A lesser beverage..

No tears were shed this evening when a lesser beverage was spilled from a tray onto the floor by a waitress at Doc Magrogan’s in Scranton, Pa.  It was just a diet coke. No rum, whisky or wine was hurt in the writing of this blog.  This weekend we are in Scranton for a Friday night concert with DS2, a family visit with family on my father’s side and dinner and some socializing with DS2 and DS3.  Credit goes to DS2 for the title of tonight’s blog. Dude!

Friday night was the Christmas concert at Marywood University. The concert was a collaboration between the orchestra and the choir.  The first half of the concert was music written by Bach.  The second half was music written or arranged by an American composed named William Grant Still.  You should google search this guy, he was a pretty awesome individual. The concert was excellent. Sometimes the songs (not tonight) seem to go on forever and I (child of the 3 minute record) have trouble staying awake.  Friday night I had none of these problems. 

After the concert DS3 met us at Cooper’s Seafood Restaurant in Scranton for dessert. We had fun singing along with the acoustic trio called Lipstyk. They covered music from our youth to the current youth.  There are pictures down below from Friday night.

Saturday at noon time DS2 played his trumpet at the Feast of the Immaculate Conception feast day mass. It would be easier to suggest a google search than to try to explain this Catholic feast day. Suffice it to say it honors Mary, the mother of Jesus. Since the religious order that runs Marywood University is aligned with Mary, this was a big feast day at the university.  During the mass, the nuns reaffirmed their vows. I was asked to shoot a few pictures of them after they reaffirmed their vows. Pictures below. Before the mass, the music ministry kids and Sister Cathy wanted pictures of the group. Pictures below.

Saturday after mass we went to the home of my aunt. She is/was married to my father’s brother. Due to circumstances beyond our (siblings) control, our families were never close growing up. Today was a fun chance to reconnect with several of my cousins and their mom. My middle sister and her husband were able to attend as well.  We had a nice visit. Pictures below.

Tonight we ate dinner at Doc Magrogans Seafood and Oyster House in Scranton. Pa. We ate here a few weeks ago. They have a tremendous oyster collection. YUM!  Dinner was outstanding. Pricey, but, worth it. DS2’s girlfriend joined us as did one of DS3’s friends. I did not have to share my oysters tonight. The last time we went there, my oysters were attacked by the two boys.  Pictures below.

I seem to have taken quite a few pictures today. One of the funnest (geek fun) is that I have a wi-fi card for my camera. That means I can shoot pictures on my camera and within a minute or so, the pictures are on my cell phone. Then they can be shared to Face Book and beyond. Pretty neat stuff.

The pictures are as advertised.  Enjoy!

Namaste

Group at dinner

Group at dinner

Pre-concert

Pre-concert

DS2's girlfriend

DS2’s girlfriend

Us!

Us!

DS2, Dw and DS3

DS2, Dw and DS3

Campus music ministry

Campus music ministry

Sisters at Marywood

Sisters at Marywood

Family

Family

DS2 and GF

DS2 and GF

Blocking my blog..

I have become re-acquainted with my mechanic this week.  Probably words that would make most of us car owners cringe.  In my last post I wrote about the struggle we had trying to get the Allstate call center (in India) to figure out where DS1’s truck was and send the tow truck. In the end, we gave up and called a local company that took care of things with very little hassle. Wednesday morning I wrote a strongly worded email to the Allstate customer service people detailing the problems that we had dealing with their call center. Their response took two different directions. One expected, the other not so much.

The first reaction was to send me a letter apologising for the problems we had. Then the letter went on to detail why the call center was in India and that Allstate was not the only company doing this. Pure public relations nonsense. The other reaction came from my agent. He was notified about my email and that we have had 13 claims in the last ?? years. He did not either tell me or remember what the time frame was. I said, and?  My agent said that the company might be looking to not renew us due to number of claims. I said “What?” Most of the claims have been towing claims that cost them 50 dollars each.  We pay 6500 dollars a year for car insurance and they are going to drop us over 50 dollar towing claims?

I was dumbfounded. My agent (who was a family friend before he became our agent) said there was no indication that this was the direction the company was headed in. Funny how when you bitch, they turn the whole thing back around on you!  The fact that the “head office” communicated to him the number of claims as part of my current complaint says that they are thinking about booting us.  What good is insurance if you can’t use it when you need it? I’m thinking that a pre-emptive search for a new car and home owners insurance company is in order. 

My brother the weatherman said that his company’s web filters blocked Tuesday’s blog. I guess they will probably block this one at well.

Cars, DS1 is back on the road. New bearing in the front left. My DW’s van has new brakes, oil change and tires rotated.  We left two 30 packs of beer in the car for the mechanics to enjoy. Some Christmas cheer!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday we will be in Scranton. We’re leaving the oldest in charge.. I’ll bring the computer and send some pictures of the grey and cold.

Here are a few pictures from DS2. Marywood University had their tree lighting yesterday. These pictures come from that event. Enjoy!

Namaste

 

IMG950658 IMG950656 IMG950657

No yoga for me tonight..

Today was an interesting day. I decided this morning to work from home since the weather was supposed to be pretty nice.  For the first week in December, having the temperatures in the low 60’s is pretty nice in New Jersey. I did some early calls and “disappeared” around noontime to go out and ride my bike.  Go figure, I got another chance to ride my bike this year. I figured after Sandy and the cold month of November, the bike riding season would be over.

I got all my things together and in my haste, maybe, to leave the house, I left my water and Gatorade on the kitchen table. I was pretty thirsty when I got to the Wawa at mile 13.  I rode the Barnegat Branch Trail from the Wawa in Waretown to the current northern end where I took a picture of my bike with the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Station in the background. This was about 15.5 miles into the ride.

I hopped on my bike and headed south towards my home and was blasted by a stiff breeze out of the south. I thought the weather forecast was for a south-west wind which would have not been an issue until the last 3 mile leg. Instead, I rode ten miles back to my home with the wind (a warm summer breeze ((Sinatra reference))) in my face. My legs are pretty tired after running lacrosse last night and riding 25 miles today.

But, that is not why I missed yoga tonight. My DW went and is on her way home as I write this.  Friday, during his commute home, DS1 heard a grinding noise in the front left tire of his car. He ignored it. Tonight he made it to about 8 miles from home when the brakes gave out and the car needed a tow.  I hope that we aren’t getting back into the towing season. We went through that back in August.  I drove out to see what the story was and found him in the parking lot of Skippers Seafood Exchange. He was on the phone with Allstate, with whom we have a towing reimbursement rider on our insurance policy.

I’ve spoken with these people before. They are somewhere, way offshore, with no local or even regional understanding of where you, the driver are. The have a script, just like Dell and all the rest. They ask the same questions over and over. Then they place you on hold while they try, (I guess) to figure out where you are. I think that their mapping software comes from the same people that did the IOS 6 mapping software. You get the idea.  I finally called a local towing company and arranged for the tow truck. I will be stopping by my agent’s office on Friday with my towing bill looking for reimbursement.  I also wrote Allstate a nasty email about their call center people. Not like that will make a difference.

Here is the picture from the bike ride today. Both pictures I took today were fuzzy. Maybe the power plant has a jammer to keep you from taking clear pictures in the area.  Enjoy!

Namaste

2012-12-04 12.55.09

 

Magic of Disney..

Or maybe the magic of Word Press. With any luck your view of this blog should include snow flakes. Last year, if you moved your mouse from one side of the screen to the other, the snow would change direction to follow your mouse. Time will tell.

Working backwards here is the update for the last few days. Tonight I played lacrosse with the old (and young) men in Robbinsville.  I had two assists and no goals.  I had two shots on goal, one missed and the goalie stopped the other. My hands are still a little sore from being checked while handling the ball.  My DW went to yoga tonight. Boys to lacrosse, girls to yoga.   She said that the holiday doldrums have set in at her yoga class. Attendance is way down. Then, come the first of the year, bam! the class will be packed again. I guess she and the other regulars should enjoy the peace and quiet.

Work today was not too bad. I was busy all day. My DW worked a full day as well. I heard from the code enforcement officer today around noon time. It would appear that my neighbor behind my house is the guilty party that called the town about the trees that I cut up yesterday. The code enforcement officer was out to the “scene of the crime”  (Alice’s Restaurant reference) this morning and said the work I did this weekend is sufficient and there will be no further action by the town in this matter.  Maybe next time this neighbor has something to say, they will try communicating without using the town.

Sunday night, I watched the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. Did you?  It was awesome. I can’t wait for February to be here and the show to resume.  DS3 returned from his Fall FTX (Field Training Exercise) held this year at Fort Dix. He passed his day and night land navigation tests. He had a good time but was tired last night when we talked to him.

Sunday afternoon DS1 cleaned the gutters at our house and at his grandmother’s house. We also shot around the lacrosse balls down at the high school.  My DW and I did our grocery shopping around noontime. There seems to be twice as many people on the road this weekend as normal. Hopefully they will get this out of their systems and go back to wherever they came from. (New York, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Tennessee just to mention a few).  Someone drove their car from Alaska to Waretown, NJ?  Hello, McFly, Waretown?

 Here is a picture from Thanksgiving 2012. Enjoy!

Namaste

thanksgiving12

 

Not 24 anymore..

My age, not the show. But then, neither is anymore!  Both have been relegated to memories and DVD’s.  Yesterday we got a letter from the Code Enforcement Officer in town. That’s a first for us. We have lived in the same house since 1987. We were formally given notice of a “violation” on our property. The part of the form letter that was highlighted was dead and dying tress and dead branches.  Hmm, maybe they got the address wrong. Our neighbor across the street and up two houses had a tree come down during Sandy in their front yard. Nothing has been done with that in the last month.

I called the office Friday afternoon to try to find out what the problem is. You can easily guess that there was no answer and the message left was not returned.  The letter mentions a 10 day window to resolve the problem from the date the letter is received.  Or, you can/will be required to go to court. Fun, fun. Some tin hat dictator has my life in his vise.  I went out Saturday morning to walk the property so see if I could figure out what “might” be the problem.

During Sandy the top of a pine tree (not my pine tree) fell into my back yard along the property line landing on my neighbors old fence damaging it.  How would the code office know about that? You can not see that part of my backyard from the street.  Unless, the neighbor called the town.  Who knows, I will hopefully find out on Monday.  Since there was a mess in the back, I rented a chainsaw and cut up and cleaned up the fallen tree top. I also removed another tree that fell in their yard and put the fence back together. I spoke with the 80-year-old women that lives in the house. She made no mention of calling the town.  She thanked me for cutting up the trees and fixing her fence.

My back and shoulders are sore from running a chainsaw for a few hours and dragging the branches and trees out of the woods behind the house.  DS1 showed up for the last hour of work. It was nice to have someone hold the trees while I was cutting them up.

Other than that, the only other excitement (besides driving around town today and almost getting hit walking in a cross walk) was making a Forrest Gump meal for dinner. We had shrimp cooked five different ways. The shrimp scampi and the beer battered shrimp were the top choices.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday and today.  Enjoy!

Namaste

 

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