Father’s Day 2016

Yesterday, was one of the best Father’s day I ever had in many years.. I got to spend a whole day with my kids! Spending a day together with my girls is the best gift I can ever get from my girls.

The day got off to a rough start when I missed the train from Hazlet, NJ to NYC… but that’s what happens when you don’t anticipate traffic from point A to B. The day almost got cancelled before we got started, but of course it was my fault as my lack of planning can always cause unnecessary chaos.

Taking New Jersey Transit and Path to World Trade Center is pretty exhausting.. I still don’t understand why they have escalators that don’t work on weekends in Newark, NJ Penn station.  By the time we changed trains from NJ Transit to PATH.. I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely.

If you are traveling from NJ to NYC.. you always know you are going to be on the move and be prepared to spend money every step of the way.. I was shocked that PATH was now $2.50 for a ride.. I can remember when it was $1! Yet when you think of the NYC subway’s costing $2.50, this PATH fare just seem to be over priced!

Tip of the Day: If you are in NYC, make sure your Metro Card is loaded! This same card can be used on NYC Subways and Path!

When we finally got to WTC, I was in absolute awe at the changes and the rebuilding that has happened and is ongoing. WTC continues to evolve but for me it brought back memories and sorrow. I used to commute to work through the original WTC in the late 1980’s. Yes I’m that old..

When you are in NYC, your attitude just automatically changes.. Once a New Yorker always a New Yorker.. I grew up in NYC, went to school in NYC and worked in NYC for many many years. Yet if you are not used to the hustle and bustle of NYC, you will get overwhelmed by the speed of NYC (from walking to running to subways).  I felt that I was walking in slow motion and everyone else was walking in high gear!

My girls took me to a great “bottomless” mimosa restaurant on 14th street. I forget the name of the restaurant.. but needless to say.. I left very happy (if you know what I’m trying to say here!).. When you have enough Mimosa’s your happiness level goes up exponentially!


I think the highlight of my Father’s day was walking from 14th street to 30th street on the High line.. This is an elevated walking platform where trains used to run and now is an elevated park that runs for about 5 miles!

The art, culture and the ability to enjoy the various art and neighborhoods that surround the High Line is truly amazing.

I bet you are asking yourself.. what was the best gift that I got? Well it was given to be my younger daughter.. She got me a Dad’s Taxi tag for my car.. This made my entire day.. So if you see a car with Dad’s taxi in the back window.. you will know that it’s me!

Dad's Taxi Yes simple things like this can really make me happy!

By the time we returned to NJ, I was exhausted and I needed a few hours of nap time to recover.. This is when I truly felt old! I used to commute to NY for work in the 80’s and 90’s! Now just one day trip wore me out..

Well I’d like to hear from my follower’s on how was your father’s day.. For me, yesterday was one of the best father’s day I ever had!






NJ: After the storms

After the past few weeks of storms that have hit NJ and the Jersey Coast where I live, it looks like we are in a period of tranquility for the next week or so.

Many people in NJ are still suffering from the Super storm Sandy and the nor’easter that followed a few days later gave a one-two punch. With Sandy, we were without power for 8 days, and just as we got power back in our house, within 24 hours, we again lost power after the Nor’easter!

Fortunately, we got back power within 24 hours after outage #2 an we were warm and toasty at hour home. Now that we are resuming our normal life, it’s time to reflect on some of the things I learned from this experience:

  • Get a Generator, if you live in an area where you lose power, invest in a generator, so you can reduce the “disruption” to your life. This is going to be my next investment, so when the next super storm hits NJ, and I lose power, my generator will keep my house warm and save me from throwing away hundreds and hundreds of dollars in food!
  • Have friends and/or relatives that are willing to be your escape strategy if you don’t have backup power (generator anyone?)
  • If you are determined to stick it out, make sure you have flashlights and firewood to keep your sanity when you are without electricity.
  • Have lot’s of warm clothes and layer your clothes, so even though you are freezing, you look cool in your multiple layers of clothes.
  • Make sure you have enough batteries, candles and lots of patience with your kids as they go crazy without their electronic toys that no longer can be charged!
  • Get an inverter for your car. You will be surprised how useful the inverter is when you have laptops and electronics that you HAVE to charge in your car!
  • Make sure you have enough gas in ALL your cars! If your area doesn’t have electricity, there is a high probability that you won’t be able to get gas for a while
  • Stock up on food that are not perishable. Evaporated milk will go a long way when you will be out power!
  • Plan, Plan and Plan for being without power for extended periods of time.
  • Make sure you have enough batteries and flashlights to last for a few days.
  • If your neighbors have generators, be nice to them and beg/plead so you can get a line from their generator to your house..

Even as I write this posting, there are hundreds of thousands of people in NY/NJ that are still without power. I truly pray that these people get their lives back and can get some normalcy in their lives.

The past few weeks have been humbling. What we took for granted, is indeed a commodity (Electricity). Don’t take this commodity lightly (no pun intended).

If you read this post and were impacted by the storms, I’d like to hear how you survived the past few weeks.


Hurricane Sandy: A week after

Map of New Jersey
Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So it’s almost a week after Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey. There are still almost a million people in NJ without power and many communities are devastated.


When I reflect on that, my situation at my home (no power) is trivial. Yes, we are living at relatives houses in other parts of New Jersey, but the sheer impact of Sandy is felt no matter where we are. Especially the gas situation.


Some highlights/low lights since my last posting:


  • As of yesterday the odd/even system of getting gas was implemented by Governor Christie. I commend him on doing this. I spent almost an hour on-line getting gas a few days ago. These kinds of lines reminded me of the lines I saw over 20 years ago when I used to live in NYC during the Oil embargo when Gas was less than $1 a gallon. Now we are paying over $3.50 a gallon and the sense of deja vu is back for me!
  • I realized my elderly father needs immediate attention as his mental faculties have deteriorated tremendously and I have to now take charge of his entire life. If Sandy had NOT come around, I would never have seen this, so from the bad came this good/bad news. I’ve spent the past few days getting organized on how to take care of my father who is in his mid 80’s and let me tell you this is an absolute attitude adjustment, for me. I’m thinking that I’ll spend the next few weeks posting some of the things I’ve done and hopefully this will enable some feedback and interaction with others that are or have gone through what I’m going through!
  • In times of need the people that reach out to you from all over the world shows that people do care. I’ve received so many emails on Facebook, Linked In, Text messages that I’m truly touched at the outpouring of affection from my friends and relatives.
  • Living with my various relatives has been such a joy.. These people have opened their hearts and homes to my family, and this is truly touching. This scenario is being played out in many families and I’m sure many will attest to this.


Good thing about today.. it’s Sunday and I have a TV to watch the games!




9/11 – Never Forget

English: This is a view of one of the fountain...
English: This is a view of one of the fountains located within the site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The two fountains, one for each fallen tower, are titled “Reflecting Absence” and were designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial.  I have to admit, the absolute sadness that I felt when I was there, was overwhelming. This was the first time I actually visited the site where the twin towers stood and where there are two reflective pools with the names of those 3,000+ people that lost their lives on that fateful day.

I almost burst into tears when I saw the names of my former co-workers, friends and my boss who lost their lives on that fateful day.  These were people with whom I worked with for over 5 years. These were the people that I admired, respected and spoke to almost every day when I worked with them at Marsh when we used to work in Midtown, NYC.

To think that I would have been with them on that fateful day if not for my destiny, sent chills down my spine and shook me to my foundation. Sue Clyne was my boss during my last year at Marsh in the Mid 1980’s and she was truly a gem. She was the mother of triplets and one of the most outstanding and admirable boss I have ever had in my 25 years in IT. When I left Marsh & McLennan, I remember how happy she was for me as I had found a better career opportunity.

Larry Sumaya – He sat next to me in the next cube and his sense of humor was amazing. Only a thin cubicle wall separated us, and we had a day long conversation going on almost every day. He would joke at my lack of programming skills and I would joke at his carefree ways in life as well at work.

I knew at least 10 of the people that perished on that horrible day. Seeing these names at the memorial touched me deeply. I had to step back and sit in a quiet place for a few minutes and pray for these souls.

Tomorrow,  as we pay tribute to these heroes,  I promise to never forget and always remember this individuals  that lost their lives..

Here’s some background on the order of names that are listed at the memorial at Ground Zero




Where I’ve been

It’g been a pretty crazy few weeks. Every time I decide I need to write a post, something comes up to distract me. Life continues to keep me in the fast lane, that even a seat belt wouldn’t have slowed me down. With doing double duty at work and spending time with the kids at home, I’ve wanted to put on the brakes to stop, but have not been able to do so! So here is a summary of where I’ve been over the past few weeks. Pictures to follow!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve attended multiple marrow drives for a friend nephew and went to NYC this weekend for St. Patrick’s day Parade and festivities. My first parade in NYC! Gotta admit this was truly the highlight of this year for me.

We must have walked over 5 miles in NYC! You know when you are getting old when a 5 mile walk stays with you for days. Oops, forgot the few hours of tennis.. I could remember the ancient days when I could do this and be ready to go at it the next day.. oh well such is life..

Have you ever been to Georgetown Cupcakes and Chelsea Piers! Gotta admit, eating cupcakes and hitting Golf balls was never this fun! Walking in NYC and seeing the throngs of people is just uplifting and shows what life is and how fast it moves.. Just look around if you are in NYC!

We of course went to the happiest place on Earth (of course it’s the Apple store anywhere, but this one is in historic Grand Central Station!), is such a treat! Of course this place is not so happy when your iPhone gets smashed and you have to shell out money to replace it the next day.. that’s what happened to my daughter.. oh well, such is life..

I have to admit that the Marrow drives were the most rewarding! It’s the first time I felt that I gave back to the community and am now thinking of other ways I can do more of this. If you ever want to save a life, this is one great way to do it. If you are between the age of 21 – 61 this is an excellent opportunity!

It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks and I could write pages and pages on each of the activities above as everyone know’s Dad is never one to be word shy…

Spring starts on Tuesday Morning at 1:41 AM… Ready for it?

New Year Musings

Every year, I think to myself, what can be some of my New Year’s resolutions that I know that I will (not) keep? So this year, I decided to write some resolutions that I will not be able to attain in 2012, but will try to..

  • Lose weight. The more the better. Every year I say, I’m going to lose 10 to 15 pounds and this year I went the reverse direction and gained.  Not Good.  I guess the “See Food” diet just doesn’t work. Either, I change this pattern in 2012, or, I’ll be facing more medical bills and ailments than I did this year..
  • Be Debt Free: This year, financially was better than 2010, but I’m no closer to being debt free than I was last year.. It’s not like I spend more recklessley this year on credit cards, but chasing the moving target gets harder and harder. I’ve tried different stragegies to reduce debt, but it’s like I keep floating in the same pool of debt..  In 2012, I gotta think of a strategy that will really make a dent in my credit card balances, or I’ll be writing about it AGAIN next year at this time. Gotta figure out how to use less plastic and/or pay off what you buy… Both are good ideas in theory..


  • Have 6 month cushion of Money – Yeah right.. Refer to “Be Debt Free”. Only difference now is that my household income has gotten a spike upwards, but that doesn’t mean, my savings to debt ratio has gotten better.. Sad but true. I guess the motto “the more you make, the more you spend” applies here”.
  • Reduce my Medical Bills by taking care of my health.. Refer to bullet 1.. “Lose Weight”. It seems if I can’t do this, my medical bills will continue to go up every year..
  • Make my other passion BharatBeat successful: In 2011, my partner and I made some progress by setting up a dedicated page on Facebook .. but getting people “LIKE” us continues to be a challenge. In 2012, our goal is to finally step out of our comfort zone and go all out… maybe people will “LIKE” us then?? We shall see
  • Make strides in my Day Job – Actually 2011 was pretty good here for me… Enjoy my job, have a challenging position.. yet the rise to a higher pay scale continues to elude.. Yes, I know.. “Work hard and you shall succeed”..

Even with my cynical outlook, I do realize that what I have far exceeds my expectations of where I thought I would be as I hit the half century mark as well as well as 2011 draws to a close.. Now the question is what 2012 resolutions should I write that are actually attainable goals?


NYC Day tripper

Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th ...
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday,  my family and I went to NYC for a day trip. I gotta tell you something, it was one of the most tiring, fun,

and enjoyable day trips I’ve taken in a long long time.

Our goal was to see the play “Wicked” by buying 1/2 price tickets from TKTS.. Of course that plan fell to the wayside when we found out that play is NEVER available via TKTS. We ended up buying tickets to “Mary Poppins“.  An Excellent decision.

We drove in to NYC and went to the TKTS location near South Street Seaport. I even got lucky by finding FREE street parking! This was itself worth the entire trip. Considering that I had spent most of my young my 20’s and 30’s working in NYC.. I continue to be amazed at the transformation of NYC to be the tourist capital of the world. In 2011, NYC everywhere you look in NYC, the tourists rule! From South Street Seaport to Midtown, you can see the tourists as they see the sights of NYC.. Now I am one of them as I really

can’t recognize NYC anymore with the transformation that has taken place over the years!

I used to work downtown for a few years and the South Street Seaport was where I hung out. Of course Ground Zero for me was the World Trade Center Site where I commuted from to/from NJ.  Of course I digress

I would have been happy hanging out at the South Street Seaport, but we had an agenda! We were in NYC to see a Broadway play! We drove to Midtown and parked our car 2 blocks from where I worked on 6th ave and 44th street! OMG, this area has transformed into a tourist’s paradise.

We went to the famous Shake Shack for lunch and let me tell you the burgers at this place are just amazing.. I personally prefer to the 5 guys chain but the Shake Shack’s burgers, fries and the shakes are just too too good!

After lunch came the highlight of this trip! We went to Times Square to Toys R US.  This has to be the happiest place in the world for any child.. 4 to 5 floor of toys of every possible shape and size.. I particularly loved the Jurassic Park T-Rex! The indoor Ferris Wheel was unbelievable.. I wanted to ride.. but I would never heard the end of that.. so I didn’t say a word and a waited while my kids went on this amazing indoor Ferris Wheel!

We still had a few hours to kill, so we went into Times Square and we found seats! I sat in the middle of Times Square with my feet up on the table and couldn’t help but say to my self.. “Oh my, I’m king of the world!”.  Thank goodness, my wife didn’t hear me say that! I could not help but smiling for over an hour as I sat there.. Of course I got the nasty passing remark to me when they saw me with my feet up on the metal table! Me being a New Yorker at heart.. thanked them for their kind remark!

After having my “Chai Tea” which my older daughter got for me from Starbucks, we were on our way to the New Amsterdam Theatre for our Play! The theatre was magnificent and the show was absolutely marvelous.. I did fall asleep before the interval, but that was because I was getting bored with the silly songs in the Play.. The play itself was unbelievable after the interval and I thoroughly enjoyed it! All of us did.. I know now that what I had been missing all my life. To think it took me almost 40+  years.. to see my first Broadway Show.. what a shame!

To see NYC at night is something you must experience!  The life, the lights and Broadway!

My day trip to NYC was something that I will remember for a long long time.. Now I have to plan the next one to see the Phantom of the Opera!

Vegas – A trip not meant to be

Yesterday (Friday), my wife and I planned a weekend getaway on the spur of the moment to Vegas.. Of course any spur of the moment plans usually lead to failure (to launch), and this plan was no different. Our plan to partake some fun in Vegas was just not meant to be this weekend. So Sin City still awaits our future visit.

My wife works for the airlines and she had a couple of passes to fly to Vegas on  out of JFK airport in NYC.. So we packed our weekend get away bags (in record time) and headed towards the airport, with the knowledge that there WERE available seats for “standby passengers”. Needless to say the things went wrong one after another.. and here we are back in NJ after two trips to JFK with us being no closer to Vegas than seeing the departing flight numbers at the terminal.

There was some good news failed takeoff: We were educated and impressed with JFK airport and the way to get to/from and between terminals at JFK.

The comedic tragedy of events unfolded like this:

  • We made sure our kids were taken care of . The older one agreed to take care of the younger one after she had her semi-sleep over dates with her BFF’s from middle school.
  • We took off for NYC on schedule and on-time! Our first issue was where to park the car since our family member in NYC had plans… Thankfully this first disaster was a blessing in disguise. My Sis-in-law had other plans, so she couldn’t drive us, so we were on our own and had to figure out how/where to long-term park our car.  Instead of wasting hundreds of $ in sin-city, we were fortunate to spend most of our money in the parking lot where we spent $36 for 2 days of parking when in reality we only parked for a maximum of 2 hours!

  • First Attempt to take off: We get the airport in time, park the car, and get on the free train shuttle to the  Terminal. When we get to the terminal (Terminal 5), we quickly realized the  the walk from the train to the terminal is at least a mile away! So we schlep to the counter at the terminal and we are told that there is “slim to no chance” of us using our tickets on the flight. Not a problem! Experienced “non-rev” passengers, just wave this off and either pray for cancellations at the gate, or just wait for the next flight.
    • I gotta admit the  Terminal at JFK is impressive and the staff at the counters were very reasonable and helpful! This was one of the rays of sunshine on this cloudy and cold trip…
    • Since this was the last flight of the day, we rolled our listing to the next morning flight at 7:45 with our hopeful sin-city thoughts.. again this was just wishful thinking of course.. We went back to the long-term lot, paid the $18 for the privilege of parking for 1 hour and. We had a nice dinner and went to mother-in-Law’s house to crash for the night. Gotta tell you my in-law’s are the greatest when it comes to taking care of u! Bet you didn’t see that coming!
    • Next morning we rolled out at 5:30 AM for our sojourn into more disappointment.
  • Second Effort to Take off (Next Day):We now are experts at JFK parking, so we park our car in Long term and go through security and head to the gate with positive vibes that maybe we will be on this flight and have our weekend get away after all! Not..
    • We get to the gate, and of course we find out that this flight has about 15 seats, but since we are a “courtesy freebie”, we will have to wait till all the “paying passengers”  are loaded on.. That should have been the first warning sign that we headed for more disappointment. For me, I ignored this signs with unabashed optimism since I’ve become a seasoned “non-rev” flyer during this summer!
    • We got some food for our 6 hour flight and me being irrationally exuberant asked the cashier to ‘throw away the receipt”. Big mistake which cost me another $20 as the rules are “no receipt – no refund!”.
    • I called up hotels.com and ensured we had a nice 3 star hotel lined up in Vegas. Of course, going with my instinct, I decided to NOT make a financial commitment and reserve the hotel.. Best decision I made over the past 24 hours!
    • Fast Forward.. All the paying passengers load and we are left waiting.. the agent says 4 or 5 people have not shown up, so we may be on the flight! Oh happy days and euphoria rises inside me.. This lasted about 4 minutes.
    • Just as the agent is about to call us, who strolls in but the two couples from their morning coffee break.. And you can guess the end of this story. By this time by euphoria quickly reverted into anger/disappointment and just plain exhaustion!
    • We had spent the last 24 hours going back and forth to JFK so we can have a nice quick getaway to sin-city.. was not meant to be..
    • I went to return the unopened food to the place where I bought it and of course couldn’t get the refund.. I have to say the counter woman, really was amazing! She  went through the stacks of discarded receipts trying to find the receipt  I had asked her to throw away! No luck here! The lines were quickly backing up for other passengers, so I just gave up and another $20 gone..

My wife and I huddled/argued and decided that we were being told not to go to Vegas so we better just give up! So we did.  We went to my sis-in-law’s house  (I of course caught up on my lost sleep with along 6 hour nap) and off we were back home to NJ !

See I’m not the spur of the moment kind of person and everyone that knows Dad’s taxi can attest to that. I’m a planner and a very minimal risk taker. For the first time I decided to throw my gut instinct away and go for it.. Big mistake..

What I learned (for the umpteenth time):

  • If you fly stand by, you are at the mercy of people not showing up and you getting on.
  • If you fly stand by, fly on an airline that will give you favorable status on the stand-by line. My wife works for ******, so we should have flown on *****. Being stranded in Chicago, is much better than never getting off the ground!
  • Always keep all receipts! Refer back to the food fiasco..
  • If you fly stand by to hot locations (Vegas!), never ever fly on Fri-Sat.. You are setting yourself up for guaranteed failure, as millions of people fly on weekend sin city..
  • Plan, Plan, Plan all contingencies!
  • JFK Airport’s internal mode of tram’s is very impressive and reliable.. I’d never hesitate to park in long-term with the masses and take the train to the terminal.. Of course make sure you have your walking shoes!
  • If you fly stand-by.. always take your vitamins and pray for seats!

This past summer, I traveled quite  bit (Texas 4 times!), and was bumped once in St. Louis.. but never had to go home empty-handed!

Oh well at least I got myself a souvenir US Open 2011 T-shirt at a 25% break at the terminal! Yes! that’s the silver lining to this adventure I was looking for! I also got my aerobic exercise of daily 2 mile walks with my trips from the tram to the terminal at JFK!

Maybe, I’ll try next weekend for a Vegas Getaway.. I guess I just don’t learn do I? Have you ever flown stand by?

Deal Sites for NYC Restaurants

Image representing ScoutMob as depicted in Cru...

As you know two things that Dad loves is a bargain and he loves food. I was reading the daily email from Clark Howard and came across some sites I wanted to share with you.

I’ve used Restaurant.com to get some amazing discounts but you have to check out these sites which offer you discounts in NY, Dallas and some selective markets.

These sites are pretty new and were discussed on Clark Howard’s site:

  •  DailyGobble.com – Only in New York and San Francisco at this moment.  Restaurants block off discounts based on specific times of day or days of the week when they need the foot traffic into their restaurants. I especially loved the discounts for Indian Food in NYC. Gives me a reason to go to NYC soon!
  • ScoutMob.com – Available in  a dozen or so cities and coming soon to more! What I liked about this site was the simplicity where you don’t pay up front like Groupon and other sites require you to. You only get the savings when you take advantage of one of the offers. I also liked the map based navigation of the cities that the offers are available in.

Of course doing the above does not preclude me from my obsession with using my local Entertainment Book for local food coupons!

Baseball – A season of Hope for my Metsies?

Every year at about this time of year,  Major League Baseball Teams come out of spring training and start off at a record of  0 – 0. I’ve been a Mets fan (yes there are many of us out there),  since as far back as I can remember.  I can remember when I used to take the the bus to Shea (now Citi Field) and sit in the nose bleeds for a general admission of $1.50.. Yes I go back that far! By the way that was in the Mid 70’s (the 1970’s not the 1870’s!).

Since my dad and brother were Yankee fans, I went solo to Shea.. I enjoyed every one of my trips.. In the 70’s the Metsies were really really bad, but you couldn’t go wrong for $1.50 and when you got  a doubleheader for that price, it was even more special!

So I heard that this year the Met’s management slashed the ticket prices.. The Mets are also for sale (or at least 25%) of them and their ownership is involved in multiple lawsuits. With all this going for the Mets, I truly wonder if there is anywhere for them to go, except to languish in basement of the National League East.

Did you know that for $1.50 you can’t even get to CitiField in NYC from downtown Flushing via the “7” train! BTW,  I remember in the 70’s the bus/train  fare (even in two fare zones), was 75 cents for each ride!

After the past few years of the Metsie’ breaking my heart, I’m finally at the point where I’m seriously thinking of defecting to the hated Yankees. I guess this is also because my younger daughter is a Yankee fan. The more I think of it, the only reason, I disliked the Yankee’s was because of the late George Steinbrenner and his pusuit of championships by buying talent! Over the past few years, I’ve gone to more Yankee games then Mets Games! I guess that can be attributed to my younger daughter being a die hard Yankee fan! Yes another generation where I’m the only Met fan in the house.  With my girl, I’ve gone to a few Yankee games in the past few years and have gone to ZERO games at the newly built Citi Field.

I think this may be the year where I change my allegiance to the team with the pinstripes.. Nah.. Once a Mets fan.. always a Mets Fan..

So this year, my beloved Mets don’t have much of a chance of making any post-season and forget about the World Series! Yet, I’m sitting here thinking, what if? Reyes stays healthy, Beltran’s Knee holds up? Santana comes back in Mid season? We finally get a decent catcher and second baseman? What if we get a decent pitching rotatation?

On the other hand! There’s always Next Season!

So how many games are the Mets going to win this year? How many of my followers are Mets Fans? If you have any thoughts on these pressing matters, let me know!