Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mariella checks in

Mariella just called. She's having a good time but it doesn't sound like a super relaxing vacation. Apparently everyone wants to see her over there.

She's currently in Siracusa. Hopefully, she won't run into any of these guys. It was practically 1 am there when she called me and they had just gotten "home."

Apparently they saw nearly everything in Rome in 3 days. (Sounds like my family vacation where we always seem to show up to any museum a half an hour before closing.) She saw the colosseum and it was 41 degrees Celsius. I guess your internal body temperature is about 37 Celsius (so you do the math.)

She said her trip's almost half over. I had to remind her that it's only about a 1/3 over. She's only been there a week today. She says she has no idea what date or day it is anymore.

It was kind of a choppy connection and my cell battery was waning and she sounded tired.

I miss her a bunch.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's wrong with U.S. Americans?

I'm sure that nerves played a large part in this but ouch. I feel sorry for the girl.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend blahs

Sunday we went to Toledo to work on the house.

It's not fun. I know we're making progress. I wish it looked that way. Then when I went to leave I shut off the water and it started squirting out (eventually it went down to a trickle) of a pipe from a boiler unit that's not even in use anymore. So we made some plumber calls b/c I can't afford another flooding. The plumber wanted to wait to come out on Wednesday. I told him that wouldn't fly. So he made it out this morning and capped it. So I feel like we dodged a bullet there.

Haven't heard from Mariella in a while. Her mom tells me she went to Pisa.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Labor Day

Lisa, Mike and the boys are coming in for Labor Day weekend. Which is also the one-year anniversary of Dad's passing. So I'm trying to figure out some lighthearted stuff. And this might fit the bill. They're having wiener dog races and a marionette company. I think it'll be fun.

Since we last left our hero...

Last night after work I came home. Played some Wii - The Bigs. It's a baseball game that requires you to swing, pitch and drum the controllers to run faster. So my right arm's a bit sore. Mom was complaining because she'd rather see me kill zombies.

We watched as much as I could stomach of a documentary called The Grey Gardens and a few episodes of the Office.

Today, I'm doing some work. And we've got a Steak Roast at our church put on by Outback.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Contact has been made

Mariella just called. She's having fun and has been doing an insane amount of site-seeing. They just saw the Sistine Chapel. They'll be in Sicily on Tuesday.

I explained by international calling confusion with her. Apparently the woman who answered is 75 and she was saying "pronto" (hello). Mariella found someplace in Rome with phone booths that offer international long distance for 14 cents a minute.

What I've been doing.

This won't be interesting but since I haven't been able to talk to Mariella, here's what I've done since she left (maybe she'll log on and boost my readership in Italy):

- dropped her off at the airport.
- went to work.
- stayed at work late to attend to some ad fed stuff.
- spent the night at Mariella's house b/c I had an early mtg in Strongsville the next day. It's surreal being at her house without her being there.

- went to work
- went to the grocery store (TACO NIGHT!)
- went and played softball. It was still 85 degrees and muggy for our 9:30 game. I was pitching and led the league in sweatiness. My ERA is shot as I let up 22 runs. The other team was good at placing hits. We did score 21 of our own. So that wasn't too bad and I had my best hit of the season. A double. But before that I fouled out in my first at bat, walked the next and struck out on a pitch that I still say was a ball. I know for certain that I wasn't getting that call when I was pitching. The umpire was questionable at best. So that was a bunch of garbage. Matt on our team had 3 homeruns. 2 inside the park and one over the fence.

- went for a walk with mom
- drove Uncle Stan to the VA for an eye doctor appt
- went to work.

Some fun, huh?

International Relations

So Mariella left on her 3-week tour of Italy on Wednesday. This is basically the longest I've gone without talking to her since we met. Which sucks. She tried calling me but when I answered all I got was static. Her mom gave me the number to call over there but I don't have international access from my cell so I checked with work and they said I could call from there. The number wouldn't work. Her brother suggested I drop the first zero. That didn't work. So I did some internet research and here's how you call Italy:
1. dial 011 (for international access)
2. dial 39 (Italy's country code)
3. dial the number
I thought it was weird b/c I have two numbers for where she's staying - a home and a cell. And the home is only 9 digits whereas the cell is 10. But apparently that's how they roll.

So I called the home number - which supposedly is the home of the mother of the cousin Mariella's staying with which I guess makes it her aunt. And a woman answered and said "tonta" or "danke" or something. (I know danke is German but she sounded Italian.) I said "Mariella" and she said whatever she said again. I said "Mariella" again and she said whatever she said again. I even through in "American" to no avail. The woman kept saying the same thing over and over. I had to hang up. I couldn't do this on the company dime at International rates.

I tried the cell phone and got some service message in Italian followed by the translation in English that explained that the customer was unavailable.

Her mother tells me she's having a grand time. They visited the Vatican.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

...A NEW CAR!!!

It's been a car shopping bonanza lately. Unfortunately, none of them are for me. Although my car looks better than ever since it's now paid off. I'm riding the Blazer off into the sunset.
We got mom into a new Civic. It wasn't that hard despite the car dealer taking FOUR HOURS to get a lease done.
Joan was a tougher customer so fortunately we went to Rick Case Hyundai/Mitsubishi and met a salesguy named George Carter - low pressure and honest. And we went home with an '03 Outlander. It is a pretty snazzy car and Joan's happy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More famous by the minute

The Mark Szczepanik media machine keeps a-rollin'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I love this campaign on many levels. The writing is great. The casting fantastic. It's well done. Falls into the "wish I'd done it" category.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hopefully this lives up to the trailer

Can't be worse than Nacho Libre.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Poor Joker

Who's laughing now?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Intriguing headline

Man smuggles monkey into NYC airport

My favorite line: "Airport police were waiting for the man and his monkey when the plane landed..."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


This is what happened to the window in the office next to mine on Friday. We had a CRAZY rainstorm - it was hailing and everything.

Here's the temporary fix:

It really classes up the joint.