Friday, July 29, 2011

Mixed feelings

I am so happy, and at the same time, so sad, at the recent turn of events in Trenton.

On the one hand, I am ECSTATIC that the Trenton Titans (ECHL) hockey team is returning to Trenton, and that they will have the Flyers as an affiliate. When the Flyers' hated rival, the Devils, owned and operates the team, I couldn't bring myself to attend or root for them. (The exception was the far-too-brief span when Max Ouellet was their emergency goalie. I'd cheer for him no matter what logo was on his jersey.)

Anyway, the Devils cleared out of Trenton 3 weeks ago, having given up on fielding a team in Flyers country. And in that time, fans and local investors pulled together to resurrect their team's much-loved previous incarnation: the Titans. I couldn't be happier about that.

But it has resurrected my sadness over losing the Phantoms. No, I am not over it. It's a chronic pain, flaring in the background every time I watch a Phantoms home game in ADK online and see sparse attendance, or any time I see a Phantoms road game, also online, that has even sparser attendance. It's frustrating to think that we fans who loved our team, lost it, and the people who HAVE an AHL team in town don't take advantage of it.

I miss my team. All the time. It hurts like my knee hurts, on a daily basis that has become part of the backdrop of my life. Glens Falls is too bleeping far away, and IMO even Allentown will be too far away, if we ever live to see the day when the already-behind-schedule, ground-isn't-broken-yet arena is built. On land that was plagued by sinkholes in recent years. Foe which the city wants to use Eminent Domain to forcibly relocate businesses. For which every local resident swears the traffic patterns as they exist now can't possibly withstand the spikes of a hockey game or a concert.

Why did stupid Comcast not push for the Bellmawr, NJ location? STUPID STUPID STUPID. Its a stone's throw from Philadelphia. The existing fan base could easily have made the jump. NooooOOOOOoooo. That made too much sense.

There is a part of me that hopes something happens to MAKE the team move closer to Philly than Allentown. What that is, or where that'd be now that the Bellmawr site has other construction plans not including an arena, I don't know.

But hey. Trenton just got their beloved Titans back, and a Flyers affiliation to boot. Who ever thought THAT could happen? Not even a month ago, that was an unrealistic pipe dream. So anything can happen.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Flat tires and road trips

Driving back from a visit with JEJ on Wednesday night, as I was about to make a left turn onto Bartram Avenue, my car's steering wheel suddenly started pulling vigorously to the right. I knew that the last time I had the steering wheel take on a life of its own, I was in the process of getting a flat tire. Still, I was only a few minutes from home, so my hope was that the tire would hold out for the rest of my trip. I made the left turn when the light turned green.

A moment later, the telltale noise of a flat tire started up. WUBWUBWUBWUB went the tire, and "@#$*&" went I. It's not just that it was a really inconvenient hour for the tire to kick the bucket. It's also that there's not so much as ONE inch of shoulder on any part of that road to pull over onto, so I *had* to keep driving in traffic, flat tire or no flat tire. I put my hazard lights on and kept moving. WUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUB. @*&$@*#&$@$.

Fortunately, almost immediately after I made my turn onto Essington Avenue, there was a parking lot available to safely turn into. Even better, this particular lot belongs to an airport parking service, where a person can pay to park their car, then take a shuttle bus to the airport. So it's a business that's actually open 24/7.

I called Mark and AAA, both of whom arrived within ten minutes. The AAA driver actually called to verify my location, and he was entirely familiar with the area once I described where I was.

My biggest concern was whether the spare tire would actually fit onto the car. My previous car had a spare with a mismatched rim; I didn't find out until I needed it that the rim didn't fit the car, rendering the spare unusable. So I was kind of holding my breath this time around, until I actually saw the rim go onto the car without difficulty.

Of course, the only drawback here is that the spare tire is a little Barbie-tire-sized donut. I took one look at the tiny tire and realized that there was no way I would be able to drive to Brigantine in that car the following day, as I'd planned. So Mark agreed to switch cars with me, and let me drive his car to Brigantine on Thursday.

Which is what I did. Cousins Michele, Bryen, Mary, and Connell were visiting Aunt Rita from Illinois, so I wanted to get out there and see them while they were in Brigantine. Hence, I drove there on Thursday and came home today.

We had a great time on the beach. Mary and I went into the ocean -- it's been way, WAY too long since I was in the ocean! -- and I was surprised at how cold the water was. The temperatures on land have been unseasonably hot, but unfortunately that didn't translate into a warm ocean yesterday. I'm told that there was a storm out at sea, which does explain the cold water. Storms churn the water from the depths up to the surface, and BRRR, that can translate into cold water. Then again, with a heat wave that's downright ridiculously hot scorching most of the continent, I can't exactly complain about the water being cold. If there's one week we've needed it, it's this week.

But if I thought yesterday was hot, today is even worse. Even Brigantine was hot, and Atlantic City (and Philly!) were scheduled to reach triple digits today. Ugh. Too bad I couldn't hang out for a while in Brigantine *today* and take another swim, but I had to get home.

It was so nice to see everyone this week. I only wish I could have spent more time with them all. But I was feeding JR's cat all week while he and JFM were away, so I couldn't spend more than one day at the shore. It's an unfortunate coincidence that both events were in the same week.

Anyway, it's been a great few days. other than that whole flat-tire situation that I could have done without. Then again, at least the tire didn't conk out on my to or from Brigantine. In this heat, the last thing in the universe that I'd have wanted to do is get stuck somewhere on a highway between here and the shore. That would have been dreadful. So if the tire had to go kaput, at least it was kind enough to do it when I was close to home.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Family History

JFM, JR and I went to the National Archives this afternoon and started looking through their digital records for pieces of family history. JR found relatives who were here as far back as the 1790s. JFM found his grandfather's draft registration and learned that he'd served in WWI.

I was able to pinpoint several relatives' arrival in the USA in 1870 (naturalized in 1893), 1909, and 1910. I actually met the great-grandparent who got here in 1909; the others had passed before I was born. It was also interesting to see that the relative who'd been listed as Antonio in the 1900 census was "Tony" in the 1920 census; he also dropped the final syllable of his surname to make it more Anglicized. He wasn't the only one, either. Two Giuseppes became Joseph, Lucia became Lucy, Rosa became Rose, Giovanina became Jennie. (And in one census, boy was THAT name butchered by the English-speaking person who recorded the data. Holy cow.)

Armed with a few more birth years and arrival years than I'd had before, I hope I can track down some additional information in the future when I sit down to tackle the non-digital records.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Special Date

So my Dad called this evening and asked, "What day of the week was October 30, 1955?"

I was out walking the dog at the time of the call, but said I'd look it up when I got home. Then I asked why he was asking. "That's the day I met your mother."

When I looked it up, I found that the date fell on a Sunday, at which point, he said, "Then I met your mother at a party the night before, on October 29."

So there you have it. Now I know the date my parents met: October 29, 1955. I think that's kind of cool. :-)