Archive for September, 2011

Earlier this month my wife and I went up to Maine to visit her parents, my in-laws. To arrive at their house we have to drive from Long Island, NY, through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and then finally Maine. It takes usually about 8 ½ hours. In that time there is a LOT of talking going on.

Now if you know my wife, you would know that she is a VERY quiet individual. She is awesome and amazing, pretty and caring but she is EXTREMELY quiet. There are times we are laying in bed and she will say something but I will have to ask her two sometimes three times to repeat herself because she can be so quiet.

One of the reasons I LOVE road trips with her is because somewhere along the route she becomes giddy and she just starts talking and talking and she will go for hours talking about everything and anything. Work, future, kids, jobs, music, TV shows, friends, family, once we even had a discussion about poop!

Well, on our trip I remembered something which made me think about my family and remember how awesome and amazing my family is.

Growing up, my father was a really good father. He had flaws but he did his best to do right by us and teach us to be respectful to elders as well as women.

On the block I grew up on there was this one house, everyone has a house like this, the “troublemakers house”. The family always had their yard looking like a junk yard and they were mean to everyone and everything… unless they were afraid of you. They were afraid of my father so they were VERY nice and respectful to him. Thinking back now, I am not sure if it was my father per se they were afraid of or the fact that 3 of his brothers lived within 6 blocks of us. My one uncle’s house made our street a dead end and my other uncles house was in direct line with our house, one block over so I could literally see the back of his house from my front yard.

Anyway, they had this daughter who must have been 4 or 5 years older than I was. She was mean and ugly, both physically and personality wise, and no matter how nice I was to her, she was always mean especially to me. I mean I never did anything to her and I was, and still am, a really nice person.

Well, she would start an argument with me and when I argued back she would punch me or slap me and since I was brought up to not hit girls, I would not fight back. I have no idea how long this went on for before my mother found out about it. Now I was not a small kid. I was kind of a bruiser, but I was a yeller not a hitter. So no matter how much my mother and father would tell me that hitting her back would be ok, I wouldn’t do it.

SO here is where you would think my mother would have gone over and gone ape shit all over the family and get them to stop, but she didn’t. She did something sneakier and SO much better. She told my cousin Tammy about it.

Well, my cousin Tammy did not take anything from anyone. She was nice to everyone, has a great sense of humor, is pretty and very fair in all things. Well, no sooner did the words leave my mothers mouth than did she take off out of the house, run around the corner to our street and find her. She chased all the way to the end of the road, cornered her and screamed something fierce at her. Basically, she never laid a hand on her but did tell her that if she even looked at me the wrong way she would beat snot out of her.

Not only did I NEVER have a problem with her again but she went out of her way to try and be my friend.

Family is the one of the BEST things we can all have!


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This weeks Writer’s Workshop choice for me was 10 things I would do if I didn’t have to work.

Now, I am assuming we won the lottery or something and money is not an issue, because I know if it was anything less than that I would insist on working. But since the assignment is not that, here is my list:

  1. Spend time everyday doing something with my family

    I spend time with my family every day, but I would spend it doing things we enjoy, since we wouldn’t have a time constraint of going to work.

  2. Spend more time for myself

    I do things for myself, but usually I am interrupted a million times between the baby crying, my wife needing help with something I know its ok for MJ to cry but it’s so hard, as a new parent, to hear her crying and not do anything about it.

  3. Take a family only vacation at least once a year instead of the usually run to visit the in laws type of vacation.

    Right now our vacations consist of going up to Maine and visiting the in laws, and dealing with all that stress so a vacation is a stresscation. I want to have at least one vacation a year just the family, just me, my wife and kid(s) and doing something fun. More than likely it will be a kid-centered vacation like going to the Crayola factory (I SO cannot wait to go… for the kids that is!) or Hershey park, but something we would all enjoy.

  4. Spend more time with my Blog

    I spend a little time with my Blog but I would love to spend more and become better at it, and the more you do something the better you become at it. Right now, I only have a couple of hours to spend reading blogs and writing mine, so more time with that would be awesome.

  5. Do something new at least once a week

    I would love to something different and new every week, like join an indoor rock climbing gym or go kayaking or rent jet skis.

  6. Make a Vlog and be consistent with it.

    I have ALWAYS wanted to get into blogging, but I never seem to get there. I have a lot of footage recorded and I have not edited a single piece and the first thing I did post was a REALLY bad movie review. I would like to do that because it is fun to record and edit, and it’s also fun to share part of my life with other… just like this Blog.

  7. Get back in shape

    I used to be in REALLY great shape. Then somewhere in my 30s it all fell apart. I know I can get back into shape again, and I know it is just a matter of time before I find the time and accomplish this.

  8. Fulfill my pact to hike a mountain 1000 feet higher every year

    I made a pact with my cousin (who now doesn’t talk to me or anyone else in the family anymore, but that’s a different Blog entry) that we would hike a mountain 1000 feet higher every year. We started with Mt Adams. The next year we did Mt. Khatadin (at 5280 feet) and the next year we did Mt Mitchell (at 6288 feet) and I have yet to go to South Dakota and hike the 7000+ foot mountain there, but I will get there, until I hike all the highest points in the US.

  9. Watch my beautiful daughter grow up

    We are having a GREAT time watching our daughter grow. She is only 3 months old but she is SO much different that she was went we first brought her home. She is developing her own personality, she recognizes both myself and my wife and she knows how much I love waking up to her smiles and she smiles EVERY morning when she sees me! I know there are going to be rough patches (most likely from 14-17) but we will all get through them together.

  10. Learn a second language.

    I have always wanted to learn a second language and if I didn’t have to work, I would have time to!



    So that is my list. It sounds a little more like a bucket list than a to do list, but I think I can achieve every single one of them.


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This week’s writer’s workshop was a bit easier.

I received my list in my email and decided that I could easily write about my in-laws and they, uh, unique way of life, but I didn’t want to become disowned by them as I have no idea if they read this or not.

The WHERE I’M FROM didn’t interest me because I am not interested in doing a mad-lib for a post.

My Favorite family recipe? Well, I don’t cook and since my mom has passed, there isn’t any way for me to know the recipes.

And the Top Ten Fall Fashions, well, that makes me VERY away that I am the only male in this workshop. But I don’t mind because I love it!

So this is what happened to me.

I was in nursing school… until recently. I will go back and finish but this is what happened to me, from my perspective.

I worked hard and was doing well in my class. All I had to do was take my final and I was going to be a graduate nurse! I was so excited and I studied my dupa off. I even took 3 days off from work so I could study and pass!

With only 7 days until my final… they burst my bubble! They informed me that some paperwork in my clinical was not “good enough” and needed to be redone! It wasn’t wrong, just wasn’t as good as they expected. So I redid the paperwork!

With only 6 days until my final, I worked on this paperwork, did the best I could. I emailed the teachers to receive some help which they did not return the email or call me at the numbers I provided. So, although they offered me help, and told me to contact them and they would assist me with all this, none was provided. I should have known because Farmingdale College is known to take your money and then not teach. They just tell you to look it up in the book! If I found it in the book I wouldn’t be asking you!

Anyway, two days later I handed in my papers and told them of the predicament and the issues I faced getting the information and figured that was that (especially when a couple of months earlier she told me since I was good on everything she would not fail me on paperwork)

Well, 2 days later they asked for me to meet them the following day about the paperwork and my life just seemed to unravel, the last 4 years anyway.

They advised me that the work wasn’t “wrong” but it was not what they expected of me. That I did all patient care excellent and top notch, that I knew what I was doing and why it was being done and had great relations with my patients. That I performed all patient care safely and gave meds out correctly and appropriately and knew what they were for, that my nurses notes were excellent and directed blah blah blah, but I had trouble putting that information down on paper. (What? But my written nurse’s notes were excellent? Isn’t that a contradiction?) They also told me I should rethink my choice in nursing and that they didn’t feel “comfortable” passing me because of this basically fake paperwork that is not even used in real-life nursing.

So with only 4 days until I graduated, they failed me on my clinical paper, even though there were 5 papers due & 15 clinical days of patient care that I exceeded at. So basically, 2 papers, not even the full papers, only 1 part out of 3 on 2 papers failed me.

I appealed the decision, but going into the meeting I knew by they abrasiveness that I was walking into a close-minded lion’s den. I talked to any professor I could about it, but basically they said “Tough Nuggy” and then my nursing school career at that school ended… with only 1 class to take for me to be a Nurse.

I was so close to graduating and it didn’t happen. All the plans my wife and I had for when I graduated are now on hold. Now I am embarrassed because all my friends and co-workers were pulling for me to finish. They ask me when I will graduate and I have no idea what to tell them. I am ashamed about this even though I know I would have passed if they allowed me to take my final.

I know it will happen. I know that this failure was a failure on the teaching, or lack thereof, of my professors at Farmingdale State College. I know I will finish and be proud and be a GREAT nurse and help people like I want to. I just have to find out how I will do it!

Never give up on your dreams. Sometimes there will be obstacles to overcome, it won’t be that you failed but how you overcame the obstacle that teaches you more.

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This week is 2 years that my wife and I have been married. For a guy who will be 41 the day before our Anniversary, that seems very little.

Most people who are 40 have been married at least 10 years or more and have 2 or 3 kids. But me, I am 40, only 2 years married with only 1 daughter who is only 3 months old.

I decided to wait until I found the right woman because I didn’t want to end up like my friends and family. Divorced! When I was married I knew I wanted it to be forever. I know EVERYONE wants it to be forever, but so many people get married young which turns into being a divorcee young.

My feeling about it is that when you meet someone and get married, you are supposed to learn and grow… together. That is the key, in my opinion.

When you are married too young, you learn and you grow but sometimes one person’s interest go in one direction while the other person’s go in the opposite. That is even ok, depending on the differences.

For me, I thought immediately when I met her, that she was a keeper. She was actually the complete opposite of anyone I had ever gone out with before. To me that was perfect because I wouldn’t have been single if they were the one.

My usual was outgoing, loud, thrill-seekers, who were just slightly shy of high maintence – meaning they loved getting dressed up in high heels and dresses but were just as comfy and their norm every day was jeans and a t shirt.

My wife is friendly, but not quite outgoing. She is actually very quiet. I sometimes have to ask her to repeat herself when I am only a few inches from her. She is also the furthest from anything resembling high maintenance that could be found. And all this is what makes her great.

Everyone has their own flaws and baggage. Hers is no different than anyone elses, but these past 4 + years of getting to know her with the last 2 as my wife, I am so lucky and proud and honored to see her grow into the person she is now.

She is still quiet and friendly (not outgoing) but she is such a GREAT mother. You can tell our daughter looks at her and see the world in her… just as I do. She has changed in so many ways. There are times I think she hates me, but most of the time I know she loves me.

She knows I love her, because I make sure to tell her so at least once a day.

I know I don’t do as much for her as I could but that just makes it mean so much MORE when I do I keep telling her to leave me a list of things to do to make her life easier!

But I do hope that she knows how much better my life is with her in it. How much I love all of our ups and downs we take, because we take them together. She is not into roller coasters, but I love them and life on a roller coaster is exciting and new. Life on a Merry go Round is predictable and boring.

We are opposites in the small, minor ways but we are the same in all the ways that matter most!

I love you sweetie! Happy Anniversary!

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I remember before our daughter was born, my wife would become upset and, well, complain that she would not be a good mother… she was Very far off. She is an amazing mother. She is an even better wife, as soon as she realizes that it’s normal for spouses to have fights from time to time and things do not have to be (and probably will never be) perfect.

We decided to go away and visit her family up in Maine. Her family is great, in their way, and we love them, but my wife has changed so much from when she was younger.

She is now seeing all the things she had to deal with as a child and is not going to allow our daughter to have to deal with those same things. And I am glad because the things her parents hold near and dear to them and how they think kids should act are FAR different from how I was brought up.

Growing up, my parents did have the signature late-60’s 70’s era plastic on the couches, but we were allowed to play on the couches. I remember they had these round pillows that were as long as the arm rest and my brother and I would use them as punching bags and make tons of noise. As long as no one was crying and mom could sleep or talk on the phone, then it was all fine.

My wife was not allowed in her living room unless she was practicing on the piano.

Both of us agree that we will not have any rooms off limits to our kids.

Before we set everything up, they told us that if we wanted to go catch a movie one night they would be happy to watch our daughter for a couple of hours, but they changed their minds the moment we arrived, which is fine, we just take our daughter with us on our adventures such as going to Moose cave and Screw Auger Falls (who names a water fall Screw Auger?)

But then we did get a little grief because our cell phones batteries die fast up here in Maine for some reason. (Most likely because there is no service so they are ALWAYS looking for a connection) Back home my cell battery lasts about 5-7 days before I need to charge it, up here, it was fully charged when I went to bed and was beeping early this morning because the battery was dying.

So at 31 years old she is still worried and stressed that she needs to call her parents if we are running late.

I know growing up, if I was late for dinner my mother would throw a fit. I did not see the big deal. If I was late, it was up to me to make myself something to eat or just reheat dinner, but to my mom it was an atrocity. I knew back then that I would not be that way with my kids. If they are late, then they have to figure out dinner.

We learn from our parents, but as adults we have the ability to pick and choose what we want and don’t want to instill in our children. The old saying is not completely true – we don’t all grow up to be our parents.

This trip has shown my wife many things for her and to me that she has changed so much from when we first met.

We are also learning that making our own rules for OUR family is good, and as it should be.

Will we still come up and visit my in-laws? Absolutely! We just won’t stay with them at their house. We will find a place elsewhere to stay so the kids can be as loud and obnoxious as their father as they want to be! This way we can go out at 9pm or 10pm to do something like get ice cream and not worry about upsetting anyone or waking anyone up when we come back in.

Hopefully by next trip they will want to hold our daughter more and be more “hands on” with her. If not, that’s ok. We won’t mind but I know from how things were with my grandmother that they will be missing out on a LOT of things.

But for now, I am the luckiest guy in the world because I am married to the most awesome woman in the world and next week will be our 2nd anniversary together. It’s only been 2 years so far but I look forward to all the years to come!

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This week’s Writer’s Workshop was difficult at first, but after thinking about it since I had nothing to do while waiting for my car to get repaired, I figured it out.

I remember it like it was only a few years ago. It’s hard to believe it was over 30 years ago that this happened.

I was 10 years old and we were at a family gathering. We did them a LOT when I was younger growing up. My father’s side of the family is from Long Island, my mother’s from New jersey (yeah, we didn’t hold it against her! LOL) So we would all get together at least once a month.

I remember they had rented out a hall and myself and all my cousins were running around the hall having fun, exploring everything. I think it was about 10pm when my older cousin said we were going home. We were staying with them in New Jersey, but the adults were all staying a little longer.

When we woke in, what I thought was, the morning it was my dad telling me we had to go. I had no idea where, but when dad said it was time to go, we left.

We went to the hospital.

Apparently my Aunt Joanie had an “incident” which we later found out was an aneurysm in her brain.

We stayed for a week and then finally went home.

We no sooner walked in the door that my mother received the call… she had gone.

We went back a few days later for the wake and funeral.

I was there with my cousin Tom all week, but my mother wouldn’t let me go to the wake with everyone initially.

Eventually I went and it was hard but not as difficult as I thought it was.

What I felt was more difficult to deal with was the fact that my Aunt’s and Uncle’s were only a few feet from my Aunt’s dead body and they were cracking jokes, laughing and such.

I wanted to scream at them and say “Don’t you have any respect for her. She is RIGHT THERE!”

Of course I didn’t and I remember being upset and annoyed that they were sitting around doing that. I felt it was VERY disrespectful… and I was only 10 at the time.

Of course, many years later and, unfortunately, many funerals and weddings (not much of a difference!!) later I understood.

Everyone mourns in their own way. People deal with pain, anger, hurt, loss all in different ways.

What, as a 10 year old, I remember as Aunt’s and Uncle’s making jokes and laughing inappropriately was actually family relieving their hurt and remembering the good times.

Just because they are gone and it’s new, remembering the good times is still VERY important. I know, when I pass, I hope my family and loved ones throw a HUGE party and have a GREAT time. I also hope they remember me as I was. A guy who laughed a lot, loved his wife and daughter (and future kids) more than anything, and would do anything for his friends and family that he could do.

We miss you still Aunt Joanie!

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This is a particularly difficult blog post to write because just a few weeks prior to 9/11 I was working… in Manhattan… in the World Financial Center… which I had to walk through Trade Centers 1 & 2 in order to get there.

I remember the exact moment, as every New Yorker does, that I heard about what had happened.

I was driving to work at my new job. I had the radio on and it switched from music to news.

I remember being a little annoyed because I was getting into the song, but everyone in New York seem to stop and take a breath all at the same time that day.

I remember hearing a woman talking about how she saw the first plane crash into the first tower and how it had sounded like it was having engine trouble.

I was shocked that it had happened. I remember the DJ’s saying they were able to see the smoke from their DJ booth.

After hearing story after story of people who heard it and witnessed it and such I had to turn off the radio.

Most people were thinking of the people on the plane and hoped they were ok. My thoughts were different.

My thoughts were about the people in the building. Initially the reports were that a small plane crashed and then it was revealed it was a HUGE plane. I know how the buildings were and that these people would be trapped… especially the people above. I also thought about all that jet fuel that would DEFINITELY catch on fire and how it may affect the buildings integrity.

I arrived at work and started preparing myself for work mode.

I walked in the office and my co-worker told me that 2 planes crashed into the twin towers.

I said, “No, it was only one.” And he corrected me and then we went to the front office and everyone was watching as both towers were bellowing smoke from them like chimneys.

I was concerned because I knew people who worked in the buildings.

The cell phone circuits in New York all crashed at once as people tried to call home or loved ones.

My stomach sickened as they replayed the 2nd plane crashing into the 2nd tower over and over again.

Then came the reports of the plane in Pennsylvania and the helicopter that crashed into the pentagon.

I couldn’t watch anymore and decided to just go back to work and deal with it all later.

My mother had called and left about 5 messages on my work voicemail to make sure I was not still working in the World Financial center.

I called her back to reassure her because well, she was a little nuts since I worked about 50 miles north of Manhattan at the time.

I remember trying to go for a run on my lunch hour, as I did often, and I ran with a radio. I remember having to turn the radio off because I was so upset by the stories that I was crying. I am just glad I was also sweating so no one probably noticed as I ran on the streets.

It would be over 6 years before I would use a radio on a run again.

I felt a huge weight of guilt because I felt relieved that my project was over and I was no longer working in the city. I felt horrible for all the victims, but glad that I was not among them.

I couple of years later I ran into a friend and he used to work in one of the retail stores in the base of Tower 2. He said that particular day he decided to walk outside because it was an abnormally nice day so instead of get off the subway and take the tunnels to go to work, he walked outside.

He watched the plane crash into the building and ducked under a car as pieces of building came crashing down around him. He ran from the site and across the Brooklyn Bridge. He said that some of his friends had called home and left messages… goodbye messages because they knew they were not getting out of the building.

For New Yorkers this tragedy was something taboo we didn’t talk about for almost a year afterwards. It was WAY too close to home.

This tragedy definitely affected the entire nation, but I think you either had to be in New York or be an actual New Yorker to really understand the magnitude of how somber everyone was feeling.

About a week later, a group rented 2 big conference rooms in the hotel/conference center/golf course where I was working. They had offices right down the road from the buildings and their office was destroyed so they set up temp shop with us for about 1 ½ months.

We saw this as a good thing because now these rooms would be booked solid for 45 days or longer.

There was a little problem… for the renters. The resort was in direct line with the White Plains airport, so planes flew over the building regularly. We lost notice of them, but I remember the first time I was setting up systems for them and a plane flew over… everyone in the room dropped to the floor.

If 9/11 hadn’t happened I would have thought this to be funny, but I knew immediately what it was. They were watching and with a front seat view after the first plane hit and were still watching when they heard the 2nd plane coming in and then saw it crash.

I feel sad for the people who felt that this tragedy, as well as ALL the injustices which happen in the world, was required.

I feel sorry for all the people who lost family and loved ones in the 9/11 attacks and any unnecessary attacks in the world.

I wish we all COULD get along, but too many people are way too close minded for that to happen… in my life time and quite possibly my daughters as well.

As a New Yorker, I will never forget any of the events which happened on 9/11, as I hope no one else does either.

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