Sunday, July 27, 2008

Running in New Jersey

There is just something about running in New Jersey. I don't know quite what it is. The omnipresent sounds of the highway? I'm not sure that's it--I live within a relative stone's throw of the busiest (and consequently deadliest) section of Interstate 81 in America, and the truck traffic alone is enough to wake the dead. You're aware of it, but after a while it just becomes white noise.

New Jersey, in spite of being the most densely populated state in America, is surprisingly verdant. There's an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Frank is trying to discuss, "Who invented the lawn?" I suspect it was someone from New Jersey. I liked seeing the manicured lawns, but the trees are always striking. People in my parents' neighborhood have a LOT of trees, and they're beautiful.

The smell is certainly unique; it's a not-altogether-unpleasant mixture of diesel and compost. There were a lot of gardens and flowers along my run, but they were simply overpowered by the odors of the morning. In an interesting and noteworthy side note, my high school was literally across the street from a landfill. A fairly sizable one. And the school had no air conditioning. So in those May and June days when the mercury would climb, the stench would begin. I never really got used to it, but I learned to deal with it. We would hold track practice in that environment every day. We used to run, jump and throw in the shadow of a veritable Landfill of Mordor, but the real fun began when the visiting team would show up. Home field advantage was never so deliciously not delicious. More than once I saw kids walk off the bus and actually get physically sick from the smell. There was a kid Roscoe from Burlington City who once asked, "How do you guys deal with the smell?" I looked at him and gamely replied with a total deadpan, "What smell?"

There's an often overused saying, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity". In New Jersey, it's usually both. Jersey gets that combination of 100+ degree days (think bordering-on-Southwest hot) with 90+ percent humidity (think walking-and-trying-to-breathe-in-soup humid). You can walk out your front door and be drenched by the time you get to your car. It's like the Mississippi Delta of the north.

I think the thing about running in Jersey is that it's just such a complete visceral experience. The state provides an all-out assault on the senses unlike any other. At the end of my run, I felt like I had really accomplished something in finishing it...though I'm not really sure what. Which is kind of like New Jersey, too.

Nini Fish is Finally Home

She came home yesterday. She is still very tired, but is sooooooooo enjoying her time with her granddaughter. Mrs. Fish and I are just here for the manual labor part (joke). Actually, I am at my parents' house, trying t help my mom get settled from her return from the hospital and helping my dad get settled from my mom returning from the hospital. Yesterday, BrotherFish helped my dad get the garage squared away and put shelves and cabinets up to help him get organized.

I was in charge of mulch. I weeded some of the beds and got the much dispersed. Frequent visitors to my workout log will look at it and say, "That's it? What the heck took you three hours to do?" Suffice it to say...there was a lot of mulch. My mom likes mulch. Little Fish spent most of the day with Nini, talking to her and showing her how to do cool things, like surf the Intarwebz...and go shopping on the Intarwebz. I'm not sure how the conversation went, but I suspect it was something like this.
"Hey Nini," said Little Fish. "You need some new clothes because you lost weight. Wanna go on the Internet and shop?"
"You can do that?"
"Sure Nini. It's fun...let me show you how."
Click-click, tap-tap, click tap....
"We can start at Overstock, Nini....or, we could start at Justice..."

I'm not exactly sure how it went, but Nini got Little Fish her First-day-of-school Outfit online. I'm pretty sure that might be Nini's first online purchase...

So Mom is still very week, but I think glad to be home. Thanks again, dear readers, for your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nini Fish... going home this weekend. My mom has received her release notice, so it's off to JOISEY to move her in, get the house cleaned up and probably set out nine hundred pounds of mulch. Nini Fish likes mulch, apparently.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Bachelorhood... officially over, with the return of Mrs. Fish and Little Fish last night. They had a great time, but still not great enough to make Mrs. Fish love camping. Let's face, some things are just not meant to happen. Huge ups to Mrs. Fish for trying it, though.

I skipped my workout to dine at our local Italian restaurant, eating copious amounts of buttered pasta and a fine slab of salmon, stuffed with seafood.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pretty cool, I Thought....


....someone who understands my Monday morning existential ennui.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Bachelor

So, Mrs. Fish and Little Fish took off on a camping adventure with the moms and daughters from the neighborhood. We had company this weekend, in the form of old friends and their two young daughters. So I went from the mayhem and noise of four adults and three girls under age 10 to total aloneness. Sweet, blessed silence.

I wasn't even sure what I wanted to do with my first afternoon alone, but decided to go for a bike ride. I ended up riding out to Boiling Springs, about 20 miles from here. It was tough, and i couldn't find my legs the first fifteen miles, which was unusual. No matter what i did, they were just dead. Then, all of a sudden, I felt that old familiar zing return, the turning got easier and I was off. It was about 95 degrees and super-humid when I started, so that may have had something to do with it.

Today's wildlife extravaganza? Whistle-pigs, teh ubiquitous bunniez, and I almost hit a goat. yes. A goat. It was standing in the middle of the road, just over the crest of a hill. Bad place for a goat. And for the woman trying to corral said goat. i should have gone matal cowboy on him and rounded him up. But then I lloked to the north and saw storm clouds on the horizon.

The storm rolled in really quickly, as they often do in this region, and I got caught in a downpour the last 10 miles. It was cold, wet, rainy and rather miserable. I was on backroads at that point, so I wasn't too worried, and I had a yellow shirt on, so that helped lots. People were very cool--I think they felt bad for the poor sod on the bike in the rain.

I came home, dried my bike off, got a nice hot shower, made myself some leftover pasta and settled down to write, and to get organized for tomorrow. A banner day, I must confess, though I do miss my family. I think it's good to miss them, though...

My mom is going home on the 28th of this month! The doctors said her progress is such that she is ready to transition out. I'm not sure my dad is ready, but here she comes! Thanks again to all of you who have kept her close to your hearts in prayer.

The New Gig....

So I got a new job. The Idearc job was absolutely killing me: 70-80 hours a week, not seeing my family, grouchy and sleep-deprived all the time. In eight months I was number one in the Harrisburg office and number 11 in the Mid-Atlantic region (out of about 200), qualified for a trip to the Bahamas all-expenses-paid...and I was miserable. I went home and told Mrs. Fish I was thinking about quitting my job. She said, "Good. We'd like to have you back."

I remember working one Sunday and a guy came up to me in the office and said, "Don't miss it."
"Your family. Your daughter. She's only young once. Don't miss it."

So now I work for Acsys, Incorporated as a Business Development Consultant. They're a headhunting...errrr....Recruiting Firm, specializing in the placement of financial professionals. I go out to local companies and find ones that need help, and who are willing to pay a fee to get good help. My territory ranges from York to Chambersburg to Harrisburg, so all of my travel is local. It's a harder sell than Yellow Pages and, but I enjoy the pace, the clients and the people I work with a great deal! It's been a good outfit, and continues to be a fun time. Now, I realize I am still in the honeymoon phase, but as i look around me I still see people enjoying themselves, which is a good thing. I think I am going to be happy here and can see myself making a long career of this. What took me so long?

My better... going to be better...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Think I Have a New Favorite Site....

The baking in the CAKE WRECKS BLOG is just beyond description. Yet, the descriptions are what make the site. From funereal baby shower cakes to leaning, sloppy gloppy messes; from the little spelling mistakes to the quite unexplainable, this site is simply a gem of baking deliciosity. Enjoy. And save me a slice...

On second thought, maybe not....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mom May be Getting Out

My mother has been doing really well with her exercises in the rehabilitation facility. I spoke with my father and he said the doctors had a meeting with him. They said, given her current progress and how Mom has been working that they are looking at release dates. She could be out and GOING HOME as early as July 28th. Crazy-cool! Go Mom!

Humid iPod Run

I went for a run last night, and it was a soupy mess out there. I usually don't run with an iPod, but there are times when I do; I just hit shuffle and go. This was going to be a short little slow hobble of a run, so I thought, "Why not?"

I got going and the music kicked in. Sometimes I just get a fun slew of songs to run to, and this was one of those times. I know, I know, you can set up playlists that mirror the mood of the run. I enjoy the serendipity of the mix.

So, here's a couple that made the run a little faster last night.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008


We went to visit my mother this weekend and she looked GREAT! She got a haircut and colored her normally light color hair a dark brunette--kind of sassy, I think. She is pretty much confined to a wheelchair except for her therapy. We went for a walk/roll and talked for a long time and played some hangman with the family. I could not believe my mother had never played hangman. How do you get to that age and live in America and never play hangman? Still, she picked it up as quickly as any kid and we had lots of fun.

The facility seems very nice and Mom is already making friends, as much with the staff as with the residents. Her roommate situation is not so good, but that is actually scheduled to change this mom is hoping for a window seat. I am too. The doctors continue to be amazed by her progress. I am simply thankful, and count myself fortunate I know Whom to thank.

Small Miracles
We were talking this weekend at my men's group about how God is capable of great things, but that He is just as reliable in small things. Last night my wife was tearing apart her closet, ripping the room apart in a search for some clothing she had recently purchased, but had lost. She had been looking for it for about two weeks. She had searched everywhere, but was now making a really, truly, dog-gone, concerted effort to really, reallly, REALLY find it. I just said a quick prayer to ask God to help her in her quest and went to get in the shower. As I was stepping in, I heard my wife's voice shout out, "FOUND IT!!!!"

I just smiled...probably just a coincidence, right?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Judge Judy...

Normally, I am not a big fan of JJ. This time, however, she is dead on.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


My mom is now out of the hospital! She entered a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Center on Sunday. She said her goal is to be out of there in three months. She just keeps plugging along and getting better, astounding her doctors at every step of the way. Coupling her fighting spirit with the huge contingent of people praying for her I don't see how any other result was possible.