DelBloggolo

Monday, July 28, 2014

WHAT JOY TO BE HAD!


I am just getting used to being a grandfather. To me ‘grandfather, or grandpa’ is a title that has to be earned, and only in the best possible ways. When I think about my grandmother Frances and my grandmother Mary in Brooklyn so many years ago, and how from my grandmothers to my granddaughter, there is a wonderful legacy of love.

I recently felt the joy of two friends of mine becoming grandparents and how excited they are, and there is nothing else in life I need, or want to be! No amount of money or goods could manufacture the joy from one little child for an old guy like me. It makes me happy to be old, to know that I passed down along the line, family history, traits and even traditions. Life is good.

Every Sunday we get to see my beautiful granddaughter Darby Shea: La Principessa I call her, and indeed she is a princess, beautiful beyond any words I can use to describe her or the feeling of knowing I’m her grandfather. It makes me proud, and now I know what others are feeling and how glorious these little children are to have been born through love itself!

Of course I have to share the time on ‘Face time’ with the Little Woman, but hey, she is experiencing what I feel too! Of course, if you want to hear what old fools sound like, then listen to us as we call out Darby by name and she looks around. If she responds in any fashion, suddenly our voices get higher: the pitch exceeds what we thought we could even muster! Constantly we call out her name, and constantly we look for her to respond, and constantly she brings up a little bit of what she ate, then looks around, taking in life for the first time ever, becoming aware of herself, knowing her parents and trying to figure out what those two nuts in the I-pad are all excited about.

I find it difficult not writing about her everyday on this blogue, but it is easy for me to think about her all the time, and what a wonderful gift I have in my life.

I used to picture a grandfather with a white beard and hair, smoking a pipe and wearing a red flannel shirt and coveralls, giving love and advice. Well I look in the mirror and that is not what I’m seeing! This guy is wearing jeans, with a T-shirt with a slogan on it and driving around in a Prius! The only advice I’m capable of is: Stay out of the rain, so much for images. And grandma? What about the lady I married? She is not a Grandma! No bun for a hairdo, no sensible shoes and no apron!


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

I’M A DRUG PUSHER!


Yes, you’d think a guy like me would have a different hobby, but no, I push drugs. Well not drugs but chemicals. If you remember the Vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, who ran with Walter Mondale, the stickers looked like an Italian poster, the name ‘Mondale’ does look Italian, even if it isn’t, had a son who was selling drugs, and consequently, they the school mates in college called him ‘the chemist.’

Well, while everyone who owns a pool in the sweltering heat tomorrow will be in it, I will be at the pool, pouring chemicals into it to get it up to snuff.

I purchased a new pool cover last fall with a mesh that although is strong, lets in all the fine dust and debris over the winter. When I opened the pool this summer it the water was green, making me believe it was St. Patrick’s Day! It seems the algae doesn’t want to go away, so after one attempt, I had the water tested and sure enough it is suffering $100 worth of algae, what it cost in chemicals to bring it back to swimmable condition. I love the pool, go in it and don’t mind the cost. But still, that is a lot of chemicals to spill into the pool and that doesn’t even count for the shock I have to still pour into it.

The chemicals themselves must weight about 60 lbs, and some of it is powder and some liquid, and it will take the whole day to apply, along with my robot that has to clean up some of the residue in between applications. That is $.60/lb.

I went into the pool store nearby and this young fellow still in high school took my water sample and tested it. It is a very impressive procedure using electronics such as a computer, meters and little things that he puts samples of water into with long syringes, tallies the whole thing up and says I have algae. Gives me a printout and bill all at once. His daddy must be proud of him! The pool is probably where I caught the algae, and the only cure for the pool and me is $100 worth of chemicals!

But so help me God, I will rid the pool of the algae, and when I do take a victory lap around it, then call the guy to close it, because it will take me all summer to rid the pool of the algae and for me to get into it one more time!




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Saturday, July 26, 2014

AS DINERS GO, THIS IS A GAS STATION


 
Recently, I wrote about diners in my neighborhood and how Greeks own them. The Greeks are a great nation of people, they work hard, are innovative and can read Greek, and I can’t! Actually, I did learn the Greek alphabet one summer many years ago, before entering college. A rather sweet gal worked with me in a stock room and taught me the Greek alphabet to a tune sung by her brother’s fraternity.

“I got the alpha beta gamma delta epsilon bluuuues”

I can still sing it after all these years. Her name was Arlene Jefferson and she was one cool gal.

Many times, after breakfast on a Sunday morning, as we leave the Greek diner, I stop on my way home to fill up my gas tank, and pull into what seems like Saudi Arabia, complete with Arabic chatter. Now you must be wondering: “Isn’t that MY gas station!?” It seems that Arabs run just about every gas station I go to. If you remember the Seinfeld episode with the ‘Soup Nazi’, you recall the “No soup for you!” line so famous in American lexicon now. Well this one gas station has a ‘Gas Nazi’, that’s right, if you didn’t pull up just right, this swarthy looking guy with a perpetual scowl would reprimand you in half Arabic and direct you to pull up or back, whatever his fancy was that day. And God forbid if you didn’t have your money ready, he was an unhappy man with no tolerance for anything. Why did I go to him, because he was amusing, it just made me laugh how you had to be in a perfect spot to get gas, and sometimes I liked to bust his Arabian chops and pull up too far from the pump. The scowl alone was worth the time.

Now this gas station is almost next door to the Greek diner, and in line on my way home. I pull up and have to find the attendant, who is happily chatting away on his cell phone in Arabic. Finally he’ll look up and come running over: “What’s hup?” he’ll say. I tell him to filler up and he asks me if it is cash or charge. He then proceeds to fill the tank, when it is full and the pump stops, he then begins the process to make no change! Yes, $18.76 will become $19.00 or if he has no singles, $20 by putting the excess gas in you pocket, your glove compartment or wherever there is room. No really, but I do wonder where that extra gas is going.

Once I fill up the tank, if I need, I can just pull up next door to my local Seven/Eleven and buy a newspaper. There are at least three such establishments in my local area, each is owned by the same guy: or so I thought! A rather somber, no nonsense Pakistani  stands behind the counter, will print out the lottery tickets, the bottle of Pepsi, or containers of coffee and even remake the coffee.

Between the Greeks, Arabs and Pakistani population, which is 6 people all together, I wonder where they all live?





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Friday, July 25, 2014

TOWN HALL


In 1996 I redesigned my house, taking my existing structure and adding on a 17’ x 17’ extension, with a skylight and large double window crowned with a half circle window. Rather than move to a bigger place we decided it would make more sense to just expand. I hired a contractor and he came and added on the extension while reappointing the other rooms under my plan. The town to meet the building codes as it was being built inspected the new room.

Now we are looking to move to a smaller place with less maintenance. We have been toying with the idea and finally I went to town hall to see about a certificate of occupancy for the extension, something the contractor was suppose to get, so I thought but didn’t. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Walking into the building that houses the permits is somewhat daunting. It is a multi-story building with a ceiling that runs up several stories. Its canyon like appearance seems to swallow you as you make your way across this enormous waiting room to a long counter where two women stand to greet you and tell you: you have to wait. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

When I am finally called I tell the lady what I need, she asks a few questions and pulls out the necessary forms for me to fill out, along with a long list of things I will need to attach to the application! There are: C.O.’s, surveys and copies of certificates, just enough paper work and expense to make the whole process unpleasant. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Taking the paper work I leave the massive building, thinking as I look up one more time at the huge edifice, do THEY have a C.O. for this place?

DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

NOW YOU ARE…?


One of the biggest problems I have in life is people who come up to me and say: “Hi, Mr. DelBloggolo!” The problem is I don’t know who they are. This of course is a reason for me to lie, and pretend I know them, after all, they know me.

All too often it happens with staff at AHRC/Suffolk, the organization I support and am on the Board of Directors for. It gives life and meaning to my daughter who suffers from developmental disabilities and gives my wife and I peace of mind for her future.

Apparently I’ve given too many speeches where once I left them crying, and so one day while out at Westhampton Beach facility, one of the staff passing by said: “Hi Mr. DelBloggolo! You don’t remember me but you made me cry when you gave a speech at Staff Appreciation Day!” I guess I should stop giving speeches.

The male staff always shake my hand and ask how I’m doing, and the female staff always ask for Mrs. DelBloggolo. Neighbors I don’t know by name but do by sight will give me a raised eyebrow, and a quick semi-nod and we go peacefully along our way. People from the church will do the same unless I know them by name.

But my biggest failing is being introduced to strangers and I immediately forget their name. To complicate matters, I will give them a name I think they should have. I will call them that and finally, they will say their real name. I can very easily embarrass myself.

I understand that I am not alone in my angst, my pain and confusion that many people go through the same thing. One suggestion is to give the person being introduced to you an object or thought that can tie into the real name. Then when you see that person, you automatically think of the object and that will make you remember. That is fine, except, I always forget the object.

 Birth Injury Guide

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SO IT SEEMS


In my hometown, the place is crawling with diners. That’s right, that American institution we all know so well and love too, are all over the town. To be an American Institution these days, it can’t be owned by born Americans, and besides, that idea is just down right silly!

We have so many diners in my town that I know when the Greek festivals are coming to which churches. Don’t get me wrong we don’t have a very large or noticeable Greek population in my town, in fact the diners out number the Greek population. The Greek churches are spaced about 65 miles apart, so if you are a religious Greek, you better be prepared to travel a distance, and if you can’t find the church, you just pull over and ask directions at the nearest diner. It helps if you speak Greek.

To mix things up, I like to on occasion visit a different diner: this makes the other diners nervous, so that when I show up, they remember to keep filling my coffee cup. So, this Sunday past, we shook it up and visited a diner across town, across the Expressway and into the heart of town itself. Entering on a Sunday morning at 7:00 am, there is no one there but the owner, the waiter, the owner’s daughter and the owner’s son, who buses the tables. The daughter, an attractive young lady who ‘mans’ the cash register smiles at me and I make a mental note that we gotta go back, soon!

Now I have a traditional Greek breakfast, consisting of two scrambled eggs, sausage, extra crisp fries and rye toast, with extra butter on the side. As Greek as it is, I still order it in English, because after all, this still is America.

Do Americans own all the diners here?
But making distinctions is what it is all about. What separates one Greek diner from another? (Greek diner is a redundancy) The eggs at one place may sit on the griddle longer than another, the size or taste of the sausages will definitely differ, the frequency of fill ups of coffee, and finally, the overall service as well as the price all figure into the DelBloggolo rating system. It greatly helps if the waitress is friendly and the waiter does his job right.

The culinary rating system by the editorial board at DelBloggolo is very simple, and like all systems it tells you what is best. Diners are rated on a 1 to 5 grape leaf system. One grape leaf is the lowest and five being the highest rating.

I wonder if there are any diners in Greece?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

JULY

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Why, did you?

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Sorry, but the month of July is filled with birthdays it seems. There is my great nephew Stephen, TLW (The Little Women), My niece Christine, my sister-in-laws Maureen, Sara and Angela, and a whole host of friends from both the past and on Facebook. It seems that this late in the month is an odd time to mention them, but that is the case.

My birthday too, is in July, and I share it with my great nephew on the same day. Although there seems to be some disagreement now among scholars on which day in July is America’s birthday, it still is in July.

Birthdays seem to be a big deal if you work and are a member of a union: they give you the day off. When I worked, people would always pay for my lunch, as was the tradition in my field for the most part. But as I get older, I’m no longer interested in having it acknowledged, celebrated or remembered, because it points out to the fact that I'm GETTING OLD! Who needs to be reminded they are getting old?

As a youngster, people used to say when I got to be their age I would think differently. The statement always offended me because I thought I was old enough and smart enough to be rational. But of course rationalization is only good if you apply some experience.

I never personally liked the month of July, with the heat and humidity, I rather have a day in October or March or any day in between, the heat gets me down. But not as much as a birthday will.

I discovered that my memory is starting to fade into fuzzy facts in some cases. I watch very little television, but one show I watch every night is Jeopardy, because it is supposed to keep my mind sharp. I get most of the answers providing I know the category well enough to have general knowledge, but if it is highly scientific or specialized, forget it. But what is happening is although I know the answers say to a certain question about an individual: I can’t get the name out. For instance the name of a certain well known architect and designer of buildings, I visited his birth home in Chicago, saw his studio in person, own some of his books of his design theories, Frank Lloyd Wright could not come out of my mouth or to mind!


OK, so I try to do other things to keep my mind sharp, like crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles and any kind of mind game that requires some deductive reasoning. I don’t want to get any more senile than I am already.

One of the things that I hate the most is this: and it happened often when I worked. I go to a meeting with say a few of my colleagues or assistants, and I introduce them to a group at the meeting, when suddenly I can’t remember one of MY co-workers last names! I draw a blank! Try squeezing out of that! And being introduced to more than 2 people and I will forget everyone’s name, including my own!

Going into the next room for something can be an adventure, wondering what I went into the room for in the first place.

So, please, no happy birthday greetings for me, I’d rather stay young.


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