Speed Karma

“I am thoroughly convinced that I am paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.” – Cdr Susan Ivonova from “Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczinski, writer

Ok, here’s where my life takes one of its absolutely incredible twists and turns; where the roller coaster goes flying off the rails or where the thing that could never possibly happen in a million years does.  And it happens to YOU.  Come to think of it, stuff like this always seemed to happen to me throughout my life anyway.  Perfect example: Back in 1980, I wanted to see one of my favorite musicians, Bill Bruford, and his jazz fusion group that were playing at the late lamented Bottom Line in Greenwich Village.  I had planned on going to either the early or late show…no difference to me; and I was walking with my then girlfriend from the subway toward the nightclub just about a two block walk from the subway station.  As we exit the stairwell, the guy in a mad dash zips past us on roller blades, almost knocking my girlfriend to the ground (the is was era of girls wearing pumps for everything and every outfit; so she almost broke her neck tripping.  Caught her just in time).  Being a Staten Island guy at the time (yeah, I grew up there but I was born and raised for 5 years in Brooklyn..so that’s my hometown, not that horrid place), I shouted some choice epithets in his general direction, made sure Caroline was OK, and we continued on our way.  One go no less than one more block and this guys cuts us off again, and I’m ready to take his head off at this point because he was dangerously Blading through the streets on what was a beautiful and unusually cool August day.  Again, i hurled some choice words his way, and he disappears.

A few minutes later we get to the Box Office, and as we get there, I see Rollerboy jetting off into the distance (probably having bought tickets for Tom Petty or The Village People).  I nicely ask the gentleman for two tickets to see Bruford that evening, either show will do fine.  I was then informed that Rollerboy had just bought out the last 8 tickets for BOTH shows.  With no show to go to, we then spent the better part of the afternoon drinking and the better part of the evening engaged in more pleasurable pursuits (you can do this when you’re 19).  But what were the odds of that happening?  A guy on rollerblades beating me out for the last tickets to the show I wanted to see…and while Bruford was popular among jazz-rock and progressive rock aficionados, it wasn’t the hot ticket that night.  I mean, beat me out on foot…beat me out running to the box office…but beat me on the way there on ROLLERBLADES?  That could only happen to me.

Same thing twenty one years later when I was caught in the WTC during the 9/11 attacks.  Then this past week, the East Coast gets hit with an EARTHQUAKE.  A fucking earthquake!  5.8 Richter that had people in California laughing at us because they have those for breakfast every morning.  Oh, and this happened just shortly before my consult with my cardiologist…nice timing, huh?  And now comes the piece de resistance: the hurricane of this young century and one of the worst ever seen in over 100 years heading our way.  So let’s do the math together: Earthquake, hurricane, and the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 all happening with a couple of weeks of each other.  I’m always a bit of a basket case this time of year anyway because of the 9/11 remembrances.  And of course this year will be bigger than all of them.

Can you say “xanax”?  Sure you can…I like the way you say “xanax” (Could you imagine Mister Rogers saying that?  Oh, that would be hilarious).  This only goes to prove that it’s 3 am, I’m delirious, nervous, and am getting ready for a lot of unpleasant things I have to do tomorrow.  I just thought a bit of humor before I eventually have to go silent because we will most assuredly lose power (and that should be even more fun!) might put a smile on someone’s face in the crosshairs of this monster called Irene.  So I guess I am going to be joined as one with the universe faster than I anticipated, because of all the crazy things that are happening to me lately.  But all I keep asking myself is what the hell did I do in a former life to deserve this?  Most especially, this hurricane called Irene…

She should be called Irony.

“Goodnight, Irene…Irene Goodnight!” – popular song from the Dark Ages, LOL.


First Sunday/Last Sunday

Today, my beloved NY Giants will either play their last game of the season (win or lose) in Washington against the hated Washington Redskins (all teams in our Division are hated, but none more so than the Dallas Cowboys; ask any Eagles, Skins, or Giants fan).  If the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers, we somehow become the sixth seed, and back our way into the playoffs with absolutely no chance to host a game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.  Good!  The last time that happened, we were Super Bowl Champs; the “Road Warriors” as they were known…the ones who went out and beat every single team on the road in the playoffs in hostile stadiums and finally defeated the only undefeated team in NFL History (except for the 1972 Miami Dolphins) by beating the arrogant New England (I still call them “Boston” from the old AFL days) Patriots.  We played them tough in their last game of the regular season at the old Stadium, and we played them tougher and won on “the catch” by Tyree from a pass by Eli Manning who somehow managed to elude an army of shifting ninjas with shoulder pads on to throw a beautiful ball toward immortality.  It was the performance of the team of a lifetime.

But these are not those Giants; at least some of that team remain, but these guys are not.  Their coaching staff has been tuned out by the players.  The players need leadership from within to step it up, because without that we will face annihilation like we did in Green Bay last week, where all we had to do was “win and in” te playoffs we were.  Could have even been a 5 seed.  Instead, we get seed 6 if we play.  The other team that plays in the frozen swamps of the Meadowlands, the NY Jets (former NY Titans, for you AFL affectionados like me) will have the 5 see locked up and have at the outset a CHANCE to play a playoff game in the new stadium.  Imagine that; the team that moved from the Polo Grounds horror which begat the Shea Stadium horror, to the relative comfort of the old Giants Stadium to the comfy confines of the New Meadowlands (they gotta get a better name than that) might actually be the FIRST of the two teams to get a playoff spot.  How embarrassing for us Giants fans…that in what was supposed to be OUR house, the Jets may get to host a playoff game…and the AFC Championship Game if the number 6 seed survives!  Unreal.

So, it’s either my last Sunday for NY Giants Football, and I don my old NY Titans gear to root for the Jets in the playoffs (I refuse to wear green…I’ll take their old AFL name and colors, thank you) until they lose…or I continue to figue out which combination of NY Giants jackets and hats I have that might bring them luck today against the skins.  And may the football gods smile kindly upon Da Bears in their own quest for a win today to lock things up for them.

It may be the first Sunday of the year, but it may be my last Sunday as a NY Giants Fan for yet another year.  Let’s hope by next week, I’m writing more about the red, white, blue and gray of the Giants than the green and white of the Jets, because while I’ll root for the Jets and their long suffering die-hard fans who deserve a shot at the whole thing, my heart lies (and always will) with Big Blue.

GO GIANTS!  GO BEARS!  GO JETS!  GO get some soda a chips…gotta do that now…

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

…And They Want To Talk About Torture, Huh?

So…where have I been lately?  Good question.

One of the things that I have learned in my 48 years on this planet is that the Universe has many constants.  The polarity of a hydrogen molecule is always the same.  To our knowledge, the speed of light cannot be exceeded (unless of course, you enjoy looking like a big, flat, infinite pancake).  Old Faithful erupts between 42-125 minutes every day.  And I have learned to tell what the weather will be and what time of day it is by the pain in my back.  Yes, I can not only tell you if you should bring an umbrella, but if you’re late for an appointment (so long as your appointment is scheduled during my own pain eruption times of 5-6 hours when my medication wears off).  Trust me on this.

As most of you know, I used to do dumb, stupid things in my youth: driving cars while on LSD; jumping off cliffs into a river just for the hell of it; and most daring of all, I used to climb and hike…mountains.  Not knolls, nor hills, nor even big piles of dirt and rock…mountains.  You see, while everyone else I knew in college was busy skiing (I went to school in Vermont for a time); I decided that I liked the feeling of having some sort of control over the force of gravity rather than having me careen out of control down a frozen, snowy, adult version of a slip and slide.  I decided that facing the mountain head on by going up and then down by the force of sheer will was much better than doing a Sonny Bono on the links.  On one of my frequent excursions, I took a bit of a fall and landed square on my backside…operative word being “back”.  I now have two degenerative discs in my lower back that cause my almost daily pain as a result of my youthful indiscretions and adventurous spirit.

So last week as the first heavy spring rains came upon the Great State of New Jersey and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, I was seeing entire constellations of stars at two in the afternoon.  It was like when Bugs Bunny gets his over the head and things start spinning around his cranium.  They want to talk about “enhanced interrogation techniques”?  All they have to do is somehow siphon the pain from my back into a patch, and this so-called War On Terror (or whatever it is these days we call it) would be over in minutes.  Metallica at ear splitting volume; sleep deprivation; confinement; and other nefarious techniques used by the previous occupants of the White House would pale in comparison to one of “Doctor Ken’s Back Pain Patches”.  Trust me, this is not what I bargained for when I came into this world 48 years ago.  I also didn’t bargain for alcoholism, bi-polar disorder, and Acute PTSD either…but those were my cards in the hand I got dealt.  This one, though was the deuce of clubs from the pack when I was running a royal straight flush of diamonds.

Sure, I could type…but what good would it have done?  I was too busy enjoying my Pink Floyd collection thanks to those very nice pain killers every time I sat here to write this blog.  My Yes collection never sounded this good.  In other words, there was no way a coherent thing was going to come forth from this keyboard.  So I stayed away from the blog.  Oh yeah, and there was TOO MUCH to write about as well!  Could you really expect me to focus on ONE topic in the past week or two without going crazy?  Pandemic Flu, wars, Chrysler going bust…these were just too much.  Add to that the syncopated pandemonium of my daughter’s First Holy Communion Party (run in part by me, the non-Catholic in the house) no less; with my mother and my in-laws and kids and other assorted guests dithering about.  So as the weather improved, so did my back…and hence this post, all because I joked with my wife about being able to tell the time and the weather by my back.

Right now it’s almost midnight, and the front is moving in.  Yup, it’ll start raining by your commute on Friday morning.  My last dose of assorted M & Medications was taken just after dinner.  And I will gladly let in the “Spanish Inquisition”…so long as they bring along the comfy chair and the soft cushions.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

Once Upon A Time…

Once upon a time, I used to get cigarettes for .65 a pack and $6.50 a carton.  Now that same $6.50 may not even get me ONE pack

…I used to have no conveniences of a cell phone, computer, and web sites that constantly kept me apprised of my friends’ doings and them of mine.  Now, I have no privacy, even if I wanted it without becoming a hermit

…people used to by records and CDs.  Now, people buy downloads and don’t give a damn about audio quality.

…I could afford to go to a Yankee game, and maybe even take someone else.  Hell, Tess and I used to buy tickets on the same day, get decent seats, and have a hell of a good time relatively inexpensively.  Now, I can’t even GET seats, let alone afford to take my kids.

…I could set foot in NYC without getting panicked.  Now, that is not the case; so that pretty much eliminates any concerts, or Yankee games.

…I used to fly on a plane with no fear.  Today, the only way I am going near a plane is if I’m being evacuated.

…my 12 year old daughter was my baby girl.  She still is, but like the post I did the other day, she is very much making me feel like an adult today.  She is going to her first school dance tonight.  And thus begins my illustrious career in being the Girlfriend’s Father From Hell!

Oh sure, they call it a “dance”; they’ll be playing music, there will be a slushy machine there for the kids too.  My daughter will not be attending with a boy (at least one that I know of, anyway), but I’m certain she has a crush or two going on. They’ll all break up into their cliques and probably wind up texting each other on their cell phones rather than talk to one another.  That’s the problem with this generation: they have TOO MUCH technology; they don’t truly understand certain qualities of humanity, like actual verbal interaction between people.  I just don’t get this whole text message thing.  I mean, it’s one thing to send a quick blurb that you’re coming home or going out or something pithy that need not turn into a conversation.  These kids manage to write entire paragraphs on the new cell phones with the QWERTY keyboards that pop out of the side.  In my day (I cannot believe I just wrote that), IF you were lucky you got a phone extension in your room…at 16.  Now, my 12 year old blissfully chats and texts her way through life.

I just got back from being outside with my youngest daughter, who’s eight.  She was kicking a soccer ball around the yard, and she’s quite good at it too.  She’s the athletic one in the family; she was the only girl in her class last year to get the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.  She takes gymnastics, has the shape and form of a gymnast, and she’s very good at that as well.  It’s definitely the double recessive genes on my side of the family; both my father and brother were athletic, not I.  I am the only Irishman on the entire planet who cannot play basketball; I’m lucky to be typing right now considering how many jammed fingers I have from attempting to catch a pass.  I was quite good at soccer though, that being the only sport I truly enjoyed playing as well as watching.  I grew up during that first “great soccer awakening” of the 70’s, when Pele played for the NY Cosmos and the sport started to take hold in this country.  It’s too bad most Americans don’t appreciate a game that the rest of the world is absolutely bonkers over.

While I was watching my daughter play, I decided that I need to check-in a bit and just enjoy my moments with the kids now, before it’s too late and they’re off to University.  Next thing you know, I’ll be walking them down the aisle and giving them away to (hopefully) a better man than I.  I cannot believe how fast the past 12 years of fatherhood have gone, but at least I’m sober now for them and for myself to remember these moments, so that one day I can look back on an old photo album with them.  I’ll be sitting there with them and my grandchildren, and then they will say, “Pops, tell us a story about mommy”.  And I’ll begin it with a familiar refrain…

Once Upon A Time…

“Disneyland will never be completed.  It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” – Walt Disney

Help! I’ve Turned Into An Adult!

A few weeks ago, I went in to the Optometrist to get a new prescription for my contact lenses and eyeglasses.  I’m quite nearsighted, and have been since I was about 8 years old; which is when I started wearing specs.  I started using contact lenses when I turned 18 the better to show off these baby blues; (and no, they are not colored by the lenses because only the Universe makes this particular shade of blue).  In the past 3 years or so, I’ve been doing what most middle aged people do when they read a paper: they hold it at arms, length and pray that the instruction manual that has been translated from the Chinese into Cyrillic and then into English makes some sort of sense.  What I can’t figure out is why I’ve suddenly gone farsighted in addition to being nearsighted…it makes absolutely no sense to me at all.  So, I wear bi-focals when I’m wearing my cheaters, and up until two weeks ago, I had no problem with my contacts.  Now, I need reading glasses on top of a stronger prescription.  The amazing thing is that I can read a sign half a mile down the road, but I can’t even look at the computer screen without these cheap reading glasses.

Face it…I am now an adult.

Oh, there’s more: my oldest daughter got her first detention the other day.  We won’t go into the details, except to say she beat me by three grades and definitely has her father’s temper and way with words.  I calmly dealt with the situation, affording her the same courtesy that I never was shown as a child, and tried to sort through things logically.  Ok, that worked fine.  Then yesterday, my youngest daughter not only forgot her project for school, but she got a note sent home that she, like her father, loves to talk.  She talks more than anyone on the planet; so much so that her seat was moved several times in the past few weeks.  Not a happy camper was I; but I dealt with that situation with the dreaded “No television for a day or two” punishment.  Needless to say, she tried every angle to get that nefarious predicament removed from her life and I wasn’t having any of it.  Looks like not only have I become an adult about things, but I’m becoming more like a parent, sounding more like a parent, and acting more like a parent.  I’m still trying to decide which TV Dad I resemble, and I’m convinced it’s a cross between Tim Taylor and Mike Brady with a little bit of Steve Douglas thrown in for good measure.

The final piece of the adulthood process came today when my daughter’s new cell phone arrived.  Her old one went belly up last week, and the kid was going through a withdrawal worse than I was when I went to rehab for booze.  After shelling out full price for the phone (thank you Sprint for being so flexible; we’ll happily wave goodbye to you in December when the contract runs out), I had it sent via UPS to the house.  It was SUPPOSED to be activated already; in theory, all I had to do was turn it on, the old phone would have been removed from my account, and the new one added.  Oh…I remember now, this is Sprint I was dealing with!  The phone arrives, and I read over the set up instructions…and couldn’t find the battery cover.  A stinking battery cover!  And neither could my wife!  Not only that, the very detailed diagram of the phone didn’t contain its exact location.  Perplexed, we went on the internet and found the answer.  Forgive me for thinking that the entire back of the phone was supposed to be removed to access the battery compartment.  I was looking for something sane, like a recess somewhere in the device.

Now, I’m no stooge when it comes to electronics.  I can set up home theater systems, computers, wire just about any electronic device you can think of.  My wife is extremely tech savvy too; and here we were, two 40 somethings trying to figure out where a battery cover was.  The activation didn’t happen as planned, so I went on the Internet to activate the phone that way.  They asked me for the number ON the battery as confirmation; so now, I had to navigate that cover once again and locate the number.  Needless to say, the number was too small for even my reading glasses and a 100 watt lightbulb to discern; so I called customer service who activated the phone.  Cheerfully now having said device in operational form, I went out to pick up my daughter who was delighted when I drove up and waved the phone at her from the car.  Once we got home, I asked her if she could find the battery compartment…just to see if it was a middle aged adult thing, or a common sense thing that the manufacturer screwed up on.  She found it immediately; oh, she also never saw one of these phones before either (at least up close).  So now, the text queen is happily typing away on her slide out QWERTY keyboard giving her thumbs a workout.

Yup, I’ve officially been christened an adult and a father under fire in the past few days.  I can’t read without my glasses, my kids are getting into age bracket behaviors that I have to deal with simultaneously, and I can’t find a damned battery cover on a phone.  I did manage to get a very cool ring tone assigned to me by my daughter: it sounds like a bad 70’s porno soundtrack, with the “whaka-whacka” funky back-beat.  Absolutely perfect for this child of the 60’s and 70’s.

I wonder if Mike Brady would have found that battery cover?

“Thirty-Five is when you finally get your head together, and when your body starts falling apart” – Karen Leschen

Batman Versus Billo The Clown

The snowy weather has been horrible on my back, and this afternoon was no exception.  So I popped a painkiller, and when that didn’t work, I popped another and promptly fell asleep in front of the news.  You’d be surprised what a trance like-narcotic induced state and MSNBC can do with your mind.  I’ve had acid trips that were less trippy.  So, I pretty much had nothing to write about tonight anyway…until I came across this little gem on You Tube.  It’s a mash-up of the recent Christian Bale f-bomb laden tirade on the set of “Terminator 4” with the f-bomb laden tirade of one Mister Bill O’Reilly from a few months ago from his time as anchor on “Inside Edition” back in the 80’s.

So, in tying these threads together…this is kind of like what went though my mind this afternoon.  I’ll be around tomorrow with some intelligent commentary (just as soon as the fog clears)…oh yes, in the interest of all concerned, this contains liberal use of the f-word.  Unless you have no children or are from Brooklyn, cover your ears or remove the little ones from the room.  Unless of course,  you are from Brooklyn with children, in which case this warning doesn’t apply at all.

Auld Acquaintances Not Forgotten

Greetings one and all, and Happy New Year!

Sorry for the delay between posts, but I’ve been a bit under the weather (thank God not from the usual Holiday Cheer which I no longer partake in).  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day has taken on a very different form since I got sober; a far cry from the days where both my wife (who is not an alcoholic, but no longer drinks because she was a bit of a wild one and is supportive of my abstinence by her own) and I used to ring in the New Year with much fanfare.  We would usually get together with several couples that were close friends or family, and attend an all night function at a hotel that would include a room (no drinking and driving for us, thank you very much!), the dinner, and most importantly an open bar.  With top-shelf liquor, I might add….LOTS of top-shelf liquor; sometimes at the expense of the meal, which was usually quite good except for one year…hmmm…that gives me an idea.  Allow me to recount for you some of the more memorable New Year’s Eves that my wife and I partook in, and the tales of drunken debauchery that took place.  The names have been redacted to protect the very inebriated.  Please remove all young children from the room.

New Year’s Eve 1991-92: Our first New Year’s together as a couple, and just over a month since I proposed to my wife (which is another story in itself).  We were with her best friend and her fiancée, and two other couples who were their friends.  My wife and I had no idea who anyone was outside of the engaged couple, but we soon bonded.  Yes, it’s an amazing thing how complete strangers can bond over something as insignificant as a drink, in this case, something called a “Woo-Woo”.  I have no recollection what was in the damned things, all I remember was the eight of us toasting everything out of shot glasses…poured from a pitcher no less.  You know you’re in trouble when you’re drinking out of shot glasses.  Every toast no matter how serious or ridiculous ended with the rallying cry of “Woo Woo!”.  We sounded like a bunch of drunken Ed Nortons coming up from the sewer on New Year’s Day.  As the evening progressed, the highlight of the entertainment was to watch about 200 drunken, white suburban New Jerseyites attempt to do the “Electric Slide”.  Busby Berkeley was rolling over in his grave; and June Taylor’s services were sorely needed.  It was during one of these intoxicated processions that my wife’s foot was impaled by her friends high heel; a New Year’s gift that kept on giving all through the evening as my wife spent the better part of the night with her foot in a bucket of ice.  All and all, a most memorable evening.

From New Year’s Eve 1992-93 to 1994-1995: Same place, same two central couples (being my wife and I, and her friend and her husband); but the rest of the central cast of characters changed.  In addition to friends being added and couples breaking up, there were four marriages (including my own), one engagement and one divorce, as well as that other central couple I was talking about having their first child.  Yes, there were the ever present Woo Woos along with the accompanying rally cry and the nasty hangovers the following morning (my wife has some PRICELESS photos of me one particularly nasty morning).  There was also excellent food and friendship and incredible good times.  We were all in our early 30’s, at the start of our marriages, and at the rise of our careers and there was an endless stream of possibilities that loomed before us.  It was definitely a heady time, and for me personally it one of the best periods of my life.  My career was on a MAJOR upswing, and I was recognized as one of the guys who might very well be a candidate for Senior VP down the road; probably in the next ten years time, and that was the belief among my co-workers, staff, and my superiors.  New Year’s was a time for me to blow off one year’s worth of stress and aggravation and spend it with my lovely wife (who also had her own career going at that time as a Case Manager RN in the Insurance Industry) who was doing the same.  She made sure she stayed away from her friend’s high heels though, and she never had to worry about waking up to a foot in an ice bath again.

New Years 1995-1996: We took a detour this time from our usual spot, which was now being remodeled into an up-scale brewery.  We instead went to a hotel that was near our apartment, a VERY high class establishment where my wife and I stayed on our wedding night and were suitably impressed.  They promised a room, open bar, and a seven course meal.  Sounds great, right?  This was a tour-de-farce that could probably be written into a Broadway comedy, but I’ll try and encapsulate just how interesting an evening this was.  First off, I put the reservations to HOLD on my Corporate American Express.  The hotel was not supposed to charge the card, it was just supposed to be a good faith gesture until we got there and paid in cash (which we did).  Needless to say, they charged the card…which I was furious at, because I would now have to explain that charge and it’s reversal to my boss and HIS Senior VP.  While my boss had a conniption (and for a while so did I), the SVP was someone who I occasionally drank with and smoked cigars with (Cubans which he provided, smuggled in from Canada) in his posse of peers and protegees.  He did manage to get a good laugh out of it, especially when I told him the rest of what you’re about to read; so I was forgiven and told make sure it didn’t happen again.  After that little incident at the front desk, we got the keys to our rooms…or should I say igloos.  The heat was turned off in the rooms and we managed to get the heat going (our igloos having a lovely view of the FROZEN Shrewsberry River); by the time we returned somewhere around 3AM, the temperature was hovering around 60…but we were too drunk to even feel a thing anyway, more than normal in fact.

The downhill spiral continued as we arrived into the Main Ballroom and were seated NEXT to the band.  As in close enough for me to play the congas (which I actually did on a couple of songs).  Remember that seven course meal?  Oh, we got it for sure; what they didn’t tell us was that it was all on the same plate.  In keeping with the hip nouveau cuisine of the day, the hotel served us dollops of food (all lovingly dolloped in a colorful array, I might add).  They also didn’t allow us to have more than one drink at a time, didn’t make pitchers of anything (let alone Woo Woos), and stock liquor only.  That quickly changed as we bribed our waitress Flo to keep the liquor flowing, taught her how to make Woo Woos and at least get them served in a full glass instead of a shot glass or a pitcher.  Nice happy compromise; nice happy band of delirious drunks; massive group hangover by all concerned the following morning.  Despite the misery inflicted upon us, we had a good time just because we could not possibly believe just how bad everything went…it was the Universe playing a cosmic payback on us for all those other great times we had.

New Year’s Eve 1996-1997: Our usual spot had completed their renovation and conversion to an upscale brewery, and threw a New Year’s Party again…only this time, with limited seating which they cordoned off in a pretty small room where everyone was rubbing elbows…but it was infinitely better than the previous year’s debacle.  Yes, the Woo Woos were flowing again as well as some excellent beer from the on premises brewery.  Yes, there was the usual drunken Electric Slide…but one thing none of us ever saw, at the time but perhaps we were thinking in our hearts, was that this may indeed be our last New Year’s together as a group.  We were right.  The two couples who were there the first New Year’s we spent together got divorced: one because the Cola heiress he was married to found another guy (and he himself passed on away from Hodgkin’s Disease a few years after that), and the other because the wife decided to come out and leave her husband for another woman, which pretty much shattered the guy.  The other central couple would still be together and add two more daughters in the intervening years; another couple would add a son in 1997 (and they would later be Godparents to my second daughter as well); and my wife’s brother would pass on (he had become a regular attendee at these shindigs with his live-in ex-wife…don’t ask…in the last few years).

In 1997, our first daughter was born and my wife and I stayed locally at a nearby hotel attending their own New Year’s bash, which was quite good.  My in-laws came down and watched Kate for us while we went out for which would turn out to be our last New Year’s Eve going out and having a wild time.  We bought a house the following year, and after then, we pretty much had gotten used to a quiet New Year’s Eve alone with a couple of bottles of champagne.  My wife went back to work in 2005, and New Year’s Eve 2005-2006 would be the last time I would ring in the New Year with a glass of booze in my hand.  In fact, I didn’t even make it to midnight that year and my wife got home from work and went straight to bed leaving me alone and drunk.  The past few years have been quiet ones (sober ones for me), spent with my wife making it to midnight sometimes or having to go to bed because she worked on New Year’s Day.

Tonight, my wife will be in bed when midnight strikes…but I will be up at midnight with both of my kids with nothing but a glass of Coke in my hand, and I’ll probably let them have one or two themselves.  We’ll have Ravioli and Marinara Sauce with Meatballs for dinner tonight, and probably Chicken Parmigiana for tomorrow, and I’ll have a new kitchen in which to make them.  I’ve come a long way since my days of Corporate Cards and Cuban Cigars and days of wine and roses.  I have the best job in the world right now: father to two of the greatest kids on the planet and husband to one hell of a human being who managed to hang in there with me in both good times and in bad, sickness and health, richer and poorer.

The only way I’m alive to write these words and what is to come is because of her.  This piece is for you Tess…Happy New Year, baby.

“The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk.  This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.” – P.J. O’Rourke

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to.” – Bill Vaughn

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

The Land Of The Giants

Somewhere around the end of the Fourth Quarter of the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers game, my oldest friend called me.  We’ve known each other since we were 14, so that’s 33 years…or about 5 in dog years, which makes it sound much more palatable as both of us are getting up there.  “Dude”, he said, “I think they’re gonna pull this one off.”  As we chatted on the phone a few more minutes, the Carolina winning field goal sailed wide left and we were into Overtime.  “You know man”, said I, “I think they just might.”  Our optimistic outlook is somewhat unusual for the creature known as a NY Giants Fan; but when the Giants Fan has an optimistic attitude, look out…call your bookie and bet the house on the game, because the Giants WILL win.  While our positive outlook was not in itself unusual, the circumstances behind the phone call were.  You see, my friend had just gotten out of the operating room, and was watching the game from his hospital bed pumped up on pain killers.  The day prior, he had shattered his leg in two places while slipping on a patch of ice at a self-serve car wash, which I assume my friend will eventually own as well as the owner’s first born and left testicle.  But this was for top seed in the National Football Conference, home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Nothing was going to stop this man from seeing that game, nothing like a leg that was completely shattered and will take months to heal.  Nothing so trivial as that…only death itself could have kept my buddy from watching the game, even if he had to crawl to the Nurse’s Station to do it.

Such is the dedication of the creature known as a NY Giants Fan.

I was mildly surprised at the phone call, but certainly not shocked.  I know damned well I would be doing the same thing.  We are two of a kind, as is his brother and my brother, and all of our kids.  We are all huge, tremendous, blue-bleeding, sometimes f-bomb dropping (me and my daughter, most certainly)  NY Giants Fans.  Every Sunday, the world stops.  Weddings have been postponed; funerals have been known to have started late because the dearly departed would not have wanted to have their farewell to this world to interfere with Big Blue.  The fanaticism is passed from generation to generation.  Just as my father sat my down at a very young age in front of a black and white television in Brooklyn, NY; so did I sit my oldest daughter down in front of a nice 32″ color television in Long Branch, New Jersey some 36 years later.  Just as my father taught me the ins and the outs of the game in such detail and such was his knowledge of the game that he would call a play and it would happen, the same thing I find myself doing now with my daughter.  My Dad used to make a comment on something that happened on the field during a play that happened away from the main action, and my brother and I would sit there and be amazed when the announcer would say the same thing 10 seconds later.  Now I do the same thing and at such regularity that my daughter said to me once, “Dad, has anyone ever told you you can really creep people out sometimes?”  I assured her that when she is watching a NY Giants game with her kids, that she will be doing the same thing.  Creepiness is also an inherited trait, I told her as well.

One of the most memorable examples of dedication to the NY Giants I have ever seen occurred in January of 1987, when the Giants faced the San Fransisco 49ers at Giants Stadium in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game; a game which would decide one of the final two teams to go to the NFC Championship Game the following week.  My father got two tickets to the game and gave them to my brother and I to attend.  Armed with a bunch of food, a cooler full of beer, and a couple of Thermoses full or Irish coffee, we made the one hour trek to the Stadium from our home in Staten Island.  We tailgated a bit, and then got inside the Stadium…one of the coldest places on the face of the earth in late December and January.  I distinctly remember my breath freezing in my moustache and the rest of my beard on that day; and to make matters worse, we were in the upper deck where the wind howls and swirls.  But this was a playoff game, a game against one of our most hated rivals led by their larger than life Quarterback Joe Montana.  The Niners always seemed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and many times at the Giants’ expense.  This was OUR Stadium, OUR weather, and the sun was shining on this frigid January Sunday…a Sunday that would eventually see the NY Giants win the game by a very memorable score of 49-3.

It wasn’t so much the drubbing that we gave those guys that was that example of fan dedication.  Sure, thousand of us lost our voices and froze our asses off on that day; but one man has always remained forever etched into my memory.  During the half, I went to the concession stand to get us a couple of beers.  The score was 28-3, and the mood in the Stadium was absolute jubilation.  As I’m going up to the stand, I see a man getting wheeled out on a stretcher.  He is dressed from head to toe in NY Giants garb, and as they are wheeling him through the corridor, he manages to take one of his hands that were resting on his chest and make a “Number One” sign as they shutter him off toward an ambulance.  We all broke out in spontaneous applause, and as he continued down the corridor that applause continued, and I assume it would until he reached the ambulance.  The poor guy probably had a heart attack, especially knowing that Jim Burt put such a hit on Joe Montana (we HEARD it in the upper deck) and knocked him out of the game with a concussion.  I just hope the guy lived long enough to see the end of that game, and the Super Bowl that followed, the first of the three that the NY Giants have won in the modern era.  Last year’s Super Bowl victory was most especially a sweet one, because it was completely unexpected.  Who would have possibly thought that the NY Giants, the same team that was written off for dead with its coach fired and its Quarterback officially declared a “bust” by Week 4 would win (improbably) all of their games on the road and defeat the undefeated New England Patriots?  Who would have thought that that same “bust” of a QB would engineer one of the greatest drives and most spectacular passes under pressure (after escaping 5 defenders) would become MVP?  Who would have thought that that same coach that used to piss off every player in the locker room would now be the guy with a lucrative contract extension, and a guy whose players would run through plate glass windows for?  The victory was sweet.

This year, the team has done well; and after two weeks of lackluster playing found itself again last night.  While the outcomes of the upcoming games are far from certain, one thing that is a definite: the road to the Super Bowl goes straight through the Land of The Giants.

“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” – Vince Lombardi

The Return Of The Son Of The Kitchen Chronicles

For the past seven weeks, we have eaten almost nothing but frozen dinners.  We have been stepping over myriads of construction implements and devices, dodging paint cans and incomplete cabinets.  We have had our ceiling drilled into, a wall knocked down, our cats imprisoned, shards of plastic utensils stuck in our teeth, and been forced to wash dishes in the bathroom sinks.  I have cursed at The Large Orange Home Improvement Store for their ineptitude, and made numerous trips to The Large Blue Home Improvement Store for appliances, paints, ceiling fans, and tile (and have been EXTREMELY happy with those guys).  We have managed to even put up Christmas decorations in the midst of all of this chaos.  But we’re almost there…out great domestic nightmare is almost over.

The kitchen will be completed at the end of the week!

If you’ve never had the pleasure of getting your kitchen reconstructed, let me explain a few things that you might need to know if you’re considering it.  When Murphy wrote his famous Law, it was at his kitchen table while workman hovered around him like a swarm of bees and after they had hit him on the head with a two by four while he was getting HIS kitchen reconstructed.  It doesn’t matter how great your Contractor is, and believe me, our guy is absolutely top notch.  He’s a freind and neighbor who has an impeccable reputation.  It’s who he sometimes sub-contracts to, or who those guys sub-sub contract to that is the problem.  Our guy did all the work in the house, but when it came time to order the cabinets (which came right away except for two cabinet doors that they forgot to include, and sent us the wrong replacements…TWICE) and counter…that was done by the aforementioned Large Orange Home Improvement Store.  THEY subcontract out to other guys.  In one of my previous Kitchen Chronicles posts, I alluded to the corrupt way in which these guys “floated” my money in a legal Ponzi scheme that would make Bernard Maddoff proud.  That Large Orange Store is losing money and closing stores all over the place, while The Large Blue Store is doing quite well; maybe it’s because the people they employ know what the hell they’re talking about AND they are NICE to you too!

There is something that I now call a “Contractor Temporal Shift”, which basically means that any estimate a contractor or sub contractor tells you is NEVER correct and can either be sooner or later than an estimate.  Oh, and I couldn’t even call things an estimate anymore, “Wild Uneducated Random Guess” is more appropriate.  Expect something that you take for granted in your life, namely your kitchen, to become the most important thing in your life, bordering on complete and total obsession.  When someone said that the kitchen is literally the center of the home, they were not kidding…and in our case, architecturally speaking, it most definitely is.  The amazing thing is though, as the final pieces of the puzzle are being put into place, it’s literally the light at the end of the tunnel; the rainbow after the storm; the cigarette after sex…although with all that’s gone on here lately, it’s BETTER than that cigarette!

The counter tops arrived several days early and were installed over the weekend along with the trim around the ceiling and cabinet bases.  The refrigerator has been recessed into its alcove (underneath the last two cabinets that were installed yesterday) so that it’s flush with the wall.  The tiles were installed today, and the grout will go on tomorrow.  The appliances will be put in place both tomorrow and Wednesday, and outside of small touch ups and tacking down the carpets to the hardwood floors in the hallway and in half the new kitchen…we can start whipping up culinary delights in a matter of days!  After rearranging the Dining Room and the Living Room into habitable conditions, and putting all of our groceries and plates, glasses, and silverware away…we can start living like Human Beings again, and acting like them too.

You have NO idea what this amount of disruption does to your nerves, your patience, and your sanity.  I am DONE with doing my best wailing banshee impression at the inept folks at The Large Orange Home Improvement Store.  I am DONE with frozen dinners that make me nostalgic for college cafeteria food.  With any luck, outside of a full interior painting of the house and pulling up the carpets in the dining and living rooms (to reveal the hardwood floors that some previous owner of the house managed to polish and seal BEFORE butting the carpet down…they are in INCREDIBLE condition); this should do it for a few years.  That is, unless we move from here…but if that’s the case, I told my wife the only two words I want to hear from a Real Estate Agent:

New Construction!

“You can get more with a kind word and a two by four than you can with just a kind word.” – Marcus Cole (Babylon 5/jms)

Dumb People

We all know them.  We work with them, they are our family and friends, and sometimes even our spouses.  (Often, they tend to be in-laws; but that’s for another topic altogether).  The Dumb People I refer to are the worst kind: otherwise normal, clear and level headed individuals; hard-working and good people who usually think…except when it comes to politics.  These are the very same folks who vote both Democrat or Republican; watch either MSNBC or Fox as their primary source of news, and in a political discussion spew forth nothing but the latest talking points show to them throughout the day.  They neither read nor can name any newspaper outside of The New York Times, The New York Post (which they claim they read because it has a great Sports Section, but I’m inclined to agree here), The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe.  Heaven forbid a weekly news periodical crosses their doorstep, or they stray from the bookmarked blogs of their political persuasion…if they even get as far as the Internet.

These are the Dumb People who send you endless e-mails of humor that you just don’t want (or see the humor in), even though you’ve told them (under pain of death in some cases) a thousand times to cease and desist.  The same people who send you the political e-mails in the hope that you “may see the light”, and come over from the “Dark Side” to see the world through their clouded eyes and lack of vision.  Yes, we all know Dumb People, there is no escape from them.  It’s pretty scary to be around them in the first place, but here’s an incontrovertible fact and an even more frightening reality:

They run The Planet.

Even Plato knew this, which goes to prove that either stupidity transcends time or it’s in the gene pool.  Is it just me, or have you ever wondered if there actually IS a stupid gene in the DNA strands or the chromosomes?  I know plenty of people who have Dumb People as their parents, or they themselves produce a little Dumb Person on their own despite the fact that they themselves do not fit into this category.  Now, I’m not stating that those of us who are CLEARLY not Dumb People are “Smart People”.   There are much more layers of nuance for the rest of the populace; but we tend to think outside of the box.  Let’s just call ourselves “The Others” for the rest of this exercise.  The Others read multiple sources of information, watch different News Networks (and as much as it often pains me to do so, I’ll watch Fox…but only after I’ve downed a Xanax or two).  The Others don’t spew forth talking point after talking point like some crazed automaton.  We will actually respect authors and columnists on both sides of the aisle (I often cite the late William F Buckley and more recently Andrew Sullivan as favorite Conservatives).  While we will argue with conviction, we will rarely go at it with physical force…unless threatened by the same by a Dumb Person.

Since we’re at that Joyous Time Of Year where we get to spend time with and give gifts to Dumb People (some of whom we REALLY DO LIKE outside of political differences), I just thought I’d remind you of something.  When that perfectly delicious Holiday Dinner is about to be ruined (like it usually is) by that Dumb Person spouting off at the mouth the latest talking point after having WAY too much Merlot and being WAY more vociferous than usual, remember one very important thing:

They think YOU are a Dumb Person.

“Just imagine politics with its dumbbell element subtracted. There would be no Republican candidates. There would be no Democratic voters. The whole system would collapse.” – P.J. O’Rourke

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

The Thing That Will Not Die!

Does she not get the hint?  Well, there HAS been no hint, and that’s been the problem.

For the past three months since that ghastly Thing called Sarah Palin was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, we have had to endure things we never expected to in our lives.  First came the daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock hiding her future kid while holding the future uncle of said kid in front of her in order to mask her bulge.  Then there was the so-called First Dude of Alaska, he of snow machining fame and full-time shadow Governor.  Then came the revelations of her being able to hunt, and skin, and do whatever it is you do with a moose in order to put it into your crock pot for chili.  Then we got even more insight into her view of animals because she just loves to hunt wolves from helicopters.  We can go on: the Wasilla Hillbilly shopping sprees (still the best description I ever heard; thank you anonymous McCain Campaign source);  going “rogue” during the campaign (which pretty much killed McCain’s chances); the disastrous interviews (even Sean Hannity couldn’t save her from herself, although she fared better there); the crazy religious zealotry…it was all there.  The coup de grace came on Election Night when she wanted to give a concession speech of her own.  Uh, hello lady!  The VP Candidate NEVER gives their own concession speech; certainly comments about it the next morning in whatever newspaper she happens read but can’t name, but NEVER on their own on a night that belongs to the victor and the vanquished.  And just like Barry Goldwater’s running mate, should have dropped off the face of the planet forever, or even taken a cue from Dan Quayle who vanished for about a year or so (Murphy Brown was canceled by then) then briefly resurfaced.  It should have been over and done with on November 5th.  Hell, even Tina Fey took a break!

But no…like “Plan 9 From Outer Space”,  the movie so bad it’s good (and considered to be the worst movie ever made)…it became “The Thing That Will Not Die!”, a real-life movie so horrific and so terrible; it’s makes “Plan 9” seem like “Citizen Kane” in comparison.  Ever since we all thought it was safe to come out of our homes, The Thing went home to Alaska and started talking up the media about her experiences on the campaign trail in those famous phrases, you know, the ones that make absolutely no sense…but seem to make it on the nightly news regardless and give Conservative Men wet spots in their BVDs in the process.  She downplayed any talk of someone going through her closets for GOP-owned duds, and of course a Senate run (should Ted The Felon have won his Senate seat and gotten kicked out by the same guys that gave him a standing O the other day if there was a Special Election held for his seat.)

Oops!  Looks like we got foiled on that little front there Governor Moosebrain!  So what does The Thing do?  She decides to pardon a turkey the other day, and in a scene that could only have been scripted by Monty Python or SNL, starts talking more about her rapidly tanking political career with the turkey farm as a backdrop…while they were decapitating the birds behind her.  I was both mortified and laughing hysterically at the same time.  She was using phrases like “on the chopping block” when asked about the State Budget cuts for God’s sake while the death rattles of a recently departed fowl took place behind her.  I am just awaiting this evening’s SNL to see what they plan on doing with this little faux pas…it should be a doozie.

So what happens next?  What will this pathetic Thing that passes as a human being do next, and will the media continue to cover this clueless and vile creature, making her The Thing That Will Not Die?  Only the people of Alaska know for sure,  and I am hoping that the next Gubernatorial Election they put themselves, and us out of our collective misery!

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” – Groucho Marx

A Kitchen And A Senator That Both Need To Be Finished

OK, I did manage to get some positive news out of this day: my oldest daughter Kate made Honor Roll yet again; her lowest grade was a “B” and her highest was an “A+”.  Youngest daughter Grace did fantastic as well receiving “Very Good” or ” Outstanding” in her grades (they have no letter grade assignments until 5th Grade).  Of course, both of them need improvement in their handwriting ability (they take after me…I’ll admit that freely), and my youngest needs to be less “Social” (as her teacher put it).  In other words, she likes to talk…and talk…and talk…  Guess who she gets that from?  You win the grand prize if you guessed me.  OK, good news over…storm clouds on the horizon.

The kitchen is looking good, it really is.  The painting is done, the cabinets are in; but the floor, the appliances (which arrived yesterday), and the tile back splashes are awaiting the counter top.  Right now, they estimate a week and a half, which puts it after Thanksgiving.  We were hoping to have a nice quiet day home (my wife took off), but we have no choice but to go out to dinner.  The place where we’re going is a restaurant in a huge old Victorian Mansion with sprawling grounds.  They usually use the place for weddings, but they have a restaurant that will be having a buffet on Thanksgiving.  Our seating is scheduled for 4:30 PM.  On a positive note, this is the very same place where my wife and I had our wedding reception 15 years ago, and the food really is outstanding.  My kids have never been there before, and it will be interesting to “return to the scene of the crime” (so to speak) with our offspring.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, our favorite turkey, Senator Judas Leiberman retained his gavel and his Chairmanships as most of the Democratic caucus chickened out.  (Yes, WAY too thick on the metaphor and puns there…but I just couldn’t resist.  Plus it made such a nice segue, too!)  They should have held him accountable for his blatant betrayal of the Caucus and the way he back stabbed President-Elect Obama.  I know I said this the other day, but it bears repeating: this is behavior that has now been deemed permissible in Washington.  This means that any member of any Caucus can most likely choose to go against their Caucus, campaign for The Other Guy (and take down your own Party’s guy in the most severe way possible), it it won’t have any repercussions.

I know the President Elect is all for putting aside differences, getting rid of partisan politics, and working together to help get this country back on track.  I’m all for that, but what Joe The Dumber did was unforgivable in my book and it opens a VERY dangerous door.

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” – Winston Churchill

The Kitchen Chronicles

For the past ten days, my house has looked like a pre-Marshall Plan Berlin.  No, wait…Berlin looked better.  We’re in the process of undergoing major reconstruction of our kitchen, and it’s completely turned the usual lunatic asylum on its head and sent it spinning into the next week…or two…or three…or whenever this thing is finally done.

My wife and I bought this house ten years ago.  It’s a ranch-style home built in 1950 in a suburban development that was designed for Veterans of WW II to get first shot at home ownership after that war (very similar to the very famous- or infamous- Levittowns in New York and Pennsylvania).  We’re the 4th or 5th owners of the home (no one is really sure, and I haven’t had the chance to go take a good look at the town hall records), and it’s been “home improved” several times by any or all of the previous owners, all in various states of quality and ineptitude.  Let me clear something up: in addition to me not being Joe The Plumber, I am also not Bob The Builder or Thomas The Electrician.  The only things I am great at assembling are scale plastic models of airplanes and spacecraft (a hobby), computers, and home theater systems.  Give me a bunch of components, a flashlight, some wire clippers and wire strippers and I’m in my element.  I’ll set up your home theater or computer so good it’ll prepare your morning coffee for you.  Computers and components are my friends; power tools and plywood are not.  This is why I call a contractor.  This is why you are SUPPOSED to call a contractor.  You see, I KNOW my limitations; other homeowners, do not.  Unfortunately, the previous owners of my home fell into the latter category.

You know you are in trouble when a contractor comes to your home and says the following: “I’ve never seen THIS before!”.  That has been our home improvement contractor mantra for our replacement windows, doors, roof, garage, bathroom, and now our kitchen.  When it came to money, the guy before us spared no expense…on contractors.  At all.  He was tighter than a clam’s ass.  We found TOILET PAPER used for insulation in a door frame; a bunch of nails walled-in in the kitchen contained in an old Chinese Take Out container; 3 layers of roof shingles in spots, two and one layer on others (Code says a maximum of 2); and my personal favorite…a lamp cord hot wired into a light socket…the same light socket where I had a surge protector plugged into it for my Mac, speakers, printer, and three synthesizers.  The only way I found out about the latter was when our clothes dryer caught on fire last year (thank God there was smoke damage only and no injuries) and I had to have all the outlets in the basement (where we have the office, laundry room, and home theater/den) checked.  It’s nice knowing that close to $3,000 worth of electronics were relying on the safety of a lamp cord to function in addition to the safety of the entire electrical system of the house.  I can only conclude that the Home Improvement Manual this guy was using was originally created in Japanese and translated into English written in Cyrillic.  Oh, did I mention that he used to work for the Federal Government?

Our latest project comes on the heels of us fixing our main bathroom.  We knew it was time to fix the bathroom when I could see what my wife was putting into the washer while taking a dump.  We knew it was time to get replacement windows a year after we moved in because we were able to fly kites in our living room.  The kitchen was due (it was ALWAYS due) because it was just too damned small.  If you threw some spare change on the counter, it would take up half the room.  So, we knocked out a wall; sealed up a doorway so we can recess the refrigerator into the doorway alcove; and added an additional 12 cabinets to our previous 8 and more counter space.  We also went for the jugular when it came to appliances: stainless steel EVERYTHING, and a built-in dishwasher as opposed to the portable one we used to schlep across the kitchen to the sink.  It’s going to be beautiful, and it’s supposed to be finished in about another 10 days or so.  In the meantime though, our living situation is pure hell.

Our three cats have been sequestered in the basement.  Their litter boxes were down here anyway; now, they get to spend more time watching the 51″ Sony Widescreen TV and 7.1 Home Theater system.  They’ve kind of settled in now, but I know they’re just itching to see what’s going on upstairs.  I feel a bit like Otto Preminger in “Stalag 17” at times: “No von escapes from ze basement!” every time they try and get “wire happy”.  I can’t help but thinking that one of these days one of them is going to be bouncing a ball against the wall like a feline Steve McQueen.  As for the rest of us, we have no stove and no kitchen sink.  That means paper plates and plastic utensils and frozen dinners…LOTS of frozen dinners.  I’m going to name my next kid (or cat) Swanson if this keeps up any longer.  I mean, there are only so many types of things you can eat this way.  Of course, there’s take out and going out to eat (which we did to celebrate Obama’s victory on Thursday Night).  I had a REAL 18 ounce boneless NY Strip Steak with a baked potato and a cup of beef barley soup, washed down with a delightful non-alcoholic amber beer.

This week the painting gets done, as well as the tile for the back splash, flooring, and the cabinet installation.  The counters and appliances are next…and then SANITY once again.  This Thanksgiving I think we’ll really have a few things to be thankful for, and I don’t think I’ll mind one damned bit cooking the usual banquet.  The real banquet…not the kind you set “time-10-start” for.  My cats will finally get their usual spots on the beds or couches back, and then they’ll try and get used to the new kitchen.  My wife and I will have one pressing problem though:

How the hell to we fill up 20 cabinets?

“Anyone that’s ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would.” – Ronald Reagan