Saturday, December 30, 2006


You have got to be shitting me.

Dateline: December 30, 2006

Long Island - Tommy (my dear brother and partner in crime) is in my passenger seat as we prepare to leave WalMart in Riverhead. We sit, first in line at the light, waiting for it to change. As the Westbound turn lane signal goes red, a truck tries to squeeze through, at which point it is struck by an east bound car. The back of the truck gets spun around into the front of my poor, dear Gretchen (my Jetta). Airbags deploy, and my brother emerges from his second accident in 78 hours. This time, it is I who was immobilized by emergency responders. A few hours later, I leave the hospital with a bruised sternum, a sore back, aches, and a very grateful family.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Vehicular Vehicle-Slaughter

My bro's car. We went to the lot today to clean it out. He is lucky to be alive.

I also went to the doctor's office today, got my note clearing me to go back to work. Starting on Friday, life goes back to normal.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Crash (Not The Market, Don't Panic)

My life doesn't want to let me get into any kind of comfortable rhythm. I received a call from my uncle Bill.

In this call, he told me not to be alarmed, but that my brother Tommy had been in a car accident, his car had been run off the road by a truck, had flipped and rolled, and came to a rest upside down, and that Tommy had emerged from the car with only minor cuts and bruises. The kicker? It happened less than two miles from my branch.

OK, Sarah, what's God trying to tell me now?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Never Ask "What Next," Because Invariably, Some Smart Ass Deity Is Gonna Show You

So, apparently, I'm NOT back to work. When my boss saw me at work today, she asked "what are you doing back?" I told her I was all better. But apparently, what I didn't know, is that the doctor who put me on disability had to clear me to return. So I went home early, and made an appointment to see the doc. I should have the note by tomorrow. Then maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can get back to living my life!

Back In Black (Suit)

I am back to work as of today. The past three months have been pretty tough for me, between the death of my father, contracting some strange fatigue disease, and regular visits to my shrink, Dr. Milano (and no, her first name is not Cookie). But I am feeling a little better, a little more rested. It's tough waking up in the mornings with the effects of the sleeping pills still working on me, but I only work 30 seconds from my house, so I make due.

I am eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy, so I can show my boss what I'm like when the world isn't crushing me down into scrap.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Parvo. Exhaustion. Stress. Depression. I cashed a check, and then gave the client the check back. Thank GOD we have honest clients, she said "I think you're supposed to keep this."

I told my bosses about my stress, my insomnia, my exhaustion. I've made mistakes, and I am afraid I am going to make more. I am out on disability. I've been out of work since Monday, because a tired and unfocused banker is a mistake making banker. My cocktail of vitamins, sleeping pills and Aleve continues to bear limited fruit.

Now I have to see a shrink.
I really feel like I'm starting to lose it.

Sarah, the cute barista, has been so sweet to me. She is a Jehovah's witness, and she has been trying to keep me sane, reminding me to have faith. I envy her ability to believe. I wish I had something to believe in.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'll Take Obscure Diseases For $400, Alex...

What the Hell is PARVO and how did I get it? Is it something I ate? Is it airborne? Was I bitten by a tick? Did a gypsy cast her evil eye at me? Did Scientologists get to my breakfast cereal?

I'm told that my recent fatigue and joint pain are the result of my having contracted the Parvo Virus. There is no cure, and the virus must run it's course, which can take anywhere from a few days to 6 months. In the meantime, I can look forward to excruciating pain, exhaustion, and murderous rage. Well, that last part is a pre-existing, ongoing condition.

I have been so strung out from my father's death. I also suffer from Epstein's Barr AND Lyme's Disease. I think my body is to the point where if I don't start getting some sleep soon, I'm going to collapse on the spot.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Sheriff In Town

My old boss, Kelly Patrick, has been transferred, and I have a new boss, Diana Kolchek. I hope she'll understand if I'm not jumping up and down with enthusiasm. Between my father's passing, my ongoing battle with insomnia, and my recent chronic exhaustion, I think jumping up and down would probably shatter me like glass.

Monday, October 9, 2006

He Did, You Know...

My dad died this week. He was 62. He would have been 63 the day before Halloween.

A few years ago, my dad had something resembling a seizure. Because it was classified as a seizure, my father was forced to retire on disability from his job as a driver for the Town of Brookhaven. With no job to keep him here, he retired to his cabin upstate.

One of his habits was to go out to the kitchen table in the middle of the night, pour himself a drink, and write checks to pay his bills. A few times, he admitted to falling asleep at the table, nodding off quietly.

His brother, my uncle, called me to ask if I had heard from him recently. I said I had spoken to him on Sunday. He had tried to call him a couple of times, and not gotten an answer. He called the police, asking that someone go check on him.

They found him, sitting at his table, drink by his side. He nodded off, and never woke up.

My father was not what many would call a great man; he didn't discover a cure for cancer, he never won a gold medal, he was never elected to office. He was an ill-tempered, hard drinking, stubborn man. But he was better than a great man; he was a good man. He died still loving his ex-wife, who didn't do much to earn it later in their marriage. He died missing his kids, whom he never saw as much as he wanted to. He died loving his grandkids, who barely knew the man because his alcoholism kept him away.

I miss him so much. That last Sunday, we spoke at length. He actually said the phrase "if I died tomorrow, I've lived a good life." And then he did.

I love you, Dad.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sobering Reminder

This morning, someone apparently came in and ordered a coffee type beverage. They sat outside for an indeterminate amount of time, and then left. They left behind a mysterious, non-descript package. Leaning up against the bench of a table.

One of the girls who works at the coffee shop, a very pretty and very eccentric barista named Sarah, noticed the package and pointed it out. Another barista, Denise, also pointed out that it was the five year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

An hour and a half later, and we still weren't allowed back in the branch. Police were called, the building was evacuated, and a bomb-sniffing robot showed up to determine the exact nature of the package left at our door. I was able to go home for an hour of that time, as I was slated to take lunch. It got me thinking about where I was five years ago, when we first heard about the attacks.

I was in Hampton Bays, working construction at the time. Hanging sheetrock allowed me a flexible enough schedule to take off to coach women's softball for my alma mater in the spring and fall. We were hanging soundboard (thick, coarse cardboard like material that absorbs sound) and our spacklers were on the same job, meaning it was a rare time I was able to work with my brother, Tommy.

The construction field is filled with coarse people, and we use coarse language and humor. The radio is always on, blaring one rock station or another, often with some of the more outgoing workers changing the lyrics on the fly, like when Mark MacKenzie, a massive mountain of a man, sang at the top of his lungs a version of The Who's "Long Live Rock" that went "Long, Thick Cock." (Apparently, he needs it every night.)

When the music was interrupted with a news report, the entire crew groaned. When we were informed that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, our foreman made a joke that our boss (his own father-in-law) must have gotten drunk and flown his Cessna into the city. We all laughed. Then the radio said a second plane had flown into the other tower. We stopped laughing.

I was the junior rocker, so I had to go get our lunch from the deli. I can clearly remember that drive, even five years later. It was like something out of a Michael Bay movie. Another construction site down the street was at a stand still, all the carpenters huddled around a radio, their hammers at their sides, inactive. Three utility trucks were parked in a line on the side of the road, their drivers gathered at the middle truck, listening. In the deli, people stared at the television, slack-jawed and crying, as the smoke bellowed.

Lunch was eaten in complete quiet, the radio reports filling the silence. The rest of the day, we worked like the house was on fire and we had to get it done before it burned. No jokes, no jackassery.

The ride home was torture. It felt like it took an hour, even though I got home in record time. I walked in the door to the images of the North Tower collapsing on my television. A replay, of course, as would be seen a hundred times over the course of the next few days. I immediately got on the phone and tried to contact my friends. I reached them, and found out they were all safe. I had escaped that great day of tragedy without it having become a personal nightmare. But I never forgot that day, as I'm sure no one ever will.

Towards the end of my lunch break today, I finally got a call from my head teller. The mysterious package was revealed to be books, being transported by one of the bus passengers who had stopped to get a coffee. Crisis averted. But a sobering reminder of the fateful Tuesday that had changed all of our lives forever.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things That Make You Go "DUH!"

One of our tellers had off today, but she still stopped by our drive-up to deposit a check. She also asked the drive up teller to get her a cup of iced coffee from the coffee shop and put it through the drive up drawer for her. I was not listening to their conversation, or I would have kicked the drive up teller in her knee cap to prevent the tragedy that was about to unfold.

See, the standard coffee shop iced coffee cup is roughly eight inches tall. The clearance of our automated drive-up drawer is six inches. The brain power of these two tellers combined is not enough to toast a piece of bread.

And the time it takes for someone to completely clean a cups worth of iced coffee out every crevice of the automated drive-up drawer is about an hour and 45 minutes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My God, It's Full Of Stars...

There have been several celebrity sightings here at Southern Star Bank. It's in my hometown of Manorville, and it serves as a stop for a prominent bus line. As there is a chain coffee shop here, it tends to attract passengers who are looking for refreshment between legs of their long journey into the Hamptons (as opposed to between the legs of a long journey into your mom's- never mind).

I have seen Alec Baldwin! Famke Jansen! And I am pretty sure Alan Alda may have used our toilet the other day...

The coffee smell is starting to get to me, though.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Bought and Paid For

It was announced today that Southern Star Bank has been acquired by Fiscal United, a financial services company that does not currently have a banking foot print. We can expect some changes to start happening over the next year or so. No time table has been revealed as to when our name gets switched.

I have long had a disagreement with my friend Stacey about the way the chain coffee shop operates. You wait on one interminable line to order, then you wait on another interminable line to get your drink, and it seemed like there was a third line just to throw your trash out. This one operates quite differently. It seems like one giant line that just weaves in and out of itself at random places. I’m starting to remember why I don’t drink coffee. Every day I go home, I have to clean my nose out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How Did I Get Here?

How Did I Get Here?

Today was my first day at work for Southern Star Bank. And I was late.

I misread the schedule and thought I was supposed to show up at 8:30. Apparently, I was supposed to show up at 7:30. Got the call at 7:45. I made it to work by 7:50. (I live about 1000 feet away from the bank.)

There is a Starbucks here right in the branch! How cool is that?

Heh, who would have thought that I would have ended up working for a bank?

Let's review how I got here:

I graduated from Southampton College in 1997. Straight out of school, my best friend Bill got me a job working as a graphic designer. There I met my other best friend, Stacey. I eventually became the production manager, and quit after two years because the owner is a soulless abomination. After working another design job, I got a job as a softball coach (best job EVER!) and took a flexible construction job as my primary occupation to clear my schedule for coaching. Eventually, I went back to that first design job as a simple graphic designer again, with no desire to be manager of anything. They hired me back, and after two more years, they had me train three new designers and then downsized me because I made more money than anyone else and they were overstaffed (I TOLD you he was a soulless abomination).

I ended up back at my Alma Mater, which was sadly slated to close it's doors. I worked as a coach, a public address announcer for the sports teams, an administrator on call for Residence Life, and the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Alumni Affairs and Development (what can I tell you, there were a lot of job openings due to the impending closing, and I love my school).

When the school closed, I lost four jobs. I looked for another design job, but everything was in the city, and the few employers hiring designers out here all stated I was overqualified. I ended up spending three horrific months working for the Nike Outlet in Riverhead (a job for another blog). When I had enough of that crap, Stacey told me her sister's company (Southern Star Bank) was hiring. I took the teller test, and the rest is history!

No, it's not what I envisioned myself doing at age 32 when I was a kid (I kinda figured I'd be the first astronaut playing professional baseball). But work is work, and I need some money! My dad says I'll be running the place in no time.

Showing up late on day one is not the best start...