Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our First Fight!!!

If you've listened to me on the radio, you know that I don't really argue with Denise. IMHO, arguing with your spouse is a huge waste of time. Look, you're not going to always agree on every single issue. So...just agree..to disagree. And then move on. In fact, move on with a glass of red wine. AND.... We really can't stand it when couples start fighting RIGHT in front of us. It's very awkward!

However, there was "The Argument". The reason I put it in quotes is because it was the only time Denise raised her voice...at me. It happened in 1991, and never happened again. And it all involved a ham and cheese sandwich.

Very few people came to Buffalo to visit us in our new house. Surprised? Would you go to the frozen tundra of western New York to see friends? Well, there was one guest (un-named) who was in town for business and came over for dinner. Let me first say that Denise is a magnificent cook! Her brisket, chili, lemon cake and other home made dishes RULE! But, in our first year of marriage, her culinary repertoire consisted of....lasagna. Well, my buddy started teasing her about the limited choices in the kitchen. And the needling didn't stop. He then piled on that she could probably only prepare a ...."HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICH!!!".

Denise kept her cool and just delivered a fake smile every time a mortar was fired in her direction. And there were plenty of mortars airborne that night. Our guest just kept slamming away....and I...was....quiet. I just sat there and snickered along with my pal. My bad!

When dinner ended, and my pal left...the fireworks erupted. Denise let loose and yelled for the first ( and last) time in our marriage. "How could you let some person talk to me like that!?!", she barked. "How could you just sit by and let someone make fun of your wife?", she hollered. My only response was that Mr nameless was a D-----bag, and the remarks were made in jest. My wife asked if I would just sit back and let a total stranger make fun of her cooking? "Hell no", I replied. Then it dawned on me. Her point was made right there, in the tiny kitchen of our brown duplex in Buffalo, New York. Nobody would ever disrespect my wife...and that included friends, family, strangers, circus clowns, creatures from another planet,etc.

Denise and I still laugh about the "ham and cheese" story today. If you ever see her, ask her about the famous argument. I rarely talk to the bonehead who made the remarks. Why should I? If you think it's funny to disrespect my wife... then you disrespect me, too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our First Year...

Denise and I spent our first year of marriage huddled under heavy blankets. We were newlyweds...but we were also FREEZING! Buffalo, New York is a great city to live in...from May to September. When the winter arrives, it's cold, slushy, snowy and downright miserable. I remember when it snowed in Philly. A few inches of powder would shut down the city. Not Buffalo! Now only did flakes arrive every night from Halloween to Easter, but the snow didn't close down the town. In fact, one nighttime snow fall dropped 18 inches, and the schools were open the next day.

In Buffalo, one needs more time to get ready in the morning. I used to wake up at 4AM, go outside and start the car. Seriously! It took 20 minutes for my Honda Accord to warm up. I also flicked on the heater and defroster. Then I would go back inside to grab a shower and eat breakfast. By the time I was ready to leave....that car was "One Toasty Honda".

One day Denise declared that we should get a dog! "If the dog lives, then we'll be ready for kids!", she said. We both came from families that had dogs....so it was a no-brainer. My bride searched through a thick book loaded with pictures of dogs and picked one called a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. There were only 400 in the U.S....so finding one wouldn't be easy. Eventually we located a breeder in Rochester, NY. The breeder insisted on "interviewing" us. We passed, the check cleared and we became the proud parents of MO.

MO looked like a small Golden Retriever. She was cute, cuddly and brilliant. Tollers are Canadian hunting dogs that "toll" (lure) ducks toward hunters. MO loved the cold weather and especially the snow. As a puppy, she often ran into large snowbanks and got lost. She would dig her way to the top of the snow, and then dive in again.
MO enjoyed the snow, but developed a dislike for snow shovels. Once while I was shoveling the driveway (a daily occurrence) MO started to bite the metal shovel. Not a good idea in freezing weather. Her tongue froze to the shovel. I made the executive decision to give a strong tug. Her tongue ripped away from the shovel..and she let out a huge scream. MO brightened up our lives for the next 13 years! It was a sad day for all of us when she passed away. BTW, we never got another dog.

Denise and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary with dinner at a restaurant called Romanello's. We toasted each other over spirits and good food. I remember ordering my favorite dish: shrimp fra diablo. Denise enjoyed her chicken parmigiana. The perfect evening came to a screeching halt with a horrible case of food poisoning. I spent that night and the next day paying homage to Ralph at the porcelain alter. You never forget your first anniversary....and I never did. BTW, I also never ordered shrimp fra diablo AGAIN!

Up next...Pick a city, any city!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Da Big Day !

Today's blog was actually written on November 8, 2010....just 2 days shy of our 20th anniversary. My memory is pretty sharp. But there was so much stress on this week 2 decades ago...some of that sharpness left town. I started the job in Buffalo 10 days before the wedding. The general manager at the radio station was in a hurry to get me on the air. His last morning show host left for a job in NYC, and the search took longer than expected. So....Denise and I moved into the Renaissance Hotel by the Buffalo International Airport. YIPPEE!!!

My first appearance was a Halloween promotion at a car wash. I know....nuttin' like showbiz! The "Haunted" car wash was a big deal in Buffalo. It actually drew a lot of people to the event. I just sat there and waved as listeners lined up to get spooked and hot waxed at the same time. It was eventful for one reason. That's the first time I worked with my sidekick Maria Todd. I actually met Maria before I married Denise, and for the next 15 years I had 2 women in my life. I referred to them as the white one at home, and the black one at work. In fact, there were days that I spent more time with Maria than Denise.

Denise and I went back to Philly on Thursday, November 8th for the wedding. I'm still a little foggy, but here's what I DO remember about November 10, 1990..A.K.A...Da Big Day!

1) Denise was smokin' HOT! She actually flashed me before the wedding :)
2) Everybody looked silly dancing the "Mummers Strut"
3) One of the bridesmaids lost her top while dancing to the "Mummers Strut"
4) My brothers joined the band and played during our first dance
5) There were 2 people at reception who crashed the party
6) My dad walked down the aisle without his cane.
7) A rainbow appeared over the wedding hall just before the "I do's"

Funny thing...we have watched the wedding video sooooo many times, the tape broke!

The wedding wrapped up at night and we went to the honeymoon suite at a local roadside hotel. It was $375 for a lame room the looked out over the Roosevelt BLVD. If you don't know the area...that's a 16 lane highway that runs through the Northeast section of Philly.

The next day we loaded up the rented Chevy Lumina minivan and went for our REAL honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, we only had ONE night...because...I had to get back to work in Buffalo. In hindsight...we were not likely to stay there for more than one night. The place was funky! I'm a germ freak (as my friends know) and there was a warm pool in the bedroom. I thought about what previous honeymoon couples did in that pool...and stayed out!

The one day honeymoon extravaganza was over, and it was back to Buffalo. Denise and I did end up taking a real honeymoon the following January. We joined our friends Mark and Stefanie in Vail, CO. Unfortunately...Denise came down with a really bad head cold and stayed in bed 4 of the 7 days! Oh well. That's life!

Buffalo was a great place to live...until the winter arrived. Just 2 months earlier we were living in Sarasota, Florida, drinking margaritas by the pool. Now, the icey, slushy stuff wasn't in our drink....it was on the sidewalk!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Add A Wife, Lose A Job!

Denise and I announced our engagement to our family and friends in Philly and Sarasota. It was a really exciting time for both of us. We posted our engagement notice in the newspaper, and were flooded with tons of good wishes. I was proud to be engaged. That was quite a change in tone...considering I used to utter the phrase,"I'll never get married!". Usually guys who say that really need to wait and find the right woman. Seriously....wait. I did. Do the world a favor.

We were experiencing that "pre-wedding" glow. Our engagement period was 11 months. That's just enough time to enjoy the moment, plan the wedding and ponder the future together. In fact things were going so well...that Mr Charlie Foxtrot ( you're smart, figure out the hidden code) was just waiting to pay a visit to our blissful lives.

Mr Foxtrot showed up in the form of a drop in ratings for the morning show in August of 1990. I didn't think much of the dip in audience share. The morning show ratings sky rocketed and an occasional blip is common. Unfortunately, the station management went into a panic mode! They decided to change the entire format of the station. This kind of knee-jerk reaction is not that uncommon in my business. Imagine if the Dallas Cowboys won 10 games in a row, then lost one by 20 points. Would owner Jerry Jones dump the team and replace them with soccor players from MISL? Of course not. But Jerry Jones isn't a radio executive.

First the station announced that the new format would "Oldies". HA!!!! I'm freakin 27years old playing music that came out BEFORE I was born. Who is Herman...and why does he have Hermits? When I was on the radio in Philly, I interviewed stars like David Bowie. In the oldies format interviews were harder to come across....because most of the acts were dead! This new "radio opportunity" was not going to last forever.

Denise has always been the most supportive partner in any storm. And this was a STORM. The wedding is now weeks away, and I'm playing garbage like, "I'm Henry the 8th I am". She implored that I look elsewhere for work! I started sending out tapes of my show to radio headhunters. Thankfully, I got a nibble from a great man named Jim Meltzer in Buffalo, NY. He flew me out twice to interview at a heritage radio station called KISS 98.5. We quickly hit it off, and it was clear we both wanted to work together. BUT...the clock was ticking in Sarasota. On September 12th 1990, the bad news arrived in a Fed Ex package. I was being let go from the Oldies station.....just 8 weeks before our wedding. OY!

Jim Meltzer in Buffalo agreed to hire me 6 weeks later. But now a new problem arrived; How do we plan a wedding in Philly, while our "stuff" sits in Sarasota, and start a new job in Buffalo??? One word..DENISE. Somehow she was able to hold down all three forts, while I started my new job. I was actually on the air for only a few days. Denise and I drove a rented minivan back to Philly to get married. We only had 1 day for a honeymoon...then back to Buffalo. We then flew to Sarasota to move our "stuff". Eventually, things calmed down. Denise and I were able to take a real honeymoon the following year.

Denise and I look back on that tumultous time around our wedding and laugh. Charlie Foxtrot tried to screw things up. But Mr Foxtrot underestimated how much love Denise and I had for each other in November of 1990. And our love has only grown stronger.

Next... "Get me out of Buffalo!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Honey....Are You OK????

Denise and I decided to get married the following November. Usually, the man goes out and buys the ring FIRST....then gets down on one knee and proposes marriage. As you read in the previous blog posting, it didn't "roll" like that. Now Denise and I had to go out and pick an engagement ring... together.

Shopping for diamonds with your future wife has both pros and cons. Let's start with the positive aspects: a) You'll see which design she truly likes b) It's very romantic c) The ring won't have to go back to the store for proper fitting.

Now the negatives of being in a jewelry store with your soon-to-be finance: a) She will pick a diamond that you certainly could never afford in 100 years of working at your present job! b) There is no "b"...it's just a world full of "a".

I must have had a psychic premonition about the cost factor as we walked into the De Soto Square Mall in Bradenton, Florida. I had never given serious thought to what the costs are with diamond engagement rings. As I got out of my '86 blue Toyota Corolla, I just stood there in the parking lot and pondered the $$$$$. I literally just stood there....frozen...didn't even blink my eyes. Denise stopped and starred, and started calling my name. She said that I "didn't look good", that "I was pale".
No kidding!

There was some good news about this shopping adventure. We only had to buy the diamond. Denise's mom worked at a small jewelery store back in Philly and passed along the store discount for the mounting. Even though it was a small ring, it was still the most money I had spent for something I couldn't drive or sleep on.

We eventually picked a diamond to go with the mounting. I proposed to Denise on December 15, 1989 in the living room of our apartment. We celebrated at a restaurant called Bandstand in the Sarasota Quay shopping mall. Interestingly enough..our marriage outlasted the restaurant AND the mall!

Up next...."Congrats on the wedding....you're fired!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If You Want to Marry Me....Stop Hitting Me!!!!

Sarasota in November is like....heaven. The sun is still bright, but the heat leaves town. Cooler breezes make the palm trees sway. Days off from work are spent driving around with the windows rolled down, or with sliding glass doors left wide open. That was the setting for the big talk about the "M" word. When women mentioned the "M" word..men would sweat and fall to pieces! All over the globe, the "M" word had made guys stammer and come down with a bad case of the flop sweats. The "M" word question was about to show up on a beautiful Sarasota Sunday in October 1989.

Denise and I were sitting on the floor reading. She looked up from her magazine and asked,"Do you think we'll ever get married?". This question came out of left field. She broke the silence with that life-changing question. "Sure", I replied, patting myself on the back for coming up with a positive response on such short notice. What do you think was Denise's follow up question? After I gave her the "thumbs up" answer she asked, "When?". I rolled my eyes back and forth and declared, "I dunno know". (Roll flashback video)

I was involved with a gorgeous brunette named Sandy before I met Denise. We were really serious for about 9 months. Sandy lived like she was waiting for Robin Leach to interview her for "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". She drove a Jaguar and lived in a high rise condo in Philly. Sandy loved fancy restaurants and society parties. One Sunday morning she asked me if we were ever getting married? Seriously. I tipped down my newspaper and said," Nope". That was the first thing that came to my mind. I didn't want to get married to her...or any other woman. Well, no sooner than I answered with a negative response, Sandy came flying at me with her hands in the attack position. She grabbed the front of my shirt and starting screaming. "Why are we dating if we aren't getting married?", she yelled. And I mean YELLED. She was crying, punching, screaming, kicking, etc. "WOW", I thought to myself. "This is not the way to convince somebody to marry you". I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door, and never looked back. BTW, Sandy ending up calling me in '98. She was divorced, had a couple of drinks and wondered how I was doing.

After the "Sandy" flashback played in my head, I told Denise I wanted to marry her...but I didn't know when. "How about next year?", she asked. "How about in 5 years?", I countered. "How about next year", she asked again. So basically, no matter what future date I could throw out, Denise wanted to get married the following year. OK.....done deal. We agreed to get married the following November in 1990. I leaned over to kiss her, and then we both resumed reading. That was fairly pain free.

The agreement that I just entered into didn't really hit me until we made it official, and went.....RING SHOPPING!

Monday, September 6, 2010

3 Quickies (Stories)

Before I get to the story of our engagement, I just had to share these 3 little gems!

Denise and I were keeping busy and having fun on the nation's Gulf Coast! She was looking for a job in Sarasota, and I was focusing on my radio show. Coming around the corner....her birthday! I made sure to get her a really nice present, make my famous pasta w/homemade garlic sauce for dinner, and run to the supermarket bakery for a cake with candles! Dinner was a big success and Denise loved her gift (earrings). I went into the kitchen, lit the candles and came out with a big New York style cheesecake for dessert. Denise looked at me and started to cry. "What's wrong?", I asked. "I don't like cheesecake!", she replied. I thought everybody from Philly or New York liked cheesecake. It just upset Denise that she could be spending the rest of her life with a guy who didn't know her likes/dislikes in the dessert world. BTW, we both joke about ordering cheesecake when we're out to dinner...

Denise thought it would fun to come with me one morning and watch me work at the radio station. UGH! She's not the first person to float that idea. Radio is still one of the few places where people are in awe at the production and delivery of a morning show. 95% of people abandon the idea when they find out that "wake-up" is at 4am! I was worried, but the little trooper was up and ready to rock in the wee-hours of the morning. We jumped into my Toyota Corolla and sped towards my pre-radio station stop; the 7-11 convenience store. I couldn't start the day without my large HOT coffee, newspaper and Hostess fruit pie. Denise and I pulled up to the station at 4:45am. I asked her to hold my coffee while I got the paper from inside the car. She put the 20oz cup of joe on the bumper of the Corolla. When I shut the car door, the coffee (IN SLOW MOTION) began to fall towards earth!!!!! We stared while gravity stole my piping hot addiction. I gave Denise the meanest look EVER! Seriously... I gave her the look of danger!! She actually drove (stick shift) my car back to the 7-11, and returned with a fresh cup. That incident occured in '89, and Denise has never again suggested going with me to work.

And finally, in '89 the founder of one of America's largest chains of restaurants had listened to my morning show and became an instant fan. He (no name) reached out to the radio station and wanted to meet for dinner. At the time his restaurant (guess!) was only on location #3. I brought Denise to join us and things started out OK. He was a fan of radio and began listing his favorite stations and personalities. I was feeling very insecure about working in the very small radio market of Sarasota.....having just been in the VERY large city of Philadelphia. I started getting edgy every time he (still not telling) mentioned jocks in larger cities. In fact, I started bad-mouthing them....for no good reason! He couldn't mention a single radio personality w/o me calling them names. In fact, it got downright uncomfortable. When dinner was over, Denise and I got into the car, and the can of whoop-ass was opened. She blasted me for being such an insecure jerk. I remember her yelling like it was yesterday....AND..she was right. I learned a valuable lesson that night. And I never heard from that restaurant guy ever again. BUT....we occasionally eat at the concept he created. There are locations all over Houston...and the entire country!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get Your Own Pizza!!!

Things were going GREAT in Sarasota, Florida. I was getting into the routine of hosting my own morning show, making new friends, spending time at the beach and no longer dealing with cold Philly winters. February '89 was gonna get a lot better once my "honey" arrived.

Denise resigned from her job at the radio station, and couldn't wait to get to Florida. Seriously...she really couldn't wait! The drive from Philadelphia to Sarasota takes a normal driver about 18 hours. Most people break the trip into 2 parts....usually spending the night in South Carolina at a well-lit motel off Interstate 95. Not Denise! She decided to drive straight through...with out stopping for rest. And this non-stop drive-a-thon was performed by a single woman WITHOUT a cell phone. I went to sleep one night and expected to see her the following day. There was a knock on my apartment door around 4AM. A familiar voice was on the other side. There she stood....exhausted from the driving the jam-packed Nissan Pulsar 1,110 miles. We hugged. She showered and went to sleep...and didn't wake up for 15 hours.

Denise and I settled into the tiny apartment I chose by myself 2 months earlier. The rent was only $440 per month for the fairly new 700 sq ft unit. The furniture was purchased from a recently divorced co-worker who needed money. In fact, the sofa was only $50!! Why such a deal? Well, the four legs were missing from the bottom of the sofa. I didn't care. It kept our butts off the floor. To this day I wonder who had the four sofa legs? In just a few days Denise was able to put her decorating skills to work...and the apartment starting looking like a $500 a month unit.

Things were going well....until the infamous "Bikini Volleyball Story".

I was asked to host an event on Siesta Key beach that featured Hooters waitresses playing volleyball against any willing opponents. Keep in mind it was for charity, and the women wore string bikinis. I brought Denise to the tournament and went about performing the usual host duties. The problem was...I slid back to my old ways. I was staring at all the bikini-clad players....and not watching Denise. In fact, 3 different guys tried to pick up my girlfriend, and I didn't even notice. I was so infatuated with the "game", I wouldn't have noticed if my shorts were on fire! The piece de'resistance? Denise put down her book, got up from her lounge chair and asked me to please get her a piece of pizza. I pointed to the hospitality tent and said," It's over there. Get it yourself".

Steam shot from her ears like a cartoon character. She just quit her job and relocated to a new state for a guy who would rather watch bikini babes than get her something to eat. The old Sam was back in town. Today, I would fly a plane full of gasoline through hell to make her comfortable...but on the beach in '89...that wasn't the case. The argument that ensued was the biggest ever. She wanted to end our relationship and move back to Philly. Luckily, she stayed with me in Sarasota. I guess Denise just couldn't handle the thought of leaving the beaches, Manatees and that adorable $50 leg-less sofa!

Coming next....."Do you think we'll ever get married?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Made Her An Offer She Couldn't Refuse!

Life in Sarasota, Fl was awesome!!! I arrived in December and escaped the cold of the northeast for the beaches of the Sunshine State. I was actually getting a little tan from all the beach time. The 3 weeks we spent apart were tough. I would go to the radio station every night to call Denise. It was a pain to drive over there, but it beat having to deal with a MONSTER long distance phone bill.

I was able to fly back to Philly on Christmas Eve. Denise met me at the airport. We ran back to her place for Chinese food, drinks and lots o' huggin. It was freakin' freezing that night!!!! Cold crunchy snow covered the ground and we were layered up in turtlenecks and sweaters. We agreed that she would come visit me in February. That was the good news....the bad news was that we would be apart for nearly 6 more weeks.

Denise finally made it to Florida as another snowstorm was getting ready to attack the east coast. Sarasota was sunny and 80 degrees the day she arrived. In fact, the weather that week was specifically ordered by the Chamber of Commerce. I would host the morning show, then run back to my apartment to spend the day with my GF at Seista Key beach, followed by a late afternoon visit to the apartment complex hot tub. I learned how to make marguarita's....and that was all we drank. Denise was getting sad about returning to the snow and slush, so I made her AN OFFER SHE COULDN'T REFUSE.

I told Denise that if she quit her (really good) job in Philly and moved to Sarasota, I would pay all of her expenses for 6 months. If you knew how cheap I was back in '89...then you would be impressed by my offer. Seriously.. I was REALLY cheap. Once at a club, Denise asked me to get her a gin and tonic. An hour later she asked me to get her another round. "I already bought you a drink", I declared. She still laughs when remembering that story. Denise also takes credit for freeing me of my cheap-itis.

BTW....she jumped at the offer! Denise went back to Philly and resigned from her job, packed her stuff into a 1986 Nissan Sentra and drove non-stop to F.L.A.

Up next...the famous "bikini volleyball story" that almost ended our relationship!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello Florida...Goodbye Denise..???

I left my Philly radio job May 5th, 1988. I made it through the show like nothing horrible would happen. I even kept smiling when Charlie the program director called me into his office. It was a performance worthy of an Academy Award! Denise told me the ax was about to fall, and I acted like a bonus check was on the way. "Thanks, love ya, blah blah blah," said the program director. I took my severance and went home.

My birthday arrived the following week. OY...who feels like celebrating when your cash flow drops to ZERO? Denise accepted the "cheer up, it's your birthday" mission with gusto. She picked me up in a limo and arranged for a very fancy dinner in downtown Philadelphia. We laughed, drank, ate, drank some more. She was successful and brought a smile to my face.

Dinner was over and the check arrived at the table. She offered to pay, slid her credit card into the check holder, and excused herself to the restroom. The waiter approached the table to alert me to the fact that the credit card wouldn't clear. It was Denise's card.....she was in the restroom...so, I just used my card to pay for my out-of-work-birthday-dinner. Holy cow was she embarrassed!!!!!! I still bring up that story when we're teasing each other. It's a freakin winner!

I finally received a job offer in Sarasota, Florida in December of '88, and I took it! Look....it was the only offer in 6 months. I was actually a finalist for a morning show gig in Rockford, Illinois. Thank goodness some other schmuck got that gig. I was headed to the gulf coast of Florida. The good news would be met with some sobering questions: What would happen to Denise? Would she come to Florida?

Denise and I agreed that the job was a great opportunity. Our relationship could wait while I got settled in to the new station. I packed up and left Philly, my family and the love of my life. Denise stood on the steps and waved goodbye while I left for the 18 hour drive to Sarasota.

I had a new job, and a great new apartment. The radio station was actually on Sarasota bay. Every morning I would look out the window and see dolphins and manatees. When I finished the show, I would head out to Siesta Key beach. I had 2 new friends named Karen and Maria. They were both waitresses at the local Hooters. We did a lot of promotional events together and became buddies. Just in case you're wondering, they were both beautiful women who would lay on the beach in tiny thong bikinis. Traffic-stopping thong bikinis! I enjoyed spending time with them.....but didn't feel any desire to take it a step further. My heart belonged to Denise back in Philly. It was quite a change in attitude. Months earlier, I would hit on women IN FRONT OF Denise. Now I was laying on the beach a thousand miles away with two stunning hotties, and thinking of the woman who would only shake my hand after our first date. Mr. Semper Fidelis finally arrived!!!!!

Now it was only a matter of time before I could get Denise to Florida to meet my new friends. I just had to make her an offer she couldn't refuse.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Staying Faithful.....Part Deux

Denise and I were "over" for about a month in 1988. Luckily she gave me a second chance...which kind of led to a third chance. There might have been a fourth chance. I'm still a little foggy about the numbers.

There were still some breaches in the "we're-only-dating-each-other" agreement. I hooked up with this seriously drunk cheerleader from an un-named NFL team. Another incident included a viciously drunk news anchor who was dead-on serious on TV, but turned into Ms. Hyde after a few cocktails. Starting to see a pattern here? Remember Katie the waitress who was a Sandra Bullock look-alike? She needed a joint on our date! Most men would be insulted. Not me!!! :)

Denise was furious and dumped me again..and again. Why she took me back is one of America's greatest mysteries!

Finally in April of that year I threw temptation in the trash can and moved on to becoming a one woman, average-looking man. I also threw away the sweat pants I used to wear to work everyday(it's a Philly thing).

My whole world changed on May 4th, 1988. Denise was working at the radio station and received some really bad news. The morning show was canned! Denise was told there was a new morning show heading to Philly. Sam was out. Gone. SEE YA! It was nothing personal....just business as usual in the radio industry. The morning show moved up in the ratings from #12 to #3 in 9 months. But some weasel in a cubicle decided it was time to hire new talent. Denise was shocked. Heck....they canned her boyfriend. The good thing was that co-workers couldn't keep track of our dating. They saw me with different (DRUNK) women and figured we were history. That's why the station management confided the (bad) news to her. Denise did her best to hide her emotions.
She stopped by my place that evening and gave me the bad news....that I was officially supposed to hear from my boss at 9am the next morning.

It all came crashing down. The gig was over! No more David Bowie interviews, cutting to the front of the line at clubs, limos, etc. You know.. all the important stuff to a 25 year old goof from Northeast Philly.

There was only thing left from my radio career.... A beautiful blonde named Denise. Radio brought us together at the Jon Bon Jovi charity event (blog entry #1)...and nothing was going to pull us apart. NOTHING!

Coming up in the next post......Moving to Florida for my new job, without Denise.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hi Katie...I can't see you tomorrow tonight!

Life was good!! Denise and I were dating just each other. Actually, that doesn't sound right. We weren't dating JUST each other....we were exclusive!! Sam and Denise, Denise and Sam. But there was one problem with exclusivity. What do you do about the "future prospects"? You know...the people you met and they weren't available/interested at that time. Oh well....here comes Katie!

Denise and I were going out 3x-4x per week. Life was good! In fact, Denise ended up getting a job at the radio station. The promotions director moved on to another station. Denise was a natural for the gig. She already met the other jocks and the program director...and they were all enamored with her. So....now Denise and I were working together during the day,and dating at night. At work, we played down our relationship. Denise didn't want to muddy the waters of the office politics. (smart move!)

Ready for the problem?

My buddy and I had lunch on most days at a restaurant frequented by radio people. That eatery happened to be located in the lobby of our building. It was just a short elevator ride...to Katie. She was the smokin' hot waitress at the restaurant. Katie was an exact double of Sandra Bullock. I used to hit on her every chance available. One day she must have lost her mind....and asked ME out! I said "YES" without thinking about...er....uh....what's her name (just joking!)

I went behind Denise's back and dated Katie that week. After our romantic dinner we went back to Katie's apartment so she could smoke a joint. Seriously. See...women need drugs to date me! It was a great evening, and we made plans that night to get together Saturday for some more....(edited for family rating). That worked into the schedule, because Denise and I only had plans for Friday night!!!!

The "Denise and Sam" date actually ended up at a luxury hotel in downtown Philadelphia. We had so much fun, that we decided to keep the date going by spending ALL weekend together. What a great idea! But what would I do about Katie???

It had to be a "Defcon 1" secret mission to contact Katie while with Denise. There was only one thing to do.....wait for Denise to:

a) leave the hotel for soft pretzels
b) leave the hotel for a newspaper
c) take a really long, hot shower

Denise chose "c", leaving me enough time to make the call to Katie and cancel our date. Whew...dodged a bullet with that phone call! At least I thought I was one smooth guy.....

That following Monday, Denise and I had lunch at the restaurant in the radio station building. Guess who was our waitress? If you said,"Katie"....you win! Katie approached our table and asked,"What happened to our date Saturday night?". Denise lost her usual smile and stared at me. I was speechless...that was a rare event.
Denise and I finished our lunch in silence. She later told me that she wanted to dump her plate on my head....but our boss was at the next table. Needless say...Denise broke up with me that day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No More Dating Other People...

Ed. note; OK...this entry is going to be a little embarrassing. It's about dating another woman named Lori. The problem was........that I met Lori while on a date with Denise.

I was all excited about my date with Lori. We met by the women's restroom during a Hooters/Tommy Conwell + The Young Rumblers concert. Actually, I was at the show with Denise. We were leaving the concert and she had to stop and "powder her nose". I waited outside the bathroom and that's when Lori and her friends approached. One of the women recognized me from TV, and that's all I needed to start the, "We should get together some time" routine. I also needed Denise to use as much time as possible in the ladies room. It would've have been awkward if Denise exited the restroom right when Lori was giving me her number. (I know.....I was a dog...but you knew that from the first blog entry). Lori gave me her number and moved on....Denise came out...all with the precision of an episode of Three's Company.

I set up the date with Lori the next day, and it sounded like she was eager to go out with me! BR (before radio) not many women were eager to go on dates. Now, I can pick up women when standing by bathrooms. I love this country!!!!

The first date with Lori was going to be a simple mission:

1) Show up on time driving a clean car
2) Wear a nice sweater
3) Slop on extra Pierre Cardin cologne
4) Open the door for her at all times
5) Keep dinner costs under $30
6) Duh???

I showed up at her apartment, and her dad was there watching TV. I guess he wanted to meet the schlep taking his daughter out for a date. I'll never forget what happened in her living room. Lori introduced me to her dad. As he got up to shake my hand a commercial appeared on the TV. Not just any commercial, but the morning show spot that I shot about a month earlier in Nashville, TN. Of course in the commercial, I'm wearing TONS of make up, a stylist had worked on my hair and they gave a clothes to wear. Lori's dad looked at the TV...looked back at me....glanced at the TV again...and just smiled. It was if the radio gods looked down to help me score. It was a once in a lifetime event; pick up girl at apartment, meet girl's dad, appear on TV while dad was standing in the room.
( I am not making this stuff up!!!!)

The date with Lori went well, although as a conversationalist, she was no Denise. We both established that we weren't dating other people...blah..blah..blah...under $30. Out of respect for her (wherever she is) I'll stop with the details. I will say that date #2 was in the freakin' hat...or so I thought.

Two days later I was on the phone with Denise when she asked me a very interesting question,"How was the date with Lori?". I couldn't even respond. First of all, Denise and I weren't dating exclusively...so it's not like I was cheating. But I could tell by the sound of her voice that it hurt her a little. I told Denise the date went....uh..well, and wondered how she knew. Well, it turns out that Lori called her friend Angela to tell her about the date. Angela ( stay with me for this) was dating a guy named Mark. Mark went to high school with Denise's brother. Denise's brother told her that I was dating Lori. Philadelphia has a metropolitan population of over 6 million people. How the heck did I date a women with a direct pipeline to Denise?

I realized two things; I hurt Denise's feelings by going out with Lori, and Lori would never go out with me again because I had lied about "not dating anybody".
I decided to make a bold move.....to just date Denise. You hear that Philadelphia? I was starting to fall in love with Denise, and no other women were going to screw that up. Well, at least I'll be faithful this week!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's the article I talked about on the radio..

A friend at the Chamber of Commerce asked me to be a guest writer for their newsletter. My only concern was," What the heck do I write?". The president of the chamber happened to be listening the day I was talking about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and suggested I come up with 500 words about marriage. YIKES!! I haven't written 500 words on ANYTHING since college...and even then it was a cause for heartburn.

It took awhile..but here it it. Click on the link and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Soooooo Confused!

We were actually having fun together. I mean real "not-so-serious-dating" fun. There was never any pressure when we got together. We hit the clubs in South Jersey, the diners in the Northeast and the mall in Willow Grove. Denise and I didn't argue or disagree on ...anything! Why couldn't I just sack up and say," Let's just date each other"?

BR (before radio) dating was a difficult mission. Not having: 1) looks 2) money 3) nice car didn't help the "hook up" picture. Radio erased those negatives! Women who wouldn't urinate on me to put out the flames were making themselves available to go out for dinner. One particular event really cranked up the dating quotient. I had the opportunity to interview David Bowie on TV when he came to Philly to promote his tour. The interview (barely 60 seconds) was then turned into a 30 minute special that aired one night at 9pm. I didn't realize how many single women saw the broadcast. But I started to fall in love with Denise at the same time (OY!).

Many of our "dates" were lunches at a salad restaurant in center city Philadelphia called Salad Alley. I would drive into town and meet Denise at her office in the beautiful Warwick Hotel, then we'd walk a few blocks. That day she was dressed in white. I'm talking WHITE! She was wearing a white blouse and white skirt. Now THAT'S confidence. A sloppy schmuck like me would never have the guts to eat in a white suit. I wonder how Colonel Saunders did it?

On the way to our lunch, we noticed the streets started to fill up with people....lots of people. It turns out the city decided to have a mini parade to honor the retirement of basketball legend Julius Erving of the 76'ers. Some lug nut scheduled the DR J. parade at noon on a weekday. Well that was the invitation kids needed to cut school to see this NBA legend. So as thousands of teenagers descended on center city, it became more difficult to walk. Luckily, Denise and I made it into Salad Alley for lunch. Unfortunately, getting back to Denise's office would be a challenge.

We were able to see Julius Erving atop a convertible as we finished lunch from the safety of the restaurant. We finished up and started to walk back to the Warwick when we heard a huge crash of glass. It appeared that all the kids at the parade now had nothing better to do than.....LOOT! Somebody smashed the window of a jewelry store about 20 feet from us. The sound of all that glass hitting the sidewalk is frightening...the sound of more glass breaking is freakin' scary. The crowd turned into serial looters and began "smashin and grabbin" anything they could carry with their filthy hands. Denise, dressed in a beautiful white business suit looked at me with a terrified look.

As looters and thugs ran in all directions, I noticed an alleyway between two buildings. I pushed Denise towards the alley, forced her into a doorway and put my body between her and the crowd. We weren't alone. A Philadelphia cop also sought shelter from the crowd and dived in for cover.

Philadelphia Police were eventually able to assemble and take on the crowd. Denise and I made it back to her office from a lunch we still remember to this day. You think something like that would bring two people closer together? I felt necessary to protect her from the riot....but I just couldn't push myself closer to her. Besides, I had to get home for a date with legal secretary name Lori who also saw the David Bowie special. What's up with that?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let's Kiss And Date Other People

We OFFICIALLY had a date after that infamous Temple University dinner that ended in a handshake. Denise and I went to a restaurant called The Depot in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. It's a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets in-laid with trolley tracks. In fact The Depot has a train theme (duh!!!)....with a model train driving around under the bar.

After burgers and beers we finally........kissed! And it was worth it. I know you're thinking that a starving man will declare the greatness of Ritz Crackers, but she really was a great kisser. BTW, I'm going to stop talking about the physical stuff. After all...that's my wife you're reading about.

My birthday approached soon after our first official date. I wasn't expecting too much from Denise. After all we just met. I'll rephrase that. If we just started dating and it was HER birthday....well...let's just say a card would have been enough.

Let me first tell you that my little job in radio was beginning to grow. I realized things were getting better when the station arranged for the morning show to be chauffeured in a stretch limousine to an event. How cool was that! A dork like me from Northeast Philly in a limo. And it wasn't even a funeral. Except...the show consisted of six people. The much-anticipated journey in the limo was more like a crowded cab ride to the airport. The host of the show was a man of sufficient girth. One of the shows producers was 6'5". Each sharp turn was a potential sexual harassment claim. It looked like a circus act when everyone got out. The ride didn't live up to the hype. I told the packed limo story to Denise. She thought it was funny. Little did I know she was hatching up a birthday plan.

Denise told me she wanted to take me to a surprise lunch on my birthday. Sweet! She also said to dress up for our noontime get together. I know...it's sad when your date tells you to dress nicely. But I was still wearing sweat pants and sweatshirts to work. Very Philly.

She told me to meet her in the lobby of the building at noon. She was there waiting for me by the elevators. Parked outside the revolving glass doors was a shiny new white stretch limousine. I just figured some lucky schmuck was traveling first class. When we exited the building, the driver got out and opened the back door of the Lincoln. I looked at Denise. She just smiled and said,"Happy Birthday".
We both got in the limo and held hands. Nobody else. No big morning guy. No Stretch Armstrong-looking producer. We were in Limo Town, population 2! She arranged for us to have lunch at a restaurant on the 44Th floor of an office building in downtown Philly. What a day!

Nobody ever planned such an extravagant birthday in all my 24 years. There was only one thing to do. Date other people!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The "OFFICIAL" first date ends with a..........

Denise and I talked on the phone a few times after that incredibly romantic meal at Denny's. Our conversations that February were getting more relaxed and cozier. She mentioned that she might go to a dinner at the Hyatt hotel honoring the men's basketball team from our Alma mater Temple University.

Here's my chance.....the golden opportunity awaits...gotta make the move....

I said that I would also like to go, and let's make plans to go TOGETHER (a date!)

It was a dressy affair that Friday night. Denise looked lovely/professional in a black cocktail dress and I wore the only suit that I had in the closet. It was navy blue with a white shirt and red tie. Kinda looked like a fell off the inside jacket of any Donald Trump book.

There was one awkward moment. I bumped into a woman I knew that worked at the university. She always talked about her daughter, and insisted I go out with her. About three years earlier I took her daughter out for drinks and dinner. We just didn't click. The daughter, whom I'll call Brittney, looked fantastic in a bikini and out of place in a library. What I'm saying is that she started out a "10" until she began talking....and fell to a "3".

Well Brittney's mom came over to say hello while I was standing there with Denise. "How come you never called my daughter back?", she questioned. I babbled something about being busy with the morning radio show. "Well she has a new number...let me give it to you", Brittney's mom said. She couldn't find a pen. I couldn't find a pen. Guess who had a pen? Denise. With a smile, Denise handed Brittney's mom the pen, so she could write down HER daughter's number so that I might call her again. The mom had such nerve, she never asked if Denise and I were even an item.

Looking back, very few women would've been as cool as Denise in front of the pushy mom. That was a huge plus in my book!

We ate, drank, talked .....blah blah blah. I know that readers of this blog only want to know about one thing, so I'll jump to the end of the evening.

I drove Denise to her home, shut off the engine and walked around to open the car door to help her get out. There was still crunchy snow on the ground, so holding her hand was 50% helpful and 50% romantic. She walked up the first level of the concrete steps, turned around and said that she had a really good time. I agreed about having a good time, but my mind was thinking about the REALLY good time that was about to happen once we got inside and away from the freezing cold Philly night air.

She smiled and extended her leather glove wearing hand (just like at Denny's) and said,"Thanks. Good night." And walked into her house. That was it. No kiss. No hug. No nuttin'! How is it that two 24 year old people can go out on a date, have fun, and not even KISS? I wasn't used to this. We were certainly diggin' each other. But no freakin kiss goodnight!!!!

Alright.....one more try, and that's it! There's gonna be a kiss coming up on the next date....or....I'll.....try again? Truth is, I was having more fun with Denise just talking. We both really enjoyed each other's company. It's just that I was in a hurry for those two companies to merge.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I took her to Denny's for a Grand Slam.....but never got to first base!!!

It wasn't until the following February that "things" quieted down...so I called Denise and asked her about coming to visit the radio station (heh heh) and grabbing a bite to eat. She showed up while I was still on the air. Judging by the look on her face, she wasn't impressed. I later found out that she never listened to this station. (Holy different frequency, Batman!!!)

She was dressed in her corporate attire, and looked like the successful woman she was. Me? Well I was wearing the typical morning-guy radio uniform: sweater and jeans. And I was fairly confident that both were clean.

Now the challenge was to find a place to eat on a cold, miserable Philadelphia morning. Denny's was close to the station. It was actually easier to walk than get in the car, drive across the street and find a parking spot. There was a walkway that went over the street connecting the radio station to the Denny's. BUT...the walkway was covered in ice. Denise was wearing high heels. We started the walk. She was having trouble with those sexy black pumps. I put my hand out to help. She gave me a thank you smile. We were holding hands....in a sort-a-kind-a way.

Breakfast conversation was nice, but uneventful. Lots of small talk. I did my best not to crack any off-color jokes, or tell college stories that involved drinking and vomiting. Denise never lost her corporate cool and composure. In fact, I was feeling this 10 dollar breakfast was NOT going to turn into a sizzling romance. It looked like I was going to gain a friend instead of a GIRLfriend. Yippee!(insert sarcasm here) BUT....having a friend who was a girl was a new concept. Kind of like New Coke.....but better.

When breakfast was over, Denise and I headed back to the station. We held hands again as we crossed the treacherous iced-covered path of DANGER!!! We parted ways... with A HANDSHAKE! Seriously. A handshake. And she was wearing gloves.
No hug. No kiss. Not even a high five or belly-bump. But maybe I didn't get a kiss because the breakfast at Denny's wasn't really a date.

My mind was made up. I was going to wait a few days and officially ask her out. A real date. No hand shakes!!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Have we met before?

If this was a movie, I would have called Denise the following Monday and asked her out for a date. But it wasn't a movie, it was real life. And if this was a movie, my part would be played by the funny, chubby and un-sexy Canadian Seth Rogen.

I was already dating a hot, sexy nurse named Debbie...while seeing a cocktail waitress named Robin. Don't be impressed. Being on the radio in my hometown was a boom to my social/dating life. I was not a good-looking guy, and didn't have a pile of money to impress women. But being on the radio....HOLY COW...what a dating tool!!!! The uber-impressive technique was to invite a potential date up to the radio station, and say "Hi" to her on the air. You may be thinking that it was a cheesy move....but it was a hugely successful cheesy move!

Denise also wasn't staying at home waiting for the phone to ring. She was just starting to get involved with an older guy( in his 30's!!!!) who was in the nightclub business, AND an assistant football coach at a local college. Luckily, neither panned out. The club owner was secretly married, and the football coach only wanted to watch games on TV.

The "Thanks for including me at the Bon Jovi event" phone call was made the following week. I told Denise how much fun I had that night. I left out the food poisoning part. We made some small talk and realized some interesting facts :

a) We both attended and graduated from Temple University at the same time!
b) We ate at the same food trucks on campus!
c) We got our morning coffee at the same place every day!
d) We were both friends with a couple named "Lee and Susan"!

It was kind of weird. Denise and I must have been a few feet away from each other numerous times on campus for years...but never made eye contact.

When our phone conversation came to it's natural ending....I suggested we get together for a drink, or a quick bite. Maybe she could come up to see the radio station ( heh heh).

But real life doesn't happen quickly. Our first date was about 4 months away.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I didn't know I met my future wife, but I did meet Bon Jovi!!!

I met Denise in 1987. She was working for a non-profit organization that helped handicapped children in Philadelphia. The Variety Club decided to hold a dance party fundraiser at the Philadelphia Civic Center. It attracted thousands of kids.....not because they wanted to dance on that Saturday in October...but because the special guests were rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora of the band Bon Jovi. Their smash album Slippery When Wet was just released. The Variety Club timed it perfectly! A fundrasing tsunami. The promotions and marketing director for the charity had her hands full with VIP's, sponsors, screaming kids, limos and board members. Oh...and there was this dorky radio DJ standing there ready to say," Hello".

The radio station sent me to host the event....not because I was popular or talented (no to both), but because I was a) available on that particular Saturday b) went to events for free c) knew there would be plenty of complementary food AND d) any radio station event could lead to meeting women. Oddly enough, I met Denise's mom first. She was roped into helping my future wife keep track of all the moving parts in an event that big. Her mom was a real sweetheart. I asked her," Who was in charge?". Dee pointed to a sexy blonde in a silver outfit holding a clipboard in her right hand, and sporting a "I'm super busy" look on her face. Actually, I think I just said "Hi, I'm Sam from the radio station". Denise pointed me towards the backstage area with the free food. She must have been a psychic!

And that was it. Our first meeting was a simple hello backstage at a Bon Jovi event in Philly. I should tell you that Jon and Richie lit up the crowd with their appearance on stage. The Variety Club charity raised money and awareness to their cause.....and I got the nastiest case of food poisoning from the backstage spread of corned beef and pastrami. That's right.....the night I met my future wife was spent curled up on the floor of my bathroom hurling!