Busy living, not writing..

That is my excuse.  We have been busy living our lives, and have not had much time to document the journey.   Writers block is too strong a term or phrase for the current situation.  I am going to resort to bullet points tonight. And they are in no particular order:

  • Sunday, was supposed to be a quiet day. Stay home, 6 pm gentle yoga, dinner and bed.  While watching football my DW called me into the kitchen where the back door was open (45 degrees out) and the kitchen smelled like natural gas. I said, hmmm. Seems the stove did not want to light even though the gas wanted to flow. The stove was about 15 years old. We bought it when they brought natural gas to our street.  Instead of fixing it again, we decided to replace it. So, at 3 pm Sunday afternoon we did some online shopping at Home Depot and Lowes and then went to Lowes and bought a new stove. I put it in the van, removed the old one and installed the new one. We were not late for yoga. Nor were we early.  The stove works great and by 5 pm the next day the old stove had been trash picked from the curb.
  • Saturday, we decided to buy a new table to put the 55 in tv in the tv room on. It had been sitting on a chest from the bedroom for months. The cable box, surround sound and DVD player were all sitting on the floor. We had shopped for something to put them on but had balked at the cost. We found a reasonable piece of furniture at Kohl’s that would do what we want.  We put the table together, disconnected all the wires and re-wired the connections with the cable hidden and the outward appearance looking really nice.  I mean adults live here, shouldn’t things look nice?
  • Saturday night we visited DS1 at his new apartment. He moved out back in September and for the first four weeks we had a general idea of where the apartment was. Then we actually got a mailing address.  After we visited and dropped off some goodies for his apartment we traveled to Philadelphia to eat dinner at Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House. The restaurant is on Samson Street near Penn and Drexel Universities. Dinner was excellent!  I had oysters and fish and chips. My DW had the lobster mac-n-cheese and DS1 had the lobster raviolis. We also shared a lobster dip. This month lobsters are the focus of their menu. We have eaten at another of the Doc Magrogan’s in Scranton several times. Not cheap, but really good food.
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were days that we celebrated my DW’s birthday. The actual day was Wednesday. On Wednesday we had dinner at home and went to yoga. Thursday night we had a birthday dinner at one of the local BYOB Italian restaurants. The food was good. Friday we went to our local watering hole for a burger and soup. Another birthday celebration toast was shared that night.
  • Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were yoga nights. Work has been really busy for me. It is not like I tote that barge and lift that bale kind of work. But the details, stress and sheer volume have left me pretty burned out when I get home.  My DW has had a few crazy weeks at work as well. Some days she works overtime and then the next day she is flexed because there are no cases. Same old story where she works.
  • Today I went to see my cardiologist. It has been two months since my procedure in the hospital. It was decided at the visit that I can stop the blood thinners but continue the beta blocker. Upside? Yup, I can go back to playing lacrosse in a week. I hope to play with DS1 next Wednesday night. 
  • Tonight my DW attended a retirement party for one of her co-workers. I had dinner alone (boo hoo) and went to yoga alone. The ladies were asking where my DW was. We almost always attend together so when one of us is missing they always ask why. The class was full. There may have been room for one more student tonight.
  • Children – DS2 is working on his graduate school admissions stuff. He has a concert Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. DS3 is going to Long Island this weekend to visit his girlfriend. He will miss seeing his parents in Scranton.

Pictures, yup – there are a few.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!



Blowing off a little steam, Chicago style..

We were in Chicago for the Columbia College of Chicago’s Graduate Open House.  The trip to and the actual open house can be found at http://limeguy50.com  This blog is about DS2 and I being tourists for a few hours before crashing at the hotel and flying home on Sunday.

The first stop after we left the school was the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. They have restaurants, bars, boats and in the warm weather, they have an amusement park with rides. Saturday was not a warm day. It was windy (Windy City) and chilly. I think we saw some snow flakes even. We parked the car, called my DW and gave her the lowdown on the open house. Then DS2 and I walked the pier and took pictures. I wanted to stop for a beer but it was cold and that beer would have gone in and right back out.  And, we had an early dinner, late lunch stop planned and I wanted to save my appetite for the next stop.

We walked and played tourist. Then we paid 25 dollars for parking at the pier. One price fits all. Park for an hour or a day, all the same price. When you see the pictures from the pier, enjoy them, they were expensive.  I never got to stick my foot in Lake Michigan. That was one of the goals, but the pier was way to high above the water to reach down and stick something into the water. And, I did mention that it was cold.

After the pier we drove through a GPS blind spot in the city. The GPS had us going in circles. Just as we would come to the next turn, the GPS would grey out like we were in a tunnel then the picture would start to spin in random directions. DS2 loaded the address into his phone and between them, we found our way. How silly.

Our destination was Shaw’s Crab House. One side of the business is a very upscale steak and seafood restaurant. The other side is the Oyster Bar. That was our destination. We sat down and enjoyed oysters, sushi and fried calamari. We did appetizers for dinner.  The table next to us ordered the two most expensive appetizers on the menu. She had the Florida Stone Crab claws (64 dollars a pound) and he had the fresh Red King Crab served chilled with a mustard sauce (65 dollars a pound). Add the a martini for each and tip and you are in the 175 dollar neighborhood and you have not yet eaten dinner. Yikes!  Our oysters and sushi were outstanding.  One of the sushi we had was called a Godzilla roll. At Shaw’s that sushi comes with BBQ Smoked Eel.  Just a little slice like an archive. You could pick it off the top but then you miss a unique and delicious flavor.

I had couple of local brewed beers, DS2 drank water. I think he was pretty beat at that point in the day.  When you ask where the bathroom was, the standard answer was make a right, walk past “death row” and you will see the doors on the right. “Death row” was the four tanks of live lobsters that were waiting for the chance to grace some bodies plate.  The bathrooms were upscale, everything was upscale.  Dinner, eat here is you can afford it. If not, try the Oyster Bar. Not cheap by any means, but less expensive than the main restaurant.

After we ate we followed that same GPS back to our hotel.  At that point we were both beat. DS2 had some reading to do for school, so I went down to the bar for a drink and to watch some college football. 

Here is a link to all the picture from our trip. I will include a few below. Thanks for reading!



Kildare’s Irish Pub, follow up..

In a recent blog post entitled “Kildare’s Irish Pub – What do we do with you? ” which can be found here http://wp.me/p1FpfB-1pS , I wrote about a recent visit during the University of Scranton’s Parent’s Weekend.  I sent a copy of the blog to the Dave Magrogan Restaurant Group which owns and manages Kildare’s and several restaurant brands.  My goal was to inform them of our experience.  The balance of this blog is the email that I received from the new general manager at Kildare’s.

Good evening Mr. Davitt,

I hope this message finds you well. I received a copy of your blog that  was sent to Dave about your families recent visit to Scranton. I have to
say it is nothing less than embarrassing. It is truly unfortunate that  we missed the boat on so many steps of service, not only your family,
but more than likely so many others.

First off, please accept my personal apologies for the service you  received. Simply unacceptable, next allow me to thank
you for taking the  time to share the experience with us.

Your experience was unacceptable and has already been addressed with  the managers of this location as well as the entire staff, as your
direct comments will be shared with them at our daily pre-shift coaching  sessions to ensure a similar situation does not occur in the
future.  Actual guest experiences send a powerful message to our managers and  staff; they learn from it.

Thanks so much for allowing me this  opportunity.

I have just taken over as the District Manager of this location for a  few reasons, Scranton needs leadership to put it back on track and I
have the experience to help do just that. I have been in charge of the  Doc Magrogan’s Oyster house in Montage for the past year and a half and
we have built a great team up there while developing a great reputation.  We have done that because our staff knows our guests are the reason we
exist, and also will allow us to grow or fold if we fail to hold our  high standards. Finally I am from the area and have developed some great
relationships throughout the years by doing the right thing or making it  right.

Dave Magrogan and I talked and he wanted you to know that we are going to put Kildare’s back on track. I am hoping that I may get a chance to
make it right with you and your family. If you have time out of your busy schedule I am hoping you can give me a call so that I may apologize
personally. You can also send me an email if you would like to as well.
I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you in advance.

Joseph T. Kenney
General Manager
Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
7011 Shoppe Blvd.
Montage Mountain Moosic, Pa

Creepy dreams..

This blog will (not so boldly) go where no blog has gone before. I’m unsure about publishing this, so if you get to read it, then it turned out as “publishable”.

As an avid reader you will no doubt recall that I have been riding my bike for the last month as part of a Tour De France challenge.  The tour and the challenge are over and so is the getting up at 5:51 am to go ride. I have set my alarm the last two morning, but turned it off and gone back to sleep.  This morning after turning off the alarm, I went back to sleep and experienced a creepy dream. Hopefully by writing it down, I can figure out what it means. And no, I don’t usually remember my dreams.

A bit a background to make the dream “make sense”.  My first real job back in the day was working in a wholesale seafood company as a truck driver (in North Jersey).  After two years I was in charge of production at the business until I left for a different job after 5.5 years of employment. My next reasonably long-term job was in the wholesale fish market in Philadelphia where I worked for 13 years. I met quite a few characters in the fish market being that the work hours were from 3 am to noon time five days a week.  I went to computer school after 13 years of the fish market and left the seafood industry in 2002.

Fast forward to the dream..

The setting was the fish business in North Jersey. I had been “away’ from the company for a while (years?).  My job that morning was to go into NYC with the market truck and get the fish for the day. The dream starts with me pulling into the yard at work with the truck loaded with fish. I walked into the back of the business and met one of the owners of the Philadelphia fish market where I had worked. He told me he was going home early and that I was in charge. Then he took me outside and pointed out the fleet of blue vans in the yard and said that work would be slow and that we should use the vans for deliveries that day.  (Have I lost you yet?)

Back inside I go for a walk through the building to see what is there since I had not been in the building for many years. As I am walking from one section to another I notice that I am not wearing shoes. I am barefoot on the cold, wet, slimy floor. Hmm, I notice this and wonder where my shoes are. (A self-aware dream?)

I walked into the fresh crabmeat cooler and see the guy who ran the crabmeat cooler in Philadelphia, working at the fish business in North Jersey.  I picked up a can of fresh crabmeat looking for something “nice” to sample. I pulled the top off the container and it contained a nail clipper, some screws, nuts and bolts and underneath that, crabmeat. I did not tastes it since the metal objects were in the can. The guy working there said they were ‘samples”. The next package I picked up was a combination of fresh mozzarella and fresh crabmeat.  In one package. The pieces of crabmeat were big, pinkish red in color (should be white), but they tasted good.

I walked back out to the production area to watch the owner of the business walk by without acknowledging my presence. I looked down and now I had socks (not sure of the color, maybe white) and flip-flops. Standing next to me where three guys looking to buy fish. We rarely had walk up customers in North Jersey but always had them in Philadelphia. As I was looking to write down their order I could not find a pencil, pen or paper. What I found was stubs of pencils, pieces if pens, damp paper and a fine-line highlighter that did not write too well. (Pretty realistic)

I slid open the window to the billing office to ask for a pen, paper and a price sheet and the guy in the office was also a former employee from Philadelphia. I said hello since we had not seen each other in years and put my hand out to shake his hand. He stuck out his hand, the hand shake was awkward, limp-wristed and not really sincere (from his side). I told him to shake my hand like a man, and he did.

So, no price lists were available, no paper or pens to share.  Just get the work down. I turned back to the customers and one of them was holding a bag with salmon in it. He said I have three salmon that weigh 27.1 lbs. I took the broken pencil and started the order: 8/10 salmon – 27.1 lbs.  Looked at the paper and the writing was bad. Tight, small block letters like a really old person who was having trouble with arthritis might write. This was disturbing since I had written the words. My handwriting isn’t the best, but it certainly is legible.

They also wanted some flounder fillets and some frozen shrimp.  I went over to the production table where there were tubs of various fish fillets waiting to be packed. The flounder fillet was a little past its prime. I flipped a piece over and smelled it. Fair, saleable but not something I would take home to my family. I wrapped up their 5 lbs of flounder and returned to the order table where I was writing up their order. They open the package and decided they did not want the flounder after all.  The customers that I was working with were a composite of several frequent customers during my days in Philadelphia.

Then I woke up, glad to be in my bed, not back in North Jersey in the fish business.

What does it all mean? I don’t know. It was just so vivid. I can still see some of the scenes in my head almost 6 hours later.

No pictures (just in my head)


Almost time to put out the milk and cookies for post 177..

Well, tomorrow is the big day (for the milk and cookies)!  I am on call tomorrow. Hopefully things are quiet. Or, I will take the calls one at a time as they come in. I will be calm, the customers will not. Everybody smile!  I used to work in the seafood business. Wholesale, retail, it really does not matter. The week before Christmas was always the busiest time of year. Ten years ago I reinvented the wheel by going back to school and getting into the computer business. The company I work for deals primarily with liquor stores. I am again in an industry that is super busy around the holidays. Might be something Freudian in this whole thing.

A quick comment on the titles during the last week. Each nights title is supposed to be something clever. Not just the number of the post. Some nights I hit post instead of preview before I am done cleaning up the blog. Some nights I get to the end and just forget to give the day’s blog a real title. Nights like last night I was completely done and then the last save and preview was totally wrong. I had to redo most of the work last night and the title got lost.

Today was a work from home day for me. My DW as I wrote last night had the day off. DS2 and DS3 were here for most of the day as well. I was busy cleaning up mostly small problems. One of our customers had a computer BSD and then die this afternoon. Fortunately for him his store is about 30 minutes from our office and he was able to borrow a computer to get through the holidays. He is unique in our clients in that he has been and is a test site for our new software and hardware goodies. He got extra attention this afternoon due to that relationship.

DS1 and DS2 went over to Barnegat Light for an hour this afternoon. DS1 went to talk to his employer from the summer. DS2 was pushed out the door to be outside. My mother would have said to us “The sun is shining. Go outside and play and don’t come home until it is dark”. And she ment it. I guess being one of ten children having a few of us out of the house and out of sight made dealing with the younger children easier for her. We also to DS2 “grazing” at COSTCO. If you have a membership, you know what I mean. You go there to eat the snacks and spend 100.00 or more on stuff. For dinner tonight we had fried scallops and fried shrimp. I found a recipe for potato pancakes or latkes in the newspaper. I made them from scratch tonight. They turned out good. I was told that I could make them again.

Tonight’s picture is of Barnegat Inlet. DS1 took this picture while walking around by the Barnegat Lighthouse. Enjoy!


Barnegat Inlet - December 23, 2011