Posts Tagged ‘Helaine’

 

Two Thirds Of The Fox Family Felt The Quake

Monday, March 17th, 2014

FireShot-Screen-Capture-#002---'Google-Maps'---www_google_com_maps_@34_134916,-118_48597,3a,75y,27_3h,90t_data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1smimYdJKZc1uXvgSr660hcg!2e0There was an earthquake this morning. It came at 6:25:36 AM PDT. Helaine felt it. Stef felt it. Geoff slept!

It’s the first time in my life I can look at an epicenter and say, “I know where that is.” The plots put it just off Sepulveda, on the Valley side of Mullholland, overlooking Sherman Oaks and Encino in a beautiful area of expensive homes.

Helaine was awake. She knew what it was immediately and noted the time.

“The bed shook and the before it stopped shaking stuff started shaking on your nightstand.”

That’s at a distance of 53 miles.

Up in Hollywood and 45 miles closer to the epicenter, Stef was answering Roxie’s call for food. As they sat on the bed her ci15476961_ciim_geobuilding started to sway like one of those air powered attention getters that sit outside stores¹.

Buildings are supposed to sway. It’s sway or snap! All modern buildings here are designed that way. That’s why a 4.4 quake did virtually no damage.

In the ’94 Northridge quake there were reports of liquefaction, where the ground temporarily acts like a liquid. None today. No major landslides either. That’s a big worry in areas that have had recent fires.

Earthquakes are a way of life in California. We live over a subduction zone. There is a constant buildup of pressure as the Earth’s crust bends, then breaks. The mythical “big one” will unleash hundreds, maybe thousands, of times the energy this little shake produced.

There are limits to our preparation.

¹ – The closest I can find to their actual name is “wacky inflatable flailing arm advertising men.”

My Night At Ralphs

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Helaine is past the mid-point of an awful chest cold. For the last few days she’s sounded like geese heading south.

Then the nose part kicked in.

Between sneezing and coughing she pulled a muscle in her back!

I’m trying to be a helpful husband. I brought home dinner–cheesesteaks¹. First, though, a quick trip to Ralphs.

Ralphs is a SoCal supermarket chain. It was founded in the 1870s by George Ralphs. It’s owned by Kroger’s now. It’s as SoCal as Cincinnati allows.

Talk about stranger in a strange land! Here I was, adjacent to 15 aisles of “I’m lost.” Could I have trained for this?

The sign above one aisle promised cookies AND gourmet cookies. Ralphs, you had me at cookies.

It was all coming back to me.

I walked past an end cap display of Oreos. Oreos! Why must we start with the hard stuff?

I remembered why the market was such a dangerous place. The force drawing me toward the Oreos was incredible. I fought back.

Helaine wanted minced garlic. Where?

I walked from produce to deli and back again. Nothing.

Finally I walked to the front and asked a bagger. She didn’t know.

She asked the girl on her register. Zip again.

The women running the next register said she thought it was on the table with the tomatoes.

Uh, no.

My guess is there’s no minced garlic at Ralphs. Or, if there is, it’s with the cards and magazines.

I never did find it. Helaine told me to just pick up a fresh garlic. That’s right. I called her from Ralphs… twice.

Milk, half-and-half, breadcrumbs (plain), an onion. My route followed no pattern. I did not have a qualifying time at Ralphs! Could I be more husbandy?

Usually I do the self checkout. Not tonight. With garlic, onions and some bananas in my basket I needed a pro to scan me through. I gave her my Ralph’s card.

I’m not sure why I have one. I don’t know exactly what it does. No one’s ever shown me my balance and I’ve never asked.

Helaine said Ralphs should hire personal shoppers for when guys like me to come. She wasn’t even there, but she knew.

¹ – Real Philly cheesteaks, with real Amoroso rolls! Sweet.

It’s Fantasy Season

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

It’s Fantasy Football season. Count me in! I did this a bunch of times back at the old place. Now there’s a new group with whom I can embarrass myself!

Make no mistake about it. I will embarrass myself.

To understand Fantasy Football you’ve got to forget football is a team sport. Each player is split out as an individual and his stats establish your score.

“It’s sports betting,” says Helaine.

How can she say that about my team, The Incontinent Poodles?

Actually she’s got a point. You don’t care if the team on the field wins or loses as long as your players (often playing against each other in real life) do well. That subtracts from the purity of the game… though maybe it’s a little late to worry about purity in sports.

I’ve already downloaded a “draft kit” to help me better understand my options. It’s 79 pages long. This is serious stuff. I guess what I’m saying is, beyond a few superstars I don’t know too much!

My work league’s draft is being held Sunday in Windsor. I’ll probably just line up my choices beforehand and let the computer act as my surrogate. Windsor’s a long drive on Sunday morning.

I look forward to this every year. It’s likely everyone else in the league will know more than me. No one will have a better time.

She’s Helaine’s Child

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

My phone rang as I was leaving the station tonight. It was Stef with cookies baking in the oven. Roxie was supervising.

When she lived here Stef needed a map to find the kitchen. It’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt she didn’t know where the sink or dishwasher were nor the purpose of either.

That was then, this is now.

She’s seeing people tomorrow night. Tonight it’s bake to impress.

Butter cookies with raspberry jam centers were rising in her kitchen at the base of the Hollywood Hills. She will impress! Even I was tempted to drive to Hollywood Blvd. for a taste!

It’s interesting to see how as Stef gets older traits from Helaine and me (mostly Helaine), well hidden during the tumult of her teen years, are beginning to show.

Sorry Stef, you’re powerless to stop this. They’re in full bloom now. Baking cookies is something you do because it was something Helaine did. You’re Helaine’s child! Nothing wrong with that.

At one point the timer on her oven began to beep. This is intense work performed with surgical precision. The cookies needed her attention. Stef removed the baking tin. The clock continued to wail.

“Hey, MacGyver, defuse the bomb,” I begged hoping she’d silence this ‘successfully designed to annoy’ noise.

We spent most of my ride home chatting as she baked batch-after-batch and Roxie looked on.

“Roxie’s not sure what’s going on,” Stef said.

No, Roxie knows. I’d be attentive around that scent too!

It’s a good night to be a dad. It’s a good night to be Geoff.

Whomever gets those cookies had better appreciate them.

Lebowski Influence: The Foxes Go Bowling!

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Helaine and I might not have found “The Big Lebowski” the best movie we’d ever seen, but it did leave an impression! That’s why Helaine’s New Years Eve afternoon question seemed reasonable.

“Want to go bowling?”

The Foxes come well prepared. We each have a bag, ball and shoes! In the garage since our last bowling foray they were covered with whatever it is that makes a garage so esthetically unique.

Helaine in her role as family archivist noted it had been a year and a half since we last bowled. In that time the lanes closest to us had closed. Off to Google for helping finding a place.

I’m sure this is my screw-up, but 600 South Colony somehow became 800 North Colony when I entered it into MapQuest4Mobil on my iPhone. That brought us to stores and people, but no bowling alley.

I asked the guy moving shopping carts toward the grocery if he knew where it was.

“You know where the tattoo place is?” he asked.

I said yes though the answer was no. We drove toward the presumed location.

This was my poorest bowling experience since I was a little kid! When your wife offers encouragement that it’s still possible for you to break 100 you know things are bad!

On the other hand the company was spectacular. I had a great time being with Helaine.

She beat me three-for-three!

Maybe I’ll Wait To Post

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I wanted to post something this morning… OK, this afternoon. I wasn’t up this morning but you get the idea.

Then before I could fire up the blog Helaine pointed me to the radar. “You’d better get ready now,” she said. I am blessed with “Early Warning Pinpoint Wife.”

So a real post later. Right now my hands are full with radar returns in hot colors. This is a worrisome weather scenario.

Someday When We Move

Friday, June 18th, 2010

“Someday when we move…” Helaine began. She was sitting over a pile of stuff; an archeological dig from a seldom opened cabinet in the family room. Unrelated artifacts were piling up on the family room floor. She was pondering how much crap we have that needs to disappear.

“Do you need these National Geographics from 2002-2003?” They are now outta here.

She found a cache of doctor’s notes and prescriptions from when she was an infant. My mother-in-law was a packrat where Helaine was concerned.

One note from the pediatrician told her mother to feed Helaine “strained meat, white or sweet potatoes and Jello.” Another added, “Try homogenized milk in place of formula.”

I’ve met this doctor now a sprightly younger-than-his-age senior. If he sent this note home today we’d be leading the news with his arrest, right?

We’ve got newspapers from Stef’s birth day. We’ve got papers from her first birthday too. Those aren’t going away. Same for the 12/31/99 and 1/1/00 stuff. Y2K may have been a bust but we’ve got it documented anyway.

Helaine held up a plastic bag full of newspapers from September 11. Those can never be discarded nor forgotten.

Did you read this book? Did you read that book? Lots of partially read books. I need a longer attention span.

There’s memorabilia from the Phils winning the National League Championship. We had limited expectations back then. Same for the UCONN NCAA win in March ’99.

Anyone need a Gucci TV Guide holder? We have one. Amazon has one listed for $150. Seriously?

Right now I’m staring at a very old record album: “The Best of the Stan Freberg Shows.” A crew cut Stan is grasping his glasses while holding a pink script and standing in front of a CBS Radio microphone. There’s a cut from this I’ll get dubbed and post here later. I no longer have a way at home to convert vinyl grooves to digits.

Someday when we move! I need to be absent that day.

Ask Me Anything–Why A Philadelphia Fan?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I’m currently answering all your questions. Read more about it here.

Dave writes, “As you grew up in NYC, have lived in the Buffalo area and now CT how did you and Helaine become such avid Philly sports fans?

Yeah, funny thing isn’t it? A lot of my friends don’t understand.

Helaine’s explanation is easier. She grew up in Philadelphia, the only child of a father who was a rabid Philly sports fan. It was from him she learned to talk back to the TV and question balls and strikes even when the Phils are up by a dozen. They shared a Phils season ticket package as she grew up.

My answer is a little more difficult. I grew up in New York and was a marginal sports fan. Nothing serious. I attended a few games–even a Mets game at the pre-Shea Stadium Polo Grounds!

I worked in Philadelphia on the radio from 1975 to 1980. Philly is where I realized I was an adult. Normally you slide into adulthood gradually. Not me.

It happened in the late 70s when I began playing poker every Thursday night with a bunch of guys around my age. Most of them had families. All of them had responsibilities. Each was accomplished in his own way. It was an impressive group.

They were adults and treated me as an equal. Therefore, I realized in one Eureka moment, I too was an adult. I was ready for adult pursuits.

At the same time a friend whose father was a season ticket holder to the Eagles asked if I wanted to buy two of them. Bingo! My love of Philly sports began.

I sat through a 4-10 Eagles season in Section 614. I never left before the final gun.

I attended a load of Phillies games at the Vet. I was there for the Phils-Dodgers playoff game where the fans rattled Bert Hooten so badly he had to be pulled!

I find watching sports with my wife among the most enjoyable parts of our relationship. She knows a lot more about the games than me!

Finally, I Did Something Romantic (With Video)

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Helaine spent the end of the week in Milwaukee. This morning she flew back. She got to spend Mother’s Day morning with Stef, now back in Los Angeles, and Mother’s Day afternoon with me.

I have an admission. I am not a romantic guy. I love my wife but… well some guys just aren’t very adept at romantic gestures.

None of this is lost on Stef. This year she gave me some advice, “Make dinner for mommy.” It would be our little secret until Helaine saw or smelled what was going on.

It is a running joke here that over 26 years of marriage I have made dinner zero times! Today that would change.

Stef found a recipe on Food Network’s site for Wolfgang Puck’s “Fresh Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta..”

“You can do this,” she said.

Friday night after work I headed to Stop and Shop to fill my grocery list. Yes, I needed help. I had no clue where most of the things I needed were located. Not only that, there are shopping nuances I didn’t know.

I was on the phone with my friend Dennis as I shopped. That was a good thing because until he set me straight I thought each head of garlic was a clove. Overly spicy dinner avoided!

I’d also like to thank the nice woman at the self checkout stand who found a way to get me the shopper’s card discount without my having a shopper’s card… and gave me a quick lesson in weighing and pricing produce. The woman knew the four digit code for tomatoes without looking!

You veteran dinner preparers probably know how to do this, but I had no clue how to backtime the meal so it arrived at the same time Helaine did. I started as she landed at Bradley. As it turns out the timing was right, but that was just blind luck.

Within the first minute of prep I realized I was in over my head. I’d never chopped onions or garlic. I didn’t know which pan was a saucepan. I had herbs to remove from their stems.

Actually, it’s possible I have experience in herb/stem removal from my college days, but that’s a story for another time.

Long story short, the pasta came out tasting pretty good. Wolgang’s might taste better, but there’s no way it has as much love in it as mind did.

A home cooked meal is romantic. Stef knew that. Helaine was touched. Stef knew that would be the case too. This is one gift she’ll never forget.

Is The Swine Flu Kosher?

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Stef and Roxie came home last week to spend a few days with us. They were supposed to be on a plane this afternoon winging their way to SoCal.

“I canceled the reservation,” Helaine said when I sauntered out of bed this afternoon. “They’re rebooked for Wednesday.”

She then described why Stefanie wouldn’t be on an airplane today. Any list of symptoms that includes “her skin hurts” seems reasonably debilitating to me.

Stef parked it on the couch in the family room. She had already shifted into slo-mo mode.

Helaine called this evening while I was at work. Stef’s fever was just over 100°, but she was feeling worse than earlier and having some trouble breathing. By the time Helaine touched base with Dr. Steve the die was cast. He said she’d be better off at the 24-hour walk-in facility in Guilford than the hospital’s E.R.

It didn’t take long for Stef to be seen and a verdict rendered. Swine flu, aka: H1N1!

Actually, as I understand it, there’s no simple way to know for sure what she has. Anyway, by the time tests came back you’d already want to be treating it.

Wednesday’s flight is out. Another cancellation.

“Imagine if she would have gotten on that flight,” Helaine pondered. You don’t want to think about that.

On Facebook Stef was making the best of it:

Yup…I have the piggy flu. Teeny tiny piggies running around my tummy… You always knew I liked to be trendy.

Luckily she didn’t get on the plane and she’s in a place where pre-existing conditions don’t matter. No one takes better care of you than mom!