Worst Christmas Card Ever…

Most of the time I try to add humor to my posts, but this won’t be one of them…I found out this week when I received a Christmas card in the mail, that a friend who I grew up with had been tragically killed when he was run over by a police car…as hard as that card was to receive, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for his wife to send…

For close to 30 years, Tom was the person who knew me better than anyone…at least until my wife came along anyway…my wife…who Tom introduced me to one hot day on the beach in Cape May, NJ…

…of course, as friends will do, Tom and his girlfriend…his future wife and now sadly his widow…also then took us (me) for a round of drinks that day at one of the beachside bars after a round of couples miniature golf they shamed us in…if I didn’t know any better, I would have said THAT was Tom’s true motivation for introducing me to my future wife…she was really bad at miniature golf…

Tom and I were part of a group of 8 friends who, starting in high school and into our 30’s did everything together…there were always other people who passed through our little Communal group from time to time, but once the nolvety of them wore off…well, you get it…mostly what we did together though, was drink…we also played a lot of bad golf together…it was Tom who took me golfing for the first time…he taught me a couple of lessons that day…Tom bounced a tee shot off my rear end as I was reaching into the cart to get a ball, then walked over, picked up his ball claiming a mulligan (a free do-over in golf)…still hear him laughing…he also taught me what a $2 Nassau in golf is…and how expensive it can be to lose every side of one…

As a friend, Tom was also supportive…when my mother passed away too soon, he (and my other friends) all came to the viewing, but it was Tom who took off work the following day to come to the burial and spend the next day with my family as well…some years later, after my wife and I had moved to PA, my father passed away…even though we had lost contact for some time…when my father was buried, it was Tom who came to pay his respects to my family…

Tom and I took a couple of vacations together…a week skiing in Killington, VT…a week where we each skied our first expert hills, ready or not…none of the other guys enjoyed skiing as much as we did…we also went golfing down in South Carolina…Tom’s father and mother once took Tom, his wife and newborn son, and my wife and I with them to Montego Bay for a vacation one cold winter…I remember Tom and I took a walk one afternoon off of the estate and surprisingly ended up in a beach bar where we spent several hours just talking and catching up on things…drinking too…but not like the old days…and watching some sort of photo shoot with women who were wearing varying styles of swimsuits…what can I say, we were still young…I remember walking home that day and we decided that we each had to get a coconut to take back with us…we also learned that it’s a lot harder than it sounds…especially after you’ve spent the last couple hours drinking Red Stripes…no matter how hard we tried to just shake them from the tree?… they weren’t coming down…not until we found a couple of large sticks laying close by and put 2 and 2 together…I remember a group of local girls walking by and laughing at our ridiculous efforts…at least we got one coconut any way… 

I was the Best Man at Tom and his wife’s wedding…and him at mine…we went to Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers games…I remember his father had gotten tickets for us to Game 5 of the 1983 World Series…even though we knew the Phillies were going to lose the series, I was still excited about going to the game…Tom felt the tickets would be more valuable if we scalped them for whatever we could get…the Phils lost 5-0 that day, ending the series…Tom was right…

…neither Tom nor I went to college, we were blue collar workers right out of high school…he worked for his uncle installing gas mains and services and I worked for the township where we lived…at least I did until I got a DUI one night on my way home with Tom after celebrating his birthday…sadly, my mother passed away the following year, on Tom’s birthday…I never celebrated another birthday with him again…and he never asked me to…

Tom and I saw less and less of each other after my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania…something I’ll forever regret…this week has brought back a lot of memories…some good…some not as much…I could write a book about growing up with Tom and our group of friends…I’m sure if I had taken more time I could have come up with a better tribute to my long-time friend…one thing Tom’s passing has taught me is I need to be a better friend…somehow I’ve forgotten what that means and how to do that…

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And Then She Broke My Heart…

By the time you’re done reading this, you’re probably going to think less of me…difficult thing since the only way you may even know me is through my posts…but, I have to get the story out because it’s eating away at me…my moral Compass is broken…when it comes to my daughter’s future, I only see disappointment and sadness in a decision she is about to make…

Many have told me I’m wrong and that I should be proud in the decision she has made…and maybe they’re right..however those same people don’t really know me, don’t really know her, don’t know the relationship we’ve had…I thought I did, now I’m not so sure…my issue…and here is where people are going to hate me…my daughter at the age of 26 has decided to enroll in Naval Officer Candidate School…she wants to join the Navy…

I should be proud of her decision to serve her country…but all I see is a daughter who I always thought cared about what I thought…who cherished the relationship we always had…we were always each other’s buffer…we had the same personalities, many of the same likes and dislikes…a place where each of us could go to talk and just hang-out when we needed a break…but now, all I see is someone who didn’t value that relationship…my advice…maybe didn’t care as much as I thought she did…

Today’s political climate has nothing to do with my feelings about her decision…my feelings are born from my feelings of abandonment…my wife and I gave my daughter every opportunity to succeed in life…maybe too many as it turns out…an education at the school of her choice…school-sponsored trips abroad to places I may never see in my lifetime…vacations each and every summer…although I probably needed those as much as anyone else in our family…

I don’t know how to talk with her anymore…her decision to leave and my decision not to be accepting of it has driven a wedge between us…one which I’m not sure I’ll ever get over…my daughter is an extremely smart, beautiful young lady, and there are so many people she can help directly in this country without joining the Navy…there are plenty of non-profits or other volunteer opportunities she could take advantage of that could help people now, right away when it’s needed most in our country…but she’s choosing another path…one I can’t accept…as she was growing up, my daughter stole my heart…now as an adult…she’s breaking my heart…

My moral compass is broken…and I don’t know how to fix it…

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Recycling My Tribute To Santa’s e-Commerce Mutants…An Annual Holiday Classic?…

As a driver delivering packages for Federal Express, this particular Saturday was always among my least favorite. In all the boroughs and townships that my route 9588D292-8E1D-4386-A09B-51FA9C508A65consisted of, it was fire truck Santa Clause day…I despised it…so much so that last year I wrote my own fantasy / true life tribute to my fellow drivers at FedEx Home Delivery and all they deal with during the busy holiday season…all they have to work around on fire truck Santa day…I’ve included it below…give it a read if you have some time…

 

Santa And the e-Commerce Mutants

Today…down at the grocery store…things come full-circle as the bearded wonder makes a visit to my new workplace…but unlike all those years as one of Santa’s e-Commerce mutants…happily…thanks to my quirky schedule…I won’t have to deal with all of the craziness that comes with a Saturday morning with Santa and kids all hopped up on candy canes and Hershey Bars…and today I can look on…Silent…from my front window as the fire truck Santa and his volunteer fire fighting elves…(thank you for your service boys)…make their way through my neighborhood blowing their siren…ringing the bell…honking their horn…all to let kids know that Santa and his helpers are just outside…blocking traffic…and handing out candy canes left over from last year’s Christmas ride…you don’t really think the townships and boroughs throw the leftovers out, do ya?…

To my former co-workers and friends at FedEx…be safe today and hang in there…it’s almost over…until January when everyone starts spending those gift cards they got for Christmas…during all those on-line after-Christmas sales…sometimes e-Commerce really sucks…

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The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made?…

About three or four months ago I decided to leave my job delivering packages for Federal Express…I was actually working for a company that contracted with FedEx…it wasn’t an easy decision…I had been doing the same job for 16+ years and there was some comfort in knowing it would always be there unless I really screwed up…the man I worked for was also one of the few people who could tolerate me for more than 15 minutes at a time…but, the job was kicking my @$$ pretty much every day…

If you’ve read any of my other drivel, you know I ended up working at a large regional grocery store chain…that’s right, I have become a grocer…and until this week I always had doubts about whether it was the right choice…I can now say without a doubt…maybe…

Other than the fact that I already have three weeks paid time off in my personal benefits bank…after all those years as a Legend behind the wheel delivering packages, I had none…(I also was no legend, just thought that was the easiest place to insert the Daily Post prompt)…but my family also has health insurance we can now afford…why is that important?…when I was looking at this job I was concerned about the salary…it was a pay cut I wasn’t sure we could afford..but my wife, who was covering our benefits in her job as a consultant, was paying $1700/month for our family benefits…that ain’t no misprint…but now with my new job as a grocer, we have full family coverage for a paltry $65/week…again, not a misprint…we will save almost $1500/month just in our health insurance benefits cost..that was a number I could really get behind…

But as usually is the case in my family drama…reality roared its ugly head again when the IT project my wife was managing ended earlier…much earlier…than we ever expected that it would…once again, self-doubt about how much I was making leaked back into my big bulbous head…I’m enjoying my new found profession…unfortunately I may have to sell the house…a car…a kidney…some blood…just to keep it…I will not however sell my Disney Vacation Club Membership…some bad decisions are non-negotiable…

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I’m No Potter Fanboy, But…

Years ago, when my kids were still in elementary school, I purchased the first Harry Potter book to read to them at night, but my daughter took the book after the first night and chapter and I never saw it again…I also did deliver the second book in the series to many excited kids during my days with FedEx, not that that has anything to do with this post…oh!, and I have been dragged, kicking and screaming, against  my will to some kind of Potter World at Universal Studios in Florida…kids spending money on magical sticks…what a scam…I hated the place by the way, but you should judge for yourself…

Where am I going with all this?…the grocery store of course, and my job as no longer the most junior Service Team Leader…as I’ve mentioned in other posts, there is a lot of training that goes with this job since I could on any given day be opening or closing the store…I get to have contact with almost every department in the store…the most important and well-guarded being the area where they keep the register tills and count the money…a couple of weeks ago I was given access to this place…codes, fingerprints, employee classification…stopping just short of the whole nine yards…which, as it turns out is really important, really, really important…

I had the opening this past Monday…since the store never closes it involves just following through on a checklist of tasks and ignoring any phone calls from employees who may be calling out sick or customers calling to find out which aisle the canned peas are in…except this past Monday something came up I quickly learned I wasn’t prepared to handle…getting a fresh register till from that department I had that access code…the required fingerprint scan…and the special employee classification for. After obtaining all of the aforementioned clearances…they neglected to tell me there was an additional alarm inside the room which…and here’s the funny part…WHICH MUST BE DISARMED AS SOON AS YOU ENTER THE ROOM…a code was never provided to me…

The phone call from the alarm company was almost instantaneous…I considered not answering it and just grabbing a till and making a run for it…the third Degree  I received from the alarm company guy came just as fast…Who? What? Where? When?How?…this guy had obviously been fully trained at his job…and I deserved a thorough grilling too…I thought I was some kind of big shot who, because I had that access code, that fingerprint scan, that special employee classification could do whatever I wanted to do…lesson learned… Continue reading “I’m No Potter Fanboy, But…”