Archive for September, 2008

The Surgery

Steve survived the surgery last night.  The operatation ended at 1 a.m.  It will take a few days before the doctors can call it a success.  Jerry (Steve’s long time friend) and I stayed with Patty until a little after one.  I am so tired today.

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C.B. over at Mangina Monologues posted a funny video about age appropriate clothing. This post reminded me an eye-opening event in my life.

In 2005 Cindi was interviewing for a project manager position for Christo’s Colorado project. Cindi, K and I decided to go to New York and check out Christo’s Gates in Central Park Gates. The D.C. contingent (R the software executive, his partner H and our friend P) decided to join us. We spent a February morning touring the installation and then had a late lunch. After lunch, Cindi and K decided to keep warm and relax by camping out in a coffeehouse. The D.C. contingent and I decided to go shopping. After Barney’s and Bergdorf’s we found ourselves in the Saks Men’s store. R and I were wandering around the designer boutiques while H and P were shopping for suits. R holds up a Miyake shirt and ask me “Is this shirt too young for me?” I paused for moment and replied “Yes.” I was stunned by the question. I never thought about clothing being too young for me. I was now of a certain age (R and I were 48; H and P were early fifties). I could no longer wear anything that fit me. I had to look for age appropriate clothing. I suddenly felt old. Were Comme des Garcons, Mugler, Agnes B, Rogan and Shanghai Tang no longer age appropriate for me? Most certainly everything in Guess, Diesel and Ambercrombie were too young. I now had to ask myself if the clothing I was buying was suitable for a man of my age. What a shock! I felt like someone had thrown a bucket of ice water on me. I panicked. Did I have a wardrobe that was too young for me? As we continued to browse around the collections I mentally reviewed my wardrobe. I decided that almost everything was age appropriate. There were a few questionable items. From that day on every time I make a clothing purchase I ask myself if I am too old to wear the item. Thankfully, most of my clothes are classics with a little edge. I can pass the age test.

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I Don’t Get It

A friend’s mother is 82 years old and lives in a small town in Ohio. His mother has always voted for the democratic presidential candidate. This year she is voting for McCain. Her primary reason for voting for a republican is that she is fearful that “the blacks” will riot if Obama wins the election. I was shocked. How stupid is this? I suspect if Obama wins there will be a lot of parties and celebrations by all supporters, not just blacks. Where in the world does the fear of riots come from? Doesn’t this sound like a republican scare tactic?

Another disturbing conversation took place last Friday evening. I was waiting for a few slices at a local pizzeria and got involved in a conversation with a young woman. She had moved to Denver from Florida a few weeks before the DNC. She is working as a private chef at the Pepsi center. She proceeds to tell me how accepting people in Denver are of androgynous people and that being a lesbian is not an issue like it was in small town Florida for her. That’s not the shocking part. I guessed she was a lesbian by the crewcut, multiple piercing, multiple tattoos and men’s clothing she was wearing. She proceeds to tell me she is fed up with politics after working the DNC and will not even vote this year. I was dumbfounded! How could a woman who experienced discrimination because of her looks and was fired from a job for being a lesbian not want to vote? Why would she not want to express her rage by voting? Wouldn’t she be fearful of McCain winning and then have Roe v. Wade overturned when he replaces retiring Supreme Court justices with conservatives? Wouldn’t she be fearful of never getting equal pay for equal work? Wouldn’t she be fearful of never having equal rights for the GLBT community? I just don’t get it. Perhaps the DNC left her with jaded political feelings and perhaps neither candidate is ideal. But why not express your rage by voting?

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Patty called with unfortunate news. Steve has taken a turn for the worse. The swelling is uncontrollable and the pressure is too much for the brain. None of the drugs are reducing the swelling. The doctors have told Patty that if she brings Steve home tomorrow as planned he will die. The only other option is surgery. Steve is now scheduled for surgery tomorrow night. There is no guarantee he will live through the surgery. I am hoping for the best. Patty is still very optimistic. I wish I had the strength that this woman has.

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Yesterday’s post was a buzz kill. Sorry for depressing the four readers of this blog.So here’s a completely different unrelated topic – McMansions. Here are a few pictures of the McMansions that have been built, or, are being built in our neighborhood. Here’ how the other half is living in my hood.

This one is going to be a little over 5,000 sq ft with a pool and matching pool house.


This one has copper pannels on the upper floors and a frosted glass fence around the pool that can be seen in the right side of the photo.This one was a 5,000 sq ft sixties tri-level that was remodeled and turned into a 10,000 sq ft tuscan.  This 12.000 sq ft abode is owned by empty nesters.

This is the original 30,000 sq ft mansion that the neighborhood was develop around.  The neighborhood has 193 houses.


This 7,000 sq ft mediterranean ranch is on the market for 3.5.  It’s next door the house with the copper siding. This one is hard to see because of the trees.  It’s a 12,000 sq ft three story tudor. This is the smallest of the new house at 4,900 sq ft.  It will also have a pool and matching pool house.

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Life Sucks Sometimes

Sometimes life sucks.  Today is one of those days.


Last night I talked to Patty and got a grim update on Steve.  He was moved into the rehab unit on Monday and the physical therapy team has informed Patty that Steve is too weak to help.  They recommended moving him into a nursing home.  Steve is also starting to hallucinate and is not acting normal.  The doctor has ordered another brain scan to see if the tumor is growing.  The last three scans showed the tumor shrinking but the brain was swelling as a result of the proton beam radiation.  Either the tumor is growing again or the drugs are no longer controlling the swelling.  The doctor has offered two options.  The first is surgery to remove the necrosis in an effort to reduce the swelling and pressure on the brain.  The other is to do nothing and hope the swelling stops on its own.  The doctors are not sure if Steve will survive surgery.  Patty is bringing Steve home on Monday since the insurance will pay for home health care.  She’s hoping he will do better at home with in home care.  Patty is completely exhausted and is at the breaking point.  The love of her life if in crisis and there is not much she can do to help.  She feels helpless and fears she will lose Steve.  I feel helpless too.


This morning I got a call from our friend Andy.  His son in law, Greg, is battling liver cancer.  Greg has undergone several types of treatment at various medical facilities around the country.  Greg’s wife, Sarah, is finishing her residence at Harvard Medical School so she access to the best health care information in the country.  Yesterday Greg had a scan that showed the cancer has spread to another place on his liver and also to his lungs.  Andy called me to get in touch with our neighbors Tom and Sheila.  Tom successfully battled liver cancer by having a vaccine developed offshore that was administered in Denver.  Tom has been cancer free for five years.  Sarah wants find out more about the vaccine so I’m trying to hook them up.  Unfortunately, Tom and Sheila are on a road trip.  I trying to arrange a conference call so all parties can exchange information. 


Then K calls me to let me know he has to extend his business trip for at least another week. 


I need some good news!


I’m going to check out an art opening at Shannon’s gallery to try and put myself in a better mood.  She’s assembled a Werner Drewes exhibit that should be outstanding.  Art always seems to uplift me.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Rating and Ranking

Our fiscal year is coming to a close at work (when the company was spun off from the larger conglomerate an October 1 to September 30 fiscal year was adopted). That means it’s time for rating and ranking.  All associates must turn in their accomplishments by October 5th. The associates will then be put on a list from the top performer down to the poorest performer. The list will be in place until mid year rankings are done. A few years ago a peer who was new to our department asked me to review his accomplishments before he sent them to our coach. He hands me sixteen hand-written pages. I was dumbfounded. How could someone learning a new job accomplish so much in a short period of time? Most of the items he listed as accomplishments turned out to be normal day to day duties. Only a few of the items were considered “above and beyond” normal duties. When I explained that the coach expected accomplishments to be activities that set one apart from the pack he was perplexed. When I pointed out that coming to work on time was not considered an accomplishment but rather a normal expectation of employment he grabbed the papers out of my hand and stormed off. He didn’t last very long in our department.

The topic of salary treatment is being discussed at work. The means “raises” for those of you who have not sold your soul to the corporate devil. Our coach has set the expectation that salary increases will be on the low side and will average around 2%. My initial thought was why even bother with the paper work for a measly 2% raise. But then I thought any amount is better than nothing. Last year my team’s compensation was restructured as we were moved off sales compensation and into a flat salary plan plus bonus. Every one got screwed on this action. Only in corporate America can you get a $25,000 raise and make $15,000 less.

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They Hired A Woman!!!

In corporate news we had the usual hiring and firing of a couple of vice presidents in the past two weeks. The shocking news is that a woman was hired as a new sales vice president! All of the other recent new hires have been white males. Even more shocking is the news that a lower level female vice president was promoted to a higher level while still retaining the vice president title. This is the first high level promotion for a woman since the new owners took over the company about a year ago.

In other news there were another series of departmental re-organizations with groups moving between the sales and service divisions. Nothing ground breaking here. There were also a few layoffs but nothing as significant as the rumor mill was predicting.

Finally, the Indians that work for a subsidiary jointly owned my company and an Indian company have been told they need to relocate 1,000 miles to  a new office. They will also need to reapply for their jobs since their positions have been moved out of the jointly held subsidiary and into a wholly owned subsidiary. Although I’m not a fan of offshoring talent I do feel that the Indians are getting the short end of the stick. However, they did take jobs away from my peers who have been laid off. So it may be just rewards. Or, it could just be typical corporate behavior?

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The Dying Dream

Looks like our dream of being P-town property owners is slowly fading into the sunset. Even before the recent meltdown in the financial markets the lenders wanted 25% down and offered a rather high interest rate. These terms basically made the deal not worth doing. The carrying costs will be too high. The realtor is still investigating private financing. A mortgage broker told him that since the meltdown financing is even more difficult on seasonal vacation/rental homes. We can now expect to put at least 30% down if we try for a traditional mortgage and the interest rate could be as high as 10%. Again this makes the numbers even worse. The tight financing has about killed the real estate market on Cape Cod. Properties are selling for cash or if buyers make substantial down payments. The average buyer has been forced out of the market. Consequently prices are dropping even lower and properties are sitting on the market as long as eighteen months. The realtor has suggested bringing in a fourth party into the LLC so that we can have a larger down payment. Another option is to negotiate a lower price that will help the numbers and sweeten the deal. The deal is not dead yet but has been put on life support.

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The Rockies lost to the Diamondbacks 13 to 4 but we had a great time. We chatted with the family sitting in front of us who were related to the Diamondback’s starting pitcher. It was the last home game of the season so it did not end well for the Rockies.

When we got home our neighbor Sheila sent over homemade dried pear chips dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. I know it sounds a little strange but the pear chips were delicious. The combination of the sweet dried pear with chocolate was contrasted with the sea salt to produce a scrumptious treat.

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