Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Earlier in my career, I spent a gigantic amount of time managing and developing new supermarkets. So after a hiatus of some nine years from that business, I was surprised one day to be offered some consulting work on a project taking place in of all places, Houston, Texas.

This intense project not only took me away from my beloved Pittsburgh, but believe it or not, I had almost no time whatsoever to even think about blogging, let alone actually writing something. As the days became weeks, then months, my beloved "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold" ground to a standstill.

One thing that I learned about blogging (a descriptive term which I loathe by the way) is that it can certainly be addictive. Strangely enough, after writing virtually every day for well over a year, I was suddenly unable to write as my time and computer accesibility dwindled to near zero. There were many days where I was literally aching to use my writing ability. Then, just like a smoking, drug or alcohol addiction passes, the desire to write waned as I became even further ensconsed in my multiple business projects.

While I was away, I got to experience the Saints winning the Superbowl. Houston has a heavy New Orleans affection (as so many thousands fled there before and after hurricane Katrina, only to stay) so it was almost like being in Pittsburgh during a Superbowl year (only about 500 times less intense). 

I was in Houston to see the Americans beat Canada early in the Olympics...now that was an intense game, just as intense as the Gold Medal game. It reminded me of an all-star game but one where (imagine) the players play with playoff intensity. It was awesome to see, that's for sure.

Probably the most intense feeling that I had though while in Houston was the feeling of utter despair when "the big one" hit Pittsburgh. My beloved wife, Darlene (whom I had never been away from for more than a few days in 35 years of marriage) was marooned at our home with our three dogs, Rosco, Maddux and Buddy (a.k.a. Budweiser). It was bad enough when she became snowbound, but when the power went out, that was just too much to bear. As our home's inside temperature fell to near-freezing, I could feel the anxiety of her dilemma encompass me.

ABOVE: Mayor Snowplow-stahl was stuck in the mountains when the big one hit. Hey, don't blame him!

Fortunately for us, my neighbors Ken (he of the Fantastic 5 fame) and Andy (he of snowplow fame) helped her get out of our driveway so that she could place our beloved doggies temporarily in a kennel. Meanwhile, my brother and sister-in-law then were kind enough to shelter Darlene for a week until our power was restored. These wonderful family members even drained the water from our pipes, averting another disaster. What friends...what family!

ABOVE: Sid has a reward out for his missing skates.

Weeks later, I returned home just in time to see Sid the Kid become a bigger hero than he already was (if that's imaginable). But the scene at my home was surreal: Trees and shrubs destroyed, snow piled ten feet high.

ABOVE: Q: What do you get when you have two bloggers sitting down watching a game together? A: A lot of opinions!!!

I got to see the Gold Medal game with my oldest son Don (a.k.a. Raul Mondesi) and it was interesting to see his reaction to the Crosby goal: Like me, he was extremely disappointed, but as I too felt, "If anyone was going to score it, at least it was Sid". I also saw myself feeling happy for the Canadians too. Face it, hockey is their life. Winning the gold would have been big here, but I don't think you would have seen dancing in the streets, if you know what I mean. Hockey was created in Canada. Like basketball for Americans, they hold it as their inalienable right to possess the gold medal since they, like us with basketball, invented the game. Canada's a great country and a good neighbor to the U.S.. Well at least we beat them earlier!

I could be finding myself back in the Lone Star State in a month or so, but for now, I'll just enjoy the Pens, Pitt basketball and March Madness. Since we finally got our taxes done, maybe now I'll even write a few stories... maybe buy a bottle of muscatelle...

ABOVE: Having fallen off the wagon after 79 days of blogging sobriety, looking for more and more frequent postings (again) at "P.B. & G.". Maybe we'll even throw in another Gary Gayda photo essay!!!