Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning Photos



Brent, enjoying lotion on his chapped hands (photo credit: Jon Bradshaw C.2007, lotion: Lori Andrew)



Jon, opening his mom's box o'prizes (photo credit: Amanda Bradshaw C.2007, UNCC Santa Hat: Tim & Sara Smith, Wallet: Linda Malady)



Amanda, opening her bags of bag! (photo credit: Jon Bradshaw C.2007, Life Is Good Back : Tim & Sara Smith)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

So after a very short 4 hour shift at the Gap, Amanda and I headed home for a quick bite. We then headed out in search of the Christmas Tree for the Christmas Play... okay, just for our living room. After Linus and Lucy rocked it out, we ended up with....



So we began with the lights.. of the four strands we put on our tree two years ago (last year, our stuff was in a moving van on Christmas Day) we only used two. All five feet of this tree is surrounded by my Christmas Train. Aww, look at me smile.



Amanda and I put the final touches on the tree, that last ornament she put on there made it topple over, so we had to take it off. Kidding really. We also have our Santa and Frosty lights around the window.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Diet... WEEK FIVE

Disappointing...

This week: 1lb
Total Loss: 18lbs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Making Smart Decisions

Not really my strength the last two days...

"Oh but Jon, you are brilliant, how could you possibly go wrong." the IWBUAM Blog Readers reply.

"Well, even MENSA members like myself can Bush things up a little bit." Jon types with a smile, you see, to "Bush something up" is like taking FUBAR one step further.

My dear readers, allow me to point out 4+ examples of bad calls I have made over the last two days.

1. In lieu of getting off my duff while in the GAP break room, I instead reached up from my seat to remove my soup from the microwave. This is an especially bad idea when the soup is about 400 degrees and it runs down your arm. Three or four gauze bandages later and some burn-cream... it still freaking hurts. According to webmd.com, I have the visual signs of a 2nd degree burn on the side of my arm.

2. Monday morning, I wore running shoes to work... this is a two part mistake.
A. I don't think any male above the age of 12 should ever be allowed to wear tennis shoes with non-jean pants.... ever. Nothing says "my name is Forrest, Forrest Gump" like a grown man in bright sneakers with some freshly pressed Khaki pants. I was lazy and wanting to be comfy. Of course, the snow left on the ground here by the shore was nice and melted, 8 miles north of here, where my store is, there was a mushy 2 inches of slush covering all surfaces. Those who know me well know that I do NOT like my feet to be wet.
B. The same principle compounds this mistake when combined with bad decision #3.

3. So as the wet-foot wonder is heading home from work I have to pick up my Seattle Sutton's food for the week. The lady that distributes the food hounds you after 6pm so she can try to close before the 6:30pm closing time. On my to-do list was to mail some recently e-Bay'd goods, get gas, get food... the bad decision was made in the order in which I chose to complete my to-do list. Oh, I mailed my stuff, and two blocks north of Seattle Suttons, sputter sputter putt putt dead! With 19 miles DTE (distance til empty) left on the display, the Mini called it a day. Shit, of course Betsy would leave right after I picked my stuff up so there was no help there. 28 degrees, snow / ice covered sidewalks, and 2+ miles to the nearest gas pump... shoes mattered. I trekked on to buy a gas can, wet the Mini's whistle, and fill the tank up.

4. I got home and ate dinner, thawed a little bit, then went downstairs with a load of laundry to complete. As I heard the door close behind me at the bottom of the stairwell and I looked toward the door that lets you in the laundry room was to my front, I realized that the key to both was safely in the apartment. Sons of the Bitches I say with a hopeless smile!!! I have only done this one other time, when I had pneumonia in March, and I did what I did then... climbed the 12 foot cage and over the 2nd story rail to get to my apartment. I hope no thieves were taking notes.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Diet... WEEK FOUR

Lost 4 lbs this week.
Lost 17 lbs thus far.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Things you need to live in Chicago...

besides a healthy appetite.

Snow Boots

Snow Brush / Scraper

Long & Warm Coat

Poor Amanda was missing all three, I was missing the brush. I am guessing I left mine in the 4Runner when I sold it. We got around 4-5 inches of snow during the evening and over night. After we went to the Magnificent Mile to go shopping, it began to snow again.


Jon in front of the Chicago River.


Amanda in front of Water Tower Place... in the background is the John Hancock Building.


Amanda on Hinman Avenue... home sweet snowy home.

Snow Shenanigans!!!

Amanda, my little snow angel!

Jon lining up on the left (right to the viewer) track... on your mark.... get set......

SNOW!!!

.... and his lovely wife lining up in the right lane.... on your mark.... get set.....

OH SNOW!!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Diet... WEEK THREE


White Trash in Review

The white trash birthday party was a blast... thank you Rebecca for aging and allowing us to come.

The day started unlike any other, well, with snow, a good two inches of snow. We forgot to take pictures but when Jenni e-mails me some, I promise to post them. We headed off in the Mini Cooper off-road edition to plow through the snow. First stop, Salvation Army. There we picked through some very nice clothes to get into the white trash mood. One difference we noted was that we could not find ANY nascar shirts... wow!

Selecting the wardrobe was tough, first me. I still have my BDU pants from when I was in AFROTC in college. They are so comfy and I hadn't worn them in a while, I was going to rock those out. I had to make sure that my top communicated the trashiness of my being white. I selected a lovely, ashe gray "You don't know me: witness protection program." Complete with stains in the armpits, dingy stains on the front, and I customized it with holes and rips added. Classy! You can take the boy from North Carolina, you caint take the North Carolina out of the boy.

Amanda's wardrobe had no foundation, we could start anywhere. I was leaning towards the moo moo & hair curlers look for my bride. We found in the racks of clothes, a sweet puffy paint splattered t-shirt. With this shirt, we had to find something to wear. Trying in vein to find some acid wash jeans to rock out with the puffy paint shirt, we chose some white windsuit pants with a pink stripe. Amanda spiffed up the look with a drastic overuse of eye shadow and dark lipstick. She looked like she could have won Miss Turn Four at Lowes Motor Speedway.

We decided to change at the party, not to dare the train ride in our White Trash Wear. As we went to Lincoln Park and walked up the stairs of a gorgeous 3-flat, opened the door to a notebook paper sign indicating the way. The garland of beer cans snaking up the stairs led us to a porn covered door. Walking in to a pregnant prom queen birthday girl and mom in curlers made me miss NC just a little bit. It was a lot of fun, people were in various levels of hillbilly wear from hunting gear, nascar shirts, one guy had a NC State shirt and thought that made him a hillbilly. I informed him that rednecks and white trash are usually tarheel fans (I love you David!). We played drinking games and enjoyed PBR on tap. We had a great time, we changed back, made the train home, and worked today. Ye Haw Y'all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow

Yah, we have our first snow (that sticks) of the year!!! It is switching over to sleet now, so that sucks.

Tonight we are going to a "White Trash" birthday party. We went through the local salvation army but boy it would do us some good to be back in Charlotte. We could not find any tobacco or nascar shorts.

Pictures will follow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chirstmas Traditions

During my lunch break at the GAP today I was watching "Christmas Vacation" on the breakroom television. I felt complete empathy for Clark as he tried his hardest to create and keep alive traditions. What is a family without traditions?

Though I have no plans(as of yet) to chop down a 45 foot Christmas Tree and put it into my living room, I am going to do somethng equally crazy. In the intrest of keeping alive my rich family traditions, I will be driving 46 miles to the nearest Chick-Fil-A in Wisconsin to buy a nugget tray for two, a couple sandwiches, and lots of fries. Some things are just worth keeping alive.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white....

Thanksgiving... just like the ones I have never known. It snowed this morning, no accumulation though. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone... Love, JON

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mulligan

Boy am I hungry, and I don't feel like blogging.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Black Friday

So the black Friday phenominon has struck my gorgeous wife. We have some wedding money that has been earmarked for registry items. Once I got the spending bill through congress and the appropriate committees, we have now been allowed to buy some kitchen wares (not the food processor) that we may actually use. Amanda has been on store websites, namely the one that pays people too little and gives no benefits. (I will give the same prize to the person who guesses this one as I gave in the previous post.) So we are looking at all the cheap TV's, kitchen stuff, all that junk. I think we have aquired our target and though the store opens at 5am, Amanda will be joining the Black Friday extraviganza of crowded parking lots and long lines. I will report Friday night on her success or failure.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cold, She Be A Coming!

Amanda's beware! The cold is coming, in perfect time for Thanksgiving. The weather is looking quite swell.

Tomorrow is warm, ugh, 54 and cloudy.

Wednesday is colder and rainy... somewhere in the mid 40's.

Gobble Gobble... oh yeah, 35 degrees. Weather channel says snowy & 38, accuweather says 35 and sunny.

Why is Jon blogging about weather you may ask fair reader. I am giving the fine readers of this not-so-fine blog the chance to predict the future. Please vote for what the weather will be on Thanksgiving.

a. 37 + sunny
b. 36 or less + sunny
c. 37 + snowy
d. 36 or less + snowy

winner gets a bowl full of pride.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Diet... WEEK ONE

This Week's Loss: 5lbs
Grand Total Loss: 5lbs

Fall into the GAP

So Amanda and I went shopping on Thursday, we went to the GAP to enjoy some of her employee discount for my Crazy Stripe sweater. There was a "coupon" list that allows you buy some seriously discounted wears. I told her "maybe I should get a seasonal job for Christmas time so I can get an employee discount."

Saturday Amanda calls me and said "Jan said you should come in tomorrow and fill out your paperwork." Um, I guess that is cool.

Today I worked a shift and enjoyed my discount. I really liked working there, just mindless folding for a while. I have already used up some purchases. I am going to work the next 4 or 5 Sundays. No those who might worry, it is not about the money. I highly doubt that anything I make there will make it out of the store. Amanda and I got to drive to work together and go to lunch together. She worked in kids while I was in adult.

This Sunday I would have had nothing to do but watch the Steelers loose and maybe find a way to cheat on my diet. I hope I meet some people I can hang out with and befriend. So we'll see, it is just 4 more days anyway.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Work Shoes

No, really, seriously, I have nothing better to talk about than my new work shoes. I suppose I could include a story of my fantastic shopping story.

Picture this, dateline today, roughly 5 o'clock.

Jon steps out into the clear, crisp fall evening after a long but slightly boring day at work. He stepped lively, day 4 of his diet and feeling light on his feet, he decides he should re-accessorize those feet. Jon got into his MANLY MINI and proceded to Kohl's. Debating on a few pairs of shoes, he decides in his infinite wisdom that the criteria were going to be as such:

Waterproof (rainy appraisals can wet your socks, thus ruining your day)
Brown
Not-Tennis Shoes or Hiking Shoes
Comfy

Not too tough I though.... hah! Sponge Jon Square Feet sturggles a bit to find shoes when he is not being picky.

Jon headed to the Famous Footwear.... that lasted for five minutes. He headed across the street with an illegal right turn and landed at DSW. After 45 minutes, 7 pairs of shoes tried on, 3 pairs in two different sizes, and absolutely NO GREETING from any of the four well dressed but not well mannered employees. Those gypsies in the palace blew a sale by forgetting to say hello.

Across the street Jon saunterned off to REI, apparently he learned that this store is unique, it is a CoOp. Jon was very interested but the guy trying to get him to join forgot to explain to him what a CoOp is. Jon liked a pair of Keens that he tried on but at $110, they were way past his work shoe budget.

Heading back to the Mini, starving, flustered, Jon headed for home. On the way back he dicided he would try to go to the Clarks store at Old Orchard and give it one last shot. Hark! Between the McCormick and Schmicks and the California Pizza Kitchen was the holy grail of comfort shoes.. The Walking Company. This shrine to over priced ECCO's and UGG's also carries a few pairs of Keens. Jon managed to find the only pair of shoes that were not only inexpensive, but on top, ON SALE



Jon then went home and wrote the most lame blog entry EVER!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dog Days of Diet

Man do I miss me some McDonald's. I cannot possible describe this feeling with mere words.

My biggest test of will power was all day long yesterday. I get into work at about a quarter til noon, I can smell oreo's. Before my butt hits the seat of my chair my nostrils flare and I snap my head to the left and see the bag of gorgeous cookies sitting maliciously in from of the oscilating fan. Brutal!!! They were also Reduced Fat Oreo's, that fact alone will mess with your head when you are trying to rationalize eating one. About four hours into my shift and 20 minutes before I ate dinner, the office was empty, not positive influences, no judging eyes, I grabbed a cookie, placed it directly in the middle of my tongue. Before the gigantic smile cracked from my lips, I pulled the cookie out, and filed it away into the trash can.

I felt very bad about how weak I had been, but good because in the 11th hour, I pulled it out.

SUPPORT NOTES:
*my spouse, who will remain nameless, has Swiss Cake Rolls in this house, she does have the respect to hide them though.
*my coworker, the grumpy old man, was mad because I would not go to the buffett with him and throw down.
*I cannot call her by name, but we will just say, "someone that I live with'' ate McDonald's in the car with me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gobble Gobble

I actually had an employee complain because we are closed on Thanksgiving. He had "heard" that we pay time and a half on the Turkiest of all Turkey Day.* All the full time associates get paid for that day so I guess he assumed that he would too. After chuckling for a minute, he asked me in his most serious voice. "Well, I mean can you clock me in for a couple hours so I can get some money." I have to admit I am concerned he thought that was okay. Also that he didn't consider that someone might notice that only one person in the entire company would be on the clock that day. Kids.... heh!




*It turns out that Republic Day is the Turkiest of all Turkey Days.

Food Processor?

We got a very nice food processor as a wedding gift today. I don't recall ever having one at home growing up. I had to level with Amanda that I really didn't know what a FP did.

j."So what do you do with a food processor?"

a."You know, you chop things up with it."

j."Isn't that what a knife is for?"

a."No, it finely chops, puree, that kind of thing."

j."Don't we have a blender for that?"

a. w/ exacerbated look on her face "No, you can do things like a chopped salad, or mixing, or make dough with it"

j."So what are you planning to use this for?"

a."Nothing right now, we should leave it in the box until we get a bigger kitchen."

Then the heavens above opened up and light came pouring into my brain like the High Intensity Discharge Headlights of a BMW M5 doing 100mph soon to be greated by a West Virginia buck" (was that simile drawn out way too far or what?)

FOOD PROCESSORS GET WIVES BIGGER KITCHENS.*

*yes, B, I realize CP Morgan offers you more KITCHEN square feet for less money

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weight Loss, Wait, I lossed!

On September 12th, 2006, I weighed 283lbs.
On March 12th, 2007, I weighed 244lbs...
Today, 268lbs :-(

Tonight starts my new diet with Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating. All prepared food, picked up twice a week, three meals a day, seven days a week, no substitutions, no soda, etc. At first it sounds harsh, but what went wrong with weight watchers was (note crazy alliteration) that I had free reign. My personal short coming is that I have no self control when it comes to food. I didn't gain weight when I moved immediatly because I had become much more physically active as a city dweller. Now all the calories going in are catching up with me. Also, I now skip breakfast most days and I eat out a lot. Lets see how this goes, I did better on WW when everyone knew and was supporting me, so I would appriciate prayers and thoughts.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Guilty

Ever be so lazy on a day and actually feel guilty about it. My wife went to work today and I did next to nothing. Here is my lazy schedule.

9:20 am - Wake Up
9:30-11:00am - Watched "Take The Lead"
11:00am - lunch
12:00-3:30pm* - Watched the Steelers Kick Ass
3:30-6:00pm* - Watched Crap on TV
6:00-7:30pm - Put wedding presents away

*means laundry was also done during this period

I must say this lazy day was quite enjoyable!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ayo! I am getting used to technology...

I have to remember how to use things like in home internet and the DVR. I am currently watching Grey's Anatomy and I keep forgeting to fast forward through the commercials. I just watch them like it is live tv.

I was thinking today why I have changed my mind a little bit about the course I want my life to take. Obviously, I am a married man now and those vows do change the way you think. That being said, the family high in Charlotte really had me wanting to move back quickly. I even explored moving to Ellicott City, MD in December to grand open a store there. My great co-workers and quality of work life as well as Amanda and I's pure exhaustion of moving really killed that move. I had this idea in my head about what living in a city was going to be like.

I am pretty sure I thought my life would be like "Friends" episodes. I make friends with people in my building and at the local coffee shop and we get into all kinds of silly hijinks. I didn't realize how hard it is to make friends in a city of 8 million people. I have some friends up here and I have my gorgeous wife to hang out with, but life isn't quite what I had pictured.

Isn't that the way it always is though. I would have never dreamed to still be working at Carmax or to be married at 26. That being said, I am very very happy that both things have occured because I look forward to going to work, I look even more forward to coming home!

To Be Titled Later

Yeah, I have no idea what to write about... I am lying in bed next to my sleeping and very beautiful wife trying to keep my promise to Allison.... be funny Jon... dammit.

Shit, here comes the play by play...

Today was super manager day at the ole max. I was involved in something in just about every department. I had to have a really tough conversation with an employee too. I like the chance to help someone get better at what they do and become better employees. This person tries my patience the most. The sad part is that he is really good at what he does, he just fails to come in on time. I want him to be successful but I also need to run the business. I just hope I got through to him, it doesn't feel that way, but I just plain hope.

I got to hang out with Jenni today, first time I have seen her since we got back to the Chi. She came over today to hang out with Amanda and instead of Amanda taking her back home to the city, she sqatted and waited for me to come home so we could go to dinner. We ate some yummy cajun food at the Dixie Kitchen and came back here. We did a crossword and watched HGTV. I liked coming home from work, sipping on some scotch, watching the tube.

Diet starts Monday! I am so excited... I am going to gain some this weekend with all the junk I plan to eat.
www.seattlesutton.com
chickity check it out y'all!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wedding Photos III


My Mother's siblings.....
... my mom and I cutting a rug to some Jimmy Buffett

.... thanks Aunt Annie & Mom.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

IKEA Injury Report

So we got a new couch... chair... ottoman... coffee tables... broken toe.... and end tables @ IKEA today. I will share one photo today.... the broken toe... the rest will come when we get the living room arranged the way we want.




*Yeah, I droped a coffee table on my foot.... friggin ouch man...

Wedding Cash..... poof!.... gone!....

I am sadly going to ask that this count as my post for the day.... first day back at my home store and I am about beat. Today Amanda spent some wedding money and bought the Duvet cover... Choqua (brown and aqua) stripes with natural accents.... very nice with the brown sheets we already own. She also got me Flight of the Navigator on DVD... that movie kicks ass!

Tomorrow I have rented a van and we will be heading to IKEA to buy a couch and end tables, pick up lamps from Target. We will then be having the cable and internet installed, welcome to last decade Jon! Then we have a UNCC alumni & friends dinner in downtown... getting all dressed up and riding the train in will be fun for the wife and I.

My friend Chuck sent me this picture of W riding a bomb... I liken Dick to be more like Dr. Strangelove but the affect is amazing.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wedding Photos II


L to R : Chad, Ashley, Dhara, Yours Truely, Amanda the Wifey!!!

Here is one submitted by Ray Henderson (also took the one in the previous post). Thank you, remember, if you got them, send them please!!!

Promenade @ the Prom

Completely off season and off subject... but my cousin just posted a great (and somewhat sad (but I take pride in your courage)) story about her prom experiences from high school. I have had some very unique experiences in my storied prom career.

I was very luckly to have had a warm up every year since my freshman year at the JROTC Military Ball around Valentine's Day. The only one I missed was so I could go with my mom to the Jimmy Buffett concert that I bought her tickets for the previous Christmas. We got to wear our uniforms, buy corsages, and practice picking up the tab for dinner. I took Dhara my freshman year, I took Kelli my Sophomore year, Jimmy Buffett my Junior year, and Ashley my Senior year. It is funny that these three women are still in my life, still great friends.

Here is a picture of Ashley, Dhara, and Emily (mentioned later in the story) at my wedding... we're all grown up now.



My junior year I went to my prom with Kelli. She and I had dated the year prior and I had somewhat struggled to accept the fact that she had moved to Florida and was not my girlfriend. So I saved up money, bought her a plane ticket, I may have even helped her buy her dress. Unlike most teens, I didn't blow ALL of my money on material things, I spent my money on friends as well. This prom was absolutely amazing. We all had so much fun, we slept over at my house and had snacks, watched movies, and I dropped Kelli off at the airport in a blaze of tears as I had realized she was no longer my girl. Despite that bit of heartache, this was one of the best moments in Jon's life.*

Two weeks later I went to Butler's prom with three dates.... they paid for dinner. Uh yeah, I got game.

My senior year could not have been worse. I must premise this tale by acknowledging that my horrible time was completely my fault. So I was going to go to the prom with Ashley. We had been on and off "in like" with each other for about two years. In a fit of raging insecurity I began to date a freshman girl who adored me and gave me all the attention I could have ever wanted. I hurt Ashley really badly. I can't even tell you why. She was the first (non-puppy) love of my life and I was afraid of her... so I ran. (Coward!). So needless to say Ashley informed me she would not be going to the prom with me and who could really blame her. I could not bring my new girl, it just wouldn't be right. At the time I didn't think that we would be together that long (three and a half years later she broke my heart). I was a third wheel to my generous and other best high school friend Emily and her boyfriend Ryan. I drove alone, I sat alone a lot, I dance alone. On the upside I did finish 2nd or 3rd in the prom king court voting and Emily escorted me on the stage to save me some horror. I wore a zoot suit with black and white Dr. Martens and wallet chain (late nineties, that was bad ass then). I got to dance with Ashley during the song "Angel of Mine" and we didn't speak much for over a year after. After the pain heeled and Ashley found a lot of forgiveness, we became friends again. Despite some bright moments, that prom was one of the worst days of my life.

I shared this story with my wife before I posted to ensure that I would in no way hurt her feelings. We discussed how both of our junior proms rocked and the senior proms sucked. We came to the conclusion that it has to do with all the pressure to make the night so unforgetable.

Lesson to all high schoolers should be: Loosen up, it really doesn't matter in the long run!!!

I don't really mean that though, because if it didn't matter in the long run, then one of the worst days of my life wouldn't have happend around prom and one of my top ten days in life wouldn't have happend around prom.*

*my wedding day is #1

Monday, November 05, 2007

Its begining to look a lot like....

CHRISTMAS. Everywhere you go. Amanda (and to a minor extent yours truely) have been confused by the weather. With highs in the mid-50's and leaves on the ground, it is already 10 degrees cooler than your average Charlotte Christmas day. The lite radio station has started their broadcasts of Christmas music. Furthermore, on the way down to Charlotte last week (the 24th) we heard a station in Indianapolis that was cranking out 93 days of Christmas Classics!!! I am anxious to see if working in the mall and listening to the musak in the store will drive Amanda nuts. We shall see.

Kicker... flurries in the forcast for Tuesday night!!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nesting

After our nuptuals, Amanda and I are starting to settle in for our first winter in Chicago together. We are hooking up the apartment with Cable and Internet (finally!, I know) and we will be getting a sofa at Ikea on Wednesday.

If I remember I will try to take before and after pictures. Our living room serves as an office as well. Late today, I am going to try to make two rooms out of it so that you don't see our horrific desk from the living room. I think it will be nice. I am going to employ either a free standing chinese curtain or an actual curtain to divide the room up. I have watched way too much HGTV while at David and Allison's place and have been inspired. We are most excited about the couch because we will have a bed for friends and family to stay on when and if they come to visit. I want to seperate the office from the living room to provide a little privacy as well. We will see how it turns out.

(I pre dated a couple posts so I would have one for every day this month. I know it is cheating but starting on Thursday we will have in house internet access so I will not have an excuse to cheat!)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wifi in WV

So we went to what may be the nicest Mc Donald's in the world. West Virginia gets a bad reputation for the the education of their population and some non-forking family tree issues. That having been said... they can rock out a McDonald's like no state in this great union. We used to stop at the one on 19 in Summerville to have a bite to eat. They always had the menu items you expect, but unlike most, they also had the McRib, even when retired, and all the promotional items were on the menu 24/7/365.

This McD's was off the beaten path somewhere. I remember WVUP was near by... don't remember the P. They had a big sign that said Wifi and I have not seen many McDonalds so equipped so Amanda and I had to stop. It was very disappointing, you have to pay. I know it is an income generating thing but I hate that Starbucks and McDonalds do not offer free Wifi. I think it is bad business. The Brother's K coffee shop in Evanston has three people in their shop for every one I see walking into starbucks. Their competitive advantage: FREE WIFI. People stay in, they drink, buy a refill or maybe a pastry to go with. Meanwhile, the Starbucks that sits on the corner next has places to seat 31 people (big Starbucks, yes I counted) and there is one person there without a laptop reading the paper. I know that Starbucks needn't worry about losing market share here, but I just think it is a basic thing that you should offer, like a public restroom.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Family Also

* My cousin Allison has challenged me to post every day this month. As you can tell, we are off to a hell of a good start.

Today's topic is family. Much like Allison (Maggie's Red Thread) I have been blessed by many families. I have my diverse and non-sensical family that I belong to. I have ex-aunt-in-laws that are more like my Dad and I have called 4 women grandma but I am pretty sure that a family tree only has room for two. They all proved this weekend how much they care about me, a majority showed up to support me at my wedding.

I have a family from high school. Dhara, Ashley and Emily have all known me since 7th & 10th grades respectively. Emily was a bridesmaid and super helpful to Amanda. Dhara and Ashley, both recently married, were very supportive of my endeavors. One of the neatest things my mother told me about was Dhara's mother approaching her and telling her that she was honored to be there and how much they love me. My mom replied that she adored Dhara as well and missed her when we all went to college. This is the part of family I forget.

You always hear that "friends are family that you choose." Very true, but your family also chooses to embrace them as well. My family knows a lot about my friends, they ask about their well-being, about school / work. My family over time is actually invested in my friends. How cool? Dhara even played a role in my cousin Erin's wedding. The best thing about my family is often we blur the lines between family and friends.

My last night in Charlotte I am spending with Sara and Tim. They are not just our "couple friends" that we do "couple things" with. They are my family as well. I am invested in how they are doing, the Smiths return in kind.

This has been a fun week and a half. I thought I would grow "sick of home" but I really just got homesick. I am not sure when we will come back, if we will come back, but I need my kids to know the rest of my family. So I don't want to tell people we are coming back.... but we won't stay gone too long.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wedding Photos

Thank you Erin for submitting photos.

Below you will see my gorgeous wife coming into the church with her dad.


The two cutest flower girls in Wedding History came down right before Amanda. At ages 4 11/12ths and 25 months they were so well behaved. Elizabeth was a good leader for Maggie.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wedding Hangover

What a wonderful day, I do plead with anyone who has photos to send them my way. My wife and I (sounds cool huh?) really had fun and enjoyed every part of this entire journey. We have run the gauntlet, eating and drinking with friends and family. We have driven 400 miles around Charlotte since Wednesday, from Lake Wylie to Huntersville, Belmont to Munrowq (Monroe if you don't know). It has been very fun and worth while.

Thank you to everyone who came and all the well wishers who couldn't make it. We love you!

Jon & Amanda Bradshaw

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Eve of Wedding Eve

Amanda and I have locked in the preacher, the music, the people, the tux & dress, the hair, the food, most of the money, parents, all that jazz. Just waiting now! Thanks to everyone! All the help, the room & board, the kisses from Maggie most of all. See you tomorrow and Saturday!!!

JB

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sorry about the Month Off

I know it has been a long time since I last posted. I suppose the storm before the wedding has claimed a victim. I know why most people stay together, they are afraid to go through this again. Amanda has been an amazing companion / partner /ally during this whole process. Not much to update on though, life as usual. I have been really busy at work, I did complete my 10,000th appraisal today, pretty cool, less than 40% of buyers have done that many. I get a shiney new clipboard and a polo shirt. We have been watching the Sheild with the Millers every week or so, we started from the begining and are a few discs into season two.... what an amazing show. That is pretty much what we do with our lack of free time... I ride my bike around Evanston, we watch the shield and hang out with Jenni or the Millers and we go into the city. I am very excited, I have a hot date tomorrow... Amanda and I are going to go on a date for the first time in a very long time, it might be the last date with my fiance, next time I will take my wife! I look very forward to seeing my family and friends in two weeks or so. Much love!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mini Cooper Day

Hello, you must follow the most depressing day of the American year (9-11) with the coolest day of the year!!!! HAPPY MINI COOPER DAY to everyone. I suppose I will post pictures of mi Mini tomorrow! Much love, Let's Motor!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wedding Invites

Okay, I absolutely have to clear this up before I forget to show up in two months! People, NOT ALL INVITES HAVE BEEN MAILED YET!!! The invitation has an easy rip off card that you can fill out and throw right back in the mail box. If not, call me, if you don't have my number, you probably weren't invited anyway! Sorry if this sounds a little punchy, but please let me know if you have any issues or concerns, call me directly. Thanks!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dreams

I think I finally figured out what the difference between adults and children is. Dreams. When we stop acting in ways that are consistent with following our dreams, we are then acting mature. When a kid skips school to skateboard with his or her friends, that is a childish act. In the child’s mind however, they aspire to be a professional skateboarder like Tony Hawk.

The sad thing is that we all tell the kid that even someone like Tony Hawk wouldn’t have made it without going to school, we all know that to be bullshit. Ask everyone’s favorite dropout, Mr. Bill Gates, I think he is worth a bazillion dollars now.

I constantly look back and remember how grand my dreams once were. I guess that remembering is what makes me feel like an adult. I don’t chase my dreams any more, I might throw a passing interest at something related to them, that’s it. How do we get to this point in our lives?

I used to think that I was going to be a judge, or a lawyer, a lobbyist, or most likely a politician. I was going to leverage my power and knowledge and change the way the world works. I was going to help lead this country in a direction of prosperity and equality. I was going to make this world the best place it has ever been in history.

I am now a middle manager in a retail chain. I can’t even change the way my company does things without jumping through 800 hoops, when I get to the last hoop, I am pretty sure I will be too tired to remember why I started jumping in the first place. Please to not take this as a complaint against my job. It challenges me, it provides for my fiancĂ© and I, it offers me opportunities to lead and develop others. I am thankful for the move they paid for and the amount of responsibility they put into my hands on a daily basis. That being said, I am still a middle manager in a retail chain.

I know that I am lazy and I can only blame myself for that. I should have taken more opportunities that were put in front of me. I slacked, hard core slacked! Instead of seeking help or tutoring, I let myself fail statistics in college. In lieu of trying it again and conquering my lifelong fear of math, I simply changed my major. It was clear to my History professors then as it is to me now that I should have been a Political Science major or maybe Business, because I am no historian!

Brings me full circle doesn’t it? I said I should have majored in business, now I manage a business worth tens of millions monthly. I have accepted that I will never be well-connected nor financed enough to be a politician. I do feel that I am smart enough be some of the above jobs I have mentioned. If I get there though, I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be disappointed by who I am then. Part of what I dreamed about is not what I would do or how much I make, but rather how I would feel.

I am cynical enough to know that when I got done at the end of a hard day’s work as a judge or a lawyer, that justice was in somehow compromised in my hands. Some of the wicked would get away and some innocent lives would bear that hairshirt. I would not feel like I was saving the world but jut bartering another day of its existence. If I were a politician, beholden to those who got me there and those who want to keep me there, I would loose sight of my ambitions and forget who I am supposed to represent. I would grow tired of hearing my own words because I wouldn’t know who they belonged to.

Back again to me today, I suppose I am in pretty good shape. I can be myself most of the time at work and I provide a good living for my family. I just need to find something fulfilling to take care of the void I feel for forgetting to change the world every day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Detroit

I went to Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Dearborn Michigan this week. With the exception of Ann Arbor, you can skip the rest on your to do list of American cities to see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I have my days...

You know there are those days when I just want to come home. I miss my family and friends. The website that has given me the most comfort during these rocky transitions has got to be THE WEATHER CHANNEL!!! Holy cow Charlottians! You know there are places on earth where it isn't 98-105 every day in July & August. In fact it was a balmy 72 last Saturday.

In all seriousness, this is all still a work in progress. I have to help Amanda with her transition. I remember when the 2nd and 3rd months rolled by and some of the new wore off and lonliness set in. That is when I went about the task of making friends. Jenny was an absolute god-send when it came to getting my butt out of the apartment. Amanda is getting to know my small but very valuable group of friends that I/we have made. We hang out at the Miller's house about every Sunday and watch movies, eat, shoot the junk, and mostly play with their 6 month old. I think it is neat that we have friends that in the short time that we have known them are wanting to come to our wedding and be apart of our special day.

So wedding planning and counseling are abound this weekend. I think this is where I get my "Wife Instruction Manual." Correct me if I am wrong, but in a 4 hour class they are going to teach me everything I need to know about how to be a good husband. I cannot believe more people don't take this class, there would certainly be much less divorce.*

Since the cruise things have been back to the status quo. We have gone out a few times and danced, drank, and were merry. Amanda continues her job hunt, she has decided to expand outside the educational field. Please wish /pray her luck.

*okay, so did anyone pick up on the sarcasm, that is paraphrased on how important the letter made this class sound to the future of our marraige.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cruise Wrap Up

All said and done, we had a fabulous time! Thank you to Aunt Claire for this fabulous wedding present. I highly suggest this cruise to anyone, maybe a 7 day version without St. John, but it was fun. I cannot wait to go on another one.

Cruise Day Ten

Waking up at 5:30am to disembark started the day off on a wonderful note. We had our luggage sent down the night before and they were to call us by color to get off the ship. This was to ensure a nice orderly departure. My cold had gotten worse as Amandas seemed to improve as the day wore on. We got off the boat, loaded the 700lbs of luggage into the van and headed back to Aunt Claire's house. We ate some lunch, said our goodbyes, to the airport we go.

We had some time and got through security quickly. Ate a little dinner and got some Tylenol Cold. My sinus' were so stopped up that I knew what was coming on the plane. I was right. The relief I felt as we got to cruising altitude was reversed 10 fold as we came down. My ears had long popped and I just wanted to stick a pen in my ear and pop my ear drumbs to relieve the pressure. So glad to be home though, oh, damn.... I forgot.

We boarded the orange line at about 9:45pm. Transferred to the Red line at the same time that lalapalooza was letting out. So there is Amand and I, me sick with sinus crap, each holding 70lbs of bags, with thousands of stoners asking if we had any pot. This days was just getting better. Amanda fought hard on the train first and scored us some seats. She kicked ass! it was crowded all the way up to Loyola, I guess all the students went to the show that day.

In bed at 1:00am. Never to take the train from home to Midway again!

(Note: We traveled by boat, car, plane, and train in one day!)

Cruise Day Nine

So, Amanda and I are coming down with colds. We didn't really do much. I suppose the highlight of this day was swing and salsa dacing on the ship. We took some lessons from the dancers on board. This day was very much overkill, we weren't hungry, we weren't entertainable... well, we thought.

The best show was last. There was a juggler/comedian who has us laughing up a storm. He juggled a kid, all kinds of things, and was just plain funny. After the show, all that could be said was "Get me off this boat!"

Cruise Day Eight

So we wake up in time to watch us dock up in Boston. We ate a little breakfast before going through the most absurd security line. They had everyone go to the back of the ship to have their passport checked before they could go ashore. The Homeland Security looked at it for a hot second and a memeber of the ship's crew would put a smile on your sea pass card. If I were planning on entering illegally on a cruise ship, I think I might bring a sharpie and foil this entire check up.

We took a neat little tour of Boston and Cambridge. We saw the Old North Church, the freedom trail, and where John Kerry lives. The highlight for me was walking on Harvard's campus. I thought I would feel something really cool, instead I felt dumb and inadequate. I then looked back on my wasted potential as I passed MIT's campus, okay, so that was really dramatic. My favorite part of cambridge was seeing the offices of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe a.k.a. the home of Click & Clack from NPR's Car Talk. We went shopping a little and had lunch (on Carmax's dime) at Cheer's!

We had our second formal dinner night so I put on my suit. Food was great. This was also the night that the Beatle Maniacs performed on the ship. They were incredible. I have never been a big Beatles fan (I think it has something to do with David's love for them, same thing with the Tarheels, only, I like the Beatles now!) but seeing this cover band live was so much fun. They came out as 60's Beatles, then Sgt. Peppers, then as late 70's. Much fun was had.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cruise Day Seven

So back out at sea after the day in Halifax. The day was long. Amanda read during the early part of the morning and I set out to the gym. I went swimming, worked on the elliptical machine and then went to a steam room. I have never done that before but I seemed a little pointless. I supposed that you sweat out something and are supposed to feel refreshed. I got up and left when the naked guy came in and sat next to me, seemed like a good queue to leave.

The show tonight was a love themed show. They sang a bunch of different love songs and had some dancing. I really enjoyed it though Amanda walked out after 3 songs to finish Harry Potter. I don’t think that it was that bad, but I think Harry was that damn good.

Tonight was the night of the midnight buffet. I was the only man left standing in our party at midnight (actually, I was the only man in our party). The food was amazing but not worth standing in line for 45 minutes to get. In retrospect, the stomach ache I gained and sleep, was not a very good deal.


the last two days I will have to post later, because I haven't written them yet

Cruise Day Six

Day Six: Halifax Nova Scotia

Woops! So the Atlantic Time Zone nailed us. We were to meet @9:30am for our Sea Kayaking tour. As we were killing time in the shops at 9:15 (EST) Amanda’s aunt Claire asked why we weren’t on our trip. SHIT!!!! $160 bucks lost. Royal Caribean did nothing to help us out. We spent more money on tickets to the hop-on/hop-off trolley tour. It was cool because if you saw something you wanted to explore further, you could get off and check it out at your own pace, then just hop on the next one 20 minutes later.

This place is stunning, clean, much bigger than I thought, and kinda interesting. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable. There were some cool parts and some boring parts, but the view was always attractive. We got off at the pier, watched some decendents of the Waterford Crystal makers at Nova Scotia Crystal work their craft. There was a buried fort at the top of the hill, it had a big dry moat that they would use to keep from being attacked. Since no one ever bothered attacking Nova Scotia, they declared it useless. The coolest story was hearing about the great explosion. It was the largest explosion before Hiroshima. Two boats, one the Mont Blanc, collided in the narrowest part of the harbour and the munitions on board ignited. Hundreds of builings were leveled and many people who were watching the ships on fire lost their vision, mostly kids. The town is full of old people wearing eye patches.

Nova Scotia means “New Scotland” in Latin.

Cruise Day Five

Day 5: Saint John, NB, Canada

Welcome to Canada eh! Saint John is new to the tourism game and it shows. Not a stunning place from the dock. (I don’t think any place but Bar Harbor is attractive from their docks .ed)

We were off on a little tour as we docked the boat. Amanda could not get over the dirt on the buildings. We got to go into “the oldest public market” in Canada. The roof is the upside down hull of the ship because the only people in the early 1900’s that were capable of building large things were ship builders. We saw some French & Indian War towers and forts. The coolest thing Saint John had to offer was the reversing falls. The Bay of Fundy has 20-28ft high tides. So there is a 14 foot drop off at low tide where the river dumps into the bay. At high tide, the bay rises above the falls and actually forces the river backwards. We arrived at the peak of high tide and the power of the two bodies of water colliding was awe inspiring.

That night Amanda and I were to meet up after her nap. I went to the casino to play a little Texas Hold’em and we were to meet up for Trivia 15 minutes before dinner. Well, as I sat down for dinner and Reatha asked where Amanda was. I turned flush, ran up two stories to catch the last questions of trivia. Amanda has a great sense of humor and put her team name down as “flying solo.”

The wedding is still on!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Cruise Day Four

Bar Harbor, Maine: (BA ha Ba)

This was the coolest day of the trip thus far. I must start by saying that when we left port in Portland a light fog had set in, by the end of the evening you could barely see anything in front of your face. I was thinking titanic too! When we dropped anchor in Bar Harbor, you couldn’t see land at all. We parallel parked the boat in the middle of the ocean and went to port by tender. These are small life-boat sized crafts to ferry us to Bar Harbor because our ship was just a touch too big, okay, so the biggest boat there is about 75 feet long.

You could only see land from about 100 yards away and the ship had disappeared behind us. We took a walking tour from a gentleman in a top hat. It reminded me a lot of Key West. Sounds odd but I think of Key West as a town that had its “hay day” at and a little past the turn of the century. Bar Harbor was once the summer home of the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Astors, and the Biltmores. All the rich gentry in American industry called this their summer home. It was fun to hear all the stories behind this island. The oddest part is that the biggest houses are known as cottages, where in the Carolinas a cottage is just a place to put crap in the mountains. We got to see the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass, gorgeous!

We settled in for lunch where we all got some seafood and enjoyed the local blueberry pie. Amanda’s Mom and Aunt went to meet their next tour excursion they were taking and Amanda and I shopped and got back to the ship early. Our first early morning led to sleep deprivation; we took some power naps that remedied the situation. Dinner was fantastic as we all made it back to tell stories of our day.

Reatha, Claire, Amanda, and I settled into the card room for a few hours after dinner and played some card games. We laughed so hard that other people inquired what game we were playing and if we could teach it to them. It was just good company. After the teenagers aboard all decided to meet in the card room, we left for the night.

Cruise Day Three

Portland Maine:

Day three arrived with us sleeping in again! We ate a little breakfast before my first every off ship excursion. I am glad it was one of my favorite pass-time experiences.

We took a bus to Freeport, Maine, home of L.L. Bean!!! They have a huge store with everything they sell and more in the catalog. You can try on everything right there. I enjoyed it, I didn’t buy anything there but it is because I am so lucky and need nothing. Amanda got a rain jacket that had a fleece lining, even when it is 85, if it rains, the poor girl can still freeze. We went to all kinds of outlets right there, enjoyed some Ben & Jerry’s. We headed back and got some scenic places in maine.

As we went back to the ship, Amanda and I thought that Maine was a lovely place if we needed to get away from the city. I think if (most likely when) we get tired of the urban lifestyle, and the suburbs call our name, it won’t be generic suburbs. I would love to go to a small town with some charm, a little character.

On the ship we ate and went to see the “show.” It was a crappy techno-broadway revue. I was not happy hearing Oklahoma to rap and disco. They have two more shots at being good so I must go see the singers and dancers again. Amanda retired to Harry Potter and some sleep. I went to see a comedy show for adults that was very good and then I watched the last little bit of the ship’s own American Idol competition. I don’t think I will win this one folks, apparently you need talent!

Cruise Day Two

So day two of the cruise came and went very uneventful. I thought today would be different than it was. We were all day at sea and sailing at about 20 knots. This brisk pace made sure that everything you did you were aware of the ship’s motion. I didn’t get seasick but I thought that would be the case. Amanda and I ate an early lunch after sleeping in a bit. We then met her family in the lounge for some “name that tune trivia. Out of 36 answers, we were able to ascertain 31 of them. This was tops of about 20 teams. It was advantageous to have the multi generation team.

Amanda went sunbathing while I explored the ship. I participated in a Texas Hold’em tournament in the casino. I felt like my Aunt Annie, I was wearing seersucker pants, a polo shirt, and I went all in on a 7/2 off suit….. and won!!! I showed my cards to the guy who folded me his chips. The next hand I got a rocking deal and went all in before the turn… poor guy got played and I gladly eliminated him from the tournament and became the short-lived chip leader. I was owned in about 10 hands and finished 7th of about 11 or 12. Not bad for a “malady” in a casino.

After a formal dinner and some lovely photos that Amanda and I took,(insert formal photo here)

We went to a horrible comedy show. The guy was so proud that he didn’t cuss during his show, he should worry about being funny during his show. The funny thing is he was drinking and smoking in the adult lounge later that night.

Cruise Day One

So day one of the cruise has come and gone.

It all began at Amanda’s Aunt Claire’s home where we made sure all the bags were packed and tagged. We enjoyed a little lunch and a short little jaunt to Baltimore. We paid our 7 thousand dollars to park and unloaded the luggage on to airport style little carts.

We strolled through the “Diet Coke” of airport security. We boarded and found our room. The ship is huge!!!

The room, not so much! At least we have a balcony!

We started out by strolling around the ship. The first thing we found was a ping pong table and we played in the wind. The tough part is of course that the ball is very light and it doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

We then changed for dinner, had way too much food, and set out to discover more of the ship. Tomorrow is a formal dinner, we shall see how that goes. As the ship entered the storm of the century, we decided to lay low and go to a bar. They were doing music trivia from the 50s and 60s. The name that tune style game had a possible 38 correct answers of which we got 20. If you took our age as a handicap… I am pretty sure we won!

After that, we explored a little more and found a karaoke bar. We sat down and had a couple cokes. I decided that it would be a good idea to sing!! Yeah, oddly, I was right!. I sang Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week” and the crowd was kinda feeling it. I think because I didn’t actually have to sing much of the song and most of it is really fast Canadian Rap, no one realized how bad I am really am. I managed to get some people really clapping and smiling and that is what matters. It helped that I followed a guy singing Elvis’ “I can’t help falling in love with you.” I was able to kick start the evening again.

Amanda and I roamed around the ship some more, I even scored a few compliments while we went about our second round of ping pong. Amanda owns me! Cannot wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Home & Safe

This is the Captain speaking, welcome home from the Grandeur of the Seas. Amanda and I made it home, safe but not well. We both have colds, I have some kind of sinus issue that was made worse by the plane ride home. I have typed up all but the last few days of the trip and starting tomorrow, I plan on posting one or two per day. The internet on the ship was not MAC friendly... bastards!

Amanda has a job interview on Wednesday, another principal just called to set up one, and she just scored a part time job with my alma mater the GAP! Things are looking up, we may be able to eat and have cable next month!!! Keep Amanda in your prayers for the job interviews please.

til tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

As the son of a sailor I went......

out on the seas for adventure. We leave tomorrow. I don't know about WiFi on the open seas but I plan to at least write a blog post every day, I may have to wait to publish them when I get back. Rest assured, something new will be posted on this oft-neglected blog very soon! Love you all!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Update

Taste was good, a touch of a disappointment for entertainment. Once you did the lap around the tents... you kinda just ate and left. But 3.6 million people cannot be wrong, the food was good. "Taste" as the locals say is an experience that I will use a quote from Chuck, my Chicago friend stuck in Charlotte to describe it. "Everything.... on a stick."

Things are going well. We are counting down minutes til the cruise. For those that don't know, Amanda and I will be leaving from Baltimore, going up to Portland Maine to visit the L.L. Bean Store... open 24/7/365. We then sail to Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Boston Mass before heading home. I cannot wait to blog about all the adventures.

The 4th was very fun for A2 and I. I worked from 9-3ish (we sold -1 cars that day) and then met up with our neighbors for a cookout. They cooked steaks, kabobs, and dogs on the grill. We walked down to the lakefront and watched the fireworks from the beach. We had a great time with our neighbors, we actually went out with them again on Saturday. It is actually a lot like dating in high school, trying to be cool and impress your new friends... only now you have a partner in crime.

Emily is coming this weekend to hang out with me. We are going to Cubs game!

I am playing in a basketball game next Sunday against our inventory associates. They have been begging us to play them since the spring... we finally gave in. I just feel bad for them though... it is like begging for an ass-whoopin'

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Taste Of Chicago

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Taste of Chicago is this week. We are going to go downtown for the day Thursday for the biggest culinary festival in the world. Here's to $100 of sample food.... (insert clink noise here) ...... (insert gulp here ) ahhhhh!

Full House

So I decided to blow the dust off the old blog o rific and give the one reader left something to read.

Well, things are different. As most of you know, last Saturday Amanda moved up here to Evanston for good. I am uber excited on the overall feeling!!! There have been many adjustments for both of us to make. I guess for some reason I didn't consider that too much. We have both been living on our own over (wicked alliteration) 6 months now. I also took for granted that I had a job and the security of having built in friends, being my co-workers. Amanda has none of those luxuries. She had to leave behind a dream teaching gig to follow a smelly carmax guy.... the deal doesn't really sound so lucrative. It was a crazy week adjusting into a routine. But that is about the worst of it.

The best of it was on Monday I came home and the apartment smelled like brownies and girlie stuff. I didn't realize how much I missed the smells that are associated with having someone else in the house. On Wednesday, I didn't have to do anything, Amanda had the entire day planned out and we ate dinner with Brent and Tanna. We went on walks of varying lengths almost every night this week, considering it was about 75 & sunny every day this week! On Saturday night we went to dinner with a friend from work and her husband... it was good for Amanda and I to be able to hang out with people our age and converse. On Sunday.... Amanda went to MECCA..... Some know it as IKEA. It was very much fun, we played it cool by leaving our wallets in the car. We do have to save a little considering we are single income and have a cruise coming up.

Things are great though... the last few days for Amanda have been very productive as she looks for work. I hope we can finish some applications this week and maybe get some interviews going. It would be nice to know she has work before we leave for the cruise. We are celebrating the 4th with our neighbors Natalie & Robert and then we head to hang out with Michael and Kristen. Emily is coming in two weeks; the BoSox fan will be partaking of a game at Wrigley. Amanda's parents come up the following weekend, the cruise is the next two weekends, then Marlies comes to visit... busy summer!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The "Mommy Mobile" is coming!*

The silver 6 is coming folks, with all of Amanda's crap, I mean worldly possessions in tow.


*note: Sara refers to the car as the mommie mobile.... but Amanda's car is faster and better handling than any mommy mobile I have seen... and Sara just bought a wagon so what does that say?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Sweetness

I know the Red Thread has a bazillion (really! I counted) pictures of Maggie. But my pals who don't link over need to bow down the the cuteness that is....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day

For the 26th consecutive Father's Day, no child or mother has called me to break some news!!! Here's to keeping the streak alive!

Happy father's day to all! Especially David, his very first and I know Maggie adores you, from here you will only get dorkier by the minute. Happy Father's Day to my dad. Happy Father's Day to all you guys and gals who have played that role at one time or another in my life. Thanks David (twice mentioned, nice work) ReRe, Uncle, Mom, Mr. Ed.

*this list is by no means exclusive, please insert your name before printing and showing the non-believers at work!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hold me now and watch the hoodwink

it'll be one week til Amanda's here!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sidewalk Eaters

No, not when you bust on your skateboard and eat a big chunk of sidewalk. Everyone in this area adores eating outside. Every cafe, coffee shop, eatery, and hell, even burger king has outside patio seating. On any given night, the bar is empty, but they are busy because everyone is outside, or my personal choice, up on the roof eating. I think that the end of winternment (see previous post) means everyone wants to spend the maximum ammount of time outside.

The exception being today, with 50 mph wind gust (this city has some silly nickname that might apply) and tree branches (no leaves or limbs, whole branches) floating down the street, I am sitting inside watching a couple clean up. They were enjoying the windy embiance with a causal exchange of "what, I can't hear you" when the table cloth was caught by a big gust of wind and all of their lovely itailian meal was dumped into the lap of her pretty white capri pants. Good luck with that one bleach pen! Idiots!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New words

Thought this was a funny bit from NPR's car talk... they found "new words" denied by Websters.

Destinisia - a disease in which one enters another room and forgets why.

Garagemahal - an extremely large house with its dominating characteristic being an oversized three or four car garage to hold SUV's and sports car

Molassachist - one who derrives pleasure by making processes painfully slow.

Flatuglance - The glance given by someone who has realized that someone has farted.

Winternment - forced to spend months inside due to bad weather.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

One Seventh Score and One Day Ago

Amanda and I got engaged! I was suprised on the day of engagement how hard it was to get ahold of people. Only my mother, in Iowa at the time, answered her phone. Well in contrast to that, I got a lot of advice and congratulatory phone calls this year, lucky for you, I recorded them and will transcribe them for you here on the blogorific.

"Wow Jon, you found a woman who has a higher tollerance of pain than I do." Chris Angel

"Engagement, I can't spell it, but I know what that it means, I just don't know how to end one. Yours is going to end in October, but mine, I just cannot seem to set a date." George W. Bush

"Just don't fight in bed, or the dugout, congrats man!" Lou Piniella

"I think you giving her a contract extension is the way to go, it will keep her from exploring other options later." Bobby Lutz

"Keep your secrets to yourself, don't tell her, or anyone anything ever!" Scooter Libby

"My cousin Elizabeth and I will be the prettiest girls in the room, well, maybe our new cousin Amanda might rival us, but that is unlikely." Maggie

"Your fiance looks hot in that blue dress." Bill Clinton

Friday, June 01, 2007

Weather People

Predicting Chicago's weather, I assert, is more difficult than Charlotte. The massive body of water to our East can make the shoreline have a completly different forecast than the rest of the area. I have to be careful about checking online sources because they usually post what is up at O Hare. Well, that is 15 miles from Lake Michigan. I live three blocks from the lake and work about a mile inland.

Today, for example, it was a balmy 85 degrees at O'Hare with a calm wind and sunny skies. 10 miles away, at Glencoe's #1 Used Car Superstore it was about 70, 20-30 mph wind gusts, and overcast skies. I have adapted quick and keep my fleece and rain jacket at my desk at all times, but that is silly for a 10 mile difference. What I do like is that it keeps it cooler in the summer.... you know how I feel about heat. Just an odd phenominon I thought I would share.

Also, Charlottians... do you remember Larry Sprinkle. I thought what a dumb made up name for a weather man, well up here, I have Amy Freeze to mock.... begining to feel like home already.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I have a date Saturday night

... with the prettiest girl in the world. Amanda and I are splitting the distance and meeting this weekend in Lexington KY. I have no clue what is going on in Lexington, but I am just so happy that the ammount of time that has elapsed between when I dropped her off at OHare and when I arrive in Lexington will be the longest amount of time I ever have to spend apart from her.

enough of the sappy

I got my friggin bike yesterday finally. After a month of back order, I picked up my bike and spent a small fortune on accessories. I had to buy a lock & rope set, rack, front and rear lights, and of course a water bottle holder. I went for a nice 6 or 7 mile ride to find the kinks today after work. After 10 & 25 hours I get free inspections / tune ups.

I am now in BFE Illinois to attend a training session, I am almost in Iowa.

Have a happy memorial day!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Groom's Shower

While a vast majority of my readership is either in the process of moving (Dhara & Allison) or at Amanda's wedding shower I am at the lone BK Lounge sporting free WiFi drinking a cup of Joe. I thought it would be prudent to let you ladies in on a secret, guys' have wedding showers too! Indeed it is true. I have not been give clearence to tell you this, but I will anyway.

It is a very different process than the female version, but no less important. The Bridal shower lasts a couple hours on a gorgeous Sunday somewhere in America. The Groom's shower is an international event, happening daily. Here are some of the events that occur during the entire time of engagement that as a whole, constitute a Groom's shower.

+AT LEAST once a day, you are called an indiot for getting married.

+three times a week co-workers will compliment a decision you make, and then tell you to kiss that ability goodbye.

+You will ask a limited number of married men you know if it is really "that bad." They say nothing in fear of incriminating themselves.

+You will be hit on by a girl at a bar 500% more than before your engagement, just to make you admit that you are taken. I think other guys put them up to it just to jab at you a little bit.

Yes, all these things occur during the "Grooms Shower (of insults)" but the only little thing guys won't tell you that happens toward the end of the shower is this

+The married men will tell you it is worth it, it is fun, cool, and the best decision they have made. The single guys who ribbed you will slowly admit that they covet what you have, and cannot wait to settle down themselves.

Lucky Me ! :-)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I just watched A.I.T., I am a big Al Gore fan, I think he is a cool slice of cardboard. I elected him in my first presidential ballot I ever cast. The Supreme Court nullified my vote but that can be discussed another day. I am not going to discuss global warming because it is the truth, it is happening, it is irrefutable. I feel comfortable saying you likely have a high level cabinet position in the current adminitration if you do not feel it is happening. I have really enjoyed the quotes posted in the movie.

"In America, political will is a renewable resource." ~Al Gore~

"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." ~Mark Twain~

"Small steps mean smaller footprints" ~Al Gore~

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon not understanding it." ~Upton Sinclair

I just thought that last one was pretty funny.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I took a walk on the beach

A gorgeous look at the Evanston shoreline taken from Northwestern University.

You can see the skyline from the beach by my apartment. Sears Tower peeks over the top of trees on the right, hancock tower is about in the middle, and all the Lincoln Park buildings are a bit closer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tragic, Horrific, Terrible News!!!!

My neighbor upstairs moved... yes the quiet of her missing footsteps is nice.... but no more free internet ;-(

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mission Acomplished

4 years ago today, President Bush declared "Mission Acomplished" on board an aircraft carrier. Remember the pompous man standing in a flight suit (a suit he avoided wearing while calling himself a veteran) saying that major combat missions were concluded and that we were victorious. Since then, 3,200+ troops have bravely lost their lives, and April 2007 was the deadliest month yet.

My opinions are infused with facts above, feel free to ignore my thoughts but not the truth. I don't know how to fix it, I just ask that the President admit what is happening and man-up and just fix it. I don't like, respect, honor, or think good thoughts about our President, but I respect his position and authority, I wish he did.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

TCBY

I just learned tonight what that stands for.... ANY GUESSES?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A One, A Two, A Three

Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd. I visited Wrigley Field on Sunday when it was 80 degrees, clear, light breeze in the middle of the afternoon. We lost to the Red Birds 12-9, but it was a lot of fun to be in that historical stadium. The last MLB game I went to was in the Pirate's PNC Park. PNC is likely the nicest park in all of baseball, all the amenities, all chairs have a view of home plate and are angled that way. It is clean, roomy, and crowd friendly moving in and out. Wrigley is NONE of those things. Most of your seats have a blind spot or a pole. There is no jumbotron, there are only three ways in and ONE way out. The bullpen is on the field, the seats are made of wood and the metal sides are rusting, likely because decades ago the friction from the sides of fans rubbed the paint off.

Doesn't sound like Wrigley is cool at all, but it is by far the neatest sports venue I have ever been to. I love that there are no plans to bulldoze it a la Tigers & Yankee Stadiums. The streets are right outside as the used the least ammount of space possible to build the field. Kids were playing catch on the street right outside of left field, hoping a homerun would come out and they may get a new ball. People were sitting on bleachers mounted on the roofs of greystone buildings right across the streets from the outfield. The outfield seats are still general admission. The scoreboard still has kids inside of it updating scores and keeping stats. The flags of the league leaders in the NL fly over the scoreboard so you can see where each team ranks. This is what baseball was about 80-90 years ago and it transplants you back there. I want to go to Fenway and feel the same thing. I hope we can figure out a way to renovate old stadiums instead of bulldozing them and building new. I know I am from Charlotte, which should make me want to bulldoze everything over 30 years old, but I would love to see a old buildings standing 50 years from now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 19th

Well first off, it is Amanda and I's 4 year anniversary, can you believe it has been that long? She must have a high tolerance for pain. Happy Anniversary Manders, Love You So Much. Thanks to the family for taking her in, thanks to my friends for befriending her, and thanks to all for the support our relationship has gotten. About 6 months 8 days till the wedding.

Happy Birthday Dad, 55, double nickels. Your hair may be silver & white but it’s all there to show its color. I hope I have the same fate.

I am bought tix to the Barenaked Ladies concert in June here in Chi-town. I am very excited to see them again, it has been since December since I saw them in Charlotte and six months is about as long as I can go. At least I live near Canada now so it is much more drivable to see them at their home too bad the conversion rates suck and it would be like 100 American bucks to see them there.

I went to a Josh Kelley concert last night at the House of Blues. Very cool venue, second time there and I notice something cool and different about it each time. He was good live, I liked him better acoustic at the Visulite in Charlotte, I went to that one with my Charlotte concert girlfriend (Amanda doesn't love live music so I have concert girlfriends in Charlotte and Chicago) Michele. I dig any white guy that does a Snoop Doggie Dogg cover in the middle of his only #1 hit, Loddie Doddie was the interlude of Josh Kelley's song "Amazing."

Today I am going to finally get around to ordering my bike and I am going to get my passport, so if I go to Canada I can come back in, plus we have the cruise with three stops in Canada this summer.

Get Well Mario!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The ABSOLUTE Sweetness

When I miss my family, this warms my heart!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bobby's "All In"

Bobby Lutz addresses 49ers fans, critics
An open letter from Bobby Lutz to the Charlotte 49ers family:

As many of you know, my name has surfaced in connections with the opening for head men's basketball coach at South Alabama. I am grateful for the confidence they had in my coaching abilities to consider me for such a good position. Based on my current contract situation at Charlotte, I owed it to myself, my family and my assistant coaches to listen to that opportunity.


Despite the contract situation, Charlotte is where I want to be and we have two years to get back to winning at the level we are accustomed to. When I was announced as head coach nine years ago, I said it was my dream job. It still is. I am proud to be the head basketball coach at Charlotte. This is where my heart is and always will be. This is home. And most importantly, this is where I want to leave my mark. When I finish my coaching career my goal is to remain at UNC Charlotte in some capacity.

I am accustomed to success, and make no mistake, we will be successful on and off the court. Our history here at the school speaks for itself. We have been to post-season play in the NCAA on numerous occasions and won conference championships and those days are coming again. My commitment level to those goals is stronger than ever.

Last year was not acceptable and no one was more disappointed in our record and performance than me. I take full responsibility for it. There are a number of factors that led to having a sub-par season, but each of them end with me. I was not happy, our players were not happy and I know our fans were not happy with our results. I also know that last year's performance was an exception to the normal success we have experienced during our time here.

I am excited and energized about our future because of what we have in place. We will turn it around quickly and I can't wait for the first practice, first scrimmage and first game next season. I have a group of players currently working incredibly hard during this off-season. They are committed to getting back to our winning ways while continuing to excel in class and in the community.

We have a great senior leader in Lee Goldwire who will lead us in every way. It is comforting to have such a natural worker and leader like Lee. Ian Andersen is working hard to expand his game and become a more complete player. Mike Gerrity will provide a quickness and toughness that is so needed. Jerrell Lewis has improved his consistency and practices with excellent effort. Sean Phaler continues to improve his defensive effort and can obviously shoot the basketball. Charles Dewhurst has totally recovered from his injury and provides a combination of athleticism, ability, and skill. Kyle Church is the perfect walk-on who competes every single day to make everyone else better. Phil Jones is concentrating on academics and strength and conditioning and can't wait to join the team.

When you add our signed recruits (we can only talk about those who have signed by NCAA rules) I can't help but get excited. Gaby Ngoundjo is a quick athletic post player who can run the floor and block shots. Anjuan Wilderness is a proven winner and extremely versatile player with a great basketball IQ. Javarris Barnett is a big wing shooter with great upside and he is from Charlotte. Our staff has us in excellent position to complete this recruiting class in the next couple weeks. They are working tirelessly and I appreciate their dedication to getting us back to winning. We are all on the same page.

There is a lot to be optimistic about in regards to UNC Charlotte and our athletic program. Our academic stature rises by the day. Our beautiful campus grows seemingly on a daily basis as new buildings are everywhere. We are exploring football. Women's soccer won the league title. Women's basketball went to another WNIT. The baseball and golf teams are nationally ranked and the men's tennis team is heading to the NCAA tournament for the first time. Men's basketball is going to be back on that list of things that our fans are proud of and pound their chests about. I promise you that.

There are a number of adjustments we are making and I will share a number of those things with you the fans over the coming weeks and months. Expect to see a lot of me throughout the campus and the community.

Speaking of our fans, I need you; our team needs you. Thank all of you, especially our season ticket holders and members of NINER NATION, for your past support. We have a great schedule this upcoming season which will be released later. At this point, we are hosting sweet sixteen Southern Illinois, Maryland, Wake Forest, Davidson and Appalachian State in addition to High Point and Gardner-Webb. We are playing in a terrific early season tournament and will have a number of great league games to look forward to. When Halton Arena is loud and filled, we are a tough team to beat as evidenced by our 10 home wins last season.

I am not a gambler by nature, but the bottom line is this. . . I AM ALL IN! PERIOD! I am not leaving any chips on the table. I am proud to be the basketball coach at Charlotte and I am all in. My family is all in. Our staff is all in. Our players are all in. And I am confident that our fans are going to join us and be all in as well.

For us, next season has already begun and we are ALL IN!

Bobby Lutz

I believe him, lets win!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

:-(

Bobby Lutz Granted Permission To Talk To South Alabama

POSTED: 8:58 pm EDT April 11, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz has been granted permission to talk to South Alabama officials about the school's head coaching job.
Charlotte spokesman Ryan Rose on Wednesday confirmed South Alabama asked and received permission from athletic director Judy Rose to speak to Lutz, who is 168-112 in nine seasons with the 49ers.
Lutz, who has led Charlotte to five NCAA tournament appearances, was out of the office Wednesday and unavailable for comment, Rose said.
South Alabama, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, is looking to replace John Pelphrey, who was named head coach at Arkansas on Monday.
Charlotte was a disappointing 14-16 this season in its second year in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Charlotte had been in Conference USA before the nationwide reshuffling of conference affiliation three years ago.
Lutz has acknowledged he faced a difficult time recruiting, as the 49ers lacked a clear rival in their new league, which is dominated by schools from the Northeast.

I would understand, too much pressure at Charlotte.... Andy was right when he said "he has taken the program as far as his abilities could take the Niners, they need someone else to go to the next level."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hiatus

After getting sick and traveling to Ashley's wedding I was a little tired. Then while working on the south side of town with a 90 minute commute and cleaning all week Amanda & Company to arrive and entertaining three ladies in a one bedroom ONE BATHROOM apartment.... somehow in all that I completely forgot to blog. Well now things are kind of back to normal and I have decided to get back on the blogging bandwagon.

First off, it is baseball season here in Chicago. Much like when you get off the plane in Charlotte and before you pick up your luggage there is a sign that says "By the time you reach the bottom of the escalator, we ask that you choose your blue." One one side there is a Powder Blue and a UNC symbol and on the other is a prestigeous Royal Blue and a Duke symbol. Well, here you are either for the Cubs or the Northern Indiana White Sox. You can see which side I have chosen. I live 5 stops from the Cubbies and an hour on the train to the Sox. Plus I can get a beer in Wrigleyville, but you might die if you are out on the 35th at the wrong time.

Next up I would like to talk about how much I enjoyed having Amanda & friends here. As you know, I don't like to get all mushy on here and say how incredibly much I miss Amanda each and everyday, that would be pathetic and none of my 2 fans that check this site would ever want to read again. It was nice with Coleton, Marlies, and Amanda here to fill up the apartment. Amanda said it smelled like a dorm room when she first got here, though a little offended, I guess if there is only one guys here, I guess it would smell like me, I guess I smell like a dorm room. So they all had 100 products in and around the shower and dried their hair in the kitchen. So things all over smelled nice and girly. I liked seeing Amanda asleep when I left for work and meeting them for dinner as I got off of work.

I have to admit the first few days here were very nice, we all hung out, the weather was good, but I think Amanda got a little spooked by being surrounded by people all the time. Somewhere between the 40 degree tempreture swing from Tuesday to Wednesday and the subsequent snowfall, she changed her mind and canceled all summer obligations. Amanda will be moving up here soon after her last workday at school, mid June!!!!!

Not soon enough if you ask me.

I am feeling better these days though still hacking up green stuff from my lungs, doctors say it is normal but I am not a fan. It has nearly been a month now. I feel great otherwise. I am really loving work and all the challenges my new position brings, both stores saw tremendous growth last month and had positive yearly comps.... yeah bonus check!!! I will write more as I feel inspired to do so, please drop me a line if you read this, sometimes I think no one looks at it anymore.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Another one bites the dust....

Well, another one of ''my girls'' has a new last name.... all grown up now. Here are some pics from Ashley's wedding

Dhara, Chase, Amanda and I sitting close to the dance floor and the buffet table... shocker.



Jon and his girls rocking the electric slide... I was the ONLY male out there. Gorgeous bride gettin' down.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pneumonia

Pneumonia has taken hold and settled deep down in my lungs. This is not the most normal of motivations to write, but I will take whatever I can get. Writing is all I really have time to do while I am down and out. I haven’t been this sick in a couple years and this is obviously the first time I have had to go it alone. I cannot go anywhere even though it is so pretty out, just walking downstairs to check my mail left me so winded that I had to sit on the bottom step to catch my breath. Well the good news is I have drugs and a couple days to feel better. I know this entry seems kind of whiney but spirits are not down, it is warming up every day! If I wanted to get your sympathy, I would look it up in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who's The Boss... Chronology of my "I used to work for's"

I now have so much empathy for all the managers I had in high school and college. Though I have to admit, for a school age kid, I was pretty dedicated and bought in to the company philosophy of Revco, CVS, and the GAP. The associates I have to manage now are among some of the least motivated people I have ever met. Their ambitions in life are hard to dig out; one of them wants to work in business but can’t understand that you have to sell things for more than you bought them. I have yet to master the ability to connect with them.

It makes me think of my bosses from the past as a part timer. Jimbo, my first boss at Revco (later bought by CVS), didn’t probably want to hire me. Lucky for me, my cousin David was an assistant manager up in Greensboro and was willing to lie to say I would be a good worker. I was involved in so many activities in school that I really appreciate the flexibility he let me have, though I think I worked some kind of shift on almost every Saturday, and I don’t remember many Sundays off either. I loved Sundays because the pharmacist that worked on Sunday would bowl with Christina the shift supervisor and I down the analgesics aisle. That was a lot of crap for one man to deal with, but he took it in stride. To my knowledge, Jimbo is still managing the Mint Hill CVS.

I left CVS for greener and gayer pastures at the GAP. This was by far my favorite employer, even over my beloved Carmax. When I first started my new manager Mark called me and asked why I missed my first shift, I simply explained that no one told me that I had gotten the job. After a long pause, a gasp, and an hmmmm, he said “if you are dressed, I could sure use some help tonight.” There was my first day. From then on it was flirting with girls, scoring discounts for my friends, and learning a lot about fashion and the like. I got a lot of exposure to different people working at Eastland Mall. Mark was the first homosexual person that I ever spent a lot of time with, Mark always had pictures from parties and stuff sitting on his desk so I learned about that side of the gay lifestyle. Mark was the first manager who would talk to me like a peer, always making me make decisions, hence, getting me to care about what I was doing. He was moody too though, which I had to learn how to deal with. When he went to another store, Lisa stepped up to become manager and it was the first time I saw the political workings of the workplace. As soon as that happened, two of the passed over assistants quit and the third demanded a transfer. I followed Kyle to the University store.

Kyle was the first manager I ever interacted with outside of work, I helped him move a couch from a friends house into his apartment. Kyle was also the first manager I ever really disappointed. This was a grand opening store and they had yet to fill in the lead cashier role, not too much responsibility, but at 18 an extra dollar an hour goes a long way. On the first day I was supposed to open, I slept in, and Mark who had returned as manager decided to go another direction. Kyle pulled me aside and let me know how much I had disappointed and embarrassed him. I only slept in for work one more time in my life, 5 years later. I became lead cashier there right before Kyle left to become the manager at the Winston Salem GAP, I felt like I had vindicated him and made right my egregious wrong.

Then came the switch to Carmax, welcome to used cars Mr. Salesman. I did make a lot more money but I never enjoyed work the way I did back in the GAP days. On my first day of sales training, I found out that my assigned manager had quit, a few weeks later I saw him working at the GAP as a manager in training, shocker, it didn’t work out. My first car sold was to Mary and Jack, friend's of my mom’s. I sold about 6-10 cars a month and was pretty good at it, but I never got feedback from any of my managers. I would learn a lot about what a bad manager was from these sales manager. These are the same people that I helped to “promote to customer” when I became a manager. I loved the money in sales, but when I skipped a class to close a deal, I realized a commissioned job was not right for a college student. I put in my two weeks notice and went on the prowl.

I landed about 100 feet away when at Sunday sales training they introduced the new Purchasing Manager Chris. He asked anyone if they knew anyone who wanted a part time job taking off license plates, pulling in cars, and doing walkarounds. I approached him after the training and said I wanted the job. He didn’t want to take someone from the sales force, but after I showed him my resignation letter, he talked to the LGM and I was in. My first day as a Buyer’s assistant was in August of 2000. I called that office home until December 2006.

Chris was a spastic guy who was never fully involved in the store. He would show up at nine, leave at three without ever opening his door. He was cool in that he would pay for us to all go bowling and buy all the beer, he would even vouch that I was certainly of age to drink. He cared about us all in that he would not let people drive drunk or pay for dinner. He always took interest in what I was doing at school. Ultimately Chris was soon fired for some questionable business practices. KMX had to bring in the big gun, affectionately known as the Commander.

C3 (his initials were CCC) was the most hard nosed and ruthless manager I had ever had. He was not a jerk by any means, I actually had a better relationship with him (likely due to the limited amount of time I spent with him) than most had. He did what Chris could not do, by the time I became Buyer In Training, I had the fourth longest tenure in an office of 14. C3 was the first boss I feared, not because he would hurt me, but because you could not read the guy. He had a great poker face, you would talk about the business and he would just nod his head and say “interesting.” He was never high nor low, just bald. The worst was this smirk he got right before he was about to correct you with a long dissertation on the proper way to do things. His smirk was accentuated with his deep dimples; if you got “dimpled” you were done.

Joe transferred in from another store as a Senior Buyer and after becoming the PM at another store, came back as C3 went to Cali. Joe had to put up with me growing up and growing into my job. I was too young, but the company and C3 knew I would be a good manager one day so I think they took a leap of faith I would learn quickly. The jury is still out on their decision. Joe taught me a lot about how to be a company man and how to work my natural interpersonal skills. He spent a lot of one on one time with me, trying to make me a better manager. He was a drummer in a cover band, I hung out with other guys at his shows and would always help close the place down and pack gear, ask Amanda, I can never leave early or on time. Joe was the first boss I ever stood up to, I won some, I lost many more, but I would always feel respected and heard. Sometimes all you need is to be heard. Joe put up with many of the worst mistakes one can make in the workplace, one he really should have fired me for, but he didn’t, and I am here because of that.

MJ is my current boss, though not my PM, he is directly above me as a mentor and liaison to my PM. In 10 weeks I can tell you he is the greatest unrealized asset this company has. He has taken to this XFM project like a kid in a candy store, making changes and taking names. Well hell, anyone can do that, and I agree. MJ makes it your decision, I tell him that I have yet to see him make an actual decision anywhere. He just smiles and says, “You’re on to me.” He was gone last week, the store ran flawlessly without him, that is a sign of great leadership. I have never felt more empowered as an employee to change, develop, and implement anything I wish.

I have been very lucky to work for some great people, I have no idea who is next. I would like to work for a woman for a change, but there is only one female PM and she is in Texas, trust me, not going to happen. Maybe some guy will blog about me as a manager 10 years from now, that would be kind of rewarding.