Hell of a Guy
Chance favors the prepared mind - Louis Pasteur

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Provolone and Mayo


I decided yesterday to write something and needed a theme.  Believe it or not, after writing sixty-eight of these short postings this year – my first was entered exactly one year ago today – coming up with a theme or title is not all that easy, especially for one such as me with a diminishing capacity.  The decision came to me as I was eating my lunch yesterday sitting in the driver’s seat of my car on the third floor of the parking deck at Dulles International Airport.  I am on a provolone with mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwich kick.

Critter, commonly referred to as meat, and I do not get along.  I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian, though it would be hard for you to tell looking at my ever increasing waistline these days.  Vegetarians are not necessarily skinny and this one sure as hell isn’t.  My lunch sandwich of choice is as described above, I dig provolone.  Don’t know when or where it started, but I love it.  My travels have allowed me to locate many sandwich shops that will make this sandwich for me, but I have to do a lot of explaining.  I get some weird looks with questioning eyes – “You want what?”  Three of these shops standout as favorites and I am able to order this luscious confection (it’s sweet for me) – two on the way to BWI airport and one very near Dulles in Leesburg, VA.  These are the ones I frequent most.  I make this sandwich at home, too, and I eat there almost everyday when not traveling out of town.  I am a creature of habit.

My children know I get stuck on these little eating whims.  Many years ago I went through a lot of them.  Once I got on a milk shake kick.  Everyday I would stop at some little shop I knew that made good milk shakes.  Typically these were found in small mom-and-pop ice cream shops.  I knew where the best ones could be found in any town in Virginia.  Another time it was M&M Peanuts.  That lasted for about a year, a small bag every afternoon.  I did a stint where I had a little coconut pie every afternoon.  I finally broke the habit when I reached whale weight.  At some point provolone with mayo will have to go the way of the milk shake…whale weight ain’t that far off.

Since I do not do the meat thing, I have no idea what I might find to replace the provolone with mayo.  Provolone has a good flavor: sweeter than Swiss cheese with a smoother consistency, and not as soft as Munster.  I am not a big Munster fan.  American pasteurized cheeses tend to be a little wimpy for me.  I like bold cheeses, but I don’t think about cheese a lot, though I think The Nancy will now be calling me a cheese snob.  I think it may be the mayo that makes this sandwich such a delight for me.  It’s the mayo that is the catalyst of my weight gain.  I blame the mayo. 

Fifteen years ago, during the height of my mid-life crisis, I gave up ingesting mayonnaise and butter and a lot of high-fat foods.  My cholesterol immediately dove from 220 to 126.  My weight dropped (I gave up a lot of stuff, but mostly eating like a pig) from 243 to as low as 186.  The mid-life thing is way behind me now.  The mistake I made at the end of the crisis phase was eating that one Lay’s potato chip in 1995.

I wonder how well provolone and mustard will match up.

And that is all I have to say about that…

PS: If you happen to be in Leesburg, VA and want a good sandwich, checkout this place at http://www.delisouth.com.

Monday, February 26, 2007

February 24th, Dad’s 103rd Birthday


My dad passed away in 1997 and I miss him everyday.  There are days, like today, when I think about him I get teary-eyed, something I am doing may trigger a memory or perhaps something I have done.  I miss him.

Dad was a very simple man, and he lived his life that way.  He believed in God and practiced his Christianity all of his life.  His way of being mirrored the best of the best, and he commanded, but never demanded, respect.  People liked him for what he was, just a simple man doing his best with what he had.  His formal erudition ended in 1918, the year his mother died of influenza, but lacking a high school diploma didn’t stop him.  His innate math skills allowed him to earn a decent living working for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company where he worked in the payroll department from 1928 to 1967. 

My father’s work ethic was high.  He awoke every day at 5:30am; most of those days gone from the house long before the rest of us were up.  His workday ended at 5pm, and he was home most nights exactly 5:30pm.  Dad was very much involved with his church and Masonic Lodge.  He might be out one or two nights a week attending this meeting or that.  Sometimes he had to work overtime which always threw off the home schedule, too.  Supper without Dad left us kids pointing at each other to say the grace.  That was Dad’s job, and I don’t ever remember a family meal at home without it.  Mother never complained, and we knew not to, especially anything about Dad.  She loved him; he could do no wrong.

The love my mother had for my dad permeated our home, it was tangible.  They were married for sixty-nine years when they passed away in 1997 – she in May, he in November.  One of my fondest memories of them together is of them holding hands in church one Sunday morning.  They were lovers to the end.

My dad was truly an honorable man, and I miss him.  Dad, this tear is for you.  I love you.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Twenty-fifth Company Meeting


My first love in this life is The Nancy.  Following very closely behind is our family and our friends, and then this job of mine.  I love my job and I love the people I get to work with –to be more exact,  those I interact with but don’t necessarily get to see during the year.  I look forward to February of each year, for it is the month of what we used to refer to as a Sales Meeting.  These days, in the era of political correctness, this meeting is not referred to simply as The National Company Meeting.

Coming to these “Company Meetings” (where we talk about selling, but it is not in any way to be confused with a “Sales Meeting” where you get to talk about selling) had always made me a tad anxious.  Anyway, getting to come to these meetings, which are designed to arm those of us who sell, but are now known as “company people,” with the sales tools (for “companying,” I suppose) and motivate us to go “company” products – is a pure joy these days.  I got more hugs than ever before at one of these things, and I think, though not sure I entirely remember, I may have consumed more “daddy” beverages than usual.  I must have had a really good time last night because the clock by my bed read 2:38am when I turned off the light.  A little side note: I still woke up before 6am, and that bugs me, but proves, once again, God has a sense of humor. 

More about hugs…at first I thought these hugs, this simple but wonderful gesture of affection, were exchanged because of the tenure of these friendships and the relationships that have grown through the years.  I realize now, however, the only thing that has changed is my attitude toward these people.  What was a working relationship to begin with has, as time has passed, grown into a friendship and now can only be expressed as a love affair.  It began with me loving me, and that, friends, took some work.  Enough of that for now; suffice it to say, I got a lot of hugs.

Meetings, such as this, have a tendency to drag at times.  Some of you have probably fought the drowsiness that plagues audiences in meetings that go on for hours without a break.  This one was no different, especially for me.  Thankfully, I only got caught once nodding off.  It never looks good for a manager to fall asleep during these meetings, even old ones such as me.

Did someone say old?  I now have less than two years before I enter the age of senility more commonly referred to as the “Senior Years.”  Senior Years is kind of like calling a Sales Meeting a Company Meeting.  The correct term for one who has reach one’s sixty-fifth birthday is old, elderly, entering the “Golden Years.”  Those of us a little on the morbid (albeit honest) side, might term this time of our lives beginning the downhill part.  I think it may be the reason the elderly have a Come-to-Jesus with mortality, but this is of little consequence to me now since I won’t be there for 709 days…

Wow!  And this started out on such a positive note.  Back to the main theme for just a second: The meeting I attended was great.  I saw, hugged and got to shed a few tears with really good people that came together for a common cause – to attend a Company Meeting about selling stuff, but it wasn’t a Sales Meeting.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Thoughts About This Week


Today I get to travel to Conway, Arkansas, via Little Rock, for a Company Meeting, formerly called a Sales Meeting.  Since the company now involves a lot more people outside of sales in the meetings the politically correct thing to do is change the name of meeting; so no one outside of sales will be offended.  Funny thing is the whole agenda of the meeting is about how we can increase our sales.  Companies do weird stuff!

February’s weather has been brutal compared to December and January.  We, here in West Virginia, have had just about enough of this crap.  I don’t think we have hit 40 degrees any day this month.  We have three heating systems in this house, and I truly believe all three have run constantly since the first of February.  One system uses propane: the propane delivery guy has taken up residence at our house with his huge tanker which seems to be permanently attached to our tank.  He and I are on a first name basis these days. 

Southwest Airlines is now on my Shit List, but I promised no more airline pieces.  Just make a note; I now harbor hard feelings for another airline.

Back to the sales meeting, oops!  I mean Company Meeting.  There are things about these meetings I love and things I don’t.  I love to go to see my co-workers.  Over the years these people have become part of my family and I am in love with them.  I have known some of them for all of the twenty-four years I have worked for this company.  As with any group one is a part of for this long, things happen.  People get married, pass away, have kids, get divorced, retire and move along to other jobs or careers.  The family dynamic is neat: everyone pulling together for a common goal, i.e., increase the wealth of owners.  Seeing this part of my family will make me very happy.  I plan on getting many hugs.  Hugs make the world go round.

Now that I have thought about it, there really isn’t anything I don’t like about going to the meeting, except for having to be away from The Nancy and the farm.  I am sitting in our family room in my favorite chair.  There is a picture window behind me, one across the room looking south and one to my right facing west.  All three are about 10’by 5’.  The views from them are spectacular, especially looking west at the ridge called Cacapon Mountain.  Today the very blue sky is sprinkled with some puffy, white clouds and the morning sunlight makes the snow on ground have a reddish hue.  I will miss this while I trudge around a manufacturing plant full of noisy, oil-spewing machines.  The people that toil in that environment day after day are to be commended, perhaps elevated to sainthood.  It’s a tough environment to work in.

So in a little while I am off to a Baltimore to board a Southwest flight (don’t get me started) to Little Rock and then onto Conway.  The meeting will be what I choose to make it to be.  So, with that said, the meeting will be great, but it will still be a Sales Meeting and nothing more.  So take that, Management!!!

And that is all I have to say about that…

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >