My full time job as dad will be cut in half during the week while my son is away at school, which means more time for me to get things done. Except then the two sheepdogs will be putting all their attention on me daily. Summer went by fairly fast this year. The 2-3 weeks we had of high temps changed how we enjoyed the summer, by forcing us indoors and coming out when the sun went down. The sheepdogs spent thier days laying on my bed soaking up the air conditioning and reminding me at nite that it was cool enough for them to take their long walk. All in all it was a uneventful summer. Nothing of major concern happened where we would reflect back to this summer in years to come. I did however lose some very close friends in the last year.
While my son is in school, Bliss (female) and Panda (male) do their best to keep me busy. Evidently going for a walk every half hour is in their ‘must do’ book. But in the long run they keep my mind off the serious stuff that every parent must think about when they have a teenager. My son has been screwing around so much at school, he has fallen behind in his studies. Now if he was going to prepare for a life of being a comedy writer/actor, I would say he is on the right path. But as it is, there is no way he is going to enter high school with enough education behind him to be able to compete with his classmates. Even I who was once labeled “troubled” did not get in as much trouble as he has.
Noah and I used to be friends first and father/son second. Now I have become the enemy, the face of which he can point his finger and say “You are the reason I am so angry!” What got me high in his rankings of problem causers, was when I started taking his Xbox away. The power that little machine has over our children is staggering. Just watching my son go through the levels of withdrawls from not having a video controller in his hands tells me; we got a serious problem on our hands. Maybe it started when I let him play for 6-hours straight. There were times when I got involved in personal matters that I left him alone in his room to live out a fantasy of being a soldier dropped behind unfriendly battle-lines. But I let it go too far in the amount of hours he spent in front of a tv screen with the $89 modified controller, that he just had to have. Then again, maybe when I went to bed and left him stay up late to play video games, I should have told him to “shut er’ down junior!” Whatever the reason, I let him slip into a full-blown addiction of video games, and I am now sorry I ever let that game system into the house.
So now, because of the video game addiction, I have to spent hours reading emails on how bad my son’s performance is at school, from teachers, counselors and social workers. Gone are the days of reading a book. Just insert a game disk, pick up a controller and “poof”, you are instantly in another world. No more chatting on the phone with your friends. No, now you have a microphone and headset, so you can communicate with your team on how the killing is going. My son has more friends as soldiers in a video game than he does running around the house playing Tag. Also from these hours of video game playing comes learning new words and phrases. None of which I will put here because they are all filthstraight because all I think about is getting my Xbox back!” Well it’s put away and if I have my way it will y swearing. Another reason this machine should be taught flying lessons right out through the back door!
So now the Xbox is put away out of reach. Now the new excuse for failing at school is,”I can’t think because all I think about is playing my Xbox!” Well the Xbox will be playing “Locked Away”. Until he gets back into the school swing of things it wll stay gone. I am saving his life and he does not even realize this. The Sheepdogs do though. He is starting to pet them more. Instead of racing to his room to start up a new battlezone, he is stopping to rub their stomachs upon entering the house after school. Just maybe life will return to normal where he is the son and I am the dad, and one of our favorite games is tossing the football in the back yard. Maybe soon he will see those games for what they really are. Mind stealing, real life thieves that rot your mind and turn the every day kid into a garbage talking grunt!
That used to be the catch phrase for Wisconsin tourism. America’s Dairyland is what was printed on the state license plates, but I believe California has the title of most milk producing of the states now. What ever title Wisconsin uses, you can bet it has something to do with tourism.
I was born in Wisconsin and I am thankful I was. Having lived and worked in 42 of these United States, people have come to know Wisconsin people to be hard working, and in some cases, heavy beer drinkers. When you ask southern people what they think of Wisconsin they say that a dairy farm comes to mind. When I think of Wisconsin, I first think of all the nice and friendly people that live here, and second I think of the great forests in the northland. For a tourist, there are so many events and activities to do here, it’s no wonder tourism is the leading form of business.
From the north there are the Apostle Islands that dot the great lake of Superior, which has been given the rank of 2nd largest lake in the world. Violent crime is almost non-existent around the Apostle Islands. That fact in itself helps families decide to come here on vacation. They have an abundance of activities to participate in while vacationing in the northland, and many times a week’s vacation is not enough to capture everything. Just one whole day can be spent in Bayfield, the gateway to the Apostles. Take a 4-hour cruise around the islands, have lunch in Bayfield, then walk down to the pier and rent a boat for your own sight seeing adventure, Start by renting a sailboat or kayak, or even a bicycle. Your vacation in this area would be fun and exciting at very low prices, even for a family of 4.
While many families this year are experiencing loss of wages, they still need to have a place to get-away to. “There is no better place than Wisconsin to have a vacation”, is what many have thought when it was time to pack up to return home. That is why Wisconsin has been in the tourism business for so long. The state has what you are looking for. Whether it’s on the lake, in the woods or in one of it’s fine cities, you will find something to write home about. So when you and your family starts planning a vacation, make sure you say “Make It Wisconsin!”
In recent years, I have seen people and complete offices not doing their job to the best ability they could do. Basically these people were just showing up for a paycheck, and without caring about the quality of work they put out.
Take for instance my ongoing complaints with the Chamber of Commerce and office of Tourism. Many times I have read complaints from local citizens and folks visiting the area. They want to get out and see the sights, shop, and spend some time at a event they briefly have heard about. So they begin to look for names, times and dates and directions of where these events are being held. In some cases, because there was no advance notice put out in newspapers and on the radio, they didn’t find out about the event till after it had ended!
The story is always the same. People first hear about the possibility of an event going on so they grab the local paper to get the info. But it’s not there. Then they try one of three free newspapers, and there too is nothing listed on the event. If they are close to a computer they try the local websites and newspaper, looking under Current Events and Whats Happening, and once again there is no information. Some people are resourceful and try the radio station, where if they are lucky there will be someone there to be able to assist them in getting the info they are looking for. Some may even try calling for local tourist information office with the Chamber of Commerce, only to find out that it is the weekend and the answering machine tells them to call back on Monday when the office will re-open.
At this point the “tourist” may give up, or they may start driving around to ask info from gas stations, Kwiky Marts and even go so far as stopping complete strangers on the street to question them, all in the hopes of getting any kind of tips on how to find out what is going on. They keep driving around hoping to see something that will lead them to an event. A sign, or a parking lot filled with cars or a traffic snarl . So for all the digging they have done, they still have not found what they were looking for, until the next day in the newspaper they get to read about all the fun and excitement they have missed.
All of this could have been prevented, if someone would have taken the time to let the media know about their event. Put an ad in the paper, inform the Tourist Information office, and use everything available to get the message out there. People will come if you invite them, and give them the info they need to get there. If you are an event planner, do your job of getting the message out there.
The Sheepdogs were happy to see new snow. They rolled and played in it long enough for them to trott to the back door and let me know they had their fill and were ready for a dog-nap. They are inside dogs, and are spoiled rotten with the comforts of home. They love to go for walks and romp in the snow, but they are equally happy to lay on their beds and dog dream. I find myself thinking how lucky I am to have these dogs in my life. They bring me an understanding of myself and of how I should treat people. These two would put snow season above any other. One thing I learned from them is that you can have fun in any season. You just need to be dressed for the occasion.