How It Feels to Get Pseudo-Evicted From My Apartment

Well, I was given 2 months notice to move out of my apartment. My living situation is a little bit complicated.

You see, I live in the basement of a house and I pay rent to the landlord who is a mother living with her son and boyfriend. 2 separate people, just to avoid any confusion.

The house is owned by a married couple in their 80s who I’ve never met. They have decided to put the house on the market, which has created upheavel.

Kenneth Kawash Eva Mok

Realtors have been coming frequently, such as Eva Mok from Next Age M3 Realty. She was speaking in an Asian language (I don’t want to sound ignorant by saying the wrong country or dialect) to her client & both were polite.

The complications come in when my landlord doesn’t get notice and people just show up, like an incident of them walking in as she was getting out of the shower.

Eventually, my landlord got fed up and said she can’t live like this and was moving out by September 1st. I did get almost 60 days notice, which is nice.

I was planning to move, so the stars aligned. But I was still mad though since I didn’t like how I couldn’t control my fate. I felt that way in my marriage and would have liked the option to be the one to say “I’m done” instead of being pseudo-evicted.

It feels like I got laid off at home, which has happened to me twice already in my work career. It really felt like I was getting some secondary treatment though the notice was a good amount of time.

I’ll talk about the move itself in another blog post in the near future.

Business Card Count: 35,915

Finding a Random Business Card at a Rest Stop in South Carolina

Cash Carry Wholesale Grocery North Charleston SCTaking long drives is something I enjoy doing with my free time. It helps me think, relax and end up at a fun destination.

This time, I found (what I feel may just be) my very first business card at a rest stop. I was driving back from Savannah, Georgia with my significant other and we needed a potty break and driver switch. I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be funny if I found a business card at this rest stop?”

I laughed out loud when I saw the business card for Cash & Carry Wholesale Grocery located in North Charleston, South Carolina attached to a newspaper stand. I was curious as to what the heck a lone Cash & Carry Wholesale Grocery card was doing there.

I would assume it would be something the company may have done to spread the word to motivate road trip takers to stop at that store. But if you look at the map, the store is nowhere near the rest stop I-95.

Fortune BubblePlus, with a name like “wholesale”, it sounds like it’s a Costco-type store, so one might not have room for bulk shopping items when on a road trip. I’d definitely shop there if I was in the area based on the reviews and a unique product I saw promoted on their Facebook: Fortune Bubble.

It appears to be a gum that combines the fun of chewing gum with reading your fortune from a fortune cookie. Hopefully, it’s not fortune cookie-flavored gum… I’ve had a bad experience with rest stop gum when I was a kid getting a gumball that looked and tasted like an ear of corn.

But my favorite part is the mascot. I’d love to have a conversation with a character like that whose love is chewing gum.

I guess the fortune on the cover of the Fortune Bubble was right. “A pleasant surprise is in store for you.” Finding a business card at a rest stop sure was one.

Business Card Count: 35,898

Nothing Beats Hawaiian Husky Organic Shave Ice on a Hot Day

Hawaiian Husky Organic Shave IceThe summer is known for hot weather and its cold treats. And boy was it hot on the day I went to the Freedom Fest State Fair in Allentown, New Jersey.

It felt like it was 100 degrees on that farm in the middle of nowhere, so I was definitely feeling dehydrated. That’s when I saw the Hawaiian Husky Organic Shave Ice food truck. Honestly, I thought it was “Shaved” ice until I looked at the business card closer and did my research.

But I digress. I walked up to Hawaiian Husky and the first impression I got was “wow, there are a lot of options here.” I’m used to carnivals only providing a couple of flavor choices… the hits if you will. But there was so much variety that it took me 5 minutes to choose.

Cucumber Watermelon Lemon Organic Shaved IceI debated between a few flavors of organic shaved ice, but the one that won was Cucumber Watermelon Lemon… I think it was lemon, but I know it was cucumber and watermelon for sure. It beat out pink lemonade (which is more commonplace) and I made a good decision.

Not only was it very tasty, it was also organic so no processed nonsense was in it. I can picture the vile syrups that would go into something like an Icee, but this legitimately tasted so refreshing. It was light yet flavorful and it wasn’t too pricey, so I’d definitely stop by their truck again.

Hawaiian Husky Organic Shave Ice have a variety of combination flavors, as well as single flavors that looked appetizing. There are also a variety of toppings that looked interesting, but I don’t think I would get since the ice itself was so good.

Business Card Count: 35,881

My Phone Upgrading Experience at Verizon Wireless in Woodbridge NJ

Verizon Wireless Woodbridge NJI got a wonderful birthday gift: my phone stopped working. I know blink-182’s What’s My Age Again says that nobody likes you when you’re 23, but I didn’t know that meant 32 also.

So I took my phone to the Verizon Wireless store in Woodbridge, New Jersey to see if I could get it to work since I needed my phone for just a little while longer, so I can thank everyone who called, texted and messaged me for my special day.

I was already shopping around for a new phone for my upgrade and saw that I can get the Motorola Moto Z2 Play and get a free JBL speaker attachment for ordering it by a certain date. I sure wanted to take advantage of that!

The first person I dealt with, Adeola (Addy for short), was an angel. She tried everything to get my phone to work and really talked me through how they would help me by setting me up with a Motorola Moto Z Play and then exchange it for the phone I want.

That seemed like the ideal plan since the Moto Z2 Play was to be released a week later. That plan was good until I had to go back again.

Second Time Was Not the Charm

This time, I dealt with Ryan. I knew I should have called Addy like she told me to since he had no idea what I was talking about. The deal stopped being the primary one listed with the phone, so he told me to call customer service.

I left angry since I felt blown off. When I spoke to customer service, they told me the deal was still around and that the guy at the store should have called them for help. That really got me hot, as did finding out they aren’t an official Verizon Wireless location even though the store says it.

Now I went to the store determined to get what I deserved, plus a void of the restocking fee. I was helped by Ryan again and he had to ask for a manager once I talked about waiving that fee.

Andre the manager told me to call customer service. That’s when I played the card of them calling, which they refused. After calling again to get it waived, I got my phone and did the discount for the free speaker.

The speaker will arrive in 6-8 weeks… Much sooner than my arrival at the Verizon Wireless store in Woodbridge NJ.

Business Card Count: 35,858

Business Card Redesign: New Shan-E-Punjab in Iselin NJ

New Shan e PunjabI discovered Indian restaurant New Shan-E-Punjab a few months ago and have regularly gotten takeout from there since it’s conveniently located in Iselin NJ. Since then, I’ve had satisfying Indian meals like chicken mahkani, chicken saag & chicken tikka masala along with basmati rice & garlic naan.

I also discovered that they changed business cards from the first time I went (on top) to the times I’ve gone over the past couple of months (on bottom). Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Old New Shan-E-Punjab Card

I personally prefer the top business card for a few reasons. For one, the yellow color really makes the logo pop out even if it’s smaller on the card itself. Additionally, it lists the website… which by the way is probably the best way to get a customer to see your menu, especially since the business name is a bit confusing to the naked eye.

I honestly wrote New Shan & Punjab at first. I also noticed another thing on the old business card: the catering number. I think it’s easier for a small restaurant to have just one phone #, so I see that # being eliminated as a strategic move.

New New Shan-E-Punjab Card

Yes, I see new new as repetition, but I find it funny… sort of. Anyhow, the new business card is much simpler to look at with a bigger company logo that includes the phone number. I personally wouldn’t have a phone number in a company logo since it could change… much like the catering number ceasing to exist.

Other than that, a lot of the same elements are in both business cards. Both show the address, phone number and what you will get by ordering from the Indian restaurant: fast food, eat in or take out, Halal & catering available. This redesign isn’t as dramatic as some of the others I’ve spoken about in the past, but I wanted to emphasize it since they make good food and I’d recommend trying them if you want Indian food in 15 minutes.

Business Card Count: 35,844

I Had a Sweet and Fun Stay at The Hotel Hershey

Hotel HersheyI recently went along with my partner on a business trip that she took to Hershey, Pennsylvania. The motivation was threefold: spending time with her & her brother, visiting Hershey Park and spending time with my friends who live in that area.

I did all of those things while staying at The Hotel Hershey. As soon as I pulled up, I knew I was in trouble since I didn’t realize how high class this place was and I forgot to pack nice clothes. Whoops.

The first place I went to in the hotel was the room. The hallway to the elevator was a strange walk on Floor 1 to Floor 5… that’s right, I walked from the 1st floor to the 5th floor while staying at the same elevation. I guess that’s because there are 2 towers to the Hotel Hershey.

While walking to my proper elevator, I walked past a majestic pool/hot tub setup and an entryway to some beautiful grounds overlooking mountains and trees. Then, I got to the room and laid in what had to be the most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept on in the US. It was a beautiful room with a gorgeous bathroom, but the room did not have a microwave and that’s a flaw for wanting to heat up food.

Now to talk about the eateries available. First off was the Iberian Lounge that I went to on the night I arrived that had a rustic ambiance and served some good drinks. Second was The Circular where I had the breakfast buffet that cost $23 but was worth every penny. The greasy egg white omelet I got was outweighed by the other good food I had like the chocolate bread pudding, fruit and bacon. Lastly was the Cocoa Beanery coffee shop that was open all day, where I got a bagel and a tasty panini with 2 different types of cheese & bacon.

There were also some interesting shops that I took no part in since I decided to go to Hershey Park instead to spend some quality time with my partner’s brother. We rode everything in 4 hours and my stomach never felt more funky & I never felt more like an old man. I also saw my friends after I worked from the comfort of my hotel bed, so the whole trip was worth it. Especially if you’re able to afford the Hotel Hershey.

Business Card Count: 35,813

Throwback: My 1st NJ Dinner Cruise on Cornucopia Cruise Line

Cornucopia Cruise LineMy birthday is coming up real fast, so I decided to take a look back at my last birthday and a really sweet gift I got from my someone special: a dinner cruise on Cornucopia Cruise Line.

I’d love to go on a cruise one day and was told that taking a dinner cruise that lasted a few hours would be a good dress rehearsal. I remember the last extended boat ride I took (outside of a ferry) was in Cape Hatteras when I was 9 or 10 years old and I wound up getting seasick and vomiting orange from eating an OJ & carrot breakfast.

But I digress. We departed out of Perth Amboy, New Jersey before the sunset and I couldn’t wait to experience what Cornucopia Cruise Line had to offer. And it started off with some well-made drinks and a nice view of the sunset.

Then came the food. We had a 5-course meal that consisted of small appetizers, a pasta, a Caesar salad, the entree choice I made was salmon in a creamy dill sauce with potatoes & a vegetable and a plate of pastries for dessert. I enjoyed the food I had.

Then came the dancing. The DJ played music from a variety of eras and the dance floor was full. Thanks to my significant other, I’ve rediscovered my joy for dancing and this night meant that I could just let my inner boogie loose. I also got some kudos from a couple of people on the boat for a combination of my dancing and my date.

I had a fun time on my first dinner cruise, even if it was just in Central NJ. I’d definitely do another cruise, especially around the Caribbean. Thanks to Cornucopia Cruise Line & my someone special for making my birthday celebration special and fun.

Business Card Count: 35,792

How Therapy With Tery Gerard Michaud Helped Change My Life

Tery Gerard MichaudAt this time last year, my life was very much in flux. Admittedly, I felt like my life was spiraling out of control.

Between a failed/failing marriage, living paycheck to paycheck and feeling like I’ve lost my identity, I knew I needed help. That’s when I decided to get therapy.

I called up my health insurance provider and got a list of local therapists in my area. I chose Tery Gerard Michaud because she specialized in divorce and that was the most pertinent change in my life.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but going through it and picturing it are 2 different things. That’s because you don’t fantasize about the gradual progress you make. You also don’t think about the emotional strain it takes to talk about your shortcomings and, specifically for me, that there are certain aspects you can’t control since you can’t make someone do something.

I’m keeping this mostly vague since my therapy sessions with Tery Gerard Michaud are nobody’s business except my own. But I did take away a lot from my sessions. One main takeaway was that I was not as confident as I felt like I was, factoring in love, work and other passions in my life.

I’ve also learned not to judge books by their cover, so I no longer jump the gun when I see something. There’s always an explanation, no matter how illogical it seems to us. I know my choices over the past year astound some people, but I’m doing what makes me happy and not trying to satisfy others.

After almost a year, I decided that my need for therapy lessened exponentially when living in a new home by myself and starting a monogamous relationship with a new significant other. Tery Gerard Michaud gave me a yellow sheet of paper with a few mantras I look to when I feel down.

  • I am strong, I am confident.
  • I am genuine.
  • I am starting over with someone who appreciates me.
  • A new company will be lucky to have me. I’m good at what I do. I work hard & have much to offer.
  • Now, I’m free to pursue my dreams.

I’m grateful for the therapy I did with Tery Gerard Michaud and I’m taking that experience with me for the 2nd half of my life. I’m still growing and gradually reducing my flawed points to have a minimal impact on my life.

Business Card Count: 35,774

Trying Many Different Foods at the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival

SiROCKSNY.comThis past weekend was the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival at the Woodbridge Mall Sears parking lot. I saw this event advertised when I drove down Route 1 on the mall’s interchangeable billboard.

I love food and have done a couple of food trucks, so that’s enough incentives for me & Jess to come on down. The event was presented by a company called SiROCKSNY.com, which is weird since New Jersey isn’t Staten Island, though Woodbridge is right over the Outerbridge Crossing (no more than 15-20 minutes).

The Woodbridge Food Truck Festival happened rain or shine… and it rained, so good thing we brought our umbrellas! It also helped that there was a tent set up with tables for just such an instance. It was a very well-run event, but you’re here to read about all of the food I ate. Well, here it is!

Hispanic Food

The Lab Food TruckOne of the foods I’ve really enjoyed more over the year is Hispanic food, whether it’s Mexican or otherwise. The first truck we ate from was The Empanada Monster, a Colombian food truck that offered a variety of foods and had a long line. We decided to try their namesake empanadas, 1 chicken and 1 beef, & they were delicious for this monster appetite!

Not to mention the spicy but tasty green & red salsas that came along. Just the opposite of spicy was the first dessert-type food of the day: a sweet arepa topped with dulce de leche, aka mozzarella-stuffed cornbread with Nutella on top. To my shock, the cheese and Nutella combination worked along with the subtle flavor of the cornbread when mixed all together.

And here I initially passed on Arepas last year. I guess chocolate-hazelnut spread was the missing ingredient from my first experience trying this Hispanic food.

The second place we tried was The Lab Food Truck based on the line alone. I like how their beaker logo is actually a spoon and a fork, neither of which I used for my order because I opted for the shortrib taco.

This taco combines sweet-chili braised shortrib with cilantro ginger-lime slaw, fire-roasted scallion sauce and hoisin. The meat was so well cooked that it melted in my mouth, while the other ingredients balanced quite well together for an ideal taco on the go. I also saw that The Lab will be opening a restaurant in Kenilworth in the very near future, which I’ll definitely go to.

More Savory Treats

Mama Dude's Food TruckOf course, there were so many more places to try (seemingly half of which were Hispanic). We opted not to go to the burger truck, soup truck, BBQ truck or the typical fried fare since we wanted something that we can’t get on a typical day.

That’s why we chose to go to Mama Dude’s Food Truck. They were offering their courses at $6 or 2 for $10, so we opted to get 2 different things: the English pea risotto and a pork belly & polenta dish. The English pea risotto was so smooth that it went down like butter… it may have been the winning dish of the day, though I think the shortrib taco is a tie.

However, the definitive losing dish of the day was the pork belly and polenta. I will start by saying that the pork belly was very well cooked and well seasoned. However, there was not enough of it to cover up the blandness of the polenta… even though it did have a little sauce on it and did contain a not-so-sharp cheese. If there was more sauce or definitely more pork belly, perhaps I’d feel differently about this Mama Dude’s dish.

The final savory food items came from a place called I Got Balls. I love puns and do enjoy a rice ball once in a blue moon. Let this be 2 blue moons since these I Got Balls offered 2 unique flavors for these treats: pesto and buffalo chicken. I’m a big buff chix fan, but I think the pesto was just as good… which is really saying something. Too bad they had a business paper and not a business card.

Dessert Sampling

Khalila's Corn KrushThe last part of the day containing partaking in some free samples from a couple of dessert vendors that were ironically not food trucks. The first one for me was Just One Cookie, which is a high-protein snack (14 grams, which to me isn’t high since I take in at least 30 grams per meal).

I tried the chocolate and it tasted good, but I suspect that it might have too much sugar for my liking. I can’t find any nutrition info on the Just One Cookie site, which I feel is important for your target audience looking for a high-protein snack replacement. The $3-per-cookie price point seems reasonable for other products on the market.

The second was an interesting concept called Corn Krush, which is run by a Marist alumni like me… we even high-fived since I was wearing a Marist shirt. As the Corn Krush name says, they offered a few sweet cornbread and we decided to try the CinnaMaize.

Not only do I love puns, but I love cinnamon as well… and they really Krushed it with this sweet treat. And I also crushed it with that pun… bam.

I’d definitely do the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival again next year and hopefully the weather will be better to try some more new foods.

Business Card Count: 35,764

Somerset Patriots vs Bridgeport Bluefish: My 1st Minor League Baseball Game

Somerset Patriots vs Bridgeport Bluefish

I’ve been to plenty of baseball games in my time: the Mets, the Yankees, little league. Hell, I’ve even been to some spring training games when vacationing in Florida as a kid. Not to mention my dad’s softball league when he was part of a team called Top 40, where all of the players were over 40.

But, I went to my 1st-ever minor league baseball game over Memorial Day weekend between the Somerset Patriots and the visiting Bridgeport Bluefish with Jess & the kids. It was a fun afternoon/evening out with nice seats right behind home plate. They sold one of my favorite alcoholic beverages at the stadium, Not Your Father’s Root Beer, along with a variety of food such as ice cream (soft serve and flash frozen Dippin’ Dots style), Oreo churros, cheesesteaks and more (most of which I did not eat though I would have if I was hungry).

In between each inning, they had a number of shenanigans with the most notable being a race between a carrot, apple & another piece of produce, kids racing on horses, kids rolling up a buddy in a carpet & rolling them back out and my favorite: shaving cream, bug spray and sunscreen racing to put cans in a recycling bin that turned into a wrestling match. The night ended with the home team winning 5-1 and fireworks. A fun time was had by all.

Where The Business Cards Come In

Allied Wealth Partners Martinsville NJThe part of the story where business cards are associated are the vendors I saw. Apparently, minor league teams like the Somerset Patriots and perhaps even the Bridgeport Bluefish at their home stadium have local businesses pay for space to get in front of a diverse audience of baseball lovers.

The first one is Allied Wealth Partners out of Martinsville NJ. They had a couple of advisers on hand to I assume help people in need of keeping track of their finances. I would venture to guess that you must have some money if you can plop down for a minor league baseball game.

I can see how that can make sense.

Seton Hall ROTC Pirate BattalionThe second one is for Seton Hall University. But not for the school: it’s for their ROTC Pirate Battalion program. As I approached the table, the national anthem came on and the two reps turned around right away & saluted the flag as it played… while I snagged their business cards in between God Bless America and the Star-Spangled Banner.

I also see the logic in a university military program setting up shop at a minor league baseball game. I’m sure there are potential high school students who would consider serving their country and like baseball, America’s pasttime.

There were other vendors at the Somerset Patriots vs Bridgeport Bluefish game, but they didn’t have business cards. I’d definitely go to another game in the future between the nice weather, fun atmosphere and great company.

Business Card Count: 35,749