What A Year – 2011 Edition


The annual tradition continues, RKDeem & the Report live another year. 



  1. Yogurt isn’t too bad, especially for breakfast.

  2. Champagne’s better when it’s cheap, you can enjoy it with vigor.  Buckingham Vineyard makes a good bottle for $12.

  3. The best people at work are just decisive and take the responsibility that comes with it.

  4. If you’re ever in Florida, get on an airboat, defines adventure.

  5. Take care and extra precaution with large fireworks.

  6. You’re probably better off avoiding Colfax Avenue in Denver.

  7. I finished with the Bulldogs this year, it was a heck of a run.

  8. ATVs are freaking awesome.

  9. Winston is starting to ask some tough questions, “why’s the Earth round?” and “how do the stars stay up in the sky?”  He asked me if he’s going to die someday too, he’s a deep kid.

  10. One of my favorite meals this year was a hot dog joint in Kitty Hawk, NC called Captain Franks.  If you ever find yourself in Kitty Hawk, don’t miss it.

  11. I was playing Call of Duty on the Xbox at 6:30AM one day and Winston came down in his pajamas, he asked if he could have the iPad to play Angry Birds.  I nearly blurted out that it was way too early to be playing video games, but bit my tongue when I remembered what I was doing.

  12. I have geeked out on cheese this year, my two favorites are Jarlsberg Swiss Lite and Beemsters Farmer’s Choice.  I’ll also take any ol’ goat cheese with honey or dried cranberries on it.

  13. Thank God our house made it through the year unscathed, the neighbors to our left got flooded badly and the neighbor to the right had a tree nearly smash their house (saved by a basketball hoop).  Thank you, thank you, thank you for sparing us this year!

  14. Glad I won that award at work this year, I’ve eased up on myself a tiny bit.  I used to work like crazy to finish everything everyday, I’d also to respond to everything at anytime, just to prove I was on top of it all.  I am still on top of it all, but now am more willing to prioritize, which is important with me taking on many more responsibilities.

  15. Read a lot of books about Wall Street this year, I’d love for my kids to make millions of dollars, but would be disappointed if they ended up in that industry.  Disgraceful way to make a living.

  16. I always said I’d be a fair and low key father with my kids, I would just work hard to rationalize with them.  I am sorry to report that rationalization does not work with children, fear and loud noises seem to work best.

Previous Editions:


2007


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


2008


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


2009


https://rkdeemreport.com/2009/12/30/what-a-year–2009-edition.aspx


2010


https://rkdeemreport.com/2011/01/03/rkdeems-year-in-review.aspx


 

Big Jamaica Fishing Trip – 19 hour edition

My father and I boarded the 125 foot Big Jamaica fishing vessel around 11:30PM.  As we crossed the threshold, the captain handed us our passes to bunks within the cabin.  It was going to be a long ride that night and a little shut eye would be crucial.  I set my gear down under a table, passed through a door with a porthole, and descended down a stairwell into a dim room containing a couple dozen bunk beds. Dad and I secured bottom bunks and a couple minutes later I heard an asian man complaining that only top bunks remained available, he was scared he might fall out, and with the wind  howling like it was, I think his concern was legitimate.  The mate advised him to speak with the captain, ultimately, he came back and slept on the top bunk.  The engine was roaring, there’s no way you could have been heard if you needed to speak in that room, the engine emitted a consistent loud grinding booming hum.  Dad handed me yellow ear plugs and a sleeping bag, within minutes, I was sound asleep.

I woke up 6 hours later, the lights were now on and the big boat rolled back and forth as heaving waves passed under it.  I made quick assessments, am I sick, is dad next to me, are we at the fishing spot…the answer to all of these questions was no.  I folded up my sleeping bag, walked up the stairs, out the door with the porthole and saw dozens of fishermen sleeping on the cabin floor, on benches, sleeping in the sitting position, sleeping in the standing position, their heads rolling with the boat, it all looked horribly uncomfortable, like fisherman zombies that needed to be put out of their misery, I was so thankful for the bunks we had.  Still no sight of dad, the sky outside was black, but my watch said it was six in the morning.  

I ventured outside and found dad in gear suitable for an Alaskan King Crab expedition, which was perfectly suitable for a late December day 60 miles out into the Atlantic with strong winds.  He was rigging up the rods and preparing our spot on the boat for a long day of fishing.  In every direction, just ocean, as the sun came up, you really came to appreciate it’s ability to give you perspective on where and when you are.  As the sun breached the horizon, the captain sounded the horn and that meant it was time to fish.  

I pushed the button on my reel, letting the line release, a twenty ounce sinker pulled the rig down into the ocean, quickly making my baited clam disappear.  The line raced out of my reel, my thumb resting gently on the spool to keep it from tangling up, still deeper, and deeper, and finally, after about 12 seconds of furious descent, the sinker crashed into the shipwreck 300 feet below.  Immediately, my rig gets hammered and I use both hands to jerk the rod up swiftly, driving the hook into the upper lip of a 3 pound sea bass.  I do not reel to play the fish, I mechanically crank with no pause with a single minded purpose of raising him from the deep.  As the sea bass emerges from the water, I give one more thrust of the rod to yank it from the water, 10 feet up from the water and over the boat’s railing, landing with a thud onto the deck.  The sea bass’ stomach is popping out of his mouth, he has a bad case of the bends (Did you know people got the bends while digging out the foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge, that’s how the bends was discovered and first diagnosed, ultimately, digging for the foundation on the Manhattan side stopping before it reached bedrock because people were dying too frequently, fortunately there has been no consequence thus far).  This activity of dropping down the bait, immediately catching a fish, and purposely reeling up the fish was repeated non-stop for the next 9 hours.  

My body got beat up pretty good during the exercise (but I fared better than the 25 sea bass with the stomachs popping out of their mouths!), I think the most abuse occurred as waves knocked me into the railing.  I caught some other random fish on occasion, such as porgies the size of dinner plates and a Conger Eel!     

The fellow fishermen were far from a homogenous group, resembling a United Nations session held in arctic conditions, I would say that no race held a majority, but the group was so like minded and driven by a similar purpose, it made for decent camaraderie.  No one ended up on this trip by accident, 19 hours in the Atlantic in late December is not for amateurs, even I, who has fished my entire life, felt like an imposter among them.  

The horn sounded 3 times, it meant it was time to go home.  I shedded several layers of clothing, changed shoes, and headed back down to my bunk, I fell asleep again and awoke 5 hours later as pushed into the inlet and were minutes away from the dock.  By this time it felt like I was on the boat for 3 days, with two satisfying rests in the bunk.  It was dark again and without my watch, it would have been difficult to make heads or tails of what time or day it was.  

So, would I do it again?  Yes, but I’d probably want to change it up, perhaps drive up north for cod, or venture out for tuna.  But, I wouldn’t mind taking some time before that next trip, those 19 hours left me plenty satisfied for now. 

Favorite Pics of 2011

Here are my favorite pics from 2011.  The first is Winston sprinting by the Washington Monument (before the earthquake cracked it!)

Jac and I in Colorado, having an incredible time ATVing up some mountains

Here’s Winston making his angry face, it is very apparent when he’s disgruntled

Here’s Dalia and I on a fishing trip to Lake Nockamixon

Here’s an image that sums up how things have changed in my life with the introduction of kids

Here’s the magnificent Jockey’s Ridge

Again, Lake Nockamixon as a backdrop for me and my beautiful wife

Hurricane Irene gave us a good scare, here’s the road in front of our home, didn’t make into our house.  Our neighbors weren’t so lucky

Dalia with an enormous soda at Dorney Park

Winston and I on a crabbing trip

The kids and I at Bushkill Falls

Check out the bump on Winston’s head.  That is from him diving inside the log flume into the front area where you put your legs, seconds before impact with the basin.

This girl is totally unique and I hope she never loses it!

Lots of good times this year, we’re a lucky family that stuffs a ton into every month, week, day, and minute.  It leaves tired, but thankful and content.  Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!





Christmas Music


Today’s my final day at work and then I’m off for 12 days. Work has been painfully slow with most people already on vacation, I reached the end of the internet by Googling “Do Sumo Wrestlers Have Hot Wives?”

It was announced that my work’s office is making a pretty significant move, adding 30 miles each way to my commute. Adding to the misery is that the miles are straight through areas filled with heavy traffic, my work is trying to ease the transition and is taking suggestions to lessen the burden. I said more money would be helpful.

Our Christmas festivities officially begin tomorrow. I’m taking my posse (Dalia, Jac, and Win) to Philadelphia where we’ll take in the model train show at the Reading Terminal Market, the light show in Macy’s, the huge video show in the Comcast building, and then we’ll retire to the Sofitel to do some swimming and perhaps watch some Christmas specials. Friday we have a Christmas party at the Fellman’s. Saturday a party at the Laurie & Lev’s. Sunday is Christmas with a big dinner at my parent’s house.

I heard that Santa may be bringing me a wall mounted TV since our last one broke. I heard Winston whisper to Dalia that he was going to buy one for me, but he didn’t know how to drive a car.

I can’t wait to watch the kids on Christmas morning, I think I might make them eat breakfast before they can open a present.

Starting to get sick of the B 101 Christmas music, I would love to hear Sufjan Stevens play some Christmas music…wow, I just Googled it and he has tons of Christmas music. I’m hitting up iTunes tonight!

Memory


Winston did something last night that made me very happy, I asked him where we watched the fireworks this summer and he replied, “On the bridge.” For the first 5 years, we’ve poured a lot of activities, places, tastes, and sounds into the kids and it is exciting to know that they’re now going to remember some of them. We were watching a show called Redneck Rocket Scientists (or something along those lines) and it is all about a rocket scientist from Alabama who makes crazy stuff from junk yards and spare parts. In this episode they made homemade fireworks and rockets, Jaclyn was visibly uncomfortable as she could see the wheels turning in the heads of Winston and I. I have agreed to make a rocket with Winston. Perhaps in the January time frame, updates to come.

I had the opportunity to take in a Flyers game on Saturday. Flyers won 5-3.. Hockey is an incredible game to watch in person, the sounds are brilliant and the pace of the game is frenetic, despite all that, I still would take sitting in a baseball game on a summer day anytime.

We’ve been invited to several New Years parties, but I talked to Jac and convinced her to see if we can get the kids to stay up late and try to do a kid appropriate celebration at our house. I think they’ll probably fall asleep around 10:30PM, but we’ll see.

This is my last full work week of the year, then I work 2 days next week and have the last week completely off. It has been a good year for me and look forward to looking back on 2011 in my annual year in review post.







Mystic, CT


Had dinner in Mystic, CT last night and really loved the town. You’re surrounded by water, I had to make a K turn at one point and didn’t realize I was backing into a boat launch at high tide and I’m sure my rear tires kissed the water. The town was all lit up with festive lights and they have a drawbridge that brings the town together as a centerpiece. The shops, restaurants, and bars all have a laid back but formal feel, it isn’t a total parrothead retreat like the Florida Keys, but far from stuffy. They have a ton of musuems and from what people tell me, a top tier aquarium, I think I’ll be heading back there this summer with my family, especially it is only 4 hours away.

I was driving home from Mystic this morning and getting gas in New Jersey, they fill up your tank for you. I make this mistake often, instead of pushing the gas cap lever forward to open the gas cap, I pull it back and it pops my trunk. This mistake always provokes the same reaction, the gas attendant looks at me with disgust and says “Not the trunk! The gas cap!”

I think I’ve nearly wrapped up my holiday shopping, I still need something for Dalia, but all she really wants to do is run around acting like a monster with rabies, monsters with rabies are very difficult to shop for.

Winston has become addicted to the ipad. When I wake up in the morning he’s waiting for me to open my eyes so he can ask “Can I play Angry Birds on the iPad?”

That’s the briefing for now, but you should check out Mystic, CT, you won’t be disappointed.

Perspective


A couple quotes that I remember hearing this year that made an impression on me:

“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
“Inspect what you expect.”
“Do right & fear no man.”

Dalia got shoved off a chair this weekend by Winston and whacked her head on the fireplace. The health care professional evaluated her and said she probably suffered a concussion. She’s bounced back very quickly and remembers everything from that day, evidenced by her telling me that her mother bought me a football earlier that morning, but I can’t have it until Christmas.

Winston, Dalia, and I set up Christmas lights & decorations around the house. The kids were pretty proud of the lights, the 3 of us walked to the end of the driveway as it darkness crept in and took in the Christmas display. Winston walks around the house singing “O’ Christmas Tree” and Dalia is constantly rearranging the ornaments.

I went to a baseball card show on Sunday and picked up a Tommy Lasorda rookie card from 1954 and a Yogi Berra card from 1956. For a baseball card to enter my collection, it must fit one of two criteria:
1. Has to have some connection to Philadelphia (Tommy Lasorda was born in Norristown, PA)
2. Has to be a somewhat notable character beyond being a good player (had a weird mustache, memorable quotes, broadcaster, coach, or perhaps a TV/movie actor)

You need to have a good criteria, otherwise, you could just have a crazy huge collection and never feel like it is complete. I am open to recommendations for interesting cards to add to my collection.