Thursday, September 14, 2006

Time Management

The group of 32 spread themselves out over the ground floor balcony and eagerly awaited their cue.  They had already run through a smooth practice drill, but now the time had arrived for them to do their thing. “The moment” everyone had been waiting for was here...    


Twelve hours earlier I had woken up from a sound sleep.. it was a Saturday morning and even though it was a shorter work week due to Labor Day... it was still a tiring week.  Trophy Wife and I ate some lunch but something disagreed with me and I realized that this was not going to be a fun day.  My original plan was to go to an event in Atlantic City, but Trophy Wife did not want to go because friends of ours were coming in from out of town and were going to hang out at another friend’s house in Union County..  We had actually been to AC for our wedding anniversary earlier in the week and Donald Trump already had taken enough of my money. (While we were there, Trophy Wife again played the Match Game slot machine which I mentioned in this blog during our trip in June. Amazingly that column was quoted on a slot machine PR website!) However, as the day went on it turned out the out of town friend was not going to be able to make it and instead of our other friend’s house, we were going to see her participate in a panel discussion at my old elementary school.  I don’t know how these plans suddenly changed, and although I was happy to hear my old pal make a speech I started to wonder, how the heck did I end up going to a panel discussion on a sunny Saturday afternoon?

Just before we were to leave for our adventure, Pumpstradamus suddenly appeared at my doorstep.  "What the heck are you doing here?" I asked our local psychic.. .. It turned out he had been at synagogue services that day (held outdoors at the Y as our Temple gets rebuilt following the recent fire) and he wanted to tell me that the man that organizes honors for the service told him that on Rosh Hashanah I would be called to the Torah. "Wow" exclaimed Trophy Wife  "isn’t that great?" I nonchalantly told them that they had mailed me a letter and I already knew about it.. Trophy Wife looked at me rather sadly and said “Oh, we were gonna surprise you”. “Well” I confidently replied.. “Nothing surprises me. I’m aware of everything going on around here” (Although the next day I was pleasantly surprised that Pumpstradamus picked the Jets to win.)

Trophy Wife went on to give Pump a box of stuff he needed for some people that were going to do the floors at his house and I started to get ready to see the panel..   As you can tell I was quite "thrilled".. although I was psyched to see my friend‘s portion of the program. Walking into my old elementary school was quite strange too.. the cafeteria which I recall as a huge room when I was a little pisher was actually nowhere near as large as I remembered from my childhood…. and the loooong flight of steps that took you in out of the lunch room was actually - 4 measly steps.  We meandered to the gym. the location of many hard hits to the face during elementary school dodge ball games where I was always the last kid picked... even when I was the captain..

As it turned out, the panel discussion was actually ok.  It was about time management, and different people spoke about how they balance work with family and other important commitments, and it didn‘t drag on as some of these programs tend to do.  Since I work in the sales and marketing industry I know firsthand that the successful sales people are the ones who know how to strike a balance between all of the different aspects involved in obtaining and keeping clients.  I also try to balance time for work and Trophy Wife, and my new pod cast and of course this blog, yet I knew that barring anything unexpected, the September 15 column would concern a recent GSN program that ranked the Top Game Shows of All Time.

Afterwards it was a blast from the past as I ran into the former librarian from my high school who also was attending the program.  I hadn’t seen him since I graduated high school many moons ago, and Trophy Wife is always reminding me of my age, especially since I have a birthday coming up on Sunday the 17th!  The librarian is a rather eccentric guy but when you talk to him you realize that he is really quite brilliant and a heckuva nice guy.  Back in high school I went to the library every morning to read the paper and we always had a brief chat.  I think libraries put newspapers on those long poles to make it impossible to sneak 'em out and read 'em in the Men's room! It was really great to see him after all these years… and he hasn’t aged a day!

After that we briefly stopped off at our friend’s friend’s house.  This woman’s mom was an elementary school teacher of mine at that school and I remember when she took maternity leave to give birth to that daughter! Now I really felt old.   

After Shabbat we headed home, and as you know from prior columns, I met Trophy Wife through our mutual friend Carrie and she herself recently got engaged.  She also has a ton of postings at the website. She and her fiance wanted to meet us for dinner later that night at Jose Tejas in Woodbridge.. but knowing how long you wait for a table at that oh so popular eatery, and how cranky, tired and hungry I had gotten during this endlessly long day, I told her I would go, if we could just stop to get a sandwich first.  As I munched down my Panera tuna sans onions and tomatoes. I speculated about possibly making an early escape from Tejas since I was already dog tired, and thought of maybe just renting Godfather II which was overdue to be featured on a movie club column on this very blog.  That would be good time management.

Trophy Wife said she would drive to Tejas and found a spot just on the right of the outdoor balcony.  It was a beautiful night and I was hoping we could get to bed at a decent hour because I wanted to go to the Met game on Sunday knowing full well that a lousy Steve Trachsel performance would get John Maine a start in Game 4 of the playoffs.  As we strolled in front of the terrace, the group of 32 spread themselves out over the ground floor balcony and eagerly awaited their cue.  They had already run through a smooth practice drill, but now the time had arrived for them to do their thing. “The moment” everyone had been waiting for was here...    


Holy-oke Massachusetts I bellowed.. except to paraphrase "A Christmas Story".. I didn’t say “Oke Massachusetts“... Trophy Wife had done it again.. She had pulled off a surprise birthday party and all the party props that Pumpstradamus had picked up in the afternoon when I arrogantly announced that I could not be surprised were now hanging on the terrace.  That wife of mine had gone behind my back and successfully recruited more than 30 people to come out to celebrate my b'day…. just 2 years after she had surprised me at another local eatery. It was at that 2004 party that I told her that would be the only time she would be able to pull it off!!    

Neil has some great photos at his blog. And some of the captions are quite amusing.. although he doesn’t seem to know the names of some of my friends. I didn’t realize he didn’t know Nessim who I have known since ’83! Basically it was a great night. You would be amazed how quickly you forget you were tired when you are running on adrenaline with a little bit of shock thrown in. Trophy Wife had started working on this back in early August, and had obtained as many emails as she possibly could.. Although a few pals probably felt left out that they weren’t contacted, it was just a matter of how many emails she and our friends were able to obtain. I don’t know if she contacted DAS, but since the restaurant is on the right side of the street, and he only moves towards the left, I don’t know if he would have gone. (He also lives in FL) Since my wife has her own separate email account that I never look at, she was able to put the whole shindig together right under my nose on my very own computer.

And yes I was totally surprised, shocked stunned you name it. I thought she might try to pull something on the actual birthday.. That is this Sunday the 17th when the Young Women’s Hadassah of which she is President will hold its inaugural event.. a picnic at a local park. That day they are also scheduled to announce that they will start The Ester Kean Scholarship Program… named in memory of my mom who had been a lifelong member of that fine fine organization. Nonetheless, she got me good and now I have to try to find someway to out smart her and throw her a surprise party. Maybe for Arbor Day? Or perhaps a party to celebrate the Vernal Equinox? I really feel like Wiley Coyote sometimes!

Anyway I will push my original scheduled column to next wk… now its time for the wkly picks featuring the wkly Pumpstradamus Pick of the Week! I got off to a great 4-12 start, while Pumpstradamus is 1-0. Anyway, it usually takes a week or two to shake off the rust.. Here are the picks! Home team has an "x" in front. The spreads are from the Friday Star Ledger.. and remember.. if you win shekels.. give some of it to charity.

Giants 3 point doggies over x-Philadelphia - Coach Coughlin probably made grandiose promises to the team if they avoid 0-2 such as being only 15 minutes early to a team meeting... won't get you a "late" fine.

Bills 6 point doggies over x-Miami - Big spread for the Dolphins to cover.

Lions 9 doggies over x-Bears - Wow 3 consecutive road underdogs!

x-Colts 9 faves over The Texans - The trend ends here!

Panthers 1 1/2 faves over x-Minnesota - The Vikes tend to win when they are home doggies. Maybe not this time.

Patriots 6 faves over x-Jets - Back-to-earth time for Chad.

Redskins 6 doggies over x-Dallas - Picked with the heart, not with the brain!

Raiders 12 doggies over x-Baltimore - Is Baltimore worthy as 12 point faves?

Bucs 5 1/2 doggies at x-Atlanta - Lotsa doggies this week... Go Simms!

x-Saints 2 1/2 faves over Green Bay - Which network is hiring Favre in '07?

x-Bengals 10 faves over Cleveland - Boy the Reds really tanked, didnt they? Time for football.

x-Seahawks 7 faves over Arizona - How the mighty have fallen - lask wk the Cards were big faves... See Pumpstradamus comment below!

Rams 3 faves over x-San Fran - Wow. what a low spread!

Titans 11 doggies over x-San Diego - 11 is just a tad high for the Chargers.

Chiefs 10 1/2 doggies over x-Denver - Sentimental? The Chiefs may snag one for their injured QB, but "major concussion" is worrisome. Keep in mind that baseball players Corie Koskie and Jim Edmonds were out for the season with "mild concussions". (Yeah Yeah, Edmonds "may" return)

x-Jaguars 1 1/2 doggies over Pittsburgh - Is the Home Dogs on Monday Night really Home Dogs for Al Michaels games? That rule didnt work last wk!

And last but not least:

This week’s PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK is in honor of this week's theme of "Surprise"... and since their is a Surprise Arizona, Pumpstradamus says “The Cardinals pick the pope so I am picking the Cardinals to cover against the favored Seahawks."


alberich said...

Happy Birthday Nate!

Actually, which side of the street Jose Tejas' is on depends on from which direction you are coming. If I could have made it up from FL, I likely would have been staying up in Queens in which case, Jose Tejas would have been on the left side of the street, so it would have been fine by me to go there ;)

Nate said...

Au contraire.. you have been in FL too long and have forgotten about our lovely NJ jughandles! You must take a jughandle to access it from the right side... Although I guess their could be an alternate route via Green Street that would allow you to come in from the back way... but the wacky figure 8 jughandle leaving Tejas is THE craziest jughandle in the state of NJ!

alberich said...

Thank you for reminding me.

I'd actually miss the jug handles, except that FL does have special left/u-turn areas in the middle of the road, left turns are not so bad ... but jug-handles sure beat the "Geronimo" strategy (going out into traffic and yelling "Geronimo" and hoping you aren't gonna get hit) that you have to use in many parts of the country.

Anonymous said...

Trophy wife loves you!