For those of you who read my email or saw my post here at KN.com you know I set an ambitious fundraising goal for the 2013 Pan Mass Challenge. Check it out here if you want/need to see it again or for the first time. While the actual training is moving along as expected, slowly, the fundraising is going amazingly well thanks to the shear generosity of so many special people who have stepped up again and again! Just like I was in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, [took 2012 off, remember] I am completely blown away by the response that comes from that letter I send every spring. Overwhelming can't even begin to describe it.
To briefly touch on the training; with a vacation coming up and another long weekend after that I really hope to get a decent number of miles into my legs so that I'm ready to roll come August 3rd. It'll be here before I know it!
That being said...here's the update on the numbers. To date we stand at $6,540 dollars raised with a little over a month and a half until the ride. I certainly think we can muster up another $3,400 bucks to reach the $10,000 mark!!!
So what do you say? Think we can make it? If you've been thinking about donating, now's the time!
If you have any doubt about just how important the money raised each year by the PMC is , take a quick read of this story that I recently came across. It was delievered back in 2000 by a fella named Patrick Byrne, who spoke about his cancer for the very first time, to a group of "Heavy Hitter" PMC riders [the folks who raise a really, really lot of money each year!] It's one hell of a story and exactly why so many of us never give up.
Thanks again for your support...I couldn't do any of this without all of you! $10,000, here we come!
Who doesn't love flipping through SkyMall during a flight looking at all of the crazy stuff in there. My question, does anyone ever buy anything in there? I came across a hilarious item last week...a rear view bike camera. I guess in theory it's a good idea, but could the thing be any more clunky and wierd? Never mind the $200 price tag!
I love how they have this displayed on a bike that is clearly from the 70's. Old meets new!
My first Father's Day was very much uneventful, which is exactly what I needed. I spent Thursday and Friday down in Orlando at a conference for collegiate athletic directors and took a super early flight back Saturday morning to be at the US Open by 10am. Kelly and I got to see the worlds best golfers in the world on one of the most amazing courses, Merion Country Club, so it was certianly worth it, but by the time we got home later that evening I was absolutely spent. Tucked J into bed and I wasn't too far behind her!
I had hoped that a certain someone would let her dad sleep in on his first Father's Day, but of course that didn't happen. Just like clockwork, she was up at her usual 6:45am, ready to tackle another day! Snapped this shot on the front porch as we started the day....hence why we both still look asleep.
Even though it was Father's Day she got to control the remote, as usual. And by "control" I mean chew on.
She does look cute as a button here, so I let her get away with it!
The tickets to the Open were pretty much my Father's Day gift, but I did snag myself this great golf shirt while we were there too.
Hope all of the dad's out there had a great Father's Day...especially my brother-in-law, Matt, who got to celebrate his first Father's Day after only 2 days. Erin and Matt welcomed Macie June on Friday afternoon. Everyone is doing great and they're all at home settling in and getting used to their new worlds.
If you were keeping score this week, and I certainly was, I'd put said score at 1-3, with me on the losing end of those numbers. Is it just me or is customer service, and even the whole notion of providing a quality product and attentive service for that matter, going right down the proverbial drain?
Lets start with a positive. Crate and Barrel furniture delivery. A pluses and high fives all around for these guys. We had a new media center and side tables that we ordered set to arrive on Monday morning. Of course it was monsoon conditions outside when they arrived. I had called Kelly at home to let her know that we didn't want them if they got wet. Finished wood and water don't mix too well. Boy were we pleasantly surprised. Not only did they wrap each piece in several blankets and plastic wrap, but they laid down more protective blankets on the floors inside to make sure they didn't track mud or water inside. Really one of the best deliveries we've ever had at the house. Hat's off to Crate and Barrell!
Unfortunately it all goes downhill from here!
Off to the Registry we go. Or as they call it here in NJ, the Motor Vehicle Commission, the MVC. Hard to believe it's been 4 years since we moved down here and I had to get a NJ drivers license, but such is the case. I suppose this really isn't a gripe against the NJ MVC, but really all state license bureaus. I know that MA is just the same and I suspect many others are too. But here's the deal....why does it have to take 50 minutes to get a new drivers license? You should be in and out of there in under 10, tops. The actual part where I spoke to the lady, gave her my info, paid the $24 bucks, and waited for my new ID to spit out only took 5 minutes. The rest of the time was spent sitting in a chair, waiting. And it's not because there were so many people there, it's just that the majority of workers have no sense of urgency. They've got no competition so why do they care if you sit there and wait? It's not like you can go to the rival location across the street to get better service...they know you've got to sit there and just take it. Maybe they could give them some sort of incentive to earn a few more bucks if they increased the amount of people they served each day? Something! There's got to be a better way.
When I finally did get called up to the counter the lady in front of me had them take 5 attempts at her photo. No joke. That was a brilliant display of restraint on my part. One and done lady!
1-1 Tie ball game.
At the house we've had a number of window screens that are ripped and need to be fixed. There were also a couple windows that just didn't have screens at all, so we'd need to get those built from scratch. We called a local window company, A and A Glass, who does this type of work and they came out to have a look and take measurements. They took the 3 screens that needed to be repaired and measured up the 2 windows that needed new ones. Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon when they came back, after about 3 weeks time, to re-install everything. Kelly notices that one of the screens he's putting back in still has the rip in it. Turns out they only repaired 1 of the screens and only built 1 of the 2 new screens we needed. Just totally botched the entire operation. How does that happen? Didn't they look at the screens and see that they didn't repair them? We'll see what happens when they come back for round 2!
1-2 I'm losing, but we've still got a chance.
The next one takes the cake folks. Sit down for this tale. When we moved into our casa we signed up with the alarm company that the previous owners had been using. I just assumed they were pretty much all the same...and signed a 3 year deal. Big mistake. The system is from the 80's, can't be customized, and is just horrible to use. Our biggest issue, which every single tech who's been out swears they can fix, but can't, is that when you arm the system is beeps for 45 seconds until it's set. The beep is super loud and there's no way you can set the system at night once the baby is asleep without waking her up. I end up standing at the panel with my hand over the speaker to try and keep it as quiet as possible.
For each of the 3 folks we had come out to give us pricing on a new system I explained that this was the number one issue for us and if they couldn't make it quiet then we didn't want it. In the end the rep from ADT had the best price and he assured us the beeping issue could be addressed, even called on of his techs to confirm. We ordered up the latest and greatest system, wireless sensors, touch screen keypads, video cameras, the whole nine-yards!
You can see where this story is going, right?
So the two installation guys show up and I showed them around the house and explained where the various components would go. Motion here, door sensor on that door there, keypad on that wall there, that type of thing. After the walk-about I asked them about the beeping issue, just to make sure it's not going to be a problem. I don't want them to set everything up only to find out that it's not going to work the way we want it to. One of the guys response was "We should be able to do that". I told him, "Not to be rude, but we need to make sure that's the case before we get started or you're going to have to take the whole system out after it's installed and we find out it doesn't work. I explained to the sales guy how important this was and he assured me it wouldn't be a problem, now you're saying it may or may not work?". The back-peddling started. They made some phone calls over the next 30 minutes to find out a little more information while I patiently waited. They also tried to call the sales rep to find out the story, but couldnt get him on the line. It was finally determined that they should plug one of the units into the wall to test it out. They were in the middle of that process when one of them says "You know, this keypad can't be mounted to the wall you know". Totally caught me off guard, and made zero sense. No I didn't know that..hence why I just showed you what wall to mount it to! This pad is designed to be placed on a table and moved around if you want. Not sure why you wouldn't want it right by the door when you come in, but that's the way it is. They had no other solution. Who knows if the beeping thing was going to resolve itself or not, but at this point I said "You know guys, I don't think this is the right system for us. Why don't you pack up your stuff and leave, we're not going to be using ADT. Thanks". You want to talk about a couple of deer in the headlights...they didn't know what to make of it!
I put some calls into the sale rep and the manager of the local branch to find out what the hell was going on...of course got no response. I did get the manager on the line and he said he'd call me back in 15 minutes. Yeah...never got that call back. I finally put a nasty tweet up on Twitter and sure enough someone from their corporate office reached out to me and vowed to get to the bottom of this. It's amazing how closely companies monitor social media these days...but sad that you have to go about things that way to get any help. We shall see....
1-3 Game over!
It is only Wednesday, so maybe the tides will turn, but I'm not holding my breath. I know you've got some good customer service "episodes"...leave them in the comments!
While the news of Senator Frank Lautenberg's passing has just started to sink in for most of my fellow New Jersians [wow, never thought I'd refer to myself as that!] we must soon begin to think about the future of our good state. Let's face it, Frank was 89 and in poor health the past few years. He made not one vote on the senate floor over the past 6 months. That's not much representation for the residents of our state if you ask me. In fact, it's an infringement on your constitutional rights. It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous!
If we're all honest with ourselves we've known that a new direction for the state has been on the horizon for some time. That time has now come.
From what I'm hearing through friends and reading online, my name is being loosely considered by some circles as a possible candidate for the interim appointment that Governor Chris Christie will soon have to make. I will say to the Governor that I would be happy to serve the people of New Jersey and can give my pledge that I will not run in the general election as a permanent replacement to Senator Lautenberg.
By going this route Christie can rest assured that no one will view this as a politically motivated appointment and he can sleep easy knowing that he's got a good man on the job for the remainder of Senator Lautenberg's term. We need an energetic person like myself without political ties and past promises to make the tough decisions and not have to worry about the "political consequences" that become the deciding factors in so many other politicians votes. I'll accept this job motivated by a single, simple, powerful idea - that I might play a small part in building a better New Jersey. A better America!
I am the right man for this job! You know it, I know it, and the good people of New Jersey know it!
Governor Christie, I await your phone call!
2006: KN, AC, and Senator John Kerry [now Secretary of State Kerry].
2010: KN, John Kerry, and former MA senator, Scott Brown.