Lost That Loving Feeling?

It’s that time of the year.  No, I don’t mean March Madness, regular season baseball, April Fool’s Day, or Spring Break.  This is big – well, at least it is in my world.
I went shopping. I don’t mean food shopping – I’ve written about my strange interest in that regular chore. I mean clothes shopping. Really, that’s your big news? That’s probably what you are thinking.  I understand and I am sorry if you feel let down, but please read on.
Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the vainest one of all? While not the vainest of all, I must admit I’m a bit vain. However, I would argue with someone who gave me such a title.  I like to buy myself new clothes.  I think if I had the means and a bigger closet, I might just be a clothes hound. As a side note, I hate it when people are particularly impressed with my clothes – too weird for me to say ensemble – and  they assume my wife picked out my clothes. Not that she doesn’t have great taste (she picked me, didn’t she?) but give credit where credit is due.
Ironically, I don’t particularly like shopping.  I am a bit picky and am on a tight budget – challenging combination.  At this point, my wife does much of the shopping for everyday clothes.  However, when it comes to formal wear – ties, suits, dress shirts, etc – I handle that myself.  There are two times a year when I do my shopping – that’s why this shopping trip is a big deal.  I go around the end of August and sometime in March.  The reason for these semi-annual trips is because holidays follow shortly thereafter and as part of my celebration of the holiday, I like to wear at least one knew article of clothes. It makes the holiday more special.
So, yesterday, I went to the The Outlets at Bergen Town Center.  I wandered around to a few stores but ultimately ended up at Century 21.  I usually go there as they have a nice variety and good prices.  In fact, I even have a VIP Loyalty Card dangling on my key chain. That’s commitment. Yesterday was different. You know how when you go shopping and you buy something that you like and you are excited to wear it because it will look good or you will look good in it (remember, I did say I was vain), I did not get that feeling.  Yes, I liked the items I bought, but the excitement was not there. I don’t why.  In fact, I left the store anxious to get to my car while feeling sweaty and dizzy.
Maybe it’s not you, but it’s me. Was I just run down?  Was I just in a rush because I wanted to get home and put my son to bed?  Was it that I had work to do and my mind was not into it?   I don’t know.  In six more months, I’ll be back at the stores again. We’ll see if the shopping trip is once again becomes one of those ‘that time of the year’ events.

Enthralled With Edison

I found it enthralling.  Really, I did. These are not the typical words one uses to describe a museum, but this is not your typical museum. It even has a song about it (http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/they_might_be_giants/edison_museum.html). The Louvre can’t even say that. Who needs the Mona Lisa?
The Thomas Edison Museum – to be more accurate – National Historic Park (http://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm), the subject of the above noted song, is located in West Orange, New Jersey.  My son and I joined his boy scout troop and visited the complex yesterday. After viewing a 10-minute biography about Edison, the troop was led on a tour.  Our tour guide, Ben, was great!  About 25 and clean cut, Ben led us around the park in his full ranger attire.  The boys and parents buzzed him with questions.  He had an answer for every question, smiled as he responded, and was incredibly patient.
We were led through Edison’s laboratory, library, workshop, and factory.  With the information shared by Ben, it became clear that Edison was Steve Jobs before Steve Jobs. With his insatiable curiosity, brilliance, and top-notch organizing skills, he was able to become the most patented American ever.  He accomplished all this despite just three months of education (who needs teachers – uh oh!)  While in the library, Ben directed our attention to a large picture that hung prominently in the room. He asked the children what emotions Edison seemed to have in the picture.  Responses included angry, sleepy, curious (from my son – that’s my boy!), etc.  Ben went on to explain that the picture was taken during a period where Edison worked 96 straight hours, as he was obsessed to find the answer to some problem.  Imagine the phone call (if they were around at that time) to his wife.  Yes dear, I have to work late. How late you ask?  Well, till Thursday.  I know it’s Monday. No, I haven’t lost my mind. She must have been understanding. In fact, the cot set up in his library was put there by his wife because of Edison’s penchant for long hours.  We were told he worked, on average, 95 hours per week.  He actually clocked in.
Now, I am not sure if the kids were as interested as I was, but they did have plenty of questions and were quiet while the tour guide spoke.  My son perked up when we learned that Edison was involved with movies. Movies, television – that will get him every time.
Well, as the tour ended, I came to a conclusion:  I must read up on this man.  So, thanks to Ben and the Edison Museum. If you have the chance, check out the museum.  You just may find it enthralling as well.

A Heavenly Interview

We all get frustrated with work. We all have those days. You know what I mean, you’ve been there. The thoughts run through your head:

Is vacation ever going to come?

How many more days to retirement?

How hard is it really to rob a bank?

How much money do really I need each month to live?

Can I FINALLY just win the damn lottery?

Then, the next day comes, and we get up in the morning and go about our busy day. Oh well, what choice do we have – it gets better, and besides, as I argue with myself, my kids like to eat.

I wonder if G-d feels like this. He (no, I am not a sexist, but ‘He’ sounds better than the Eternal Heavenly Being) must. How frustrating are we human beings? We make promises, swear, and pray, but do we really change all that much? We are still liars, thieves, killers, etc. There has to be a point where G-d wants to say, ‘what’s the point?’ He already tried the flood and that didn’t straighten us out. He gave us the 10 commandments and a whole lot of commentary, but how many people follow that carefully.

So, what if G-d decided, I’m tired of this job – so much responsibility and so little reward? What if He considered a new job? After all, the average person goes through 5 careers in a lifetime, so why can’t the Eternal being try something new. It’s time. Anyway, I figure He would go for something in construction, after all, he did build the world. Imagine the interview:

Interviewer: So, Mr. – how do you pronounce that name?

G-d: I have many names. Please just call me Mr. G.

Interviewer: Okay. Mr. G. Can you tell me about your relevant experience?

G-d: Well, I made the world.

Interviewer: I hear you buddy. I’ve been around too. Sometimes, it does feel like I built the world. Anyway, can you be more specific?

G-d: First, I made the heavens and the earth…

Interviewer: What do you mean – bridges?

G-d: Something like that. Anyway, I also made man.

Interviewer: Man? Do you mean you were a stay-at-home dad, raising boys?

G-d: Well, I am with all my children all the time.

Interviewer: You sound like a real family man.

G-d: You could say that.

Interviewer: We appreciate that around here, but we need people who can be flexible with their hours.

G-d: I am very flexible – I can work morning, day, or night, or any combination. However, I don’t work weekends.

Interviewer: Family time.

G-d: Religious needs.

Interviewer: I understand. Do you have any questions for me?

G-d: Thank you, but no. I have the answers.

Interviewer: Okay. We’ll, be in touch.

G-d: Thank you.

Unless he pulled some strings, I’m not so sure G-d would get that job. He might have to go back to his original job. After all, is that so bad? He could make tomorrow a better day. If we really put our heads to it, maybe we all can.

Winter Loser

It’s Spring. Yes, I know it does not officially begin till Wednesday, but let’s call a spade a spade. Here on the East Coast at least, we escaped the harsh winters we are used to and the snow of the last two winters. It was downright mild for the most of the winter. Not that I am complaining. I’ve told my wife on multiple occasions that I am the type who retires to Florida. Anyway, I kept waiting for another cold spell and even snow. I braced myself for the coming frigid weather. I repeatedly checked out weather.com and clicked on the 10-day forecast. I skimmed the information looking for those evil 20’s and teens but lo and behold they rarely appeared. What about snow? Are we getting snow? Nope, not that either. (To be honest, I would like a snow day – for my kids’ sake of course).

The temperatures are only one reason I hate winter. The biggest reason is I am a Winter loser. Well, what I mean by that is the winter magnifies one of my worst traits. I tend to lose things (unfortunately, this seems to be another one of those traits I have passed down. I think my son’s school is going to rename the lost and found after him. We still can’t find his winter coat). I go through 2-3 lunch bags a school year, have lost multiple thumb drives, misplaced glasses, etc. In fact, if you could line up everything I lost, Hansel and Gretel could go on 200-mile hike. What they would see the most along their hike are gloves and hats. Ahh, now you see one of my biggest problems with winter. In winter in particular, I am a loser. I need to buy disposable hats and gloves like some people buy disposable contact lenses.

Last year over Chanukah, my wife got me a decent pair of gloves. She was disappointed at my reaction to the gift. I looked at them and saw pressure. What if I lost them? If – who am I kidding – when I lost them, my wife would be reminded of this failing yet again. While she doesn’t think me perfect – that ended by the end of the first date – I still have some dignity. Anyway, I lost them and bought two more pairs. Despite this stocking up, by the time the dreaded season ended, I was wearing 2 left-handed gloves. It was part of my stance against personal waste.

This winter, this mild winter, I once again got gloves for the holidays. This time my wife gave me three inexpensive pairs along with matching hats. I am proud to say I only lost one hat (that was last year’s replacement hat) and one glove. Is it pathetic to feel proud and view this lack of loss as an example of growth and accomplishment? I think not. So as I take stock this Spring, I feel pretty darn good. After all, I am the proud owner of hats and gloves. I won!