Interesting Connections

I’ve known since the instant I started this blog how unique connections can develop.

I mean, how else could you explain my recent happiness for a woman I’ve never met in the midwest who just announced she’s pregnant. And, she’s an Indians fan. So how could I possibly really like her? But, I do. And I’m very happy for her.

How else can I explain my recent happiness for a blogger/facebook friend who recently got engaged. Because I haven’t read much, I actually don’t know if she still blogs, but we’re friends on the ‘book, so I know about it that way. She was a regular commenter here, as I was on her blog. Things change. I get that. But I can still be happy for her through the connection here.

How else can I explain my secret blog crush on someone down south? She doesn’t blog anymore either, but the rumor is she might be back soon. But, we’re ‘book friends, too. And, did I mention she has amazing taste in music and in baseball teams. She’s funny, witty and I don’t know if we could ever carry a conversation in real time, but that’s fine. We’ve got something in common here and it works — because of blogging.

How else can you explain someone sending homemade baked goods to your office — other than blogging? Actually, two people have done this.

How else can you explain getting to know people you work with on an even deeper level — sometimes without even talking about it. You just come here and share — and that leads to a deeper understanding of some friends. And, honestly, I like that.

I write a lot about stuff that has happened to me — and death is always a part of that. First, a lot about my dad and now my brother.

And it was through writing about Tim that two more great connections just happened.

First, a woman that I deal with through work sent me a personal email about shared experiences. I knew she lost her husband a few years ago, but didn’t know much more than that. How much do you bring up over business?

Well, she became a friend on the ‘book and therefore discovered my blog (which was fine). She read some of the stuff I wrote about Tim and my desire to try and do more with my nephew. She then wrote me a great email that started with something like, “I hope this is OK to write….” and then she shared some things that she’s dealt with since the loss of her husband that helped me by giving me a different perspective — not just of what can help me, but also, unbeknownst to her, of what things my sister-in-law is no doubt going through

So through work, that connection was established, and through the blog, it became even greater.

If you’ve read me, you know how I got started — thanks to Molly. Well, after having lunch with Molly the other day, she wrote about our experience and suggested that her readers come visit me.

Well, one reader did — and she sent me an email last night that I’ve read about 10 times already.

Turns out, eight years ago, she lost her brother due to a random act of violence. She wrote to me about she’s dealt with that a little bit and how she’s been able to have a stronger relationship with her older brother — much like I hope happens with me and Tom. It’s about making sure opportunities aren’t lost.

This person didn’t have to email me. But I’m glad she did. I wrote her back and said, hey, maybe we can share stuff from time to time. Having someone to talk to that understands is a great thing.

And what’s unique about our situations — anger. For her, at someone — a real person. For me, which is an entire other element of my frustration — God. Tim didn’t do this to himself. Nobody did it to him. So why was he taken? Yeah, I know. But it’s what I think — and more importantly — what I feel. And if there’s one thing I’ve actually accepted recently, you can’t change feelings — you can only respect them.

So, again, a link from one blog to another brought this person in my life. Whether she stays, I don’t know. But regardless of that, it was nice to connect with someone in a similar situation that can truly relate.

Not that others can’t, but, well, you can’t — not unless you’ve gone through this. And trust me, I’m not not wishing this on anyone.

So, to that person, thank you for following Molly’s link, thanks for reading and — more importantly — thanks for writing.

And, to all of my blogging friends, regular readers and casual visitors — you all have a connection here somehow. It’s what brought you here. And it’s what keeps you coming back.

And while this is about me — I appreciate that. And I appreciate you.

A lot.

I’m Not Quite the Energizer Bunny…

…but here it is three years later and I’m still going and going and, well, going.

Yup, this blog is three years old.

Not only that, this is my 300th post.

I’m actually surprised — I wouldn’t have figured that I’d average a post every three days or so. Despite my recent hiatus, I guess it does go to show that (at one point) I was writing fairly regularly (and I’m trying to build back up to that pace — honest).

For that (the writing regularly part), you can thank Molly.

In fact for all of this, you can thank Molly.

It’s as simple as this — without her encouragement, this blog never would have started.

And, quite frankly, without her encouragement, this blog wouldn’t have lasted.

It’s funny in a way. When she and I get together now, she mentions my writing and tells me not that I shouldn’t stop, but that I can’t stop.

So, here I am, reading her stuff tonight and she’s asking the same questions I’ve been asking lately. And my answer to her, it’s not that she shouldn’t stop. It’s that she can’t stop.

See, I was debating what the heck to write about for a three-year/300th entry…then tonight it hit me plain as day. Talk about the person that got you started here in the first place.

Of course, I went to her when I was looking for an idea for this entry and she might as well have used my line and said, “I got nothin’.”

She actually did have a great idea — it would just take me too long to do right now. And I need to get over this 300 hump.

What’s kind of funny is that while I’m writing less now, I’m even reading less. Only a few blogs are in regular reading rotation right now — Molly’s being one of them.

What could I possibly have in common with twenty-something blogger? Well, in her case, it’s a lot.

We’ve each written about each other before. I’ve called her my little sister. She’s called me her big brother. That’s just the relationship we have.

We had a great working relationship that turned into a fabulous friendship — even after she left for what was then greener pastures.

I don’t see her as much as I’d like, but it doesn’t matter. When we do connect — like today at lunch — it’s fabulous.

Our conversations cover it all — light, heavy and anything in between. Ususally over pizza and onion rings. But, today, we’ll do it over salads instead. And that’s ok.

True friends make a mark on your life — a mark that sets them above and beyond others.

Molly made a mark on my life two years ago — in a big way. I doubt that Molly and I will ever lose touch, but if we do for some reason, I’ll always be grateful to her.

And you should be, too. After all, without her encouragement, I wouldn’t be here.

Thank you, Molly.

Wouldn’t be here without you.

The Interview — Part III

Ok, so when I said this interview thing was addicting, I wasn’t kidding.

Today’s questions come from Molly. It’s only fair, really, that she interview me. Afterall, I interviewed her (for real) twice. I knew she’d have some good questions.

How good? See for yourself.

1. When did you know Renee was the woman you were going to marry?

Well, I don’t know if this is the real answer or not. But, Renee and I knew each other for five years before we started dating. During that time, I had thought about asking her out, but never got up the nerve. Then, a friend of mine asked her out. They dated regularly — more than a year if I remember correctly. Once they started going out, I remember thinking, “Geez, why did I let that happen?” Thankfully for me, the relationship didn’t last.

2. What is the strangest dream you can remember?

Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I could remember a dream.

3. If you had to give up chocolate or beer for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good beer. But, sorry, brewski, you don’t stand a chance against chocolate!

4. If you could be a character in any television show, who would you be and why?

Hmmm. Norm from Cheers? Josh from The West Wing? Phil the host from Amazing Race? Marshall in Alias? Jack from Three’s Company? How do I pick? MacGyver?

I think I might go with MacGyver. I mean, I can’t fix/build anything and he could build anything with three toothpicks, a spool of thread and a plastic cup.

Then again, so could the Professor from Gilligan’s Island…and he was stuck on a remote island with Ginger and Mary Anne.

Yeah, I’m picking the Professor!

5. Bon Jovi invites you on the stage to sing one song with him. Which song do you choose?

Well, first of all, how did I get front row seats? Am I like Courteney Cox being pulled on stage by the Boss? And, my goodness, how do you expect me to sing? Heck, I’m not even sure I could stand — let alone talk, let alone sing! I mean, he picked me?!

The song I would pick? Dead or Alive. Why? Well, I would never, ever, ever steal his thunder. I mean, especially if he asked me on stage. Wouldn’t it be rude for me to take the spotlight? Or to even sing a song as his, dare I say it, equal?

Dead or Alive is perfect…I’ll take the Sambora parts — small, but so important.

I mean, come on, you know what I’m talking about. When Jon sings “Wanted….” and Richie responds with “Wanted….”. Does it get any better than that? Um, no. That’s the part I want. Integral to the song — but not taking away from the man.

God, how pathetic am I?

Well, what can I say, she hit a soft spot. 🙂

Any more questions out there for me? Want any questions from me? Let me know.

The Interview — Part II

Ok, so this little interview thing is addicting.

For some of the bloggers I work with, we can’t stop talking about this thing. It’s fun to come up with great questions, and it’s just as fun to answer them.

So, without further delay, here come five questions for me from my friend and colleague Carrie.

1. We both have experienced the loss of family all too early. They have missed out on many important things in our lives that we wish they could have been here for. I know that I have a question I would have liked to ask my Dad both before he died and especially now. So this is a two parter: If you could have asked your Dad one question before he died or after, what would it have been? And what about Tim?

Wow, nothing like coming out with guns blazing! This is an emotional question, but one I’ve actually thought about — particularly with my Dad, so we’ll start there. Toward the end, Dad was under hospice care. He was coming to grips with the situation quickly, and apparently had something on his mind that he wanted to do. I don’t remember how this came up, but apparently Dad was getting ready to write each of us a letter. This about floored me when I heard it. Still gives me the chills a bit now when I think about it. We weren’t then (and aren’t now) an affectionate family. That’s OK. It’s just who we are. But if my Dad was going to do that, it would be his way of expressing his feelings to us.

So, that said, the question is, “Dad, what were you going to write in my letter?”

For Tim, the timing of everything was just off. Completely unexpected. Complete shock. No other way to describe it. Once he was at the hospital, someone was there all the time, and, for much of the time, we were all there. I remember standing next to his bed, playing my iPod so he could ‘hear’ some of his favorite music. Why? Why not. We sat in the hallway. We sat in the waiting room. We sat by his bed. All the while, he was unconscious.

So, that said, the question is, “Tim, did you know we were there? Could you feel us?”

2. If Heaven exists, when you get to the Pearly Gates, what do you hope God says to you?

Well, first of all, I believe Heaven does exist. And, I hope to God that I am going there. In terms of what’s he going to say to me, hmmm. Probably something along the lines of, “Michael. Welcome home. You weren’t perfect, but nobody is. But given the cards you were dealt, you played a pretty good hand. Now, go over there, see your Dad, your brother and just relax.”

3. If you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive (but not including family), who would it be and why?

I love this question! I’ve actually blogged about it before. It was one of my first entries, and you can find it here. I actually like one of the tables I listed in that blog. Imagine dining with JFK, RFK and Marilyn Monroe. Think there’d be much conversation?

Then I wonder, OK, what about dinner with Letterman, Leno and Carson? Or, how about Bono, Stipe and Elton John? Or, maybe Tom Brady, Big Papi and Paul Pierce. Or what about

So many different options. So many different ways to go with it.

4. If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

Two part answer coming here. Fun and serious.

First, the fun. Jon Bon Jovi. In a heartbeat. Why? Well, OK, he’s my man crush. I’m not afraid of that. But, more importantly, i want to stand on stage in a stadium and have 75,000 people in the palm of my hand. I want to be a rockstar for 24 hours. And I can’t think of a better one to be than my man JBJ. Mmm!

Now, the serious. I would trade places with my son, Aidan. I want to know what he sees. How he sees it. Anything that can get me even closer to him. And to understand him as best as I can.

5. You’re the “Word Guy,” so here is a multi-part quick answer question:

a) What is your favorite curse word?
Without a doubt, it’s the f-bomb. And, lately, I’m dropping it a lot.

b) What is your favorite word?
Honestly, I don’t think I have one.

c) What is your least favorite word?
I’m going with diarrhea. Why? Because I can never spell it without looking it up. And, if you’re using the word, chances are you’ve probably got it (and that’s not good). Finally, it just doesn’t have a flow to it. I don’t know. Mostly because, well, I just don’t like it — in all areas.

 d) What one word do you hope people use to describe you?

e) What one word would you use to describe yourself best?

There you have it. Thanks, Carrie, for some great questions.

Do you have the interview bug? If you do and you’d like me to interview you, just let me know. I’d be happy to do it.

iPod Shuffle Meme

So Hallie and Carrie have recently done this one.

We know bad things happen in threes, but I’m here to prove good things can happen in threes, too.

Here goes:

1. Put your iPod/iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button for your answer
3. You must write that song name down, no matter how silly it sounds.
4. Tag three people to complete this.

If someone says, “Is this OK?”, you say:
Only the Lonely, The Motels

What would best describe your personality?
Freewill, Rush

What do you like in a girl/guy?
Take a Chance on Me, Abba

What is your life’s purpose?
Thank God I’m a Country Boy, John Denver

What is your motto?
You Rock My World, Michael Jackson

What do your friends think of you?
Better Be Good to Me, Tina Turner

What do you think about very often?
Under Pressure, Boyz II Men

What is 2+2?
Crush, Gavin DeGraw

What do you think of your best friend?
Angel, Sarah McLachlan

What do you think of the person you like?
Roll to Me, Del Amitri

What is your life story?
God Must Hate Me, Simple Plan

What do you want to be when you group up?
Sexy, Black Eyed Peas

What do you think when you see the person you like?
Big Time, Peter Gabriel

What do your parents think of you?
Dizzy, Goo Goo Dolls

What will they play at your funeral?
Losing My Religion, REM

What is your biggest secret?
One Wild Night, Bon Jovi

What do you think of your friends?
The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers, Disney

What’s the worst thing that could  happen?
High School Never Ends, Bowling for Soup

How will you die?
I’ll Never Let You Go, Steelheart

What is one thing you regret?
Into the Great Wide Open, Tom Petty & Heartbreakers

What makes you laugh?
I Got That Boom Boom, Britney Spears

What makes you cry?
The Killer Inside, Better than Ezra

Does anyone like you?
All-American Girl, Train

If you could go back in time what would you change?
It’s Gonna Be Me, N’Sync

What hurts right now?
Patience, Guns ‘n Roses

Wow, some pretty interesting stuff when totally random.

I’m supposed to tag three people. Why limit it to three?! Anyone who wants to do this, feel free. Just let me know so I can check out your version of this, too!

The Interview

I’ve been tagged a bunch of times to do different things here at I Got Nothin’. However, I never seem to end up doing them (sorry, taggers). 

In this case, I’m self tagged, so to speak.I saw this Interview concept at Sara’s place. I couldn’t resist requesting an interview – mostly because I know Sara would ask five great questions. And also because if any of you ask me to interview you, I get to come up with five great questions.Why? Because here are the rules:

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

 And, here are the five questions Sara asked me (along, of course, with my answers). And, who knows, it wouldn’t surprise me if you like the questions better than the answers.

1. Why did you start a blog?
To bring out my inner 25 year old female. You see, Molly used to work for me. And she was a blogger. And we’d talk about it from time to time with me always thinking, ‘well, maybe I should try that’ without having the guts to throw my name in the ring. Then, one day, she said, ‘why don’t  you start one?’ Was it that easy? Apparently it was.

Then, in the process, I gained a pretty heavy readership of 25-year-old females. And then I was reading their stuff, too. Hence, the first line of this answer. I used to say, I’m nothing but a 25-year-old female trapped in the body of a 39-year-old male!
Regardless of age, gender or what not, the most surprising thing to me about this blogging thing is the establishment of real friendships with real people. It’s sort of incredible really.

 2. What was your dream job when you were 11 and why did or didn’t you pursue it?Are you kidding? What 11-year-old doesn’t want to be the PR director of a maritime museum? Find me one! Um, well, OK…..truth be told, I didn’t pursue my dream job of starting at first base for the Red Sox primarily because I could never hit a curve ball at age 11 or even higher.

 3. What is one lesson that you would want your kids to learn the easy way?
That death sucks. And it affects everyone. I don’t know how they can learn this the easy way. But I’ve learned it the hard way – twice. And it’s the last thing I want them to experience. And, especially since I don’t want them to lose their father because, well, that would be me.

4. In the movie of your life, what would the soundtrack be (it can be one album or a compilation of songs)
Augustana ~ Boston
Barenaked Ladies ~ What A Good Boy
Billy Joel ~ New York State of Mind
Blessed Union of Souls ~ She Likes Me for Me
Bon Jovi ~ Story of My Life
Bowling for Soup ~ 1985
The Divinyls ~ I Touch Myself (and you don’t?!)
Howard Jones ~ Life In One Day
James Taylor ~ You’ve Got a Friend
Pat Benatar ~ All Fired Up
Styx ~ The Best of Times
Youth Group ~ Forever Young

5. What do your readers know about you that your friends or family may not?
When I first read this, I thought it was the question to end all questions, but then I realized, wait, most of my family and friends actually reads here. (And then I realized that the time I put in to thinking about 3 and 4 made them the questions to end all questions.) Maybe I should answer a question with a question and ask them what they’ve learned about me here that they didn’t already know? Is that cheating? Did I just completely avoid this, or was my move cool and smart? I’m going with the latter.

So, can I interview you?


Birthdays, Part 1 — Friends

So, I’m a day late and a dollar short on this, even though I did text/call/email each of the following on their actual birthday (which was yesterday, the 16th).

But, alas, here I am to publicly wish Happy Birthday to Erin and Sara.

Erin works for me, which is enough of a chore for anyone. She’s a native California girl that now calls Connecticut home. She’s survived working for me for a year, so she’s got something going for her. She’s also sharp and witty — which you’ll discover when you read her blog here.

Of course, you’ll also find her on my blogroll as Catfood & Cabernet. Curiously enough, you won’t find me on her blogroll — at least not as of now. Hmmm.

Regardless, Happy Birthday again, Erin!

Sara used to work with me. She was my work wife. We didn’t get divorced, just separated, I suppose. She took a better job for better money in a better place. And one more better? Our friendship has probably gotten even better since. She shyed away from this blogging thing for the longest time. But now that she’s in, there’s no stopping her. She’s got a growing readership that you should be a part of if you aren’t already.

You can find her and her very witty blog here. She’s also on my blogroll (and I’m on hers!) as If I Had to Pick Five.

Happy Birthday, Sara!

My Work Wife

I have two wives, but by no means am I a polygamist.

You know about Renee. She’s the love of my life. The mother of my children. The world’s greatest math teacher. The planner, check-book-balancer and trip navigator. She’s my real wife. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What she’s not, however, is my work wife. That’s Sara.

(And, before I tell you more about this whole thing, you should check Sara out here. She’s a new blogger, and her concept is a good one. Check her out.)

That wikipedia even defines work wife is a pretty interesting thing. But again, they define everything.

I’ve been surrounded by women in basically every job I’ve ever had. I find it much easier to work for a woman than a man. Not sure why, just do. Three of my four closest friends from college are women. What can I say, I’m a chick magnet. 😉 But then again, most of you reading this are female, so you already know this, don’t you?!

And this is one of the reasons why Renee is so great — because she understands this. Well, I’m not sure if she totally understands it, but she deals with it — incredibly well, I might add.

I’m also the type that tends not to bring work home with me. I have a 30-minute commute, and I use that time to unwind and let go of all the stuff I just went through during the day. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to Renee about work, I don’t want to talk to anyone about work — when I’m not at work.

I love my job, and I love where I do it. However, there are moments. There are always moments. And it’s an important thing to have a bond with someone that you can gripe with and be frustrated with. Someone that you know gets it and understands the nuances. Someone that is usually going through the same type of situation, just in a different department. Someone who you can gossip with and discuss all the latest rumors with. And, quite honestly, someone you can just completely let go with.

That’s Sara. And it has been for a few years.

I tell her things about work I don’t tell anyone else, and she does the same. We can talk about anyone or anything. We have a secret handshake, and quite frankly, if it’s noon, we’re doin’ it.

We came up with that one planning a lunch. We try to go to lunch every couple of weeks. It helps keep us sane. And I’m a bit OCD about lunch. If I don’t eat at noon, I don’t do well the rest of the day. I’m a little regimented.

So one day, we were setting up lunch and the conversation was like, “so what are we doing for lunch?”

“Oh, we’re doin’ it.”

“Noon, right?”

“Yeah, I mean, if it’s noon, we’re doin’ it.”

You might not find that funny, but we think it’s hysterical. And I suppose that’s all that matters. Lunch with Sara is always a great time. We’ve talked funny stuff, serious stuff and funny and serious stuff. Either way, it’s always fun.

The last lunch we had was a perfect example of how we know each other at work. I was having a relatively bad day. I was being questioned about something by the president. And I was right, but in order to appease him, it was going to take me about four to five hours of (unnecessary) work.

I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t frustrated. I wasn’t ticked off. I was pissed. Borderline livid.

Sara sensed it immediately, realizing what state I was in. She’s seen me in all of the above moods, but she knew this one had really set me off. And she was right. She then made it her mission to cheer me up. And it worked. She did it. And she did it well.

Sara and I call a really great lunch a ‘classic’ — for one reason or another. This was definitely a classic. It had a ton of emotion in it, particularly when, after building me up, she broke the news that she was taking another job. Not a promotion or swith here. Another job. As in another place.

My work wife was leaving me. Oh the drama.

Not so. More happiness. She’s getting a promotion, a significant salary increase and a much shorter commute. She wrestled with this, and it was important for her to talk about it with me. That’s what the relationship is about. We went from me being pissed, to us laughing and making fun of our incompetent waitress to the seriousness of a job change.

Our lunches have touched on everything over time. Discussions about life, death and everything in between. A job change was just another topic for us to tackle.

Sara wanted my opinion and I gave it to her. First and foremost, you look out for number one. She did. Do I wish that she was staying? Of course I do. But she’s doing the best for her. That’s what matters. To me. And, most importantly, to her.

And we’ll be fine. The beauty of this relationship is that while it’s steeped in work, it’s gone beyond that.

I may be losing my work wife, but I am forever keeping a friend.



I’m Baaaaaaack.

Loyal readers, I have returned.

That sound you’ve heard lately? It was probably me. Swearing. Sighing. Or just making a variety of other noises while dealing with your wet basement. Yeah. Not fun. At all. We’ve had basement issues since we’ve been in the house, which is going on eight years. To make a long story short, we don’t always get water, which is what makes this frustrating. But, we get it enough where now we’re actually going to do something about it.

The only problem with that? The “doing something about it” is going to cost a significant chunk of change. But, you know what? It’s peace of mind more than anything. It’s to the point where we could be somewhere on vacation, see a rainy forecast for back home and wonder what we’re going to find when we get there.

So, when I meet with water guy tomorrow, hopefully we’ll be one step closer.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll welcome me back into your blogging life. Not only have I not slept a lot in the last few days, but I’ve barely read any of my favorites. I promise I’ll be catching up with you over the next few days. Because, well, I can admit this, I actually have missed you.

And, if the water thing wasn’t going on, there’s always work. But, see, I’m in a funk. I love what I do. And love where I do it. There’s just a ton going on and I’m in a bit of a rut, thanks mostly to, well, leadership. I hate that I’m this way, but I am. The question is, figuring the best way out of it.

I suppose I could think of Bon Jovi. What a show on Friday night. Amazing as always. And, to top it off, when he came out in the audience to sing in the crowd, he was, yeah, 20 feet from us. Pretty incredible. I didn’t have a camera, but I did give my email to a woman in front of me who had one. No email yet though. I can only hope.

And, to win you back, to help keep you with me, because I do want that, I’ll leave you with two new Aidanisms.

The first was with me.

I was sitting, well, on the toilet. He was sitting at the table finishing his breakfast. Renee had already dropped Erin off, so it was just us guys in the house. And, well, I know you enough to say that when it’s just us and I’m in the bathroom, I leave the door open so we can still talk and stuff.

But, at this point, I was also desperately trying to finish a book I was reading — Angels and Demons (which, by the way, I think is better than DaVinci Code).

“Dad, what are you doing?”

“I’m reading, A.”

“How can you be reading, Dad, I don’t hear you saying any words.”

I love that.

The second one was with Renee, as they were driving by a local restaurant.

“Mom, do we rest at a restaurant?”

I love this kid. And hopefully pics of both of them coming soon.

Thanks for taking me back, readers. You’re the best.

I Did Post Today…Just Not Here

Life is insane today, faithful readers.

I’m here to tell you that my energies today were devoted to Hank & Willie. That’s a place you must check out for great family stories and photography.

Anna, a co-worker, is on vacation. She claims I inspired her to blog. And, you know what? I’m OK with that.

Today, on her site, I give her readers (and mine) a view into the land before Hank & Willie actually existed.

So, go check out over there and then check out here this weekend. I should have something up this weekend, possibly even two entries.

What else? I got nothin’.