Monday, November 30, 2009


Warning: if you're here this week to read a business-minded blog entry, you will be disappointed. Instead, this week's entry is about relief.

"Relief from what?" you ask. Relief from a lot of stress and anxiety is my answer. While the vast majority of America was relishing (pun intended) in the taste of a properly cooked turkey, my wife and I were unpacking in our new residence in NJ. On Tuesday, she came here as the vanguard to accept the keys from our landlady; Wednesday found me riding behind the moving truck as all of our possessions were transported from Great Neck, Long Island to the new place in Crystal Springs (technically a resort, but we live in the residential area of the development).

"Moving is a form of relief?" you reply. When you consider that my wife, my 14 month old, and I lived in a 600 sq. ft. apartment where I alone had enough possessions to fill the entire place then you can understand the stress. Now we live in a 2,000 sq. ft. condominium so, yes, it is a form of relief. Finally, we get to spread our wings and fly, almost literally, through the basement, which is bigger than our former residence. Let's add the main floor, with a proper kitchen, dining area, and a master bedroom that contains a walk in closet as big as our former kitchen as well as a proper bathroom. Now, we can breathe.

Granted, we are further away from the city than we were before. After completing college, I moved to the NYC area (from my hometown in Beaufort, South Carolina) and put my roots down in the New Hyde Park, New York area of Long Island. My friends, my church, my oldest daughter, and my memories are there. But my wife's family - who I have gotten to know quite well - live here. And now my oldest daughter has a place to sleep finally, so she will paradoxically be spending more time with us here, 90 minutes away, than she did when we lived 15 minutes away.

Selfishly, the greatest thing about living in a bigger place is my "man cave." For those who have never heard the term, Dr. John Gray (who penned the well-known Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book and subsequent tomes in the series) described this as a place of retreat for men when they need to just shut themselves away from the rest of the world for an hour or two (or five). Since then, the term has joined the vernacular and even has a reality show dedicated to it on the DIY Network.

My man cave is a resurrection of something that I had before: my digital recording studio. To those that don't know me in real life, music has been a passion of mine since I first picked up a guitar at age 8. Since then, I have taught myself several instruments; marched in a parade or two playing the alto saxophone; played keyboards when the band I was in played for 2,200 screaming fans as the opening act for Air Supply in April 2006; and as you can see in the picture written and recorded a few songs.

But when my fiancée (now my wife) moved in to my "matchbox apartment" in 2007, my music equipment went into storage. I kept a guitar or two around to fiddle around with, but that was the extent of it. And when she took the baby to the Mommy and Me class weekly, I would crank up my Marshall amplifier and relive the youthful exuberance I had for music during the 90 minutes that they were out of the house.

No longer, though. Now, I have everything at my disposal, and I couldn't be happier. This is my pride and joy (of all things that aren't living), and I have relief that once again I can escape to lands far away, limited only by my imagination. And - who knows? - I may end up on stage again now that I have the facilities to practice playing like I did so many years ago.

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