Thursday, February 13, 2014

Grumble...grumble...snow...grumble...grumble.



It's another snow day here in NJ.  This time we were spared the worst of the storm and were lucky enough to have a change over to rain for a while which kept the total amount of snow down.

BUT...we're in for another round tonight.  Another 2-3 inches is what the weather peeps are saying.

Ugh.

Somewhere in my life I have turned from a snow lover to a "eh snow...not so much". 

I don't want to say I "hate" snow, because I still love to watch it fall and it still looks beautiful when everything is covered in white.  It's like your little section of the world is transformed.

This winter season has been a snowy one. I don't know how many times we've had measurable snow...maybe 6 times so far? It's been above average I'm fairly certain. We just seem to be stuck in a cold and snowy weather pattern.  

When I was a kid I alway wanted to be the first one out in the snow.  Me and my dog Herman would go out into the woods and pretend we were lost in a winter wonderland.  I'd be out for hours in it.  I would come in long enough to grab a cup of hot chocolate a change of warm dry clothes and gloves and then was right back out in it until it got dark. 

Something happened somewhere along the road and I have become less of the child who can't wait for a snow day to and adult who groans at the thought of looming snow storm.  For me, snow is less about playing in and more about something to dig out of, clean up around and clean up after.

I've had to close my business 3 times this year because of the snow.  That doesn't make me happy.  I'm sure that hasn't helped my snow grumpiness at all.


 
 
You know what makes me even more grumpy about the snow?  Comments on weather posts such as:
 
"It's Winter, its supposed to snow, get over it."
 
"All of the snow haters should move to where it's warmer."
 
"I guess this means there is no global warming."
 
 
Seriously people?  That's your answer? 
 
Yes, I know its winter, but NJ is not typically a snowy state especially for those of us who live along the coast.  Usually the warmer air over the ocean keeps the snow at a minimum.    Moving to a warmer climate is not only NOT an option, I happen to LOVE NJ and actually I LOVE winter.   It's the fucking snow I don't like so much!
 
As for the "this means there is no global warming" idiots....well, they are just idiots and nothing is going to change their mind.  

 
So yes...I'm grumpy about the snow.  It's not fun for me anymore.  I am losing business which I can't afford to lose.  I'm tired of digging out my car and a path for my dogs. 

SO there! 











Monday, December 23, 2013


 
Caution - Raving lunatic Rant!!!

I am all for workers rights, but I as an employer I also have to side with some plain ol' common sense:

If you work for a company and they fire you or suspend you because you did something either on their time or even on your own time that they don't agree with...don't get your panties in a wad because it happens.

YOU - are an individual....we have to deal with many different people every single day. 

YOU - represent us in your actions.  If your actions cause controversy we have every right to separate you from our employment.

WE - have an image and reputation to uphold.  We work our ass off to keep that up.  If you drag that in the mud with your shenanigans – GOOD BYE!

WE – tell you our company policies and rules and regulations…and the BIG companies even make you sign something that makes sure you know what those policies/rules/regs are.  If you do something that breaks that contract, said or unsaid….we don’t want you around anymore.

YOU have the right to be treated fairly, respectfully and without prejudice – but that also works both ways.  WE try our best not to discriminate, but you are hired to do a job, represent a company/organization etc…keep up your end too.

With that being said, if you are gay and you get fired because you married your partner and you work for a Catholic organization  - don't be so freakin’ shocked!  If you are a redneck and say some inflammatory remarks about gays/blacks or anyone else and we suspend your  ass – “HELL-FUCKING-O”!    If you are a muslim and refuse to sell alcohol to a customer because it’s against your beliefs…sorry honey, that’s your job.  Work for someone who won’t put you in that position.

Come on people!  COMMON SENSE!  PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!  Use the freakin’ head that is on your shoulders and guess what, you are part of a collective universe…it’s not all about YOU!  Yes, you have rights, but you don’t have the RIGHT to abuse those rights either. 

OK…that’s my rant. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

After the storm

"The Storm" by Gregg Hinklicky
 
Lessons from Mother Nature
 
 
October 29, 2012 the area that I live in was devastated by Super Storm Sandy.   I was extremely fortunate to not have suffered any damage to my house or my business, but in the 9 months following the storm I am affected by the stories I hear, the images I see and the sadness in my customers eyes.
 
The image above is by an artist named Gregg Hinklicky.  He collected items he found along the beach and his neighborhood days and weeks after the storm.
 
Rubble, driftwood, trash, shells, sea glass, toys, pieces of furniture, pieces of homes...fractured pieces of people's lives. 
 
Hundreds of homes were destroyed.  Thousands of people displaced. 
 
Slowly they are coming back and slowly they are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. 
 
The scars run deep and the shock has not worn off completely.  There are those who jump right in and rebuild.  There are others so completely overwhelmed by what has happened, they are paralyzed. 
 
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
 
 
Every day I hear stories from my customers.  It's part of the process of healing I think.  Telling their story.  Getting it out.  However many times as they need to. 
 
One woman who has been my customer for years came in today for the first time since the storm. (The reason I am writing this now) She retired from teaching just before Sandy - getting ready to relax and enjoy her waterfront home. 
 
Her home was damaged during the storm but it is still intact.  The rest of her neighborhood, gone. 
 
Survivors guilt. 
 
She is scattered.  I think she is still in shock but can't identify it herself.  Our conversation today was hard to follow, the subjects she spoke of jumped drastically, instantly.     
 
Her foundation has been shifted and she has become fearful of another storm. 
 
 
 
We all are.  We are all more vulnerable than ever before. 
 
Every tropical depression that forms in the Atlantic Ocean puts us on alert.  "Will it affect us?" 
 
The words "storm surge" which was something we always heard but never really experienced much before Sandy make us nervous.  So much of the damage to the area was caused by "storm surge".  It's basically a wall of water created by the winds of a tropical storm that is over and above storm tides. 
 
One minute your house is high and dry and within 20 minutes it's completely underwater. 
 
We built homes along the bays and oceans because of the beautiful views, cooling ocean breezes and easy access to the beach.  We tore down the dunes that were once our barrier islands so we could put millions dollar homes, condos and boardwalks. 
 

Now we are rebuilding. 

The homes are up on stilts sometimes 14ft or higher. 

Boardwalks are rebuilt so that families can come back and enjoy a good game of skee-ball, ride the Carousel, play a round of miniature golf , eat some cheese fries or soft serve ice cream.  Tourism is a big business for us.  Families come back year after year, rent the same house (if it's still there) and love it here.

We love it here.  That's why we live here.

The buzzwords:  Jersey Strong!  Restore the Shore!  We will be back stronger than ever! will be our mottos throughout our rebuilding process and for many more years to come. 

Hey...we're from Jersey, we have a reputation of being ignorantly stubborn, we can't stop that now!

The smell of salt air is in my blood.  Whenever I travel away from home and come back, the first smell of the ocean to reach my nostrils will make my body completely relax.  I don't think I could ever move away. 

Still - what have we learned from Sandy? 

I hope a lot.  I hope we will think again before rebuilding, but I already know that we are just replacing washed away homes with something else.  Where people can not rebuild because of the cost the threat of developers with great plans to build big hotels or condos right on the beach will happen.  Palms will be greased, deals will be made and restrictions on building will loosen up. 

Governor Christie has vowed to make sure we build up our dunes to protect our coastline.  His words:  "We are not going through that again so you can sit on the first floor rather than the second floor and see the ocean."

Good for him. 

I hope it sticks.


"Sleep Well My Friend" by Jack Fusco