Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let It Ride

23 clever quips

I didn't ask my father that Saturday morning or ever before, as best as I can recollect. It just happened, sudden and unexpectedly, like the best things tend to do.

My father exited the parkway, as he and I had done thousands of time before, and he pulled over onto the dirt shoulder. Then he turned to me, sitting in the front passenger seat, and spoke five words to me that he had never before said in this particular order.

"Do you want to drive?"

I was 13.

For the next few miles, on a relatively straight and wide tree-lined backcountry road, I steered his maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass as best as I could, the strange combination of speed and power rumbling  through the thin rubber soles of my Keds.

No white-knuckle moments came to pass with oncoming traffic or errant deer or, more likely, immobile objects like trees and brick-fortified mailboxes.

There was no cold, nauseating caving of the chest and stomach from the sight of marked Crown Victoria being glimpse in the rear view.

Nothing.

Just me and my Dad, together, cruising through a world standing silently beyond the tinted windows.

When it ended, my father and I never spoke of it again. We couldn’t because our ride had concluded a phrase I was far more familiar with in our household, "Just don't say anything to your Mom about this."

A few years ago, sitting at the kitchen table or in a bar or at a ball game, unexpectedly he brought up our adventure.

"I still don't know why I let you do that. I must have been crazy," he said. "But you were ready."

I like to think that he was right.

Thanks for all the years of believing in me, Dad.

Happy 71st birthday.

* * *

fatherhood friday logo This post is part of Fatherhood Friday on Dad Blogs. Check out this week’s other posts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Too Well-Suited to be Uncool?

34 clever quips

I last bought a suit when The Sopranos debuted.

It last fit me around the time Tony and family were chomping on onion rings to the wailings of Steve Perry.

Glorious golden onion rings! How you’ve wronged my waistline, my little fried O’s of palatable pleasure.

Luckily, Men’s Warehouse came a-callin’.

To promote its annual National Suit Drive, in which outlets of the national clothing chain aim to collect 100,000 items of “gently used professional attire” this month for redistribution to local men and women struggling to find work, Men’s Warehouse offered me a shopping spree at its local store.

(DEAL FOR YOU: If you donate your old men’s or women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, belts and shoes to your local Men’s Warehouse before Oct. 1, the store will give you a 25 percent discount on your next purchase there as well as a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.) 

When I mentioned this opportunity to My Love, she basically offered to drive me there.

Right that instant.

Go, go, GO!

I told her to let me first find my keys. And my underwear.

I haven’t bought much professional attire since going full-time at-home dad, but when I used to, I did shop at Men’s Warehouse from time to time. Chances are I probably would have gone to them when it came time for a new suit. Now that’s a well-researched PR pitch. (That’s your hint, Mr. Jim Koch, founder of The Boston Beer Company. My e-mail’s in the right sidebar.)

I arrived at my local Men’s Warehouse in Stamford and Bokul, the assistant manager, looked at my wrinkled Lands’ End jeans and faded freebie corporate golf shirt and said, “You’re the blogger, right?”

Yes – yes, I am.

Bokul showed me around, explained everything from the store’s new line of tuxedo rentals down to their Pronto Uomo jeans (I think he was hinting at something there).

Then I suited up. While I tried on Kenneth Coles, Jones New Yorks and Calvin Kleins, Bokul passed on these tips (which I’ll embellish) that I should have known from Thing 1’s past obsession with What Not to Wear but I always got hypnotized by Stacy London’s skunk hair:

  • If only need to wear a suit a few times a year (like me), go for simple, classic and timeless. Bold plaids and wide lapels didn’t work even when they were in. Except for Herb on WKRP in Cincinnati.

herb tarlek wkrp in cincinnati

  • Unless you need stains or odors removed, avoid dry cleaning a suit. Often a simple professional steaming and pressing will do and cause less wear and tear to the material.
  • Match your belt to your shoes. Unless either is white. In that case, you ARE Herb from WKRP in Cincinnati. Or in a retirement home. Abandon all hope.
  • Your socks are an extension of your pants – match them. So, you – country club dude – if you got no socks, you need to lose the pants. NO, NO! I’M KIDDING!

sock-match-pants

  • When you stand, button the top button of your sports jacket, sport. Unless you’re coaching in the NBA or putting Don Draperesque moves on a skirt outside the Barbizon Hotel.
  • Your shirt cuffs should extend a bit past your jacket arms when standing, arms at your sides. More than inch and you look like Pee-Wee Herman.
  • If you gain or lose 30 pounds or more, forget about it. Don’t try to alter your suit, just get a new one. Yeah, I KNOOOOOOW. I got the hint already!

After I choose two suits I liked, style consultant Eric matched some shirts and ties for me to chose from. Being practical (or cheap, you decide), I picked ones that matched both suits and got be mixed with each other.

“It’s like Garanimals for grown ups,” commented My Love when she saw the interchangeable combos I brought home. She’s always killing my buzz.

Since I work from home, I thought I show off my new clothes to you while in my natural environment:

uncool man washing dishes in a suit

And here I am hard at work, researching my next blog post:

uncool-man-at-work-suit

Disclosure: Men’s Warehouse treated me to the two new suits and shirts. Their clothes and deals were so good (I saved at least an additional $500 with all the store’s various sales), I bought the shoes, ties and belt myself. In return, I donated my old suit, a pair of shoes, a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants to their National Suit Drive.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Come, Drink with Me While We Feed the Hungry

12 clever quips
can and cocktails logo If you are one of my local readers or if you aren’t but you enjoy traveling long distances to chug with total strangers, mark your calendar for 5:30 p.m., Sept. 29.

That’s when I will be among nine area bloggers hosting the “Cans and Cocktails” happy hour at the Chinese Mirch restaurant, 35 Atlantic St., in Stamford. All profits from the event go to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County to help feed the needy in our community.

On the wagon? We got that covered, too! Chinese Mirch is also donating 10% of the restaurant's food sales from Monday through Thursday next week to the food bank.

To attend, RSVP by e-mail to stamfordnotes@gmail.com. When you go to the event, bring along a few canned goods or boxes of non-perishable food items (dry pasta, mac and cheese, cereal) to donate to the cause.

Those who attend will be able to imbibe my specially designed “local” potent potable for the happy hour – a nuclear green concoction I have named the “Scofieldtown Park Pollutant.”
What’s a Scofieldtown Park Pollutant? Well, maybe this column I wrote for the local newspaper last year will give you an idea:


Hazy Memories of Scofieldtown Park
We all like to wax romantically about our childhoods, so please indulge me as I rhapsodize about my times at Scofieldtown Park, that dumpy little former dump in North Stamford most suspect as the cause of the pesticide-tainted wells on nearby properties.

First, to the best of my earliest recollection, the place looked decrepit even when it was only a few years old in the late 1970s.

There were a couple of fast-rusting swings and a tall twisting red slide that on a summer day could burn off prepubescent leg hair in a single swoosh. Cemented in the ground was at least one of those monopole grills that no one in their right mind ever uses unless they consider rust a flavor enhancer. And, when the sun reached its apex and the wind blew just so, the park air became rarefied with a fragrance best described as a Metro-North bathroom filled with rotting leaves.

Ah, good times. Good times.

Scofieldtown Park was the place I first hit a real baseball. My Tiny League team practiced weekly on the ball field at the top of the park's hill in the summer of 1977. Rather than wearing batting helmets to protect us from fastballs, it appears it might have been better for us to sport gas masks to save us from breathing in the volatile organic compounds, pesticides and "other inorganics" kicked up in the dust. That's if you can believe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of course.

I remember being disappointed the day I returned there to find the ball field was gone. Little did I know that it had been abandoned and buried because coaches got tired of hustling their players off for tetanus shots and stitches from the chemical drums and old appliances that kept rising like zombies from under the fill.

This also was the place where I first learned to hit a tennis ball. With our aluminum rackets from the old Springdale Woolworth's in hand, my sister and I often had to wait to get on one of its two courts. When I last visited the park about four years ago, the nets were in place and the courts appeared surprisingly clean and crack-free. Then I got closer and realized the surface was wavier than Conan O'Brien's hair. Did the East Side Clairol plant dump old batches of volumizing hairspray there?

This was also the place I took my preschool-aged children to play once. Just once.

For years, I harbored contempt toward officials who let go to waste what could have been a nice little amenity -- a place for community interaction in an otherwise vast and isolated part of our city. After reading the recent newspaper articles and environmental reports, I'm happy they let Scofieldtown Park get run down so as few people as possible were exposed to its dangers in recent years.

Now our local leaders are scrambling about madly, trying to make amends. They are quickly installing filters in homes and authorizing spending for city water mains, which is good assuming the nearby reservoirs continue to escape the seepage of our past sins. But, I ask, where has this urgency been in the past?

EPA reports about PBCs, pesticides and other toxins on the former landfill site have been filed on several occasions since the 1980s and as recently as 2007. Were city leaders hoping the bad stuff would just magically disappear? Maybe they thought someone at the federal agency had simply forgotten to insert a "not" when a 2001 agency report about toxins at the park said "impacts to nearby groundwater drinking water supply wells are suspected."

All I can say for certain is this: In all the hours I spent at Scofieldtown Park during my childhood, I'm sure the safest activity I ever participated in there might have been an underage keg party.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Farewell, Sweet Nectar of the Season

13 clever quips

Thing 2 spit out the last of it, expelling the hazy liquid with a whooshing rush of haste back into the glass from which it came.

The boy then appeared to do his best to swallow his own face.

When this proved futile (but entertaining), he resorted to more tried and true methods. He yelled at one of us.

“YEEEEEEEEEECH! Mooooom! That’s DIS-GUSSSS-TING!” he said, franticly pawing his lips to alleviate the citrus sting. 

“What? Too sour? I can add more sugar into it.”

Thing 2 didn’t answer because he was too busy attempting to yank his embittered tongue from out of his mouth.

“What happened?” I asked My Love. “Did you mix up a bad batch of lemonade?”

“No. I poured him a glass from the one that was in the refrigerator,” she replied.

“Um, dear … that wasn’t lemonade,” I said. “It was a pitcher of mojitos I made for us to celebrate the last weekend of summer.”

* * *

For more sad finishes, read my stab at a short story that concludes the latest round of writings on Polite Fictions.

Our theme this time: “what happens after a major life event.” Some of the gang’s offerings this summer’s entries are a true hoot. Some are hauntingly poetic. Some are all too recognizable.

Mine, “What Happens After Summers End,” is at least as depressing as an 8-year-old’s backwash in your cocktail.

And you, my friend, what did you accomplish/not accomplish this summer?

Video: Summer, I Pissed You Away by Michael Shelly

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do Me a Solid Sunday: ‘Do Fun Stuff’ for Littlest Buddy

8 clever quips

do fun stuff ad pacing the panic room smith magenis Children with a rare disease received three great gifts this month.

Money to research the cause, treatment and cure of their condition.

Broader awareness of their plight.

And hope.

No, I’m not talking – for once – about kids like Thing 1 with juvenile myositis or the $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant people like you helped Cure JM win (I’ve thanked you for your help, right? Yes? Heck, thanks again!).

Today I’m talking about Smith Magenis Syndrome (SMS), a rare chromosomal disorder that can cause a host of physical and development issues. One child who has this is Littlest Buddy, son of Ryan from  Pacing the Panic Room.

Earlier this year, I told you about Ryan’s effort to create an album of children’s music to benefit a charity that supports SMS.

Well, the guy done and did it.

Big time.

On its August 30th release, Do Fun Stuff, a “kids' album for adults,” charted higher than Kidz Belch Bop Vol. 13,287.

Higher than the soundtrack of Ramp Cock Camp Rock 2.

Higher than Yo Frickin’ Gabba Gabba!

Folks – it debuted No. 1. Look:

do fun stuff pacing the panic room iTunes

You can read how he did it in this article he wrote for Fast Company.

The album has been bouncing around the Top 20 in the weeks since, still no small feat. (I almost said “Little Feat” and linked to one of their videos. Oops. Guess I did.)

So let’s all help him keep it there.

If you haven’t already, go buy Do Fun Stuff on iTunes (all the proceeds go to the PRISMS charity). If you don’t have kids, give it to someone who does. They’ll appreciate how greatly you’ve upgraded their ear-splitting collection of Barney and Raffi tunes.

If you can’t spare the $9.99, write about it on your blog or send a link to this post to someone else who might be able to help.

That’s all. Now, say “so long,” Littlest Buddy.

Video: ”Nothing,” Steve Foxbury, from the Do Fun Stuff album

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(All images courtesy of Ryan’s blog.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hot Spots and Rash Behavior

19 clever quips

dog hot spot canine hot spotsLook closely at Murphy and his noggin. Is he:

a) Contemplating membership to an order of canine monks?
b) Pining for the days of Soviet rule by Mikhail Gorbachev?
c) Plotting revenge against an over-caffeinated groomer?

Actually, it’s d) suffering from a stress-related hot spot after being boarded in the animal hospital’s kennel for five days while the Uncools took on Chicago.

Ah, Chicago.

Where we helped with a Cure JM educational conference for young adults with juvenile myositis (they sent me to the store when then need more Pepsi – hey, every little bit …).

Where a team of JM family and friends raised more than $75,000 in conjunction with the Chicago Half Marathon and 5K (I sat in our team tent in Charity Village inflating and tying balloons, and definitely NOT taking hits off the helium tank then attempting to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”)

Where Thing 2 ran his first 5K (tying me for total 5Ks run in a lifetime):

My_Love_Thing_1_5k

Where I ate of the deep-dish, gazed upward at your man-made vertical beauty from a riverboat and soaked in a final nine full innings of Major League Baseball (even if it was the White Sox vs. the lowly Royals).

Where Thing 1’s doc did not freak me out about any vague discoloring of her eyelids or bone structure (and not just because I made My Love sit through this check-up for a change while I took Thing 2 out for lattes and cinnamon rolls).

But back to Murphy.

The doggie dermatologist said yesterday that he appears to be recovering well from his bout with sterile nodular pyogranuloma syndrome, which I’m renaming “OhMyGod – your dog’s face is going bald” disease because that’s pretty much what everyone says when they first see him.

STRANGER: “OhMyGod – your dog’s face is going bald!”

UNCOOL: “Yes, and if you rub your face against his, it might help you with that mustache problem, lady!”

So now we taper Murphy’s medication again while I rub ointment into his blessed little head three times a day.

And we wait again on blood results to learn about whether we can taper Thing 1’s medication.

And life has returned to normally abnormal around here again. Pretty much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dogs Beat Kids Paws Down

16 clever quips

As a father of two and master of none, the rugrat-less of society occasionally seek my advice on how to best prepare for parenthood. My answer is always the same:

Stay on birth control until you have raised a dog.

yellow_labrador_beggingDogs, regardless of age, are essentially furry children with tongues made for licking instead of sassing.

Like human babies, dogs require you to drastically alter your lifestyle to meet their every need. For both species, those needs generally revolve around eating and the inevitable body functions resulting thereafter.

Gerber versus Kibble `n' Bits, buying Pampers versus renting a Rug Doctor; poe-tay-toe, puh-tah-toe.

Regardless of species, you must also attend to either's education. I don't care how easy those "Hooked on Fetch-onics" or "Puppy Einstein" videos make it look, it takes considerable time and patience to teach a dog essential life skills such as, well, when and where to go potty. Then come the important moral lessons about right (chew on this squeaky toy!) and wrong (don't chew my CD collection -- NOOOOO, not my Michael Buble!!!).

Even if you have a doctorate in teaching, you will still want to puppy-proof your home. This includes moving chemicals to a place out of reach, gating staircases and -- most importantly -- storing your dirty laundry in a locked closet. The last is for your protection, not your pup's. You seriously don't want Fido prancing around in front of company wearing a bandana fashioned from a pair of your least attractive tighty-whities.

Lab_retriever_underwear

Trust me.

Puppy-rearing sound like an expressway to a stomach ulcer? At times, yes, but here's the catch. While some children may never stop giving you agita (hi, Mom!), many dogs do.

With good guidance, lots of love and daily exercise (because a tired puppy is a good puppy, as a professional trainer once told me), dogs go through their wild and crazy stage in a fraction of the time real children do. In addition, canines seem much better at realizing the advantage of being good to those who bring them treats and scratch them behind the ears. Having been a teenager once and having one child ensconced in tweenhood, I can vouch that we humans aren't quite that quick on the draw.

I'm not saying post-puppyhood is a cakewalk. For example, our family has raised two Labrador retrievers over the years. While these vacuum cleaners of the canine world are great for mopping up floors or pre-rinsing plates after mealtime, for their health you never want to give them access to an uncovered garbage can or a park carpeted with Canada goose poop. For your sake, you also never want them to lick you after either experience.

Finally, researchers have found that having a dog -- unlike having teenagers -- appears to offer owners health benefits. These include lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol and triglycerides levels, decreased risk of developing heart disease or other cardiovascular problems, and a better ability to cope with stress. Some of these come from the strong bond and unconditional love that develops between owner and dog; others are a result of you assisting Rover with his regular exercise through walking, running or playing "come back here with that, you mangy mutt!"

The bottom line: Science shows owning a dog contributes to your continued enjoyment of beer and cheese.

Let's see your kid do that for you.

* * *

I wanted to end this by embedding the video forBitch Schoolby Spinal Tap, but UMG prevents doing that. Instead click the song title for the short version or the band name for the long version.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Last First Day

22 clever quips

Dear Little Girl I Used to Know,

You just started your first day of fifth grade. I know that in six hours this peace enveloping me at home for the first time in two months will again be pervaded by the forced studio laughter of the Disney Channel or the bubblegum reverberating from your boombox, but it will be different even though they are the same sounds we shared together all summer.

Today is your last first day of elementary school. You’ll have many more first days, academically speaking. There’s middle school and high school, definitely. Maybe a first day of college if I can ever convince you that reading is, while boring from the prospective of a 10-year-old fueled by the swooning pleas of Justin Beiber, still pretty essential to getting somewhere beyond definitively average.

But this was the last first day that I will ever walk you through those doors and into that alternative reality of homeroom.

The last one at which I’d personally hand your teacher a note about why your need sunscreen and a hat when outdoors while trying to quickly explain what sets you apart from all the other kids medically but pretty much not in any other detectable way.

The last one where you’d really be a little girl in more than just my memories. You and I and Mom all know this.

Middle school, sweetie, it changes a kid. Girls, especially. The meanest classmates I ever had were in middle school and most of them were girls. They say girls mature faster; I say they grow up too soon for their own good. We boys, we like to stay boys well past our due date. That, you’ll learn, can be a good thing. Within reason.

I wish I had a photo from your first day of preschool after we moved here. You were so excited to be with kids your own age again after two years of hanging around with nannies and nurses and doctors. You were only supposed to be in preschool for half a day, to get you acclimated to your new surroundings, but when I came to pick you up, you asked if you really had to leave all your new best friends in your whole wide 5-year-old world. So you stayed. Your brother, he cried when he saw me a few minutes later and pleaded to come home for lunch and a comforting heap of Nick Jr.

first-day-school-2005

It’s been so long since I’ve seen you all pudgy faced and stuffed with the wonder you readily ate out of the everydayness of life. Remember that Disney Princess backpack from kindergarten? You transported a zillion paintings and drawings and scribblings home with you in that pink and purple nylon time capsule. You said you wanted to be an art teacher. I said even art teachers need to learn to read. You shrugged and Crayola-ed on.

first-day-school-2006

This moment from the first day of first grade might have be the happiest you had all year. Through some quirk, not one of your 20-odd kindergarten classmates ended up in your new class. A bully refused daily to let you play “Family,” telling you you couldn’t even be the family’s dog. In class, several other kids always required too much of the teachers’ attention. You suffered for it. We laid on your bed one night way too late into the school year and you cried – one of the only half dozen times you ever cried from something other than physical pain. You hated school. Hated those kids. You didn’t fit in and you didn’t know why. I wish I had a better answer for you then. Or now.

first-day-school-2007 Your brother joined you the next year. It was a battle of bad haircuts. His too short, yours all kinky because you wanted to sleep in tight braids so you could look all frilly for your debut in second grade. With a little extra help from teachers this year and some friendly faces in the desks next to yours, this was when things started to click for you.

And that bully? When you saw him on the playground, you put him in his place by chasing him around under the threat of being kissed. I laughed when you told me this then, but sweet thing, this was the first time you struck fear in my heart for the teen years ahead.

But note the crossed arms in the photo. The rebellion had begun.first-day-school-2008In third grade, you became the teachers’ pet. It made you confident. Maybe a bit too confident.

first-day-school-2009

By the next year, while your brother still needed to physically push Mom and me out of his second-grade classroom to make him feel empowered about the whole going-to-school thing, you wanted us out of sight as soon as possible. You stopped kissing me goodbye when I’d drop you off at the side door in the morning this year. Some days, I couldn’t even get you to kiss our dog goodbye.

I knew it would happen. I knew it would hurt. I understand it, though, and I’m over it. That doesn’t mean I still can’t miss the way it used to be.

first-day-school-2010

And here we are. We had to bargain with you for this last photo. Mom promised not to talk to anyone once inside the school and I promised not to cross the homeroom threshold.

We have officially become the enemy that loves you from a distance so your friends won’t see and that loves you quietly so the world won’t hear.

Loathe us publicly as you must, remember we are still your parents and we are always there for you, our sweet little Pumpkin Head: then, now and forever.

Daddy

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thanks a Quarter of a Million

29 clever quips

As My Love buckled herself into the passenger seat at about 4 o’clock last Tuesday afternoon, I told her to relax.

pepsi refresh logo do some goodOnly eight hours left, I said. The die has been cast; the Rubicon crossed; James Brown has excused himself to do the boogaloo.

We had bought tickets to the U.S. Open tennis matches months before our lives had turned upside down. She should enjoy the night out.

Besides, no matter what happened to Cure JM in the Pepsi Refresh contest, this day had already been a momentous one.

“The electrician showed up this morning,” I said. “He put a new cover on the thermostat to replace the one he lost while relocating it four months ago.”

“You mean …”

“Yes. Our master bathroom renovation is finally complete.”

She laughed.

cure jm foundation logo“Then,” I added, “right before the electrician left, I made him pull out his cell phone and text us a vote.”

“Oh, good,” My Love said. Then she disappeared, lost in her iPhone on yet another call to rally the troops.

That’s how August went for us.

Me, interrupting strangers – online, at a conference in Manhattan, on a ferry dock in North Carolina, at an amusement park in Westchester County, N.Y. – begging for votes to win the nonprofit organization funding research into a cure for our daughter’s juvenile myositis a $250,000 grant.

My Love, ear attached to her phone while simultaneously working her laptop, trying to build, hold together or simply calm down voting coalitions of other worthy children’s causes all vying for free money.

Yet I hate sales. And she hates Survivor.

us_open_tennis_uncool The reception on My Love’s iPhone was very spotty in and around Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens on August 31, the last day of voting. When it was working, though, she managed a couple of calls or e-mails to convince people to head to bars to solicit votes or to leave requests for votes at online prayer message boards.

Just before 10 p.m., someone squeaked an e-mail through to us. Cure JM had just dropped out of the money. Again.

“Give me your phone,” I said. “I need to send out a message.”

I punched this into Twitter:

“RED ALERT ... Back down at 3. Please help!”

Then I left, in the middle of Rafael Nadal’s first-round match, to hit up people at the concession stands one last time for text votes. In short, the Ben & Jerry’s line was very, very good to Cure JM.

The next update we managed to get came through about 11:35 p.m. We were about halfway back to our house, slicing through the parkway darkness, the Things asleep in the middle row.

“Do you want to know?” My Love asked.

“Only if it’s good,” I said. “I’m too tired for bad news.”

This is where she should have paused for dramatic effect.

Instead, she calmly said: “Cure JM is No. 1.”

About 10 miles later, we realized we had driven well past our exit.

* * *

It’s been a week since then. Yesterday was the first day that neither My Love nor I felt the need for a midday nap or a triple espresso. We lived on adrenaline and pipe dreams those final 72 hours until the clock struck midnight, ushering in September. The next 72 hours we were walking zombies.

Happy, grateful zombies but zombies nonetheless.

We have a few more weeks to wait for Pepsi to verify that Cure JM is a real organization with a real plan before it gets the $250,000.

That’s the quick and easy part.

Thanking all the people who helped it happen … that may take a while. But I’ll give it a shot:

To every one of you who like blogged about our effort even though it cost you comments and traffic;

To every one of you who linked to the Cure JM Pepsi Refresh page or one of my posts on Facebook;

To every one of you who Tweeted and re-Tweeted, especially in those last frantic hours, in particular those of you who never before knew of me or juvenile myositis but simply carried our flag into battle because you believe every kid deserves a chance to be healthy;

To every one of you who on our behalf spammed their address books or their school PTA’s e-mail list or may have “borrowed” a stranger’s cell phone (or tried all the demos at the Apple Store) to send a text vote;

To every one of you who didn’t tell me to bugger off and put up with me and my voting cards, handbills, e-mails, postings and in-person pleadings;

To every one of you who took matters into your own hands, such as Jett who figured the blogosphere was well covered those last few days so she petitioned the members of her church for votes or my brother-in-law who spent the final hours of the contest getting every Mafia Wars player on Facebook he could to stop performing virtual crimes and start helping sick kids;

To all the security officers and the vendors at Arthur Ashe Stadium, especially the two who sold me that last Heineken then tried to get me to take back my tip (I didn’t) after they text voted for us;

To the woman I meet outside the log flume ride at Playland Amusement Park who took a voting card and said she’d get her entire office to vote for us;

To the guy waiting for the ferry at Hatteras dock in North Carolina who convinced his friend, who kept trying to give me $5 to leave him alone, that all he needed to do was send “a f****ing text, dude! You know how to text!”;

To the ferry workers who jumped our car battery after it died from running the A/C, the Things’ Nintendos and the radio while My Love and I handed out cards and fliers on the docks; and finally,

To every single one of you who put up with the quirks and frustration of the online voting system or learned to text, even if it was just to give us a single vote:

Cure JM, my family and every family touched by juvenile myositis thanks you.

Now, somebody -- cue the horn section.

Video:I Thank You,” Sam & Dave

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