Monday, October 31st 2005
I totally forgot it was Halloween today, until I saw an odd-looking widow all dressed up on Broadway. I said to myself, uh, that's odd for downtown. Then I realized, Oh yeah, Halloween. I'm so out of it this year.
I forgot to mention yesterday that between bed shopping and grocery shopping, we went to JCPenney and ordered three barstools for the kitchen breakfast bar. They won't ship until the 16th, but soon we'll be able to sit around in the kitchen. Okay, okay, I keep not getting around to putting up pictures of the place, but sue me, I'm working for a living. Soon, my precious.
Tonight, Num made some excellent steak, mashed potatoes, and I sauteed some mixed veggies. Absolutely excellent dinner. If I could, I'd find a reason to call in sick, and just stay home eating the leftovers. Of course, I could always find a reason. Speaking of taking off, the end of the year is coming up, and I have a million personal and vacation days left. As I can only roll over 5 vacation days (and the rest disappear), I sent a huge email requesting 9 days off, using up various personal and vacation days. A few random Tuesdays here and there in Nov and Dec, and took Friday off before Doug's wedding to help out. The best of all? Took the entire week from Christmas to New Year's off.
I've never done that before, because I never had a reason to. For the first time in my life, I've got a kid, a family, and a new home to spend my free time. How great would it be to spend an entire week with my family? I shall find out in December! Another benefit? With the upcoming holidays, and the way my schedule will be, I have 1 or 2 full work weeks, and the rest are 4 days or less. For the rest of the year. How sweet is that?
I also ordered Star Wars Episode 3 on DVD from Amazon. Num was ordering something, and I was sly about adding something onto it, to qualify for free shipping. All of a sudden, she suffered a bout of "Be nice to Joel", and she said okay. I think she was surprised that I didn't want the super-duper deluxe edition, but just the basic widescreen. I was tossed up between Episode 3 and Batman Begins, but I don't think Batman has a lot of replay value for me. I figured Episode 3 is still in pre-order stage, and you can't beat $15.98 for a new Star Wars DVD. Gets here sometime next week.
Bed arrives Wed, so I spent some time cleaning up the guestroom. We have a 101 boxes filled with books scattered about, and I never got around to cleaning up. I still haven't, but at least I moved everything to one side of the room.
Frustration with living with a 15" TV has hit a limit -- I was authorized by my wife to call a repair shop to come examine our broken Sony, and get an estimate. I called in Sears, who apparently do home repair for lots of things. They're coming next week, and it's gonna cost me $105 just to get an idea if it's salvageable, or if it's junk. We were talking about it, and if it's $500 or less, we'll get it fixed. If it's more, goodbye my sweet Baboo.
Having lunch with a friend tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
Sunday, October 29th 2005
Aaaaaah. Let me say it again. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Thank you for indulging me. This was the first weekend, in long, long, LONG!, stretch of weekends, where we didn't have to be anywhere, or do anything. Sure, we did a lot of shopping on Saturday, but hey, that's nothing compared to being dressed up to go somewhere. Let's not forget we turned the clocks back this weekend, gaining an extra hour of sleep. It was so damn nice.
So Joshy is going to be 8 months old in less than two weeks. I was looking back, comparing photos of him in March and October. It's amazing how much his just face itself changed each month. He's like a totally different baby. 8 months ago, we were barely sleeping, he was up every two hours, none of us (including the baby) knew what he wanted. Now he sleeps all night, he's easy to predict (well, for my wife, anyway), and he's got a full-fledged personality. And he's barely 8 months.
Back to the weekend recap. Friday night was spent doing nada. On Saturday, we went and picked out a nice Queen-sized Simmons Beautyrest for the guest room. Of course, we don't have a headboard or night tables for that matter, but at least no one has to sleep on the couch anymore. Bed arrives on Wednesday, courtesy of Rockaway Bedding.
After that, we hit Stop & Shop for some much-needed grocery shopping. Our kitchen is now fully-stocked. Of course, we don't have any meat, but we'll have to pick that up from the wholesale club. BTW, a good portion of our grocery bill went to cat food for the month. Let me get this straight -- there's more meat for the cat than for us. Ah, the irony!
Today was laundry day. The washer/dryer were going non-stop. Trust me, you've never seen the like. The benefit? Most of our clothes are actually clean, folded, and put away. Happy happy, joy joy.
Wednesday, October 26th 2005
5:15am. That's what time I woke up today.
I took the bus for the first time today. $10.20 each way. That's friggin' expensive. Num kicked me out of bed at 5:15am, I got ready, and walked out a number of blocks (about 10 mins) to the main bus stop for my townhouse complex. I'll tell you right now, it's cold and dark at 6am. The Wall St bus drove right past without stopping, so I ended up taking the next bus to express to Port Authority, then the A train to Fulton St. I was in the office by 7:45am, believe it or not. I took the bus back this evening, home by 7pm. It was dark and cold when I left this morning, and it was dark and cold when I got home. Whatever happened to the sun?
Speaking of commute, there's quiet talk that we won't be moving anyone to the new NJ office. It's rumor, I know, but I'm starting to get suspicious. Recent company announcements, which I won't mention publicly here on a blog, also have me suspicious. You know, from my apt, it was cheapest/easiest/fastest to work in Manhattan. I didn't really want to work in NJ, but I wanted this job. After we moved here to Mercer county, and my train station is far away, and the bus is expensive, driving to an office in NJ would be cheaper and easier. And if the NJ office becomes a pipe dream? Argh. A long, expensive commute into the city for the forseeable future.
I had totally forgotten about it, but Teena was coming over to visit this evening. That was a surprise, even though I knew about it, and forgot about it. It was still a surprise to me... today.
Speaking of cold, I ordered an LL Bean parka, but a different one. Oddly enough, it comes with a free thermometer. Can you imagine hanging out with me, there's a silence , and I'm going to automatically need to fill that gap in the conversation by telling everyone the temperature? It's going to happen. I have forseen it.
Interesting editorial by a writer about the Tim Burton Batman movies. They're a little weird, but I liked them. Those two Schumacher movies were beyond horrible. Did you know that Batman Begins came out last week on DVD? That was fast.
Oh, Vikram. do you really need help just to move your luggage? I'll come over.
Neat optical illusion of dots. (Thanks, Kanishk.) I've seen this before, but I still think it's neat.
With little luck on Craig's List, or eBay, we're going to hit Sleepy's and Rockaway Bedding this weekend to find a decent Queen-sized bed for our guestroom. Anju & Sunny are coming to visit in 2 weeks, and Paul & Sean may be staying with us in December for Doug's wedding. Damn, I really gotta get around to cleaning up this guestroom. There's network cable and books everywhere.
More pictures of Joshua. Feast upon them! Please notice the excellent handicraft of his new Intellitainer. Also note that Joshy has learned some yoga. According to non-experts (my friends and colleagues), it's the Downward-Facing Dog Position. Good for you, Joshy.
Of all the NY radio stations I like to listen to, at the top of the list is K-Rock Radio. They had Howard Stern in the morning (sometimes good, sometimes annoying), and then rock music all day. Saturday nights had Liquid Todd spinning excellent techno and house music. Stern is leaving this December, and I thought it was simply a question of finding a replacement. However, starting January, K-Rock will be no more. They're switching to an "all-talk" format, and will be known as "Free FM". David Lee Roth, who is apparently working as an EMT, will be the Howard Stern replacement. [Side note: David Lee Roth is an EMT?)
Anyway, who the hell cares about David Lee Roth? The big news is that the best rock radio station will be off the air January 1st 2006. Excuse me, but where else are we supposed to get our rock music from? This blows. I want satellite radio at this point. Oh wait, I don't have an office in NJ to drive to.
On the homefront, today was laundry day at home. First off, my wife discovered that our comforters and other large items do indeed fit in our washer and dryer. Rejoice! They went in, and dirt didn't come back out. That is certainly good news. Otherwise, I was going to have to pick up a sniper rifle and research the location of the nearest bell tower.
Also on the homefront, my security deposit check arrived, with no deductions. That's right, we got all our money back. I guess we did a primo job of scrubbing and cleaning the carpets, the bathroom, the kitchen, and just about everything else. That sound you hear is our checking account letting out a sigh of relief.
Monday, October 24th 2005
How rough was it to get out of bed this morning for work? Ridiculously bad. As my wife (actually, my whole family minus the cat) go with me to the train every morning, it was tough for my wife too. She actually had to use pliers to open her eyes. She's getting pretty tired of driving me to and from the train station, and she's pretty wary of doing this with the baby in the dead of winter, and it's freezing out there.
There's a private bus line that might stop at the nearby bus stop, but I don't know much about it. I am investigating. The monthly bus pass, while somewhat expensive, is outrageous to get. To get one, I have to join the "Coach USA Travel Club." Big deal? Nah. To join, however, I have to go through this whole rigamarole -- fill out an application, submit two passport photos, mail it in, wait for however many days to get the official Coach USA Travel Club badge. Only then can I walk into a 7-Eleven and purchase a Monthly Saver bus pass. Do I have a choice? Ah well, the life of a commuter.
Technically, I shouldn't even be doing this commute, because I'm supposed to be working out of our brand-new NJ offices, as of June. However, ain't happened yet, and the date keeps moving. Argh.
On a somber note, God bless you, Rosa Parks. She died today at age 92.
The bad weather has returned to the Northeast, just when we had stopped being sick of it. Today was rather cold, and I became distinctly aware that my light jacket is not going to protect me from the cold. I'm looking at winter coats, and I like this LL Bean parka. However, it's, uh, a little expensive. I thought we could still swing it, until my wife noticed that I may need to purchase the fleece that goes inside, at an additional cost. Grumble grumble. I haven't given up yet. I think I'd look pretty damn sexy in a red parka, though.
Speaking of flu vaccinations (?), I got my flu vaccination today -- they were free of charge at the company medical center. So far, no painful or uncomfortable side effects. As a matter of fact, it has to be the most painless injection I've ever had, and I hate needles.
I was recently informed that my Mom will be going to Israel for approx. two weeks next month. She's going on some sort of Christian tour of the Holy Land. I was talking to my wife and my sister last night, and they made a very good point. As much as I approve of my parents getting out there and doing stuff, instead of sitting around at home, is the instability in Israel a good idea right now? The point was made that my Mom is afraid of my sister going to an ATM at night, or me going cycling on the weekends. That's bad. However, it's perfectly fine for my Mom who doesn't travel all that much to go by herself to Israel, where people are victims of suicide bombers and random shootings.
Sunday, October 23rd 2005
Of all the disgusting things my cat does, like urinating on our stuff, or licking her own butt, or wiping her butt on our carpet, we saw her doing the most disgusting thing ever this weekend. I was in the nursery, and Num called me over to come to the hallway quick. I walk over, and she points to the bathroom. With my own two eyes, I saw Missy drinking out of the toilet bowl. WTF.
Needless to say, we are now keeping all of the toilet bowl lids closed.
Julie finally came over for dinner tonight. Num made her delicious pork chops, mashed potatoes, and stewed tomatoes and okra. Julie brought over apple pie and ice cream for dessert.
The good news is that the Montreal bachelor party pictures are up. The bad news is that I haven't had a chance to caption them -- maybe later this week. I didn't get a chance to work on the pics of the house. You suckers will have to wait some on that, but soon, my precious. Soon.
Today, we went to the Quaker Bridge Mall (BTW, anyone else see nipples on the woman on the website?) to get me some new shoes (the sole on my right good Kenneth Cole shoe split!), and my wife wanted some pants. I know I wear out my shoes pretty often. I was wondering how long the last pair lasted, so I looked through my blog. I purchased my last pair Sept 2004, so 13 months is pretty good for me.
So, I have some new Kenneth Cole shoes. Yea.
A new trailer for the The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe is out. Looks very nice.
Friday, October 21st 2005
I would have to say that this week has had more than it's share of news about children being harmed or killed. This is morbid, or uninteresting to some of you, but as a fairly new parent, some of it saddens me, or disgusts me, or revolts me. Let's see what I can find today:
In the past, whenever I heard about this, I would sympathize at a certain detached level, stating how horrible it was. Horrible? Yes, of course. Now, when I have my own child to watch over, up close and personal, my mind immediately goes, "That is horrible! What's wrong with people!?!" And I get kinda upset. Because I can't imagine someone looking into a child's eyes, like I see my own kid's eyes, and want to harm them. There is no friggin' way, but it happens all the time. The human race is capable of so much good, but there are some bad people out there who I wouldn't mind leaving for dead.
Enough of that. Change of gears.
So they're making an Underworld 2? Really? Why? Check out the trailer, which is.... okay.
This morning, I had to return the car we borrowed from my in-laws last Friday (after the concert, I needed to get home, remember?) I got up way early this morning, got ready for work, and drove an hour all the way to Bergen county to drop the car off, and then get a ride from my father-in-law to the nearby train station. I'm just glad the NJ Turnpike wasn't too congested that early in the morning.
Of this whole move, there's only one negative -- the nearest train station to our home is 20 minutes away, and there's supposedly a 3-5 year waiting list to get a parking permit. Yikes. I'm supposed to be moving to a new office facility in NJ, but that's been postponed ad nauseum, and we peons don't know when it will really happen. There's a bus that stops outside our home and goes all the way to Port Authority on 42nd Street, so although it's a bit expensive, I'll try to look into it this weekend.
This weekend we have nothing really planned. Tonight was the beginning of trying to relax. I picked up some buffalo chicken wings for dinner (Yum.), and we watched both Apprentice episodes from this week. I normally don't watch, but any port in a storm, when you just want to relax and zone out. I like the Martha Stewart version better, as she acts more realistic than that pompous jackass Donald Trump. But instead of a taxicab confession at the end, Martha.... writes them a letter? On stationery? Very feminine. Very.... girly.
On an unrelated note, I could use a slice of pizza and some soda.
On another unrelated note, I published a slew of Joshy photos for this month. A veritable slew. Additional thanks to my sister-in-law Anju who took pictures while she was visiting earlier this month.
So I gave the update on Moving Day already, right? Right. Well, after that, it's just been busy busy busy. In the evenings, all we've had time for is unpacking, and finding places for everything. Most of it has been my wife. Work has kept me in the office kinda late, and then it's just 2-3 hours before I have to go to bed. A week after the move, I had Doug's bachelor party in Montreal. I have photos, and hope to get them edited, and to create a Montreal Trip page sometime this weekend. I will also take some new photos of the place, and share them here.
Julie never made it over. It was kinda late. Tomorrow? Anyone a betting man?
Back to the weekend plans, I'm babysitting tomorrow while my wife goes to to the laundromat to wash not one, but three comforters that need a good cleaning. I love having a washer and dryer downstairs, and don't require quarters, or refilling a laundry card. However, I really thought it meant we could wash everything. Turns out, our comforters still don't fit in it. Hope this won't be a regular occurrence. Otherwise, I like my sheets nice and stinky.
Thursday, October 20th 2005
Alright, first, the updates:
Julie never made it over. Maybe tomorrow night. Instead, Num and I had tacos (Thanks, El Paso!) for dinner. Scrumptious! Actually, they were pretty good. I admit that I'm too lazy to make tacos on my own -- I'll do the ground beef, and warm up the shells, but "No way, Jose." on chopping up lettuce or tomato or cheese as toppings. However, I don't like my tacos without the fixins'. What to do? Marry someone who will do it. Am I smart or what?
This weekend is going to be quiet, and I'm really glad for that. No running around is a good thing. We're going to continue unpacking, and I plan to take some new photos of the place for our friends and potential burglars.
Let's recap the closing and the move -- it was crazy. First, I was in Jacksonville until that Wed night, flew home, and we had the closing that Thursday. The closing itself was fine, but took forever because we did the walkthrough of the new place in the middle. Hours later, everything was signed, attorneys paid off, and we had possession of the keys to our first home.
Lesh came over to babysit, and Num & I went out to dinner to celebrate -- not just the closing, but our 2-year wedding anniversary that week. Two years goes fast when you're in love. And have a baby. And no sleep.
After leaving the baby with my in-laws on Friday, we proceeded to pack for the next 24 hours straight with no sleep. Here's the funny part -- I had a reservation with U-Haul (you bastards) that I did a month ago. At 5:45pm, Num asks me to call up and confirm our reservation. I call, and the guy says they only have one truck, and it isn't working. Sucks for me, call U-Haul. If I'm this guy's one customer, for his one truck, shouldn't he call me?
We spent a frantic 60 minutes calling locations in NJ, whoever was still open on a Friday night, but no luck. At 7am Saturday, we still had no truck, and our friends were coming to move us at 9am. Finally, at 8:30am, I reach a Budget Truck rental place an hour south of here with a slightly smaller truck than I wanted. Still, it was available. The guy asks, "When are you coming to pick it up?"
I said, "Now!"
The move itself went pretty well. I'm glad we had our friends to come help move us, because we hadn't finished packing everything ourselves, so they helped with that too. Everything was finally unloaded around 5pm or 6pm, and they all went home. That left the weekend to clean up and unpack. No real casualties, except my beautiful 32" Sony Wega was dropped, and is no more. Sniff, sniff.
Don't cry for me, Argentina. My buddy Doug is letting us borrow his old 15" TV in the meantime. Guess who's already picked out a Panasonic 50" plasma as a replacement? It'll be early next year 2006 by the time we can actually afford it, but it's coming! Why? Because my wife said yes. And that, my friends, means it's as good as gold.
Wednesday, October 19th 2005
Hump day. If Thursday is tomorrow, that means Friday (and the weekend) are not too far behind.
We're cancelling our Blockbuster monthly rentals program. I hate the idea, because we spent so much time setting up our queue with 50 movies, but we really don't even have time to watch TV at this point. No reason to spend $20 on DVD movie rentals, when we don't even have a real TV. Why does my wife always have to be right? Why do they always make it seem like they're right?
Since March, it's as if there's really not enough time anymore to do everything I need to do. Before March, I used to stay up all the time -- watching TV, doing web work, whatever. Now, I have a long commute, things need to get done around the house, the baby needs attention. I don't even watch much TV anymore. Also, I would be so glad to sleep before 1AM.
My sister Julie is coming over tomorrow night for dinner. Yea!
Sunday, October 16th 2005
And Joel lives.
Sorry, but the mundane world took me away. The past few weeks (how many weeks has it been?) have been so busy, blogging always took a backseat. Packing up our stuff, moving to the new place, cleaning up the old, unpacking, getting used to a new commute, trying to find everything. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Life is starting to settle down -- gradually. It also didn't help that in the middle of all this, I was organizing my buddy Doug's bachelor party in Montreal. BTW, it went very well, thank you very much.
So, I went to my very first U2 concert. Lesh called us up to let us know she had scored two tickets, and she had an extra. Num called me to let me know, and I squealled like a piggy. It was this past Fri night at the Garden,with Brit band Keane opening for them. Not the greatest seats, but the music was awesome. Wait, I take that back. It was friggin' awesome. Afterwards, Lesh and I took the PATH back to Newark, had a really late dinner (1am) at a local diner, and then she drove me to my in-laws' place, where I borrowed one of their cars, and drove home. I got home around 3:30am.
It's amazing what can be found on Craig's List. This woman must really dislike doing laundry.
Hey, you all saw Kanye West (standing next to shocked Mike Myers) declare that George Bush doesn't like black people on that Katrina telethon? Here's the reunion for Myers and West on SNL recently.
Last night, we had dinner in Philly with some friends. I took a few pictures, but apparently everyone looks bad. Hmm, let's blame the camera, delete the pictures, and never speak of this again. You all are too beautiful to be seen in that light. :) We finished at 12 midnight, and then drove the 2 hours back to my in-laws' place to pick up the baby. We actually stopped at a rest stop to pick up sodas, and close our eyes for a 10 minutes. We were exhausted. After picking up Joshua, we got home around 4am. Thank goodness for my iPod, or I would have fallen asleep at the wheel.