Hi, My Name Is…

An agency was in pitching a selling tool that randomly picked people from a group and made them answer a question.  They weren’t sure who was going to be at the presentation, so they loaded random names for the demo.  When the computer would call on me it would say, “You’re Up Brian Erwin!” 

I didn’t think much of it at first, but the computer kept calling me Brian Erwin and finally I started to think, “How would my world be different if I was Brian Erwin?”  Would my brain and physical characteristics make me exactly the same human being I am today or would having a different name make some sort of impact on how I saw myself or how people responded to me?  

I concluded that the name alone would have minimal impact, but being Brian Erwin would require a different set of parents and that would definitely lead to a different result in who I am today. 

Jac and I spent a lot of time thinking of names for our children.  I mean, we probably spent way too much time.  The fact that we waited until our kids were born to find out if they were a boy or a girl, required us to be ready with a boy’s name and a girl’s name. 

Jaclyn might have a completely different rationale, but I loved the name Winston, mostly because of everything I have heard about Winston Churchill.   He was a leader, a fighter, he was intelligent, but also enjoyed himself and had a good sense of humor.  I think our son will have all of those qualities, not really because he is named Winston, but because the name Winston is constant reminder of those qualities to me.  So far, the kid is pretty tough, he’s athletic, he’s learning a lot, and definitely has a sense of humor.  He’s a little bit of a Momma’s boy, but since Jaclyn is his Momma, I think that’s fine.

If Winston had turned out to be a girl, she would have been called Elenor, after the great Eleanor Roosevelt.   Elenor has a couple quotes that I love:
1.  Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.
2.  No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

When we ended up having a girl, why didn’t we end up choosing Elenor?  I’m not really sure, maybe we had a unique set of goals for our first child and a different with our second child.  Boy or girl, our second child was going to have a more folksy name.  Dalia needed to be classic, but slightly folksy, but slightly elegant, kind of like her mother. 

One thing I am certain of, I would not be me if I had different parents.  A name is just a name, but the last name and the families behind it are what contribute the richness and strength in how you grow. 

Last Thoughts On Kansas City and Looking Ahead

One last thought on Kansas City, they have the raunchiest FM radio stations.  I am not easily alarmed and consider myself pretty liberal, but I was astonished by the amount of crude, lewd, and flat out sexual nature of the entire broadcast, this station would make Howard Stern blush.  The radio banter juxtaposed against the constant stream of churches along Metcalf Avenue made the whole thing even more interesting.  The afternoon show was the most over the top, ironically, it was called “The Church of Lazlo”.  If you’re in Kansas City and looking for over the top radio, tune into 96.5 FM.

In addition to the explicit dialog, I was also amazed to hear this conversation:

Co-host:  Yeah, I think NeNe was on the Real Housewives of Atlanta TV show.

Lazlo:  Was that the show with all the black people?

Co-host:  Yes.

Lazlo:  I never watched that show, I don’t watch shows with black people.

I couldn’t believe it, I suspect a similar comment in Philadelphia would generate a lot of protest. 

Work is moving along in the right direction, it seems like I could be a full-time employee in 1 to 3 weeks, but regardless of when it exactly happens, they’ve loaded me with work and responsibilities that keep me extremely busy all the time.  Next month, I head to Miami again and then to New Orleans.  I’ll be heading to Phoenix in March. 

Jacalope is probably going to tag along in Miami for the weekend, I think she’ll like the city a lot more than I did, perhaps I’ll like it more with her company.  New Orleans is in my top 5 places that I’ve ever been to, I can’t wait to wonder around those city blocks again, I think I’ll bring back an alligator head for Winston. 

The kids are great.  I have an example of how kids make rather ordinary moments into blissful insanity:

Winston is in the TV room on his little chair watching a movie.  Dalia, Jaclyn, and I were eating dinner at the kitchen table.  Dalia stands up on her chair, springs onto the kitchen table, steps right in the middle of her beef stew dinner plate, and leaps off the table towards Jaclyn.  Jaclyn screams as Dalia flies in her direction with feet covered in beef stew.  Winston yells, “I’m okay!  I’m okay!” Jaclyn catches Dalia, holding the sloppy feet away from her nice work clothes and I quickly try to clean her up.  All this happens in a matter of seconds, never a boring moment at the Deem household and I love it.

I have the Happy Days song stuck in my head.  Good bye gray skies, hello blue!

Funny Joke

I was at a local bar in Kansas City, Kansas last night grabbing a burger and watching college basketball by myself.  A couple guys from England sat down next to me and I heard them tell a funny joke that I’ll do my best to repeat:

Monica Lewinski goes to the dry cleaners with a light blue dress and says to the old dry cleaner, “It’s been a couple years since I’ve worn this, can you please clean this for me?”

The old dry cleaner who was hard of hearing says, “Come again?”

Monica replies, “No, this time it’s mustard”.

I’ll be back in Philly tonight, can’t wait to be back home with the family. 

KC Round Two

I left my meeting in Philly today and headed to the airport.  I checked in, took a little shuttle across the runway to Terminal F, which is where the little planes are located. 

Upon arriving in KC, I headed straight to Arthur Bryant’s, probably the oldest and most famous bar-b-que joint in town.  I ordered the ribs and I didn’t like them.  These were the authentic dry rub ribs that have been smoked for hours over a wood fire pit.  I concluded that I like my ribs saucy and tender.  Despite my unfavorable review, I ate an entire slab, downed a Boulevard beer, a big soda, and some bakes beans.  A couple hours later, I am still disgusted with myself for eating so much, imagine if I liked it!

Oh, I forgot to tell everyone.  I won my court appearance in Philadelphia.  I got a ticket for running a red light on Bustleton Ave.  I wasn’t nabbed by a camera, a real cop pulled me over in the early morning hours returning from a Phillies game late in the Fall. 

I showed up to court and there was about 25 other people in the courtroom waiting to be processed.  Before the judge appeared, a woman representing the police department called people one by one and offered them a chance to deal down, in my case, she offered that I just pay the fine and she’ll ditch the points.  I agreed and left after being in the courthouse for about 20 minutes.  If you get a ticket and don’t want the points, I recommend just going to court and see if you can get a deal.

I’m in Overland Park, Kansas right now.  Very similar to my last trip to Syracuse, I’m in an industrial area filled with anonymous hotels and no landmarks nearby.  Fortunately, I have a lot of work and stuff to get caught up on, so I will get home on Friday with plenty of time to enjoy my family. 

If anyone needs anything from KC, just let me know.

DoubleTree in Philadelphia

I’ve been getting a swelled head lately.  I’ve accrued a decent amount of Hilton Honors points lately and am saving them up for a jaunt to Europe with my lovely wife in the next year or two.  Anyways, I’ve been really thinking of myself as a big timer until tonight’s experience at the DoubleTree. 

Me: Hi, I have a reservation for Deem.
Front Desk:  Ahhhh yes!  Do you remember what room you booked?
Me:  (not aware you could book a specific room) I’m just booked a queen bed for one night.
Front Desk:  It is an unusual room, very close to elevator.
Me:  Whatever, I just want to get to bed, I have a big day tomorrow.

I get in the elevator, cruise up 18 floors, emerge from the elevator and walk to the hallway.  The sign says, rooms 1809 to 1800 are to my right and 1811 to 1830 are to my right, my room number is 1810.  Where the hell is my room, she said it was close to the elevator.  I look to my left, I look to my right, no room.  I spin around, here’s a picture I made to depict my accommodations.

Despite being in a former custodial closet surrounded by elevators, my room is fine and the view is spectacular.  I long view of the city grid, dusty lights, the faint twinkling red and blue LCD starlight shining from a police car on Broad.  I love Philadelphia.

I do not love Donovon McNabb.  I hope he gets kicked off the team.  How can you be a leader to a bunch of warriors in a game that depends largely on who has more grit and determination by coming out of the tunnel playing air guitar and doing a Michael Jackson dance?  He may be athletic, he may be intelligent, but he’s not a leader and he’s not a football player I want on this team.  Until McNabb leaves, I resign as an Eagles fan, I will cheer on the soccer team (Philadelphia Union begins this year).  

Other than that, it’s been a brutal month and we’re only halfway done.  I’m off to Kansas City later this week and I have a bar-b-que joint that I will report on, supposed to be beat down, old and dirty, just my type! 

Have a good night my friends.

Winston’s Birthday

Winston had a spectacular birthday with all kinds of presents and surprises.  San Diego Dave came with an impressive motorized Bulldozer present, Winston also received tons of cars, trains, and gadgets that he adores.  He loves his presents, he loves his new bathrobe, and he loves everyone who came over to make the day very special (I think he gave everyone a kiss on their way out the door).  Winston has been playing with all of his new gear around the clock, he received so many toys that he even lets his sister play with a couple.  After everyone had left, I was sitting on a big comfy chair and Winston was in his little comfy chair and I asked, “Winston, did your birthday party make you happy?”  He just stared at me for a couple seconds and didn’t say anything, he just looked exhausted from the greatest day of his life so far.  I asked him again, “Did you like your birthday party, did it make you happy?”  He looked at me and said, “Very happy”.  I don’t remember him using the word “very”” before and I am “very happy” he chose to use it at that moment. 

Winston turns 3 today.  3 years and about 7 months ago, I remember finding out that we would be having our first child (I am guessing, I didn’t write the date down during the madness).  That was a wild night!  People reacted a lot of different ways, but I only remember a couple reactions.  A shot of whiskey to celebrate with my Dad.  A hug with Jim Fellman & Jaclyn.  Most memorable was Jaclyn and I searching Google to see what we needed to do.  Google was quickly replaced by What To Expect When You Are Expecting.  Jaclyn would read that book every night and provide me with goofy updates, like, “Wow, according to this book, the baby inside me is now the size of a lima bean.”

We waited until he was born to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl.  When he was born, we knew we had a Winston.  I think it would have been Eleanor if he had been a girl.

Some times I look at my children and I can see all their veins under their skin, you can’t help but think it is an absolute miracle.  This little human being is built of an amazingly complex series of veins and organs and they were put together perfectly inside Jaclyn.  It is one of those things that will never cease to amaze me. 

I know Winston would want me to pass along his thanks, he really did have the time of his life.  It takes a village and these kids live in an vibrant and diverse village.  As Winston’s parent, thank you for helping us make this day special for him. 

Our good friend Kyle took some pictures at the party, please take a look at some of my very favorites, but they were all incredible.

The big guy soaking in the day

Winston loved the cake complimented with his favorite friend, Thomas the Train

Very Happy

Dalia with a ribbon from Winston’s present

Mom and Dalia enjoying the moment