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Monday, February 13th, 2017
9:04 am - What is it worth?
I've severely neglected my journal and I hate that I've done so. There are so many memories, or thoughts I should be writing down, but just never get around to it. I know I've said it before, but I seriously want to start creating regular entries, if not for posterity, but as a way to vent thoughts and feelings I don't feel comfortable sharing with others, even my wife. Most aren't about her specifically, but once in a while they do concern her and our relationship.

Take for example this past weekend. We decided to celebrate Valentine's Day on Sunday because she has to appear in traffic court on Tuesday. I took her to see the New Jersey Devils play the San Jose Sharks since we always seem to do things she likes, such as seeing musicals at West Point. We braved the snow and sleet and made it down to Newark okay. We scored the Taylor Hall bobble head, but unfortunately the Devils lost the game.

Afterwards we drove home and went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. When we arrived home, we shoveled snow and exchanged gifts. She got me a large Hershey Kiss while I gave her a Swarovski necklace shaped like a heart. While I appreciated the gift, my first thought was, "I just gave her jewelry and all I got was chocolate." Granted I got it on sale for a quarter of the price (the benefits of shopping early during the holiday season), but still...I bought tickets to a hockey game, paid for dinner, and bought a nice gift. All for what? A piece of chocolate which I'll eat in about a week? A part of me feels shafted while the other part feels guilt and sad for even trying to put a price on a holiday. What's wrong with me? Why can't I accept the fact we spent a nice day together rather than trying to put a price tag on love? Can I really think she loves me less because she didn't spend as much or put less thought into her gift?

current mood: confused

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
1:07 pm - Don't make me feel guilty
Upon my return from vacation I submitted a new vacation request to my editor who immediately approved two dates - the morning of April 23 for a doctor's appointment in Albany and June 5 (either all day or just the final hour of the work day, whichever worked best) for a concert that evening (Boston).

The following day my boss calls me into his office and complains about the vacation request slip. He said he's trying to get my editor to take some time off, possibly in May and suggested he may have to rescind the request I made, at the beginning of the year, to take off Memorial Day weekend to celebrate my first anniversary. My editor was waiting to hear when his granddaughter would be home from college.

While I'm all for my editor taking time off (he tends not to use all his PTO every year), I thought it was wrong of my boss to tell me I couldn't take time off that had already been approved back in January. What if Sam and I had already made plans? Would we have to cancel them? Luckily my editor is taking the week prior off, so Sam and I were finally able to book our trip to the Poconos.

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12:56 pm - Cruise like a Norwegian II
With Sam finally teaching this year (a leave replacement position) we knew our vacation time together would be limited to the summer months. Our travel agent sent us an offer for an all-inclusive resort in Mexico and it was a really great deal. We were definitely considering it, until Sam received word from the bank she works for that no employees would be allowed to take a vacation during the summer as new software is unveiled. We went back to the drawing board and agreed to another cruise, this time during spring break.

When looking at the cruises offered that week, we were a bit discouraged to learn the only one out of New York would have been the same cruise we had taken for our honeymoon. A western Caribbean cruise was leaving out of Miami that same week. We decided to catch a plane to Miami and visit some new places.

In Ocho Rios, Jamaica we decided to visit Dunn's Falls and a botanical garden. The weather forecast did not look good as we disembarked and it did in fact rain as we were climbing the 900+ foot falls. It didn't matter since we were getting wet anyway. Sam, unfortunately didn't last long. The rocks were slippery and she fell once, injuring her back. I made it to the top, but not without casualty. I had my camera with me, not expecting to get drenched. I figured we'd see the falls and climb some rocks along the side of it, not actually climb against the flowing water. Our tour guide took my camera and kept it in a backpack, which I assumed was waterproof. It wasn't and my camera got waterlogged. It was useless the rest of the day. Luckily Sam had her phone and was able to take a few photos of the falls and a bunch at the garden. Back on the ship I used a hairdryer to dry my camera, which worked.



We took it easy the following day. We spent a couple of house at the beach at Grand Cayman. The sun was shining, which made Sam happy. I don't care much for sitting in the sun, so I found a shady spot to lounge. The crystal blue water of the Caribbean sea is breathtaking.



Our final excursion took us on a tour of Mayan ruins in Cozumel, Mexico. We ended up visiting San Gervasio, but my original hope was to visit the ruins in Tulum. Unfortunately that required a 30-minute ferry ride, then a 45-minute bus ride. While the ruins would have been more spectacular, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle 30 minutes on a ferry and it seemed like a waste of time spending most of the day going to and from the site. I wasn't disappointed, however. Our tour guide was informative, even though it was hard to understand him at times. Our next stop was a beach, which was not as impressive as Grand Cayman. The water was full of seaweed and did not look appealing for swimming. Sam lounged in the sun and I kept cover eating lunch at the beach side restaurant.



While on board we caught shows every night - a hypnotist, Cirque du Soleil, Legends in Concert, and Second City to name a few. We received a free dining package so we were able to try some of the different restaurants on board rather than eat at the buffet every night.

We enjoyed our second cruise and are already thinking about a third. I'd like to do an Alaskan cruise next.

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Monday, April 13th, 2015
11:31 am - Cruise like a Norwegian
In less than a year, Sam and I have been on two cruises, both with Norwegian. The first was for our honeymoon and the second during spring break a couple weeks ago. In planning both trips we were looking for something affordable, yet fun. A cruise seemed to be the way to go because room and board is included in the total cost. This of course doesn’t include any excursions we plan off shore or any entertainment on board.

The first cruise, the Norwegian Gem, left port in New York with stops in Florida and Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, both in the Bahamas. During sea days we looked for things to do on the ship whether it was just lounge by the pool, play some games (Deal or No Deal, Bingo), or catch a show. We saw shows each night and one afternoon we sat in on a murder mystery lunch with Second City.

In Florida we took an airboat tour through the wetlands in search of alligators. It was a hot day, so most of them stayed hidden, but we did catch a glimpse of a few. At Lone Cabbage Alligator Farm, I even got to hold a small gator. After the tour, and a brief animal show which included a monkey and a snake, the bus brought us back to Port Canaveral. We did a little souvenir shopping, had lunch, and checked out the beach before getting back on board the ship.



We had two stops in the Bahamas – Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. In Nassau we did a See and Sea tour which included a bus tour of Nassau. Then we boarded an underwater viewing vessel to check out the plants and creatures living under the sea. The day started with some rain while we explored Nassau on our own, but the skies cleared by the time our tour began. The weather was less cooperative in Great Stirrup Cay (a private island owned by Norwegian). The plan was a sting ray tour where we’d swim with rays and even touch and hold them. I was able to hold and pet one before a thunderstorm struck, ending our tour. The rest of the day it poured. After making it back to shore we sought shelter but we still had a short walk to make it back to the main beach area where a barbeque lunch awaited. We waited for a brief break in the downpour to make our way to the food. Even though we were undercover, we still had to make it to where the tenders would pick us up to take us back to the ship. Sam never got to enjoy the beach and the crystal blue water and we were both soaked by the time we made it back to the ship.



Having never been on a ship before, I was worried about how I would handle being on the water for seven days. I took Dramamine, but still experienced some dizzy spells. I wasn’t discouraged by the prospect of planning another cruise, which we did for spring break.

(to be continued)

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Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
2:25 pm - Dear diary. It's been two years since my last entry.
A lot has happened since my last post. Sam and I got married last year on May 25. It was the year for weddings. Three of Sam's friends, as well as her younger sister, all got married last year.

We took a honeymoon cruise aboard the Norwegian Gem with stops in Florida, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. It was the first time I had ever been aboard a cruise ship and I was unsure how I'd be able to handle seven days on the water. Small boats don't agree with me, making me dizzy. I was sure to take Dramamine, but still had some off days. Not enough to say I would never take another cruise again. In fact, Sam and I just came back Sunday from our second cruise, this time aboard the Norwegian Epic. We stopped in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. I was less dizzy this time around. Maybe I'll post more about the trip in another entry.

We're hoping to celebrate our one-year anniversary with a trip to the Poconos, but now that seems up in the air. Even though I already requested off the Friday before Memorial Day, my editor is trying to take some time off in May to see his granddaughter who will be home from college. Her time off my conflict with mine, at which point my boss will rescind my request. It seems a bit unfair, but the editor has seniority. *fingers crossed*

After serving as a substitute teacher for nearly a year and a half, Sam finally was hired as a leave replacement this year. She's unsure where she'll end up next school year, but at least she has some experience to note on her resume.

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Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
3:34 pm - My greatest All Fools' Day joke ever.
For any random readers who might be wondering, the plan went without a hitch. Finishing my route was difficult. I was nervous about the proposal and if Sam would fall for the joke. My legs felt like Jell-O as I walked up and down stairs.It took me three tries to record the intro because I kept stumbling over my own written words. Sam played the part perfectly and was shocked when I got down on one knee to propose. But you don't have to take my word for it. Take a listen for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aMmDGalFpE

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Friday, August 10th, 2012
3:04 pm - Sucky subs
In my last entry I mentioned the fiasco involving my paper route. I was so discouraged by what happened, I fear going on vacation again. Since Sam and I knew we would be going on vacation, I began seeking a sub early in the year. I posted a couple of notices around the depot. My father also asked around for anyone interested. Since he has his own route now, there went my second option for coverage. Dillon, who usually covers for me, works overnight and was unavailable.

My father queried one of the ladies he works near in the morning and she came to me with the name of a guy she’s used in the past. I called him, he said he was interested and I made plans to call him two weeks prior to the trip to schedule a time for him to come out and learn the route. When the deadline hit, he was unreachable. I went back to the lady and she gave me another name. I called her. She wanted more money than I was offering because of the distance she’d be traveling. I declined at first and spoke to someone who works for PCF. He was unable to help. Sam told me I should negotiate with the lady, offer her the money I would have saved on gas for the week. While I was originally offering $30 a day ($15 an hour), she wanted $50. We settled on $40. We arranged to go over the route the day before we left for Florida. She was covering another route and was unable to come out with me in the morning.

We both thought the route would be easy enough, but apparently that wasn’t the case when I received the call early in the morning. I ended up explaining the whole situation to the supervisor at the depot, who became concerned when so many missed deliveries popped up on my route. The supervisor was annoyed I didn’t inform them a sub would be delivering my papers. She was also annoyed I didn’t allow enough time to train. I said I would have if I didn’t have to find someone at the very last minute.

I didn’t receive any more complaint calls the rest of the week, but the sub did a terrible job, costing me over $30 in complaint charges. Next time Sam and I go on vacation, I’ll be sure to train someone ahead of time. I suggested to the supervisor, keeping a list of people interested in subbing and where they live, thinking it would be cheaper to hire someone who lives in the delivery area. I haven’t followed up, but I doubt my suggestion was taken seriously.

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Thursday, June 7th, 2012
2:51 pm - Vacation in sunny Florida
Sam and I decided to vacation in Florida this year. My main reason for suggesting it was because I wanted to see the Miami Marlins play in their new stadium. Plus my grandmother is constantly bugging me to visit her.

Once I received approval from the boss to take off, we started planning our itinerary and booking our flight and hotel. The latter was key because we knew we’d end up paying more the closer we got to our vacation dates.

Magic Kingdom was a must, as were Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Originally we planned to visit Epcot the day we arrived, but opted to save money and spend the afternoon in Downtown Disney.

We departed via Jet Blue at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 31 and arrived in Orlando around 10:20 a.m. We actually left the airport early, which was a bonus. We didn’t wait long for our luggage, but there was a line to get the rental car. We finally got our car and spent about five minutes checking it over for scratches, dents, peeled paint, etc. There were quite a few blemishes. The car was a Nissan Versa. It got us where we needed to go, but it wasn’t a great car. It had no lever for the trunk. The only door with a lock was the driver side door. All others had to be unlocked from the inside. Finally, and worst of all, it had no cruise control. We were finally on our way to the hotel, but Sam misplaced the handwritten directions and she was having trouble getting a signal with her GPS. We later found the directions in the visor, but she managed to get directions on her phone. The hotel was maybe a 15 minutes drive from the airport.

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel Orlando-Lake Buena Vista and I have to say, it was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The staff checked us in and out quickly and the room was clean. It had two queen-sized beds (with adjustable mattresses for firmness), a microwave and mini-fridge. We took advantage of the beds and slept by ourselves. I thought, we sleep together and always fight for space and covers, why not lounge out on vacation. The bathroom had towels in the shape of an elephant, which I thought was impressive.

Once we unpacked we ate lunch at a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings. Then it was back to the hotel to relax for a bit before heading out to Downtown Disney. The Downtown area is mostly shops, but we enjoyed popping in each of them and checking out the wares, also stopping to take pictures. At the first shop, I ran into the water superintendent for the village the paper covers. It definitely is a small world. I enjoyed the Lego shop and Sam had fun creating a Mr. Potato Head. She also walked away with a ton of Eeyore souvenirs. Sam and I enjoyed sandwiches for dinner and by then the weather had cleared (there was a threat of thunderstorms earlier) and we were able to take a hot air balloon which hovered about 400 feet over the downtown area. I enjoyed the experience, but Sam, afraid of heights, not so much. We got back to the hotel around 10:30 p.m. I showered since we would be getting up early to get to Magic Kingdom when it opened.

Although I had my alarm set for 7:30 a.m., I was woken earlier because one of my newspaper customers called to say she didn’t receive her Daily News. Then the depot called because I had three complaints on my route up to that point. Unfortunately my usual sub was unable to cover for me, and I struggled to find someone else, but I’ll save that for another entry. Sam got in the shower and I ate breakfast, got dressed and lathered myself in sun block. We were out the door shortly after 8:30 a.m.

It didn’t take long to get to Magic Kingdom and traffic wasn’t bad. Attendants were on hand to help people park. We then waited a few minutes for a tram car to take us to a monorail which would take us to the park. Once we arrived at the park, a light mist began to fall. Sam ran into a nearby shop and bought a poncho for $8.50. I had brought a rain jacket, but left it in the car. I wasn’t about to spend money on the poncho; nor was I about to waste time going back to the car. The mist didn’t bother me much. At one point it stopped raining and I was barely wet. I had hoped the rain would hold off the rest of the day, but that wouldn’t be the case.

Our first stop was Tomorrow Land. As fearful as I am about particular roller coasters, I heard Space Mountain was fairly tame, so I was eager to give it a try. The line wasn’t too long, maybe five minutes. I loved it and wanted to do it again later. The next stop was the race way. After that, we agreed to come back and check out a few more of the attractions (and Space Mountain) later. Our goal was to get in all the things on our list first, then go back and do other stuff to fill out the day. I think the Haunted House was next on the list.

As the morning turned to early afternoon, the rain began to fall faster. We grabbed a fast pass for Splash Mountain and stood on line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (another roller coaster). We were lucky enough to stand under shelter. It was probably the longest line we stood on the entire trip (about 20-30 minutes). At one point, the forecast called for thunderstorms which threatened the possibility of the ride shutting down. Luckily we made it through no problem. By that time, our hour window opened for Splash Mountain. Unfortunately we got stuck in the pouring rain. I was soaked. Sam said her poncho did little to keep her dry at that point. We decided to break for lunch and get out of the rain for a little bit. I was miserable, too much so to even sit down and eat. It just felt uncomfortable to move in all the wet clothes. Thankfully, as the day went on, and the rain tapered, my clothes began to dry. We made it through the entire park – hitting each of the rides we wanted – and then going back for a second time on ones we really enjoyed, such as Space Mountain.

After our second trip down the “mountain” we stopped in the gift shop to take a look at souvenir photos from the ride – both current and from the morning. I stood in line behind another couple, also looking for a photo taken that morning. After 15 minutes the task was completed and I stepped up to the lady who was working with them. She, on the other hand, called the next person in line – I didn’t even know there was a line since nobody was standing there prior. I said I was next in line and the guy started to make a big deal about it. The lady decided to work with both of us at the same time. In the end, she gave Sam and I the souvenir photo for free because of the confusion.

We killed time before the electrical parade and fireworks, then hightailed it back to the monorail. We knew everyone would be leaving the park and didn’t want to get caught in traffic. Thankfully, there was none.

The next two days were spent at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We purchased fast passes for each park, but the fast pass can only be used once per ride. Early on, when lines were short, we opted to wait, and used the fast pass later in the day. The Mummy Ride was the first we hit and there was no wait at all. We opted to ride it twice before checking out something else. I loved the Simpsons’ Ride, which replaced Back to the Future. Over at Islands of Adventure, the Spider-Man ride had a line for single riders. Rather than ensuring a spot next to your friend or significant other, single riders are used to fill in seats. We opted to do that a few times and moved to the front of the line. Before lunch, we got a little wet on Jurassic Park and later on Dudley Do-Right. However, on Bluto’s Barge, I got absolutely soaked – moreso than when it rained at Magic Kingdom. Even my sneakers and socks were wet.

On that Monday, we checked out early, had breakfast, made a quick stop at Downtown Disney so I could pick up some souvenirs, and made the near three-hour drive to Coconut Creek where my grandmother lives. We opted to relax the rest of Monday and Tuesday until we left for the game Tuesday afternoon. The new park is amazing, but unfortunately the Marlins lost the game. Exiting the stadium was easy and we were able to find the onramp to I-95, but the police had the road blocked. We ended up driving around, getting lost at one point, until we found another onramp, quite a distance from where we once were.

Wednesday we were up before the crack of dawn in order to drive back to Orlando and catch a morning flight home. I could have booked a flight out of Fort Lauderdale, but the plane would have landed around 11 p.m. – a bit late for me, especially since I needed to be up to deliver papers the following morning.

Overall, we enjoyed our trip and didn’t want to come home. We already want to return because there will be a new section of Magic Kingdom, and Despicable Me to check out at Universal Studios.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012
12:22 pm - "I hate everything about you."
I consider myself to be a good-natured person. I don’t generally think ill-will towards others. I may dislike people, but have never hated anyone (because hate is a pretty strong word). However, there are two people who fall under this category. The first one is obvious, the second, not so much. When I first started working at this newspaper, almost four years ago, I immediately became friends with Kate. She’s a few years younger than me and worked in the graphics department. We shared a common interest – Magic the Gathering. In fact, we used to play during our lunch breaks. I was introduced to her then fiancée and I introduced them to my ex. Kate and my ex became friends and the four of us hung out a couple of times. We were invited to their wedding and my ex was in the bridal party.

When things started to go south with my ex, Kate was right by her side. From then on, I stopped considering Kate a friend. I don’t know what my ex told her, but Kate never once came to me and asked for my side of things. She immediately took the word of a liar, cheater and a thief and I hated her for that. I felt betrayed because she had been my friend first. The worst part of it all was having to work with her, having to go into work and pretend to be friendly. I was able to keep things professional and only talk to her when it related to work. Other than that, it was nothing more than a “hello,” “morning,” or “I’m fine,” out of my mouth to her.

I was overjoyed the day I learned she would be seeking employment elsewhere. I’d never have to see her again, unless she stopped by the office for a visit. Unfortunately, she will be returning to the office to work part time while one of my other co-workers is out for an extended period of time. I completely ignored her when I walked into the office. When she asked how I was doing, I just said, “I’m fine,” and continued with my work. Awkward much?

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
11:26 am - Leap year misunderstood
I never understood the term leap year. What exactly are we jumping or passing over? If anything, the years with 28 days in February should be called leap years because we're passing over the 29th day.

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
2:26 pm - Happy New Year
Albeit a few days late, Happy New Year. Another year has come and gone. It’s amazing how quickly time flies. But it’s time to catch up on things.

I last wrote how Sam and I were not meshing well following the move. I think some things have gotten better. We sat down and talked about various household chores and habits each of us has. I agreed not to be so anal about unplugging the TV and shutting off the modem, while she agreed to do a better job making more juice if she finishes the last drop. We agreed I would clean dishes and she would clean the bathroom. We had also agreed to set aside time every weekend to catch up on chores together, but so far that hasn’t worked out since we’ve been so busy on weekends. That’s fine with me. I’d rather be out and about or relaxing rather than cleaning.

Dec. 24 marked two years since our first date. We celebrated with a couples massage in the early afternoon and dinner at an Italian restaurant. In between we consummated our relationship, but sex has not been as frequent as it was when we lived separately. I’m not really sure how to address that. I’m not sure how much detail I want to go into, so I’m going to leave it at that for now.

The holidays were enjoyable for the both of us. We celebrated Hanukah with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew and newborn niece. Christmas was spent with Sam’s family. New Year’s Eve we invited her sister and her boyfriend over to play Wii Games. We went out to eat first at a fairly new BBQ place. We decided to watch the ball drop in a local village, so that was a cool experience. Certainly better than trying to squeeze into Times Square.

I was on Facebook yesterday and came across an ex’s page. I got to reading just to find out what she’s been up to. Turns out she had recently celebrated one year together with her boyfriend and the two of them bought a house together. After catching myself up, I felt weird. I can’t really pinpoint why – perhaps it’s the fact she’s moved on with her life, and although we tried to be friends, and I’m no longer a part of it. Not that I still have desires to be romantically involved with her, I’m quite happy with Sam, but I feel our friendship was cut short and I’m not really sure why it never continued. To this day, I still have no idea why she called off our engagement. I spoke to her once briefly on AIM, not long after I ended things with “she who must not be named.” I guess in a way I’m happy she’s moved on with her life.

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
3:16 pm - October snow
Yes, you read correctly. The Hudson Valley was hit with a nasty snowstorm before Halloween. The wet, heavy snow took out branches, limbs and trees, as well as power lines. Six days after the storm there are some people who are still waiting for power to be restored. Luckily Sam and I only had to wait almost two days. We lost power sometime Saturday afternoon between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. and it wasn't restored until Monday morning. Having no heat to keep warm or to take a shower sucked, but we were worried more about the food in the fridge and freezer. It seems the food made it though. Sunday afternoon, after cleaning out the last of the stuff in Sam's apartment, we went to my parents to shower and eat dinner. Luckily she had the day off on Monday and was able to go to her grandmother's for the day. I headed over there for dinner after I got out of work. At least Sam and I weren't struggling to keep ourselves entertained. We played a game of Battleship by candlelight and watched "Rango" and "Roseanne" on her laptop. She had a fully charged battery while the battery for my portable DVD player was dead.

It's been a month and a half since Sam moved in and so far things haven't worked out as I had hoped. Between work, school, and trying to move things out of her apartment, some things have slipped by the way-side. Sam tries to do what she can in terms of household chores, but it seems I get stuck cleaning the dishes after every meal. She has done them on occasion and has contributed to the cooking, so I guess I can't complain too much. Hopefully she starts tackling the boxes we have stacked throughout the dining area and living room. One might start to think we belong on the show, "Hoarders."

Basketball started a few weeks ago. I play every Thursday and play on Tuesday when I'm able. Tuesday is a tough TV night, so I like to be home by 8 p.m. As long as I can play at least once a week, I'm happy.

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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
4:04 pm - Taking the next step
I’ve been battling a wicked cough for over a week now. It started with a scratchy throat that made me cough a little. Those little coughs irritated my throat, causing me to cough even more. The consistency of my cough has subsided, but I do still have so violent fits where I find it hard to take air into my lungs through my mouth. Cough medicine hasn’t done the trick.

Sam officially moves in on Friday and starts her new job on Saturday. She still has a ton of things to pack in her apartment, but a good portion of her things have made their way to my place the last couple of weeks. I’m excited about the next step we’re taking in our relationship, but it will take some getting used to having someone else to live with again.

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Thursday, September 8th, 2011
2:12 pm - Inundated by Irene
What a crazy couple of weeks. The major news is the fury that was tropical storm Irene. The storm was not a surprise and luckily it was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane by the time it hit late Saturday afternoon into Sunday afternoon. The rain came hard and almost nonstop. Although there was a state of emergency declared, meaning all non-emergency vehicles were to stay off the road, I still had to pick up my papers Sunday morning. I argued with the depot manager, but he didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. Just that we were under advisory, so any papers not delivered wouldn’t count against us. I managed to deliver to all customers who get papers in tubes. Those I toss on driveways were put in mailboxes. I took advantage of a brief lull to deliver to a couple of smaller developments, but I saved the two biggest for the following day. So about 40-60 papers were delivered with Monday’s papers.

Late Sunday morning I took a ride to Cornwall to get pictures of any storm damage. I never expected what I saw. Flooding to the point where the streets looked like the canals of Venice. I spent about an hour taking photos and standing in awe of the raging water. When I tried to get back home, I met a number of roadblocks. Eventually I found a route still open and made it safely back home to ride out the rest of the storm, which mostly consisted of heavy winds. The rain had stopped as I made my way home. My development never lost power, but one of my bedroom windows did leak. What annoyed me is that could have been prevented had my window installation appointment not been cancelled days earlier. I was scheduled to have new windows installed the last day of my vacation, but the contractors got hung up at their first job and had to reschedule. They rescheduled for Saturday, but had to cancel again because of the storm. They finally showed up last Wednesday and Thursday. So I can happily say I have new windows. I unhappily will be paying for them over the next year, along with the remaining balance of my tub.

Some other good news, Sam interviewed for an open position in New Windsor at the bank she works for. Maybe an hour after the interview she received the call saying she got the job. So in another week she’ll be starting at the new branch and will officially move in. This of course is a month ahead of schedule. Her lease doesn’t run out until the end of October. So we’re both excited for the change in our lives. Her closet is already full of clothes. We just need to do some rearranging to fit whatever else she still needs to bring over to my (our) place. Should be interesting how we utilize the space.

Aside from Sam moving in her things, we’re redoing the bathroom, changing the purple/pink walls to gray to match the shower walls and floor tile. We bought a new bathroom set, but will be waiting until the walls are painted to put it to use. The painting has been delayed because I need to sand some areas of the walls/ceiling which received a more than generous layer of spackle when the bathroom above me leaked a few years ago. One of these weekends Sam and I will tackle the bathroom and be done with it.

After two cancellations, my mom, brother and sister-in-law, Sam and I finally had our two-day garage sale. We were up early last Saturday (well, I was already up) and headed over to my parents. Setting up was more of an effort than I thought it would be. My parents had to move most of Sam’s things upstairs because their basement flooded in the storm. So I had to carry down most of the heavier pieces of furniture, as well as carry out all my things, which luckily did not see any water damage despite being in the basement. The day was busy for the most part. I made about $63 (after taking out the cost to run two ads in the paper). I was exhausted at the end of the day, cleaning up my things, as well as helping Sam and then my mom. The next day we were back at it. Unfortunately, Sunday was not as busy. If we saw a dozen people it was a lot. Sunday’s are not a good day for garage sales. I made $20, so I can’t complain about that, but poor Sam only sold 50 cents worth of items. We backed up my car with whatever we could and brought everything over to Sam’s grandmother’s on Monday. We’re planning to have another garage sale sometime in October. I plan on lowering my prices big time because I don’t want to bring anything back to my parents. Sam said whatever doesn’t sell will be put curbside.

So, a lot going on the last couple of weeks. This Sunday we’re supposed to go to the Renaissance Faire. Sam has tickets for an aquarium, which maybe we’ll hold off until October. In a couple of weeks we’ll be venturing into the city to see, “Wicked.”

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
3:14 pm - And now back to our regularly scheduled program
It’s always difficult returning home from vacation. It’s especially difficult to return to work. I wish I was back in Wildwood with Sam and her sister, but alas I must adjust to a normal schedule again.

The vacation was great. For the most part the weather was warm and sunny. A thunderstorm hit overnight and we got caught in the pouring rain while walking on the boardwalk one afternoon.

We left early Wednesday morning, last week, around 9:30 a.m. With a few stops in between, we arrived around 3 or 4 p.m. We unpacked and immediately hit the beach for about an hour before getting ready to go out to dinner. It’s been quite a number of years since I’ve visited the Jersey shore, but I found it strange there were shallow “canals” dug halfway up the beach and staggered every 50-100 feet or so. As I later learned after the thunderstorm, the beach floods with water and these canals must help drain the beach. Even so, there were a number of wet spots when we arrived at the beach the morning after.

Dinner the first night was at a Mexican restaurant. I ended up waiting about 10 minutes for my food while Sam and Mellisa were eating their dinner. Sam’s meal wasn’t prepared the way she had hoped and later learned her meal couldn’t be prepared to her specifications. She was allowed to order something different and wasn’t charged for either entrée.

As I try to recall what we did each day, I’m realizing the whole vacation is becoming a blur. I know the first few days we spent on the beach in the morning into the afternoon. One afternoon we got lunch from the boardwalk and ate under the sun, but I went back to the hotel soon after because I was starting to burn. Instead I hit the pool at the hotel and sat in the shade.

We ate dinner out every night except our last night when we ordered pizza. Mellisa’s birthday was Thursday so we went out to celebrate. At one restaurant (which must have been a popular drinking place as well) we were carded at the door, but the bouncer said he wouldn’t give me a wrist band (not that I was drinking anyway) because my license didn’t look like Sam’s or Mellisa’s. What a douche.
A few evenings we walked the boardwalk. The first afternoon we checked out the boardwalk, it poured, but we were able to pass some of the time playing mini golf and wandering the mirror maze.

Saturday morning into the early afternoon, Mellisa and I went to two of the water parks on Morey’s Pier. Sam’s not into water parks, so she stayed behind and lounged at the pool. We had a good time. The first park seemed to have the beginner slides, because the second park had more straight drops. I even had the courage to go down the cliff drop, which had a good 25-30 foot drop (if not more) straight down.

We attempted to do a dolphin/sunset tour, but it was canceled due to the threat of rain. We ended up walking around Cape May for an hour. We visited the Cape May zoo and even one of the lighthouses. The lighthouse visit was on our last day before we headed home.

It was nice to relax for a week. I finished one book and was able to make it halfway through another.

Sam and I have a weekend trip to Philly to look forward to in a month, but I’m looking forward to planning a vacation for next year – possibly to Florida to visit my grandmother, see a Marlins game and check out Universal/Disney World.

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Friday, August 12th, 2011
2:28 pm - Rain...go away...again
Sam and I went to see the Hudson Valley Renegades play last night. They’re the Single A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. There was a double header yesterday. The first game was a continuation of Tuesday night’s game, which got postponed due to rain. We missed the first game (not that we were trying to get there for that) and according to league rules, the second game must start 30-minutes later. We made it by the beginning of the bottom of the first. The ‘Gades won 6-5 in a shortened seven-inning game (also a league rule). The evening ended with a one inning kick-ball game played by the stadium’s mascots and an amazing fireworks display.

Tomorrow we’re going to a Yankees game for Sam’s sister’s birthday. They’ll be playing, ironically, the Rays. Since I refuse to root for the Yankees, I’m wearing my ‘Gades jersey and Marlins cap. Go Rays!! I’ll get beat for sure.

Sunday is our rescheduled garage sale, but the forecast again calls for rain. UGH!!! We can’t catch a break. It’s nice every other weekend thus far this summer, but the one time we want to do something…BAM! Hopefully the forecast is wrong, or there’s enough of a break to get a few hours in.

Next week I’m working Monday and Tuesday, then we head off for our vacation to Wildwood, NJ. I’m so excited. Other than enjoying the beach and boardwalk, we haven’t finalized any other plans. I’d like to maybe go to a spa for a massage and I definitely want to hit up one of the water parks.

In route news, one customer is frustrating me to no end. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting complaints about my headlights shining in the customer’s window and causing a disturbance. The light is coming from my brake lights as a result of pulling into a parking spot, located across from the building. So I changed things up…I pulled along side the building, delivered two papers and then made my u-turn in an empty parking spot. I still got complaints and threats the customer would call the police. I explained to one of the supervisors I have been delivering the paper the same way for the last 10 months. I’m in and out of my car in about 20 seconds. It was suggested I turn my lights off, but I have daytime running lights. I refuse to shut my car off and turn it back on 20 seconds later. I really have no idea how this could be disturbing, why the customer doesn’t have blinds and why is the customer awake to see the light. I know I’d be fast asleep. Then again, I can sleep when the sun is beating on me. No complaint today, so maybe the supervisor got a hold of the customer and was able to explain there’s no solution to the problem.

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Monday, August 8th, 2011
2:34 pm - Rain, rain, go away...
Rain played a major factor in the weekend’s plans. Saturday I didn’t have much planned during the day. Sam was at work, so I was able to get my laundry done and relax. I went to a book sale and bought five books for my collection. I only paid $1.37. I also got two books for my nephew for 50 cents. The rain held off all day, until I had to leave to see a Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball game. I stood online with my umbrella waiting for the gates to open and for Sam to meet me. It was free adult cap day to the first 2,000 fans 13 and older. So I was eager to receive the giveaway. After making it through the gate, Sam and I waited for the crowd to dissipate before heading across the street for dinner. After we finished eating, we called to see if the game was still starting on time. Word was they were going to try and get the game in, but we both agreed if it kept raining, we wouldn’t have a good time. Turns out the game was postponed, so we’ll try and go to Thursday’s game instead.

Sunday was the planned garage sale. It rained most of the night and stopped briefly as I drove to pick up my papers. It downpoured for a time while on my route. My mom called around 5 a.m. and we agreed to forecast for the day didn’t look promising, so we decided to postpone until next Sunday. My mom had included a raindate in the newspaper ad. Turns out it stopped raining around 6:30 a.m. and didn’t rain again until 3 p.m. (when we would have started cleaning up from the sale). To say the least, Sam and I were pissed. We’re worried we won’t get anyone to show up next week because we don’t want to pay for another ad. I was able to place a free ad in the two papers my company owns, plus place free ads on five different web sites, including Craigslist. My mom will post signs on the main thoroughfare, so hopefully that’s enough to attract customers.

So Sam and I ended up dropping the rest of her stuff at my parents. Then we heading to Home Depot to pick paint for the bathroom and to Kohls and Bed, Bath and Beyond to look at a bathroom set. Five hours later we had our paint, but no bathroom set. Then it was back home and dinner with Sam’s sister at Pizza Hut.

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Thursday, August 4th, 2011
1:51 pm - Stood up
Last night I was supposed to take Dylan, my sub for the paper route, out to show him the changes since he last delivered papers for me. I left a message in the afternoon confirming the time. I never heard from him. Six o’clock rolls around and still no word. I leave another message, but I never get a call back and he doesn’t show up. So I’m waiting to talk to him today since he delivers papers at my regular job. While I’ve always been able to count on him in the past, he always makes mistakes on the route. I used my parents for awhile, but now that my dad has his own route, I can’t rely on them anymore. Unfortunately nobody I know is willing to fill in for me. The major downside to being an independent contractor is you can’t ever take time off without having a backup. Of course Sam is worried I’ll find out at the last minute he won’t be able to sub for me and I won’t be able to go on vacation. I assured her she has nothing to worry about. I hope I’m right.

Not much else to report. Things have been pretty slow at work. I’ve been giving my father garage sale items each morning. I’m hoping I won’t have to make a trip back home after my route on Sunday, and head right over to my parents’, but I have a feeling the dresser won’t fit in my trunk and possibly won’t fit in my father’s trunk either. It will fit in my back seat, but it’s full of papers on Sundays. Plus it obscures my view out my back window. So we’ll see what happens. I’d save about 10-15 minutes in the morning by not having to go back home.

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Monday, August 1st, 2011
11:57 am - Exhausted
My weekend was exhausting. Most of Saturday was pretty relaxing. Sam came over after work and at 6:45 we left for Hackensack to meet up with dove95 for her birthday celebration at a hibachi restaurant. What an adventure that trip was.

First I needed to stop for gas in Mahwah. And why not – gas is 30 cents cheaper. Unfortunately a lot has changed since the last time I’ve driving in Jersey (November). Most of the gas stations now charge a higher price (they’ll argue a reduced price on cash purchases) for credit card purchases. So I drove in and out of two gas stations before settling on the Valero, which had the cheapest credit card price per gallon of the three. Approaching 17 from one of the gas stations, a driver honked at me from the merge lane off one of the side streets. Apparently she didn’t realize I was actually stopping before looking to see if a car was coming. Jersey drivers!!!

Finally back on the road, Sam had her GPS to get us to the restaurant. Unfortunately I had to wrong address (500 River St. when it was South River Street). So when the GPS told us we had arrived at our destination (a car dealership) we knew something was wrong. So we called dove95 and someone gave us directions. Twenty minutes passed our original arrival time of 8 p.m., we finally sat down for dinner. We didn’t leave the restaurant until 9:45 and estimated a quarter to 11 as our arrival time back home. But of course that doesn’t factor in the fact that despite how many times I had driven in Hackensack for bowling, I had no idea where I was going. I thought River Street ran into Kinderkamack Road, but it didn’t. We ended up on Route 4 and missed the exit which would have gotten us on 17. Instead we drove through Englewood before finding our way back onto Rt. 4. So it was closer to 11:30 when we got home and I needed to be up at 2 a.m. to do the papers.

Early Sunday afternoon Sam and I had to load up our cars with stuff for a garage sale at my parents next weekend. Then I had our final softball game of the season. After the game, it was off to my parents to unload what we loaded earlier, plus what we had loaded into Sam’s car on Thursday. With the 90-degree heat and the sharp incline that disguises itself as a driveway, we were both exhausted. Most of my items had been priced, so that saved me some time, but I was still going through things when my father arrived with pizza.

Our Gang finished with another loss on the season. I had more difficulties than last week finding the strike zone. Seemed the ump wasn’t calling pitches on the line for the batters box and called my high pitches (which I don’t think were any higher than what I’ve thrown all season) illegal. So that was a bit frustrating. Combine that with some poor defense we were on the losing end of a lopsided score. We were down 5-0 early, but managed to make it 5-4 before allowing another 10 runs or so. I ended the season going 1 for 2 with a walk. My hit was my specialty, a liner in the direction of third base, but slow enough where I could beat out the throw to first. I managed to make it to third, two batters later, on a slide under the tag. Unfortunately I didn’t make it around to score. My next at bat was a walk. The woman hitting behind me optioned to walk so I wound up on second. The next batter hit a fly to shallow left center. I thought it was going to drop in so I was halfway between second and third when the catch was made. I couldn’t make it back to second, however. I popped up to shallow right center my final at bat. Right direction, but hit the ball too high. Most of the team said they would come back next season. The coach mentioned a player from another team was trying to organize some teams to scrimmage through the fall, so we’ll see if I decide to participate or not. Sundays will be fairly busy with the garage sale and vacation to Wild Wood, N.J. Then we need to set a date to hit up the Renaissance Faire this season.

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Friday, July 29th, 2011
1:52 pm - My cat has her own Facebook page
The heat broke for a few days, but according to reports, it supposed to be hot and humid today and into the weekend. Guess I’ll be running the AC a lot.

Saw Sam last night. I drove to her place, we ordered pizza and then I helped her box some more things to sell at next week’s garage sale. I’ve found a bunch of things to get rid of as well – either to sell or bring back to my parents because I need to make room for Sam’s things. It should be interesting to see how we combine all our things and where we make space for everything.

Not much planned for the weekend. Tomorrow I’ll relax. Maybe do a little straightening up. Sam works, but we have plans to attend dove95’s birthday dinner. Sunday is my last softball game of the season. Disappointed to see it end, but my legs could probably use the extra rest before basketball starts again in October. Every time I get up in the morning the arches in my feet ache and it takes a little bit of walking to loosen up the muscles. Perhaps that week’s vacation will help a bit.

A couple of my teammates are hosting a barbeque after the game, but Sam and I already had plans to make a trip to my parents to drop off garage sale items. My mom invited us to stay for dinner. They’ll be ordering pizza. Yum.

My cat now has her own Facebook page. I thought it would be cute to post status updates pinpointing a highlight of her day. It’s also a good location to post my photos of her. I’m hoping her page catches on and more random people request to be her friend. So far only one person (through someone I know) has requested her as a page. If you’re interested in reading about the daily adventures of my cat, search for Spidey Cat and she’ll be happy to add you as a friend.

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