Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Town's Shameful War on Critters

Jogging this morning I realized that my town must be waging a war on critters in my town. On any given day there are at least three carcasses of squirrels, possums or skunks left strewn about on the road after they have been run over by a car or after they have met some other untimely end. Never does the town send an animal control officer to clean up the carcass. There it sits. Day after day. Becoming flattened and twisted by each passing car. It's body being turned into a gruesome display of festering guts and tanning leather until it becomes some hard piece of hairy disc that slides around on the road. Does my town leave these bodies strewn on the road as a warning to other critters? Do they mean to say, "Look what happened to this critter. If you stay here this could be you!!" Why don't we just remove their heads and place them on poles around town? They could place them by the signs that say You are now Entering Township of Washington. CRITTERS BEWARE! and have their head on a pole next to the sign. Or we could crucify them and stick them up by the side of the main roads. This would be more effective than just leaving them on the road.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Family is Funny

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

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Here is a list of things I would like to do:

  1. 1. Bar-B-Q Ribs, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers and drink beer

  2. Listen to music outside on the deck and have a catch with the kids, play bocci ball and frolic.

  3. Laugh with my wife and friends until late into the night

  4. Go swimming

Here's what I will REALLY do:

  1. Stain the fence. All 750 square feet of it. Cut the lawn.

  2. Grill chicken and have it over Romain lettuce and wash it down with a Diet Coke

  3. Yell at the kids because they will be bored and bicker with the wife because I won't be doing enough around the house.

  4. Collapse into bed sore and tired.

Yep. It's a sad, sad existence until the end.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Since I Started Reading The Wall Street Journal

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Food shortages around the world is sparking riots. Countries are hording rice and prices are soaring
  3. Bio-fuels may have caused food shortages and people may be going hungry because we turned corn and soybeans into fuel
  4. Wind Power can't be a viable alternative in generating electricity.
  5. The president and Congress can't get anything done and both should be put out to pasture.
  6. The Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Sterns with tax money and that was supposed to be a good thing for the economy???
  7. 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
  8. Cyclones, earthquakes and more cyclones don't discriminate. They just wreck and kill.
  9. Despite bad economic times, Disney theme parks in the USA continue to thrive. That's mind boggling.
  10. Politics keep going on and people seem to think it is going to be different. It doesn't matter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Annoying Women on the Bus

The 6:50 AM bus is usually a quiet commute into New York City. Most people shuffle into their seats and either open their papers and read or drift off to sleep for another 45 minutes before starting their hectic day. Today was not one of those days. Two women dressed in Gucci prostitute wear stepped into the bus talking loudly enough so everyone could hear them and decided to sit directly behind me. One had a voice that sounded like she had been smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky all night. The two of them discussed such banal topics it made my head spin. It was impossible not to hear them because they talked to each other so loudly. They were discussing how ugly the color of the MetroCard was for goodness sake! I couldn't take it anymore. I was tempted to say something, but rather than get into an argument with these mental midgets, I stuck my MP3 player earphones firmly in my ears and turned the volume way up loud and tried to drown the nonsense they were talking about out of my ears. I could barely hear them after that. I then didn't have to go Cyclops on them!

Monday, May 19, 2008

When You're Little

When you're little life is really much easier. Your problems are smaller. My daughter Diana tells me that she hates being little because she isn't allowed to do anything fun. She can't stay up late and she can't go out by herself. She isn't allowed to cross the street or go down to the shopping mall alone. She told me it's not fair that she's so little. I told her it's good to be little because she doesn't have to do the same chores her sister and brother have to do. (I told this to her as they were clearing the dinner dishes and loading the dishwasher and washing pots.) She looked at them working and grinned at them. They looked at her and sneered. Then I let her crawl up into my lap and I told her that its good to be little because she can still fit into my lap. (She really is getting a tad too big for that but its OK.) She looked at me and smiled and snuggled into me. "So you see" I told her, "its not so bad being little. And you're not little for long." She just grunted at me and mumbled something about me changing her bedtime to a later hour. I gave the answer I always give.
We'll see.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Impending Weekend

The weekend should be spent relaxing and recuperating from the long hard work week. Not a chance! When you have a wife with ambitious plans and three children in sports, the weekend is anything but relaxing. I have resigned myself to the fact that Saturday and Sunday are just more days of work. So tomorrow I shall rise early again and get ready to do the chores and drive kids around and do those things that have to be done until I'm silly with exhaustion. Then I'll go to sleep and do it again. TGIF?

The Homework!

I'm the first to admit that my wife does most of the homework with the kids every night. Every night the three kids have a bunch of homework that they have to get done. My 13 year old daughter takes care of most of her work herself. Sometimes I have to proof her essays and offer guidance, but for the most part, she can work independently. However, my 10 year old son needs total guidance through the entire process. My wife has been doing this since September. It's now May and he hasn't gotten any better at working independently. It is beginning to wear us down. Even my 7 year old girl works more independently than he does. I think it's a boy thing. He doesn't seem to pick up things as quickly as his sisters. I remember when his older sister was in fourth grade. She began working on her homework independently mid year. I'm looking forward to the end of school. I hate homework. It feels like the teachers give it out just to keep some parents quiet. I think kids need less homework and more downtime when they are out of school. It's not effective when after a long day at school they have to spend two plus hours doing more school work. Kids need to play too. And so do adults!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

World Disasters

The world is full of disasters right now. Cyclones killing 128,000? in Myanmar? That's unbelievable. The earthquake in China and all those people killed and so many others trapped in the rubble of buildings. Its horrible. Then there are the twisters that just happened in the Midwestern US that killed so many and dis-placed all those people. The pictures of those people wandering around the remnants of their homes while their neighbors stood untouched was heartbreaking. Nature can pack a punch on you that can make it hard to get up. Just when you think you have everything under control and its going along really well, something like this can take it all away. Each day you get is really a blessing. Use it wisely.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a Breather

Next week I'm going to shut down the department early in the afternoon and take the staff out bowling. The past several months have been extremely hectic here in our department. The demands of the day have been taking their toll on our usually cheerful department, so I felt it was time to blow off some steam and have some fun. I hope that this small gesture will give the staff a morale boost and invigorate them. It's been a long hard winter. We have been battling a tough economy and the organization has been leaning on us to produce. I think we need this little break just to lighten the mood here and get back to normal. Hopefully Between this and relaxing the cake rule we can have a happy group once more!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cell Phone Tower Revisited

Last night my Town Council held a public meeting. Most of the people there were interested in one topic: the cell phone tower. However, they allowed one person who had an issue with a neighbor making a second driveway on his property open the session. After he presented the council admitted that the ordinance that they crafted last year to address the problem of people who needed more driveway space parking on their front lawns was faulty. It allowed anyone who needed more space to dump gravel on their lawn and use that as parking. This was a loophole that some were using and it made for ugly properties and angry neighbors.
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

Your DNA

This weekend I wasn't feeling well. My wife and daughter went food shopping as I stayed home with my other two kids. As I was laying in bed at 7 pm and burping my peanut butter sandwich back up through my nauseous stomach for the hundredth time, it dawned on me that perhaps Alka Seltzer would calm my sick feeling. I picked up the phone and dialed my daughter's cell phone. When she picks up I said, "Can you please bring me back some Alka-Seltzer from the store?" "OK Dad", she answered, "we will get you lots of seltzer." "No!" I said back to her. I need ALKA-Seltzer". "Lots-a Seltzer?" She said back to me again. "ALKA SELTZER ALKA-SELTZER" I'm yelling into the phone. "Put your mother on. When my wife got on the phone and heard what I wanted she started cracking up. My daughter never heard of Alka-Seltzer before, so she didn't know what it was I was asking for.
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

Trying to Stay Afloat

Keeping your head above water these days is tough. What my wife and I had been doing was using the credit card to food shop, buy various items etc. Although we always pay off the balance, it was becoming a big bill. What I decided to do was take the money out of the bank before we use the card. In this way, we have the cash and we tend to spend less than if we use the card. Well we have hit some bumps in the road to say the least. I am trying to keep my marriage out of The Chaz Sheet, but let me tell you, finances put a strain on any marriage. I think in the long run, we will come out better off because we will be more conscious on what we are spending. with the credit card, you are more apt not to worry if the item is a bit more. With cash, it has to be the right amount or else yo can't buy it. I will let you know how it works out.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Talented People

My San Francisco employee was in our New York office this week finally meeting his co-workers for the first time since he began working for me almost seven years ago. As he worked with them and talked about their jobs and their responsibilities, he said to me how impressed he was with all of them. He is right. I have quite a few talented people working for me. They are a blend of skills and knowledge that really do impress those who meet them. When I sit down and think what they have to do on a daily basis it is amazing. Not only do they have their skills, they share and teach one another. That mentoring, the sharing of skill sets each one may possess more of than the other, that is what impresses me most. They truly want to pass on their knowledge and teach what they know. They get satisfaction when their co-workers understand the job as well as they do. Managing them isn't about managing the people. It's about managing the environment in which they work. I just try to insure that they are able to grow in the workplace. In doing this my department benefits and so do I.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yankee Game

Today I'm taking somebody who is from San Francisco to Yankee Stadium. He has never been there before. That to me is really something! I have been to Yankee Stadium as a kid with my Dad to see the Giants play football. It was before they renovated and I remember getting to the seats and there was a big column in front of one of the seats. My Dad looked at the two seats and pointed to the obstructed view seat and said, "that's yours". I really didn't care. I had a great time and my Dad bought me this red plastic horn so I could blow the charge song. I have been to a few Yankee games there. A couple with my kids. So my co worker for SF is going to get a treat. He gets to see a game at Yankee Stadium on the last season they play in the old stadium. The stadium the legends played in. I think he will enjoy it. I hope the Yanks win.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Birthday Girl

Saturday was my daughter Diana's seventh birthday. She is the youngest child of my three. At 5 pm we had 17 little 6 year olds show up just waiting to be entertained for two hours. My wife and I decided to do a house party. We decided against renting out a party place or some type of entertainment because the costs were unbelievable and Diana wasn't thrilled with the activities she had to choose from. We chose to do a house party. We had one of our friends "style" the girls hair, our teenage daughter and her friends did their nails and then there were games. It went pretty well. The one thing I notice throughout the whole party though was my daughter. The way she conducts herself and how she interacts within her group is amazing. She is so confident and sure of herself. I think she is really something. I tell her I think she is a "pip". She is brimming with confidence and self assured-ness and I think she is destined to do some big things. Happy birthday Diana. Many more.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Worry is a wasteful activity. My sister told me she spends 5 to 10 minutes a day worrying about the things she feels merit it, then she puts it behind her and gets on with the day. I guess that's a good attitude. I try to spend little time worrying about things I can't control. I feel that if I have done my best work, made my best decisions, then worrying is pointless. My wife on the other hand worries about everything. She tries to see each action through to every foreseeable conclusion. She can't fathom an outcome that she didn't calculate. Surprises are not something she relishes. She needs to know and control the event so that each conclusion is logically and neatly tied up and handily packed away, categorized and filed.
That's not the way life runs.
I roll with it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reconsideration on No Cake Rule

It has been brought to my attention that my "No Cake Rule" may be viewed as overly harsh and unusually cruel to my fellow workers. I was especially made aware of this from my friend Kym who informed me that they have a rotating cake rule at her place of employment in Old Tweeds Bank! It seems that one person is assigned a person to buy a cake for on their birthday and when that birthday comes up they celebrate it. I will therefore temporarily lift my No Cake Rule and institute "Australian Birthday Cake Rules" to see how it goes. Heaven help us.

New Addition

My sister in law had a baby on April 29th. She is really small, (as babies usually are) and really cute. I had a day off from work yesterday and visited them both in the hospital. They are both doing very well. Catarina is the babies name and she is a good girl. She is so quiet and she sleeps alot. Once in a while she opens her eyes and looks at the world around her, makes a really cute sound and then drops off to sleep. I hope for my sister in law and my brother in law's sake she stays like that for them. They have an active 2 year old at home and he keeps them busy enough. This baby will most likely be the last one born in our family as we are all getting on in years. It was nice to be holding a newborn again. It reminded me of when I had my kids. It just serves to remind you that as you read the bad news each day, there is hope out there with every single child born.