Strange times indeed…

I bought butter at a gas station.

That’s something that never happened before, and, God willing, will never happen again.

It really wasn’t a panic purchase. It was more of being resourceful. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. (I actually think I’m right, but you never know.)

It was a week or so ago, and there was shopping to be done. That was my job. I had heard about the toilet paper situation (which I still don’t get). I figured bread would be low (it was gone save for a few loaves of cinnamon raisin something or other). There wasn’t much meat. Butter was on the list, so I went there next. Nothing.

Driving home from the store, I thought, well, the gas station has everything, maybe I’ll find success there. And, lo and behold, it had Land ‘O Lakes. Mission accomplished. We had butter.

I’ve been to the store a few times in total and the most recent trip had things (except toilet paper still) pretty well stocked, so that was a good sign. Now, when I go to the gas station again, I’m hopefully the only thing I’ll be purchasing is a full tank of regular unleaded.

But, yeah, these are strange times.

The kids are adapting to life at home, thanks in part, I believe, to a schedule we put them on Day 1 (which they helped design). Renee is home and transitioning to official distance learning tomorrow. Tonight, she said it was like being a first-year teacher all over again. Well, those kids are pretty lucky to get a first-year teacher like her.

My work has been busy and full of action, though clearly not to the level it would be if I was still involved in healthcare. While I’m incredibly grateful for the job I have, and I believe I’ve been a valuable asset in how the school has managed this scenario so far, I also find myself thinking a few times a day about my former colleagues, many of whom are on the front line of this. I knew how incredible most of them were when I worked at the hospital. Now, even more so. I think about them. I pray for them.

I refuse to look at my 401K. Long term, we say to ourselves, and that’s true. Long term. We’ve got good jobs, great kids,  roof over our head. Truly blessed.

While I always try and live in the moment, you can’t help but think about the next few months. Now that I’m in education, I worry about kids missing great field trips, a prom, time with their friends, spring sports and even graduation. Not all are off the table yet, but with each day the odds don’t get any better. In fact, just a few hours ago, the Governor said schools will be closed another month. It’s the right call, but tough.

Erin is missing out on an all-state music experience and her state gymnastics meet. She understands, but I feel for her. And all of the others missing that and more.

Aidan? Well, don’t get much out of him, but we were going to take off for a few days over April break to look at colleges, if you can believe that. And, he’s been invited to the senior prom — as a sophomore (that’s my boy!). I remain hopeful. At least part of me does.

Renee and I? Well, we were planning a party in April that’s going to be cancelled. That’s no big deal. We got our taxes back, and we owe. That just doesn’t seem like a big deal right now.

I miss sports immensely, though I’ll be honest, I’ve soured so much on baseball this off-season that I hope absence will make the heart grow fonder and bring me back to the game I love. Though I will also say I’ve enjoyed the classic replays of great games on TV recently. That’s been a walk down memory lane. Funny how even when you know how a game ends, it can still give you thrills every time.

When is it going to end? That’s the great unknown. Watch these idiots that aren’t doing anything to protect themselves — and each other — and you wonder.

Not to get political. But if you want to beat Trump, the answer isn’t Biden. It’s Fauci.

We ordered take out tonight. It was so strange to go to a place that has a constant flow of customers and walk right in, past nobody, to get a pizza. Doing our part? Maybe. But is it enough?

So many unknowns. So many questions. So much left to figure out. I’m not scared. Truly. I’m not anxious. I’m more miffed than anything else. That something like this could happen. That people can be so careless and so caring at the same time.

You learn a lot about people in times like this.

The biggest thing I’ve learned — that at the time was a game changer?

That you can buy butter at a gas station.

More Death

Dear Cancer,

F You. No, scratch that.

Fuck you.

Now I feel better. Well, not really, but that helped.

How can you be happy with yourself? Honestly? How can you take any joy in what you’re doing to families on a regular basis?

Because I don’t get it. I didn’t get it when you took my Dad. Nor did I get it when you took another friend.

And I especially don’t get it now, Cancer.

Not when I just found out that a woman I knew in college (a year ahead of me) passed away in June from colon cancer. At age 39. Leaving a husband. And two kids.

Her name was Janet R., Cancer. I’m not sure if you introduce yourself to each person that you take away from us. But, let me tell you this, as much as you’re an ass, you should get to know Janet. Because if you did take the time to get to know these people, then maybe you wouldn’t take them from their families and loved ones any more. You’d see how special Janet is and you wouldn’t want to disrupt all the good she was doing for her family.

I haven’t talked to her in a long time, and I’ll admit to not even knowing she was in your grasp. But, let me tell you this, you big creep, when I got word yesterday that you took Janet from her family and friends, I sat at my desk for 10 minutes and couldn’t do anything.

And then I started to remember Janet as I will always know her — vibrant, vivacious, friendly, giving, witty and just an absolute delight of a person. And, to add to her charm, a little nutty, too.

One of my favorite Janet stories is her recapping her experience dealing with a flat tire. When she took out the owner’s manual, she looked under “H” to get the process under way.

Why H, Janet, I asked.

For how to change a tire.

And she was serious.

What I also remember most about Janet is that she never just called me Mike or Michael. She always — like every time — used my first and last name. That was just her thing. And I loved it. She’d do anything for anyone. That’s just how she was. Didn’t matter if she knew you for 10 years or 10 minutes, once she knew you, there was a connection.

Her husband and kids must be amazing people. Because that’s the way Janet is. A great friend, and I’m sure an even greater wife and Mom. And now you’ve ruined that. Not just for her, but for her family. How can that possibly make you feel good, Cancer?

I just don’t understand you, Cancer. And I’m to the point where I really don’t even want to try. Not if you’re going to keep doing this stuff — taking good people for no reason. I mean, seriously, can you give me a good reason why you took my Dad? Why you took Janet? I don’t think you can.

If you ever take me, Cancer, it’ll be the last thing you do. Because if I ever meet you first hand, I’m going to kick your pathetic little cowardly ass.



Emptying Out a Cluttered Mind

It’s Tuesday. I’m not sure what that means, really. Just stating the obvious. I guess it means that it’s time to share with you a few random thoughts. So, without further adieu:

It’s a great time to be a New England sports fan. The Sox are in the World Series, the Celtics have their buzz back and the Patriots may well be the best assembled football team ever. These are the glory years.

Two related sports things.

First, Renee and I were never going to have kids. We just weren’t. It wasn’t our thing. Well, that obviously changed with the arrival of Aidan in 2004. Know what else happened in 2004? Yeah, the Red Sox won the World Series.

Well, my loyal readers will know that Erin was born this year — 2007. And, look at where the Red Sox are. The World Series. We are both Sox fans. Have been for life. And, heck, I gotta tell you, if they win this year, that means you can thank Renee and me.

It also means we might have to (at least!) entertain the thought of a third! I mean, Red Sox Nation could be counting on us.

The second interesting thing sports wise is related to my friend, KLC, who just happens to be a huge fan of the team that shall not be named here. Here’s a hint, they were lucky enough to win last year’s Super Bowl.

Well, if you follow football,  you know that November 4 is a huge day. It’s the day when the two best teams in the NFL will play. On the field, you’ll have Brady on one side, Manning on the other.

Off the field, it’s me on one side, KLC on the other. And, based on the results of that game, there will be at least one very interesting blog on November 5. You see, when the Patriots win, KLC has to write a minimum of 400 words about how great of a team they are and how good Tom Brady really is. If for some reason the Colts actually win, then I have to do the same on my blog — post about how good the Colts and Peyton Manning really are.

Should be interesting!

New DVR coming tomorrow, along with a new dish. I’m a little nervous about giving up my TiVo, but Directv doesn’t have a contract with them anymore, so what can I do. I’m sure the DVR will be fine — afterall, it holds 100 more hours of programming than my current TiVo.

I love Pushing Daisies. If you’re not watching, you should. Besides being funny, it has, well, only my favorite Kristin Chenoweth (love her).

Ok, so it’s slipped here and on a few blogs that Bon Jovi is my man crush. Heck, why not, right? Well, I’ve got a new female celeb crush. Maybe crush isn’t the right word. I’m going with intrigue. Who is it you ask? Well, don’t hate me in the morning….but I will say I’m oddly fascinated and intrigued with Kim Kardashian. I know, I know.

I turn (gulp!) 38 in just over a week. Are you kidding me? Thirty-freaking-eight? When did this happen actually? Am I more than half way through my life? These are the things you think about when you are about to turn 38.

And, related to that, I’m going to announce my big plan on my birthday. Time to get the house in order, so to speak. It’s not earth shattering. It’s common sense, and I’m going to rely on all of you to help.

I’ve had two huge customer service sagas in my life lately. I won’t bore you here, but let’s just say I won them both. Let’s also just say that if you ever have to call Verizon customer service, talk to Jackie. I’m sure there are 100 Jackies, but the one I had, well, let’s just say she rocked — and all the Verizon people should know it was her and her alone who kept me a customer. If you know me well, you realize now Jackie should be nominated for sainthood.

Speaking of Jackie, that’s my mom’s name. And, speaking of my mom, it’s clear where I get my sentimental stuff. Just the other day, she hands me a folder of stuff that she thought I’d want to add to this incredible scrapbook she made for me and my siblings years ago.

What was inside? Well, among other things, the first two letters I wrote home from college. Can you believe that? Safe to say I was a naive geek. Excerpts from some of those letters to come.

And, given the spirit of the season, you’ll also soon be blessed with a picture of my candy corn collection. It’s not just any collection, however. Stay tuned to learn more.

What else? I got nothin’.

Alumni Weekend — The Pictures

I went to my 15th college reunion this past weekend. 
Here are some pictures. 
The story behind these amazing people can be found here.

More stories about the weekend to come. 

I think I figured this picture thing out.  


Ok, from left to right, that’s Nancy, Chris, Liz, Yours Truly and Jeanne.
We’re sitting in front of the dorm where we all lived freshman year.


That’s Liz, me and Jeanne. The night is still young.


Um, singing Living On a Prayer. Honest. Me, Nancy and Jeanne.
Note the microphone Jeanne is using.


Singing. Can’t you tell?


Chris and Liz witnessing my singing. And hearing it, too.


 Liz, Me, Jeanne, Chris and Nancy. Four friends everyone should be so lucky to have.

Thanks for the Memories

Well, kids, I’m back.

It’s been a few days since I’ve given you my best effort here at I Got Nothin’.

What I wish I had was the ability to post pictures. But that will come soon enough. I’ve sort of figured it out, but need some help from some of my blogging gurus to get me over the hump.

Until then, you’ll have to just deal with the words.

I graduated from Marist College in 1992. So, yes, that means the Alumni Weekend I just attended was, well, my 15th college reunion. I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. It’s rare that my closest friends from college can all get together at the same time. The last time the five of us together, in fact, was two summer’s ago. Before that, it was 2001.

We’ve all done well with email, phone calls, baby gifts, birthday cards, etc. But having us together, well, that’s just something special. The difficulty at this stage of our lives is that while we used to see each other at weddings, now we see each other at wakes and funerals.

And, while we are all in regular contact, there are other friends I see more and talk to more. However, I consider these four to be almost in a different class. It’s hard to explain and may be hard to understand. But we’ve done so much, have gone through so much, shared so much — that, well, I don’t know how you can compare.

So this past Saturday, Chris, Jeanne, Nancy, Liz and I travelled back to Poughkeepsie to remember old memories and experience new ones. And we certainly accomplished our goal. We were together for less than 24 hours, but we had an incredible time together — like we always do.

Any type of reunion can be tough on a spouse — having to hear the same stories over and over and wonder why they are either funny or meaningful. The five of us are blessed to have spouses/significant others that understand our friendship and give us the time to just enjoy. And that’s what we did.

This post isn’t coming out nearly as good as I had hoped. Sometimes, when there is such feeling, it’s hard to explain. I feel like that now. And that’s part of the reason there will be multiple posts from this weekend.

So, who are Chris, Nancy, Jeanne and Liz? Let me introduce you:

Chris and I met freshman year. We lived on the same floor. Had the same major. Rooted for the same teams. And we’re both from Connecticut. The bond was strong, and for the next three years, we were in classes together, worked on the school paper together, did basketball stats together and much more. It just made sense for us to be roommates. So we were. Chris knows more about me than most, including how loud I snore and, well, what my puking experiences have been. Post college, we continue as great friends, playing fantasy baseball and making an effort to see a game in every major league ballpark. We’re currently in a holding pattern at, I think, 16. Oh, and he’s a lawyer.

Besides Chris, Nancy is one of the first people I met at Marist. We were talking about it this weekend, we don’t even remember how we met. Just that we did. I went to my first off-campus house party with Nancy and Jeanne and we’ll always laugh about styrofoam cups and nobody will understand why. And that’s OK. Nancy and I never had class together, but we continued to build a great friendship. And, of course, being a guy, I wanted it to be more than a friendship. She didn’t, so it wasn’t. There were some hard times because of that, awkward times. But, in the end, what’s important is that we realized how important being friends was, and I’m happy to say that she’s one of mine.

Jeanne was Nancy’s roommate. It’s funny how some of these things start, you know? No other reason for us to become friends. We didn’t have any classes together. But it was my friendship with Nancy that developed my friendship with Jeanne. I think one way I can describe our friendship is like this: if for some reason we were out of contact for a long period of time, we could just pick up the phone and fall right back into it. It’s just that easy. I consider Jeanne to be almost a sister. It’s that type of relationship. That type of closeness. She’s calm, relaxed, easy going and just, well, nice. Jeanne lived less than an hour from school, and a few of us would sometimes go to her parents’ house for a weekend. Just to sit in hot tub or go swimming or just relax and shoot the breeze with her parents. Those are some of my fondest college memories.

What I like best about my friendship with Liz is that I believe we’ve actually gotten to be closer friends after college. We were close in school, no doubt about that, but we’ve each gone through some pretty emotional times relating to death and birth. When you can share feelings with someone who knows, it’s a good thing. In school, and now, Liz is just, well, awesome. She puts everyone before herself. She never forgets to send a card for anything. She’s just someone you want to be around. It’s almost hard to explain why. Liz is ridiculously thoughtful, first by making an incredible memory for all of us when she turned four years of pictures into an amazing video documenting our college experiences together. Secondly, she built a website where we can all go to see pictures, remember birthdays and more.

So those are my friends. You may be bored reading this, but I’m sitting here smiling as I think about each of them and what we’ve experienced individually and together.

It doesn’t matter where life takes any of us. No matter what happens, we have friendships built on four years of memories, emotions and experiences. And for that, and for them, I’m grateful.

Stories and pictures from the weekend coming next.

What else? I got nothin’.

Tuesday Thoughts

You know, I’m about done with funerals. Not to start this off in a gloomy way, but we buried my 100-year-old grandmother yesterday, just a little more than three months after my brother’s funeral. If I don’t go to another funeral for a few years, I’ll feel pretty good about that.

Big day for Aidan at school today. It’s show-and-tell time! He’s the first one to go. He has really come out of his shell in the last month, but he’s still a very shy kid. As I sit and write this, I can’t help but wonder how he’s doing — if he’s even doing! I’ll let you know how he does.

My TiVo is acting up. We have two TVs. One (the one we always watch) has TiVo on it, the other just has a satellite receiver. The second TV was not getting something from the satellite so they came out and got that fixed Saturday morning. I asked them about my TiVo, explaining how it would just freeze at times. Of course, as they went to see it, it worked fine. But, it happened last night while I was trying to watch the Patriots and TiVo a couple of other shows. Looks like another call to tech support. I mean, it’s peak TV season. Can’t lose it now!

My 15th college reunion is this weekend. I’m incredibly psyched to go and spend time with four of my dearest friends. Oh, and the bottle of Captain Morgan I was just given will come in handy, too.

I saw a sign the other day that made me think. It was on a gas station and it said, “Under New Management.” When you see a sign like that, why is there always an immediate assumption that, well, it must be better now?

Patriots! Red Sox! Life is good.

What else? I got nothin’.

Tuesday Thoughts

Well, I’m sorry I haven’t been here since the last Angel post. I’m over her now. But, apparently others aren’t. I’ve received three calls in the last few days. Hear that, Angel? That’s the sound of money down the drain. But, I’m done with her. Honest!

Today is 9/11. We all know this. I thought about writing about it today. But I don’t know what to say. And, whatever I say, it’s certainly not as eloquent or as poignant as any of those that are directly affected by it. Last year, I wrote this — defining 9/11 as my generation’s Kennedy moment. Maybe it’s bigger than that? I don’t know. That’s an entirely separate debate I don’t want to have.

Today was also Aidan’s pre-school open house — or, as I like to call it, the reason why I never ever would want to change jobs with a pre-school teacher. God bless these people. There are only 11 in his class, but they had multiple classes there today and the kids were running around like crazy. Wow.  School starts Thursday, two days a week. I’m the drop-off parent, so I’ll have more to fill you in on then.

Speaking of Aidan, he said this to me the other day when I asked him to move my pair of flip flops that were lying in the middle of the room: “Daddy, why don’t you put your shoes in the closet very often?”

Erin turned three months yesterday. That just boggles my mind. So much has gone on in that time. It’s a wonderful thing — and it’ll be even more wonderful once she’ll take a bottle from me. In the meantime, it’s frustration in a big way.

I go to my 15th college reunion in a couple of weeks. Talk about time flying. I will write more about this as we get closer. I’m incredibly excited to spend time with the closest friends anyone can ask for.

I’m also going to try and post some pictures here in the near future, too. I do love this WordPress thing. I need to expand my horizons a bit and give more to you, my loyal readers.

The fall TV season is coming up soon. I’ll fill you in, too, on what I’m looking forward to watching, besides, of course, Survivor China and Kelly Taylor, er, Jenny Garth, on Dancing With the Stars.

I think that’s it for today. Thanks for sticking through this one today. Not the most exciting, I know. But, I guess it just is one of those days.

What else? I got nothin’.