Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Time Off

Me and the Missus are taking the week off. We have no specific plans.
Today we are off to home depot... I have no idea of where this will lead us.
I am fairly certain there will be paint involved, and possibly some electrical work.
In case we get too 'involved' ... have a happy New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Merry Joy Joy

Its finally here.

Me on the phone with our dearest friends Christmas Eve morning:

Dear Friend: "Hi, Merry Christmas, so what are you doing?"

me: "Merry Christmas to you too!! Guess."

Dear Friend: "Ha, cleaning... are you having company tonight?"

me: "no"

Dear Friend: "Entertaining tomorrow?"

me: "Nope, going to the in-laws."

Its all for me, folks. The cleaning is all about me. :o)

MERRY MERRY HOLIDAY - whatever holiday you celebrate.

and please remember - be safe...
Don't smoke around the Christmas tree.
Don't run with sissors.
Don't drink and drive... that's for amateurs.

Drink yourself into a joyful stupor - and stay put!

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I just ran down to the Italian Importer in town to get some things for the holiday.
I got some Parmigiano Reggiano, some nice Locetteli Romano, fresh mozzarella and some thinly sliced prosciutto. nice. all set for Christmas eve dinner.
I left my van unlocked... with the keys in the ignition.
It was still there when I came out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Just so you know...

The world has gone mad.
The pre-holiday frenzy has begun.
If at all possible, might i suggest that you stay in for the next couple days.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I want to share what may have been an insignificant passage that happened this morning. It got me to thinking about family and community and neighbors… and destiny.
My wife and I stopped in at our mechanic this morning. We have been stopping in there quite a bit these past few weeks (if you have been reading along …you know what I mean). This morning’s business was to get the paper work finalized on Ferris’ car and have it hauled off for scrap. Our mechanic, Dave, runs this family garage that has been in town for generations. Dave is the nicest guy you ever wanna meet. Always a chipper hello followed by a ‘How’s the family?’. I don’t think I have ever once left his shop without an anecdote or tale about his family… or perhaps another customer with a problem similar to the one I might be having at the time.

This morning was no different. And even though we were not there about the van… when I asked a question in passing Dave went right out to take a look, kneeling down peering under the carriage, opening the hood and poking around in this crazy 0 degree weather we are having. He made sure I could get through the next couple days safely.
Cuz that’s the kind of guy Dave is.

But what really got me to thinking today was this… while we filled out the paperwork – Dave noticed my wife’s last name on the title. He paused thoughtfully then said, “Say is the same [lastnamehere] who lived over on Suchandsuch Street” … and after some bantering back and forth they discovered that Dave went to high school with my wife’s aunt, and even remembered the little white ranch house where she lived.

These are the things that happen when you live in a community where you grew up, where your parents grew up, where you have local family businesses that have been around for generations. It's not all that common around here these days… in one of the richest counties in the U.S. – with transplants from all over, and so many who grew up here saying they can’t wait to get out.

I don’t think either of us stayed here because of any of this. We just did. It just happened this way, made sense this way, worked out well this way. This, I suppose, is what destiny is.
It made me feel good today, even proud… to still be here-- near where I grew up, near where my parents first met, near where my grandparents settled right off the boat from Italy.

My wife and I often marvel at how many times our lives intertwined before we met – without us even knowing.

We have talked of moving… off to PTown, or up to Canada to marry, or why not to a warmer climate – but if we end up here, where generations before us were, where we were born, where our children were born, so be it – perhaps… I will even revel it in.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Snow in CT

Got our first measurable snow here last night.
My fit and active wife wanted to shovel, saying it was such a small bit of snow…but I would have none of that.
I brought out the behemoth.
I love those tidy snow thrower edges.

It’s a bit chilly here too. It’s noon and its only 7 degrees.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Calm before the storm?

Went to the mall last night and it was eerily quiet.
Just got back from Wal-mart (which here at the office we refer to as the Evil Giant).
I easily got a parking place, and waiting behind only one person at the checkout.

What's going on?

Thursday, December 16, 2004


She's back. She's better than she was before.
No really.. get this. Not only is the van driving so sweetly, just like new --
but now the long broken rear wiper AND the odometer are working again too!
It's like a Christmas miracle.

Ok ..well perhaps not a miracle. But it's rather convenient.

So back to Plan A - which is to keep the old girl on the road another two years.
That would make her 15 years old and I ballpark about 190k. Then we can talk about moving on.
Or perhaps I can learn something from Karen whose '77 pickup is still working their land.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My Quest

As I have said too many times…I love my van. Functionally it’s the perfect vehicle for our family. I got the van back when the kids were much younger. So when Ferris was playing both soccer and baseball as a lad – he would use the van (with its back tinted windows) as his personal locker/changing room. Running off the soccer field into the van – quick uniform change and a cool drink from the cooler and then up the hill to the ball field.
When our daughter was a teen, she could listen to her music through headphone hookups in the back seat, while her mom and I could chat quietly up front. Both kids learned to drive in the van (this is especially notable …since they are 8 years apart).
The windows have decals from most of the universities our daughter attended, and left over stickers from our Pop Warner days.
I still have an unused cellular antenna on the van… remember those? The first phone we had in the van required the cigarette lighter for power. It was mobile…but you needed a briefcase to carry it.

My van has captain’s chairs in the second row. One of those chairs has sat in the garage all these years, because it makes a perfect spot for a big dog to sit.

If I take out both middle chairs and slide the bench seat forward – I can fit sheetrock flat in the back. I have done that more times than I care to remember.

I can’t even count how many times my spontaneous wife and I were out shopping and bought furniture, or an appliance or a gas grille, a shrub or some other hard to transport item…and just popped it into the back of the van. Everything always fit.

It’s the ultimate vacation car. Pull out the middle seats; cram the back with beach paraphernalia and you can still fit 4 comfortably.

And let’s not forget its most recent fun trip, taking our kids to the DMB concert this summer.

My van is 13 years old, and has …well we don’t really know the mileage since the odometer stopped working a couple years ago…lets just guess about 160,000.
To look at her you would never know it. She looks good for an old girl.
But …as to be expected – her health is beginning to fail. Oh sure…there were signs. First the door locks started locking …at odd times… kinda like Alzheimer’s. The back wiper stopped working… could be arthritic. Lights on the dash here and there work intermittently. There’s more rattles and squeaks than there used to be.

Well, the old girl broke her axel the other night. Ferris was driving when it happened. Luckily he was just pulling out of a parking lot – and handled the situation like an old pro.

I spoke with the mechanic yesterday, they tell me there may be other problems … possibly the transmission; there is also something with the front suspension. We won’t know for sure …until they can get in there and fix the axel. So we wait. Pacing. Nervous. Not sure how it will turn out. It may be the old girls time. But I am not giving up on her yet. (Ferris would be rolling his eyes now…).
Then again… there is the cutest little blue Cabrio at the used car dealership in town.

Monday, December 13, 2004

such a clatter

Twas the night before last, when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung so the Free dog couldn’t reach,
in the hopes that presents would soon be in each.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of new cars danced in their heads.
And mamma in her flannels and I in my cap
had just settled down for a long winters nap.

When down in the living room arose such a clatter,
We sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

… and sure enough – the Christmas tree had fallen over.

Why is it these things always happen at 3 a.m.?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Just pay for the manicure

My lovely wife and I attended my company’s Holiday party last night.
She was a vision of beauty of course. And I painted my nails red for the occasion. I may have mentioned before – this is not something I do on a regular basis. Actually, I have only done it perhaps three or four times …ever.
I have a new found respect for the Nail Technician. This is not a DIY job to be taken lightly. Some things are better left up to the professionals.
But after 3 or 4 coats and some clean up (this was my own desperate idea…it involved tissues, polish remover and one of those cuticle stick things – it was effective although not efficient) and the mood-setting low-lighting I think it was passable.
Also, red nail polish is rather stubborn to remove. But it’s gone now and the nails have been trimmed back to their normal active length.
It was a lovely party. And better yet we were home and tucked in by 11:00.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Canada here we come...

CNN Alert Name: Same-sex marriages

Canada court approves gay marriage
12/09/04 10:20 AM, EST

Canada's highest court said Thursday the government can redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but it added that religious officials cannot be forced to perform unions against their beliefs.

read the FULL STORY

...gonna make that drive to PTown a little longer this year.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Really big presents

We should probably just get rid of our TV.

Last night I watch a flurry of commercials where couples give each other cars for Christmas.
One attractive slim woman came out of her very modern art deco home, guiding her husband who had is eyes closed to a brand new Jag in the driveway.
The next commercial was a clumsy young man trying desperately to figure out how to put a really, really big bow on the Lexus he just bought for his wife.

Ok… Here is my question – and really …feel free to comment cuz I really don’t get this.
Whose money is getting spent here?

If I went out and bought my luxurious wife one of these – I am thinking she may notice the $89,995 deficit in our account.
But really …it’s not the dollar amount that I am questioning.
Even if I went out and bought… lets say a more sensible car… I am still spending ‘OUR’ money.

I suppose you can say the same is true if you go out and buy any gift at all for your spouse…but c’mon people… this is not a new watch, or string of pearls here.

I also understand that there are people so rich that 89k outta the checking account is no big shake… but are these people sitting around on a Tuesday night watching NYPD Blue.
And would these incredibly rich people, watching weeknight TV, really see a commercial like that and then slap their forehead and say ”Oh! Yes… I can get Tom a Jag… what a great idea, I’ll pick it up tomorrow on my way back from daycare.”

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Got our tree!

After all...

I am a tried and true Saints fan.

I graciously accept my defeat, turn briskly on one heel - and head straight for the bar.

Congrats Ace...and your blue Panthers.

Friday, December 03, 2004

oh and...

We got game.

Seems me and my blogger pal Ace have a bit of a rivalry going on this Sunday.

Of course since she actually lives in 'Panther country' she will get to see the game.
Me...I will end up having to watch the Jets, or Brady and the Patriots...or perhaps the Giants swapping quarterbacks all day.

I'll have my game face on...and my Official NFL New Orleans Saints Jersey, with my matching Fleur-de-Lis socks of course.
(tho, I don't have a nifty mascot like Ace does... might just have to dress up Riggs)
I probably should have mentioned we are not going to PTown until July.
(yes, we are that excited).

In today's pet news - our only healthy pet (the other two are hospice pets) has a magnificent case of diarrhea (yup..that's the FREE dog). Last night she was confined to the mudroom, and my poor wife found the horror of it all this morning. She was pretty pale and woozy (my wife...not the dog) by the time I got downstairs.

Well ...gotta run now. Going home to check on the 'explosive' situation.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Looking for some part time work

Made our PTown reservations …we are sooo going this year.
We have missed our annual PTown trip for the last couple years. Actually, it’s been three years since we have had a proper PTown vacation.
This year we will to celebrate our 20th anniversary there.
So we booked early.
Full week…in town.
I may start packing this weekend.

…in other news we made a disturbing auto-mechanical discovery yesterday. Ever hear of a ‘timing-belt’? Well we found out these things need to be changed... preferably before they fail.
And evidently this must be a very hard thing to do, because you pay dearly to have it done.

Both of our cars are going to need this pricey maintenance repair.

On the bright side, neither car has had an actual failure of said timing-belt – especially with my van at 160K miles we are very lucky, as this can pretty much ruin an engine.

technically speaking if you have an interference engine and the timing belt slips even one notch, the piston can crash into the valve causing serious engine damage by bending valves and breaking pistons. <-- this sounds bad

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Our evening

So we are sitting at the table last night for a while before going to the airport to get Ferris. My really smart wife was doing algebra while I was doing my nails…
Huh, what?!… this is where you say – You were doing your nails?
Ok, for those of you who don’t know, or have not yet been able to surmise from my writings – I am not so much of a ‘do your nails’ kinda gal. Not that I favor flannel shirts and work boots, I am just generally too practical. I work with my hands a lot around the house – from cleaning to home repair. And just don’t have the time and energy to worry about mucking up my nail polish. It’s kinda like… what? Oooh – you were wondering instead why my brilliant wife was doing algebra?
Actually, relearning may be a better word.
Ferris has been away over the holiday, and missed a couple days of school. Knowing he needed to do some catch up (this is done on the flight home of course) he called my math wizard of a wife and asked her if she could go over some algebra with him on the way home in the car from the airport.
So she spent much of that afternoon trying to remember algebra from the examples in his text book. It was quite endearing.
The car ride home was hysterical. It was very late. We were all a little daffy. The two of them in the way back seat of the van with the light on hunched over the algebra book. From where I sat I am not sure who was teaching whom.

My nails look great, by the way.