Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 - Starting off with a WTF?

OK, So I danced the night away on NYE/NYD.  Then went out and watched football both Saturday and Sunday.  Had a blast.  The year was starting well.  Then things started slipping away.  You know you're off to a bad start when the first work day of the new year, you have to rent a car, because yours won't go in reverse.  Then I waited and waited for my old car to be towed away. And waited.  I waited almost a week and then called a second company, Then I got sick. 

It all started on a Tuesday night.  I had dinner plans, but something wasn't right.  My stomach was bothering me and let's just say, an awkward moment may have taken place had I gone out.  So a night of stomach issues, was followed by a day where I really started to feel bad.  I went home from work a little early an laid in bed.  I could barely eat of drink anything.  The next day and a half were horrible.  Luckily around 2pm Friday I started to feel right.  I went out and got something to eat and was relieved I'd at least have a weekend.  I wisely stayed home Friday night and watched movies.  So I rented a car and didn't even really drive it the first week.  The best was the snowstorm on Friday when I realized I had left my ice scraper in my old car.  Nothing like cleaning your car off with bare hands after being sick for four days.  Like I said, at least I had the weekend.

So the weekend was fun and the everything seemed to be looking up.  Monday and Tuesday I was back to work and things were looking up.  I felt good, revived even a little. Then another snow storm.  A day off, we hit the bar.  A fun time, early exit and up and ready to go Thursday morning.  Friday started off well.  Finished up work and headed to Piper's Kilt.  As I'm paying up, I hand over my debit card.  Denied.  I'm figuring it's their machine and hand my credit card.  Goes right through.  So I head down to Stephen's Green.  As I exit, I go to pay with my debit card.  Denied!  WTF?  I check my account early Saturday morning from my phone to see a negative balance and the words IRS Lien.  UGH!  So they took every dime I had other than $20 in my pocket.  The best.  They aren't open on Saturday and Monday was a federal holiday.  So I finally call and tell them I had a payment plan and would like to resume it, but don't zap my account again.  Their answer?  Nope, you never filed 2009.  So now I have one month to do that or there will be another lien. Of course, the woman on the phone was about as about as nice as Alec Baldwin leaving his daughter a voicemail.  She had no patience for any of my questions and at times wouldn't even let me speak.  It's not like I owe her money.  I never understand people who give you attitude because you owe the government money. 

Well at least I had jury duty cancelled.  Although the new policy is, it being cancelled, doesn't count and your name goes back in the pool.  Which gets me thinking.  How many people do you think are in jail right now due to the plain, simple fact that the people on the jury felt inconvenienced.  Just a heads up.  If I'm ever on your jury.  I don't care if you're suing your neighbor for cutting down your bushes, you're going to jail.  Both of you are.  Don't ruin my day and hand me $15 and tell me I did my civil duty.  Seriously, does anyone want their entire life being in the hands of 12 people getting handed pocket change.  I think Jury duty should pay like $250 a day.  Then people would sign up for it.  And those people will spend that money.  Economy saved.  So where was I?

Did I mention the Jets won this weekend?  Now I don't have anything against Jets fans other than they call each other Gang Green.  Why would you name yourself after something that phonetically sounds like a serious problem that requires amputation?  OK, I'm lying, It's their obnoxious chant that really gets me.  Apparently they are the only fans who take great pride in being able to spell out their teams name.  Imagine if their name had more letters.  Surely some fans would lose track.  Well, at least it gives me a reason to watch the game.  I can root for the Steelers and the Pack.  Hopefully, regardless of the outcome of the games, 2011 starts to look up, because at this point, I'm hoping the Mayans were right.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Days

Last Friday, I lay sick in my bed.  I was watching News 12 and while contemplating my odd adoration for Joe Rao, I found myself wondering about the falling crystals that lay outside my window.  I put on some clothes, walked to the front door and gazed in wonderment.  This is what they closed school for? 

Rewind to my childhood.  The plow comes down the snowy Brooklyn street and pushes all the snow between the cars where the hydrant was (somehow this was legal in the 70's).  The neighborhood children ran outside with anything they could find to slide on.  Rarely was it an actually sled. We would use cardboard boxes, plastic bags, whatever.  The mountainous pile of snow eventually had a nice track we could literally slide on our asses should we desire.  We'd climb atop the pile and slide, right into the street.  Someone always kept lookout.  Not so much for safety, but every time a bus came down the street, we'd pepper it with snowballs.  Usually scaring the occupants inside. 

Snowfall during my childhood seemed so much different.  It snowed 15-20 times a winter.  The ground would be white for most of the winter months.  Come March, the green in the local parks would start to show.  Nowadays, it's usually hidden for days, maybe weeks.  I remember lumbering to school, those hideous rubber boots on my feet.  My sneakers in my backpack.  I couldn't wait to get those things off of me.  I also couldn't wait to get out of school and get back into the snow.  In those days, a school closing due to snow was about as likely as Sarah Palin making sense.  It might have happened, but I sure as hell wasn't around to experience it. 

I realize we live in a world of blame and lawsuits.  God forbid, little Timmy slips on the ice walking from the bus, his parents will sue the school, the bus company, God and probably Joe Rao.  it's just not worth it for a school to deal with this.  My favorite thing is the early dismissal.  This way the school gets credit for being open, but they don't actually teach.  It's kind of like my college Philosophy class.  My teacher would show up, tell us what to read and then leave.  Most likely to puff on a hookah while listening to Cat Stevens.  I laughed at the slight snowfall.  The hours of news coverage about the "winter blast of 2011."  I've had snow cones after Mexican that created more of a blast.  This was a joke.  Here's my thought.  If it isn't bad enough for you to let your kid go out and play in, it isn't bad enough to close school. 

Here's the other thing I love about winter weather.  When I was a kid, there was a foot of snow on the ground and we needed milk.  My mother wrapped me up like the kid in A Christmas Story and sent me to the store.  We didn't go out shopping the day before expecting Armageddon.  And bottled water?  Grab a bottle, go to the tap and drink, you lazy son of a bitch.  We've become lazy, coddled and neurotic over the years.  My grandmother is 97.  She sees the snow and wants to go out and walk in it.  She has the exuberance of a young child, staring at the window, waiting for permission to frolic. 

Tomorrow morning, when we wake, we're sure to have a blanket of whiteness.  Some of you will curse it. Some of you will relish in it.  Schools will be closed, roads will be slowed.  Some will panic, some will smile.  Like everyone I'll have to dig my car out, only to have a plow come by and push snow right back into my bumper.  Either way, I'll think back to my youth and the excitement that a snowfall brought.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Au Revoir 2010

I've been slacking on the blogs as of late.  Had planned on buying a new computer, but it wasn't in the cards.  Also been gallivanting most nights and haven't found time to hit the office.  So I was working on some thoughts about 2010.  It went by pretty quickly.  It was pretty uneventful, but it had quite a number of crazy and fun evenings.  So I decided to take a look back and found that not one of my 2010 resolutions was fulfilled. Not one.

This is quite depressing when you take into account, my resolutions were not very difficult to accomplish.  I didn't clean my apartment and make it more of a living space as opposed to a lair.  I didn't keep up with friends the way I promised myself.  Some I didn't even speak with in 2010, or if I did, very briefly.  I didn't travel other than a visit to my father's once or twice.  My one vacation was more of a staycation.  I didn't spend more time with my brother.  I don't know if  I held people accountable.  I don't think I did.  I know I let a lot slide in 2010.  I don't know if I became smarter.  Sure, things that interested me got a little research, but I don't think I dove into the unknown the way I normally do.  It's somewhat depressing and almost feels like a lost year. 

If 2010 did anything for me, it was meeting new friends.  Some I knew, only as acquaintances and got to know them.  Some I met for the first time.  If 2010 did anything, it made me realize that a change of scenery, no matter how subtle, can make all the difference.  It made me realize that we've become a society of routine.  Sometime that routine needs to be shaken up.  Maybe it's a walk instead of a drive.  Maybe it's a switching from beer to vodka, hitting different bars instead of the same ones.  Maybe it's a change of crowd or maybe just mixing it up.  Maybe it's a book instead of a movie.  Sometimes we just need a change.  Sometimes it's as simple as turning left instead of right.  Just to see what is there.  That's going to be my resolution in 2011.  Every once in a while, take the long way home.  Walk, instead of drive.  Who knows, that may be the day that changes my life.  Then again, it might just be a time for me to spend some time in my thoughts.  I'm tired of wondering what if.