Showing posts from December, 2010

Roller Coaster Ride: A tribute to 2010

As I sat down to ink a fitting good bye to the year 2010, I planned to write about the years experiences and new adventures. It has been quite a year, from South America to playing in the sewer, I traveled more than ever and saw things I never thought I would see. But I had a change of heart as I typed the words. You can see where I have been and what I have experienced on the pages of this blog. 99 of them before tonight, covering 10 months. And January and February, which came before blog entry one, had their own set of new adventures and experiences. While that was a very good part of my life, it is best to leave it unpublished. Instead, I am going to use this one hundredth published blog to talk about what I have learned in the past year.

October 5, 2010 my divorce became final. After 18 months of separation, and many years of drifting apart, Angel became my ex wife. It was an often bitter and difficult journey, and I had imagined a party like no other that night. Instead, a little…

It's not just dinner, it's an adventure

I like to have fun. No matter what I do, laughing and having a blast is always better than the alternative every day of the week. Don't get me wrong, I know when to be serious. At work, I am focused and driven. When things go south, I know how to take the train and set it back on the track. But most of the time, I like to keep things loose and fun, as it seems to keep the team moving in the right direction. And when not at work, I enjoy keeping the people around me smiling. So when you take me out somewhere, be advised it's not just dinner, it will be an adventure.

As far back as high school, I have been at the center of what I am sure are stories of restaurant lore. On senior year prom night, my date was so embarrassed when I put the straws together and drank the water from the fountain at The Olive Garden. Probably not the best idea, especially when you consider the upset stomach that followed the next day. Another time I managed to accidentally find my way into the ladies ro…

Hazy days of winter

Its cold outside in Columbus, Ohio. It has been for weeks, with the local weather man informing us that it has been more than 2 weeks since we last were above freezing. Now, I love a White Christmas as much as anyone, but with then that white fluffy powder that we ooh and ahh over on the 25th becomes a matted, ice covered slip and fall on your backside hazard by the 28th, it makes me long for spring. And it may come sooner than we think, with the weekend warmup that they say is on our way. It would be a nice way to cap off 2010.

Of course, this week has been very different for me the last two years. And from 08 to 09, the difference was night and day. It was during this month 2 years ago that Mom went back into the hospital, never to return home. Within a day or two she had been put into a medically induced coma to see if she would regain any strength and to make her more comfortable. I never heard her voice again. I had made ten or so trips back and forth, including Christmas. The doc…


Tonight marked another first for me. My Dad is in town, here to see my brother, sister in law and their kids, as well as Angel, the boys, and me. Jewish by birth, he has always celebrated Christmas with us. At first it was in very small ways, as he would tell us that Hannukah Harry came rather than Santa. Over the years his dedication to my mom led to a Christmas wonderland in her house, with the villages and carousels and decorations everywhere. Even putting lights on the house the last few years, something he said would never happen, then surprising her one year with the house fully decorated when they returned from their annual Cape Cod Thankgiving trip. She was so surprised and happy.

Last year, as you can imagine, Christmas was very subdued. I didn't even make it all the way there, as the boys and I got iced in somewhere in the middle of nowhere Indiana on Christmas night. The next morning, Dad got in his car and drove to us, where we had Christmas in the Fairfield Inn and Sui…

A Simple Request

Every night, before I go to sleep, I say my prayers. No, I am not a go to church every Sunday, preach at you, if you are not like me you are going to hell kind of guy. But I have my faith, and I believe in prayer.

In tonights blog, there will be no story about mom, or travel, or todays activities. Tonight's day after Christmas blog is asking you, whoever may read this, to do something for me. Whether its before bed, or when you get up in the morning, or on your way to work, or whenever you take time to talk to God, please pray that everything turns out well tomorrow. No this isn't about me, so please don't be concerned about that. I do not want to go into any further detail, only to say that he knows the need.

A couple of small changes to the blog as you may have noticed. Please note it is now available in a mobile edition for those who can access the blog via cell phone or mobile device.

Good Night All.............

Heart Shattered

I have spoken quite often of my friend Bethany. She has been such a great source of support and encouragement for me since the day I asked Angel for the divorce. Watching me make mistake after mistake, she carefully nudged me in the right direction until I got my feet off of shakey ground. That was not small feat, but she was beside me the whole way.

As noted in previous blogs, Bethany shared a storybook romance for four years with the man she believed she was going to marry. It is difficult to describe how they were as a couple and how the little things that I preach about meant so much to them. All of those solitary moments that will live on forever came crashing down on September 4th of this year. Since then I have spent hours on end trying to find the right words to say, only to come up empty. I advised her she should start blogging, as this has been such an outlet for me and I thought it could be very therapeutic for her. She took my advice, and her words fill the pages beautifull…

The Pocket Watch

As a kid growing up, Christmas Eve was always the most special day of the year. Aside from the Santa visit, the day was filled with so much tradition and family that is was more like an event than a holiday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. Cars would fill the drive way, be parked on the hill, and even in the front yard. It was always a feast, with us kids pushing everyone to finish their plates so we could get to the presents. And there were a lot of presents. Whatever car mom was driving, from the Pacer to the Nova, would always be packed full by the end of the evening, and many years required a second trip just to make sure we had it all. After we opened gifts, many of us would pile into cars and go caroling at Mrs Soth's, The Smiths, and several other homes.

I still remember some of the gifts I got on those days. There was my 10 speed bike the first year mom was married to Mike. There was the race car track when I was eight, and my first trai…

Purple by moonlight

Last December was one of new adventure for me. Unlike the previous year, when I was dealing with my mother's illness, it was a time of firsts for me. As I have mentioned before, I took my first plane ride, from Columbus to Portland, Oregon via Minneapolis. While there I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I also enjoyed a weekend in Seattle during my first trip out west. But by December 21, 2009, I was ready to come home. I had been gone a couple of weeks, and good night calls with the boys just weren't cutting it when I knew there were hugs to be had. And there was another reason I was anxious to get up at one a.m., and drive the three hours from my hotel back to Portland to catch the plane.

When I first arrived in Oregon, I found myself with some time on my hands. I had been meaning to write an ad and post it on a dating website. I decided my first night out west I would do that, and publish it in Columbus. That way if I got any substantial replies I would have a couple…

It's a Krispy Kreme morning

I spent the fall of 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky at Norton Medical Center. A 100 year storm had left the entire city under water, and I was assigned to the hospital along with Terry Guinn, a National Project Manager. During the stay, every few days Terry would look at me at 7 am and say "Mike, it's a KrispyKreme morning". With that, I would jump into my truck, drive 12 miles to the only KrispyKreme donut shop in Louisville, get 3 dozen original glazed and have them back by his 8 am meeting. It became a funny ritual and a foot note in my travel tales. Flash forward to today.

Terry has yet to feed that craving while we are on our current project. Thinking he wasn't even aware there was a store to buy that glazed goodness, I figured I was in the clear. But at 6 pm, just as I was walking out of the project today, he said those words. Tomorrow, as it turns out, is a KrispyKreme morning. Which means I will be up a little earlier tomorrow to get the treats to Mr. Guinn by 8…

A December to Remember

I have spent a good amount of time lamenting about December of 2008 recently. Maybe its the thought of being alone on Christmas that has me thinking about that December that I wish had never happened. But in shifting gears a little, last December was actually a time of excitement and new experience. It was a time in my life I will never forget.

A year ago I was in a hotel in Springfield, Oregon. I had flown out to help that office wade through dozens of claims thanks to a deep freeze not seen there for 50 years. I spent my days driving up and down I-5 with snow capped mountains lining each side. Truly one of mother nature's most majestic scenes, I often stopped on the side of the road to snap photographs. I remember standing on the shore in Coos Bay thinking that just a week earlier I had been standing on Virginia Beach. This trip out west marked so many firsts for me. My first time on a plane, from Columbus to Minneapolis, then on to Portland. My first time west of the Mississipp…

The Drive

By this time two years ago I had known my mother was sick for 8 days. In that time I had tried to get used to the idea, though I don't know that I ever did before she left us. In those 8 days I had already made three trips to see her. Three times I had made the 400 mile trek there, spent as much time as I could, and returned home. I still had a job to do and we didn't know how this was going to turn out. Though I can say in the month long time she was sick I missed 18 days of work and was never penalized, nor was I charged an hour of vacation, PTO, or sick time, a gesture from Belfor I still appreciate to this day. But I digress. I remember this drive more than any other that month. Before I left Angel and I had told the boys about the situation. Probably the hardest conversation I have ever had, I answered the questions I could and promised to hug and kiss her for them. Then I was on the road.

My thoughts as I headed west were about the surgery that was to take place the next …

The Ultimate Best Friend Sin

I have had some truly embarrassing moments in my life. There have been moments when all I wanted to do was bury my head until no one was looking. There was the blurting of the wrong thing at my sons birthday party. Everyone had been talking, but when I said those words, everyone had gone silent a split second before. There was the moment when a child informed her mother that the bed frame in her mothers room had been bent. I wanted to get up and walk out my face was so red. There was the moment I woke up in the middle of the night and....yeah, not sharing that one. But when your best friend reveals a secret vowed to be kept private, the audience and reaction made me want to slink under that table and disappear.

When you have a member of the opposite sex as your best friend, you don't have to worry about regular issues. I am never gonna sleep with one of Bethany's exes, and vice versa. We will never show up with the same shirt on, nor will we both call dibbs on the red head at t…

The third wheel

I am not a matchmaker. I have never said this person would be perfect for that person. The thought has never crossed my mind to hook my friends up with the next Mr. Right, Or Miss Right Now. And yet, I somehow have gotten myself into that very situation. They meet tonight, this whole package blond and the southern son of a bitch. I am not really sure what to expect, I only know that I am to be there as their chaperon for the evening. And that is fine. As they chat and get to know each other, I can check out the waitresses at the bar or watch women'svolleyball on ESPN 9. But really, no one wants to be the third wheel, right? So the point of this short lunchtime blog? If you are free tonight feel free to hit me up, and join us for a Miller Lite or adult beverage of your choice. I could use the company. And you might enjoy the show!

Don't give up, don't ever give up

If you know me you know I live by a number of creeds. I have blogged about a few before, an certainly will again. Don't give up, don't ever give up is one of them. And it is certainly one that is relevant during this month of December.

I first heard the saying when I read a speech given by Jim Valvano at the ESPY awards in the early nineties. He was receiving the Arthur Ashe award for courage. The head basketball coach at North Carolina State, he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A few weeks after the presentation he was gone. If you have never read the speech, I highly recommend it. I read it almost daily. Just google Jimmy V Speech.

He said in the speech there are three things we all should do everyday. Three things that make a day fulfilling. We should laugh. We should spend some time in thought. And we should have our emotions move us to tears. Those words speak so loudly to me everyday, but on this day they are like a neon sign flashing in my head. And I did in fact…

If you build it, he will come

20 years ago the movie Field of Dreams graced us with one of the classic lines from the 80's. If you build it, he will come. It was based upon the theory that of you believe in something strongly enough, then it will become reality. The romantic in me always subscribed to the theory, thinking that if you wanted something so much and believed in it, then it would happen. It was my favorite movie, right up until I saw Walk the Line. Sorry, but Ray Kinsella and Shoeless Joe have nothing on Johnny and June. But I always thought that if you believed in the magic, it would happen.

I have learned recently that just because you build it, it doesn't mean anything or anyone is going to come. I have laid the foundation more than once, only to see it washed away by someones fear or lack of faith. They turn away and I am the one left with a baseball field in the middle of the corn field. I am the one wondering what the heck was I thinking.

Of course a more evident example is Miss Bethany…

A Mix of this and that

As you can probably tell, December is thick with memories for me. From the very special Christmas Eve's at my grandparents home as a kid, to the welcoming of Tanner in 2003, from my mothers battle 2 years ago to the very cool memories made last year, I will be sharing a lot of my past during this month. It's been such an up and down month over the years that it becomes both easier and more difficult to enjoy the Holidays as time passes. I only wish I had been blogging for much longer so I could have captured my thoughts in those moments. Woulda, shoulda, coulda right? But I will do my best to describe the memories, if only for my own personal journal reasons. Hopefully I won't bore you to tears. Apparently I haven't so far.

For the first time today I looked at the stats that blogspot keeps for me. I was exploring, trying to figure a few things out since all I know how to do is post and put it on Facebook. In looking over all the information, I found that this blog has b…

The conversation

It was so cold today. Much like the last few, the frigid air and wind whipped right through my layers of winter clothes. It is very similar to the weather then, when I made that trek to see her. I parked my Belfor F-150 in the parking lot of the hospital, put on my knit hat and gloves and battled the freezing cold to the main entrance. Up the elevator and to her room, I found my Dad sitting in the chair beside her bed. She was resting in the hospital bed, the back raised so she was almost sitting upm I told my father he needed to get some sleep, and he went home. At that time I had the last one on one meaningful conversation I had with her. Well at least the last while she was alive. Many times I have sat by her headstone asking her advice. But that's for another blog.

I asked how she was feeling, she told me that was a silly question. We talked about what the doctors said, the possibility of surgery and what I would say to the boys. Then she said something that made my heart dropp…

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

Tomorrow marks a dark day in the history of our nation. I need not go into the story of how Japan jumped our nation into World War II, as it has been taught to each of us since kindergarten. No, this day has much deeper meaning to me. This is my Pearl Harbor Day story.

I will never forget the ringing of the phone that night. I relive it everyday, answering it and hearing something so unbelievable that I still shudder when I think about it. He had always been a strong, quiet, calm man. With the exception of the occasional stern calling of my name when I was a rebel without a clue in my teenage years, his voice had remained steady since mom married him in 1986. Since that day he had been my mentor, and a tremendous role model. He was larger than life until that moment. Until I heard him say, with his voice cracking, that she was sick. Not just sick. Cancer. Stage 3 Gastric Cancer. She is in the hospital now. The words cut through me like the sharp edge of a sword and I fell to my knees.…

The Brady Bunch

I have mentioned several times how many great friends I have in my life. My ties to them have been well documented in the pages of this blog. One of them has been unrecognized here until tonight. Jenn has been a friend of mine for only a couple years, yet we say all the time that it feels like much longer. And God knows we have been through a lot in that short period. But she knows she can count on me, and vice versa. So today when she asked a favor, it was a no brainer.

Six kids are sleeping in my house right now. That's right, six. Jenn's 3 girls came over about noon today and will be here til the morning. Now most of the time that many all at once would be a handful. But not in this instance. Just as she and I get along famously, so do the kids. The older 3 play video games and hang out together, while the younger ones color and watch PBS kids. It has always been that way since the first time they met. I adore those little girls and love having them over. So days like today,…