Tag Archives: Hillsdale

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

And here we are, two days after Christmas. And it was a snowy day, in fact it was such a snowy day that it was a snow day. Meaning that I had off from work, officially. I started the suggestion last night, sending an email to Calvin who stated that it was up to the building management some Kumpus Group, or Unrelated Companies nonsense in which they excel in a lack of subtlety as well as genuine bad decision making all around.

Calvin actually got back to me and wrote that he had gotten in touch with Marcus who declared the store to be officially closed. I don’t know if the customers knew about the store closing but if the staff from Long Island couldn’t make it in with the subways being shut down and NJ Transit buses not running at all, you really can’t have a store being open.

I found this out around 10:00 this morning, about 4 hours after I had been awake. Too late for me to go back to sleep so I puttered around as well as made use of the new HP computer I got from Bill for Christmas.

I was also up until about 2:00 last night exploring the computer and filled with wonder when YouTube videos loaded and played almost instantly with no jumpiness involved. I have to admit, I had gotten used to the videos loading forever so when the video for The Hardest Part by Blondie played almost instantly I was taken aback.

Bill also had off from work today and for most of the day, we were just hanging out in the apartment, watching TV and listening to music. I made a trip outside to the supermarket. Someone shoveled the steps and sidewalk in front of the building and I was glad it wasn’t me.

A lot of people were digging out their cars and a lot of cars were stuck in the snow and ice. I maneuvered my way around them and got the basics from the market.

I came home and had something light to eat. Bill and I had plans to go to Hillsdale to see my brother Brian and his family, as well as seeing my brother Frank and his family again. We were going to rent a Zipcar but the roads seemed too treacherous.

Brian phoned and suggested the train which made the most sense. We decided on the 5:35 train and left with enough time to find out the train had been canceled and the earlier, 5:16 train would be the one to be on.

So that’s what we did. Brian met us at the station and soon we were in the warm and cozy house of love. Brian and Karen and Hillary and Cassie as well as their brother Brian the prodigal and Cassie’s boyfriend Dylan were soon joined by Frank and Elaine with Meg and Rob and Corinne’s boyfriend Vic.

Annemarie was once again in California with her family and made her presence known by way of my cellphone. Dinner and gifts and some guitar playing by my nephew Brian was all enjoyed greatly.

But being tied to a train schedule we had to make it back to the train station a little after 9:00. Still cold and windy in Hoboken as Bill and I walked down the streets, stopping by neighbor Claire’s apartment to help the people who were staying there turn on their heat.

And now, thanks to Bill’s help, the old computer, Randenstein is now sort of hooked up to the new computer. I have two towers going and about 3 internal hard drives as well as the 2 iPods and one screen.

I actually finished this a while ago, just got very distracted by District 9, a very good movie, worth seeing. Out of the ordinary.

and down goes Uncle John with a left hook!

I Wanna Be Sedated

Well here we are, Christmas Eve 2009. An early posting for me. Won’t have time later since Bill and I are expected in Hillsdale, the home of the Relatives of the Powers. Brian, Karen, Hillary & Cassie. Little Brian is away at the moment. Frank, Elaine & Corrine are expected as are Meghan and Rob.

This has been going on I guess, since my mother passed away in 1991. The house in Lodi was more like a tomb at that point and I was no longer welcome in the house where I grew up. I guess we went up to Montvale for that first haunted Christmas without Mom.

My father and I weren’t speaking to each other and I started the first of several years of putting out my hand and wishing him a Merry Christmas only to have him look the other way. One year I stopped and at both Brian and Frank’s insistence I put my hand out once again and once again I was rebuffed.

I then had to chastise both of my brothers, saying in effect, ‘how many times do I have to show that I am the better man?’ . My father came around the year before he passed in 1999. Just a handshake and a hug. No apologies were expected and none were given.

I used to go up with William when I lived in Weehawken. He was welcomed in by my family, but looking back I have to wonder if they thought William and I were an item. I know a few people mentioned they thought we were, but no we weren’t. We certainly weren’t each others type, that’s for sure.

When I started going out with Bill in 2000, Bill replaced William as my companion of choice. And he’s been welcomed with open arms, with a provision that signs of affection between Bill and myself were to be kept to a bare minimum, or better yet, invisible.

That was no problem since relatives of the Powers aren’t known for open displays of affection anyhow.

This year is a bit tighter, tightest since the 1980’s. I tried my hand at homemade presents which over 20 years later I am embarrassed by but find that the original recipients trot them out each year, not to embarrass me, but for sentimental reasons.

Earlier this year when I heard about the Bob Dylan Christmas album I thought it would be nice to get a copy for my siblings. I shopped for the best present and with the fact that all of Dylan’s royalties were going in perpetuity to Feeding America it seemed like the best gift for a tight budget.

I didn’t expect the difficulty I would go through in getting people to merely accept it and perhaps just saying thanks, rather than a lecture and the browbeating that came along with it. Annemarie & Frank have both been told what the gift was so the only one who doesn’t is Brian. Unless he reads this before I get there.

In any event what’s done is done and I’m over it. It is the Christmas spirit to forget and forgive and move on so having written that, I am gone already.

Already did whatever I had to do today, wrapped Bill’s gifts, a walk to the post office. Stopped by the Guitar Bar where I saw Jim Mastro of course, but also Lily & Ruby. Meghan was home, baking cookies and dinner. Or maybe cookies for dinner. I

t was a nice afternoon. Bill should be home soon, he worked today and then I guess we will be off to Hillsdale.

Last night I watched the Paul McCartney performance on the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater from July, when Macca was the guest on the Letterman show. So exciting. I really enjoyed the Fireman album so hearing it live in that situation was pretty cool. Wished I was there, but I wasn’t.

This has been my 1500th posting. Yay Me!

Cranberry Sauce.

Dream On

Another wet, gray day in Hoboken. Yesterday wasn’t so bad. In fact the day was pleasant enough that I took a walk. I walked by Vampire Coffee where I noticed that they had a Help Wanted sign in their window. I was on the phone at the time with the baby broker/used car salesman, Casey Chasm so I didn’t stop by.

After I got off the phone with Mr. Stork, Casey Chasm, I went into the Guitar Bar like I sometimes do and chatted with Jim Mastro for a bit. I mentioned the situation that I was in and brought up Vampire Coffee. It seems the owner is a friend of Jim’s and so Jim suggested that I mention his name.

I then walked over to Vampire Coffee where Jeff was behind the counter. I’ve written about Jeff before. Nice guy, his band is playing McSwells the day after Thanksgiving. He gave me a piece of paper and I wrote down my contact info, also mentioning that I was a friend of Jim Mastro’s.

Came home after that and didn’t do much of anything, except shredding some more papers. Had a nice dinner of penne, pesto and chicken, which is my ‘go to’ meal.

Bill came home and that was a lot of fun. Seriously, no snark involved. Made me laugh out loud a few times. I watched Heroes which was rather lame again even while drinking some wine.

That probably helped with the crazy dreams I had last night. The only dream I can remember had me flying around and running into Aerosmith who did not have Steven Tyler with them. Not one of my favorite bands at all and I only remember seeing them, not much conversation involved.

I’m pretty sure that dream occurred just before Bill was kissing me goodbye for the day. It being rainy and gray outside made it easy to stay under the covers and I didn’t get out of bed until 10:00 and that was because I heard my cellphone ringing in the next room.

I missed the call from Vampire Coffee and after having a cup of coffee myself I called them back. Spoke to the proprietress and we had a quick little chat on the phone.

She asked if I ever made espresso or cappuccino and I mentioned that the last time I did that as about 15 years ago when working at Right Track. I mentioned my 12 years of retail experience at Farfetched but I don’t think that mattered.

What mattered was the fact that I had no real experience making coffee. And that’s totally understandable. We made arrangements to meet around 1:00 for an informal interview.

I got there around 12:50 and hung out talking to Jeff and politely turning down his offer of a free coffee. The owner was in the office interviewing someone else. It certainly is a busy store. No real downtime, always some customers coming in.

The previous interview ended and I was soon talking with the owner. It was an awkward conversation for me. I wound saying that it was totally understandable that they would hire someone with experience over someone like me.

The owner mentioned that I had only came in for the summer when it’s a bit slower, they would have had the time to train me, but as it is later in the year, it’s just too busy for something like that.

She would keep me in mind she said and we parted ways when there was a knock on the door from an employee needing to ask her about something. Part of me thought it was a prearranged knock, after 10 minutes come knock on the door and get me out of this interview.

It was only a part time gig, a few hours a week and it doesn’t seem likely that I would get it.

Tonight Bill and I are taking the 5:55 train to Hillsdale to see my niece Hillary in her school’s talent show at 7:00. I plan on checking out the Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing outside of City Hall beforehand.

So here’s an early entry for today, October 27.

(Not Just) Knee Deep

Night Owl Edition, you can pick it up at the Saddle Brook Diner for 5 cents. This is the updated version of that, only it’s free. You just need a computer and access to the Internets.

I just got back from Bergen County. Spent a good part of the afternoon with my brother Brian, who I think is a really good guy and a really good friend. I didn’t always think that way, especially after having to share a bedroom with him for the first quarter or so of my life.

It was a very hot day today, close to 90 degrees before noon. And of course, 100% hummus. Brian was picking me up around 2:00 so I had some errands to run.

To the library to return the Tom Waits biography which I wasn’t finished with. That was OK since I ordered another copy from another library. You can only renew items twice and I hit my limit and decided to go to the well again.

Then a walk to the supermarket, by which time I was totally drenched. I probably sweated off a few pounds too. I advised the cashier to stay after her shift since it was so hot out. She laughed.

Back home, carrying juices up four flights of steps. I was able to rest for awhile before Brian phoned to tell me he was outside in his air conditioned van waiting.

I was happy that before I did anything today, I installed the air conditioner in the window this morning and was humming along quite nicely.

A cool ride up to Hillsdale with Brian where we caught up on various events in our lives with Karen, Brian’s wife. The three of us chatting in a nice air conditioned living room. Their daughters Hillary and Cassie soon joined us, more catching up then dinner.

After that Brian and I got in the car and drove down to Paramus. My brother Frank and his wife Elaine were there as were all the children of Jim & Irene Grant.

Growing up, my family and the Grant family were very close. They had six kids to our four, but the ages between both groups of kids were close enough for most of us to play together growing up. And we all went to St. Francis de Sales school in Lodi.

I reconnected with the 2 youngest daughters Irene and Kathy when my father passed away and met them in Hoboken a few times for drinks at McSwells.

So there was some catching up with the two of them, as well as meeting Jimmy, Jeannie, Robert and William as well. Each time they said they last saw me when I was a little more than knee high.

Mrs. Grant sat in the front row, eyesight failing. She seemed to recognize me and we had a very brief chat. I always loved her, she used to watch me until my mother came home from work sometimes.

Always a kind and gracious lady, volunteered at the hospital when my brother Frank had his stroke and made a point to seek him out to see if he needed anything.

It was a mish mosh of jokes and memories.

As I get older, perhaps as we get older, wakes although sad, are also social events, reconnecting and remembering mostly good times.

I’ve gone to a lot of wakes in my life, the first one I remember is my Aunt Madeline. I must have been 4 or 5, she was in her coffin, blue dress, pearls and her white hair, resting in a box.

For me, wakes aren’t creepy, they’re obligations.

I am in no rush to fulfill any more obligations, so if any of you are reading this, don’t die. Please.

And I Was a Boy From School

Well it’s Easter and it’s also my niece Meghan’s birthday which to me is more important than mythology. Meghan has also been named Teacher of the Year for Garfield High School which is quite an accomplishment. No bonus, no special parking space, but still a nice citation all around I think. It was a nice day out there in the suburbs and I was glad I could make it since last night I had my doubts. It seems after heading off the bed around midnight last night, awfully tired I came down with a chill. Not a good chill at that, mind you. Just suddenly cold, shivering.

I went into my bedroom intending to dive under the comforter, but I neglected to turn on the heater. So I turned on the heater then stumbled into the kitchen and stood next to the heater I had just turned off yet still warm. I also took my temperature and the thermometer read 98.5. After a few minutes I decided to go back to the bedroom and though still a bit cool in there I went to bed, fully dressed which wasn’t the first time I had done that, but perhaps the first time I had done that sober. As the night wore on and my body temperature became normal I was able to shed the clothes and sleep as normally as I could.

I awoke at 9:00 to the sound of my cellphone ringing. It was Julio who was headed out to get bagels. That was a nice switch and soon he was knocking on my door with bagels and the newspapers. He did have a good laugh as I opened the door in my underwear and I was glad to be able to make him laugh despite my of shortcomings as it were. After a nice breakfast and the reading of the news I checked the schedules and planned my trip out to Garfield. I was on a train at 2:25 after being gouged by the Natural Plus flowers across from Hoboken City Hall. Usually a bouquet of flowers is about $8.00 or $9.00 but today they were $12.99 and up. Whereas I balked a few years ago at this floral skulduggery, this year I kept my mouth shut and paid the price.

On the train it was fairly empty, me and a few people including three people who I was reminded of the characters in Y Tu Mama, Tambien. Just 2 guys and a slight older woman out for a bike ride, leaving Hoboken and going to Garfield. We didn’t chat but were courteous to each other, they allowed me off the train before disembarking avec bicycles. My niece Corinne picked me and and soon we were at the Garfield house. Frank was watching TV, Elaine puttering about the kitchen cooking up ziti and a nice leg of lamb with string beans and baked potatoes. Soon Meghan and Rob joined us and we sat for a very nice meal.

Frank was ok talking wise, mentioning that sometimes he goes off on tangents which we both used to do but where we used to be able to get back to the original point, sometimes he has great difficulty doing so. I asked him that if I see him going off like that would he want me to rein him in and he said he would appreciate it if I did. I’m sure it’s going to go well, since I’ve been doing it for most of my life. After dialing a call to Annemarie in California, the Hillsdale contingent of the family arrived for some cake for Meghan’s birthday. Got a ride home from Corinne and Elaine and now I’m here watching a Hot Chip dvd with Juan who is up for Easter to see his family, headed back down to college later. And that’s the name of that tune.


Alex P. Kitten

Where’s my CAKE???