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!