Fun Weekend with the Family!

Another fun weekend with the family! This time at Disney for the Star Wars Weekend. My oldest son is 3 and turning into a huge Star Wars fan so we made the trek to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for their yearly Star Wars Weekend. It lasts for a couple weekends from May thru the first part of June. It was great and we had a blast. We got to see everybody from Darth Vader to C3PO and everyone in between. Obvious exceptions were Han Solo, Luke, etc. Lots of Storm Troopers walking around and we got a few good pics. Every time we tried to get a picture with Darth Vader the line was closed, so my little guy was a little bummed out.

Otherwise we had a pretty good time. We hit up Universal and did his favorite ride over there, ET.

All in all we had a great time. Once again, spending time with the family is really what it’s all about. Doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it as long as you’re with your family. My New Year’s resolution wasn’t to spend more time with my family but it probably should have been. It’s the only thing I’ve really been serious about this year.

It’s funny how things work out. I’ve been fairly unhappy with how management has been running things lately and my response has been to cut back on work. If I’m not happy there then I should spend less time there. Makes sense to me. But the other side of that has been that I’ve been spending more time with my family. My wife said that the last couple of months have been some of the best of our marriage. We went out on two dates in May. That may not seem like a lot of dates to most, but I work A LOT and that’s huge for us.

Because I’m cutting back on work my wife sort of got her husband back. For anyone out there reading this that may feel like they have to work 60 or 70+ hours a week to keep things rolling (maybe you do) you should try taking some time to yourself. For your family if for no other reason. It’s the best thing that I could have done and I only did it because I was unhappy (still am) with the way my company is running things. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees and that was my problem.

I thought I was being a good provider by never being home and always working. Not the case. If you have a family and you’re always working somebody is missing you. A lot. Don’t miss your life.

Stereotyping. What’s wrong with it?

Another Wally-World incident. I spend a lot of my time working at Wal-Mart. It’s a great place to visit and it’s almost always good for a laugh. If it’s not the employees then you can usually count on the patrons to provide the humor. The other day I was leaving a store down south and I walked right into a pretty stupid situation. I literally walked out of the front entrance and directly between two people in a stupid situation. Well, in fairness, only one person involved was STUPID.

As I was walking out there was a younger customer yelling at an older (at least 60 years old) Wal-Mart employee. As soon as I was aware of what was going on I stopped and asked the elderly lady if everything was ok. The employee said that it was alright but she didn’t understand why the other, younger, woman was mad at her. So, I looked over at the younger woman, about 25ft away and she was yelling “why can’t I have free groceries?” and “when can I get mine?”, meaning free food.

The obvious question is, what is the young woman talking about? Well, to make a long story short some young guy filled a cart with food and then pushed it out to a waiting car and basically stole about $200-$300 worth of groceries. This happened in front of the younger woman and the older employee. As soon as the employee told me this I couldn’t help but laugh. Did this younger woman expect an old lady to tackle some young guy to prevent him from stealing? Not only would that be against Wal-Mart policy, but the old lady would have gotten seriously hurt.

Now, before anyone starts thinking that this woman was joking and that I misread the situation let me say that this woman was irate and completely serious about getting free food. She was seriously upset that someone got away with something for free and she missed out. This brings up the whole entitlement/younger generation thing but that’s not my point here. This woman was upset and she wanted to know why she couldn’t have free food.

She met a stereotype (in more ways than one) and due to that it was blindingly obvious to me that this woman would not respond to reason. This is where stereotyping saved me time and aggravation. Under other circumstances I might have tried to reason with this woman or explain what was happening in an effort to save the elderly lady some grief. However, the employee said she was fine and I could tell that this younger woman was just plain stupid so I left.

I laughed in part due to the absurdity of the situation but more so due to the younger woman. She was a perfect stereotype of a particular group of people. That’s the best and vaguest way a can put it without possibly offending a reader. And, I badly wanted to ask the younger woman if she realized how perfectly she fit this particular stereotype in look, speech/cadence, attitude, etc. She couldn’t have been a better representation if she were an actress cast for a part. But, she wouldn’t have cared. And, that’s where my interest and involvement stopped.

This woman represents a segment of society and I’m glad they’re pretty easy to spot. These are people that should be avoided. They can’t function in a civilized society and should be quarantined. I know that sounds harsh and maybe I sound a little elitist but this woman was a perfect example of what is wrong with our society. That we, as a society, tolerate this form of ignorance is ridiculous. Oh, and when I say “younger”, this woman was probably in her early to mid 40’s. She was younger in comparison to the elderly employee.

Stereotyping is good. Is it fair? Maybe not always. Stereotyping, profiling, whatever you want to call it, when a person makes a judgement about another person based on appearance or some incomplete knowledge from limited interaction, it can be a good thing.

I know there are always exceptions and someone may point out that con men will exploit certain stereotypes to take advantage of people but those exceptions prove the rule. When a serial killer starts targeting a certain area the cops or FBI will bring in a profiler. It must work.?

My only point is that I believe everyone profiles or stereotypes to one degree or another. Good, bad or indifferent, everyone does it. It’s human nature and it’s part of our survival instincts. Of course it’s not always right but it’s effective enough to continue doing it. I’m not a fan of the whole “PC” movement and I never have been. I don’t think it’s right to go around making generalizations about everyone but when something is too obvious to ignore, I’m not going to ignore it just to be PC.

To quote Huey Lewis, “sometimes bad is bad”.

Things Are Looking Up!

We’re moving out!

We’ve finally had it with our neighborhood and current abode. My wife and I live in a small house (not the one pictured) and since we’ve had children, it’s only gotten smaller. We always knew we would have to move eventually because there’s not enough room to expand our current home. However, we never thought we would move into our dream home. We have been truly blessed recently by finding a home that we both love.

My wife and I have lived in our current home for about 10 years. The neighborhood was fine a decade ago but after the housing market tanked we found that a lot of our neighbors were getting foreclosed on and their houses were becoming rentals. Now, I’ve rented in the past and I’m not one to look down on anyone for the way they live but renters hardly ever make good neighbors. In my experience. I know this doesn’t always apply to everyone but my neighborhood, my street, has suffered from renters moving in. The remaining “owners” that haven’t been foreclosed on have started moving out because of the recent tenants.

For some reason, that I don’t really get, renters don’t seem to take pride in their home. This isn’t going to be everyone’s experience but it’s mine. So, rather than deal with the hassle that comes with living next to renters my wife and I decided that now was a perfect time to buy a new home. We figured that it’s a buyer’s market and we might be able to find a good deal. We had no idea that we would find our dream home. Almost.

I say almost because there was one thing that each of us had to sacrifice. My wife wanted a pool and the house we finally found does not have a pool. So she had to come to terms with that; we decided we could add a pool at a later date once we’re settled in. I wanted around 10 acres but the house we found only has 3. This is still far better than our current home. There’s also plenty of available land around our property that we may be able to buy at a future date. We’ll be out in a rural area with little to no neighbors and the ones we will have are seeking peace and quiet just like us.

The other big selling point for our new home was that there isn’t any sort of home owners association. An HOA is offensive to me as a freedom loving American. For some reason these HOA’s have spread like wild fire in the last decade or so and I really don’t get it. It seems like every house our agent wanted to show us had an HOA. I couldn’t make him understand how repugnant the whole concept was to me and my wife. I just can’t rationalize spending money, that I earned, to buy a home and then turn around and pay a group of people to tell me what I can and can’t do with it.

It seems absurd to me but here in Florida, they’re everywhere. When did Americans stop caring about personal property rights and individual freedom? I know it seems trivial but freedom is usually lost through a series of minor assaults. It’s a combination of government and private citizens working together to deprive individuals of freedom for the collective.

And, it’s everywhere. It’s a constant brainwashing. People don’t just accept HOA’s, they think they’re a good idea! I have a friend that bought a house a while back, about 4 years ago. He found a great house and asked me to come take a look at it. I did. While he was telling me about the neighborhood he mentioned that the place had an hoa. I told him that was too bad and I asked him why he wanted me to see a house he wasn’t going to buy. But he was going to buy it. The hoa was a big selling point for him. He’s educated and successful but somehow he was convinced that an hoa was the way to go.

I asked him why he thought it was a good idea and he said it was a way to make sure that his neighbors kept their grass cut and didn’t paint their houses some crazy color. He seemed to think the hoa was there to protect him. Why would anyone care what their neighbor does? He said because it affects property values. Huh?

I just don’t understand why Americans, known for our love of freedom, are some of the easiest manipulated people on the planet. If George Clooney or Angelina Jolie says it, then it must be a good idea.

There’s a whole generation of people coming up that would gladly give up every freedom they had so long as they didn’t have to fend for themselves.

 

But, the good news is that we’re moving out and we found a great home. There are great deals out there for anyone looking. I know that Florida was hit pretty hard when the market tanked.

I hope anyone else out there that’s looking for a new home finds what they’re looking for.

I probably should have made my hoa rant a separate post.?