It’s close to the real thing, but not exactly. A week of travel to New York City for business and an edge-of-your-seat return home left little time to accomplish one of the things I love to do…write a blog. For the first time in about 60 weeks, I managed to make the time for only one since last Sunday. It was certainly worthy considering the good fortune I wanted to share, (http://markbrodinsky.com/2014/02/12/magnificent-outcome-its-just-about-life/), but in the whirlwind of getting out of the Big Apple and battling the elements to wind up back to my family and back home, my normal routine of 3-4 blogs a week, including a Sunday Series interview, fell by the wayside.
The stories of courage, hope and inspiration will return in earnest, next week. However, there is still some wisdom, or maybe I should say insight, to impart in all that developed the past seven days.
The Sunday Substitue: A Storm of Thanks.
There are two ways to look at what happened as the first flakes were forecast to fall much earlier this week. The weather forecasters were already setting us up for another of those storm-of-the-century scenarios. The first emotion is stress, followed by distress. I was in NY for a very important program, honored to be part of a group of professionals hand-picked to be there, to learn more about fee-based financial planning. It was an excellent experience, but the whole time there was the underlying sense of discord, how and when would we be able to get out because of the impending snow storm and once we did, what would conditions be like in Maryland as I tried to make my way back home.
There are at least a dozen or more things which I could describe in detail and the struggles of what transpired to make it back. Everything from unsettling news from home, to canceled flights, to uncertain hotel reservations, to rocky cab rides, to digging out cars, to white-knuckle highway rides, to being forced to leave a friend stranded all alone in the midst of the storm, to complete exhaustion. It is certainly one way to view what happened and I suppose justified. But not really. I really just thought of the events this way for the first time, because the entire time I chose to stay focused on the positives of what was happening, the vision of being back safe with my family, back in my warm bed with my wife, all of that helped to make the trip back as close to a miracle as the story of my lost wallet earlier in the week. Give thanks for everyone and everything which made the path home possible. For every challenge faced, the focus on a positive outcome is powerful.
Now to those I wish to give a heartfelt thank you (and I will save the best for last):
The entire staff who put together and then orchestrated the Affluent Market Initiative for Eagle Strategies LLC. They were top-notch and on top of things the entire week, securing an extra night of hotel stays if needed, and offering to pick up the tab for all costs incurred for an extended stay. Thank you.
Even before the first flakes had fallen my flight from New York to Baltimore was canceled. On Wednesday, just one day before my original scheduled departure, I spoke to a travel agent, Jessica. Her helpful and understanding attitude was incredible and she easily got us, (my business partner and friend), scheduled on an Amtrak train and at least a chance at returning home close to the time our plane would have landed. Thank you.
The hotel employee at the JW Marriott Essex House who told me about the ATM up the street, and not the one in the hotel, from which I could secure additional cash for the trip home. He wanted to save me from the fees the hotel machine would have charged to my account. Thank You.
The hotel doorman, Danny, despite freezing rain and high winds, dragged our bags across the street from the hotel, just so we could hop in a cab heading in the right direction to Penn Station, instead of simply hailing a cab which would have had to wind around the block in heavy traffic to get us uptown. Thank You.
The gentleman who hopped in the taxi with us. He simply said, “boys your are in luck, I’ve got the corporate card and the ride to Penn Station is on them.” I still have no idea who he was. But Thank You.
The cab driver, who drove quickly, verbally fought back against an irate driver who hopped out in front of us to tell us we got his black Escalade dirty. That was a good one. To that cabbie, the second outstanding NY driver I encountered that week, Thank You.
The entire Amtrak system. The train was basically on time and without a hitch, plowed through the snow and freezing rain to get us back home. Whoever, years ago, decided to create a stop at BWI, (where our car was parked), is a genius. Thank you.
The shuttle bus driver who dug the car out so we could leave the parking lot. Thank you.
My buddy Mark Pallack for navigating behind the wheel. With snow coming down hard, he managed to brave the beltway and then the roads leading home and almost to my neighborhood, though not quite. Thank You.
The family who left their shovel on the porch, so when we got stuck just outside my ‘hood I was able to “borrow” it to dig us out…the first time, instead of abandoning the car in the middle of the street. The family has no idea they “shared” the shovel with me, but Thank You.
Every workout I have ever done since I was 13, Thank You. Because when the car got stuck a second time halfway into the driveway of a school parking lot, there was only one option. Well, actually two. Leave the car sticking out in the street, or find my way home on foot, in my dress clothes and shoes, to grab two shovels and my boots. Leaving Mark behind I did just that, basically on a dead-run, with the idea of leaving my friend abandoned for the shortest time possible. I high-tailed it through the snow up to my thighs, up backyard hills and down slippery streets, waved “hello” to my wife as I ran in the door, slipped on boots, grabbed a couple of shovels and ran back to dig out the car. At 48 years young I can still bring it. Thank You for the stamina.
Once we dug out again, there was the easy-to-enter parking lot a little ways up the street where we finally pulled the car in safely, then headed to my house, walking this time, shovels in hand and arrived home. I’m not going to get into who that parking lot belongs to… but Thank You.
And last but not least, to my wife Debbie. Like always, she handled it, flawlessly. The day I left, my youngest, Emily had four teeth pulled, in a not-so-easy procedure. Debbie took care of her. Two days in to my trip, my eldest, Sophie, got sick, with a fever eventually spiking to almost 102 degrees. Her illness hit with just days to go before her final weekend of shows in a theatre performance she loves taking part in. Debbie took care of her. The snow on the ground eventually made it impossible for our dog Ollie to get out and take care of business. Debbie got out, shoveled and made a path for him. The driveway, which obviously needed to be shoveled once the snow stopped, and would have been a great treat following my Thursday night adventure, was already scheduled to be completed by a snow team Friday morning. The work was scheduled and paid for by my wife. And as soon as the final shovelful of snow was removed that morning, Debbie was in her car, and headed off to work.
It never gets routine and can never be said enough, Thank You Deb for taking care of yourself and the girls during the week that was. My hero…again.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark Brodinsky, Author
It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
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