Saturday, August 29, 2009

Elephant and Castle

Another weekend and Philly stuck between another tropical weather system and a front. This time around it is Bill's kid brother Danny and three quarters of an inch of rain was our reward. I've never seen an August were the grass was a green as April and I am still emptying 3 trash bags of grass clippings. Typically cutting the grass this time of year is more for show. You go out and sweat, pushing the mower around but it doesn't really cut any of the dry, crunchy stubble.

Danny is smaller and messier that Bill but is coming closer.

Since it was raining on Friday night and if I sat in the house I would simply eat, I did the food shopping. A rainy Friday night is better for food shopping than a sunny Sunday afternoon. I went to the Shoprite-that-used-to-be-stop-and-shop-and-a-super-g instead of the Wegmans, so once again it took 2 hours and cost twice as much since I was looking for all low fat type stuff, but now in a new store.

I have to admit the Shoprite had a much better selection of ground Turkey (which forevermore in this blog shall be referred to a Soylent Green) and knowing now that I gag if I shape burgers from it, I purchased pre made turkey burgers.

Thursday was weigh in day with the Weight Watchers crew and as predicted, there were fewer members than at the previous meeting. I have to admit I was surprised at my results. Officially I lost 8 pounds which earned me a little gold star in my book, but there is some controversy over the number 8 in my mind.

You see, I weighed in the first time fully clothed and wearing shoes.

This time I took of the shoes and because it is a group of mostly women and at work, I elected to remain dressed.
(BTW: If you are going to be in a group with 50 something women, maybe WW isn't the group you would choose).

The shoes have to account for 2 pounds, right?

Still, the results are impressive and I can feel it already. This morning I'm sitting here in shorts that if previously I had worn them all day, would have left a mark and left my lower torso tingling after an hour. This morning they are just sort of snug. Not exactly scientific but I'm happy with it.

It really isn't that hard - if you stay out of restaurants. The biggest challenge of week was on Wednesday when I recalled that a vendor invited me out to lunch weeks ago and he chose the Elephant and Castle.

I had been to the Elephant and Castle at 18th and Market before and knew that it wasn't about cottage cheese, fruit cups and lettuce. But if they did have those items, they would all be deep fat fried. Besides, you know that any placed named after two of the largest objects on earth isn't about small. It might a well be named the "The Large Blubberous Whale and Jabba the hutt". Their tag line should be "If you want to be as big as an Elephant AND A Castle......"

I had looked over the menu before getting there and thought the only thing they had that might be under 50 points was something called "Balsamic Greens" and that didn't sound very good.

I went for meatloaf.

The sales wienies ordered fried calamari (Oh and how do they eat in these places and keep BMI's below 30 by the way?) and I stayed away from it.

The meatloaf came on a plate the size of Delaware. There were two seven inch pieces in a barbecue type sauce, two ice cream sized scoops of mashed potatoes and a pile shiny, greased up green beans. Ohh and in case the BBQ sauce on the meatloaf wasn't enough, there was more on the side.

I figured it had to be 1500-2000 calories if I had eaten all of it and calamari. I obviously did not. I had one piece of the meatloaf, about half of one scoop of potatoes and all of the green beans, with the green beans going first. I figure I was lucky to get out of there using 21 of my 31 points of for the day. Of course that meant a lean, lean dinner.

I also figured out why you shouldn't dive back into meat after a week of Soylent Green. Let's just say there were some strange sounds coming out of my cubicle after that lunch.

After that experience, it was easy to see why we are all huge. If you have 2 x 10 ^ 3 calories for lunch and have a reasonable breakfast and dinner with dessert, you could easily ingest 3 -4 THOUSAND calories and gobs of fat in a day.

So it's off to another exciting week of skim milk, cardboard bread and pineapple. Next week: the thrill of one point English Muffins.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It wasn't bad.

Yesterday I crossed a boundary I thought that I never ever would. One that I thought I would only cross if forced to, one that I thought was so horrible that I would never, ever like it even if I did cross it.

I tried ground turkey in burgers on the grill.

Like everyone seems to say, "it wasn't bad".

It wasn't dripping down your chin, howling at the moon, mmm good delicious - "it wasn't bad". Nobody eats a five guys hamburger and says "it wasn't bad".

I found a recipe on the Internet and the woman that made it swore that her Husband loved them and would never go back to ground beef. What else would you write on your on recipe? "it wasn't bad"?

After I mixed it all together I got a goopey, mushy mixture that I tried to form into patties. Just touching it gave me a touch of vomit in the back of my throat. Not a good sign to start with.

Once on the grill I learned the meaning of 94% fat free as the goopey "burgers" stuck to the grill. Mental note to self: Next time more pam.

I pulled some off the grill and feed it to the dogs. They gave me a look taht could only be explained as "it wasn't bad"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Late Summer blahhs.

It is a rainy weekend with heavy air above Philly being wrung out like a wet dishtowel between Hurricane Bill and a cold front. Mount La-La received about 2 inches of rain yesterday with more predicted for today. It's as humid out there as a jungle in 'nam in '72 and all I want to do is sit in a fox hole listening to Hendrix, cookin' H with a bandanna on. Not that I've ever been there (OK then, the Philippines in '82 and I'm not saying what I'm doing, you happy?).

All of this follows the first official Philly heat wave of the year with 5 days over 90 degrees F.

You forget what is like outside and then go out to pick up the paper and the heavy air lands on you like a wet Posturepedic but up side is that the pool is 85 degrees, even after a rain.

The rain and humidity must be effecting the cicadas as well. The first thing I noticed after vacation was that cicada activity was way up as you could hear the things breaking into song and out of their skins everywhere during heat wave. Oldest son and girlfriend watched one escape and leave behind a hard shell in the Cherry/Money tree from the hammock that I am never in. It took hours, ahh, to have that kind of time.

The weekend has been eerily devoid of cicada activity, like some sort of horror movie.

Youngest son is in upstate New York at pole vaulting camp. This one of those activities he complained about doing until he actually got up there. He sounded like he was having fun in infrequent calls until last night when he asked for his Mother to make him a chiropractic appointment. His back must be hurting him. Of course he is located in the last place in the continental US where that army of Verizon workers dibbles down to just that guy with glasses and he can't get reception either and so he just looks at you and shrugs his shoulders. No, I can not hear you now. The phone call dropped so we didn't get to hear details. He is due home today.

Oldest son is firmly entrenched in the Apartment in the "complex" working and waiting for the school term to start. The lack of Internet and TV in the complex is getting to be a problem. he has a TV but is of the old fashioned "analog" variety. Of course there is no Obama money for getting digital TV now since he moved in on the 31st of July, the very day the stupid Digital TV conversion program ended. I checked two days later only to find out that he is on his own. When all that gibberish about the Digital TV conversion was going on, I never thought I'd actaully know some that got shut out of TV view, let alone participate in it. Who knew?

The Internet problem may be able to be solved with a really good Wi-Fi antenna since he can see SHU from his window. Three words: "Keep the package".

After spending a week at OC in the commune, I found it hard this week to not have 10-15 people around all the time. It's fun for a week but I'm sure after 2 we'd be at each other's throats over stupid things like "You left my shoes at the beach/what part of "my" didn't you get" (an actual conversation on the final day). I miss the circus though.

Food shopping yesterday an adventure since I started weight watchers. It was like I was in whole new store as I bypassed my usual line up (batting first, Mon-Thu: Jimmy Dean Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwiches, 7 points and a fat content expressed in scientific notation) for some new tryouts to the meal repertoire team. Of course that means examining the candidates nutritional data and taking on more team members then required, but only as "try outs". It's like pre-season and the 53 man roster is weeks away. I have a lot of Brandon Gibsons on the team at this time. That added time to the shopping trip and to the bottom line at check out time.

I also got an education in labeling. The "mutli grain, high fiber" hamburger rolls had less fiber than the "light" ones right next to them and just because it says light, it doesn't mean it's low calorie.

This beats having to make due for points like last week.

I also broke my iTrip iPod FM transmitter somehow on vacation. It took years to find one of these contraptions that didn't feel like I was in Upstate New York with the Verizon guy by himself. It's a mystery that it broke since it was in the unmoved car for most of the week. It still works but the LCD has leaked the "L" part into the middle of the screen making the display look like the cover of the Police's Ghost in the Machine Album. Now I need to make up a chart that has the LCD partial Segment to FM Frequency conversion. C and half and an H is 88.3, C and the upper right half a square is 88.5 etc etc. This works great until 89.1 and 88.1 are the same.

Maybe who ever drank the tequila broke into the car and smashed it too? Who knows.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's time.

It's a rainy morning and I'm drinking black coffee with Splenda. I normally drink coffee with sugar and half and half. Rich, fatty half and half. Rich, smooth, delicious half and half with flavors like french vanilla.

The half and half is gone because I've decided that being over fifty and eating like I'm 18 just isn't working out. There are no old fat people.

I've joined Weight Watchers at work and I'm on day three of the first week and have found it, well, challenging.

Our weigh in was Thursday. When I say "our" I mean me and 50 women. There were at total of 3 guys out of at least 40 people. I guess I knew that when I started this would be skewed towards the females but to be one of three seems a little odd.

Beyond my support group being all women, I'm adjusting. The Jimmy Dean Breakfast sandwiches that I ate every single day for breakfast are gone as is the delicious berry juice. Hello Cheerios, Skim milk and water. In fact I'm drinking a lot of water. For lunches I'm doing the Lean Cuisines that I have always done but am no longer augmenting that with a hot dog from the cart.

Dinner is tough and I'm coming home like a contestant on Survivor after day 15 but I'm saving all my points for the end of the day.

The first day was tough and I learned a lot about wasting points on things that don't fill you up like the greasy, oily "Movie" popcorn that was in the house. I think I'm going to have to go through and do a sweep of all the fatty foods still around the house.

I also am learning a lot about portion size. Many of the portions on the "Nutritional Data" panels of products are ridiculously small. 2 Tablespoons of salad dressing, 3/4 cup of Cheerios, a bag of popcorn has three servings in it. I'm having to measure things to get it right because if I just dump something into a bowl, I end up with double portions.

Somethings may never be back. Like Five Guys. Just for fun on Friday I went to their web page and figured out what a double cheese and fries was in points. I should have just stopped when I couldn't find the "nutritional data" as a direct link off the home page. I had to search for it. OK I guess five guys doesn't want to advertise that they aren't exactly healthy but to bury it five layers deep in an FAQ? Then, when I did find it, they had the components listed and not a complete meal. This of course was feature: build your own burger. A fatty, fatty burger. You had to add two patties, buns and cheese along with two times the serving size of fries since they had assumed that everyone splits their fries with some one else.

The results? I can't go in five guys and sniff the air because that alone is two points and the typical meal I was getting once every two weeks or so is four more points then I can have in day. It's more than my bonus points for a week. I was also shocked to learn that the diet soda DID NOT SUBTRACT POINTS.

So far I don't think I've haven't lost a pound but I have to say I do feel better. I can actually feel my body starting to adjust, it's either that or grease withdrawal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

That's a wrap.

That is a wrap on OC 2009.

I really had a great time and it was a very memorable vacation, not for where we went but for who we went with.

We have been vacationing with the C family since 1995 and are blessed to have such great friends that are willing to be Circus members with us.

They help set up the big top (Which was the best single item that anyone brought down) and help drag it back up. We know how to food shop together and have it down to a science, except for the crazy ivan that Mr C pulled by using "self check out" with 62 items. (Thank You to the check out woman at super fresh that rescued us). We know


By the Numbers:

13 Guests over the course of the week.
$250 initial food shop
1 piece of corn that hung around for 3 days.
28 bags of ice.
246 Digital Pictures (just me!)
11 Wave runners (including the "other" house)
100 Square feet of shade on the beach.
60 miles on the bike.
5,7,10 & 20 - Price of Jilly's same parking spot over the course of the week.
2 The number of beach badges purchased (Mine are down there, pointing to the beach)
10 pounds of ham the first night.
2 6 pound chickens (and that was an off night)
6 pounds of hamburger for tacos.
3.08 Inches of Rain

Pictures here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last night the adults went over to Somers Point for dinner at the Anchorage Inn. I thought that the Anchorage Inn was a restaurant that time forgot but this morning I hopped on the bike and rode back and found out the whole town is like that.

Apparently Somers Point is the land that time forgot.

In New Jersey we don't really have steep hills to climb on the bike but we do have overpasses and bridges and the fact that I climbed two of them to get there this morning perhaps made me delirious. I thought I was in 1965.

Maybe it's the fact that no chain stores and restaurants litter the place and everything is a home grown business. It has a down-the-shore charm that has long since been overrun by hundreds of thousands of tourists in places like OC and Wildwood. The hundreds of thousands never came and stayed at Somers Point, they just passed through and then came back later under cover of night for a drink.

I rode along Bay Ave and found The Breakfast Bar. It's around back of Smitty's Clam bar which opens at noon.

I normally don't ride the bike to have breakfast since it makes for a tougher ride home, but I felt compelled.

I had a seat at the counter near the cash register.

Maybe it's the lack of air conditioning that makes the place seem more of throw back or the old school waitresses that move non stop serving breakfast to the 10 or so tables. I felt like I had stepped into a time warp.

The waitresses all were shirts that have "Round Back" on the front and "The Breakfast Bar" on the back. You knew that if they only had the time, they would chat it up with you.

The place is also tiny. There is a side room but BJ, the owner, had let the Men's prayer group have the room since they meet there every Friday. They only took one of the 7 or so tables but she let them have the room for privacy. Jill, the red haired waitress that took my order, thought this was somehow funny. This caused a bit of a wait if you wanted a table but folks didn't seem to mind.

It's also the kind of place where you can see your breakfast being cooked through the opening that the waitresses use to pass their orders to the cooks. If you turn around you can see the boats tied to the docks on the bay front. Outside you can hear the sea birds and smell salt air.

I could have sworn I saw an Apollo take off at Cape Kennedy being covered on the "Today" show on the TV.

I had an omelet, hash browns, toast and coffee but was tempted to try the eggs benedict.

Maybe it was nostagia and salt air but it was delicious.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I think OC needs one more Taco Stand.

It really is amazing how quickly you adapt to life on vacation. It does sound funny, like what could be so hard about living on vacation but people naturally seem to need structure and function.

Life down here quickly evolves into a series of little "jobs".
  • Keeping ice in the cooler.
  • Being the advance team for taking stuff to the beach.
  • Making dinner.
  • Laundry.
  • Cleaning the kitchen.
  • Getting up and riding the bike to Atlantic City. (That's a job, I swear)
Even with all these little jobs, it's not enough to keep you occupied. By about Wednesday you start having thoughts about how you can keep doing this forever. Thoughts cross your mind of opening a Taco stand even though you have never even worked in the food business or opening a bike rental stand even if you haven't ridden a bike since grade school.

Of course this is one of those things that sounds great at first but would quickly turn into what it really is - a job.

I have a friend that has a business down here and he calls summer the 100 days of hell. In his business they go Memorial Day to Labor Day, plus the shoulder seasons without a break. The pace is hellish on top of dealing with employees and all the business headaches that come with being your own boss.

With that in mind, things are starting wind down here. We are closer to the end of our vacation than to the beginning and I am starting to think about heading home.

It's either that or open a Taco stand.

In other news we have a fresh set of faces here as the second half guests have started arriving. When ever new teen aged girls arrive they immediately get a new "shore name". Currently, we have Cindy and Penelope, Sabrina and Tabitha. I refuse to call them by their real names for the duration of the vacation. Yes, I am "that guy".

I think last night was our last circus style dinner as we are consuming what ever is left in the fridge and not buying anything else. From here on out it's Mack and Manco's and Wawa hoagies - for the kids. The Adults are going out to dinner.

Speaking of Mack and Manco's - this seems to be one of those things that really could only happen at the shore. If you actually paid $17 for runny pizza at home you would demand that they give your money back but down here you make like you've just had steak and lobster. Also, for future reference the break even point for slices versus a whole pie is 7.

We also a have a bit of a Tequilla mystery. Last night when the adults went to bed there was 2/3 of a bottle of Jose Cuervo Especial. This morning there was only 1/3 and the bottle was pushed all the way to the back, behind the toaster from hell. When asked, the college aged crew said "well Joe made Margaritas". Joe left yesterday morning when there was still 2/3 of a bottle.

I think it was little Mexican fairies. If you are in OC and see bunch of dark skinned fairies named Juan and Jose, drinking massive amounts of water and having a greasy breakfast, let me know.

Until then, it's a mystery. But trust me, either way, the Tequila gets locked up tonight.

The smartest thing I did this vacation was to plan ahead and move the newspaper from home to here. Every year I say I am going to do it and then forget until it is too late. This year I did it in May and every morning I have a Philly Newspaper in front of the house. I'm either a genius or I'm stealing the neighbors paper every morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Aqua Circus.

Yesterday the circus turned into an Aqua Circus as we rented 11 Wave Runners in the bay north of the ninth street bridge.

It was the longest 1/2 hour of my life.

The things have two modes - putter endlessly and 600 MPH. Anything in between and your passenger slams into the back of you or hangs on for dear life.

We lost one whole set of driver and passenger when the passenger pulled the driver off. Ohh and those things that go around your wrist that stop the Wave Runner when you fall off? Didn't work. They swam and chased down the puttering wave runner.

We also determined that everyone's fear of shark attacks is of the charts the week after Shark Week.

As a group, we emerged unscathed.

We also wised up and sent an advance team to the beach after discovering that if you show up a 2 PM with a crew of 25, you get a spot in the back.

I was on the advance team. Actually, I was the advance team and I headed to the beach dragging the 10 by 10 shelter.

You can't have a circus without a tent.

I found myself unprepared for the tides and the placement of the big top. The plan was to put it up, reserve as much real estate as possible, leave no room for someone to sneak in front and block your view and then leave. We'd be back later and have a primo spot. But do this you need to know when and where high tide is going to be.

Then I met Gene. Gene was down for the day and was catching rays so I asked him about the tides. Gene looked Paulie Walnuts from the Sopranos but knew his stuff.

With Gene's advice we had a perfect placement of the tent. High tide came and kissed the edge of our encampment. Eventually, when the tide went out people moved in front of us but until they did we had front row seats. Unfortunately everyone was exhausted after the Wave Runner episode and never went back to the beach.

Dinner was Italian night at the other house. Two large trays of baked ziti, 128 meatballs and tomato salad.

Everyone was in bed early.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The circus has to eat.

Last night the circus had dinner at my house.

I cooked dinner for 25-30 while rock band blared out the hits from tinny TV speakers in room that sound just bounced around in. Ohh, and did mention it was hot?

It was Hell's kitchen and the psychological warfare that the US inflicted on Manuel Noriega all in one.

What does one make for 25-30 of your closest friends? I chose tacos. 5 Lbs of Hamburger, 2 large London Broils, 2 large packages of tator tots and creamed corn. The tator tots turned out to be a poor choice since they required the hot oven.

I say 25-30 because I don't know how many were actually there. At one point, I sat down at one of the many tables and there were two people there I didn't know.

As dinner was being served, the Michael Jackson came on and the Tequila came out. The night morphed into a strange Michael Jackson dance fest with a distinct Mexican flavor. Miguel de largo vivo.

Actually it was day filled with food prep.

Earlier in the day the entire house headed off to the beach. I lingered behind with Brenda, who was staying out of the sun. I figured I'd have a lunch, pack and head down.

All was going to plan until I was ready to head out the door and my cell rang.

"Can you make us sandwiches"

Sure I'll just make a bunch of different things and you all sort it out. No. They wanted specific sandwiches.

I hung up.

I called back with the pencil in hand, like I worked at a deli or something. After I took the orders, the former waitress in Brenda snapped to life and started cranking out the sandwiches. I barely kept up.

Then they had the cajones to call back and request fresh sliced tomato on each.

Unfortunately the sandwiches were bagged and ready to go with the provided runners so they had to suffer actually putting the tomatoes on the sandwiches themselves. Poor things.

I mention all this in hopes that you will vote me "Chooch of the year" in final balloting in December.

Today it's wave runner rentals and beach.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Circus Logistics.

It's day two of Mount La-La by the sea summer camp. Most of the weekend guests headed back last night and new ones are returning today. Our head count is back down to 10 and the other house is sitting at 12. We have 3 more coming any moment.

That's 22 between two houses with 7 cars and 22 cell phones. If you mapped all the cell connections it would look something like facebook connections as no one knows all 21 cell numbers. You know the 6 around you who know the 6 around them etc. Each house has a land line too so that makes more telephone numbers than people.

Just because there are 22 phones doesn't mean people answer them. Some are more vigilant phone carriers than others and you quickly learn who to call and who not to. Do not call my wife, it will ring off the hook before anyone notices.

Last night we had 10 cars and that makes for interesting parking arrangements. Each house has two official parking spots, one in the garage and one in the driveway in front of the garage. This First In Last Out stack arrangement makes one car per house the "alert 5 bird", used for an ice run or picking kids up. The other remains in storage in the garage waiting to be popped off the stack. All keys remain at the house for the cars in the FILO. In a pinch at third car can be squeezed on to the stack.

The rest have to fend for themselves on the mean streets of OC. We have deck overlooking the parking and because people need to have a function and purpose in life, the deck folks also tend to be parking spot spies. Once in a while you see them dash off in pairs as one holds the newly opened spot by standing in it and the other retrieves a car parked in Strathmere. As things settle, all of the cars associated with our traveling circus have premier spots in front of the house and those cars are never to be moved again. If you need to go somewhere, take a bike or the "alert 5".

The deck perch also means watching people parallel park for sport. You can tell in an instant if someone knows what they are doing. The spectators on the deck say things like "he's too steep" or "cut it to the right" like they were Dick Button at a skating competition. (He'll never make the triple jump now). All we need those numbered signs that they have skating competitions.

"And here are the scores, 9.5, 9, 8.5, 9 and the Russian judge with a 6".

I've also discovered that the parallel parking force runs in my family. I have it, my father has it and my sister has it. (You can almost hear Darth Vader saying ssssssssssssister). My sister had to rescue my niece after an aborted curb bumping attempt. She was as smooth as Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time".

Later we were talking and determined our abilities come from visiting Grandmom in South Philly. You had to learn how to parallel park in much tighter spots with a harsher audience. It was the minor leagues of parallel parking and no one was coming out to help you.

The other aspect to having this many cars coming and going is that someone is always headed back to Mount La-La. If you miss this ride back for work, there are 2 more tonight or tomorrow but it makes for strange pairings of friends that normally would not ride to together like some 18 Year Old's girfriend and a 48 Year old Father. I wonder what they talk about for an hour and half. (After "So how's school?" it's kind of awkward).

Today looks like a hot one and so we are headed to the beach soon with a giant group wave runner 1/2 hour later in the day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Camp OC is open.

It s the first morning of vacation and it's raining. Went for a bike ride before the rain and then came home soaked. I brought home bagels only to find out that we are saddled with a finicky toaster. Its a late model Black and Decker that makes me long for simpler times when toasters snapped on with a load click and burned the crap out anything put in them. This one has electronics and a special "bagel" mode that apparently means just slightly warm the bread.

We finally gave up and used the broiler. It's like Wildwood but with a "good bread knife".

Now it's Rock Band while some drift off to the beach in small groups.

We have two houses and it's like adult summer camp,we have 14 in our house the other has 12 or so.

Some of our guests are leaving tonight only to be replaced by others. We need a schedule to keep track. Buses are leaving daily for home. We are waiting on Oldest and girlfriend to show. They got bumped from last night - A lesson in planning ahead for him.

On today's agenda is volleyball and a ham dinner.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A cow, lobster and chicken walk into a bar...

I was walking to the bank today at lunch and saw this logo on a truck in center city. I can't decided if all three are happily saying "eat me" or if the lobster is having the cow and the chicken "hug it out".

Either way, it looked funny.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sophomore Move in day.

Friday was move in day for the semester for Oldest Son. The loft was vetoed by my wife and I in the end. The thinking is that he has a lifetime of commuting ahead of him, why get a jump on it.

He moved into the largest apartment complex in New Jersey. It too has a Newark address but across the street is South Orange and around the corner is Maplewood. It's a socioeconomic crossroads.

It's also multicultural. It's like being in JFK airport for a day and English is the minority language in place. Throw in customs and overhead paging and you'd swear you were at JFK. The super market around the corner reflects the United Nations flavor. It has a whole aisle dedicated to Russian imported foods.

It's certainly not going to win any architectural awards either. It's five 14 story buildings that can be seen for miles. There is some ivy covering some of the buildings but for the most part it is stark looking, like something from a sci-fi movie.

The population is low-mid income working people. If Ralph Kramden were alive today, this is were he and Alice would live.

The move itself was a little bumpy but successful. Here is what we learned:

1. With U-haul it doesn't matter how far in advance you reserve a truck, they don't secure your truck until 48 hours before. My constant harping on Oldest Son was useless.

2. You can negotiate extra miles. U-Haul was only going to give me 86 miles to get up there even though the dealer was 15 miles from my house. The gave me an extra 20 and I used about 101.

3. Always have some football player friends to help you move. Oldest Son's helpers were diplomacy majors. Nice guys - not football players.

4. Take away the ez-pass. Having one ez-pass is the worst possible scenario. I should have just wrapped it in foil and made him pay tolls. He had our van and I had the u-haul. We got separated.

5. Furniture that fit in a suburban split level home may not necessarily fit in a 1960's apartment complex elevator and apartment door.
IMG_1540:Ivy Hill Move In Day

We got it in, but it ain't leaving. Not in one piece anyway.

Best scene of the day: The two of us, soaking wet, sitting in the stark office of the superintendent of the "complex" signing a lease.

Pictures here.