Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank you for your service

Today is Memorial Day.  So many people forget what today is really for.  It's fine to have barbecues, picnics and the first official weekend of the summer at the beach.  But today is also to remember the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom.

Like my brother, Michael reminded me just a short while ago, we must give special tribute to the soldiers of World War II.  Without their sacrifice, bravery and profound sense of duty to God and country, we very well could be speaking German or Japanese now.  I know for sure the citizens of France should thank their lucky stars they are still able to speak French!

My Uncle Francis Curry was a Tech Sergeant in World War II, fighting in North Africa and Europe.  We just recently got documentation about when he was killed in action.  His plane went down and we learned Uncle Francie and some of the others survived the crash only to be burned alive in the fire that happened after the crash.  He is buried in Anzio, Italy.

Uncle Francie was the only person I knew of who gave his life for our freedom.  Thankfully, my father survived as a radioman in the Navy and came home unscathed.

I have a decidedly military family.  Three of my 4 brothers are retired Marines.  One of my brothers served 20 years!   My brother, Michael, served in Viet Nam.  My brother Jimmy served in the first Gulf War.  My brother, Marty somehow managed to miss every confrontation in his 20 years in the Marines. He was either in Korea or Okinawa at the time.  For 3 years, he was a drill instructor at Parris Island.

My John served for 20 years in the Army with the 82nd Airborne and was involved in Grenada.  His son, Mark is also with the Army's 82nd Airborne.  Mark has completed 3 tours of Iraq, a stint in Haiti after the earthquake there last year and as soon as he got stateside after that, was sent to Afghanistan!  He is stateside again, but still serving.

My brother-in-law, Jim served for 29 years in the Army.  He did 2 tours in Viet Nam with the 101st Airborne Division. He went on to be become an Army Ranger and then a Green Beret with Special Forces.  He retired in 1995 as a full Colonel.

My nephew, Steve served 9 years with the US Marines as a helicopter mechanic.  Steve was part of the President's helicopter fleet.  He had the honor of flying with some great dignitaries, among them Pope John Paul II.  Then the Army said, "Join us and we'll let you become a pilot!'  So he's been with the Army's 82nd Airborne for the past 12 years, piloting a Black Hawk helicopter!  He has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and spent time in the Bahamas (aw, such a tough assignment) chasing drug runners.  Steve is still serving in the Army.

Steve's sister, Marianne also served in the Army during and after college and law school in the Army Reserves!  She resigned her commission when she became pregnant with her first child.

So thank a Soldier or a Sailor or an Airman or a Marine when you see them.  They are willing to give their lives so we can have the freedoms we enjoy to this day.  And say a prayer for their continued safely.  Remember those, like my Uncle Francie, who gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom.  We are so very fortunate to live here and we have freedoms that people in countries around the world can only dream about!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Update: John's 6 month PET scan

Yesterday, John had an appointment with Dr. Sunita Nasta, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to get the results of the 6 month PET scan to see if his cancer has returned or not.  For those of you new to my blog, you can read John's full story here.  You can also read more of John's story by clicking on the Label, CANCER SUCKS on my sidebar.

** NOTE:  my brother Michael describes a PET scan (positron emission tomography)  as this:  they make you drink nuclear shit and then they x-ray you, similar to a CT scan.  If anything lights up, you probably have cancer.   

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago, John had his semi-annual PET scan done.  We drove to HUP for his appointment.
When he had his appointment in October 2010, Dr. Nasta leaped into the air as she popped into the room, with a big grin on her face and pronounced YOU ARE BETTER THAN EVER!!!  

Not so much this time.

Yesterday, she walked into the room, no smile on her face.  Oh shit.  This isn't good.

She told us that the scan showed 2 very small nodes, less than a centimeter in diameter each.  For those of us Americans who are not metric literate, a centimeter is about 1/3 of an inch. Teeny tiny.  

But they lit up and that's not good.  One in the groin, one in the neck.  They are so small she couldn't even feel them.

She asked if John had been sick recently or had a fever.  Nope.  He has lost about 10 pounds since his last visit.  He does get tired and often falls asleep when he gets home from work at 4 pm.  

So John had 2 choices.  He could get an ultra-sound and she'd then do a biopsy (on a teeny tiny node that she can't feel), or John could get another PET scan in 6 weeks to see if they grew and to also see if they light up again.  He opted to get the PET scan at the end of June (6 weeks will have gone by since his last one) and see her again on July 6.

There is a possibility that the lighting up was a fluke caused by a fever or virus that John wasn't aware of.  Or the scanner in the lab is new and maybe a little "enthusiastic" in his interpretation of the scan.  

So, now John has an appointment on June 28 for his scan and then an appointment on July 6 to get the results.  If the scan shows the nodes are cancerous again, John will have to start yet another round of Chemo.

We went to the Potbelly Sandwich Shop to grab a bite, since John had been fasting all day.  While we were there, we discussed it, calmly.  Again, we are taking a positive approach.  This is another battle in this war called Cancer.  He's not going to let this get him down.  Hopefully, the next test will be a good one and we can relax for a few months again.   If not, well, I guess I'll be driving the Schuylkill Expressway into Center City Philadelphia quite often again.   I think I should get my AAA membership renewed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dear So and So: Royally duped!

Dear Whoever Posted the comparison photos of Prince William and his lovely bride,

OK, you got me and a lot of other folks across America.

You see, yesterday, someone posted these photos of Prince William and Kate Middleton and compared them to the Disney pictures of Cinderella and Prince Charming at their wedding.  Also in the picture are comparison photos of the Ugly Stepsisters and The Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.  The similarities was astounding!  Look for yourself! (sorry the photo isn't real clear.  It's the best I could do)

We all laughed at the similarities.  C'mon, you know you did!  You might even have put them on your own Facebook page and shared them with your friends.  I know I did!  

Then this evening, I read an article online about how someone photo-shopped the Disney pictures to match the ones taken at the Royal Wedding.  Surely they were kidding!!!  So I googled Disney Cinderella wedding images and this is what I found.

They aren't even close!  We were duped!!!  Someone just pointed another flaw out to me.  In the fake photo, Cinderella is a brunette.  In the real photo, she's a blonde!  I didn't even notice that!

I feel cheated, especially with the Ugly Stepsister/ Real Princesses photos!  I thought that was brilliant!

Dear Friends,
If you like Dear So and So, and want to give it a try, just pop over to Kat's Place at Three Bedroom Bungalow, hook up with her Linky and add your own!  It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Update on the job front, and a surprise visitor!

Okay, so it's been a few weeks since the shit hit the fan the new company took over, and people are dropping like flies quite a few employees have decided to move on to other jobs.

I'm pissed at the ones who just walked out.  A few of the crew kids thought it would be fun to walk out in the middle of their shift, on a  busy Friday night, hoping to cause chaos.  Didn't happen.  Fortunately, we had managers and trainers from other stores in to help with proper training and they took over hosting and bussing duties.

Our general manager discovered via a cook that there were want ads on our website, for a GM position and a kitchen manager position.  When he asked if his job was in jeopardy, the response from our new District Manager was, "Well, are you doing your job?" (he wasn't... he is why so any are jumping ship).  He packed his stuff and left.  Rumor has it that he went back to his former store and tried to get his kitchen manager job back, but was turned down when they found out he walked out of this job.  If he had waited until he got fired, he could have collected unemployment.  Now he's screwed.

As of now, about 20 employees that I can recall have left.  We are in the process of hiring and training new servers and hosts, as well as cooks and dishwashers.  Soon we will have an entirely new staff working here! And they will all be trained properly!  Our former General Manager was filling the place with bodies, didn't matter if they had any kind of training whatsoever.  

The thing is, with leaving a job like serving, when you go to a new restaurant, no matter how much experience you have, you are still the new kid on the block.  You need to earn the right to get good hours, good sections and make decent money.  You WILL be one of the first ones out every night.  You WILL get the crappy stations to work in.  You WILL get smaller sections until you prove you can handle more tables.  

I did learn when I validate someone I get a higher hourly wage AND I keep their tips!! Woo hoo!!!  I made an extra $50 on Monday night!  So I'll work extra hours when they need me if that's going to happen!  Validation is when a server in training takes tables and I follow them around to make sure they are doing everything correctly.

We have managers and trainers from a few of our other stores to help out, mostly from New York.  We have a temporary General Manager until they can hire someone permanently.  I want her to stay forever!  I HEART HER A LOT!!!  She's fun.  She's energetic.  She doesn't take shit from anyone, but is quick to bestow praise when she sees it.  I've seen her sit down and have quite a few little "chats" with disgruntled employees.  Our place of employment is supposed to be energetic and fun.  These folks are bringing fun back to our jobs!  She gave me $5 the other night for answering a question correctly!!

There are two in particular that I will be happy to see leave this place and I hope it's soon.  They are both disrespectful and rude to fellow workers, me included.  They both had chats with management and I'm guessing their days are numbered.  Good riddance to them.  I don't need negative rude people around me. I like my job and I want to have fun when I'm there.  This is a new company.  If you don't like the rules, there's the door.  See ya later.  Bye.  There are so many people willing to take your job and play by the rules.  We don't need you.

We are cleaning (literally, with soap and water and Windex and degreaser, etc.) our place up, really good.  They are getting us tons of new equipment.  Everyone is getting proper training. We are going to be awesome!!  

And in other news.....

While I was at work yesterday I had a visitor!  It was none other than Matty from Matty Thoughts!!  Matty stopped by to say hello!  We've been reading each others blog for a couple of years now, and we live not far from each other.  Matty's been telling me he was going to drop by one of these days and yesterday he did!  He happened to be in the mall where I work and dropped in to see if I was working.  We didn't have much time to chat, since I had tables to take care of, but we did get to chat for a minute.  It was a pleasure meeting you, Matty!  You look just like your picture!

And a great big WAY TO GO and an OO-RAH for our Navy Seal Team who took out Osama Bin Laden!  Even if the photo going around Facebook is a fake, I still think it's a good look for him!  And we can handle anything those extremists throw at us!  Maybe now, some of the 3,000+ families can have some peace and closure.  God Bless America!