Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stuck in a Parking Lot in New Jersey

Now this is something that doesn't happen every day, thankfully.  Easter Sunday my wife and I returned to New Jersey on the second last train from Manhattan, having just seen our son and future daughter-in-law backing up Tiffany at BB King's on Times Square.  It had been a great day in an amazing city.  It was 1 am and the parking garage was seemingly deserted.  We were on the third floor of a concrete maze. 

I inserted my ticket into the machine to pay and it was rejected.  I tried it again.  Rejected.  I tried two different machines with the same result.  Nothing.  My mind was kicking into gear.  How are we going to get out if we don't have a paid ticket to raise the barricade?  I had visions of blasting through the barricade with a knife brandishing New Jersey gang hot on our tail.

There is a button on the machines to call the parking attendant.  Tried that.  No answer.  In fact, I pressed the button on all three machines and I could hear them all ringing.  Now my mind was really starting to react.  This IS New Jersey, after all.  Feeling vulnerable?  Yeah, just a bit. 

There was a police call box on the wall, which was comforting, but we decided to go down to the first floor to see if we could find someone.  I went to the attendant's booth where there was a sign that read, "Back in Ten Minutes".  Could this get any worse?  I went to another machine and tried the ticket, only to be rejected again.  I hammered on the door to see if he was sleeping in the back.  Who knew how long the "ten minute" sign had been there?  No reaction.  I pressed the call button just so I could have the satisfaction of hearing yet another phone dialing.  At least it created a sound.  The parking lot had been - dare I say it - tomb-like to that point.

Finally, about twenty minutes later I saw someone strolling down the ramp from the second floor.  I tensed until I could see who it was.  It was the attendant who had been making his rounds. I explained the problem and he apologized and tried the ticket.  Nothing.  He tried a new ticket.  He said, "it won't be more than $5".  "Uh, no it won't", I said.  The maximum at night was $2 and with the mood I was in, he was seriously in danger of being stuffed into the nearest garbage can.  Then I realized I probably wouldn't be able to do that since the garbage can was likely already full of tourists who had been trapped in the garage on previous nights. I also realized that if I did that, we still wouldn't be able to get out!

"Okay", he said with a shrug.  "The system is down".  Really!!??  Who knew?  After trying a series of new tickets, he finally got one to work and the barricade miraculously rose.  There were a few other cars waiting in the parking lot for their unsuspecting passengers who would be equally aggravated by the experience they had awaiting them.  I think the parking lot attendant's night was about to become his worst nightmare when the last train arrived.

"Have a good night" I said, cackling rather maniacally as we made our great escape into the New Jersey night. 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Elaboration on the previous post

Just to elaborate a bit on my previous post, I think my book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond, could appeal to a variety of people.  There is the adventure aspect with the climb of the mountain.  There is the change in lifestyle required to give me the strength and physical conditioning required to do the climb.  There is the fact that I did it as I move into my senior years, which demonstrates that it is never too late to do anything.  There is the father-son story line as I was able to complete the climb with one of my sons.  There is the philanthropic component as we experience the successes, failures, highs and lows of fund raising and finally there us the immense satisfaction of accomplishing a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs.

Because of the broad subject matter, I am hoping that the book will appeal to a number of people with different interests so I have been approaching a variety of magazines and newspapers regarding the book. Each requires a slightly different approach.  As I mentioned, it is labour intensive, but fun.  And what else have I got do as I wait for the cover design to be completed?        

Monday, April 18, 2011

Every Day is a Learning Experience

This whole book writing/publishing/marketing process is new to me and I am learning every day.  I naively thought I would be able to write a press release that would serve many purposes.  But the more research I do into organizations, magazines, etc. that might be interested in my book, the more I realize that each has slightly different requirements or want submissions in a slightly different way. 

It is worth the effort, but let me tell you, it is labour intensive.  I am fortunate that this is a second career of sorts for me.  It is all new and interesting and there is certainly nothing wrong with learning by trial and error.  The days definitely go by quickly!       

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back at it

After a week of golf in beautiful Myrtle Beach, it is time to get back to work.  Today will be a day of writing sponsor requests for the new events coming up and writing a press release for the upcoming book.  Lots to do, but somehow it just doesn't seem like work. 

By the way, if there is anyone out there reading this who would like to help out, either by volunteering, sponsoring an event, donating or just offering moral supprt, drop me a line.  I would love to hear from you.