Hit or Miss

Despite being on vacation, there are a few things I miss about being home. Let’s take a look at what I miss and don’t miss. That way, we can determine if a prefer vacation or the daily grind.

What I Miss

  • Easy access to a computer: I mean, it’s right here in the spare bedroom and they have high speed Internet access. But they don’t leave it on all the time, so I have to wait like 5 minutes for it to boot up. Plus I feel guilty about hiding away.
  • Our best friends: We hang out with our best friends just about every weekend, and so we probably won’t see them for a couple weeks now.
  • Traffic: It may sound strange, but it’s true. We live in the country, so there is no traffic compared to Portland. A traffic jam in the country is getting caught behind some slow-moving farm equipment.
  • The Older Daughter: She went to Disneyland with her best friend and her family. I’m jealous, but miss her just the same.
  • TiVo: I’ve come to a point where I don’t watch anything live. I record it with TiVo and watch it later so that I can skip past the commercials. Plus it’s nice to be able to skip back a few seconds to catch the dialogue I missed when all the dogs bark their heads off.

What I Don’t Miss

  • Work
  • The alarm clock
  • Worry about looking for a new job
  • The daily routine
  • Having absolutely no free time
  • Getting up early: I’m a night owl and love to stay up ridiculously late and sleep in
  • Brown: I do love the green of western Oregon over the brown of southwestern Idaho.

So there we have it: I have 7 things I don’t miss and 5 that I do. So I think that I should just stay on vacation forever. What do you think?

Foot in Mouth Disease

I have definitely said a few things that I regretted almost immediately–foot in the mouth moments I guess. Thankfully, I believe the number and severity of such incidents has declined exponentially over the years. This is borne out by the fact that the two worst ones (and they are really bad) occurred over 20 years ago when I was a senior in high school.

This guy sitting behind my in health class was a complete jerk. Constant rude, obnoxious comments–just wouldn’t shut up. Very annoying. One day, I turned around and said to him: “You are the most annoying person I know. I bet your family wants to kill themselves.” Yeah…turns out his brother had committed suicide the previous year. I just didn’t know him that well and didn’t make the connection with the last name.

Our band took a fleet of school buses down to Disneyland during my senior year (I guess airplanes had not been invented yet). Somehow I ended up on the wrong bus. I was stuck for 24 hours on a yellow school bus with the bus driver from the very bowels of hell. If you look up grouchy in the dictionary, you’ll see her picture. Go ahead and check…I’ll wait. Finally, I couldn’t keep it inside anymore. I looked over to the girl in the next seat and said: “Oh, I hate our bus driver. She is so rude.” Yeah…as luck would have it, I was talking to the bus driver’s daughter.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

It’s been snowing all day and it may continue into the evening. We’ve probably got about 5 inches on the ground. I’m looking out the window right now and it’s white as far as they eye can see. I love it! Winter is probably my favorite season.

I’m looking forward to taking the kids out sledding in a little bit. We are fortunate enough to have some land and an ATV. So I’ll be dragging them all over the place. You know, I think it’s simple pleasures like this that make some of the warmest, lasting memories. Big trips like going to Disneyland and such are always awesome and definitely memorable. But there is definitely something to be said for the smiles and giggles on the kids’ faces as they slide down the hill. The rosy red cheeks. Then warming up with steaming hot chocolate afterwards. Priceless moments.

Fuddruckers Sucks

I have a rule about trying new restaurants: If I don’t like it the first time, I always give them a second chance. Everyone has a bad day, right? Even an entire restaurant. About a year ago, a Fuddruckers came to town. I kept hearing people at work brag about how incredible the place was. I finally relented and took the family. In short, we hated it. But per my policy, I gave it a second try today. Let’s review my culinary adventure.

As we walked up to the door, we were greeted with pleasant Christmas wreathes hanging on the doors. We opened the door and walked in to bone-jarring shouts of “Hi guys! Welcome to Fuddruckers!” from the kitchen staff across the way. So much for my relaxed, festive mood. From the front door, we were funneled into the cattle chute to weave our way toward the register to order (think airport security or the line to a Disneyland ride without the benefit of the FastPass). I settled in for my 10 minute wait in line and began surveying the menu. They have various items, but they claim to have the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers”, so that’s what I settled on. So, burger, fries, and a drink: $9.50. Wow, a little spendy. Oh well, it must be worth it. They took my name and payment and handed back this massive plastic cup for my beverage. Sweet!

But still no food. You have to make your way to a table and wait again. The décor of the restaurant is pleasant. It has a mixture of antiques hanging from the walls and ceiling, and various local items to give it more of a homey feel. The table is covered by that red and white plaid tablecloth you are familiar with on a picnic table. Hmmm. Pricey $10 lunch…and I’m sitting at a picnic table? Ewww…to make matters worse, it’s a sticky plastic finish on the tablecloth. My cup and arm stick to the table. Now if these things will stick to the tablecloth, what about germs. Just saying…

The orders are called out over blaring speakers located throughout the restaurant. “TOM, YOUR ORDER IS READY!” As you might imagine, this just adds to the peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. After about 10 minutes, I’m finally called to retrieve my food. ($10 lunch and I have to pick up my own food?).

I go up to the pick-up area and am handed a plastic basket with the paper lining on the bottom (strange, it doesn’t seem like a fast food place). On the paper is an open-faced hamburger patty on the bun along with my fries. That’s it, no toppings whatsoever. Apparently they have various stations where you add the topping you would like. ($10 lunch and I have to build the burger myself?) I went to the first station, which had all the usual veggies you would expect. So I threw on some lettuce and a little bit of onion. Then I’m looking around for the mayo. There are so many people milling around building their $10 burgers that I nearly bumped into one. Thankfully a tragic, burger-ending, collision was averted. The last thing I wanted to do was get back in line. At that point, I would have left and just hit McDonalds. I finally found the mayo, finished building my $10 burger, and carefully headed back to the table.

Okay, well it has not been the most pleasant experience so far, but now I’m ready to chow down on my world class $10 burger. Yeah…not so much. It was not particularly juicy or tasty–it was actually rather dry and tasteless. So now I’ve spent way too much time and way too much money on a crappy burger…great! So can anyone explain the appeal of this place to me? If I want I decent burger at a good price, fast, I’ll go to most any fast food restaurant and be satisfied. If I want a great burger, at an okay price, at a sit-down place, I’ll go to some place like Red Robin, Chili’s, etc. What’s the appeal of Fuddruckers? It seems to embody the worst of all worlds: high price, crappy burger, slow service, and I have to dress it up myself! If you have a good answer to this, I’d love to hear it.