Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Marriage Tip #1: Use the Opposite of What You Think

So April 15th of this year will mark the 7th year Sharkey and I have been joined in marital bliss. We have a great relationship. We support each other. We still can make each other laugh. I still give her that goofy love struck look when she walks into the room. We are each other's best friend. We have a mutual respect for each other, while not being afraid to go against each other's opinions on things. For example, I grew up on the East coast so the game where kids sit in a circle while one kid is on the outside of the circle saying, "duck, duck, duck, duck, duck.........." is called "Duck, Duck, Goose." Now Sharkey grew up in the Midwest, Minnesota to be precise. This same game is called "Duck, Duck, Grey Duck" there. We've had lively discussions on which name is more appropriate, but we respect the diversity.

In seven years I can count the number of knock down arguments we've had on one hand. Actually, I can use one finger. Yep that's right. We've only ever had one argument, and if memory serves it was about a dog. Ya, ya, really "serious" argument it was. Sharkey says that the reason we do not argue so much is because I'm so easy going and accepting of everything she does. Well, that may be true, but I have found the secret to avoiding conflict guys. That is the "JP Opposite Rule" of responding. See, when we were dating and shortly after we were married I realized when Sharkey would ask my opinion on things and gave me a choice between two items I typically chose the opposite of what she chose. I estimate that this happened with about an 85 - 90% frequency. So after that I decided to choose the opposite of what I'd normally choose and see how it worked out. This has worked out very well!!! Now I cannot say it will work for everyone, but fellas if you are thinking about taking the plunge, keep track of how many times your opinion and your better half's opinion match up and get back to me. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. This is total BS. But hey, I'm like no other man.... well except for George Costanza:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Heroes is BACK!!!

Save the cheerleader, save the world!!!!!

Are you on the list?

Damn I love that show!!!!!!! =)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Great Customer Service

As you know, one of my pet peeves is bad customer service. I worked as a client software support analyst for 7 years, so I know what it takes to make your client happy and do the job right. So I have expectations when it comes to customer service. If you visit my BLOG with any frequency you also know I'm a gadget guy. I like my toys. And one of my toys is a Masterbuilt electric turkey fryer. I've used the big guy about 5 times. Nothing like cooking a 12 lb. turkey in 45 min. It also is a good steamer as well because it is so huge, so Sharkey and I use it for summer cookouts when we want to cook a lot of corn on the cob. We spent Thanksgiving in Minnesota and the neighbors asked if they could borrow the fryer. "Sure not a problem!!" Well as fate would have it, Sharkey and I were going to make gigantic crab claws for new years eve and I thought it'd be great to make it in the turkey fryer/steamer. So I called the neighbors and asked if I could have the big boy back. Here's how the story went:

JP: Yeah hey there neighbor I was wondering if I could get my turkey fryer back from ya!!!

Neigh: Oh, yeah well there's something I have to tell you about that....

JP: What's going on? Don't tell me you haven't cleaned it since Thanksgiving...

Neigh: Well see here's what happened, we used it and the non-stick coating is coming off of the basket and pot. But we decided we're going to get you a brand new one.

JP: Oh no you are not!! This is clearly a manufacturing defect. Don't worry about it. I 'll call Masterbuilt this week and get a replacement pot/basket.

So I got the fryer back and it looked pretty much like what I thought it would:



So I prepared myself to call customer service. Mind you I know my fryer is past the warranty period. I expect that I'll have to have a lively discussion to get what I want. And I know that I pretty much only have my word to tell the customer service person that I didn't screw it up myself by scouring it with steel wool or a brillo pad, so I figured I'd just be direct truthful and point out some things I noticed on their website... Here's how it went:

(in very strong southern accent) Hi this is Jeannie with Masterbuilt how can I help ya?

JP: Yeah, Hi, this is JP from PA. I have an electric turkey fryer. I've used it like 5-6 times and this last time the non-stick coating is just peeling off. Is it supposed to do that?

CustomerServ: No sir definitely not. We also don't sell that model anymore.

JP: Do you not sell that model because the non-stick flakes off after so many uses?

CusomerServ: That very well could be sir.

JP: Hey I know I'm out of warranty, but I was wondering if this is really a manufacturing defect and if I could get replacement parts for the defective parts.

CustomerServ: Not a problem, I'll honor your warranty and send you out a new pot/basket set at no charge and it'll take 4-6 weeks for you to receive it. Can you give me your address and telephone number?

JP: (bewildered and half believing what's going on) Um, hey that sounds great!! Thank you so much Jeannie you really made my day

So the new pot/basket came the other day:



I still cannot believe how great the customer service was for Masterbuilt. I'd definitely buy another product from them and would totally recommend them to anyone!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Man Stall Tactic #1

Sharkey and I are coming up on 7 years of being married. It is hard to believe that we've been together that long. The time has just flown by. As we approach this momentous occasion, I was thinking of the unique things about our relationship. This made me think about how we communicate with each other. It also made me think about the things I do when she's talking to me that drives her nuts. So I give you, "MAN STALL TACTIC #1: The Huh? response"

As everyone knows when men are talking with women we aren't always present in the conversation 100% of the time. Our minds tend to wander a bit to other things. You know, we think about football, what we are going to eat next, what's on TV at 9:00pm, etc. Therefore when we are asked questions in these types of conversations we employ a tactic to give us more time to respond, also known as the "Huh?" response. Case in point, Sharkey will be talking to me about something and then all of a sudden ask me a question. The appropriate response to this query, in order to formulate an appropriate answer, is for JP to say, "Huh, what did you say?" This response does two things. First of all you gain more time to figure out a reply. Secondly, it acknowledges that you heard the question, but need some clarification. Unfortunately, after 7 years this response has been identified by Sharkey as the buying more time ploy and now instead of her repeating the question, I usually get, "You heard what I said." It also prompts her to interject, "Why can't you just answer the question, since I know you understood what I said?!!" I of course, give the next standard man response, "Um, I'm not sure..."

Next time I'll go over the secret to my argument free marriage to Sharkey, picking the opposite of what I'd usually pick when she asks my opinion.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Travel in 2007

If you did not know, Sharkey and I typically travel quite a bit. We both like traveling and seeing the sights. We've been asked what the plans were for 2007. Well sitting here tonight I figured I'd write about a few potential destinations for 2007. To start, my Sharkey wife has a birthday at the end of March. We were talking and were thinking it is about time we head to our nation's capital and take in the cherry blossoms! We've been there before when they were in bloom and it is absolutely spectacular.


Also, we like D.C. We ride the Metro, go to Georgetown and take in some of the museums. My favorite is the National Air and Space Museum, but I also really like visiting the Museum of American History. It really gives perspective of how young our country really is and how much things have evolved and well, devolved since our country was founded. I think it's important to know where you've been in order to figure out where you're going. The other nice thing is that DC is about a 2 hour drive from our house. The great thing about living in eastern PA is that you are pretty much 45 minutes away from 3 different states, and just a little bit more from some decent, interesting places.

Next is North Carolina. Hickory, NC to be specific. My gigantic 6 foot 7 nephew is graduating from high school and we plan on seeing him take the walk in his cap and gown. High School graduation. GGGGGGEEEEEEEEZZZZZZEEEE!! I can remember holding this kid when he was a newborn and carrying him around my parents house. Now he could carry me around with one arm. When we are in NC, we may stop in on my old boss and her husband and see what Raleigh, NC is like.

In July we'll most likely be in Orlando, FL. Our company's annual customer conference will be there again this year, and typically both of us get to go hang out with the clients. And hummm..... Orlando is near........ DISNEY WORLD!!! Yeah, yeah, I know we were just there last year, but man I love the house of the mouse....


These trips are going to be relatively short (i.e. less than a week). We haven't really taken a really huge vacation in quite a while. When I say huge, I mean like a 10-14 day vacation. That's my idea of relaxing. Being out of work for 1/2 a month is a GOOD thing! Now it would be really nice to go for that big of a trip, but it would take some Sharkey convincing. But a guy can dream right? Well, if I had to pick somewhere to go to relax, I have to pick somewhere tropical, somewhere with coconuts and palm trees and island time. Hum...where could that be?


The thing is, since Sharkey and I have traveled so much, in the past, we've racked up Marriott rewards points and airline miles to get a few nights and free tickets to the islands. So now I just need to work the angles and see if we can work the mojo... =)

Happy trails in 2007!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

If You Could Have Any Superpower...

Now you know I am the 37 year old with a 7 year old perspective towards life. Sharkey always said my child like attitude is part of my appeal. Is she awesome or what? If you read some of my previous BLOG posts you also know I like superheroes. I've always liked them. What's the appeal? Why does a grown man think a guy with an emblazoned "S" on his chest with a red cape is a powerful, iconic figure?

I think it is because they inspire me and there is an appealing thing with seeing good triumph over evil. Yeah, I'm all about good winning in the end. I believe the world needs heroes. Heroes are genuine. You pretty much know what they are about. The superheroes do not typically have hidden agendas, don't cave to public opinion, and don't care about being politically correct. They kick the crap out of the bad guys. They stand up for people who cannot stand up for themselves. They transcend adversity and for the most part do things above and beyond what is expected of anyone. And no matter how tough it gets or what the cost is, they never give up. Ever. There's something to be said for that attitude. How many people can truly say they have never given up and did not take the easy way out?

And then there's the powers. In order to be super and do the things that only they can do, the superheroes have powers. It enables them to do what they need to do and get the job done.

For example, take the Flash. Super speed.


Green Lantern, power ring enabled super hero. He channels his will through his ring and can create objects of pure energy from his power ring:


Batman. The world's greatest detective. He is vengenance incarnate.


Wonder Woman. Amazon princess who can fly, possesses super strength, can deflect bullets with her bracelets, and a golden lasso that compels the person it ties to tell the truth:


Spiderman. Spidey can scale walls, has super strength, can sense danger and can shoot webs from his hands.


Cyclops. Cyke can fire optic blasts from his eyes. The blasts can punch a hole through 6 feet of steel.


Yeah, they all pretty much have powers. Well except for, ahem, Batman, who is just a highly trained guy with a utility belt full of gadgets. Superman is my favorite of course. He has it all. Invunerability, heat vision, x-ray vision, flight, super strength, super hearing, super vision, limitless speed. He's also been called the biggest boy scout. I think with all the powers you need that balance though.


So here readers is the question of the day. If you could have a single super power, even other than the ones I list above, what would it be?

As for me, I pick flying. I think it would be awesome to be able to fly and see what it would be like to be able to cruise under your own power at 35,000 feet.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cold Virus - 5, JP and Sharkey - 0

Happy New Year!! Here's my first post of 2007. Did you ever wonder how a virus works? Fresh from the How Stuff Works website:


Now why is JP explaining this? Who gives a rats butt, right? JP is a psycho? JP is a nerd and has nothing better to do? Yes to all of those things!!! Truth be told, JP and Sharkey were the recipients of a pretty annoying cold virus since 12/29. We coughed, sneezed, and ached our way into 2007. If you know my Sharkey, you know she is as tough as they come. Even when she was feeling blah, she was still moving around and telling me if I got up, took a shower and moved around I'd feel better. I however am not cut from the same cloth. JP is a mamma's boy when it comes to being sick. JP likes to stay in bed and sleep, sleep, sleep the cold away. Pump a lot of fluids, medicate away the cold and beg the wife to make you soup. It is my way.

So our colds are finally starting to fade and we are getting back to our JP and Sharkey selves again. Time to take down the holiday decorations and do the patch up on the house from the big family gathering and plan the "big" projects for 2007. And now we are feeling more on par we can start to make our resolutions for 2007 like: Eat better, spend less money, go to the gym 3x a week, stand for truth, justice, and the American way?

Superman Crest

Does anyone actually keep the resolutions they make in the new year? Or if they do, how long do they keep them? What if you tried to keep the resolutions you made in the previous years before making new ones? And are resolutions the things we dislike the most about ourselves and know we should change, but know there's a snowball's chance in hell that we will? Maybe we should make fun resolutions like: eat more fast food, work less, and relax more.