Showing posts from November, 2012

Calculated Risk

I have a little confession to make. I have never played the lottery before. Sure, I have thought about it many times when the jackpots reached eye popping numbers. My ex-father in law used to play everyday, and would hit for a few thousand bucks every year. I often wondered if, at about 30 bucks a day, if he spent more than he won each year. But I have never filled out a lotto ticket and eagerly anticipated the drawing, hoping that the numbers would come up and change my life forever. However, on the drive back from an inspection in Chillicothe yesterday, I stopped to get something to drink and thought oh what the heck.

I had been told that the tickets were a dollar each, and you can have more than one set of numbers to play. I asked the clerk for 5 powerball tickets. She asked if I wanted the power play and I said no thanks, like I knew what I was talking about. She handed me a ticket with one set of numbers and said 10 bucks please. I was a little confused, until she explained that …

Party Line

There was a time in my childhood that was very bad. From mid 1980 to the end of 1985, my family went through a very dark period that I choose not to think about for the most part now that I am grown. Without going into the details, I will simply say that my mother was married to a very unstable person who I now refer to as the monster. And while this blog is not bout him, or the egregious things he did to me and my family, I will tell you that hate is a very strong word filled with overpowering emotions. And I hate that man.

Those were the days before my Dad, before my kids Poppa. When he came into our lives and married my mother, everything got better and better. He was a real man, a real father, and offered us stability that we had never experienced before. But the dark years do have a story, one that I may tell in detail someday. This blog is about a very small part of those times.

In those 5 and a half years we moved. A lot. I spent kindergarten and part  first grade in one school…

What if?

Maybe it's just because it is Tuesday. After all, Monday was long but uneventful. Or maybe it is because I am having a higher than normal stress level kind of week. Between performing inspections in Ohio, running projects in New York City, and babysitting the people that I work with, I am stretched as far as I can be. But today has me feeling a bit different, a bit edgy, a bit frustrated, and ready to change course before I completely go full on Chris Farley at Rock the Vote in Black Sheep on the people around me.

Don't get me wrong. I love the job most days. I love helping people, leading a team, and accomplishing goals. It is a very rewarding career and, being that I need a career to get through life, I could think of a lot worse things to be than a Project Manager at the PuroClean. But still, days like today cause my mind to wander, to wonder what if. And so I ask what if?

In the words of Bare Naked ladies, "What if I wake up suddenly and then, enroll at the local coll…

The Fear

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am one lucky dude. I have, at 39, found myself in a job that I love pursuing a career that is my passion. I have 3 awesome sons who amaze and impress me everyday, and have found the person God put me on this Earth to be with. I relate my story to that of my mother, who was my best friend, and how she met her soul mate after many years of struggling. It is a good life, and I feel as though it took me almost forty years to really get it.

Of course, I look back and think of the road that I have traveled and how I have dealt with every fork in the road, each speed bump and pothole I have ever encountered. I love the expression a friend used to carry as the tag line in her email that said "I can handle anything that life throws at me. I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediently. But I will handle it" I have often though of that tag line, especially since the day I told my ex that our marr…

The Myrrh Depot

After enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, I had to return to work this morning. Today was optional for all who work for our company, but Tiffany needed to get some things done (she works with me) so we headed in at our normal start time of 6 am.

About 6:30 or so, I see the front door open to the office and my boss and his brother come in, carrying a new in the box generator they picked up from Home Depot. "Black Friday shopping" Matt told me as they unloaded a couple of ladders and a few other tools. They were good deals, and the items will help us here at the office. But I cannot imagine getting up to go shopping today, the day after Thanksgiving. The stories of crowds and lines and rudeness are legendary, and it is not something I ever want to engage in.

I am amazed that Christmas seems to last for two months now. Don't get me wrong, I love this time of the year. Some of my very best childhood memories revolve around this holiday. And my last great memory…

Someone else's bridge

There is a guy who used to work here that we let go several months ago. He was quite an enigma to me in that he had a tremendous amount of talent in our field. Some days was able to bring jobs in under budget, get letters of reference from his customers, and seemed to be doing well. On bad days, he was cocky, arrogant, entitled and a diva. We thought he could be on the fast track to leadership with the organization, with a little coaching. And we put that ball in his court. He promptly kicked it back in our face. We tried to mentor him asked him to take steps in his development. He failed at every turn. He was slowly burning the bridge, and eventually he had alienated himself from the rest of the team and we had to let him go. It was a shame, but you can only show a horse the watering hole so many times before you have to think he is never going to drink from it.

Of course the stories of people burning their own bridges is nothing new. I could tell countless stories of people I know w…

Esposito and Johnny

Being on the road usually means a lot of quick meals. Because I like to drive to most of my destinations, I often will stop off the expressway and grab McDonalds or Burger King. Sometimes it is as simple as a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew to hold me over til I get where I am going. But I always try to find a local favorite and try it out once I am orientated to area where I am working. In Nashville it was Monell's. In Chile it was this awesome little Peruvian joint. In Sacramento it was In and Out Burger.  And just like those places, I have tried some local fare here. Let me tell you, it is a good thing I don't live here all the time or I would weigh twice as much as I do now.

I mentioned the other day about G. Esposito and sons in Brooklyn. It is a small pork store, but has quite the reputation in the city. Mr. Esposito is one of my customers, and he brings some of his food to us everyday as we work in his house. I have in my possession 3 tubs of sausage balls, a pound of i…

Zingers, career advice, and gridlock

I have never been a "Twinkie" guy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like them and all. And they are even better deep fried. Still, they have never been my first choice on the snack rack. As a fat guy with a sweet tooth, my favorite cream cake from Hostess is the Zinger. Any flavor. They are awesome. You should try them. Tonight. Just run out to Speedway or UDF and grab a pack. You can thank me later. The vanilla melts in your mouth, the chocolate is so rich and tasty, and the red ones are the only thing on this planet that I like with coconut. They even went so far as to put out a Boston Cream zinger about 10 years ago, only to retire it within a few months. They never brought them back. I know, I have been looking ever since.

Soon, my beloved zingers (along with dozens of other sweet snacks) will disappear off the store shelves. Well, kind of. There are no shortage of companies out there who make the same things that Hostess did. And though the competition will never do it…

Day one in New York City

I woke up this morning with a mix on anxiousness and anxiety. I knew that within an hour I would be headed north on the Garden State Parkway towards New York City. I had never been into The Big Apple before, and I was excited to see the skyline, see the lifestyle, and experience, if only a few hours, the city that never sleeps. But I also was nervous about driving into the city, with its reputation for terrible traffic and crazy drivers. As I headed north up the Garden State Parkway, I knew this would be a day I would never forget. And I was right. Today was full of moments and images I will carry with me forever.

As I drove across highway 287 I saw a sign that let me know that traffic was heavy approaching the Verrazano bridge. 5 minutes later I saw New York traffic first hand as we were in wall to wall traffic. Semis whipped in and out of traffic like they were compact cars. People blew their horn for no apparent reason. And I learned that my brakes work really well as other vehicle…

A hazy walk down memory lane

Sometimes, I think I am getting senile early. I will forget the smallest things, causing myself unnecessary delays and stress. Tiffany will send me to the store for milk. I will come back with pepsi, twizzlers, and a loaf of bread but no milk. It is strange, and I suppose not all that uncommon. But when I look back over the span of my life, I seem to follow the same trend. Some moments I remember as if they just happened, while others   seem as though they never happened at all. When I was a kid, there are about 5 years I would just as soon forget, but it seems to be the others that have faded away with time.

Being on the road always makes me get a little nostalgic for the good old days. After all, I used to travel a lot, and each new city and state offered new memories and experiences. In fact, it was because I was on the road that I started this blog. Well that and I needed a coping mechanism as I dealt with the loss of my mother, my marriage, and the haze I seemed to find myself in…

It's (not such) a small world after all

I remember very distinctly flying from Dallas, Texas to Santiago, Chile. It was a long flight, through the night, over Central America and the ocean. I dozed on and off as the plane would bump up and down. When I was awake, I would look out the window and, at one point, I could see a very small light somewhere on the landscape miles below our cruising altitude. And I thought to myself, I wonder who lives there? What's there story? What is their name? Of course, I never will know them, nor will they know me. I will only remember that little light in a sea of darkness from 37,000 feet.

It is not the first time I thought about people living in what seemed to be completely different worlds from the one I lived in. When I was a kid, I stared out the window at the rows of house on the hillside in Scranton, Pennsylvania as my Dad drove us to Cape Cod. When I was a little older, I asked the same questions as I drove through rural Indiana and Illinois on my way to St. Louis. And just today…

30 Days of Thansgiving

On my facebook page for the last 12 days, I have been posting the 30 Days of Thanksgiving. Like so many others, I have been counting my blessings one by one, and reading what a lot of my friends are thankful for in return. It's one of the really cool traditions that social media has brought about. With 18 days to go, I imagine I will come up with some silly things to be grateful for, like hot coffee in the morning or the invention of the McRib. But as I pause for a moment and take in my surroundings, I realize that my blessings go far beyond a few words in a status update.

I am sitting in a hotel room in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Being dispatched for storm duty for the first time in over a year, I left home yesterday and arrived here this morning. As I drove, I couldn't help but be excited about being back on the road and in my element. I remember being in my Belfor truck en route to Nashville, being on a plane bound for Oregon, and being on a 747 headed for Chile feeling the…