Sunday, November 21, 2010

Warm days and Cool nights

There are still times when the idea of living in Waxhaw, North Carolina are strange. They are few and far between but still exist none the less.

Yesterday was one of those moments. Brianna was off with her dance team for a competition in Greensboro NC some 2 hours away and Lisa, myself, Emmarose and Kati went to the local shopping center for a few hours.

The shopping centers here are very different than the centers I know from NY. They are social gather places, for comparison thing of the Lifestyle center at Smith Haven Mall except larger.

Well Blakeney is all decked out for Christmas and looks very nice. The od thing was that it as about 68 degrees and shorts are still evident on many people including me. Don’t get me wrong this is not Florida, nor would I want it to be but I can get use to this as a regular thing.

Well, than the nights come and the heat bleeds off like poop through a goose. It gets so cold it catches you by surprise, at least for me.

I am sure I had similar days in New York, just became so accustom to them that I stopped noticing.

Looking forward to getting back to NY this week to spend time with family and seeing New York through new eyes, literally and figuratively. I have a feeling I will appreciate it more than ever!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lies Lies and more Lies!!!

So this week is half over and my travel is continuing. Just printed the boarding pass for Birmingham Alabama. I am told this is the deep south and I will blend right in. I guess we will wait and see … more to come on that.

The trip to Yuma AZ is still weighing heavy on my mind. I have had about 3 hours sleep in the past 36 hours most of that sleep was in planes or airports.

The journey home to Charlotte was going to be a challenge from the time it was booked. You see I had to be financially responsible to select the best price on the airline ticket since I was spending the corporate dollar, Don’t get me wrong, I know it makes good sense but at what cost. One layover … two layovers when does it stop. Well it stopped at two layovers as follows.

We leave 96 degree Yuma AZ at 6:40 PM PST and fly to LA which is about 55 degrees. We land at approximately 8:00 PM PST. Our next flight is from LA to Phoenix, yes back to AZ because that makes great sense!! The departure board states that the flight from LA is departing at 9:00 PM PST and is on time. If this were true it would have us in Phoenix at 10:15 PM PST with an hour before our final leg of travel departs.

Here is where the lies begin. You see the board states that the flight is on time yet it is 9:15 PM PST and there is no plane on the ground. It is running late from wherever!!!

The rather masculine looking women at the gate announces that the plan will be on the ground at 9:20 PM PST and will arrive at the gate for a quick turn around. The board still states flight on time!!!

I wait patiently for a plane and an update knowing full well that precious time is being wasted. The flight from Phoenix to Charlotte was due to depart at 11:15 PM PST and we had to change terminals since it was on a different airline which would require us to pass through security again.

It is at this point now 9:25 PM PST that I approach the aforementioned masculine women at the gate and explain our situation. And this very masculine women who could actually be a slightly feminine man looks at me with little to no confidence and states no problem you will get there in time. Since I don’t feel overly reassured I explain that there is a flight to Charlotte from LA that departs at 10:45 PM PST and ask that she or he look at to see if we can get on that flight to ensure that we get home at the god forsaken hour of 6:00 AM EDT. My new friend at the gate … huffs loudly as a result which I can smell what she or he had for dinner, at least that is what I hope I was smelling anything else would be sickening!! After a few clicks on the key board I get the sorry there are no seats available, but you will get to Phoenix in plenty of time. I just love an optimist!!!

With no other options, the plane from wherever arrives we are not forced to board with this announcement. “All passengers all rows please board!!!” The mad dash and resulting log jam results!

Finally our fate is defined as the plane experienced wheels up at 10:15 PM PST. No chance to make it there in time. To my surprise, the pilot announces that we will get in ahead of schedule and for those with connecting flights you should be able to connect.

We pull up to the gate in Phoenix at 11:10 PM PST leaving use 5 minutes to get from terminal 2 to terminal 5. Despite knowing that the door closes 10 minutes before takeoff we make an effort as you never know that flight could be late too. We arrive at security in the half disrobed state needed to pass through security only to be greeted with “what flight are you getting?” Charlotte … a laugh and smile sorry left 3 minutes ago … it was ahead of schedule. My lucky day.

Next stop Brandon B. in Baggage to rebook!!

Brandon B. an obvious aspiring comedian proceeds to hit us with his best act while he tells us that there is little to no chance that we will get on the first available flight which is due to leave at 5:40 AM PST some 6 hours from that moment. Sounds like the truth but turns out to be a lie as we get booked and we sit and wait.

The airport night crew is proceeding to clean the entire terminal with equipment that could strip pavement so sleep can’t be had if you wanted it. In addition, the cleaning crew appears to have a goal to make the entire terminal smell like dirty feet. Mission accomplished.

While I never for a moment thought that we would make the final flight home I still believe that the lies were designed to prevent additional work for those sharing the lies.

I cant wait until I get to consider west coast travel again!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wearing a New Pair of Pants

We all have done it. We have all put on that new pair of pants that is like every other pair of pants but they are not ours.

The first time you wear them, it just does not feel right so I always try to wear them on a day when I am very busy … it keeps your mind off the change. Well today I am wearing a new pair of pants and I am not busy.

Today is the first Sunday in a long time where we are not together as a family. The day is going well but it is just long and feels strange. I have spoken to all my girls today but it just is not the same. Hard for me to believe that I will be doing this for the next two months in some way shape and form.

I went to mass today and guess what … not my pants. Same religion, same format but just not my pants.

Thankfully the girls will be back come April 21. That will be great.

For those who might think that a decision like the one Lisa and I made is easy it is not!!! The sacrifice is huge yet we do believe it is the right one.

Like all new pairs of pants this one will become more comfortable and could even become our favorite, especially now that I pay the $5 extra for the long rise!! When did they raise the crotch in pants? When did my crotch lower? Who knows.

For those that might read this know that I am doing fine and I am one day closer to having a more comfortable pair of pants.

Go Rangers … Don’t waste the opportunity.

Friday, March 26, 2010

So much for minding my own Business

Flight to NY today … again. Sitting eating a slice when the gut next to me strikes up a conversation.

Picture him Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump after the war.

He opens the conversation with “Can you believe this Obama and his F%^&ing Healthcare?’

My response was a generic, “I guess you have a problem with it.” Not wanting to tip my hand one way of the other.

His response back “Why you don’t!!!!”

My conflict sensor goes off and I try to think how can I get out of this moment quickly and quietly.

Let’s keep in mind, I don’t view myself as a very approachable person and I like it that way so I am thinking why me?

So he proceeds to rant and rave about the plan and all the failings it will have and all the problems that it will create for hard working Americans. He is offering his opinions which I am for some reason patiently listening too with a polite smile. I am really not saying anything in return. Not because I agree with the plan because I don’t but more so I don’t want to feed into the event.

Lt. Dan proceeds to move his comments to this past Wednesday when a self proclaimed “beyond liberal Chink” invited herself to sit with him in another airport and began to berate him on the virtues and promise that the Healthcare plan will offer. He seems to be getting to a frothy fervor over this persons offering and tells me that he said “take your skinny little ass back to the seat you cam from!!!”

At which point I am finally fed up with his over opinionated personality and I offer to him to take his not so skinny ass to another seat where he might find someone who actually cared about what he had to say.

The look on his face was priceless as it told me he grew accustom to taking up other people’s time with his diatribes.

Not me … my time is worth no more than other people’s time until I decide that you are wasting it.

As I was walking away … he offered his final words of wisdom.

“Her name was Zhen, watch out for her she will drive you crazy!”

Flight begins to board momentarily and I will not miss Lt. Dan!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did I just see what I think I saw?

Today I went out for a run, no not a treadmill run but a true outside run in Concord. My hotel is on Speedway drive or parkway and right across the street from the Lowes Motor Speedway.

As we all know NASCAR is big in the south and very big here in NC. I know a big race is coming up in May but beyond that I don’t know too much and frankly don’t care too.

As I came around my first loop near the track, I saw a sign that said camping? As I came around the second time I saw the same sign and paid more attention and the area I saw was full of RVs. They were side by side, front to back and all over. I saw people milling around but did not see much more.

The question I have is why? Why would people be at a race track when no race is schedule. It is bad enough that I can’t figure out why they would be there when a race is on.

Don’t get me wrong I am not judging the people but seeking to understand. I guess it might be fun????

I can’t wait to get Lisa and the girls in an RV at the track. This has the potential to be the best vacation ever!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

People are strange

As Jim Morrison says … People are strange!

By no means am I a seasoned traveler, however I just can’t understand a few things.

1. Why do people line up and rush to get on the plane? It seems to me that they do it just to crowd the area for those that are suppose to be boarding the plane. Zones don’t seem to make sense but there is an order to follow.

2. When on the plane why do people feel compelled to call everyone they know to tell them they are sitting on the plane? Ok I called Lisa to let her know we were going to take off, that was it.

3. When they announce that all electronic devices should be turned off, why do people rush to call more people? I actually saw some one get yelled at today like a third grade kid who did not listen to the teacher …. it was great.

4. This may be the strangest of all. As I sat in seat 21 D waiting on the runway for 30 minutes (no big deal given the weather) the people sitting in 21 E and F who did not know each other strike up a conversation. The person in 21 E is a male rock star and the woman in 21 F appears to be a grown up beatnik from the 60’s. The conversation started and never stopped. It ranged from work, world travel, performing, music, jewelry making, dogs and marriage. I sat there as these people appeared to pour their souls out to each other. This struck me as strange but you know I guess you can find therapy anywhere and this was free.

The really strange part for me was when we were preparing to leave the plane. Shane and Barbara grew to know each other so well that they proceeded to hug full on as a good bye. Once again these people did not know each other before this flight and I know that for a fact because Shane was hitting me up for conversation before Barbara filled the last standby seat in 21 F. Thank goodness for that, most of you that know me well know that conversation is not my strong suit and I really have all the friends I want in my life.

I have to admit though at the end when I saw them embrace, I could not help but think that hug was meant for me, and a feeling of emptiness came over me …….

Those of you who believe the above paragraph really don’t know me as all I wanted to do is smack both of them in the back of the head and remind them that people are strange.

5. The last thing I found strange in my travels today could be viewed as a sensitive topic. I am talking about breastfeeding! No big deal right! I am a grown-up, I know how they work! So when I get on the plane the woman behind me in 22 F is feeding her baby on pump #1 while apparently priming pump #2 … I keep my cool as I put my carry-on in the overhead. Now I should say they are in plain sight and she is apparently very comfortable with this as was the woman next to her who was with her.

Now for the strange part … once again, as we are getting ready to deplane I was standing near my seat facing in the general direction of seat 22 F where the mother and child seat waiting to get off the plane. The formerly exposed mother notices that her bra is showing to which she turns to her travel companion and states “why didn’t you tell me that my bra was showing, I am so embarrassed.” Go figure? I could only imaging that her embarrassment was due to the fact that she was not wearing an $80 Victoria Secret lift and form special???


Once again, People are Strange.

So that was my flight experience today and I was only 40 minutes late getting back to New York.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When in doubt Beer is the constant

There are moments in everyone’s life where things are uncertain. Where odd is the norm and familiar is needed just to get to the dawn.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a great deal that is certain here and makes perfect sense but some things just don’t work for me yet!

The news is driving me crazy!

I have tried NBC, CBS, and ABC …. by the way they are not on 4, 2 and 7 respectively which is just problematic as I am use to saying put on channel 4, for NBC and 2 for CBS and so on … now that just does not work! Here CBS is on 3, NBC is on 7, and ABC is on 8 …. how does that work?!?!?!?

Well, lets get to the real issue … Chuck and Sue don’t do the news here!! I can’t get use to the broadcast that always looks like channel 12, not that there is anything wrong with that. I have just had enough of potholes, recycling and the complaint of growing taxes in and around Charlotte … another by the way … the taxes are about $2500 a year!!

While I have committed to myself that I would focus on the similarities and embrace the differences I just can’t get past this news thing … where do I get my comfort from? … Beer!

Beer … tastes the same here, is available at many stores, you can find it a short distance from the Aleve at the CVS and Walgreens what a pleasant surprise.

It has not helped the news but it does help me fall asleep before the news comes on so I guess it is working!

Back to NY tomorrow into the teeth of the Snowicane!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Light on the Horizon

Today was the first day that the new office felt like my office. The atmosphere left behind by the prior manager is fading and this is only natural. Feels like progress in so many ways.

Did a great deal of driving around today after work hours to see neighborhoods. The houses are very nice and by my standards big, big, big…. Looking forward to Lisa and the girls to see what I see as it will become even more realistic.

While I can say there is light on the horizon … there are absolutely no lights on the rural roads. Takes a great deal of getting use to … boy was a driving like a little old lady tonight. It is very different. I passed more cows than I did stores … I guess I will get use to it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Organized Chaos

Well as would be expected the first week of dual living has posed some challenges, but nothing that we can’t overcome.

As for the relocation, that will be another story. It seems like we have more “help” then we need. Realtors are everywhere, finance people are everywhere and the formal relocation person assigned to me is ready to go even though we are not.

It seems that the only agenda that should count is ours but it appears that all others have their own agenda and want to push those through. I am usually a patient person (in some cases) but I can see that I will have to define clearly what help is and make sure that all my new resources understand that clearly.

If I hear one more time that we have to start moving on this because we don’t want you to miss the spring sale season I will poke my own ear drum with a pen!

Let me make it clear, I understand and I know the pace I want to move. I want to sell my house just as much as the next person but we need a place to live for the time being.

On top of all of this Charlotte took on 2-3 inches of snow yesterday. Not a great deal by northern standards but crippling to the Queen city. They are expecting ice tonight and more snow possible. Glad I made it out when I did …. this is not the south I expected weather wise!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore!

This is the first day of many that I will be navigating two lives, one here in Charlotte and one in New York. Well let’s face it, Lisa will really handle the New York life.

So my NY to Charlotte flight was cancelled this morning and when I ask why I get the abrupt answer that the crew was unavailable. I asked if they got caught up in the weather somewhere and the answer was I don’t know. I asked if this was a regular thing? and the person behind the counter responds with a resounding “I hope not!” I was surprised at the offering but took it and moved on.

So I hit the ground in Charlotte some two hours late, no big deal until my luggage does not show up at baggage area B2. I wait, and wait and wait still no bag. Now I have to go to the dreaded baggage counter, good news there is no line and I am greeted by a smiling person behind the counter and she offers her help. I give her my claim check and she immediately says “I just to this bag from the sky cap, it is right over here.” She gets the bag for me and off to the rental counter.

Well, my car is ready and I get on the shuttle bus and the driver makes small talk. She comments that the ride will be about 2 –3 minutes. We pull from the curb and she proceeds to the next cross walk. A person is in the cross walk and she stops, rolls down the window and starts to ask the person how he was doing, She clearly knew the person and she took a very short time to say hello and move on.

I get to the office and am greeted with great energy. They have a cake for me and take time to introduce themselves. Great first day.

I get to the hotel and the clerk, calls me “darlin” about 5 times at check in. She never stops smiling!

Maybe it is all the press that I heard about southern hospitality …. I think I can get use to this!

Had a nice dinner with my new boss and a good run.

Spoke to all the girls in NY via cell and video chat and now ready for a good night sleep.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Failure has never entered my mind!

Today was very odd!

I have made many changes in my work life all within NY. It was always difficult to make the transition but I always knew that I had the support of those around me. The familiar faces and names and locations all brought great comfort and reassurance. Failure never entered my mind.

Well today was different, I walked out of my office knowing that after almost 20 years of working in New York I will no longer do so! I will be back later to transition but it will never be mine again.

I had a great sense of pride in all that I have been able to accomplish. More so I was grateful for all the wonderful people that supported me, challenged me and guide me along the way.

Monday I walk into a completely different world but I already know that I have the support of those that will be around me. So many people have offered their support. I have spoken to some of the years on the phone, met some in conferences and trips and some I have never met before. Despite this they have all reached out and made an offer, a warm welcome and assurances that I will do great. Failure has never entered my mind.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ready, Set …. Ready, Set ….

Well the go will come Monday morning and my feet will touch ground in Charlotte NC around 10:30 am. I have never been there before and look forward to my first taste of the deep south … well deep for me.

It will be tough to leave the girls behind each week but I expect that it will go fast … learning something new always does for me.

Looking forward to this weekend, I get to spend some time with my parents and friends. Super Bowl Sunday is always a blast and yes I will have to be responsible to get on a plane early Monday.

While I am not sure anyone will care I am starting this blog, well really starting it again as you will see some earlier posts to chronicle our journey south.

I am certain there will be much to express about the experience.

I will leave it at this for now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Running clear

Recently, as of July I have started to run again. This started due to age catching up in the form of weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Thankfully it is proven successful.

The funny thing is that the runs have become a big part of my thought process. I look forward to getting on the treadmill (since it is icy and cold out) but more so enjoy getting outside. I find that when I do run it enables a greater level of concentration for the things I have on my mind, it also allows me to clear those thoughts from my mind. That clear mind feels great.

I think this works well because I block out all other distractions. I don’t have to consider anything but the basics, well and a car or two and an occasional dog!!!

I find this whole thing to be rather meditative and I love it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh Boy!

Well there is not much to say except Oh Boy!

Back to work went well but I can see that not everyone has taken the positive position that I have and it is draining.

I will not be deterred, I will continue to win them over one at a time.

Opportunity to succeed is in front of us all …. carpe diem!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to the grind

Well, let me start with a follow up to harmony …. it did not last, most things don’t.

We all managed to go to a number of stores yesterday and we all got along and took turns and really enjoyed the time together … so while the original harmony went out of tune a new sing started.

If the rest of you are like me it is back to work tomorrow after a long time away, for me about a week and a half. I enjoyed the time greatly.

The thought of going back to work does not thrill me! I do however look forward to once again starting a new year at work and making a difference. Last year my personal commitment was to leave work by 4:00 everyday and by all accounts I succeeded. This year I am looking to continue that trend, I find it very liberating.

From a professional perspective I am looking to challenge myself in a number of ways to make the days more interesting and fulfilling. You see I enjoy most of my work but there is a great deal of negativity given the economy. I anticipate that most of that work is done. My challenge now is how I can engage some 100 people that I count on to make me successful. Granted, I have ten direct reports that I count on tremendously and they do a great job keeping the focus.

For me, more visible, more positive and more fun at work. Sounds easy but I can tell you it is a challenge as there are so many critics that offer their opinions.

Well, that's it for now ….. there is work to be done, before there is work to be done.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Harmony – what a great sound!

I was thinking about yesterday, the first day of a new year and how might it be different. At the time I could not see how it would be much different, if at all. This morning as I was running and again a few moments ago a thought struck me that I guess I have taken for granted or just did not notice before at all.

You see, yesterday was a lazy day, we (Lisa, myself, Brianna and Emmarose) all spent the entire day in the house in various stages of interaction. The part that struck me this morning though was the nearly 6 hours that Brianna and Emmarose played with each other without the need for any adult intervention. They spent time with each other and their toys. Some time with the TV, but most of the time they were simply friends. There was no fighting bickering or arguing. There was no calls for mom of dad to help, or to make one or the other “stop” It was just peace … harmony!

Again this morning as we had a lazy start to the day (well Brianna and Emmarose did).  The neighbors, Connor and Ryan came knocking on the door at about 9:30. They wanted Brianna and Emmarose to come and play in the snow. The girls finished their breakfast and dressed as only girls can do (it seemingly took forever) and went outside with Connor, Ryan and Kati.

They all played in the snow, helping each other into the tree, out of the tree and pulling each other in the wagon. They all played with Kati and they had a great time…..  Harmony!

This naturally evolved into time in the house, downstairs with the Wii. You would expect that this would cause problems but 4 children, 4 Wii remotes and Mario Carts created more …. Harmony.

Next came snacks, hot chocolate, and cookies and popcorn. Again they all sat around the table in …… harmony.

During this harmony yesterday and today, Lisa and I enjoyed each other’s company. Had some discussion and even made dinner together. Same thing in the morning today, we made breakfast together and just enjoyed the time. Funny how the harmony the children were experiencing helped us to realize a similar harmony.

Don’t get me wrong … the 4 children are still downstairs playing the Wii … the clock is ticking and I can’t help but feel the the fuse is lit and the KaBoom! will happen at any moment. I am sure my instincts are correct but I will wait and see.

Thinking back over this as I write I can’t help but feel that I may have missed this harmony in the past by letting the little things overshadow it. I am not sure???

I guess this answers how 2010 can be different. The girls are changing, Lisa and I are changing and rather then notice what is easy to notice I will take time to notice what is often overlooked.

Enjoy the day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A small beginning

Well, I am not sure that this will do anything at all but I have always wanted to start a blog. Seems very self-centered to think that people may care about me or what I think, however that is not the reason for the blog. It is more selfish than that since I am viewing it as a means to vent from time to time.

Don’t get me wrong, I will certainly take time to brag about my wonderful family and things that are going on in my life. I will also take the time to share my unvarnished opinion of certain topics that strike my fancy.

I have no idea how often I will update this or even if it will go further then today but I will sure give it a try!

All the above said, I have to say that the NHL Winter classic is great and the league needs to expand on this format. I understand that the game next year could be slated for Yankee Stadium and the Rangers as host, how great would that be?

Well, Happy 2010 to all.