Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I'm looking at photos of our new grandson Brady Edward and thinking, "What Goes Around, Comes Around". Only difference between when we flooded the world with baby pictures and when my Son Adam and Daughter-in-Law Sarah do it, is about 3 seconds or less. We had to take the photos to the drugstore and pray that we took enough so that when I shook the camera out of nervousness not too many would be blurred. Now they just keep clicking the iPhone, one after the other, and "Presto" it appears online a few minutes later for the world to see. What a country!

I remember like it was yesterday when we held our 1st son Michael in our arms, afraid we would crush or drop him because he was so tiny. The doctor said to keep him in his own room right away...I thought the guy was nuts! That other room is 10 feet away...are you kidding me? What if he needs something in the middle of the night or just wants to make sure we're still at home and not at the movies?

So eventually we got over that nervousness and watched the weed grow by the minute. The kid could do no wrong. Throwing up (we laughed). Wet deuces (we laughed). Tossing food across the room (we laughed). We did, however, have a problem with his calling a neighbor "DaDa", but we got over that also.

When everything was going great guns, and we finally had a few dollars in the bank, my dear wife Geri announces to me and the Northern Hemisphere that we have another toddler expected in the normal course of homo sapien renewal time. We're ready this time!!

Along comes Adam, son #2 (in succession not priority boys). We're going through this again and only 3 away from a basketball team. I never thought they would allow each other to live since they got along so infamously. But guess what? They became about that sports fans. It only took about 15 years.

So now along comes Brady Edward. Sarah does a great job delivering while we all sit in the waiting room with four iPhones waiting for Adam's texts. We get a play by play description of what's going on through the technology of AT&T. Finally, here comes a picture of Brady Edward about 3 minutes old. Bet your Brownie Box Camera couldn't do that, huh?

We've been honored to have been selected by the new parents to babysit the tike a few days a week. Can't wait. Just trying to figure out if we are still able to laugh if he throws up, or has wet deuces, or tosses food across the room. You betcha' we laugh cause that's our job... Poppy and Grandma...couldn't be happier!!!!!

p.s. Here's my favorite photo...

Friday, July 12, 2013

On Becoming A 1st-Time GrandPop

Sorry for the delay in blog schedules but here goes another....

So we're sitting in my older son Michael's basement in January enjoying a holiday meal (he was using his new smoker system) and my younger son Adam stands up and says, "OK, can I have everyone's attention!" So we stop talking and he walks over to a side table and hands my wife Geri a bouquet of flowers (nice gesture since it's Easter). Then he throws a rolled up T-Shirt at me and hands another to Geri. I open the wrapper and there is a bright orange T-Shirt with "Orioles" inscribed on the front and "Pop" on the back. I didn't give it a 2nd thought since they sometimes call me "Pop" or "Poppy" when they tell their dog she's going to "Poppy's" house. Then Geri opens up her rolled up T-Shirt and a few seconds later I hear a scream, "MARK, MARK!!!! Oh My God, Oh My God (repeat at least four more times in quick succession).

She then proceeds to walk over to daughter-in-law Sarah and after a few more "Oh My Gods" she grabs her and squeezes the life out of her. I, in my inimitable fashion exclaim, "OK, now I don't have to hear that crap about not being a Grandmother until I'm in a walker".

Expectation date is at the end of September. No problem Mahn...even though we planned a trip to Italy a few days after. Trip was postponed after paying a premium to the vultures at the airlines and touring company for postponing only 2 weeks later. No problem, Mahn!

So as we watch the expectant parents ready themselves mentally and physically for this little bundle of joy, I become more and more excited about the "Rookie's" arrival. You think it would be too early for me to take the tike into a pool and start swimming lessons at 6 months. Also, we've got to keep switching toys from one hand to the other to prepare the youngun' to be a switch hitter. Soccer could be a Fall sport as long as the team isn't playing "Swarm" ball. Skills need to be worked on, so an investigation of reputable coaches will be made.

Before I get too carried away I guess I'd better check with the new parents about this program. I've seen some newborns recently and can't imagine that a human being can be that small! But I guess that's the way it works, huh? Calm down Mark, everything in good time. My only other question is should I keep the skis down in the basement for the new downhill skier?

By the way...the wrapper on the rolled up T-Shirt was a picture of the 1st Sonogram and dummy me, I didn't even notice it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Customer Friendly Worlds of Comcast & UPS

I hope I can get all the details correct with regard to my experiences with these two conglomerates because the timeline, emails, telephone conversations and chat communications are almost too numerous for this Senior to remember.

The saga began when we decided to provide Internet service and WIFI at our vacation rental condo in Ocean City Md. Needless to say I checked around to get the best bang for my buck and decided Comcast was my best bet. It's important to note here that we already have Comcast service at our home address and additionally cable TV at the rental unit. I'm classified as a Premier Account Holder.

Via a Comcast Sales Chat I set up the Internet/WIFI addition to my account in OC and chose the "Self-Install" package. At the end of the Chat the Rep told me the equipment would be shipped to the OC address. I told him I needed it shipped to my home address where I would keep it until we went to the unit in March or April.

Here's where the action started.

He told me he could "only ship to the service address". I said, "There's no one there". He said he was sorry but that's all he could do. He suggested I call UPS and get the shipping address changed.

Now the plot thickens!

He said my tracking # would be emailed to me in 24-48 hours and after I get it I could contact UPS.

After 3 days, Guess What?... no tracking number. I call Comcast back, complain to the Rep about this entire ridiculous scenario and he gives me the tracking #. I then email UPS Customer Service with the tracking # and explain how I want this address changed. I get an email back stating that someone would call me back at the end of the business day to discuss the problem. No one called. Finally I call UPS the next day and the Rep tells me the package is on the truck coming from Baltimore, headed for Salibury Md, where it then will be placed on another truck for delivery. I get upset and yell, "Lady, there is no one there, and that's why I want to change the delivery address!". She tells me that the driver must attempt to deliver the package once and after that I can call and have the address changed for a $5 fee.

Now I'm really pissed because she tells me the package DOES NOT NEED TO BE SIGNED FOR! I said, "Lady if that driver drops the package off at our unit's front door, which is in a public hallway in a condo building, and it's stolen, YOU WILL PAY FOR THE PACKAGE, NOT ME!". I tell her to put a Supervisor on the phone. After 20 minutes a Supervisor (nationality unknown based on dialect) tells me there's nothing that can be done but if I want him personally to contact the driver and notify him not to deliver the package he will do that. I asked what will happen then. He said it will be sent back to Comcast.

So now I feel like I need to take a break from this nonsense... until my cellphone rings and the caller ID says "Salisbury Md" (where the UPS facility is located). A Supervisor tells me she has reviewed all the documentation and is arranging the package to be shipped back to my home in Towson. Thank you Ma'am!

So today I call Comcast to apprise them of all this and tell a regular Rep to put me on with a Supervisor. She apologizes for all this that I've been through and tells me she will connect me with a Supervisor, "Please hold on." Guess what happens next...she cuts me off the line! So I call back and explain all this to another "Account Executive" who listens to this horror show and tells me that she will fix this. She is canceling the original order and reissuing it so the equipment will be shipped to the Comcast Office near my house. I asked if she was sure she could do this and she confirmed that she could. I told her that the UPS Supervisor in Salisbury said she was shipping the package back to me. This latest "Account Executive" said that if I wind up with two packages I could send one back, haha

So now I feel pretty good about all this, until this evening when another Supervisor calls from Salisbury to inform me that the other Supervisor didn't know what she was talking about and they can't ship the package back to my home address. While she's talking I can hear that I'm on her speakerphone. Now I'm really pissed and ask her if I'm on speakerphone. When she confirms I ask how many people are in the room listening. She says "a few". I tell her to contact an attorney because what she's doing is illegal unless she tells me I'm on speakerphone with others listening in. She apologizes and tells me she needed witnesses in case this situation goes further. I told her she could bet her pension that it would.

Folks, I'm supposed to be on a restful vacation here in my retirement years. I couldn't make this stuff up could I? Wish me luck picking up the package at Comcast White Marsh in a few weeks....

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Night at the Hipp

For those of you who don't know, the Hippodrome Theatre is one of the oldest remaining Broadway-type venues left. It was renovated several years ago and offers touring Broadway productions of a very high caliber.

My wife Geri & I are season ticket holders & enjoy all the performances.

Last evening we left home for a 7:30pm performance of Beauty & The Beast. We arrived in front of the "Hipp" at 7:05. I dropped my wife off in front as she was recovering from being ill & began scouting for a parking spot. I refuse to pay $10 in a lot so I drove around looking for a spot on the street.

. As I turned the corner there was a line of cars waiting for a lady driving a Ford Expedition trying to pull into a space large enough for a Ford Escort. She pulled in & out, in & out, in & out while the rest of us watched in horror as there was no way to get around her. Finally she navigated enough for all of us to get by even though she needed to negotiate this a few more times.

I drove around the corner & found a spot about 2 1/2 blks from the theatre. It was now 7:15 & 17 degrees. I was wearing my Ravens hoodie & began running up the street in a rather "challenged" neighborhood. As I got to the corner a cop spied me with my hoodie up running down the street. He stared at me while I hollered, "I'm going to the theatre". I guess he believed me because he didn't shoot.

At 7:25 I arrived at the Hipp and found my wife happily designating our seats with plenty of room in front & around us. Then a few minutes later a guy and gal slid in front of us. He was 6'7 & she was 5'11. My wife looked at me with sad eyes so I changed seats with her. We had our heavy coats on a seat next to us and as sure as the Republicans own the House two people slid into those seats. So now I have a guy 6'7 right in front of me while I'm holding two heavy coats on my lap.

During the show, every time the guy leans right I lean left, when he leans left I lean right. Finally, after intermission he falls asleep and leans forward & I can now see the show.

As fate would have it, during the 2nd half a baby starts crying. That's right folks, somebody brought a baby to a Broadway performance that I paid $65 to see!

Now we're near the end of the show, getting ready for the big finale with everyone on stage. A bunch of people in front of us decide they want to get an early exit. So of course everyone in the isle had to stand up to let them pass because the seats at the Hipp were built for members of the Lilliputian Tribe.

I give the show 3 Schlenoff stars (out of 5). Too much dialogue, not enough singing and way too much "Schtick" typical for a Disney production.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Christmas/Hanukkah Blog

As John Lennon once sang, "And so it is Christmas, for old and for young.....".

So I thought I'd write a little holiday blog to help promote the season.

I am probably one of many who have what I consider the advantage of diversity within the immediate family. I fell in love with a non-Jew who settled me down and brought a new variety to my religious teachings(along with a lot of love). Now we celebrate both Jewish and Christian traditions which we exposed to our young boys during their formative years. Most of the time my wife has to remind me of the Jewish holidays, I apologise for that folks. I guess I need to plug them all into my iPhone's calendar.

Holiday time gets expensive around the Schlenoff household. We've got to fork over presents for Hanukkah as well as Christmas. I keep telling my wife Geri that during the 8 days of Hanukkah each day is represented by a small token present. Apparently she's never received the memo. Hanukkah results in a fine written check for each one of the kiddies. There's also a lot of cooking going on, a lot of it by me, but in defense of our grown-up sons and daughters-in-law there was a recent resolution adopted to share hosting of the major holidays. I love it!!

We have a tradition to put the Christmas decorations on the tree (with a Jewish star at the top) while our immediate family eats steamed shrimp and other goodies (I was told that's in the Bible but I'm not sure what page or whose Bible). I supervise the affair from my outpost in my very expensive leather (not faux leather) chair near the outskirts of the room. We acquiesced last year to utilizing a new type of phony tree whose phony branches fold up like an umbrella for storage. What'll they think of next?

Very soon we will be celebrating another year completed with the best bunch of family people I know. There is no way things could have turned out any better for the Schlenoffs. A healthy and happy New Year to all our extended family and here's hoping that Congress wakes up and realizes that the next election is not the most important thing in their lives!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

For My Republican Friends...

While doing a bit of research following the rather acerbic remarks from one Joe Biden, our esteemed Vice Prez assigned to fostering greater relations with minorities, I found some interesting dialogue attributed to Republican leaders from past years. Although these may not be as controversial as Delaware Joe's latest gaff, they are a bit humorous, especially considering the high offices they held or tried to hold:

from Dan Quayle:
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared."
"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."
"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy -- but that could change."
"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."

from Sarah Palin:
"Polls are for strippers and cross-country skiers"
"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
"I love that smell of the emissions!"
"But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies."

A heartbeat away from the Presidency? Whew!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

SHOWBALL...for Baseball Wannabees

Had the opportunity to drive up to Long Island, NY, with son Adam, who was invited to be a Coach Evaluator at the Showball 2-day camp. The most exciting part of the trip was traveling across the Veranazzo Bridge. The lanes aren't even big enough for a motor scooter! Then, playing bumper cars on the Long Island Expressway. NY drivers are nuts!

Anyway, this camp features mostly high school rising seniors who want to show their skills to almost 40 college coaches. The kids are trying very hard to make an impression. However, some of them probably should have stayed at home and played video games.

There are over 250 players here from all over the U.S. Haven't seen any Dominicans yet. At $350 a pop I'd say this Wannabee Baseball Camp is quite an entrepreneurial undertaking. Even the coaches "get well" if they do a few of these each year.

Anyway, I'm enjoying sitting back and wondering just who of these multitude of kids might "make it". The only annoying part of this journey was hearing a Mom pestering her son about tucking his shirt in, drinking his sports drink, and making sure he checked to see if his name was spelled correctly on the player sheets! But that's what Mom's do right?