Back, Sort Of, And For Not Very Long

by Bryan

I’m finally back at my office, with some time to kill. I once said that I do not write blog entries from here. I was mistaken.

Just to catch up those to whom I haven’t spoken in the past couple weeks:

• Friday before last, I learned that my grandfather had passed away. He was 90 years old and in quickly declining health, so it was somewhat expected. I left the following day for Chicago and stayed there for three days, through the wake. I saw my mother and helped her deal with everything by tending to my grandmother while she and my aunt planned everything. It was a tough time but everyone was generally so busy that it didn’t sink in until the actual wake. Right up until then, my grandmother and I laughed and goofed around like we always do — as the first of 16 grandchildren, we have a special relationship, and goof around pretty much constantly. She is also 90 years old. They were married 57 years. My grandfather, whom we called “Dzia-Dzia,” or “JaJa,” a Polish play on “pop-pop,” I believe, was a WWII and Korean War veteran who was at a ballroom in Chicago after he was discharged when he saw my grandmother. He remembered her from 3rd grade, and asked her to dance, and they were married three months later (I think), and my mom was not too far behind. JaJa taught me to play chess, loved sports, used the library religiously, drank coffee and did crossword puzzles, and despite my amazing similarity to him in those respects, my brother Steven is basically the second incarnation of him in attitude and temperament. That’s a good thing. My mother told him this in his final hours, when several family members talked to him, including my grandmother, who told him she loved him and always would.

• I found out this news as I exited the train station on Friday morning near my office. When I arrived, I found that someone had broken into our office and stolen several items but exactly one computer: mine. The loss of my photographs and iTunes music pales in comparison to the family loss, but sucks nonetheless. The culprit was kind enough to leave a backpack full of personal information such as a telephone number, address and list of items he had stolen from other places in addition to his crowbar and cartoon caper-style black ski mask. This is true. The cops were loving it, but alas, no word on whether they’ve tracked him down after 10 days.

• I returned home from Chicago on Monday evening; the following day was the first day of the three-day Licensing Show, the once-a-year domestic trade show held at the Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan. This is probably an entry in and of itself, but during the show I got my picture taken with chimpanzees and live penguins; saw the actor Tyrese and wrestler Kane; and procured a bottle of a Deep Throat-branded energy drink. Not the CIA Deep Throat.

• Saturday evening I participated in an all-night Cancer Relay at a Queens park. I walked 53 laps and change, which is just over a half-marathon’s worth, but my friend Ryan pulled off a full 105 laps, a full marathon. The goal is not to walk as much as possible (it is, instead, to have a team member walking at all hours of the night), but we get bored without competition. He finished at 7 a.m.

• And the good news for the future – I’m going to Hong Kong on Saturday for work. There is a Hong Kong Licensing Show, and apparently they really want attendees, so they’re flying me out there. Everyone who has been to Hong Kong mentions the same things: 1) Eat a lot. 2) Go up the mountain and take the ferry. 3) The airport. Any other suggestions are appreciated.

That’s all for now as I have some actual work to do. Kind of.