National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The 9/11 Memorial is a peaceful tribute to those that died there. It very much reminds me of the VietnamUnited States, New York, Manhattan, 9/11 Memorial designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad involving a forest of trees around two bodies of water with two large Square holes in their center at the exact spot where the formers towers stood Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC…something appropriately cold about the materials used and the simple listing of names.

After that we entered the 9/11 Museum. It may be the best museum I have ever been to. It is amazingly designed and laid out. The majority of the museum is underground. They are able to take you right up to the foundations of the World Trade Centers without making you feel as if you are disturbing what is now hallowed ground.

The content of the museum was just as impressive. There are 3 main sections. The foundation hall has various exhibits and the memorial hall has portrait photographs of all of the victims. But the best part was the historical exhibition. In here you walk through 3 sections of time.

bp3There is the World Trade Centers prior to 9/11: the concept, the construction, the use of the buildings, and what they represented including, for instance, as a backdrop in movies.

Then there is reliving the day. I do this every September 11th by watching History Channel. For some reason I like to get myself upset about what happened. But I also like being amazed in watching the brave firefighters go into the buildings. I also take pride in how the people of NYC came together that day. This part of the museum definitely stirred the same emotions that I get by watching the documentaries each year.

(My own recollections of that day…well, it was confusing. I was working at Mercadien listening to everything unfold on the radio. It took awhile for us to understand that the first crash wasn’t an accident. Even after understating, I don’t think I got upset that day. I was too focused on work…Hillier’s tax return was on extension and it was due September 15 whether we were under attack or not. I even worked late that night. To be clear, there wasn’t a person who told me to stay buried in my work or to stay late. It was just the understood culture of the time and place.)

The final section takes you through the aftermath. Not only are the recovery and rebuilding presented, but also the larger effects on the country and the world. I liked that this section didn’t sugar coat anything. The words “Islamic terrorist” were used. On the other side, they presented August Daily Brief from the CIA to President Bush warning “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”.

(My memories of post-9/11 was that we all wanted a retaliation. The actual consequence of war didn’t matter…we wanted retribution. Beyond that, patriotism was through the roof. Everyone had flags, pins, caps and shirts. It was everywhere. I particularly remember driving major highways like 295 and NJ Turnpike. Every overpass that crossed the road had at least one flag hanging from it.)

Eagles 2015-08-22

A couple months ago work had been given Phillies tickets that were offered to me. I went with Pops and Dave. The contact who had given the tickets to work was there. He was a real nice guy. He’s reached out to me directly a couple times since then to offer me Phillies tickets again, but it had never worked out.

Last week I got an email from him for an Eagles pre-season game. I don’t like the Eagles, I don’t like football, and I don’t like pre-season. But I checked with the family and they seemed to be interested so I accepted the tickets.

We were in OCNJ all week, so it took some emailing to coordinate. The contact had to go to work anyway, so he would drop them off with Advertising. We would stop in the office on the way to the game on Saturday.

The office would be closed by the time we went to get the tickets so I had to remember my key, check to see if I had the alarm instructions, and notify Operations that I would be disarming CHW at an off time. I had the instructions so I emailed them immediately.

Later, we drove to the office. We were about 22 minutes into the 25 minute drive when I realized I hadn’t gotten the key out of my car. Me (calmly), “ohhhh…dammit…I forgot my key. Damn.” Susie, “How can you be so calm!?!” Freaking out won’t solve the problem. It was similar to the blackout. When something is that much out of my control I just accept the situation for what it is. Hopefully she learns that.

Anyway, we were close enough that I thought it was worth driving by the office in case somebody was still there. Nope. CHW and CHH were all closed up. We drove home, got the key, drove back, I went into my office, and…NO TICKETS! I tried contacting the person from Advertising but couldn’t get a hold of her. Later I found out that since she knew I was on vacation that she didn’t think that the game could be this weekend. She was holding the tickets in her desk for safe keeping.

To make it up to the kids we went out to Champps for some junky appetizers. Julia admitted that she mostly wanted to go to the game for the popcorn. It didn’t seem like any of us were real upset. I think we had a better time at Champps then we would’ve at the game.

Birthday 2015

It was a crazy / interesting day. Nothing particularly good or bad, just different than what I expected because of a whole bunch of little moving things. Put all together it made the day enjoyable. I guess I’m not that different than the girls in that sense.

The roots of the day actually start on Saturday. We were at Moms’ for my birthday dinner. Pops wanted to plan a day to go take me and Dave out to lunch for my birthday. He had a window job scheduled for today, so asked about Tue or Thu. I had a meeting Tue, so we settled on Thu.

This morning was rainy / windy / stormy. When I got to work there were some power issues. Some people were on an affected grid so their computers wouldn’t work. There were also some lights out. I was able to work though.

Mid-morning I got a call from Pops. Because of the weather, he couldn’t do his window job today. He wanted to switch lunch to today. Fine for me. He said he would check with Dave.

Next, the power problem affected the rest of Accounting. I was down for 20-30 minutes, before I figured on trying to set up a mobile hotspot through my phone. It worked. I got Shell on too since she also has a laptop with Wi-Fi and a VPN.

Pops called back. Lunch is on for today. I told Shell that she only has until 11:45, then I’m taking the “network” with me. And because it was my birthday lunch we were going somewhere with wait service and I was probably going to be a little on the long side.

…I was gone for about 1:30. Lunch was at Toscana and it was good as always.

I got back about 1:15. Power was half back, so Shell didn’t need me anyway. Finally got into work a little bit.

In Accounting, the birthday person always treats the group. Normally people bring in breakfast. I’m one of the few summer birthdays, so I normally do ice cream or water ice or something like that. Plus I eat breakfast too early to wait until work anyway.

With the power problems, the air conditioner stopped running. Everybody was hot and miserable. Perfect time for a cool treat. I went to Trader Joe’s for chipwich sandwiches. I found these a couple years ago, and they are fucking unbelievable! I’m not a huge ice cream guy (that’s a story for another time), but the ice cream is good. And the cookie is great. With a chipwich you need a cookie soft enough to eat that won’t fall apart, but not so hard that it squishes all of the ice cream out the sides. Trader Joe’s nailed it.

I came back and the office was dark. We were being shut down by PSE&G for a repair. I handed out the chipwiches. Everybody got happy. And about 10 minutes later CHH called over to say we were closing. 3:00 dismissal! Happy birthday to me indeed!

Cookie Swap

cookiesToday was the Second Annual Accounting Department Cookie Swap. Ron didn’t come over. Coop and I had a meeting with him yesterday and he had given us a heads up that he wasn’t going to come. He didn’t want to burden his wife Diana by asking her to bake cookies because she already prepped food for the CHH Holiday luncheon on Monday. Without missing a beat, Coop says, “Come over anyway. You don’t need to bring anything. There will be enough cookies.” That was nice of her.

A couple hours later I realized it was a moment that is completely foreign to me. Coop’s offer was so simple, reasonable and sincere. But it was something I would never have come up with. I don’t know what it is, but I always fail at these moments. I’ll be having a conversation with someone and they ask about my work or my vacation or my family, and often it doesn’t even occur to me to reciprocate. A lot of times I realize it later and it makes me feel so self-centered. I would like to change this, but it repeatedly happens. I may be missing the thing in the brain that makes people considerate.

Tonight I was recapping the cookie swap with Pam. I told her about Coop’s offer yesterday and my thoughts about it.
“I would never think to say that.”
“That’s because you’re an asshole.”
“Then why do you like me?”
Lovingly, “…because you’re my asshole.”
So at least there’s that.