Two Weeks Vacation
I relished my two weeks of vacation from publishing The Bottom Line during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Yet, even though I was not supposed to be working, I could not help but note some of the things that occurred over the past couple of weeks that taught me some valuable lessons.
For example, I have never shopped at stores like Aeropostale, Hollister and American Eagle Outfitters until this past Christmas. As I perused the merchandise in the aforementioned retail establishments, I realized that so many of the jeans for teenagers had holes in them. I was under the assumption that most teens made the holes in their pants themselves or that kids wore those clothes until they were so old that the holes were the result of having outdated pants.
I also learned during my time off that I will likely have to engage in the "sport" of ice fishing, since my father and my youngest brother showered me with gifts that indicate to me that they want to come visit and fish on the 13-acre pond where I reside.
I have never been a big fan of ice fishing. In fact, my first editorial 30 years ago as a freshman sports editor of the high school newspaper was mostly negative about the whole concept of sitting on a bucket in below-zero temperatures and jigging for bluegills and crappies. Of course, since that time, fishermen have become more modern and allowed people like me to sit in a heated shack and maybe even watch a ball game on a small television. Either way, I think I may actually try to find out if ice fishing is really a "sport", even if it means sitting on a couch or lounge chair in a 50-degree environment.
The other thing I learned during my holiday vacation was that we are all getting bad information regarding the monthly unemployment figures. I read a recent article in The Wall Street Journal that indicated the nationwide jobless rate was improving. However, what was not reported was that the 1.9 million people who are no longer working that qualified for extended or emergency benefits were not included in the latest report. In other words, the numbers are being skewed to make us think that more people are becoming employed when, in fact, most of the improvement is due to individuals who are no longer being counted in the survey.
On the other hand, I have spent much of the past week talking to realtors, bankers and other contacts in the Chippewa Valley who have assured me that positive business transactions will be finalized soon. So, maybe things will improve in the coming months. That is welcome news for someone who is trying to get excited about ice fishing.