What A Year – 2009 Edition

It is just about to be 2010 and my annual tradition is to write the things I learn each year.  Here’s a look at past learnings:

https://rkdeemreport.com/2007/12/18/what-a-year.aspx

https://rkdeemreport.com/2008/12/22/what-a-year-2008-edition.aspx

What RKDeem has learned in 2009:

1.  Beginning to grasp that I am not immortal, scares the heck out of me.
2.  Family is incredibly important, without them, getting laid off, having an accident, or going to the hospital would be a lot more stressful and scary.  We lived through these events in 09 and knew we never needed to worry. 
3.  Family is incredibly important for the good things too, so happy that I’ve come to gain Jim and Becky as excellent company/friends.  Not sure I would have had the opportunity if I didn’t have this time in their home.  The joy we all take in Dalia and Winston, exposes so many new sides to my parents that I had never seen before, there’s a lot of love around us and that makes life good.
4.  Miss walking the circuit of the Doylestown book store, Siren Records, Coffee & Cream, and Rita’s.  I learned that living in a place where you can walk to destinations, vastly improves your social and physical health.
5.  Saw a flying fish for the first time in the Gulf Stream 30 some miles off the Outer Banks in NC.  The little bugger looks like a finch, flies about 3 feet off the water for over 100 yards, there’s crazy stuff happening way out into the ocean, starting to learn that we’ll one day live by the sea.
6. Work hard, it pays off.  Under the microscope, politics and uncertainty can make it look like you’re not making progress, but the cream will rise to the top.  Industry, economy, employment is all so volatile in this age, but hard work is a currency that is always in demand.  Happy that a client took me aboard and has allowed me the opportunity to shine.  Don’t just do what you are told to do, do what needs to be done. 
7. I learned that rain storms can be a lot of fun.  Kayaking down the swollen creek in my parent’s backyard was a rush
 https://rkdeemreport.com/2009/08/02/mom-kayaks-in-backyard–eagles-flight-night.aspx
8. Attending a World Series game is fun, but not worth the insane mark up.  The best baseball experience is on a warm summer night, not meant to be played in a frozen windy November.
9. Eagles games aren’t meant for children, the fans are blood thirsty and in many cases ignorant.  
10. Starting your own company isn’t too hard, paying the taxes is a different story.
11. Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas are pretty boring places.  I will say that the bar-b-que is dynamite and my favorite so far was served from a gas station (Oklahoma Joe’s)
12. Miami is not my cup of tea, a little too focused on the glam and not enough substance
13. Atlas Shrugged was one of my favorite books of all time, right up there with Portnoy’s Complaint, On The Road, Zen & the Art of Motocycle Maintenance, and my Call of Duty strategy guide.
14. Kids make it damn near impossible to be cool.  You barely have a moment for yourself, you can’t stay up late because they wake up early, and you spend most of your days reading, watching, and playing with things designed for children.
15. 2 kids is more than twice the amount of work of 1 kid.  If one’s in a good mood, the other isn’t, if one’s asleep, the other’s awake, if one is hungry, the other is thirsty, it is a constant level of mayhem and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
16. I think every kid has dreamed of jumping into the large fountains at the mall, proud to learn that my son had the audacity to do it.
17. I learned that shots are not a good addition to a night out, I will resolve to avoid them in the future.
18. I came within an inch of working for peanuts at Point Pleasant Tubing Company or in the fields of None Such Farms, I love how Jaclyn can understand that aspect of me and support it.  The two of us are the most adaptable people I’ve met and that is one of the many reasons I love her so much.
19. Was rejected for a mortgage because I started my own company and needed two years experience before they’d consider.  I learned that good credit, good earnings, and good history does not always yield good results.  May work out for the best, housing prices continue to fall.
20. I learned that the best feeling in the world is coming home from work and having two kids run to you and hug each leg until you pick them up and give them kisses.  Every night I experience this routine and I told my co-worker how much I loved it, he said, “Enjoy it while it lasts, one day, the only one who’ll greet you at the door when you come home is the dog.”  I’m loving it and I don’t take it for granted, I am lucky for two wonderful and healthy kids and I wife who’s loved me through thick and thin.  

Have a wonderful, happy, and healthy New Year.  Thank you for all the folks who’ve actually been reading this blog all three years.  Please know that all of you are important to me and that each of you have made this an excellent year for me.
   

Christmas Time

Christmas just came out of nowhere for me this year.  I had been working like a dog and busy with the family and kids and the next thing I knew it was Christmas Eve and I still had shopping to do!  Thank goodness for gift cards and shopping malls. 

Growing up, I looked forward to Christmas with such excitement and wonder, I loved the thought of Santa Claus, I loved the whole idea of wanting a gift really bad, but not knowing if you were good enough to actually earn it.  I loved the family dinners, I loved getting up early, I loved the stockings, the wrapping paper, the thrill of breaking out your gifts and playing with them all day and all night and waking up on the day after Christmas and checking out your gifts again to make sure it wasn’t a wonderful dream. 

This was the Christmas that I was most excited about, I couldn’t wait to see that look in Winston’s eyes, I knew he would just love the presents more than anything.  I knew he’d love Christmas just as much as I did when I was little.  Dalia liked Christmas too, she got beautiful clothing and My Little Ponies, but of course, she mostly enjoyed all the food. 

Thank you to all the family members who shared the holiday with us, my family loves you all and appreciates everything you do for us.  We had fun.  I really loved Jaclyn’s dinner on Christmas night, she’s the real deal, makes a meal that you might never forget.  When she puts her mind to something, she is the best at anything she does. 

Here are some photos from the holiday.  The last couple are of a hiking trip I took yesterday in the town of Jim Thorpe.  We hiked up a trail called Glen Onoko Falls.  The trail is only a mile and a half, but it is grueling and steep, but had some spectacular views.  The gentleman in the photo is San Diego Dave, he’s back from San Diego for about a week, what a pleasure catching up with him.  Miss having a fellow adventurer around all the time.

Winston admiring his presents on Christmas morning 

I purchased this jacket for Dalia at Pearl River in Soho, NY

Me with a new hat and a new Call of Duty Strategy Guide!

Winston just hanging out in his new Thomas the Train pajamas

Dalia enjoying one of Winston’s presents

This is how Winston fell asleep on Christmas, he didn’t want the day to end, and he wanted to sleep next to the glorious tree

Dave in front of one of the many waterfalls at Glen Onoko

In the top right, you can see the hint of more waterfalls

This is the waterfall at the peak, about 50 feet high


This is the photo I took at the top of the highest waterfall at the top of the peak, I was too close for comfort, hung for my life on a big tree

Thank You Officer, You Really Helped Me Out!

I left the Eagles game at halftime yesterday.  I hopped on 95 North and there was no one the road except a police car in the right lane going 55 MPH.  95 North is 4 lanes and most people go about 65 to 75MPH on it, but the speed limit is 55 in that particular section.  I got sick of hanging behind the cop going 55MPH, so I switched lanes and bumped up my speed to 62MPH.  As I started to gain some separation from the slow cop, he turned his siren on, but not his lights.  I knew I was barely exceeding the speed limit, so I didn’t care, if he wanted to pull me over for going 62 MPH on I-95, that was up to him.  The officer, turned off the siren and I kept gaining some distance on the police officer.  At the moment when I thought the cop had just decided to let me go my own way at 62MPH, he flipped on his siren again and came roaring up next to me and emphatically pressed his 5 fingers against his window twice to indicate 55MPH.  I nodded and kept going.  Then he got off the next exit.

Honestly, what in the world was that cop thinking?  Did he think that my 62MPH pace was a hazard to myself or other commuters?  Did he think he was going to pull me over and say:

Cop:  Do you know why I pulled you over?
Me:  No, not sure officer, why?
Cop:  You were going 62 in a 55 zone on I-95.
Me:  Holy cow!   Thank you for pulling me over and saving myself from a imminent danger.  I must have been zoned out for a second and didn’t realize my car had accelerated to such a dangerous speed, how can I ever thank you?


Here’s some pictures from the snow storm:






  

Fender Bender – Everyone Is Okay

Yesterday, Jaclyn got into a little fender bender while running errands with the kids.  She’s okay, the kids are okay, and Winston found the experience to be awesome.  Winston also ensured that we continue to think about the accident on a minute by minute basis by constantly inquiring, “Where’s Mamma’s car?”

Mamma’s car was towed yesterday to her father’s shop in Doylestown where it will be evaluated for repairs. 

I was swamped at work yesterday, I was supposed to be in multiple meetings at once, I was on the phone, and just super busy in general.  I saw Jac’s number flash on my phone a couple of times, but I couldn’t answer because I was on the other line.  Finally, the front desk lady at the large corporate building I work at paged me over the loudspeaker and got a hold of me. 

I immediately jumped to the worst of conclusions when I was paged, put my call on hold and switched over to the operator.  I was put through to Jaclyn knowing bad news was about to be delivered, my assumption was that one of our kids was headed to the hospital for doing something crazy.  The news was very tame in comparison, a little fender bender, everyone was okay, and Jaclyn had already taken care of most of the logistics.  The kids were screaming in the background.  The patience required with children is amazing, they can make a stressful situation so much more stressful, but Jaclyn handled it all with grace. 

They needed a ride, so I got out of work a little early and installed the car seats into my Accord Coup (which was definitely not designed with 4 passengers in mind, but does have the car seat anchors equipped which made installation easy). 

One thing that was incredible about the whole thing is that the other car involved in the accident was driven by the nicest guy ever.  He was an older gentlemen with a white beard who was delivering toys for tots.  His truck had minimal damage and he was patient through the whole ordeal, he even called Jaclyn later last night to make sure she was okay.  Nothing is ever perfect, but it is nice to know that even in bad times, there’s good people out there. 

So, even though there’s accidents in Norristown & Mr. Potters out there in Bedford Falls,  we’ll still be cheerfully singing Auld Lang Syne when the calendar turns to 2010. 

Cigars?

Can someone help me understand why people smoke cigars? With cigarettes, I can understand that someone might think it is cool to start smoking cigarettes through their ubiquitous advertising or through peer pressure and then they get addicted, that makes sense to me. Obviously, I do not endorse cigarettes and am extremely happy that I never got sucked in (I honestly owe most of my good decisions to video games and sports, but that’s another story). But cigars are such a different story, you never see cigar ads or a hot actor or actress smoking a cigar. Cigars aren’t addictive. Cigars produce a tremendous amount of smoke that can completely fumigate an entire room. Cigars eliminate all saliva from your mouth and leave your breath messed up for the rest of the day. Cigars make woman run from you. Maybe that is the benefit of cigars, it is for the guy who just doesn’t want to be around a woman. Anyone know why people like cigars?

Atlas Shrugged


I’ve been reading Atlas Shrugged for months, it is a 1,200 page paperback book that has had profound influence on very influential people (Alan Greenspan). I finally finished it and have a couple notes:

1. Start off with her second most famous book, The Fountainhead. It is only 600 pages and is pretty action packed.
2. Atlas Shrugged is excellent, I was always leaning against widespread government intervention and this book really conclusively validated that thinking. This book also made me realize why capitalism is so important, I know it is fiction, but I truly hope that I NEVER end up in a communist socity. I cannot appropriately elaborate, it took Ayn Rand 1,200 pages to fully make the point, but I am not forever convinced.
3. While communism and anti-government aren’t sexy topics, she definitely made this an exciting read. If I didn’t have kids, I would have spent hours a day reading this book.
4. The hero is a woman.
5. The book made me profoundly appreciative of productive, quality, hard work. Watching the site of the WTC reconstruction was the best place to be at the end of the book.

I just started a book by a local author, detailing some local athletes who went on to fight in the Iraq and Afghan wars. I knew one of them and he ended up losing his life. Very interested to learning more about the guy who I only knew for a couple years in high school on the football team.

NYC

I took the day off from work on Friday so Jac and I could spend the day in NYC.  It was bitter cold, freezing is too kind of a word, it was a brutal harsh climate that made you beg for mercy, wind burning you, temps below freezing, and the absence of sun with a dense layer of clouds.  We checked into the Millennium Hilton right next to the World Trade Center, I mean, you look out your window and straight down is the enormous hole.  We were 20 floors up (out of a possible 60) and you could see the constant flurry of activity, machinery, men, and the constant clatter of progress.  The sound from the construction was pretty damn loud, it woke up up in the middle of the night loud.  There was a giant piece of machinery that was drilling and pounding the earth with such fury that the contact produced a cloud of smoke and we could feel the vibration.  Here’s a brief video I took, if you have the sound on, you can hear the machine I describe.



We met up with Jac’s friend from college.  We caught the subway to a tiny crowded Cuban place in Greenwich Village.  Everyone raved about the food, but we also had plenty of champagne and caipirunhas in our blood.  It was a tiny restaurant and every inch was filled an people adding ingredients of energy, most notably, a solid duo performing Cuban music with an acoustic guitar and some bongos.

Some pics from the past couple days:
Jac and Winston at Giggleberry Fair in Peddler’s Village

At one of the many bars we visited in NYC

Me looking creepy in our hotel room

View from our room at night

Our kids


One last thing, Panera Bread and Starbucks, can you apply butter or cream cheese on toasted items?  You guys will spend six minutes making a lousy cup of coffee, but you just place a toasted bagel in a brown bag with some packets of cream cheese, which is difficult to spread with a plastic knife.