So Close to Winter Sealed

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailA few weeks ago my friend Brian and I headed back up to camp to get the Soffit and Facia in place to seal up the addition on our camp for the winter.  We made some excellent progress on Saturday with the soffit started on the front and finished on the end.  However; Sunday we ran into some nasty weather and what should have only been a few hours worth of work turned into an entire day of sloppy wet mess working right under the overhang dropping a full 12×26+ square area of water right on our faces the entire day.  It was fantastic.

Brian was a trooper though and we toughed it out, managing to get everything installed except the last 2 pieces where the addition meets the existing roof. The rain wasn’t letting up and those pieces need a bit of measuring and figuring, not to mention a larger piece of tin than what we had.

It’s coming along nicely though, and I think I’ll be back up there soon to finish ‘er off.  Provided we get some decent weather (not rainy, cold or snow I can handle) the rest shouldn’t take more than a couple hours solo or not.

I’m hoping maybe my dad will be able to make the next trip just to look things over, but we’ll see.

A Wedding Toast

Congrats Brian and Kelley! What a great wedding/party. EVERYONE had tons of fun, from the golf carts to watching you striptease for Kelley on the dance floor… Love it!

The Best man speech I gave at my buddy Brian’s wedding yesterday:

Ladies and gentlemen. It takes a strong and intelligent man to realize his dreams and achieve his goals in life and love. A man not afraid to live life to its fullest and embrace what is truly important. But enough about me… I’m here to talk about Brian and Kelley.

I’ve known Brian most of my life. We lived just a few miles apart. That might sound like a lot, but in Marion it’s really only like 3 houses. Later we were college roommates so naturally I know a lot about Brian, most of which is not appropriate for this type of setting so I’ll try to keep it clean.

Once Brian had a car Jeff and I never left his side. Mostly because we needed a ride. The first time we went out, we made it maybe a mile down the street, when the hood flys up like that scene in Tommy Boy and all I can hear is Brian yelling “That’s not good! That’s not good!” No Brian, it wasn’t. I could go on and on about Brian’s automobile misshaps and hijinks:

Like the multiple times he left his beat up Chevy S10 in the CarShow parking lot with the hood popped like some show car while he put in an 8hr shift at Burger King.

Or the time he was driving down a country road in that same S10 and a deer hit HIM.

Or the time he decided it was a good idea to drive THROUGH a construction zone with potholes FEET deep & his headlights off so as not to arouse suspicion. Probably one of the scariest moments in my life..

Or the time I had to take over driving on my first day with a drivers-license because Brian had been pulled over for speeding (again) and was too nervous to drive any further.

Or the time he told me he didn’t want to buy a sporty car like the Subaru STI because he didn’t need to go fast, he wanted luxury, so he went out and bought BMW’s ROADSTER.

But I’m not going to talk about any of that, because I’m supposed to tell you about what a great guy Brian is and tell you about all his magnificent qualities. Brian is Dedicated, Kind, Funny and… what’s this one? … Sorry man, I never could read your writing.

Brian is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet, and he has no shame, literally… I don’t know any other guy that is excited to get cat calls while dressed up as Britney spears, wearing his sister’s skirt and a wig walking down Monroe ave.

He’s up for anything, which is exactly how he got so lucky with Kelley. Kelley, I don’t think forcing him to ride the bull for 8 seconds before he’s allowed to talk to you was ever going to stop him. One time he took his pants off in the middle of a bar and traded them with a girl wearing a skirt just so she’d ride the bull.

Brian, Some of us still don’t know how you did it, but you’re a lucky guy and somehow you tricked Kelley into marrying you. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, warm, loving and caring, and she deserves a good husband. Thank God you married her before she found one.

Kelley, it’s funny how history repeats itself isn’t it? 20 some years ago your Mother and Father were putting you to bed with a dummy…and now it’s happening all over again

All kidding aside though, I’m Ecstatic for you guys. I want to thank you both for having me be part of your special day. I know Brian couldn’t be happier, I see it in his face every time he looks at Kelley.

So if everyone could raise their glasses in a toast… To Brian and Kelley,

May you have love, health & wealth; but most importantly, may you have the time together to enjoy them all.

Falling Brook – Moving In

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWow! Last weekend was an insanely hectic few days.� Not only was our daughter Delilah born but we also moved into a new house.� We’re finally settling back into normalcy, well… as normal as it can be with a 1week old baby and a new house.

Even though we had to move the closing date due to little miss Lilah’s early arrival we were fortunate enough to get the sellers to agree to an early possession.� 7am last Saturday I left Rachel and her mother at the hospital so I could get the move underway and so we could be all set by discharge time (which I convinced the nurses to do LATE in the day).

I did the final walk-through at 8am, picked up the 26′ U-Haul truck at 9 (no I’ve never driven something that big before) and we had the move under way by 10am.� At the new house a little after noon with the truck and my father’s snowmobile trailer fully loaded.� Completely unloaded by 1:30pm.� Not too shabby.

Couldn’t have possibly done it without all the help.� Thanks George, Dale, Brian, Ryan, Mike,Cory, Bill, Chris, Eric.

During the whole process I made the following time-lapse.� There are big gaps because well… I was busy.

We Miss You Randy

I’m sure this isn’t the post anyone checking our blog is waiting for at the moment (sorry about that). However; It’s important to me, and I needed to post it.

9 Years ago Yesterday (Monday May 17th 2001) Marion NY lost one of its most beloved young men: Randy Miller. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that close with him in the later years of our shared educational experience, but we were both perfectly friendly with each other. We simply shared different groups of friends. I do remember during the last few years of high school we would share a ritual almost every morning, and when I think of it now it still makes me smile.

“Morning Randy”
*nod*
“Morning Randy”
*nod*

When he first passed, it hit the whole town hard. I’ve never seen so many people show up in support of the loss of a loved one. The largest church in Marion was standing room only and overflowed into the stairwell and parking lot. Everyone felt it because it was so shockingly sudden and happened in such a horrific & terrifying way while during such a noble act.

The toughest fact to swallow is that Randy drowned while trying to save his friends who weren’t as strong of swimmers. Honestly, I can’t think about that without tearing up a little bit. I can’t think of anyone else I know that would put themselves last in such a way.

While Randy died young, he certainly didn’t leave this world without a lasting imprint. Until his mother recently started posting on Facebook I had totally forgotten he was so into poetry. He’s been published by the International Library of Poetry twice! I also remember him getting some of them in the local Marion/School publications. For being so young, he certainly had a deep outlook on life. This is one of my favorite poems which I stole from his Facebook page:

A Path

a crooked man walks a straight path,
a path of hopes and dreams.
he walks ahead without thinking twice or so it seems.
as he walks the path he proceeds to
his final destination without once falling through.
yet as he completes his journey, this voyage of his,
he knows the importance was not the things he didn’t do,
but the things he did.

-Randy Miller

I don’t know why but I get much more sensitive about the whole thing now than I did back then. Back when it happened, it just felt like a terrible thing that happened to someone I knew. For some reason now it hits me hard this time of year and this year harder than it has in the past. Maybe that’s just me imposing my own mortality on the past because of our little one on the way? I don’t know.

I hope some day I’ll be half the man Randy Miller was at the age of 19.

A Dangerous Thing to do

1997 CavalierAs we look back on the years we’ve all said the phrase

“man I was dumb”

or

“what was I thinking?”

This one tops the cake, but it happened a long time ago so don’t worry, it’s just a tale of what could have been and almost was.

It was July 25th, the weekend of the democratic national convention in 2004 (Where Barack Obama was to speak ironically enough). My good friend (and roommate at the time) Brian and I were on our way to Boston to see some friends for the Whiskey Company BBQ. We were driving my stupid (pseudo) pimped-out cavalier (pictured at the Grand Canyon). Tinted windows, sound system, headlight covers, mirror-tint Chevy symbols in the rear windows, you get the idea. At about 1:30 in the morning on an empty 6 lane highway somewhere near Boston we got pulled over.

This cop came out of nowhere. I still don’t know whether he was in a turn-around watching for cars or whether he was just driving along. Either way he came up on us at about 90Mph lights blazing. I pulled off to the side thinking he was headed to some emergency but no he pulled up right behind us.

Awesome.

License and registration

“Sure thing” I answered while fumbling in my glove box. As I handed them over I politely asked, “Is there something wrong officer?”

I know everyone says they weren’t doing anything wrong but in this case we really weren’t. I couldn’t even fathom why he had pulled us over. He made some lame excuse about how we had changed lanes too quickly while passing a car and headed back to his car with my license and registration. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth since there was nobody else on the road. We hadn’t even been passed since being pulled over.

When the cop came back to my car it was the only time in my life he came back without a ticket. However he came back up on the PASSENGER side. He then asked for Brian’s license.  He handed it over without question.

The officer then proceeded to pester us both about “items we have in the car which he should be aware of”. After about the 8th time (no joke) I said “look, you can search the car if it’ll make you feel better”. He immediately responded “I’m gonna take you up on that, step out of the car please.”. wow, not the first and definitely not the last, but a BIG mistake on our part.

He had us walk away from the car and sit on the guard rail facing AWAY from the car while he searched.

We’re just gonna stop there for a second, let you absorb this picture.

He comes back to us, twirling my baseball bat in his fingers. ‘What’s this for?’

‘baseball’ I say. not much else to tell…

To be honest I don’t even remember what happened after that. The next thing I remember is driving down the road thinking ‘holy shit what the hell was that about’.

It could have ended a lot worse. a LOT worse.

Don’t ever turn your back on the only evidence proving your innocence.

If you’ve done nothing wrong and a police officer is harassing you, call the local police department or 911. don’t just put up with it and think “holy crap” after the fact like we did. it might not end that well for you.

We were lucky, very lucky.

Tougher Drunk Driving Penalties

Too often we act without thinking which leads to unfortunate consequences for ourselves and for those around us.

Several months ago, two of the most influential, kind hearted teachers (Mr T & Mrs T) at my High School Alma Mater were hit head-on in a devastating Drunk Driving Car accident.  Fortunately, they both survived, although Mr T suffered severe injuries.  He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and will likely be in that process for a long time.  It has had a devastating impact on his family and my hometown community where both taught for many many years.  They are some of the lucky ones though, many other families out there won’t ever get a second chance.

Ken Stoker, another of Marion’s wonderful High School’s teachers wrote an essay about the accident and Leandra’s Law recently, which was published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.  I’d like to share that with you here to spread the word.

Enact tougher drunken driving laws

It was good to read headline news about “Leandra’s Law,” which went into effect in New York this past Friday. I applaud the new Child Passenger Protection Act but I feel it needs to be broadened to cover all victims of involved alcohol-related accidents.

While attorneys might go to court and argue that the driver of this and similar crimes deserves another chance because this had “only been a first, second or third offense” (what is the difference?), we all know that victims in such horrendous accidents do not even have the luxury of one day in court, let alone a “second chance.”

Their lives are either ended, or at best changed forever because of another’s irresponsibility.

Until several weeks ago, I guess I had been lucky to have only read or heard about such tragedies. This type of pain and suffering always had happened to “someone else.”

All that changed on Friday, Oct. 16, when two of my closest friends, professional colleagues and community leaders faced their own “near-death” experiences when their car was hit by another car driven by a man who had allegedly been drinking alcohol earlier that day.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated. Eight weeks after the accident, one of the innocent victims is slowly regaining limited movement.

It is a sad but familiar story.

These two accident scenarios are grotesquely similar, if perhaps only because they both have involved helpless victims whose lives have been taken or drastically changed in an instant.

And while there can never be any total guarantee that such events will never happen again to any one of us, a law with the same bite to it as the new “Leandra’s Law” needs to be enacted as quickly as this one has been to cover all victims of crimes involving drunken drivers, not just children.

We’ve all heard that “everyone makes a mistake and should be given a second chance.” That may work for some things, but not for the drunken driver.

I counter that neither Leandra Rosado nor the countless others who have been killed or maimed by drunken drivers’ reckless actions are really given a second chance to resume their lives normally.

Familiarity with the law should already count as that “first chance.”
Breaking the law should then be met with the same immediate and harsh punishment as outlined in “Leandra’s Law.”

~Ken Stoker – retired teacher of German and English, currently working around the world as an instructor for Academic Services International.

I’m appalled by these sorts of occurrences and disgusted by the lawyers who defend them.  If it were up to me, there’d be no second chances.  Stiffer penalties for those caught drunk driving, and permanent license revocation for those involved in an accident while under the influence.  No reductions, lawyer or no lawyer.

What I'll Miss (about camp)

In 1989 New York State bought the land the Long Lake Hunting Club had leased for the better part of the century (1200 acres, 8 miles from the nearest road).  They gave us 10 years to get out.  So in 1999 we had to leave the place many of it’s members had grown up in, myself included.  I’m not sure who, but someone wrote this poem and I’ve kept it hidden away in the dark bowels of my computer until now.

What I’ll Miss

As We give this camp a final toast,
I wonder what I’ll miss the most?
My bunk, the couch, that big green chair?
The smell of bacon in the air?

How bout that griddle made of steel?
Mmmm… we never missed a meal.
That big wood stove, it’s sides would glow,
and keep us warm at ten below.

Yes all these things were very nice,
and I’ll think of them once or twice,
But what hurts so much to leave behind
are all the people in my mind.

Harley, Bummer, Bob and Rod…
take care of them almighty God.
Roger, Howard, Loren, Chris;
It’s all you guys I’m gonna miss.

But there’s one thing we’ll always keep,
Within our hearts, way down deep;
Those memories of yesterday,
No one will ever take away.

And even though the camp is gone;
Those memories will linger on.

~Unknown Member of the Long Lake Hunting Club of Harrisville, NY

Every time I read it I feel the heat emanating from the old cast iron stove as we play just ‘one more hand’ of Euchre at the table built for 20 with the giant jar of maraschino cherries in the middle ready for Roger’s Manhatten.

I’ve seen very few of the members since the club folded. Some created a new club a few miles down the road from the old one, and we’ve visited with them a few times. Unfortunately, most moved on to places unknown.

I miss it. A lot.

I miss my uncle Loren (mentioned in the poem) the most.

Maid of Honor Speech

I gave at my best friend Lisa Jordan’s wedding last month. This was my first time giving a speech in front of a crowd and I was a little nervous. But Lisa was so awesome giving hers at my wedding I had to step up to the challenge. It went a little something like this.

Good Evening!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name Rachel, best friend and Maid of Honor to our gorgeous Bride. I was honored when Lisa asked me to stand by her side today as she marries Bill. Realizing I would be giving a toast I remembered my wedding day and how Lisa prepared a speech. Well Lis now it my turn.

Lisa has been my friend for close to 20 years now. Neither of us can remember the exact day we met but it was sometime during the third grade.    Somewhere between girl scouts and french class we became best friends and we’ve been inseparable since.

Lisa is the sister I never had. No matter what happens in life I can turn to her for support and understand, for an open ear or a shoulder to cry on. For someone to make me laugh till I cry and to be strong when I cant find the strength. She’ll always be there for me and  I couldn’t ask for anything more in a friend.

We’ve had lots of good times and memories together. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were spending whole weekends at each other’s houses, staying up all night, watching Monty python and bad infomercials.        Oh! by the way, the eggwave does not make the perfect omelet!

Shes always there to get me out of a sticky situations, like cleaning hair die off the bathroom ceiling.

When Lisa got her first car we would just drive around town stopping only for the occasional Chinese fire drill and to see the reaction of car next to us. After that it was endless pots of coffee at Jays diner and late night trips to wegmans for peach Snapple and Cherry Garcia.

Lisa is a very dedicated friend, Every time my parents went out of town she was   right by my side helping me plan the party. and again the next day hiding the evidence. If I ever got in trouble she was always there to bail me out. We truly were partners in crime.

I have to say, I always thought that it might be difficult for her to find a man who could live up to her standards. Then came Bill, and he definitely lives up to them – or, maybe she got rid of her standards.

I’m not sure which.

I thought about some advice that I’d like to give Bill. A few words of wisdom about being married to my best friend.

rule number 1: Lisa is always right
rule number 2: in the event she is wrong, see rules number 1

If you’re clever, you’ll  have the last word. However, if you are smart, you won’t use it.

And, Bill, always remember…a happy wife, makes for a happy life so just sit back and keep your mouth shut and you’ll do just fine.

On my wedding day Lisa had me put out my hand (Lisa will you please but out your hand) she then had my husband lay his on top of mine. She explained how this was the last time he would ever have the upper hand.

Well I’m sorry Bill, but i think we both know you never had the upper hand.

In all seriousness, I couldn’t be happier for the two of you.

I see all the love and joy you share in your life and I  know its meant to last . When two people love each other as much Lisa and Bill do, only something beautiful can come of it. Just look at their daughter Hailey.

Separately, you are two special, remarkable people, but together you are complete.

So if everyone will please raise your glass and join me in a toast.

To Lisa and Bill:

May your love grow stronger as you share your lives together and may your future be even more wonderful than you ever dreamed possible.