I can’t drive 155 (post)..

I am thinking that I will use that line from Sammy Hagar every time I hit a x55 post. Clueless? Try this. That is one fun video. I laughed through the whole thing.  A good smile to end the day.  The warm weather seems to have finally departed New Jersey. On Monday we hit 70 degrees.  For the rest of the week we will be happy to see 53 degrees. That still is not too bad. One of the websites I view regularly is www.spaceweather.com . They often have pictures of the Aurora Borealis. If you read the captions of the pictures sometimes the photographer will provide the outside temperature when the picture was taken. Most of these pictures seem to have been shot when the temperature is well below 0 degrees F.  No thanks!

My cousin who had the extra ticket for the President’s visit to Scranton posted this picture

President in Scranton 2011

on Facebook tonight.  I guess all things being considered she had a good seat. I wonder who those people are that got to sit behind the president? Maybe if you know, you could post a comment. I blew up the picture (omg, the federales will be after me) and it looks like a mixture of high school student and teachers.  I bet it was a memorable afternoon. From one of the Facebook comments it would appear that there was quite the traffic jam due to the visit.

Speaking of memorable moments, DS1 went to has first job fair today. The area where we went to school is booming or about to boom due to gas and oil exploration. One on the gas companies organized a job fair to try to hire some of the local populace. DS1 said there were several companies there, not just the oil and gas people. He felt he was the best dressed person there looking for a job during the time he was there.

He said he had a few favorable quick interviews and was promised a call back in a week or so. Who knows. I told him that was a perfect way to get his feet wet and polish is job fair, interview skills. I don’t think he believes me.  Time will tell. He sent me his resume and I changed a little of the wording and layout. I explained to him what and why I did what I did.  He has two more weeks of college to go. I really can’t believe this chapter is drawing to a close.

Work was busy for me for most of the day. As I wrote last week I am moving from one office to another. My new office has no furniture. Yesterday my new desk was delivered. I got one of the shipping guys to help me carry the box into the office. It was pretty heavy. I spent the last hour of the day working on the desk. The instructions say it will take two people three hours to build. I don’t thinks so. I have some experience following directions and putting furniture puzzles together.

The pictures below were clipped of DS3’s Facebook page. He was in New York City a few weeks on a school sponsered trip. His girlfriend Caroline took or had someone else take, most of these pictures.  Just click on any picture to start the slideshow.  Enjoy!


Trying to make sense of post 154..

Well, I was a bad boy at yoga tonight. Is that possible? Aren’t we there to pray for universal peace and understanding?  My crime? I forgot to silence my cell phone. I don’t get many calls on my cell. It’s primary use is for texting and taking pictures/video. During yoga my friend in Indianapolis sent me a word in Word Feud and some 888 number called and did not leave a message. Oh well. I was going to silence the phone after the second interruption, but I felt self-conscious and hoped that the world would take the rest of the hour off.

I will do better next week. I feel that going out on a rainy evening to practice yoga should be good for some redemption points. You need to collect redemption points during your life or you might come back as a lobster or some other bottom dwelling creature.  That is an obscure Jimmy Buffett reference for those Buffett fans out there. Google it if you don’t know and are curious.

I was back in the office today for the first time since last Wednesday when we had our Thanksgiving dinner. I was out sick yesterday. I found six calls from the weekend on my extension. I still don’t understand why when someone calls out sick that their extension isn’t either monitored or the message is changed so that customers looking for help don’t just keep calling and getting more upset.  Granted, this is nothing new, just a head shaker. You know, something that makes you shake your head.

Other odds and ends from the week so far, one of my cousins is going to see the President at Scranton High School tomorrow. Tonight she was looking for someone to give an extra ticket to. I asked both of my children who are in Scranton. I mean, nevermind your politics, most people will never get to attend a function with the President of the United States. I though it would be a neat experience. Neither of them can go. Classes are winding down towards finals and the big push to the end of the semester is on.  My DW’s college graduation speaker was Ronald Regan. Like the current president, no matter your politics, you go if you can to say you were there.  Or, maybe that is just me.

Tonight’s picture comes from October 2007. In this picture DS3 is wearing his uniform before school probably for the first time. They would have uniform day once a week for the ROTC kids.  Notice the “you are going to miss the school bus ” chaos going on around him! Enjoy!


DS3 in his uniform HS Freshman year

Four score and 153 posts ago..

I spent a quiet sick day at home today. The oldest (my suspect) left his cold in New Jersey when he returned to Wheeling on Saturday.  The cold medicine I am taking has cleared my sinuses, so there is just a lingering cough to fight through. I should be back at work tomorrow. In the old days, I would have just gone to work, sick or healthy, it did not matter. Nobody would ever says Dude, you should have stayed home. I guess that made me feel like I was indispensable to the day-to-day operations of the business. Now days, I would rather either work from home when I don’t feel good, or call out sick.

Here is another way the world has changed. In my past jobs I had to call in (on the phone, believe it or not) and talk to someone to tell them that I was sick and not coming into work. Now days, I just shoot an email or a text and the deed is done. It is less personal this way and there is not somebody on the other end of the phone trying to figure out if you are sick or hung over.  When I was the manager I would sometimes badger and cajole my employees to come to work. Especially if there was a big football game the night before and they really were not sick. They just wanted to sleep in. Work was far more important and I made sure they knew it.  Currently I am not in a position to  “motivate” anyone to work when they don’t want to.

When our children are sick my wife would (still does) tell them to lay on the couch and read a book. Fluids and rest. I read a new John Sandford book called Shockwave.  If you have read any of the John Sandford books they are set in or near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The book was good. It went at a fast enough pace to keep me interested without getting bogged down in minutia.

DS2 has spoken with the chair of the music department regarding his surgery in December. She told him to keep her updated. His keyboard professor said he can skip the final. She will use his course grades to determine his final grade for the semester.  DS3 sent his Christmas list via email today. We had discussed some of the list already. He is about 50 ish dollars over budget.  It will all depend on the price of the big-ticket item. The other two children have not yet submitted lists. 

My DW spent four hours today learning a new software package at work.  She was very critical of the instructor. From what I have heard about the process of switching software packages at her hospital there is a very real chance of the  process failing. Since her hospital is among the first adopters of the new software package, if it fails there, things are going to get ugly.  I’ve done the conversion from one package to another job in both the seafood industry and the liquor industry. One of the most important steps in a switch over (other than that the new software actually works) is identifying the stakeholders and the potential “problem” employees. These are the people that have to buy in early, or else. Time will tell. Go live day is January 2, 2012. Tick, tock..

Here are two more pictures off my old cell phone.  The first is a family (those that were present) picture taken at Wheeling Jesuit University in the Spring of DS1’s Junior year.  The second is from 2010 when DS3, my brother the weatherman and I rode our bikes on the trails at  Minnewaska State Park. My sister was there that day as well, but she had car problems and missed this part of the ride.


DS3, DS1, DW Wheeling Spring 2010






DS3 on the top of a mountain Minnewaska State Park

A real title, really! Oh post 152..

The family restaurant only served two dinners tonight.  We (DW and I) had flank steak, mashed potatoes and a salad. The romaine lettuce for the salad came from the garden. The fall crop continues to grow thanks to this nice warm weather.

  Breakfast was served to four this morning. The oldest left last night. He should be flying home in an hour or so from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Then he has an hour drive to his house in Wheeling. He left his cold here with me. I forgot to thank him for that. I must have sneezed fifty times today. We picked up some heavy-duty cold medicine while food shopping today. This has slowed the sneezing down to a minimum.

The two younger children drove back to school together.  Ds2 is allowed to have a car on campus. DS3 is not allowed to have a car on campus until his junior year.  So they ride together whenever possible. Not having a car at school restricts the college students movements to where they can walk to. When your student lives in a city, that is fine. The middle child’s school is in a more residential neighborhood. Having a car is a useful thing since there is nothing beside the school that you can walk to.

For us old folks, the day was like most Sunday’s once the boys had headed north.  Food shopping, lunch, football on tv, a nap, some chores and dinner. Like I mentioned above the weather here was nice. I had the windows and doors open all day until the sun went down.  I have emails to send to DS2’s school regarding his impending surgery in December. My DW has to re-open her FMLA paperwork. She needs to utilize the FMLA because her employer will cause her hardship for taking so many days off. If you FMLA the days off, nothing can or will be said. And nothing gets added to your “permanent record” (uuuuu, permanent record). I need to arrange for time off from work as well.

Tomorrow might be a sick day for me. I will decide when I wake in the morning.  The final picture for tonight is from 2008. This a picture of the house where I grew up. While the house is no longer in the family, it still holds some special memories for me.


Home where I grew up

It is all about the girl while visiting post 151..

Waiting for the pot

Saturday night festivities here at the “mother house” We had one last feast with the boys before they start heading back to college. Dinner tonight was surf and turf. For the surf we had lobsters.

 The Shop Rite had them on sale today. For the turf part of the meal, Shop Rite had rib roasts on sale. We got five lobsters and a three-pound rib roast for dinner.  Ds3 does not like lobsters. He is a huge fan of rib roast. The rest of us will eat either one depending on what shows up on the kitchen table. Dinner was good. Lots of lively conversation going on around the table. When the boys were younger they were expected to tell us something about each of the classes that they attended that day. This taught them to talk at dinner and be part of the conversation.

This afternoon we dragged the boys downtown to take some pictures to be used as our Christmas card. We have been working on a “good” picture session since August. If I had the patience and the right picture software, I could stitch together a decent picture from the candid pictures that I take of them. But, I am too cheap to buy the software, so the kids have to stand together. This gallery includes the pictures that were shot this afternoon. It was like a real photo shoot minus the makeup and the music.  Click on any picture to start the slide show.

I am guilty of indulgence. I enjoyed the picture shoot. In my mind I would have brought the amp, cranked the music, had some Christmas props, maybe the snow machine…  Ok, back to reality.

DS1 has left the building. He is spending the night at his friend’s apartment in Philadelphia. Sunday night he flys back to Pittsburgh and drives 57 miles south to Wheeling. Then, well…three more weeks of school and graduation. We spent some time this weekend trying to help him figure out what he wants to do post college. He does not want to live at home. That works for us.  Not that we enjoy the empty nest but, as a parent it is nice to know what is going on. As a young adult, I chafed at that interest in my life. I understand where he is coming from. Example.. last night he and his buddy were over the house. They had dinner, they had a few beers. They decide to go to Best Buy shopping at 9 pm at night. The next time we see or hear from him is 1 pm in the afternoon. I must have missed the message that he was not coming home last night. Do you have adult children? Then you understand.

Good night moon.



We had a full house tonight for dinner.  DS1 had a friend over. So that makes six around the dinner table. Story alert! When I was growing up my mother would make just one thing for dinner. If you did not like it, too bad. You might come back into the kitchen later and sneak a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you were hungry. One of my favorite things that she would make to go with dinner was some thing she called Cheese Noodles. The recipe is simple: Boil one pound of your favorite macaroni shape (shells, wagon wheels, whatever). When the pasta was done add butter and stir until the butter was melted. Maybe two tablespoons of butter. Then add one pound of large curd cottage cheese and two generous tablespoons of sour cream. Stir and eat.

While our children were growing up, one popular kid friendly meal would be cheese burgers and cheese noodles.  Recently this meal has come to include hamburger meat from the butcher. Today I took DS3 on a few errands in the afternoon. One of our stops was to get the fresh hamburger patties for dinner. They did not have any made up so they ground up and made us a bag of fresh hamburger patties. At bag consists of 20 burgers. They were outstanding. With four men between the ages of 18 and 23 for dinner. I cooked 16 burgers on the grill. They turned out very well.

For dessert I made Bananas Foster. In between dinner and dessert, we picked up another friend. This one came to visit with DS3. If you don’t know what Bananas Foster is, do a Google search. I make it with the flambe’ and everything. With the proper ingredients in the house and some help from DS2 doing pre-cooking prep, the creation and eating of dessert went real fast. The kids still enjoy the flames from the rum burning off and the sparkles from the cinnamon sprinkled in the flames.

Today started out with what supposed to be our last eye doctor visit with DS2. If you have been following along (or not), he had two detached retinas back in August. He had two surgeries in one week to repair the problems. He was able to return to school only missing two weeks of school. Anyway, the doctor says that the left eye is perfect. The right eye is another story.

Eye drops in, breathe

There is a hole in the retina and the fluid is starting to move behind the retina. This was the original problem. At least the damage at this point is nowhere near the extent before the first surgery. The plan at this point is to do another surgery in December after finals are over. This would allow him the Christmas break to recover. Hopefully he can return to school in January when school resumes.

DS2 seems to be taking it well. We will have to keep an eye (as it where) on him. He will need to reschedule one of his finals. The doctor can do the surgery on the day of his last final. Then the next day he is available is a week later. So getting the surgery done as early as possible gives him the most recovery time before the Spring semester starts. It would be ideal if he did not miss any school. With DS2 missing the first two weeks of school this fall, he has been in constant catch up mode. He plays it down, but missing those weeks has definitely changed the semester for him.

We did not do any Christmas shopping today. DS3 helped me get the leaves out of the front yard. He purchased a air soft gun back in June. It fires plastic bb’s.

DS3 air soft practice

He and DS1 were shooting at makeshift targets in the back yard this afternoon. He has not played with the air soft since August since the guns stays home when he is in school.  That wraps up the day here in New Jersey. The doctor visit was a disappointment (on the right side), having the children and their friends in and out of the house all day has been fun.


The Thanksgiving visit from BSD post 149..

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  If your country does not celebrate Thanksgiving with the United States, then Happy Thursday to you. This morning started off with my laptop displaying the Blue Screen of Death (BSD) when we got up.  I have to say as computer professional that I enjoy a challenge. Maybe not on Thanksgiving. The long and short of it is the computer is up and running mostly correctly. It does seem to have a lag that was not there before. I will continue to monitor the behavior with an eye toward replacing the hard drive and reloading from scratch.

We celebrate Thanksgiving each year with my wife’s mother, step father and my DW’s sister, husband and two kids. Dinner is in Brick which is about half way between the two daughter’s houses. I deep-fried another turkey today. This one turned out great, just like yesterday’s turkey. If you read yesterday’s blog you will remember that I fry a turkey each year at work for our work Thanksgiving party. Dinner went well. My MIL makes home-made manicotti for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. They are the best. The rest of the meal was great. No drama at the table. All the children seem to have been on their best behavior.

After dinner most of us went to watch (sleep) a football game on tv. It was a very low-key afternoon. As I sat down to write my blog tonight I realised that I did not take any pictures today. Hmmm. I even brought my good camera with me. I guess I got caught up with cooking the turkey and visiting.  Tomorrow morning we have an 8 am appointment with DS2’s eye doctor. If all goes well this will be our last visit.

That is all for tonight. The picture of the day comes from April 2005.


Family 2005 on deck of Intrepid NYC


Sanity check, please..148

Ok, where did my sanity go?  It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. All three of our children are home from college.  Things are a little overwhelming. I am not complaining, just wondering where my sanity went. We went to dinner at a local bar/restaurant tonight. Four of us had the wagon wheel pizza, DS2 wanted the stuffed flounder special.  DS1, my Dw and I split three pitchers of beer. DS3 drove home. That boy (DS1) can drink. He talked DS3 into driving him to another bar so he (DS1) can hang out with his friends.  I am glad he is not driving.

Since today was the day before Thanksgiving, our company had their annual Thanksgiving dinner. everyone brings something to share.  This year I brought and fried a turkey.

Time to cook the turkey

This is my standard offering. I have all the tools. Yesterday I wrote about Chicken 65. This was offered by one of our Indian employees.

Chicken 65

Nobody was brave enough yesterday to ask what Chicken 65 is. We all figured that we would wait until today to see. Here is a picture of Chicken 65. When the day started, the tray was full Now it is time to pack up the leftovers. The chicken was tasty, not too spicy. You might think from the very red color that the heat would be off the scale. That was not the case with this dish.

At the restaurant they put us in the party room. Just the five of us. The upside was that we did not have neighbors. We could talk and joke and have fun without worrying about upsetting the table next to us. I guess the only downside was that they could not get the tv’s working correctly in this room. This allowed all of us to talk, not having the distraction of the tv.

It really was a good afternoon and evening with the boys. When I arrived home, DS2 was in the cellar. DS3 had four friends over and they were playing DS2’s guitar and ukulele in the living room. SO there were 7 people in the house when I got home from work There were two people in the house when I woke up.

Before dinner I got the boys to stand together for a picture.

The boys Thanksgiving 2011

I am not happy with any of the pictures. I will work harder tomorrow with a better camera. After dinner we went home. DS2 retreated to the cellar. DS3 drove DS1 to see his friends. After dropping off DS1, DS3 took the car to a friend’s house. All the old high school friends are going out tonight.  DS3 asked if he could join them and sleep over his friend’s house.  I said yes and yes. He needs to reconnect with his buddies.

It is bed time for me. DS2 and I went out for haircuts before dinner this evening. These two pictures are of DS2. The first picture is a before the haircut, the second picture as after the haircut.,



DS2 before his haircut


DS2 after his haircut

147 = People are crazy

All the birds are heading to home to the roost tomorrow. Now if this monsoon would end, there might be something left for them to visit. We went to yoga tonight, I was “centered” upon arriving home until I got out of the car and stepped into a huge puddle. Hmmm, breathe in then out. Think happy thoughts, nah just scream!  See, that was easy. Where is the Staples button to push? 

Children, Oldest drove to Pittsburgh (about an hour north of Wheeling) and flew to Philadelphia. He is spending the night with a high school friend whose mom lives on LBI, while he lives in Philadelphia.  They will come back to the shore sometime on Wednesday. The other two children are traveling from Scranton to the shore some time Wednesday morning. I hope the rain has let up by then. With any luck we could have a full house for dinner Wednesday night.  The silly thought is that we haven’t a clue what is for dinner tomorrow night. We don’t have to plan ahead when there are only two of us involved.

Wednesday our company will have our annual Thanksgiving dinner. everybody brings something. I am frying a turkey again this year. One of the Indian employees is bringing something called Chicken 65. Nobody was brave enough to ask what this was. I guess we will find out on Wednesday. Work has been crazy for both of us. I can’t imagine if Thanksgiving and the full moon happened at the same time.  Simple things are an emergency.  I must have said a dozen time today “People are crazy”. So just smile and keep trying to move forward.

Tonight’s picture is from June 2011. This picture was taken before DS3’s senior prom. Notice the Griswold mobile in the background. It transported DS3 back and forth to school and work for an entire year. Enjoy!


DS3 June 2011 before Senior Prom

I have to move my feet more or post 146..

I played lacrosse tonight with my 35 and older group. Indoors and under the lights. I left the defense stick home tonight. Please don’t tell it that I went to play lacrosse without it. The stick would be heartbroken. Foolishness, yes.  But really, I did play attack again this week. I did not score any goals. I had a few good shots, none went in. My practice on Saturday with DS3 paid off today. I caught everything that was thrown at me. Usually I miss more than half the passes thrown my way. Now that I am catching the ball, I need to move my feet more.

Why do I need to move my feet more? Well simply, when you have the ball in your stick, the defense wants to take the ball away from you. If you move slow or stand still, you are an easy target. If you move slow, the defense might (and does) miss the stick and wallop your hands. That is the issue. My right thumb is throbbing and not want to participate in the typing tonight. I will either get better at attack or got back to defense. I’m not ready to give up yet.  The boys will be home on Wednesday so I have two built-in practice buddies for a few days. DS3, dude, bring your gear home with you!

Here is the funny story from Saturday morning’s turkey delivery. The first basket we are sent out to deliver was put together by one of the clubs on campus. They created the basket, but could not deliver it. So we take the laundry basket full of Thanksgiving goodies and the paperwork and head off to make our delivery. The address, according to the GPS, is about as far south in Scranton as you can go and still be in Scranton. We follow the GPS into city built, low-income housing. From our experience last year, this is typical of the neighborhoods that we are delivering to. The address says 44 xxxx (name redacted) drive. No apartment number.

We found the building easy enough. I went inside, leaving my sun glasses in the car. I was trying to tone down the cop look. When I got inside there were eight appartements, four on each level with two levels. None of the doors had names on them and there was no mailboxes with names either. I started knocking on doors. My favorite thing to do.  Guess what, nobody would come to the door! I finally was able to get three people to answer the door. Only one spoke english. Nobody knew nothing about anything.   I called the number on the paper, it went to voice mail. I was hoping I could hear the phone ring in one of the apartments. I did try calling from both floors.  No luck.

Then the lady I was looking for called back. She was downtown at her father in laws apartment and had told “the lady” yesterday that she would not be at her own apartment on Saturday morning. Saturday morning was the Santa parade in Scranton and she was taking her kids to the parade. We drove back to the center of Scranton to the new address. I pull up, another apartment building. And I still don’t have an apartment number. I called her, she said she would be right down. I had DS2 carry the laundry basket of goodies and I carried the turkey into the lobby and we waited.

After a few minutes a 60 ish black man came to the lobby entrance and asked if we were delivering the Thanksgiving basket. I said yes and he let us into the lobby to wait for his daughter in law to dress the kids and come downstairs. (Funny part coming up, I promise) While we waited I told him about our adventure in the “projects’. He smiled and chuckled when I told him that nobody would answer the door. He said “There was no good going to come from you standing outside an apartment in that neighborhood with a pen and paper in your hand” Then he and I both laughed pretty hard. I think my DS2 though we were crazy. But  the man as right, it was not like I was delivering a check from Publishers Clearinghouse!

Maybe you needed to be there to get the humor. Things worked out in the end, everybody was happy. And I got another story to tell.  Tonight’s picture comes from May 2011. Marywood’s school year had ended. DS2 should have gone home but since he was playing at graduation, he got to stay on campus for a week after most everyone had left. In this picture he has taken the room that his suite mates had lived in and turned it into his own music studio.  Enjoy!


Music studio

Previous Older Entries