Archive for September, 2008

Here is an e-mail that the 23 year-old girl sent to me today… (with a few notes from the editor).

I like reading the stories about Nana and Grandpa. I remember their apartment. Nana would sit against one side of the couch with her legs up and she would beg Jay (THE 25 YEAR-OLD) and I to play with her hair… she would even bribe us with a dollar to do it. And I remember her old lady arms, the flab hung down and Jay and I would push it back and forth… we called it “basketball” (WE CALLED THEM NANA ARMS). And the drawer… we were allowed to choose something out of the “junk drawer” when we were good. I don’t remember much of what was in there, except for the toothbrushes that had a naked man on one and a naked lady on the other (NANA AND GRANDPA WERE CLOSET PORN ADDICTS). We weren’t allowed to have those. And I remember sitting on her living room floor, and under the television was a cabinet where she had a bucket of monkeys game that Jay and I would play. That’s really all I remember of her.

I’m also learning from your blog… I can’t figure out who Grandma Madeline is? Is that Grandpa’s (my father’s) mom? (DUH… IT’S NOT LIKE I NEVER MENTIONED HER BEFORE… WHO DID YOU THINK THE OTHER OLD LADY IS IN YOUR MOM’S AND MY WEDDING PICTURES?) She must have died before I was born because I don’t remember her at all. But I will say that Madeline is Matt’s (HER FIANCE) favorite girl’s name, that’s what he wants to name our daughter. (NO SHE IS NOT PREGNANT.)
 
And other coincidences…
I also had a meeting at Panera in Bristol on Friday with a photographer at 6:30pm… (I HOPE HE PAID FOR YOUR DIET PEPSI… OH AND WHEN YOU MEET WITH THE DJ I NEED TO BE THERE TOO… I HAVE A FEW ITEMS I NEED TO ADDRESS) and I ran into my mom and Nellie while I was there! And I saw Kristi, Lori, and Aunt Lorraine at the Mum Parade… Kristi said she found out I was engaged from reading the blog.
THE BLAH BLAH BLOG, BRINGING DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES TOGETHER.

I’m at Lake Garda with the ten year-old and his weird little friend. So this is my first outdoor post ever. It sucks down here. The mosquitoes are sucking the Deet from my skin to get to the blood. I’m sitting on a bumpy rock bench and my ass is killing me. My iPod is blaring in my ears at a high volume so I don’t have to listen to these idiot kids screaming their heads off whenever they mistaken a twig for a fish bite.

I’m sitting on this rock bench instead of my comfy picnic table bench because it seems to be a little closer to whatever house I’m pulling free Internet service from right now. The more I think about it, I wonder if I should leave one ear naked so that I can hear if one of these kids gets a hook in the face or something. I’d rather hear the initial scream instead of them sneaking up on me with blood squirting from a forehead or cheek.

Oh man that would suck spending the Jewish New Year in the ER. At least I’d have my iPod to block out the sounds of the other screaming kids. Oye Vay (Jewish term that Nana always used).

Well maybe I’ll go and toss a hook into the water. Freaking mosquitoes!

dumbbell curls for biceps

DB preacher curls on ball

  1. Kneel on one knee and place one arm over the stability ball. 2 Your tricep should be resting against the ball.
  2. Curl the dumbell up and then extend until your arm is almost completely extended. Stop just short of locking out your elbow.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed reps and then repeat with the other arm.

I worked a little this morning but now have to take the ten year-old fishing. Yippee.

To all of my Jewish brothers and sisters, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy New Year.

 Shofar 2 Rosh Hashanah

I’ll probably have a great fishing story later this evening.

I’m networking. As we’ve discussed in prior posts, I have a cold-calling phobia. I also have trouble walking into a business unannounced and asking to set up an appointment.

At our Monday Morning Meeting (or MMM for short), one of my peers shared some statistics that he had learned last week. He said that cold-calls produce about a 20% success rate for booking appointments, while referrals from friends and business owners were closer to 80%.

That’s what I need my friends. I need referrals. I need to sit with business owners of companies from 3 to 3000 (or more) people. And the message is simple: Aflac is the cement that holds the bricks of a traditional insurance plan together. We don’t change anything that is already in place. It costs the company nothing to offer to its employees. And if we are a fit, we can save the company money on their taxes.

A person’s insurance plan is built to pay the doctors and hospitals. Aflac pays the policyholders cash so that they can do whatever they need to do with the money.

Please take a few minutes to think about the people that you know and the people that they may know. I’ve been to companies where the employer did not offer Short Term Disability but allowed me to come in and sell each person their own policy. Everybody needs to protect their paycheck.

Thanks for your time!

Weekend

Posted: September 29, 2008 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, Mud and Thunder, My Ankle

We’ll take a little break from my dead grandparents for a while.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON

I had a lunch meeting at 2p at Panara in Bristol on Friday. It was with the membership guy for the networking group that I’d like to join if only I had $430. On my way in I ran into my cousin Kristi. I only had two seconds to say HI but she made my day by saying that she read my blog and liked it.

So I found the guy and sat down for what I thought was going to be an interview to see if I was worthy of their fine group. I was looking forward to a free meal too. I wasn’t hungry but I was going to order something really big and then take the leftovers home to eat later.

The next hour turned out to be a freaking infomercial for his company. Halfway through, he asked if I had eaten yet. Well yeah I did, so I followed up by asking if HE had eaten yet. No, he had not had lunch yet and just to be polite and not sound too eager or greedy I said that I could go either way.

Well… he shrugged his shoulders and I’m thinking, what the freak does that mean? Then he asked if I wanted a coffee. A coffee? Did I want a coffee? Not only wasn’t I getting interviewed but now I wasn’t even going to be fed? I ended up with a diet Pepsi and a handful of chopped-up bread from the samples section on the way back from the soda machine.

I sipped my diet freaking Pepsi and listened some more and even liked the product. Well finally he asks me which payment level or option would work for me the best. And I’m thinking, are you kidding me? If I had $500 I’d be paying the dues for the networking group and not worrying about burning our freaking furniture in the fireplace for heat this winter.

So I look at him and say, “If I had $500 I’d be paying to join the group. If I had $500 I’d buy some oil and not have to decide for a few weeks if the couch or love-seat was going to be the first item to burn.”

I think he understood. But I guess I felt bad about being that blunt so I gave him every friend, relative, and enemy name that I could think of (you’ll probably hear from him this week).

SATURDAY

I was at the office at 7:45am because I needed to be there at 8:15am.  We were merging with some of the people from the Portland office and we needed to move some stuff from Portland to Bristol. It was against my better judgement to put my ankle through the rigors of carrying heavy items, but I never duck (Aflaaaaaaaaac!) out on helping someone move.

OMG! I should have said NO. It’s just not strong enough for squatting and lifting yet but I acted like it was fine. OK, well I mentioned a couple of times that it was bothering me. By the time we carried a monster conference table up three flights of concrete stairs several hours later, it was SHOT.

I had to be the guy to say that we needed to put the table down with only half a flight to go. But I did get a free meal out of it and felt good that I could help out the person that has helped me so much from the first day that I walked into her office.

SUNDAY

After the workout that my ankle got on Saturday, I needed a day to take it easy and not stay on it all day. Instead I spent 8:30am until 5pm at the football fields picking up trash, sorting cheerleader jackets, walking back and forth between fields, carrying trash bags, and everything else a volunteer for a large youth sports organization does (well there are actually some of our volunteers that don’t do much volunteering, but I’ll stop there). None of those activities kept me off my feet for very long but I believe that when you commit to doing something (and I committed knowing about my ankle), you follow through unless you can’t get out of bed.

The two hours I did get to sit were spent yelling words of encouragement to the ten year-old during his game. “Hey 77! BLOCK SOMEBODY!” His mother and I were getting freaking pissed off at the kid because he’s built like a truck but was playing like a freaking Moped! “Hey 77! If you’re not going to block the kid in front of you, you might as well hug him and give him a tongue kiss!”

His team got killed and both his mother and I ignored him for the next couple of hours. We decided on a few incentives for next week’s game: for every missed block he will spend an hour in his bedroom all alone; for every missed tackle he will run up and down the basement stairs 20 times; and for every missed opportunity that we feel as though he could have put a kid on his ass, he will spend a half hour cutting logs for firewood with his fishing knife.

Needless to say that once I got home and emptied the car, I collapsed on the couch and put my throbbing ankle up. The day wasn’t over because I still had to make some fliers for work, play some games with the ten year-old, and watch Desperate Housewives with the wife.

And then I just couldn’t go to sleep without documenting everything so that someday my kids will read it all and maybe figure out why they turned out as they did.

Hal and Adele, Part 3

Posted: September 26, 2008 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, Hal and Adele
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Nana always said that I was so good as a little boy that she’d make me cry on purpose just because I hardly ever did. She always said I was the most gorgeous little boy anywhere and that nothing would ever bother me (wow has a lot changed). She’d say that I made her and Grandpa so happy and that nobody could ever take THAT away from them.

My favorite thing that Nana would do happened whenever she asked me for my hand. Nana and I would take the bus to downtown Hartford on Saturdays and walk from Constitution Plaza to G. Fox. Nana would say, “Ronnie, give me your hand.” And I would try and hold it. And her fingers would reach for the inside of my palm and wiggle so that I could not grab on to it. And she would repeat, “Ronnie, give me your hand.” I’d always say, “Nana!” And I would try to hold her hand again, only to have her wiggling fingers gently push my hand away. Again she would say, “Ron-nie, give me your hand!” And I’d giggle even louder, “Nana!” This would continue until she’d finally let my hand rest inside of her soft old lady hand.

My other Grandma worked in the G. Fox building. I will never ever forget the days that we’d take the elevator up to the fifth (or was it the ninth) floor. There would be a door leading into a room where rows of women sat in front of typewriters. Nana would have me sneak over to where Grandma sat and surprise her by giving her a big hug. Sometimes, just before my arms would wrap around her, I’d hear her coworkers yell, “Madeline, it’s Ronnie!” I will never forget the huge smile on both of my grandmother’s faces.

There was a restaurant on one of the floors in G. Fox that was kind of on a balcony. It was enclosed by glass (as I remember) so that you could see into it from the floor of the store. There were no chairs, just counters and high tables that you would stand at as you ate. The hot dog (or as Nana called it, a frankfurter) was the only thing that I ever ate in the clear restaurant.

G. Fox is where I discovered escalators and rotating doors. It’s where I ate ice cream while Nana had her hair done. Somewhere in that building, in its reconstructed halls, there is still the joy, the wonder, and a hundred splendid memories of a little boy.