October 31, 2004

Courtesy Shirt

We went camping at Big Bear Lake. Across from the campground there was a small country store.

Apparently shirtless people are a problem. Luckily I remembered my shirt.

Trick or Treat

Halloween night is interesting. Tonight we had numerous kids come by looking for their sugar fix. It’s been a while since I’ve trick or treated but even I remember the mandatory line, “Trick or Treat!” when someone answers their door. About half the kids just held out their bags. One boy who seemed about 10 or 11 along with his two friends, just grabbed at the candy bowl (I was faster than he thought and pulled it away. He only got one little Kit Kat.). My favorite was the boy who actually sang out the line, “Trick or Treat, Smell my feet…” while his embarrased mother looked on. I didn’t smell his feet, but he got a couple more Kit Kats in his bag.

October 30, 2004

Painting 101

For the past week I have been painting the entire downstairs of our house. This includes Den, Dining area, Kitchen and now Formal Living room. In that time I have learned a few things about painting that could be useful for those do-it-yourselfers out there.

1) Don’t be a cheapskate. You will need more paint than you think you do. Don’t buy two gallons when deep in your heart you know you’re going to need three. Don’t buy the cheap brush that will leave bristles in stuck in the paint either.

2) Don’t be lazy. Sloth will kill the amateur painter. Tape off all of the areas you don’t want to get paint on. Maybe the guy on “Divine Design” can paint an exact line with a paintbrush, but unless you have the nerves of a brain surgeon, you’re gonna mess up. This also applies to #1 because tape isn’t cheap. Besides, touching up all the places you messed up will take more time than taping in the first place.

3) Paper towels are your friends. Dripping paint on places you don’t want can often be remedied quickly with a clean paper towel.

4) Cats are not helpful when painting. They are curious about everything. Now that furniture has been moved around, the cat has to explore. Cats and wet paint don’t mix. Besides, if you’re like my wife, you should be concerned that the kitty is breathing in harmful fumes – never mind that the husband has been inhaling them for the past week.

5) Don’t wear clothes you like. I haven’t learned this one yet. It has a bit to do with #2. I don’t want to change and I’m in the mood to paint. Next thing you know, I have paint dripping down my arm, splatters on the shirt Mom gave me for Christmas two years ago (sorry Mom!), and paint on my favorite shoes.

6) You will never finish. I have spent more time “touching up” than the time the actual paint job took.

October 27, 2004

NOT singing in the rain

I have lived in San Diego for over 2 years now. In that time, it has rained only a handful of times. We recently went six straight months without rain – a San Diego record. The past week it has rained twice and both times it rained long and hard. Today, we received about 2 inches of rain – quite an amount for San Diego. Did I mention that I was supposed to be running a charity golf tournament today No Well, I was. I’m trying not to be bitter. It’s just hard to swallow when it goes six months with no rain and then it rains the day my golf tournament was to be held. Six months of preparation and we managed to postpone the entire tournament in four hours.

To top that off, it has become extremely apparent that San Diegans simply do not know how to drive in the rain. In fact, I’m convinced that they go a bit crazy as soon as raindrops hit the ground. Driving 80 mph in driving rain No problem – except when you end up spun around against the median divide. Gonna miss your exit No problem – just cut across three lanes in the rain while people slam on their brakes to avoid you.


October 20, 2004

I’d like to thank the academy…

As I sat down at the table my Y sponsored for the event, I met Hong Tran. Hong is a senior at Mira Mesa high school and was being honored as one of 15 scholarship recipients from the PennySaver (a weekly advertising mailer) and the Y of San Diego County. She was joined by her three cousins that were also in high school. I had purchased the table to give honorees and parents a chance to come to the awards for free. I introduced myself to Hong who was seated on my left. We made small talk – speaking about college applications and her senior year as we waited for the program to begin.

Once the program started, one by one, the 15 honorees were called and asked to say a few words in front of the 300 people in the banquet hall. I glanced at my program and noticed that Hong was last to speak. As she got closer to her turn, she became fidgety. Her knee began to rhythmically bounce up and down and goose bumps formed on her arms. She nervously clutched her hand-written speech in her lap and glanced at it but she didn’t seem to be reading it. In an attempt to calm her nerves, I leaned over and whispered, “If you get up there and forget who to thank, remember, my name is “Matthew.” She laughed out loud. Too loud – as some people turned to see what was so funny. She didn’t notice. Her knee stopped bouncing and she focused on the next to last speaker. Moments before her name was to be called, I whispered once again, “Matthew.” She smiled brightly and as her name was announced she rose from the table and strode confidently toward the podium.

As she reached the podium, she unfolded her speech, looked out into the audience and began to speak…

“I would like to thank PennySaver, the Y of San Diego County, and Matthew…”

The Future’s So Bright…

I had the pleasure of attending a scholarship breakfast that honored 15 high school seniors this morning. My Y purchased a table and I was the host for two young ladies and their families. I was blown away by the maturity and sense of purpose these young people have. It makes me feel a great sense of hope for our future.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything negative about “teens today.”

October 16, 2004

And the award goes to…

Every so often I come across a great idea and I want to find a way to incorporate it into my life. A few weeks ago the morning DJ I listen to mentioned that his family holds an annual awards night – complete with trophies. Awards include “cleanest room,” “biggest accomplishment” and, my favorite, “best house cat.” They dress up and have acceptance speeches too. I think the reason this appeals to me so much is that in my family, a wild night was watching M*A*S*H while eating boiled hot dogs. (There were wilder nights but they involved a lot of adults milling around, drinking large amounts of alcohol – aaah, those were the days!)

Now, I don’t have a large enough family yet to fully implement this idea (although it’s hard to imagine any cat beating out Nutmeg for best cat) but someday…

October 13, 2004

Shotgun Wedding

Our friends Jean-Luc and Sarah got married this past weekend in New Canaan, Connecticut. It was a lovely affair. It was the most laid-back wedding I’ve ever been a part of. To know Jean Luc is to love Jean Luc and everyone pretty much knew that time would not be an issue. So we started the ceremony an hour later than the invite stated. Who cares A great time was had by all. My favorite parts were when the best man handed Jean Luc a big candy ring when the time came to hand the rings over and the quick thinking of the best man when there wasn’t a lit candle to light the unity candle. It was the first time ever that I was thankful for smokers because a lighter was produced. I am also interested to see the official wedding photos because all the guy kept telling us was “If you can’t see the camera, the camera can’t see you.” And then he would take pictures when no one was ready.

The wedding was fun and to think, it only took twelve years. J.L. and Sarah – may your next twelve be even happier than the previous twelve.

Strip Search

Did you know that you CAN get on a flight post 9-11 without a picture ID You can. After I accidently locked Andrea’s ID (along with the car keys) in the car at the long-term parking lot minutes before we needed to check in for our flight to NYC. The kind people at Jet Blue told Andrea that she could get on the flight, but she would have to go through the extensive search at the security check point. I assume it stopped short of a cavity search.

New York State of Mind

I spent parts of this past weekend in New York City. Observations from my weekend…

  1. Food sold by the pound is a great concept.
  2. Driving a big, American luxury towncar in NYC is a real rush.
  3. If you’ve lived there for six years, it’s hard to match the enthusiasm of someone who’s on their second trip ever (Sorry Sweetie).
  4. EVERYTHING is expensive. (i.e. $30 to park your car for 4 – 24 hours)
  5. The only thing less expensive in NYC than San Diego is gas.
  6. Everyone gets a tip (and not, “don’t wear stripes with plaid.”)
  7. Musty-urine subway smell is the smell I most identify as being “New York”.
  8. If you want good italian pastry, New York City is the place.
  9. A FRRROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE at Serendipity’s is heavenly.
  10. To make it in NYC you need comfortable shoes.

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