Monthly Archives: July 2011

I Can’t Live With You

When I last wrote I neglected to mention the squirrel. We had a squirrel break through a screen in the kitchen. Bill saw the squirrel Friday morning around the pots and pans. Apparently made enough of a racket to get the squirrel to scram. I wondered why Bill was taping the screen, figuring that Bill had done something.

A squirrel invasion seemed so outlandish. This morning Bill was adding more tape. Apparently the squirrel returned and proceeded to eat the bread. The bread I was going to use for a sandwich. Bill made it a point to show me the squirrel hair on the tape to prove that it wasn’t anything that he had done.

And then there is the ongoing saga of the drain in the bathtub. It just won’t go down. I usually shower with a bucket in an attempt to save water, I use it for flushing the toilet. Lately the bucket has been used for bailing out the tub. A plumber came after I left, took $240.00 from Bill and broke a snake in the pipe.

There seems to be a problem with the apartment below us and Bill phoned Peter the absentee landlord. Peter was upset that no one contacted him sooner, but he’s basically useless. The plumber is scheduled to return on Tuesday.

Originally he was supposed to come by on Monday and I was willing to cancel my beach plans but Bill insisted that it would be good for my mental health to go down the shore. He was going to take the day off from work and wait for the plumber but now it will be on Tuesday. I am off and Bill can go to work.

From what Bill told me, the tub is now drained and the plumber’s snake was broken in the drain. A few years ago, Julio used a snake to fix the drain and in doing so pulled out two other broken snakes. I don’t know how and why it happens but I wouldn’t be surprised if the squirrel was involved.

At the cigar shack today it was alright. Me, Thomas and Bradley. My brother Brian (a plumber) stopped by the shack with his wife karen and two friends of theirs. They were going to Damrosch Park to see Lesley Gore and La la Brooks from the Crystals.

It was a nice time seeing them if only for a few minutes. Now the cigar shack is awfully quiet. And having written that there’s been a flurry. An old friend, customer Adam stopped by. Hadn’t seen him in a few months and it was good to see him again. Nice guy, keeping his head above water just as most of us are trying to do.

Another customer stopped by yesterday and gave me the suggestion on what I should write a book about. It was somewhat rooted in what I wrote yesterday, before I went back and edited before bedtime. I am glad that I did.

Now I am home. No food to eat, had to order a pizza from Grimaldi’s. Big day tomorrow, going to Millbrook. Who knows, it might be something to write about.

I Can’t Let Go

I tell you last night was such a nice time that today was bound to be a disappointment. And it certainly was. I left the apartment, shirt and tie, suit jacket hanging over my arm. When I got to the street I realized I did not brush my hair. Luckily, I carry a hair brush, so no biggie.

I crossed the street and saw a phone number for a store in the neighborhood that hasn’t been open for a while. I thought I would give a call to find out what was up. That’s when I realized that I did not have my phone on me.

I knew I needed my phone, just think of all those applications I filled out on line, those resumes I sent out. How are they supposed to ignore me if I don’t have my phone. So it was back up four flights of stairs, each floor up with a higher temperature. By the time I was back on the street, I was sweating like a whore in church.

That is how the day started and it was just the way things go. It’s a drag, in general and not just for myself but for millions around the world I suppose. Not much going on, I worked today with both Calvin and Thomas and both were quite hungover from a cigar event they ran last night.

Well Thomas was hungover and Calvin was still drunk from the night before. He left the event and then had about one hours sleep before he had to return to the cigar shack and deal with a fire safety inspection at 5:45 this morning. It took about a minute and it was a complete waste of time.

The landlord of this building which houses the cigar shack is a corporation run by dicks. So Calvin continued being drunk and left when possible, around 1:00. Thomas got himself together and once again did aces in sales, being hungover seems to not be a deterrent for him, whereas me, as dry as a bone, face Sisyphean struggles nearly every bleedin’ day.

Still I break my personal goal of at least one thousand but it pales in comparison to my co-workers, especially Thomas. I have been getting all of the strange customers today and also been luckily enough to not deal with customers that I don’t particularly care for. And those customers seem to be increasing in number.

Thomas is a good guy to work with, but he thinks I write about what a horror show he is to work with but that’s not true. Jerry Vale and the Bradley are probably the most difficult to work with. One seems to be afraid of Thomas and myself and the other with his mole like eyes is just a pain in the ass most of the time.

And guess who I will be working with tomorrow? Well much to my surprise it won’t be Jerry Vale. Thomas and the Bradley which isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.

Something interesting happened the other day, don’t know whether or not it’s permanent or not, but basically, nothing turns me on. Sexually that is. I can appreciate a nice male body but what to do with it- I have no concern anymore.

And you can’t just keep them in the corner and stare at them, you have to do something. And what that is simply does not interest me at all. I do not regret it, feeling the way I do (or not feeling anything). I have been sexually active since I was a teen and probably had more sex than a lot of people. Just don’t ask me their names since I never asked for their names and if I did their mouths were full and I wasn’t able to understand them anyhow.

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)

Just got back from seeing the Guitar Bar All Stars playing at Sinatra Park on the Hudson River in Hoboken. It’s always a good time and a chance to see one of my favorite people on the earth , Meghan Taylor Mastro, wife of Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro and mother of two lovely young women, Lily and Ruby.

Lily is headed off to Bard College in 8 days and the bladder is slowly moving up to a place behind Meghan’s eyes. Ruby is moving onto sophomore year in high school and I am pretty certain that both girls will do fine in their educational endeavors.

It was a good set the All Stars did tonight, starting off with Gates of Steel by Devo and stopping by Bungle in the Jungle by Jethro Tull as well as both Kashmir and Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. I took a few videos and shot some pictures throughout which I will post here and there on Facebook in a little while.

For me it was a good day overall, got somethings done, saw friends around town, quite inadvertently, like sweet Lisa DeFalco, a friend and co-worker of Julio’s who looked quite stunning. I was able to get some grocery shopping and kept trying to unclog the bath tub drain. I think Bill had the right idea and calling a plumber to come over and do what we cannot do.

I’d ask my plumbing brother Brian to do it but he usually has a full plate and is nearly impossible to pin down. I even had time to run into the city to run an errand and had planned on going to the Newport Mall in Jersey City afterward and buy some new Airwalks at Payless. But since there is a Payless right by the Path train I opted to go there instead and actually saved some money on a decent pair which I intend to wear to this event in Millbrook on Sunday which I am participating in on behalf of the Cigar Shack.

I even had myself a nice dinner today, some penne, pesto and chicken of course. Easy to make, easy to keep and easy to cook and eat. It was certainly better than the sandwiches that I eat lately that qualify as lunch and or diner. And I had time to take a nice nap which was so deep that I almost slept past the Guitar Bar All Stars show.

No worries, I was up and out of the apartment on a nice summer evening, smoking a La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Valiente and had a nice stroll to the river where dear Lilly Mastro found me first. I have to admit I was disappointed that she wasn’t performing but she had other things to do like seeing friends that she will not seeing for another year once she goes off to college.

It was all really nice, hanging out with good friends on a nice evening. And though I used to loathe Stairway to Heaven (due to overexposure more than likely) hearing it 3 times in the past month, I realize that it is a very good song. Still overplayed somewhat but a good song nonetheless. Good times and good friends make it all worthwhile.

A most excellent day off overall.

Mr Wonderful

The funniest girl alive

a very sweet family

I Can’t Hear You

Another other day another doofus. That was my Facebook status in the beginning of the day. Woke up feeling hungover, but not from alcohol since I did not have a drink. More of an angry hangover and that anger met with despair this morning.

Last night was the staph meeting and it went relatively well, the only problem was the fact that someone (more than likely Jerry Vale) threw out my bottled water. I didn’t get home until after midnight which did not make me very happy.

Bill once again kissed me goodbye, telling me he loved me that I was beautiful and I said in return that I loved him too and asked him to be careful. I walked to the bus stop and sat waiting for my bus, smoking a cigar that I started last night and feeling such depression. Nothing happening job wise, no responses from real people or companies, just bull shit from Career Builders and the ilk.

I was so trapped in my own head as I stared out the window. My neighbor Deborah got on the bus and talking with her certainly helped me out. I was avoiding talking to Bill, not calling him while waiting for the bus though I did call him once I was near the cigar shack. He noticed the despondency in my voice and I did my best to lie and just say everything was awesome. Word to the wise, if you ask me how I am and I say ‘awesome’ I am more than likely not awesome.

I of course had to bury my feeling and my state of mind when I started work which may have convinced Calvin that I was OK but Thomas knew. Of course Thomas knew. I confide in him and hope he is trustworthy. He is a gentleman. Or at least his blog states that he is.

As the day progressed my spirits had gotten somewhat better. I spoke with Bill again and also with Pedro. And made plans for a beach trip with my niece on Monday. Something to look forward to. On Sunday I am scheduled to go to Millbrook NY and represent the cigar shack at some event that to my dismay does not involve LSD.

I volunteered for it thinking that it would be nice to get out of town and since I am off Monday and Tuesday it seemed like a near perfect getaway.

At last I am home once again. And once again I am, if not down in the dumps, in the vicinity of them. At the cigar shack, the area around the cigar shack was shut down due to a suspicious package found nearby. No evacuation, just a lot of people walking past, a lot more than usual and drivers and pedestrians yelling at each other.

I ordered food since I was hungry and hadn’t eaten since 2:30 in the afternoon. Of course the delivery was late and the order was incomplete. I have to remember to not order from Good Burger anymore. They always fuck up my order.

A day off tomorrow and my only plan is to see the Guitar Bar All Stars as they play by the Hudson River. It will be good to see the funniest woman alive once again as well as her husband Mr. Wonderful and their kids. And I get to sleep later than usual tomorrow morning.

I Can’t Hear The Music

Back in the shack again after a day off. Yesterday was an alright day, nothing to write about even though I did. I can’t say it was entertaining or informative, that would be up to you. Slept relatively well which was good. Woke up to Bill kissing me good bye and telling me he loved me. That’s always nice to hear even if I am such a crab ass when I am laying bed. I did have the idea of actually attending the St. Ann’s feast but it started raining and when it stopped raining the idea had gone away.

At the shack today it’s a full staff. Calvin is back from his sojourn and has called a meeting so that means Bradley, Thomas, myself and Jerry Vale are all in attendance. I don’t know what the meeting will be about, no one does and maybe even Calvin doesn’t know since he is in the man cave writing notes on what to say.

We all got nice packages from Calvin and the convention he attended, a few packs of various cigars that he picked up in Las Vegas. I’m looking forward to having a few. They were given as homework which when the same thing happened last year with Marcus returning with goodies, I took him seriously and wrote down notes and impressions of each cigar. They were never asked for or collected.

So these are mainly for smoking I guess and enjoy them I will. The staff meeting is after the store closes and beer and pizza is provided. I raised a few eyebrows when I said I wasn’t drinking. Not feeling the need to have a beer and talk shop, literally. Not much of a drinker these days. Not unless I am in the bosom of my family. And obviously I am not.

Not so much into running for the bus with beer on my breath and then there is the price to pay tomorrow. Perhaps the adage of ‘one’s too many and a hundred’s not enough’ applies to me or at the very least this situation. The first time I heard that saying was from Nick Lowe but he was singing about kisses and not beer or booze. At least I think he was.

So the pizza is on the way and I got myself a diet caffeine free Pepsi. Calvin and Bradley are in the man cave. Beers were had by everyone but me. I didn’t mind. I was happy with my soda. Calvin ran down his list on how things were and how things should be. It was all mainly positive reports with events on the calendar coming up. Should be interesting.

I have to say I certainly did not expect Jerry Vale to start swearing like he had Tourette’s Syndrome. I know it wasn’t funny but I couldn’t help but laugh. Eventually Calvin noticed the fact that I was checking my watch as things were winding down and Thomas and myself started getting ready to head out. I couldn’t find my bottle of water and was disappointed to find that it was thrown out to make room for the beer they had for the meeting.

I also texted Bill to let him know that I was still at the cigar shack. The text went unanswered leaving me to assume that he was still in rehearsal. I came home and found Bill in bed. He stirred somewhat and asked why I was still at the shack at that late hour.

I told him a staff meeting and he mentioned something that I didn’t hear and so he repeated it, but since I didn’t understand what it was I said yeah and wished him a good night as I walked out of the room.

I hold much in disdain.

I Can’t Go On Without You

A day off after working a five day shift. Surprisingly enough it wasn’t as bad as previous five day shifts. Yesterday was with Bradley and Jerry Vale and that wasn’t so bad. We made sure the store would be in tip top shape for when Calvin returns from wherever he was for the past week.

It wasn’t that busy a day but it was still somewhat hot out. Not the 104 degrees like the other day, but actually around 94 degrees which made it a little bit comfortable. Still it was too hot to go outside for lunch so I once again stayed in the cigar shack and had a cigar in the man cave.

It was day five of doing that and it certainly was not as crowded as it had been the previous days. Just me and a customer. A seven hour playlist I made the other night was on and the customer sat across from me watching a sparsely attended Mets game in Tampa Bay as I read and finished last week’s New Yorker.

The rest of the day went by rather quickly and I insisted on closing the store sending Bradley and Jerry Vale home as soon as the opportunity arose. Fifteen minutes was not going to make much of a difference anyway.

I came home, Bill was asleep after returning from Boston on the bus. His pal Fred had continued on to New Hampshire leaving Bill to take an acting class on Sunday morning. I had some really crappy pizza when I came home and settled in to watch True Blood (quite busy and intense) then Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.

Though I hadn’t watched Entourage in a few years I figured I would catch the last season and forgot how hot James Caan’s son Steve is. It’s definitely the hair and the cocky attitude. And the tight bod. I watched a documentary on John Lennon in New York City which I had seen before.

It was a hot summer night and nothing was on really anyhow. 20 years ago I would have been living in Lodi with my father, watching probably ‘I, Claudius’ on PBS and drinking while my father slept. And that scene was not going to last much longer. A few months later I had changed my address to Weehawken. A definite improvement.

This morning I woke up to find Bill still in bed. I was surprised to find out he had taken the day off. It wasn’t a bad thing, just a surprise. I was anticipating on being home alone but here he was. Before I even took a shower I had to tell him not to fill the water pitcher all the way since it overflows in the fridge when he does overfill it.

And I also told him not to remove the trap when he is showering since it doesn’t make matters any better, in fact it makes it worse. We have a crappy drain in our bath tub and despite Julio using a snake and finding two other broken snakes in the drain it still takes a long time for the water to go away. He rarely showers here and usually does so at the gym in the morning.

So he’s not used to the way things run or don’t run here. Bill said he was going to have a plumber come by and fix it but since he really doesn’t use the shower as often as I do, if at all and I have no real problem with it then it’s no big deal, an annoyance at best. When I heard him say that about having a plumber visit I said ‘whatever’ to which he requested that I stop saying ’whatever’ since he doesn’t like it.

So I grunted instead.

I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)

A Saturday in the cigar shack which went well overall. No punching taxi cabs or telling little old ladies to shut up. Once again despite the fact that I took 2 melatonin tablets last night I did not sleep that well last night. Maybe it was because of the heat or maybe it was because I just could not get a proper sleep. I don’t know.

The day did start with disappointment. A donut on the kitchen table that I was thinking about as I lay in that state between sleep and actually waking up was gone when I walked into the kitchen. Bill ate it. Yes I was pissed but decided to let it go, after all what could I do?

Bill was on a bus with his crush, Fred en route to Boston. I can’t get any decent time off to go to the beach with Bill but if Fred asks Bill to jump, Bill says ‘how high?’ AT least that’s how it seems to me. Regardless this is how it is. Fred (who had relationships with Bill’s friend Margaret and Rand’s wife Lisa, both of which ended badly mind you)will always be the leading light in Bill’s light. I remain in shadow.

Of course Fred is straight, making him unobtainable as far as I know and everyone always wants what they can’t have so Bill will always want Fred. I’m just old dependable. Bill could always say the same thing about Pedro and me. So I guess that makes us even somewhat.

I do know Bill loves me and I certainly love him. I was just a bit bitter when I wrote that earlier.
I am much calmer now and safe at home.

Right now, Jerry Vale stands near me, not saying anything, just twirling his eyeglasses in his hand with his other hand in his pocket. I think he wants to use this computer but he hasn’t asked for it and as you can probably tell I am in the middle of writing this. I think Jerry Vale might be afraid or at least intimidated by me. I don’t really care.

Sad about Amy Winehouse. I had hoped she would clean up her act and prove some people wrong, but I guess she was doomed to the inevitable overdose. I almost played Back In Black but felt maybe it would be too soon. But maybe not.

Blondie, Parallel Lines is on right now and perhaps after Fade Away & Radiate I switch over to Amy. Working with Thomas was a lot of fun even though he had sinking spirits. He’s fast becoming a favorite co-worker. One more day out of a 5 day stretch. Off Monday and that is when Calvin returns to the cigar shack.

Back on Tuesday and Wednesday then off Thursday which is cool since th3e Guitar Bar All Stars are playing in Hoboken and I really want to see my pseudo daughter before she heads off to college. I guess I will finish this at home.

Planning on taking the Path train in since the bus terminal ramps are under construction and I don’t feel like sitting on a bus for any amount of time.

So I did the smart thing and rode the train to the Path train. Cool, air conditioned, able to sit and read the New Yorker. I even gave up my seat so 2 girlfriends could sit and chat rather than me sitting in between the 2 girls. It was then a walk up Washington Street on a Saturday night, past the bars with people lined up outside to have their ID’s checked by a beefy bouncer.

I am home now, and working tomorrow. I may write tomorrow or I may not. If there is something to write about I will, if not then I won’t.

I Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)

Well Lee Goldberg, ace meteorologist for channel 7 here in the New York City area was just in the cigar shack and told me that the highest temperature today was 104 degrees. I remarked earlier in the day as we watched the temperatures climb that being outside was like walking though hummus wearing a wet fur coat.

When the wind would blow it felt like exhaust fumes from a diesel engine. They said it would be the worst today but tomorrow won’t be much better, probably hitting around 99 degrees. I’m sure it will make a difference but it more than likely won’t be felt by me. Walking to the bus stop this morning in the sun was like feeling like I was being fried.

Not enough shade at 10:00. In the cigar shack it was alright, working with Thomas and Bradley. A good team, a few laughs were had. The only terse words were between Thomas and Bradley who were snippy about a chair. Bradley wanted to eat lunch, Thomas needed to make phone calls. It was settled in a minute but it was tense nonetheless.

Just hanging out for the next 20 minutes. Not much going on in a mall when it’s 99 degrees outside. According to the New York Times website it is now 97 degrees. Last night Hoboken had the first night of the St Ann’s feast. I went once or twice a number of years ago, now you would have to pay to find me there. Not my scene and after dealing with people all day the last thing I would want to do is hang out on the street on a hot summer night with hundreds of thousands of strangers, no matter how hot or sexy they may be.

The mall is practically on life support at this late hour. Just stragglers walking around escaping the heat and walking amidst the air conditioning. I have just gotten home. It’s still hot outside, still like walking through hummus. The subway was not crowded at all, and the bus terminal was not as crowded as it usually is.

I almost waited for the 9:42 Willow Avenue bus but saw an earlier bus pulling up and opted to jump on that. It got me home about 10 minutes earlier, no one was waiting for the 9:42 bus. Bill is home, he turned on the air conditioning which is nice in the bedroom, the rest of the apartment is just warm air being pushed around by ceiling fans.

When you walk into my building, the first floor is so cool due to being so close to the basement. As you climb the four flights of stairs it gets hotter and hotter, ultimately stifling when you reach the fifth floor. Despite the windows being open there is no breeze wafting through. Just 2 more days of work, and it being a weekend, and casual dress is the norm it will feel a little more comfortable.

Tomorrow’s guest stars are Thomas and Jerry Vale. Who knows what Jerry Vale will be like. Bradley suggested keeping him in the humidor mostly, since that is what he was hired for initially. He will probably think it is my machinations that will put him there, but as I just wrote it was Bradley’s idea.

Have to get it all ship shape for when Calvin returns on Monday. I’ll be out on Monday and do not want to hear any complaints when I return on Tuesday. I’m sure I will hear something about it. I do have to remember to tell him about Martini Basher’s return. I’ll write about it on Tuesday, I’m sure.

Hello to Rusty!

Thomas und Bradley




I Can’t Git A Nice Loaf A’ Bread

Well it was sort of a good day, working with Bradley and eventually Jerry Vale. Bradley was humorous and quite hung over after an event he participated in at a nearby cigar bar. He mixed drinks last night and paid the price today. Still he was funny and elicited a few laughs from me.

Jerry Vale is not so funny though and tried my nerves after Bradley went home for the day. Nothing that he did intentionally, just that he has that touch. A credit card transaction somehow became a cash transaction.

I intervened and despite the customer being in a hurry, waited for me to sort it out. That meant including calling his credit card company to make sure he was not charged twice. I think it went through with no problems and asked the customer to check his statement when it comes in.

Then another customer came in with five flasks he bought a week ago as gifts for his bridal party. The party opted for things that weren’t flasks and since he had the proper receipt and brought them in on time, I had no choice but to refund his money.

The initial transaction happened on a day that I was off and I had no idea how to search for the proper sale. So I did a straightforward refund and it wasn’t until after that did Jerry Vale reveal that it was he that sold the original items.

For me, a daily goal is to break at least $1000.00 in sales and prior to the returns I was thisclose to achieving that goal. Since I did the refund under my name, I wound up eating the sales taking me away from being thisclose to $1000.00. I had no idea he was such a numb nuts and now he is avoiding me.

Instead of standing around in the front of the store as he is known to do, he is in the humidor. I am just annoyed basically. Jerry Vale avoids me a lot lately. He will walk in a different direction to get where he is going instead of just saying ‘excuse me’ if I am in his way. It doesn’t matter much to me. It’s odd though, he’s 6 years older than I am and yet in so many ways seems about 20 years older.

It’s been a long day. The heat was unbearable, so much so that I decided not to go out for lunch, I stayed in the cigar shack and smoked a cigar with some of the irregulars. It wasn’t too bad though all the comfortable chairs were taken leaving me to sit on the benches designed by the Marquis de Sade. Of course when a comfortable chair was available I only had about 5 minutes left for my lunch hour.

It’s the little things really, that add up and drives one crazy. Tonight I intend to get a good night’s sleep, having bought a new batch of melatonin since I finally finished the bottle I bought last summer. That’s it for now.

Day started out nice with sunflowers…

I Can’t Get Next to You

A Wednesday night and I am home early. I opened the store this morning and in doing so, I got to leave early. Of course there was traffic entering the tunnel so that meant we sat on the bus (air conditioned) for a while before lurching into the tunnel. I think I am going to have to seriously consider taking the Path home.

Maybe take the first train that pulls into the station and if it is a train that goes to the bus terminal I’ll take it. If it’s going to the Path train, I’ll take it. Not really digging sitting on the bus and waiting and waiting and waiting.

So it was my first day back at work after 3 days off in a row. Sunday was a good day, spent a number of hours with my brothers, sister and sisters in law and their families in Saddle Brook. It was a nice barbecue with my niece and her husband and their dogs.

A nice time, with a few beers & hot dogs and hamburgers in the heat and me playing guitar. It was all rather pleasant. I saw my nephew who cleaned up his act and seems to be doing nicely, a day after he sky dived.

Annemarie drove me home in time to watch True Blood and it was good. The next day was a beach day with my niece Meghan joining Annemarie and myself. The water was a bit cold and the bug spray that I bought in 1999 turned out to be a bug attractor and I found myself in the midst of a swarm of biting flies.

They did not bother Annemarie or Meghan, just me and my bags. It was embarrassing enough that I waited for people to pass so they wouldn’t see the swarm on my legs and following me.

All it took was a quick shower to wash the bug spray away for the flies to leave me alone. Annemarie, Meghan and I made it back to Hoboken where we had a very nice pizza at Grimaldi’s on Washington Street, only an hour or so after having ice cream in Rumson NJ at Crazies.

After dinner a quick walk up & down Washington Street before Meghan dropped me off in front of my building and heading back up to Saddle Brook with Annemarie in tow. I climbed up the stairs and soon jumped in the shower washing the beach and bug spray fully off of me.

The next day, yesterday was just Annemarie and me at the beach. We left earlier than usual and were down there a little after noon. We had sandwiches and iced teas and swam a bit and before we knew it, it was after 3:00 which was the time Annemarie decided that we had to head back to Hoboken.

A nice and early Mexican dinner, then she was off. She had packing to do and wanted to visit Garfield the way she visited Hillsdale the night before. And just like that it was all over.

Like a child waiting and waiting for Christmas, it finally comes and then it’s gone too soon. Annemarie and I had been talking about her visit for a few months and now it was all over. She got on a plane early this morning as I was making my way to the cigar shack. It wasn’t easy to go back but it was air conditioned at least so that was something to take under consideration.

I really miss my sister and wish I could do more and contribute to the expense of her traveling back east. Maybe I’ll start saving now like a Christmas Club account. Makes sense since when Annemarie visits it’s like Christmas in July.

I Can’t Explain

Last day before 3 days off. One would hope, one would think that it would be smooth sailing but in reality (a place I am most unaccustomed to) it’s been a bear of a day and I don’t mean heavy set, hairy hirsute gay men.

No it’s been like fighting a grizzly all day long. I did not sleep well last night mainly because Bill was not around. I simply do not sleep well when he’s driving to Atlantic City. Lots of tossing and turning and of course when I finally was able to acquire something resembling sleep that was when the alarm clock would go off.

I woke up to Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones then hit the snooze button, 10 minutes later it was Fleetwood Mac singing Gypsy. Not the Jules Styne / Stephen Sondheim effort, but Stevie Nicks version. I did get myself together, shower and no breakfast. Not enough milk for cereal AND coffee, so it was coffee only.

That was alright since I planned on getting my customary egg sandwich on the way to the cigar shack. A call from Bill asking me to call Annemarie in Saddle Brook to see if she could pick him up at the garage and drop him off at the train station.

If he didn’t catch the 10:00 train, he would have to wait until 1:00 and that would be no good since he needed to be back at the garage at 7:00 again. So I called and left a voice mail for Annemarie and she called me back a few minutes later. I told her the address but she didn’t know where it was.

I explained to my sister where it was and I guess she figured it out. But she didn’t get there in time for Bill to make the 10:00 train so she wound up driving him back to Hoboken. I knew that since Bill called me and asked what stop was I at. He called as my bus was ascending the ramp at the bus terminal.

I was now in Manhattan. And I always catch the bus at 5th street. I headed out the terminal, not in the best mood due to the lack of sleep and was cut off by a taxi running a red light. I punched the taxi.

I then walked over to Smiler’s for my egg sandwich and that went relatively well. I headed out and up the avenue enjoying a slightly damaged cigar from the shack that was headed for the bin.

Quite a few people walking the streets and some were slow so I avoided them by walking close to the curb. At one point as I walked 2 women were taking their time strolling so I walked curbside again.

Coming towards me and the 2 women was an elderly woman with a shopping cart. She motioned to me to tell me something and I took off the iPod thinking she needed help. She did not need help.

She needed to tell me that how I was walking was wrong that people walking on the right side heading in one direction and other people walk on the left in the other direction.

I was disappointed that she did not need any assistance and when I heard what she had to say, I told her that I had no time for her nonsense. She started squawking about something I yelled at her to shut up. Just another nutter on the street that always happen to find me.

I think from now on no matter what, I will keep my iPod on and ignore just about anyone that crosses my path. It will probably be best for all concerned.

I Can’t Drive 55

Yes it’s Friday. Let’s hear it for Friday! Or let’s not. Some of us have a weekend, some do not. Myself, I have to get through tomorrow and then it’s off for me for 3 days. I was looking forward to seeing my nephew Earl who was flying in on Saturday.

I haven’t seen Earl in a couple of years and now his flight is canceled, upsetting his mother Annemarie and his cousins as well as me and Bill and his aunts and uncles. I was excited about going to the beach with Earl on Monday and Tuesday but it’s all fallen by the wayside.

I hope Annemarie has no difficulty getting a refund back from United Airlines. Facebook friend Neal says the United has the worst customer service so I guess we’ll find out whether or not that happens to be the case.

In the world of employment it wasn’t so bad at the cigar shack. Thomas and Jerry Vale and I were manning the shack. It was a good team, we balance each other very well. Thomas was impeccably dressed as ever, I was wearing my shark skin suit with a skinny tie and Jerry Vale was in his usual duds.

The usual customers came in, but not too many. Most came by yesterday, buying their cigars for the weekend and taking off on Friday. In the man cave yesterday it was packed, today there was plenty of room.

It’s hard to say how it will be from day to day, for some it’s too crowded and for others it’s just right, they’re content to stand and smoke a cigar. There really is camaraderie among cigar smokers and they are generally a friendly bunch, always welcoming new faces, a brotherhood of the leaf is what it is called in some quarters.

Bill is off to Atlantic City again and will be doing the same tomorrow. He was feeling very fatigued the other night and skipped a rehearsal which he made up for last night. Tonight, no rehearsal and so it’s off to Atlantic City.

I will probably see Bill for a few minutes as I wait for the bus tomorrow morning if I am lucky. But he had a late start tonight driving and will probably be arriving later so there’s a good chance that we will miss each other. That’s the gist I suppose. It happens from time to time.

I am happy tomorrow is a casual day in any event. Too hot really to wear a suit, shark skin or whatever. I am almost done with ‘Our Band Can Be Your Life’ by Michael Azerrad. It’s an interesting book, reading about all these bands that played Maxwells when I was there, DJ’ing, working the door, bar backing or checking ID’s.

I just finished reading about Beat Happening and I’m sure I had seen them at some point. One of their last gigs was a sold out show at Maxwells according to the book and I was more than likely there doing something. Hell I practically lived there in the eighties. At one point I was even having my mail delivered there since my mother thought my neighborhood at 2nd and Madison was too unsafe for postal delivery.

‘Our Band Can Be Your Life’ is a good book, thoroughly enjoyable but personally I think bands like Pylon, Let’s Active among others should be written about. I suppose that is what Steve Fallon is working on. I have to find some of my writings and sort them out and send them to Steve for his approval. I hope it’s an oral biography.

I Can’t Control Myself

Let’s see. I haven’t written since last Thursday, July 7. I was planning on it but it wound up taking 2 hours to get home when in the best circumstances it takes maybe 30 minutes tops. I was on the bus, in the queue at the top of the exit ramp and thanks to a car accident in the Lincoln Tunnel (2nd accident in 2 hours) I waited for about 45 minutes before I persuaded the bus driver to let me off.

I had thought that if I get off the bus the traffic would start moving, but I was getting impatient. I read a few pages of Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad and decided to do something instead of just sitting there. The bus driver bent the rules and allowed me off the bus.

I wandered down a few flights of steps and exited through a door that a few women couldn’t see even though it was right in front of them. I stepped out into the mist/drizzle and headed towards the Path train, lighting a small cigar as I stomped my way down the street listening to Public Image Limited.

I waited just a few minutes for a train and hopped aboard. It wasn’t that crowded on a Friday night and I was home almost 2 hours after signing out at the cigar shack. I was toasted but off for 5 days. I watched some of Bill Maher with the hideous Ann Coulter on and yes even though I didn’t think it possible I loathe her even more than ever before. I loathe her like cancer. She was quite annoying as if she could be any other way.

The next day was a Saturday. My sister was flying in from the west coast and we spoke briefly, her plane was delayed, late enough that she would probably head to my niece’s house instead of stopping in Hoboken first. It was a drag but I got over it.

It freed up a lot of things that I had to do, I was able to take my time and do whatever it was I had to do and forgot to do what Annemarie asked me to do which was to call my sister in law and tell her that Annemarie wouldn’t be stopping by over there either. Don’t know why I spaced on it, but I did totally. I don’t even remember Annemarie asking me make the call.

Annemarie made it safe and sound and a bit peeved at my space cadet status. I was embarrassed myself. The next day was Sunday and Annemarie and I finally connected. She was earlier than I expected and after coming up to the messy apartment where Bill & I live, we walked around Hoboken for a spell, walking by the river, down Washington Street and stopping by the Guitar Bar to say hello to Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro.

Then we walked up to Julio & Stine’s new apartment, otherwise known as Alexander’s domain. A lovely space, two bedrooms and a view of the neighborhood where the cigar shack is in the city. Some wine, some fruit and good conversation was the way to go for the next couple of hours.

Annemarie and I left and walked back over to Washington Street where we devoured a small pizza at Napoli’s. Then a walk back to where Annemarie parked her car. She was back to my niece’s house and I chilled out upstairs.

The next day was a beach day with my niece Corinne joining us, followed by another beach day with my niece Hillary in the back seat, followed by my niece Meghan on Wednesday. It was all good and of course it had to end, since I had to go back to the cigar shack today. It wasn’t that bad after all.

The 5 days off did me good. Just2 more days left before another 3 days off and another trip to the beach with Annemarie and her son Earl hopefully joining us. That’s about it.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write tonight and you know what? I’m still not sure. It wasn’t as hard as I thought and I’m sure it was as entertaining as you thought it would be.

I Can’t Be Satisfied

Strange. Sometimes Google docs works at the cigar shack and sometimes it doesn’t. It is working now which is most peculiar. I have to make it through today and tomorrow and then I will have 5 days off in a row, the last 2 days being vacation days. Of course as I write that, Google Docs gets all kablooey. Best to quit while I am ahead I’m sure.

But here I am again. Calvin is in a meeting across town, leaving the cigar shack to the Bradley and myself. It hasn’t been especially crazy or busy but I keep myself occupied. The usual knobs are passing by outside the shack, no one I know or recognize.

The regulars are huddled in the man cave, the Bradley using his ferret like eyes and watching them as he chews his Mexican food in a room full of cigar smoke.Calvin was expected to be here around 1:00, then 2:00. A salesman just stopped by to see him and bailed when he realized that Calvin won’t be around for a while.

On the home front, resumes keep going out. Phone calls are sometimes made, sometimes received. Someone suggested looking into getting a medical technician degree or something, and I looked into it online and mistakenly gave my phone number.

So everyday I get a phone call asking me if I would like more information regarding courses and when I tell them I was interested in a medical technician class they always tell me they don’t offer those though their website begs to differ. I think I am approaching the midpoint of my day. A little over 6 hours to go.

I’m supposed to take lunch at 3PM but I guess I will wait until Calvin actually makes an appearance before heading out. I sure as hell don’t want to spend my lunch hour here in the cigar shack. Even if it is 100 ° outside I would rather go out than stay in.

Technically there are about 16 hours to get through before having 5 days off in a row. No word about William’s health or status in the hospital. Julio & I texted each other last night, he was very concerned. I just assume everything will be alright. He is in a hospital after all. I suppose when you have a child you start to see life differently, how fragile it is, how fleeting.

You can be here one minute and then gone the next. I am not sure whether or not William had insurance, I think Chaz mentioned that he didn’t. But the hospital took him in as a hard ship case so that has to be better than nothing.

Yesterday in the middle of laundry and whatnot, I had JFK on, the movie by Oliver Stone. I remember seeing that at the Galaxy with William when it came out. We missed the first 5 minutes entering when the woman who was thrown from the car was in the hospital bed yelling about the assassination plot. Talk about a spoiler!

Now I am home, one day down, another to go. There was an odd moment at the cigar shack this afternoon. Calvin was talking to a customer and jokingly referred to himself as Calvin. His name isn’t Calvin in real life, just a pseudonym that I created for this here blog. I wonder if he reads this.

The president of the cigar shack llc came in today and told me that he is very happy with the cigar shack and it’s staff. He said it in the man cave, with other customers around and they all chimed in. It was good to hear.

After tomorrow I think I will be taking 5 days off. Then on for 3 and then off 3 more. So that’s that.

No luck

I Can’t

It’s been a very nice day off today. I slept really well finally. Still it would have been nice to have been off on a Saturday or Sunday (or maybe a weekend) like most people but I suppose it’s a tradeoff. I have five days off coming up and I am looking forward to them.

My sister will be in town and my nephew Earl might also be around. There will be time spent away from Manhattan, away from Hoboken which is something to anticipate. I just have to get through Thursday and Friday and it should be fine.

I spent a lot of time indoors today, throwing things out. Newspapers and other things, and lots of shredding was done. Still there is more to shred but I paced myself in the 90 degree heat. I found out yesterday that my former roommate William is in the hospital with a collapsed lung as well as fluid. I hope to pay him a visit if he is still in the hospital.

There is still some affection for him after 11 years of living together. It wasn’t all a bed of roses and we did have major fights, with the underlying theme of one trying to get the other out. I left voluntarily after finding an apartment thanks to Julio and moved back to Hoboken, specifically Julio’s now former building.

I found the Weehawken abode through William’s brother Charlie, whom I write about here as Chaz. Chaz saw the apartment on Jane Street via Blankie Blank. I knew Blankie Blank from Maxwells, one time even giving her a ride home when I still lived in Lodi.

The apartment was something of a fixer upper and that was too much for Chaz and his wife. He knew I was living in a crappy situation in Lodi and mentioned it to me. Chaz suggested that I check it out and maybe think of having William as my roommate since he was due back from Mexico and had no real place to stay.

One night I ran into William who had just gotten back from south of the border just that minute and told him about it. He was interested and I made the arrangement to check it out. We liked what we saw and that night made a deal with Blankie Blanks mother & father.

They lived on the second floor of the joined building in 129. William and I were taking the second floor on 127 with Blankie Blank and her brother Toatly living underneath our floorboards. There were ups and downs in the 11 years.

A major event occurred when William’s then girlfriend Monica believed William when he told her he was going to kick me out. Monica and I went head to head and William hid in his part of the apartment. Needless to say Monica never set foot in the apartment again, as far as I knew.

I’m sure I was no saint either and that William has his tales about me.

I’d be disappointed if he didn’t.

I Can Transform

Well my hope was delivered. The fourth of July is over and now we are in the fifth of July. Things did not improve really, just more people that are miserable. I myself am quite despondent.

Went to bed that way and woke up that way. Actually woke up a little bit pissed off since Bill decided to kiss me good bye for the morning since he was off to take his mother to the doctor. While kissing me good bye he decided to tell me how much he loved me, how beautiful he thought I was.

I can barely contain my resentment for being woken up an hour before I needed to. But hey, it’s not like I can get a good night’s sleep. I didn’t last night. So I woke up depressed.

And I keep sinking deeper into despair, and it could be from looking for a better job for the past 2 years to no avail. Or it could be from working 5 days in a row, 10 hour shifts, except for yesterday where I only had to work an 8 hour shift, a federal holiday concession.

Bill stopped by to see me at work and it helped matters though I am wallowing and conscious of it. Last night we did not go see the fireworks. We heard them, sounded like being in Beirut in the 1980’s, Bill asked if I wanted to go and I said no, I didn’t. I didn’t want to be around people and I certainly did not want to partake in whatever it was that people are doing.

We sat and watched Law & Order while the explosions shook the area around us. I started to feel somewhat better after an hour of the Batman movie from 1966. Bill had never seen it before and so it was all new to him. I used to own it on VHS when VHS was the way to go. Lately for me VHS is the way to collect dust.

Now I am home. Bill stopped by the cigar shack, to offer support. It was good to see him. He finally met Thomas, and as usual the Bradley was indifferent. Thomas mentioned that he was happy to have finally met Bill, the Bradley probably was upset that there is no one around that loves him the way Thomas and his fiancé get along or the way Bill and I get along. A snort of Xanax will probably do him well since it usually does.

After the Bradley left for the day, Thomas and I had a good heart to heart about relationships and communication. The day was winding down, my 5 day shifts on my feet were coming to a close. I did ask Calvin months ago to not schedule me for 5 days in a row and he was good about it, but since he’s on vacation and I am taking a few days off in a few days, amends had to be made and so I worked for 5 days in a row.

Off tomorrow which is nice, going to be busy, doing as much as I could in one day that most people can do on weekends.

While I am off from work, I am beginning to think that I won’t be posting for those days. Take some time off from this. I’ve written over 2000 entries and a break would be nice.

I Can Still Make Cheyanne

Happy 4th of July, Independence Day or whatever it is to you. Presently at work, Jerry Vale stands vigilant a few feet away. Nobody stands around quite like Jerry Vale. I was late this morning, getting to work. It being a major holiday all bus & train schedules were messed up and I waited in the humidity for about 45 minutes for a nearly empty bus.

I suppose the reason there were so few buses was the fact that there were so few riders. Right now one of my least favorite doorknobs is in. An aging hipster, trying to hang on to the last vestiges of his boyhood. I think he’s a major asshole and that’s not just from interacting with him, but also the vibe he gives out, a vibe like the odor of a skunk, dead in the road a few miles away that intensifies as you get closer and closer.

Last night as I came home after work, my knee started acting up, probably from being on my feet for 3 days and it was so damp and humid out that that probably had an effect on the joint. I was invited to go to Maxwells to see the Feelies as my brother Frank’s plus one but backed out an hour beforehand. I’m not even sure if he went to the show. He did.

Old friend Alirio apparently showed up and sent me a Facebook message that I was missed which was nice to know. I should have gone to Maxwells regardless. I figured Bill would be home but he wasn’t and I have no idea where he was.

No response to my text asking where he was. I figured he was at the Townhouse, the gay piano bar in east midtown singing with his piano playing friend, or with his pal Fred for whom the torch was carried for oh so long, or anywhere really, just not at home.

Disappointing to say the least as I was hoping to spend time with Bill, since Friday I had seen him for about 10 minutes and that includes today. 4 days, 10 minutes, well that is just what makes our relationship so damn special. This morning for the few fleeting minutes we saw and spoke to each other he mentioned that he was at work. I guess that meant the day job.

So today is a short day at the cigar shack, store closes at 6:00 which is nice. Getting home might be a nightmare since the fireworks are on the Hudson River and thousands of people are expected to descend on Hoboken. And they are encouraged to use mass transit and I of course am discouraging them from doing so, but no one listens to me really.

It’s been slow today in the cigar shack, but in 10 minutes the Bradley did better in sales than the sum total of July 3. The Bradley sold a $2500.00 lighter. Now the Bradley is off to lunch and Jerry Vale stands around, hands in pockets, earring in left ear. My lunch is an hour away and of course it can’t get here soon enough. I wish it was Thomas working today but that will be tomorrow alongside the Bradley. Definitely things are more fun with Thomas in the mix.

A funny and interesting thing, before Calvin went on vacation (which explains his absence lately in this here blog) I asked that since today, July 4 is a holiday can we dress casually. I heard him say yes, the Bradley heard him say no and so I am dressed casually, blue guyabera and my pinstriped trousers and the Bradley is in a suit & tie. Jerry Vale is what I would suppose to be the medium. Shirt tucked into trousers, with no tie.

A former employee is here (whose nom de blog I cannot remember- Raymond) and I asked him about how they would dress on holidays. He said it was casual, so I think I am right. I’m sure the narcs that I am working with will tell Calvin about my supposed fashion offense.

Tonight, if & when I get home I plan on doing nothing. Certainly not planning on watching the fireworks with the unwashed thousands like I sort of planned the other day. I was invited, Bill & I actually and it sounded like fun, but now? No, not my thing. Staying in and watching TV seems to be just right. Less people and who knows, Bill might not be around anyway. So just me is fine with just me.


The bus home was so crowded with people that I opted to get off the bus at the first stop in Hoboken and walked the eight blocks home. I do not want to be around people. Any people. Bill is home. I’m just quiet. And so is he. The only sound is the TV.

I am glad the 4th of July holiday is almost over.

For some reason, people have been asking me where I am from. I tell them Hoboken or North Jersey and they usually say, that’s not it. I do not sound like a person from those places.

I Can See Your Spirit

Here it is a Saturday on a holiday weekend. It’s been an alright day, working with Jerry Vale and Bradley. Bradley has been pretty funny and Jerry Vale is still learning the ropes. A few glitches here and there but nothing overwhelming.

Many laughs were had today, some at my expense but I wisely laughed along. Of course now that it is the end of the day the computers are freaking out. And by freaking out, I mean acting quite slow and so far having difficulty contacting the home planet and that is something I will definitely have to do before I close.

It’s me and Jerry Vale right now, Bradley left for the day. Things are quiet and we are listening to the Supremes. I always equate the Supremes with Richie K who lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up. He was quite swish and probably still is.

He seemed to worship Diana Ross and the Supremes which made them off limits, sort of gay by association. Despite my avoidance I still turned out gay.

Last night was more fun than I expected. Juan stopped by late in the evening and we hung out, drinking Three Philosophers beer which was quite potent. Rather than kick Juan out when I wanted to go to bed, I invited him to stay over and since Bill was down in Atlantic City I thought it best that he sleep over.

He was up for a day trip to a water park somewhere with his sister and friends. I am not sure if he made it, but I am sure he left behind his Blackberry charger which he asked me to mail to him. I just need his address and his will be done.

Bill came home this morning just as Juan was heading out the door. I left a few minutes after that since I had to go to work, and work was alright like I said. I was able to get an egg sandwich on my way and was early enough to enjoy it instead of wolfing it down.

Pedro made an appearance and though he wanted to go to a bar and have drinks on my lunch hour I insisted on sitting on my bench near the park where we talked and enjoyed cigars. He definitely wanted to check out the NY Mets vs. Yankees game somewhere so I sent him to a bar nearby where he was put off by the patrons on Ninth Avenue.

He stopped by again after running into his brother in law and nephew and now I believe they are all at Hooters where you will more than likely never find me.

I myself am home now and happy to be here. No Juan in sight and hopefully Pedro will get home alright. Bill is en route once again to Atlantic City.

And its official, Julio, Stine & Alexander have moved out of the building. Much to Julio’s chagrin he is now in debt, possibly for the first time. He’s good with money. I rarely saw them when they were two floors down from me, but now I will hardly ever see them, now that they are quite a number of blocks away from here.

Jerry Vale's balancing act

found sunglasses

Bradley as Pitbull

My man Pedro

1 + 2 ?

I Can See It In Your Eyes

It’s back to work for me today. Day one out of five. Oddly enough I’ve been in a good mood. Of course this morning there were some blues, it being a holiday weekend a lot of people are heading out of town for a three day weekend. I’ll be working. Of course I would rather have a Monday through Friday job and all that entails, but obviously it ain’t happening this week. Maybe next week.

Last night Bill and I finally had his birthday dinner. Not a steak at Arthur’s Steakhouse, but rather we split a pizza at John’s Pizza in midtown. We’ve eaten there before and always enjoyed it. I think the last time I was there was with my sister in law Elaine and my niece Corinne after we saw an exhibition of artifacts from the Titanic.

The restaurant was quickly packed, lot’s of tourists and out of towners. Bill and I didn’t drink though. Bill had ginger ales and I had diet Pepsi’s. We devoured the pizza and had chocolate mousse pyramids which lacked a birthday candle even though I mentioned it to Sam our waitron.

Bill and I walked around a bit after dinner. I lit up a cigar and we stood watching the tourists. I noticed Fran Lebowitz walking down the street and say ‘Hey Fran’ to which she wittily replied, ‘Hey’. Then a few minutes later, we saw Dean Winters from OZ & the Allstate commercials. I blanked on his name and said ‘Dude!’.

I am pretty sure Fran Lebowitz was off to see the same show as Bill & I. We had tickets to see The Motherfucker with the Hat. The play stars Bobby Cannavale, Annabella Sciorra & Chris Rock, and also features Yul Vasquez and Elizabeth Rodriquez. It was a very fast 90 minutes with no intermission. We had seats in the second row of the mezzanine. Fran Lebowitz kept kicking my seat.

It was funny, and heavy and will probably end it’s run in a few weeks when Chris Rock’s contract ends. Chris Rock was good, but I would watch Bobby Cannavale and Annabella Sciorra in just about anything. And now I will have to watch out for Yul Vasquez and Elizabeth Rodriquez. The dialogue was excellent, I know or knew quite a few people who sound just like that.

Bill and I were back in Hoboken about 10:15, he went to bed a little while after that. I watched the Colbert Report and surfed the web before I turned in. I woke up later than expected, 9:00 which lit a fire under my ass somewhat. Still I was on time for work. Lots of guys buying cigars for the weekend. All of them heading out of town or at least having staycations which for me a long time ago would have been fine, but I would rather leave town.

A week from tomorrow my sister comes to town and I am excited about that. Bill might join us one day at the beach which would be super great.

Now I’m home again. Juan might be stopping by. He asked me to wait for him at the train station, since he was still in Princeton but I just wanted to get home and write this. Of course if I had a normal job, getting home around 6 or 7:00 sure I would, but after 10 hours in a suit & tie, one of the last things I want to do is hang around a train station on a Friday night.

It will be cool to see Juan. Hadn’t seen him in some time and I might also see Pedro this weekend. He told me he might be in the area this weekend. Would be nice.