Friday, December 26, 2008
Yesterday was Christmas. Usually we spend it with my family. We get up in the morning, open presents then do this mad dash to get ready and get to the Christmas celebration. It usually involves travelling crowded highways and trying to make it to places at appointed times which translates into stressful events. Well yesterday I told my family that I was taking the Christmas holiday at home with my family. They were a little puzzled. Why would I do that? Christmas is a time to be with family! I explained that I wanted to stay home and enjoy my family and just relax with them on Christmas. I wanted to step back from the hustle and bustles of having to be here and be obliged to visit because its Christmas.
It was a great decision. We had the most stress free and relaxing holiday we have ever had. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves right through to the evening. They play with their gifts, enjoyed a Christmas dinner served on fine china and just a relaxing special time together. We didn't have to be anywhere, or go anywhere, or have to do this or that....it was our time. It was special and it was great. It is a new tradition.
We are finally making progress on the building project. The December of 2008 will go down as the wettest in the last decade. It made building next to impossible. There wasn't clear weather for more than a day and a half the whole moth. The the snows began to fly. What a mess. But some how they manage to get the family room framed adn today they are roofing. Monday I am told that the garage and mudroom are to be started. We are making good progress and should be framed and weather tight at least by the end of January I hope.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The weather cooperated for one day and a crew of 15 masons arrived at the scened and built the foundation in one day! It was something to see. My yard looks like a bomb went off in it, but we are getting closer to getting the framing done. Can it be that the addition and garage will be buttoned up by Christmas? Now that would be an awesome gift from Santa!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Well it's been two weeks and all we have is a demolished house and two very deep holes in the ground. We have unearthed an abandoned septic tank and had to have that removed, (a change order of course!) and we have discovered some things in the plans that may need to be added, such as a concrete pad in front of the mud room door way which was an option for later. It makes sense to do it now while the mason is pouring concrete. Also the entrance would be in a flower bed as it stands right now which would look really silly. So as usual, the surprises always come and the money always leaves us. Gotta love construction.
Monday, November 03, 2008
It has finally begun. Friday permits were issued and today, Monday November 3rd 2008 demolition of the Carport has begun. What has begun in our heads way back in 1991 has finally taken shape. It has taken a long time to get off the ground. Countless hours of talking, planning and pushing through variance meetings and building offices. Passing by contractors and bankers, but finally is under way. It is supposed to take about 3 to 4 months to finish. We shall see.
Monday, October 20, 2008
We went Apple picking at Maskers Farm on Sunday. It was a cool fall day. The wind was blowing, the leaves were turning a beautiful red and golden color and...there were hardly any apples left in the orchard! Hard to believe, but true! The place was virtually picked clean. It was the middle of October and the orchard was practically bare. We had invited my wife's brother and sister and their families up to this orchard that was about an hour's ride away and there seemed to be no fruit to be found. My wife was starting to sweat even though the temperature was cool. After awhile we started to find the apples though. It became a hunt, One had to use all of their senses to find the elusive fall fruit. The apples were tucked high in the trees and camouflaged in the leaves but, they were there. We ended up having a great time. My brother in law climbed trees and knocked apples down with a stick. The kids thought that was so funny. I never thought he could scamper up a tree, but he did it. It was a fantastic day and everyone want to go again next year. Go figure.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I am taking a time out on the construction description, (of which there is not alot) to give a little notice on some family news. The christening of Catarina! My five month old niece was christened today. She is such a good baby. She didn't even let out a peep. She hardly ever cries. It was a lovely christening and father Joe did a wonderful job. He made everyone feel that they were a part of it and made them remember their baptisms. It was special. My brother in law and sister in law did a nice party afterwards that everyone enjoyed. It was a nice day.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I spoke with the architect and it seems that he might have finally completed all of the revisions this town has asked him to complete. I think he is supposed to drop the plans of at my house tonight and the builder is going to take them to the town tomorrow and maybe finally get the permits for the job. One could only hope. Of course, Monday is a holiday so I'm sure that will delay the issuance of the permits by weeks. My sister who started this process after me is already starting her construction. Its always the same story with my jobs. I'm last.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The Township of Washington thwarts its citizens at every turn when they try to improve their residences. The latest saga is our submitted codes are not up to date and our smoke alarms don't show on the plans. It seems that the town eagerly adopt any changes to the codes as the State changes them so that they may charge additional fees and impose prohibitive regualtions upon its people. As far as the smoke alarms are concerned, they were installed years ago under code required by the town. You would think that they would have retained that info and referenced it. But i guess not. It's for the homeowner to provide again. A database would be a good idea for this town. So needless to say our construction job has been delayed another 15 to 20 days. We probably wont be breaking ground now until mid to end of October. It's getting mighty close to when the snow flys!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Interestingly enough there is no construction news to report. We had a rainy weekend with hurricane Ike and I took the opportunity to move all the furniture out of the current family room and into the basement in preparation of it's demise, and yet there has been no demolition. Sadly we wait with the house one quarter empty and the basement stuffed with the TV and several couches and chairs. We huddle together there and watch television like a family awaiting a nuclear strike. One good thing is if we are attacked and a nuclear bomb is dropped or if a tornado hits while we are watching TV, we most likely will survive down in our bunker! So the wait continues. Destruction before construction. I will keep you informed.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Yes my friends, its been way too long between my informative posts. I missed the whole dang month of August! Not that I did so much, but I was pretty busy at work and at home. We took a short vacation to Ocean City Maryland and enjoyed that very much. It was our first time there and we would want to go back. Nice beach and and a clean beach town with fun things to do for the kids. Of course the kids have been driving us crazy, so the wife and I have resolved that we have to do more for ourselves and less for those little buggers. Tomorrow school begins for them and they are each in a different school. I feel sorry for the little one as she is now on her own in the elementary school. But lately she has exhibited a nastiness that either says she is either nervous about it, or she is just turning plain old mean. I don't know which. It seems that I'm raising a bunch of crazy kids. Makes me and the wife really wonder and feel desperate and exasperated sometimes. Anyway, to make matter worse, I'm about to begin CONSTRUCTION on the house. I figure this will be a good place to chronicle the experience. We signed the contract last night and mailed the down payment. I will keep you informed on the progress.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The organization I work for just celebrated their 75th Anniversary. They have been doing business since 1933! Imagine that! When our founder started the business, he saw that once lawyers left law school, there was no formal training available to them to keep them abreast of changes in the law. He started a non-profit institution to address the continuing education needs of lawyers and in that he started an industry. Today there are hundreds of organizations that offer CLE and the competition in the field is fierce. We have to compete for every CLE dollar out there. We compete with local bars and huge national organizations like West. Here's hoping we have success for the next 75 years! Go PLI!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
See this dog? This dog stayed at my house over the weekend. It was a seeing eye pup that needed watching over the weekend. My wife agreed to pet sit. This cute pup was a terror! She was a barker, a biter and had a bad attitude. That's how I spent most of my weekend. Keeping this cute pup in line. It nipped me good a couple of times and got my little girl a good one on the back of her leg. It chased my 13 year old around (which was actually funny to see) and generally terrorized the kids. And they still want a dog. Go figure!
I also advertised my 1998 Honda Accord. (You know. The one that was in the crash) I told everyone who came to see it that it was in a crash, but that it wasn't that bad and it was fixed. Nobody believed me. They all thought I was trying to unload a bad car on them. They all thought I was lying to them. The guy who finally bought it actually asked me if I told him the truth about the accident. Why would I tell him anything if I was trying to lie? The people who called me about the car and those who came out to see it were ALL weird. Each and everyone of them. It was like they were out of a freak show or a circus. Well, that was stressful too, but I sold it. For less than I wanted to, but I sold it. Never again will I do something like that. I never thought I'd say this but I'd rather deal with a car dealer.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
We were going along between 35 to 40 mph and going through an intersection. It was a green light and the intersection was clear. Suddenly this blue car travelling in the opposite direction turned directly into my path. There was no time to do anything but jam on the brakes. I locked them up and we collided. I think we slowed enough so that the impact wasn't bad enough to set off the air bags, but it was a real jolt. Her car spun into the intersection and hit another car. I was able to pull over. I looked back to see if the kids were all right. They were wide eyed but ok. Thank God for that. My wife was ok too. Everyone was wearing seat belts. It really makes a difference. I never go anywhere without making sure I'm buckled and the kids are buckled in as well. The other driver was not hurt either, but shook up. I walked over to her to make sure she was ok and she was babbling something like, "I don't now where I am". so I left her alone. The cops said she was in the wrong and there were three witnesses who said she drove right in front of me. I hope my insurance carrier sees it that way. This will probably mean the end of my car. I didn't even pay off the repair bill from last month yet. Oh well. Nobody was hurt. My kids were safe and we all walked away. That's what's important. The car can be replaced. My kids can't.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I was with my family over the Memorial Day Weekend. It's funny to listen to my sisters talk about their kids. They have older children than us and they are experiencing different stages than what we are going through with our kids. Its interesting to learn from them as they go through these stages. Its also scary. I hope I can handle it without killing them. My 13 yo daughter is already driving me nuts. This is a picture of me in a batting cage in San Francisco at AT&T Park. I still got it!
Friday, May 23, 2008
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Here is a list of things I would like to do:
- 1. Bar-B-Q Ribs, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers and drink beer
- Listen to music outside on the deck and have a catch with the kids, play bocci ball and frolic.
- Laugh with my wife and friends until late into the night
- Go swimming
Here's what I will REALLY do:
- Stain the fence. All 750 square feet of it. Cut the lawn.
- Grill chicken and have it over Romain lettuce and wash it down with a Diet Coke
- Yell at the kids because they will be bored and bicker with the wife because I won't be doing enough around the house.
- Collapse into bed sore and tired.
Yep. It's a sad, sad existence until the end.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I started reading the Wall Street Journal for work. I needed to keep up on the business news. I felt it necessary to see what the heck all my colleagues were talking about. I mostly read The NY Post. I loved the headlines, like "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar". Absolutely brilliant. Nowhere else in New York would you get writing like that!! Also, the sports section was second to none. They always covered the Giants fully and I got all the info I needed during the season about the inner workings of the football team. But alas, I needed to grow up and read some real news. I needed political insight, business news and world news that was responsibly reported without the funny snide-ness that the Post reports with. But oh my goodness, its a scary world out there. In the past few months I have been reading the WSJ here's what I have been learning:
- The price of oil has been increasing and there's no stopping it for the foreseeable future. In fact, we might be running out of the stuff and there really isn't any viable alternative in place.
- Food shortages around the world is sparking riots. Countries are hording rice and prices are soaring
- Bio-fuels may have caused food shortages and people may be going hungry because we turned corn and soybeans into fuel
- Wind Power can't be a viable alternative in generating electricity.
- The president and Congress can't get anything done and both should be put out to pasture.
- The Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Sterns with tax money and that was supposed to be a good thing for the economy???
- Now homeowners who were stupid enough to take loans they couldn't afford get the government to bail them out on the taxpayers dime. And the guy who never missed a payment gets what???? The worlds upside down
- Cyclones, earthquakes and more cyclones don't discriminate. They just wreck and kill.
- Despite bad economic times, Disney theme parks in the USA continue to thrive. That's mind boggling.
- Politics keep going on and people seem to think it is going to be different. It doesn't matter.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The next issue was the cell phone tower issue. The council tried to assure us that they were on top of the issue and that they were going to try to persuade the cell phone companies to use "distributed antennae technologies" or "non impact" technologies instead of a 125 foot tower. I am seriously incredulous especially after witnessing how they botched a driveway ordinance. How do they expect to stand up to cell phone companies?
Monday, May 12, 2008
The point here is that when she didn't understand me I yelled louder to her, as if that would help her somehow understand better. My father used to do the same thing. If you didn't understand that 7 times 6 was 42 he would yell it louder to you as if more decibels would get it across your cerebellum better. I should be more conscious of this trait that I have and try not to do this. But I guess its something that is etched into your DNA and is really hard to change. I'm working on it.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
That's not the way life runs.
I roll with it.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
I have been through much. I have lost an eye, endured cancer and its treatments. I have had heart bypass surgery because of the cancer treatment and yet I don't think I'm bitter or mad at God. I was when I was younger. When I first lost my eye I was mad at God, but I soon saw that this was something that didn't make sense. God didn't make that happen. It was something that just happened to me. It's how you react to these things that really shape you. I guess it is how you deal with these incidents that determine your life's path. If you ask for strength and guidance you usually get it. I get a sense of calmness and peace when others think I should be worried and in a panic. I guess that's how God has answered my prayers. I need to figure out what I do next with it though. I need to figure out my next steps. What would He want me to do next?
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- Don't go into the woods to retrieve your foul ball. I did and got a bad case of poison ivy.
- Don't sit next to someone on the bus who ate Kim Chi for breakfast. I spent the entire 40 minute ride into New York City gasping for fresh air at the buses air conditioning vent today. Phew! Rotting fermented cabbage (yuck)
- Don't try to keep wearing clothes that you used to wear when you were 47 lbs heavier. I am wearing pants that can fall off at any minute. I told my kids I'm like the cool kids. I like my boxers to show.
- Don't discuss politics at work...Ever!
- Don't try to come to work when you have a terrible case of poison ivy. Go to the doctor!
- You should never expect anybody to like reading a list of things they should never do.