Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stories from the Road (10 years later) - Maine

What an amazing drive in September. Driving Route 1 up the coast heading to Maine is a gorgeous drive, and has to be done by all, at some point in their lives. I know it sounds crazy, but when you do it, you'll understand why I tell you. There is nothing else like it. (Actually, when I tell you about the rest of the trip, there may be a few things!) We were driving up from Massachusetts, and had a great time doing it. We arrived in Maine, and decided to camp out in a small town called Saco, which was a few miles away from the famous town on Kennebunkport, home of the Bush family compound. This seemed a nice idea except for one thing. Neither of us had camped out in more than 4 years, and we had no tent, no sleeping bags, no pillows, no camp grill, no equipment at all except for my awesome truck and our great looks. So we went to the local Wal-Mart and headed to the Sporting Goods section. Now every Wal-Mart is the same, just the people who work there are different. But we ran into the most racist person I have ever met in Maine's Wal-Mart. Seriously! I was very upset by this fact, and we were both very appalled by this guy. Anyway, we got our tent, bought some supplies for the road, (like paper towels, stuff like that) and went to a campground to find a place to stay the night. Neither of us thought to get pillows, or blankets, or anything like that. We stayed the night on the ground, with nothing comforting for us. I literally slept with a roll of paper towels as a pillow! But we managed to make it through the night, and the next day drove to Camden Maine. It is a gorgeous coastal town, and has such an amazing feel to it. Well, that night, we went out in the town and had a few drinks. Well, I did at least. We had an unspoken rule that if one of us got plastered, the other would hold off drinking to take care of them. This worked out well for the whole trip. However this night would be one of the rare nights where I was the one drinking. I had plenty of alcohol, and was learning new mixed drinks since they cut off my Long Island Iced teas after only 3. (They thought I couldn't hold my alcohol). So after a few hours of a good time, we decided to leave. Chris had the keys, so he was driving. But before we got in the car, I decided in my stupor that I needed to pee. This was an issue, since we had just closed out the only bar that was open. So, I had a brilliant thought- Pee on a fire hydrant! Chris was trying to politely tell me to hold it until we got back to our place, but I corrected him. "I'm a fireman... I am allowed to do this!" After finally getting back into the car, we went back to our hotel. In Camden, this amounted to a small cabin overlooking the ocean. It was amazing. Of course I realized this when I woke up the next day. That is one trait that I have that is a bad one... I have never had a hangover. But I do have some good times after drinking... there are plenty more stories to come from our trip!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stories from the Road (10 years later)

It started out as a mere idea. My father was offered the chance to drive the country when he was 18, and turned it down to work for his father. He has regretted it ever since. I had the same opportunity when I was 23. I had money saved in the bank, a new truck, and a great best friend. I decided I was gonna go with or without him, but it would be much more fun to share it with. So i called him up and asked him what he had that was tying him down that he couldn't walk away from. Neither of us had anything holding us back, so we started our trip on Sept 22nd back in 2000. We started our trip in New England, because we didn't want to get caught in some bad snow, and cause we wanted to see some color in the leaves. Our first night we stayed at my Great Aunt and Uncle's house in Rhode Island. The house was so big, it has a name! So we stayed there, then went to Gloucester MA. This is the infamous site of the movie "The Perfect Storm", and the town where thousands of fishermen have gone to their deaths. We ate lunch at the restaurant "The Crow's Nest", the one seen in the movie, and was still owned by Bobby Shatford's mother. She was actually there while we ate our "chow-da", and shared stories of the movie being filmed there, and stories of her son Bobby. We also met the family of Murph, the man portrayed by John C Reilly in the movie. We met his lovely wife and their very nice son. We also got to look through a photo album Mrs Shatford had of the backlot basketball games. Every night after filming, Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney would take on the locals in a two on two tourney. Apparently, Mark actually lived with Mrs Shatford in order to learn the nuances of Bobby, and got the info straight from his mom. I have never seen a woman so proud of her son, and the amazing portrayal of him by an actor. Anyway the reason all these people were in Gloucester that day we were was the "sister ship" of the 'Andreaa Gail' was retiring that night. If you ever saw the movie "The Perfect Storm" then you remember the red boat, the 'Hannah Bowden'. They were holding a benefit that night, and all the movie stars were coming back to the town for the event. One minor problem- it was $100 a plate. This was the first thing we were able to do on our trip, and we had no idea how long we were gonna be on our trip, so we didn't want to spend that kind of money on one event. (Looking back we obviously SHOULD have done it, but hindsight is always 20/20). Instead, we drove up to Maine, and camped out in a small town called Saco. But the story of Maine will wait until another day, as I have a huge day ahead of me today. It is the first home game for the Philadelphia Union, and I am working Security at the new stadium. Go Union!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

And so it goes..

I did manage to get permission from the wife to drive to NYC for my audition for Wheel of Fortune. I had a great drive up there, had a decent time during the audition, but ultimately was not picked for the show. Oh well, no biggie, right? Same thought I had. Then I added up how much it cost me to go there: $52.04 for a full tank of gas, $8 to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, (This one hurt the most) $51 to get my vehicle out of the parking garage, then a few dollars more in tolls on the way home. I again realized that I have no issues with driving in Manhattan, I absolutely hate the city. Sure, it has nice things to see and do, but so does Philly. Sure, there are cool places to visit, but Philly has some too. So, I have decided that NYC is just a bigger Philly, and even more annoying. And expensive too! C'mon, $51 for 3 hours of parking?? Really? My ass hurt from that intrusion for the whole drive back. Speaking of the drive back, I took the Holland tunnel back to Jersey to come home. Along the way, I had to cut through SoHo to make it to the tunnel. I texted my wife while sitting in traffic (not moving mind you) and told her I was still in Manhattan, and hadn't made the tunnel yet. One hour later, and I had moved not even a full FOUR blocks!! I though life on the Expressway in Philly sucked, but I was stuck staring at some overpriced stores that were "Fabulous" and all that crap simply because they were in NYC. The one store had a gigantic high wedge shoe covered in what looked like cheap gold colored BeDazzler gems. I cringed thinking how much a pair of shoes was inside there. Oh well.

There is one thing that I did this drive that was different from the other times I was in NYC. I saw the skyline without the Twin Towers. Sad that they will never again rise proudly along the skyline, easily seen from a distance, rising in contrast to the Empire State Building. It is a sad reminder that I lost 343 brother firefighters that fateful day. Brave souls that can only be remembered and honored, not taken out for drinks, or shaking hands with them, or exchanging war stories. Instead they all have the same worst war story.

The 28th will be my son Jackson's first birthday. Scary that the year has passed so quickly. He is just as adorable as his older brother was at the same age, with one exception... He is simply much bigger than Patrick was. We measured them both the other day. Jackson is 27 inches tall. Patrick was no where near that tall at 1 year. Here's to hoping Jackson becomes either my Tight End on a pro football team, or a bruising Forward on a professional hockey team!

This is turning into a rant at this point, so I will end it here. I will do my best to try to become more active in updating this blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thursday 13 ...

This is a thirteen just because I haven't done one in a while. I need to do more, to write more, so expect to see more from me soon.

1) One of my jobs now is working security for the firm responsible for the Lincoln Financial Field and the new PPL Park. The "Linc" is the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles, and PPL Park is the new home of the new soccer team, the Philadelphia Union. I am really excited to have this job, even though the pay really sucks. Bigtime sucks. But to be in the stadium for some awesome events, and actually get paid for being there makes it worth it! I was working on the field during the USA vs Turkey soccer game at the Linc, and it was insanely awesome! I can't wait until the home opener for the Union on the 27th!

2) I just got an email invite for possibly being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune! I can't wait! It is funny, I have always said I should be on a game show. I wish it was Jeopardy or something like Who wants to be a Millionaire, but Wheel is cool too! The advantage is even just making it on the show means $1000 just for being there. I tend to answer most of the puzzles fast, but we'll see how well I do under some pressure. I have to get to New York next Wednesday on my own, for a 3 hour audition, but how neat will it be if I make the show?

3) I am still teaching CPR. I love teaching it, but the company I work for is driving me nuts. They touted this amazing computer system, and so far, ti really sucks. I get the packets of info I am supposed to be handing out to the students a day after the class is over, they forget to tell me the details of the class, etc. I am thinking of simply getting my AHA certification to teach on my own, without the company over my head.

4) This oil incident in the Gulf is horrible. When the first hurricane hits the Gulf coast with oil covered storm surge, the lands will be so decimated... I think the high ups are scared shitless of that happening.

5) I am loving watching and listening to the World Cup. I am really excited to follow all the action, and hope the US team does amazingly well!

6) So tired of seeing all the ads on TV about people learning to bilk the gov't out of the tax money they owe. I owed 29,000 and only had to pay 2000! (with a big smile) This is why our country sucks lately... Pay your fucking taxes when they are due, and don't be such a deadbeat!

7) I have no idea how this is going to become a 13... this is hard to come up with this so far!

8) I went to the casino the other night with a mere $10 on me... and walked out with $200. All I played were slots. I don't play table games, as I am afraid of people like my brother playing against me. He would only see dollar signs on me, and I hate losing money.

9) I am still bugged that I wasn't hired as Security at the casino. They didn't think I was "outgoing" enough. HA! I am more outgoing them most people you will ever meet! If they hire some of the morons they do, and not me, that is their loss. I paid attention to the guards there, and they were hum drum people who didn't care less about the environment or the "air" of the casino. None of them talked to any of the people losing money, just to each other and the other employees. So much for the "relaxed environment and great customer environment of fun for the customer". It was sad. I'm not Outgoing enough? Screw you casino. Keep your lazy not caring security folk, and I'll stop coming there due to people not caring. I'll go to the new casino in Philly, instead of you.

10) I am really excited to see Toy Story 3 this weekend. However, I did agree to work Friday evening, instead of being out to see the movie. So I am not sure when I will see it, but be assured I will during the first week!

11) I wish someone would hire me full time and offer me benefits. I realize that half the area is looking for a job, but I want one. I just am not happy trying to find the "perfect" job. I simply want "any" job now!

12) I have to work on going to bed earlier. I am betting used to these late nights, and am afraid my schedule will make my body adjust to it!

13) I need to find a decent job with decent hours. I need to spend more time with the boys. I love spending time with them, and watching them grow up. I can't help but think of how fun this will be when they grow up bigger, and start playing sports! It will be fun, but I am smart enough to enjoy the time we have now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Random thoughts...

Many times I wonder... why my life turned out the way it did. What if's can drive a person insane, thinking of the infinite possibilities life could have become. I wonder if I had settled down with ex's, how different would my life be? If my car accidents had seriously hurt me, instead of me walking away from them all. If this, if that. We all have heard the phrase "Hindsight is 20-20". But how true is it? My life is crazy, hectic, boring, exciting, ever changing, stagnant, overwhelming, and satisfying all in one. My boys are the greatest success in my life. They are my whole world. I can't imagine how my life would be without them. So why worry about the What if's? why not simply enjoy the now? I do my best. But I admit my life sometimes takes a turn I don't like, and I wonder... What if I was still working at the last job I had? What if I still had insurance? Would I hurt where I think I have a new hernia? Or would it have been repaired again? Would I still be trying to find a decent job (as opposed to any job). I wish things would always take a good turn, but life likes screwing with me. It depends on how I handle it that determines how good a person I am. I like to think that my boys represent how good a person I am. They are adorable, raised in a safe environment, well behaved, and in Patrick's case, well mannered. This shows the things I think are important in life. Safety and manners. The things that stuck with me through my convoluted life. The most important things in life that I can teach my kids are to make sure you stay as safe as you can, and always mind your manners. Keeping those two things in your life will get you far! Anyone agree or disagree? Please comment on this!!