Covid-19 – Bingeworthy

As this is my 2nd or 3rd month of social isolation, I decided to throw start posting here some of the things I’ve binged on. I find that once I start, I don’t stop.

I’m sure I’ve seen so much more over the past few months that I suddenly realize.. I should do something more productive with my isolation time!

Netflix:

  • Outer Banks – One season – Teenagers on a treasure hunt
  • She – One Season – Indian Crime Drama – watched this with subtitles
  • Money Heist – 4 Seasons – Spanish dubbed crime drama.. extremely addictive
  • Extraction – Action – Really fast moving
  • Spenser Confidential – Decent Action movie
  • Schitts Creek – 5 Seasons – Comedy – Don’t miss this. Waiting for season 6
  • Kim’s Convenience – 4 seasons -Comedy – Outstanding comedy.
  • New Girl – 7 seasons- mindless comedy
  • Wanted – 3 seasons – Australian chick flick with good action and comedy
  • Brown Nation – 1 season – Indian Comedy
  • Criminal Minds – 12 seasons – CBS show
  • Cheers – All seasons – Can watch this over and over again
  • Ozark
  • Hasan Minaj – Patriot Games – Multiple episodes! – Parody on life and truly worth it.
  • Angel Has Fallen – Movie – An absolutely loud and fast paced action movie – Don’t miss it.

Amazon – Most of my binging has been on Netflix so need to review why have I not binged here

  • Amazing Mrs. Maisel – Still trying to get into this
  • Sacred Games – Indian Crime drama (dubbed in english

I invite you to respond and share with me what you think is bingeworthy!

ok.. there

Covid-19 – Hitting the pause button

As I enter the second month of social isolation and distancing I was reflecting on all the things in my life that I’ve hit the pause button on. The list below is in no particular order.. or as I normally write… stream of consciousness.

Tennis – After my health issues at the end of the year, I had just started to get back into my tennis ritual and bam! Just like a body shot when you are standing at the net, that stopped at the end of February..

Having normal work hours – I no longer have normal 10 hour days, but my days now can be anwhere from 12 to 15 hours a day with weekend work as well. Bam! another pause button.

Entertainment – Instead of going to the movies or having dinner out , my routines consist of ordering curbside pickup and binging on Netflix, Amazon an Hulu! Just how much can you binge. Well apparently it’s endless binge and sleep deprivation when you just cannot stop binging on a series that you have to finish tonight! Bam! another pause button

Romance and personal relationships – As a divorced dad, I met someone that I’ve become very atttached to and with her getting Covid-19. She is recovering (thank Goodness!, but we have put a pause on the relationship for almost 2 months now.

So the question arises.. when we un-pause this social distancing, do we subtract out the time that we didn’t see each other from the total time of the relationship? This is a tough question to answer and if you have any insights, feel free to weigh in. When she reads this posting, I can almost guarantee that we will have an extensive discussion on this one.

Haircuts and Car maintenance – since the shut down of non-essential businesses in NJ, no haircuts! Yeah my check engine light will stay on for another month or so.. as I’m not risking going for auto repair.

Costco addiction – I used to go to Costco almost every weekend for the gas refills and food sampling.. that quickly was eliminated by Costco with social distancing rules. Can’t even get a cold frozen coffee! I do have a workaround for this though.. I now am hooked on the $2 Latte at Dunkin between 2 and 6 PM

I’m actually saving money with the reduction in going to Costcoand food shopping in general! Yay me for reduction of my credit card issues! You will be so surprised how many weeks you can survive just on what you have in the freezer and fridge, before you have to go out (with mask and glove) for replenishment of needed food items.

On a positive note: One thing I have to admit which I know is a positive thing, I’ve gotten closer to both my kids. One has moved back in with her mother, and the other is isolated in College in Pittsburgh!

So that’s just a few of the things I’ve paused, what have you paused?? I’d like to get your feedback

Covid-19 – Distance and entertain yourself!

It’s been over a month since I’ve been isolated/quarantined in my condo in Red Bank NJ. It’s been an interesting experience. Every day rolls into another and the hardest part of this is the isolation. Yeah, I take daily walks in my community to keep myself busy, but the social interaction with friends and family is just gone and I don’t know when it’s coming back!

At times, I feel we are living in a third world country. We can’t get tested, we don’t have a vaccine, and the only answer to this pandemic is social distancing?

Today, I’m going to list what I’ve been doing to keep my sanity or as many people might interpret my insanity.

Entertainment: When you are socially isolated, your entertainment is primarily streaming services. For me in my order of preference: Netflix, Hulu, You Tube (for foreign news) and Amazon.

Eating through my fridge: After a month, I’ve actually eaten through 1/3 of my freezer and my non-frozen foods. I actually now think about cooking new things. I have not gone to the supermarket or Costco in over 3 weeks!

Get masks and gloves. This is where I fell behind the eight ball. I didn’t have any masks, and didn’t really have gloves. Fortunately, after week 3, I finally got both! I’m still trying to master the art of wearing a mask and making sure my glasses don’t fog up!

Find your place of Zen: For me this place is by a lake that is in my community. I go here to watch the geese, doves and just sit by the lake.

New Addictions: Words with Friends and Candy Crush. I find that every day, I’m playing more and more of these games on my iPhone than I ever have.. Sometimes, not getting enough sleep due to these obsessions.

Daily Briefings from the White House: This is bad. It’s like watching a train wreck every day. Better yet, it’s like watching a reality show gone terribly wrong. Yet, I find myself hypnotized to listen to the misinformation being conveyed. The only person I believe in is Dr. Fauci who in my mind has become a national hero for the clarity he speaks. The rest is just political showmanship. Not my cup of tea. Many of my readers will disagree on what I say, but watching this daily briefing and Twitter have becoming parallel roads of news..

Social Distancing: This is my mantra for the future (for at least next month). See my tips below on how manage the perils of social distancing.

Here’s some of my social distancing techniques I live by:

  • Be alert when you are walking in commonly used sidewalks ( I learned this the hard way)
  • If you see someone approaching go to the middle of the road (watch out and don’t get hit by oncoming traffic. I’m adhering to the 6 foot rule literally
  • Walk on the golf course (There you only have to worry about walking on deer and/or geese poop. If I do all 9 holes (Par 3), I can easily do 4500 steps!)
  • Walk at odd hours of the day, when the community is not out.. Early morning’s and late evenings are best..

I don’t plan on leaving my isolation for at least another month. Only when when we are all able to get tested (w/o having to go gyrations for getting tested) will I venture outside my comfort zone.

End of Decade – Dad’s look back

Tonight is the end of the decade. For me from 2010 to 2019 has been a decade of apocalyptic change. Yes, change happens to everyone, but for me, my life has been experienced the kind of changes that I could never have imagined. Divorce, illness, financial turmoil and a hard reset of my emotions were a significant portion of this decade. Don’t get me wrong, yes good things did happen to me, but I can say honestly, I’ve survived through a minefield of issues on a daily, weekly, month and yearly basis.. I’ve come out of ahead (or as I like to say “alive and kicking”) due to my determination to persevere through the difficult times and look for the light at the end of each tunnel that I found my self going through.

At the beginning of the decade, I had never heard the concept of “lifetime alimony” or truly understood what child support is. Even as my salary increased, my financial instability increased in proportion. All I knew at the beginning of the decade was being a dad and doing the best for my family. I existed to make my family secure..

When I started the decade, retirement was distant in the future and it was not really at the forefront of my thoughts. Today 9 years later, I think about retirement every day. Some days I find myself thinking all day long when can I retire and will I outlive my money? With the events of the past decade, I really cannot retire for at least 5 to 10 more years.. Ugh. If I had my druthers, I’d retire tomorrow and get a job at Walmart being a greeter.

When I started the decade, I was living the American Dream: I was a father who had brought into the myth of being an homeowner and being able to swim financially with a single income. That was just a pipe dream.. I owned a beautiful home which was my castle and two kids that were in middle and high school respectively.. So my priorities were preparing for their college education and I funneled as much into their education fund as I could do.. Yet in retrospect, I saved just enough for one child and not enough for another..

At the start of 2010, I had family, who I came home to every day and enjoyed being Dad’s taxi.. I lived for my wife and kids. We vacationed (multiple times) each year, fell deeper into debt and basically lived the American dream. Working to pay the bills and vacations was my mantra.. If I knew then what I know now, I wonder if things would have been different. Probably not.

Winter was beautiful as my house was a winter wonderland for the kids and for me, it was a joy to see them enjoying the home that my wife and I had raised them in. Summers were for pool fun and entertaining the extended family. Our home was a destination home for our extended family.. My home was referred to as “their summer home”. Holidays were meant for family togetherness. To me, I was living the dream, with me being oblivious to the nightmare that I would have in the second half of the decade.

On the outside a the beginning of the decade, it looked like we had a perfect home. A great home, a strong family and marriage.. Internally, my marriage was crumbling and my wife and I had started the path towards irreconcilable differences. We lived life to the max and every day we spiraled more and more into debt. As the dad, I “took from peter to pay paul”. I could have done things differently, but to do this I needed help and unfortunately this was not a version of reality that I was going to find at home.

During this decade I turned 50 and that’s when I realized, I was living a lie. I decided to speak up and this accelerated my marriage into a state of total un-fixable disarray. As everyone knows, you can never clap with one hand (except when you slap yourself). We both contributed to the dissolution of our marriage. By the middle of the decade, my marriage was over and my life crumbled around me. I lost my home (it became marital property) that I could not sell and I was now living in rentals.

My relationship with my kids (especially with my younger daughter) would never be the same. I’m not looking for any sympathy with these words, but to say that my divorce was financially destructive and would take the second half of the decade to recover. I could write extensively my situation during the middle of the decade, but that is not meant to be put into words here. After my divorce, I was determined to recover emotionally and financially. Today I can say, I’m in a good place on both.

This whole decade has been an experience in survival. I had everything, I lost my home and most of my financial stability, and now am on the path to recovery.. I see retirement being in my future ( I don’t know when, but retirement is in my future). The emotional turmoil that we went through taught us the appreciation for family and how fickle fate can be.

I had multiple health issues in this decade. What I learned is that I cannot take my health for granted. During the next decade, my health has to be my number one priority. My family is second and after that comes my career.

As I start the new decade, my kids are both educated. One child is giving back to society by being a social worker and the other is in college. My post divorce relationship with my ex-wife has become much better and we continue to co-parent cohesively. I am again a homeowner and am in a much happier place. I can best say that the past decade has been a period of tremendous change and upheaval.. Dad came out of it scarred but not beaten.

As I look forward to the new year and the new decade, I have optimism that this decade will be much calmer.. Hopefully, when I look back on this writing in 2029, I’ll be retired and alive! I’m hopeful of my kids succeeding in their life and for me to see them succeed. That’s what I would now define as happiness for me in the future.

I also have a list of things I want to do.. Go and see all four major opens for tennis (Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open (done!), tops my list.

I also plan on continuing with Dad’s Taxi and go back to the origins and become more humorous and insightful! I wish all my family, friends and everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous decade, which starts in a few hours!

A reality check – Listen to the signs

Hi to all my readers,

It’s been almost a year since my last posting and even writing this post took me a long time to gather my thoughts. Normally my posts are full of snark and sarcasm with pretentious of humor. Today, I want to tell you that that will not cease after this post.. but for this post, let me tell you a story that hit home (like a ton of bricks). I ignored signals my body was giving me and it was almost disastrous.

A few weeks ago I fell ill and with a pulmonary embolism (PE) and was hospitalized. The PE was caused by blood clots in my left leg that traveled up both of my lungs and caused clots and causing the right side of of my heart to stop getting blood.. Of course this had a chain reaction and I would not be alive today, if I didn’t have the support of my girl friend (yes I can say that openly). She saved my life and Di deserves the recognition for this.

The worst thing of this whole story is that I ignored the danger signs when I was in NJ as well as when I was out of the country (In Cancun, Mexico). The signs of heart issues started a few month ago and of course they progressed. Over a period of 2 month when the first symptoms of my PE materialized and being the “macho man” I thought I was I ignored the swollen left leg and the inability to breathe after short durations of walking or any exertion. I was too self absorbed and felt I could power through it all. I could not have been any more wrong . If thing would have gone worse, I could have easily come back home not in a seat on the plane, but as a body being sent home. Not a pretty thought but it is what it is.

After I returned to my NJ home from my vacation , I resumed normal activities of work and my passion of tennis and walking. All the time, ignoring the warning signs that my body kept on telling me . I couldn’t walk much without discomfort and playing tennis was very difficult.. Of course in my warped and self absorbed mind, I was thinking “wouldn’t it be cool, if I took my last breath on the tennis court”. Yeah that’s me in a nutshell , self destructive even when I knew that something was wrong.

I went to work, tried to do my ten thousand steps a day and tried to power through the pain and discomfort. My girlfriend (who happens to be RN), noticed that I was laboring and she started to ask the right questions and then some type of light went off in my head, and I finally realized that I was in serious trouble.. The day before I was hospitalized, I was doing my normal after dinner walk in my complex and after walking less than 1/4 of a mile, I had to turn back with coughing, and inability to catch my breath.. as I lounged on my sofa, I was talking to Di and she was monitoring my labored breathing and had me monitor my BPM’s on my Fitbit (Everyone should have one!). Basically my Heart rate (BPM) were not coming below 115 – 120 and I was still having problems breathing.. I relented and I had a Venous Doppler done at a local hospital next day.

The doppler revealed clots in my left leg and an emergency CAT scan was done on my chest which revealed, massive clots on both my lungs. I was transferred to one of the 5 best hospitals in the US for treatment later that evening. NY Presbyterian hospital (NYP) in NYC. Being transferred to NYP saved my life and I thank all the doctors and nurses at NYP for the care they gave me over a period of 6 days to nurse me back from the brink of death to a person on the road to recovery.

The road to recovery will be a long one and I the more I try being Macho and trying to power through the ups and downs, I know it will take me longer to resume some level of normal activities. For me that walking 10,000 steps a day and being able to play tennis 2 to 3 times a week. Yet I do digress, as I tend to do in my postings..

I know I’ll be on blood thinners for a long time (if not for the rest of my life), as well as monitoring all aspects of my health. Not being a tough guy is going to take a while, but when your body says, “enough is enough”, you must listen, unless of course you have a death wish.

Over the past month, I realize the following lessons learned:

  • You ignore your heart and the signs your body is giving you. Our body is smart enough to give us basic indications that something is wrong. If you ignore these signs, you are only hurting yourself and your family.
  • Appreciate your friends and family when they want to help you. I kept to myself and didn’t let others in. This is not the way to lead your life. You have let others in that love you unconditionally.
  • Money will come and go, but how you utilize the money to make a difference in your quality of life is key.. Being a squirrel in life is ok, but are you going to take the money with you?
  • Watch what you eat, and do a balanced exercise regimen. Everything you eat has immediate and long term affects on your well being.
  • Thank god every day for watching over you. This is the most important lesson.

As I sit here and put up this post, I realize me changing my perspective is a long term goal, but every day, I’m taking small steps to make sure I’m around to enjoy life to the fullest. Also I want to live to see my kids have kids so they can experience the joys of parenthood as I have.

Hot Times in NJ – Heatwave

Now I’m not one to shy away from a little heat wave, but the heat wave that central NJ is currently in, is almost equal to the heat that I’ve seen during my visits to India. Indian summers are summers where you can take 3 to 4 showers a day, and still feel sticky, ugh!

This morning, I was playing tennis (even though we started at 8AM, by 9:30, it was feeling like 100 degrees in the shade and it was unbearable.. Yeah the truly fanatical doubles players really don’t look as heat as an obstacle when it comes to their weekly game..) Of course this made me reflect on how the professionals play 4 or 5 sets in incredible heat at Wimbledon, Australian Open and French Open respectively. Of course when it comes the US Open in Flushing meadows, the heat has tapered down quite a bit by End of August.. BTW, if you see me at the US open.. I’m the lunatic going from court to court on the grounds.. trying to see as much as I can in one day!

The Pro’s when they play the tournaments, must either be superhuman, or their conditioning is absolutely the reason, they can play hours at a time in brutal heat conditions. When I saw the finals of Wimbledon with Federer vs Djocovic (sic), go on for an incredible 5 hours and almost 6 sets (including the 5th set tiebreaker, had to be the best match ever.

Yet, many of my followers know I digress!

Today, the entire Northeast corridor and parts of central US are in a “heat bubble“. Yeah that’s what they called it on the news. Of course in NJ.. a heatwave means the beaches are flooded, with the sun worshipers. Below are some things that occur in Monmouth County, NJ when there is a beach weather like today.. Of course Dad.. doesn’t do beaches, he’s more of a boardwalk junkie..

  • Garden State Parkway heading to the shore sites are backed up for miles
  • Since there are not many “free” beaches in central NJ (and believe it or not there are a few “secretly free” beaches in NJ).
    • The one I beach is worth looking into is the one between Ocean Grove, and Asbury Park. This little strip of beach is un-manned so buyer beware.
  • The afternoon and early evening traffic from Sandy Hook and the beaches on Ocean Avenue traffic is somewhere I do not want to be.

So my plan for today is to chillax, take a nap (done) and binge watch “Netflix” and catch up on Stranger things..

What’s your favorite “free” beach in NJ as a comment and we can start a wave of “seekers of free beaches” movement..

Netflix and Chill – What??

Ok Friends and family,

I’ve not been blogging as the taxi as I’ve been reserving my thoughts for things that really disturb me.. and when I wrote this entry.. I was disturbed for quite a few days.

This week I learned that the expression “Netflix and Chill” does not mean what it literally means in the words.. Of course me being over 50 and not cool.. I had no idea that the connotation of this expression today.. of course the meaning of this phrase is way different from what it meant when I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Of course during those days Netflix was not a streaming service but a overnight DVD business. So how would I know what how the phrase has evolved over the past 10 or so years? The true meaning is way different from what I thought it was.

For me.. these innocent words meant a friend comes over and we WATCH NetFlix and just relax.. oh no.. that’s not what it means.. I found out that I’m not the ONLY person that did not know what TODAY’s meaning of his phrase means. I found out that today’s meaning is “come on over, we will turn on Netflix and get busy.. (you can read into that what getting busy means)”. Since I write a PG13 blog, I’m not going to explain to anyone what the real meaning is.. If you don’t know, go ask anybody from Gen X or Gen Y.

When did this meaning change? Why didn’t I know? Did I just miss the boat on this?

Why didn’t I get an email or a text from someone on this gross lack of basic 2019 knowledge?

So I did what any person in my situation would do.. I took an informal poll of people from my age group (totally non-scientific poll) and I found that I was not the only one that didn’t know the true meaning of this phrase.. I asked about 10 people and they all agreed with my incorrect interpretation.

I then went to the generation X, Y, Z and asked the same question and I got the responses I expected:

  • Inappropriate question Dad
  • Dad, If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you
  • OMG, why would you ask ME that kind of question
  • Do you really mean that?
  • That has been the meaning for years, why don’t you know?

I guess I really need to get with the right lingo for today’s world.. No more “Netflix and Chill” for me!

iPhone Battery – Epic Fails

As the whole world knows, Apple offered replacement batteries for older iPhones at a reduced rate of $29 and $39 during all of 2018.. Well I was one of those procrastinators that didn’t get my battery earlier this year and left it for the last few days of of 2018.. Huge Mistake!

Epic Fail #1: Grand Central Station: My first stop on my hunt for a battery was NYC in mid-December, when I visited NYC to meet my daughter for our annual daddy-daughter date. That’s a story for another day… … I’d call Grand Central Station as the holy grail of Apple stores. An aura of peace and serenity comes over you as you walk up those golden steps. Now this Apple store is absolutely amazing, with the level of help that is available with Apple support staff in their red Shirts.

At this store, I found out the following things:

  • There is a chance of data loss if an iPhone battery is changed. This one actually made me dizzy, as I didn’t know when was the last time I backed up my iPhone..
    • My iPhone 6s has not been backed up for many many months and that was the first sign trouble. Yeah.. I didn’t back up the phone as I don’t typically read the mantra of backup which is: backup, backup, backup.
  • I didn’t know my Apple Password.. ok.. that was just my dementia kicking in due to the excitement of actually being in the holy grail of apple.. a Store! I finally remembered my password
    • So after putting my name on the list to see a “specialist” I wandered around Grand Central to do my business.. in layman’s terms.. to use the facilities.
  • The cool Apple folks told me that I only had to wait 15 minutes or so before I was to go to the next step which is a technical specialist to see me and my pride and joy (iPhone). To me 15 minutes was not that big of a deal and I went along.. but wait .. this is where it gets interesting.
  • When my name was called and went to the cavernous waiting area for a specialist, I was in pure Nirvana that I was in the actual place where the cool kids play. Within minute a techie came over and examined my phone and get ready for this.. He told me that my iPhone was not mine! my iPhone’s serial number didn’t match the serial number in the great Apple cloud in the sky. Which meant… as far as Apple was concerned, I had an “illegal or stolen’ iPhone..
    • Now I started to sweat profusely.. and started to stammer something silly like: “Huh??”, “How could this happen?”, “What do I do now?”… Well my new best friend the Apple geek said: “Oh sir this happens all the time! Perhaps your carrier never updated the serial number for you iPhone when you purchased it a few years ago”. By this time, my head is hurting… I’m sweating and my iPhone world is crashing down around me! My new best friend, said they would escalate this to Tier 2 support and get the serial updated in the Apple cloud.. But as you can guess.. I was SOL (I think you know what those acronyms stand for).. this is a family show, so I won’t detail those acronyms (S*it out of Luck)..
    • So my new BFF told me that this issue would be resolved within a day or so, and I will have to call Apple support to confirm.. I thought security would come rushing thorough Grand Central and take me into a holding cell and torture me into confessing that I had stolen my own phone! Yes this is my paranoia kicking in,
    • So now I left depressed the cavern of joy (the Apple Store) , tears in my eyes as I had failed on my mission!

Epic Fail #2: Where is the Apple Store in Central NJ? You are in the wrong Mall!

  • Fast Forward to December 28. Yes that’s how long, I wasted in moving forward. You can chalk that one up to sheer vacay mode or just laziness. In my case 90% of the second and 10% of the first.
  • So while I’m home on my annual staycation (another topic for another day).. I called Apple support (on December 28th) and got confirmation that my serial number was now correct and I was green lighted to go my local apple support store to get the crown jewel of battery replacement.
  • So I first went to the wrong Mall. I call this not knowing your facts 101. I went to Woodbridge Mall and asked the vendors.. “Where is the Apple Store?”.. One vendor sent me on a wild goose chase and after coming back to where I started, I asked another vendor and she said: “Oh You are in the wrong Mall! You need to go to Menlo Park Mall..” Which is about 5 miles away,. Yet if you know NJ traffic during after Xmas, you know that 5 miles could take you a minimum of 1/2 hour or more.. and that’s exactly what it took for me to get to my second Apple Store!
  • I get to Menlo Park Mall and I find my happy place (The Apple Store), and wander around amongst the masses looking for help.. I’m directed to the front entrance and here’s my second epic fail for the day: the nice techie tells me due to the rush or batteries, they are NOT taking any more walk-in’s today. Keep in mind that this was at about 4:30 PM and the store doesn’t close till about 9PM.
  • Needless say, I leave dejected and saddened again with tears welling up in my eyes as now I’ve been to 2 apple stores and over two weeks and have still not gotten a new battery!
    • Leaving Menlo Park and going back to my home (in Middletown, NJ), was another epic adventure, with multiple traffic jams and the normal crazy NJ traffic. A trip that should take 30 minutes took me almost 2 hours to traverse… Yes that’s a word I now use, since I’ve been learning new words playing Word Chums on my iPhone!

So Now I’ve wasted 3 to 4 hours on a vacation day and gone to 2 separate malls with no success to my task at hand.. I was NOT a happy camper.. So I said to myself, I’m going to regroup and go to my third Apple store in Freehold, NJ and I’m sure, I’ll have better luck there! Can you guess what happened? Epic Fail #3.. The third time was not a charm!

Epic Fail #3: Freehold Raceway Mall

  • I go to the Freehold Raceway Mall next afternoon and find the happy place.. and of course.. there’s a huge line.. as half of NJ is there.
  • I get on the “service line” and the gatekeeper tells me…. there is a 5 hour wait for battery replacements.. She says to me “Didn’t I know that this was available for all of 2018 and everyone is rushing to get their batteries replaced“.
  • So I take a number and wander my third mega NJ mall in two days contemplating my next move.. After an hour or so.. I said, it was not in my destiny to get a new battery and it’s better that I just give up and go home..

So after 2 weeks , 3 Apple stores, 3 Mega Malls in NJ, I am back to square one.. an iPhone 6S with a battery that lasts less than a few hours on a normal charge.. I guess the moral of this story is…

Lesson Learned: Don’t procrastinate when it comes being part of the Apple cult of iPhone ownership.. go early as possible and think about all the things that can go wrong.. Yet in retrospect, I did feel like I was entering heaven when I entered every Apple store where I saw my family (other Apple cult members) all with glazed expressions and intently getting their Apple toys!

So what’s my next move? I’m gonna go and upgrade my iPhone to the latest iPhone in 2019 and make sure I bow down to it and pray to the Apple god’s to make sure I don’t need a battery replacement!

Alexa, Talk to me!

You know when you have the Amazon Echo, there are times you you don’t have anyone to talk to at home or on the phone.. there is always Alexa. So I end up asking my Alexa  Echo devices(I have 2 of them), some questions. I’m always entertained to say the least. What overwhelms me is the sheer volume of skills that grow every week.  My favorite skill is to play Jeopardy.  Of course I rarely win this 5 question daily skill!

In most cases, I’m just listening to Pandora or just asking for the weather, but when I truly want to engage my Alexa, I try some of the following things. Of course you can see all the skills that Alexa has by searching for them using your Alexa app on your IOS or Android Device. 

The one thing I finally learned is how to make both of my Echo’s simultaneously play music as part of my Home Group.. yeah.. I’m typically late to the party.. but I do eventually get there.

I also look forward to the weekly emails that tell me all the new skills that she can do.. Do I need to get a life? Perhaps, but for pure entertainment value, you can’t beat Alexa as your live in….

Of course you can visit the amazon site for everything Alexa to remain up to date, but that’s too much work for me. so I just read the weekly emails.  From making your home smart to ordering, to shopping, Alexa to me is my one stop.. I think for me the next step is to get the Echo Show to so I can video conference with with my friends and family and annoy them in #realtime.

The one thing I had to get used to and at times still scares the heck out of me is that she is ALWAYS listening for her name and is absorbing.. So if you are on You Tube and this is what happened to me as I was researching You Tube for this post, she heard my computer and you can imagine the rest..

Now in the spirit of the holidays, below are some skills you can try:

“Alexa, help me create a holiday story.”
With the Holiday Story Skill Blueprint, you can create personalized holiday stories told by Alexa with your child as the main character.

Alexa, how many days until Christmas?”

“Alexa, open Holiday Song Quiz.”

Now to really get your jollies, try this: “Alexa, what can you do?”.. This will guarantee to keep you engaged..


Where have I been? Out of the darkness

I realize that I haven’t updated my blog in a long long time.. Over 6 to 10 months.. This is not good. When I first started this blog many years ago.. my objective was to inform and entertain., Somewhere along the way.. I got distracted and lost my way.

So here we are at the end of 2018 and I need to get back to my roots. I will make it my point to put up posts that are entertaining and informative.. My new focus will be to talk about things that surround me in my day to day life that amuse me and at times, just tick me off.

2018 has been an year of re-awakening for me.. It’s been over 3 year since my divorce. So I’m going to tell the blogging world some stuff that I’ve been going through for the past 3

For the past 3 years I lived in survival mode. I was living in Red Bank, NJ in a small 1 bedroom and was putting my life back together financially and emotionally. To say that the past 3 years have been humbling, is an understatement. I thought highly of myself as a homeowner, parent, and husband. I was proud of my achievements (I think a bit arrogant).  I had this swagger and this led to my downfall in all areas of these areas.

With the divorce, I had to sell my marital home,  adjust my parenting style and as a divorced father, I had to realize that the divorce was not caused just by her but I had to accept ownership of my contributions,

What made me to come to this revelation? Well it’s a combination of multiple things.. Introspection, my friends, long walks, Tennis (yes this is and will continue to be my passion), therapy and having to do a hard reset to almost every facet of my life.  Financially, the monetary devastation the divorce brought to me, taught me  that  money comes and goes, but relationships last for ever.

Without my friends, I would have never see the light at the end of the tunnel. My two closest friends, stood by me as my emotional ups and down took a toll on them as well. Yet both of my friends were always there for me. Whenever I wanted, all I had to do was call them and they were there. Be it on the tennis court or just having me over and allowing me to vent my frustrations at my situation.

My two girls (whom I’ve written about on this blog many many times), showed me what unconditional love is. The divorce affected each of them quite differently. One was matter of fact accepting and the other the divorce affected her deeply. Yet regardless, they showed me the love and support that only children can give to you. They were there for me whenever I needed them. Even as I at times was emotionally unavailable for them, they were always there for me.

I had to figure out a balance and between my issues with the divorce to being a loving parent to my girls.

My dysfunctional life at work was consistent..

  • To have your ex-wife working in the same physical work location and seeing her almost every day, brought out much emotion.  Almost every emotion I experienced, was not positive (anger, disdain, contempt, sadness, dread, and many many more..) . It took me 2+ year to come to grips that the daily dysfunction enabled me to compartmentalize my thoughts.  I was able to separate my emotions and come to a level of acceptance that this dysfunction will always be a part of my for as long as both of us work in the same physical location
  • My best friend is the boss of my ex-wife and kudos to him, our friendship was strained as he saw both me and my ex-wife every day and he was thrust into the firing zone. What amazes me is that P he maintained a balance to have an employee that was his best friend’s ex-wife. I’m not sure I could have handled this dysfunction.

So where am I today?

  • I became a homeowner at the beginning of this year and continued to regain my financial health.
  • I’m focused on my mental and physical well being. I’m learning to appreciate the little things in life and above all enjoy myself..

Where am I going?

  • I love writing and it’s therapy for me to write Dad’s Taxi. I need to go back to my roots and write about things that express my life.
  • When I look at the state of my blog, it needs a revamp and will be doing this over the next few month.