Archive for December, 2008

a year’s difference

December 30, 2008

It’s almost the new year, and frankly 2008 was a tough year all the way around.  My Dad started the year in a nursing home, barely able to stand under his own power and suffering other effects from his heart surgery and stroke.  My wife’s grandmother lost her battle with cancer this fall after a short but ferocious battle, then her uncle died in his sleep of a massive heart attack that very same night.  He was only 46.   My aunt lost her mother to brain cancer a couple weeks before Christmas, and my friend and coworker died after a two year battle with cancer the same weekend.  He was just 49.  Not the best of years in that department.

There have been blessings, though.  My Dad made a pretty amazing recovery, and to the casual eye he’s the same guy he always was.  Not to mention that his new aortic valve must have been recycled from a horseshoe; he’s hit at the casino a couple times this year for 4 figures and got himself a lawn tractor to play with.  There’s a new addition to the extended family, Zachary, and friends are repopulating the area with babies born already and more on the way.  I still have a job, which is no small matter in these days of high unemployment and shitty financial news.  Yes, there is some good news out there!

Overall, I won’t be sad to put 2008 behind me.  Mostly, though, I am looking forward to 2009 and things only getting better.

now i’m ready, thank you big D

December 29, 2008

Bring on the snow, Mother Nature!  I now have some good tires for the van, and I can’t wait to see how well they perform.  I was fortunate enough to score 4 snow tires from my good friend Demo, who no longer needed them for his van.  Thank you, Paulie!

Then, to make the deal sweeter, I went over to Big D Tire in Orchard Park to get the tires mounted and balanced.  It only took about a half-hour.  I used to work at another unnamed tire place that’s popular for sponsoring ball parks (until next season, that is) so I know tires.  OK, so I used to know tires. Anyways, that’s a pretty good time for four tires unless you’re in NASCAR. 

I’ve known Joe, the owner of Big D, for something like 25 years, and I’m glad to see him succeed.  We were always around the hockey rink when we were younger,  did a little partying later on, and he’s a good dude.  He’s in the old Bert’s Bikes shop on Rte. 20 in Orchard Park, at least for a week or so until he moves into a brand spanking new place just about across the street.  There are a couple other Big D’s; one in Tonawanda and another in Cheektowaga.  If you need tires or get a flat or whatever, give ’em a chance.  I’d appreciate it, and I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Also, as a bonus, if you mention my name when you go into the Orchard Park shop, you’ll get a blank stare.  But you’ll always get free coffee.

rest

December 28, 2008

So it’s all over.  The months of planning, budgeting, scrimping, saving, buying, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, giving, singing, thanking, driving, and cleaning again are over.  I am happy for my children, who reaped untold rewards for being nice, not naughty.  I love my family, and count myself among the blessed who are given this time to spend with them.  I’ve had a wonderful time with everyone we’ve been with through this holiday season.

And now I’m ready for a rest.

I’ve still got a couple things to do; another gift exchange, some more cleaning up after the kids, and of course the ringing in of the new year.  It’s also probably going to be the busiest week of the year for me at work as we try to push out as much business as we can to end a bad year on a decent note.  But come January 3rd, it’s me-time.  I swear to God I’m going to take a 2 hour nap every afternoon of the next 4 weekends, and set no goals other than to lose my Christmas weight. 

I know this will not happen, but it’s worth a shot.

how about some clothes?

December 27, 2008

I have just surveyed the brand new temporary play room in my house.  This room was once referred to as the living room, and will be again, but is now completely overrun by the kids’ new goodies.  There are toys all around the tree, next to the TV, blocking the font door, and even occupying a 10 foot stretch of the hall to the bedrooms.  My house is by no means large; at 950 sq. ft. it’s your ordinary average 3 bedroom starter ranch.  But I’m telling you, I have retreated to my basement in the forlorn hope that I’ll finally be able to find a large enough area to stretch my legs out.

I would never presume to tell people what to buy for my children except to ask before buying them guns or a drum set.  I would just mention that it is an incontrovertible fact that clothes take up less floorspace than toys, and also there are fewer screaming and crying contests over shirts and dresses than a really cool doll house.  I’m just sayin’.My kids are thrilled once again this year with all the wonderful things that al of you thoughtful folks got for them this year.  And I figure that we’ll get the toys all cleaned up and put away in time for the 4th of July.

right now

December 24, 2008

My dear friend Jennifer has tagged me with this one, so here’s the picture:

Right Now

Not too pretty, even though it’s 3:30 am. 

Rules

  1. Take a picture of yourself.. riiiiiight.. NOW!
  2. DO NOT change your clothes. DO NOT fix your hair.. Just take a picture.
  3. Post that picture with NO editing.
  4. Post these instructions with your picture.
  5. Tag 10 people to do this!

Since I don’t know enough people to tag 10, I will just ask for folks in general to pick it up.  I hope I get ten hits today. 🙂

it’s late, i’m early

December 24, 2008

So it’s 3:25 am, and I have just finished wrapping all of the Christmas presents. Some people may think I’m leaving this rather late, but in all honesty I’m 24 hours ahead of my usual schedule. Go Me!

gonna be a long night

December 21, 2008

Holy crap there’s a ton of snow outside. The wind is blowing, the drifts are getting higher and higher, and the probability that I will have to go outside and clear the driveway is getting stronger by the second.

The funny part of it is that I know that about half of the neighborhood is going to be out there in about an hour because the Bills game will be over. Actually, it just ended, and the Bills WON?!??! Strange day…

black ice + darkness = not good

December 10, 2008

Leaving work today I was walking across the parking lot and wondering why the pavement looked wet.  Suddenly my ass was accelerating towards the ground at 9.8 m/s² while my feet suddenly rose to a position perpendicular to my upper body.  The next thing that I saw was my coffee mug – which was almost full – flying up about 6 feet and falling gracefully to the ground.  It landed about a half-second after my tailbone and about a half-second before my right elbow.  Surprisingly, the coffee mug landed upright and nary a drop was spilled.  Even more surprisingly, there was not a soul in the parking lot to witness my spectacular and spontaneous descent.  What will be more surprising than either of those things is if I don’t need a hoist to get out of bed in the morning.

spoke too soon

December 8, 2008

Post Snowblowing SmileOK, so the very next day, I got the snowblower fired up to deal with a good eight inches of snow. I was soooo stoked to see the curtains of white flying past the windows! It took me a good 20 minutes to dig the snowblower out of the shed, but that’s no big deal. Pumped the primer 6 times, full choke, and 2 pulls was all it took. Fired up like summer never happened.  The exhaust smelled sweet in the frigid air, the rumble of the engine echoing off of…nothing; the snow subduing all but the closest of sounds.  And I was happy!

Now I really want more snow.   I saw briefly on the news tonight that lake effect snow is expected sometime on Thursday.  I think if they predict it this early it won’t be much of big deal, but you never know.

i hope it’s not getting lonely

December 4, 2008

Sadly, at least from my perspective, my snowblower is still sitting in the back of my shed.  It sits quietly, without complaint, waiting for the day I wake up and see enough snow to make it worth my while to pull it out and fire it up and throw the snow far across the lawn.  I miss my snowblower…

snowblower

home game my ass

December 4, 2008

This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will play their “home” game in Toronto.  I don’t care about regionalization of the team, the money Ralph Wilson’s getting out of this, or any possible positives that are suppsed to come out of this.  There is no justification for playing our home game against the Miami Dolphins anywhere besides Ralph Wilson Stadium.  None.  Just so we’re clear.