Moving In

houseforsaleI thought to myself today “One of questions my dearest readers might have is how come I’ve decided to live in Chautauqua, or where I was before. So why not write about that?”

I lived in Cleveland all of my life. I was raised there, finished school, had my first girlfriend and so on. Life was pretty good there, but you could say I lived in sort of a bad neighbourhood. You know, drugs, violence, that kind of thing… It wasn’t really that safe to walk down the streets at night and I worried about Julia every time she left the house.

Once we got married, we started talking about having kids and the big problem was we didn’t want to raise him there. So we talked, A LOT. And we researched, A LOT.

There were a lot of places we liked, but none really stood out so we just kept postponing and researching and postponing and researching. Once Julia got pregnant though, then it was time to panic. But Julia soon got a marvellous idea – moving to her tiny home town I’ve never even heard of. [Read more…]

Recent Events

cutting grassA lot of people would say that beginning something new is hardest. For example: writing your first blog post. Well that’s not the case here as the main reason I finally decided to create this site is to vent my issues.

I’ve got nowhere else to vent because Julia just tells me to suck it up and my friends all call me a cry baby. So, you get to enjoy my rants :-)

For example: just last week, I woke up on a sunny Saturday morning with Daiquiri (my cat) shoving his privates on my throat and crying for food while my better half was getting dressed and laughing at such *special* bond I have with such a poor excuse for a cat (he’s afraid of small insects, yes REALLY).

Anyway, I got into my morning routine – feed the cat, get my coffee, try and get my brain fired up enough to engage in a routine conversation, and I just smiled. I smiled because today is the day I get my new shiny iPad Air! It’s the new technological marvel  that will allow me to read my articles while I am sitting on the can, and perhaps some other work related stuff… but that’s not important. [Read more…]

I’ve Got the House To Myself: A Weekend With Nature, Netflix, and the Cat

How to watch Netflix overseasWell, the wife rolled out of our driveway early Friday morning with the kid in tow. They’re off to visit my dear mother-in-law in Albany, way upstate. Julia (you absolute angel, you) decided last minute that maybe I should stay home, and I have to say, this guy is definitely not complaining! The last time I went along with them to see the in-laws was two Christmases ago and let’s just say, a few conversational disagreements here and there, and things somehow got a little… messy. Sorry, folks.

So I’ve got the run of this whole, big, empty place until Monday morning. Of course, Julia left me one whopper of a to-do list: Clean the leaves out of the gutters before it snows, fix that annoying squeaky stair, try to figure out why the whole basement smells like dirty socks, and on and on. Being the A-plus husband that I clearly am, I’m sure I’ll finish at least one item off that list before the family’s back. (Knock on wood.)

But on this sunny and crisp weekend afternoon, I couldn’t just stay inside whiling my time away on odds n’ ends housework and chores. The sky a brilliant blue and the last of those New York autumn colors lingering on the trees, I hit the beautiful hiking trails throughout Chautauqua and walked for miles, simply enjoying the bright sun and chilly air.

By the time I got back to my quiet, empty house some five hours later, I’d worked up a ravenous appetite and had worn myself out pretty good. Hitting the kitchen, I flexed every impressively talented culinary muscle I had in my body, and by that I mean I made an enormous, meaty, mayo-slathered sandwich big enough to feed the entire neighborhood! I even shared some choice meat scraps with my little furry buddy Daiquiri – I swear, I’m such a softy sometimes.

I made my way through the living room, plopped my tired body down on the outrageously comfy sectional, and settled in with my sandwich and the TV remote. A little quality time with my good friend Netflix is always welcome; there’s so much entertaining stuff to help you waste all that free time, and with a little help from this site, I can enjoy Netflix anywhere I go. Not that freelance writer househusbands really tend to go too far from home, anyways!

Yeah, I’m sure I’ll get around to checking out the leaf-clogged gutters or the squeaky step or the weird dirty sock smell that Julia was going on about. But I’ve got the whole rest of the weekend ahead of me, and right now I think that some solid binge watching the first three seasons of Sons of Anarchy sounds like a terrific plan.

Although, Daiquiri’s just jumped up next to me on the sofa and settled in like a champ. He says we should watch those delightful videos of fish swimming in aquarium tanks instead. We’ll just see about that, cat… we’ll see.

So These Christmas Trees…

Christmas Trees Sydney

I would’t go so far as too say that small towns have the absolute weirdest shit go on, but they sure are far more noticeable when they happen. I was walking my dog, fairly early in the morning, couldn’t have been later than 9:00, when this giant truck with Australian license plates blazed through my neighborhood.

Normally something like this would have put me on fury road (Tom Hardy as Mad Max? Color me intrigued) but I was far too bewildered by what the truck contained: it was stacked and tied five-feet-high with Christmas trees. It was the middle of August. I stood frozen, trying my best to analyze the world around me and make sure there hadn’t been some glitch in the matrix. After about a minute of eternity, I made the attempt to track the truck, hoping to see it and discover it was on of “Pimp My Ride”‘s last cars before the show ran out of funding – but the Christmas tree truck from Sydney and the man behind the wheel were nowhere to be found.

I went home and tried to put the whole incident behind me. The only problem was my curiosity. It got the better of me, much like every teen romance novel, I needed to investigate further. After a few empty searches within the New York area, I began spreading my wings across the sea and tapped into the great outback for any sign of a Christmas tree moving truck. I managed to find one hopeful prospect – Christmas trees Sydney, a tree delivering business where they prune and grow their own trees. The trucks looked identical, but it made no sense as the Christmas trees were made and cultivated in Sydney. Everyone else claims to have not seen anything.

 

It’s just another example of something I can’t wrap my head around in this place. Another day in the life of the 4400, I suppose.

And Then We Started Talking About How to Get a Proper Business Valuation in Sydney

Business Valuation SydneyDo you remember my friend Greg? He’s the one with the home cinema I mentioned a few posts ago. He called me last week to see if I wanted to hang out with him and his friend from out of town and knock back a few beers. A chance to have “guy time” is a rare treat for me, since Julia and I are both working full-time now.

As it turns out, it was the most boring night of my life.

I get to Greg’s house and knock on the door.  The door opens and I am greeted by a man who has a strange likeness to Crocodile Dundee. He had the tan, he had the accent and he was charming, his name was Paul. He invited me in and we made small chit chat as we headed to the cinema where Greg was already seated.

The game was on and the min-fridge was stocked with imported beers. Greg’s wife, Cindy, had made us game time snacks, and the evening appeared to be heading in a great direction. Beer, friends, snacks, and football, what more could a man ask for.

I made myself at home in one of the over-sized theater chairs and we began to watch the game.  We explained the nuances of American football with Paul and we were all enjoying ourselves.  It turned out that Paul owned a company in Sydney, Australia.  The night was going well.

Oddly, the more beers that Paul drank the less charming he became.   It didn’t really matter to me because the game was on and I could drowned out Paul and Greg’s business talk.  But then, the game was over.  I had nothing to do except join in their conversation or watch Unforgettable, but there was no way I could pull off proper interest in that.

Once Paul noticed I was listening he decided to give me some background into his company.  Did you know Paul’s company started in 1998?  Now you do.  Did you know that Paul’s company is the leading producer of weird gadgety things in the world? You didn’t? How could you not, gadgety things are everywhere!  Ugh, it was getting difficult to listen to.

Paul keep droning on and on about his business, and I felt my eyelids getting tired. As it turns out, Paul is trying to sell his gadgety thing business, and is looking for a proper business valuation in Sydney.  He’s tried this one company, Key Property Group, and insisted that they were all drunks and thieves becaus of the low valuation they gave him, until he also tried Valuator and they gave him the same valuation…

The only reason I’ve ever heard those terms before is from watching Shark Tank.  He talked about it as if I should know all the people who do valuations in Sydney.  As if I was going to make a living off of my pretend widget venture. By the way, if I did have a widget company I would name it, “Wacky, Wonderful, Widget World.”

It was getting late so I excused myself from the conversation under the ruse of an early morning the next day.  As I was leaving I walked through the kitchen where Cindy was to thank her for the delicious food that she made.  She looked at me with a sly smile and asked if Paul was talking about his business again.  I told her he was.  She just rolled her eyes and assured me he was going back home on Friday.

Living the dream

A lot of time has passed since my last blog post. I can say things are progressing rather well.

Neighbors daughter is taking care of Mike Jr. and Daiquiri the days Julia and I work during same hours. I’ve managed to find one guy in this little town that I actually like hanging out with, could be because he lives alone and have home cinema in a town without a cinema or any other entertainment, could be.

My baby boy is more popular with the ladies than I ever was, sometimes it feels like he is the main attraction of the town. Everyone asks about him, everyone have a story about him. I guess I have to admit, small towns are really great for a kid.

We are financially stable and made couple of friends, I still miss my home town considering there is nothing really to do around here. Or so I thought, wrong again.

We visited my parents in Cleveland about a week ago, was a great trip and it was great to see my town again. Except it felt like there were huge crowds everywhere, and too many cars, not to mention the noise during the night from the road and people partying. It was that night when I realized I got infected by a small town, and that I enjoy nearly all the things it provides.

Job

Ladies and gentleman we have scored a job!

Which is in Erie… which is nearly one hour drive away… which is AMAZING. Every time I’m driving out of Chautauqua I pretend like its for good and my heart starts feeling all warm and fuzzy.

My first day driving to work was especially amazing. As I was driving out of town I saw an older man on the ground in front of his house, he was cleaning the gutters and ended up falling and braking his leg. I stop, go to him, tell him to calm down and I call the ambulance. Still on phone describing situation to guy on the line, hearing help is coming soon. I’m thanking god as I’ve no idea how to help the poor guy.

A garbage truck pulls over, and dudes come out to help. I just shout “Its okay guys, ambulance is on the way!”, but as I keep watching I notice they’re taking stuff out of the truck and… turns out they’re on double duty. This towns garbage men… are EMT’s.

How nice and unique is that huh? I hope I never need to go to hospital around here, god knows what might the doctors second duty be.

Bills

Money, money, money.

As we moved my wife found a job, wasn’t all that hard at the time, being a nurse. But I was a journalist, in middle of nowhere, very useful for this community. Not to a mention there’s a newborn in the house, and a cat trying to figure out what the hell is that thing and why it keeps screaming.

So I figured I would turn to freelancing for a while, and attempt to manage my surprise job as a househusband, yes that’s a thing! The thing about freelancing is that its difficult to score a job, and when you get it its pretty much a short term deal with not too great pay and zero benefits. So time passed and I was only getting couple of dollars here, couple of dollars there. We were in a little financial trouble. What made it awesome is living in a small town where everyone finds out you’re unemployed, so the whole town sits around all day and talks how lazy husband my wife has that only sits at home, drink beer, and spends her hard earned money on iPads.

My wife came home one night two weeks ago saying how her coworker Wendy taped her shoulder and asked if she wanted to talk to someone about her domestic situation. It boggles my mind just what sort of information is circulating in this town. Julia finds everything funny for some reason, but that’s why I love her. My little optimist.