Wednesday, March 30, 2011

48 - 3/30/11

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

48 – 3/30/11 – In My Footsteps Trip

     Had a great trip today to Newton, Medfield, and Walpole, Mass.  You know spring is here when you end the day with some redness on your face.  Sunscreen might be making a return next week.
     Before I even got on the highway a couple of cute kids at the back of a bus were waving to me so I waved back and it ended up being a fun game where we kept waving in different ways until the bus turned off.  Sign of a good day to come.
     I will say this, there is a huge difference between 5 Hour Energy and the liquid crack shot I took today.  5 Hour brings you down nice and gentle, liquid crack makes you crash, I found out the hard way about 6 hours after taking it when I was practically falling asleep.
     My first stop was Crystal Lake in Newton.  Had high hopes for some old cabins and a maniac slasher.  What I got were some heavy construction guys laying a new fence, scary but in a different way.
     The Newton Town Hall was cool, it had a creek running along it with a few bridges.  It was here that I also noticed the first annoying tiny bugs of the season and also the first of hundreds of geese that I would see.
     The highlight of Cold Spring Park was finding a baseball in the woods, yes I took it, sorry but if you leave a perfectly good baseball behind it’s finders keepers.  Might autograph it and put it on eBay, not my name, somebody famous.
     Hemlock Gorge was pretty cool.  I saw a muskrat swimming near the dam/waterfall but he went under and never came back.  I did see more geese, like I cared.  The big thing there was Echo Bridge which is supposed to be known for echoes.  There is a stairway leading you directly underneath it but when I went there I didn’t hear anything but the stupid geese honking.
     The highlight of the day was my visit to the abandoned mental hospital in Medfield.  It was the size of a small neighborhood, all of the buildings were brick and most had red plywood over the windows.  It was easily the creepiest place I have ever visited.  It was only made worse with the creaking and cracking and wind howling through broken glass.  I toughed it out and stayed a half hour before starting to feel the insanity building inside me.  That was why I skipped the mental patient cemetery, I am crazy enough as it is.
     The rest of Medfield was easy to find as the historic homes all seemed to be within sight of each other.  Then the trip took a sidetrack when I visited Noon Hill.  I thought the ‘overlook’ at the top of the 370 foot hill would be cool.  Too bad that all it overlooked was trees that you had to peer through to see anything.  Trust me, my hour long trek to find that spot was a major bust.  The highlight of the Noon Hill Reservation was the group of chirping frogs, it was like a way more annoying version of the Budweiser frogs.  Damn things never shut up.
     It was also here on that hike where my crash from the liquid crack kicked in.  Got back to my car and wanted to sleep.  I don’t think I will be buying that drink again even if 5 Hour Energy keeps turning down my sponsorship requests.
     Despite being really tired I did enjoy what I saw in Walpole.  Bird Park was really cool, nice and wide open, and of course filled with geese in a pond.  The funny thing was this pair of ducks.  The female duck kept quacking nonstop for like 5 minutes while the male swam quietly beside her.  He must have done something bad to deserve that beating she gave him.
     There was this random wooden clock tower on a street corner, can’t figure out what it was or why I felt the need to stop and shoot it.  However I did not feel like asking the small group of sketchy looking thugs standing on the street corner about it, y’know, it wasn’t that important to me.
     Kind of funny but my last stop was the Walpole Town Hall.  I parked across the street and got out, there was a girls’ softball practice going on and they all stopped what they were doing to look at me.  I was just like ‘what’s up ladies,’ before trying to look professional in my photography.  I had to laugh as I left because they literally all stopped and watched me, maybe I am magnetic?
     Almost got killed getting on 495 by some idiot who did not speed up or slow down as I entered.  Ironically their front end was already damaged which made it obvious that they hit someone in the same way before.  Spent the rest of the ride trying to stay awake, of course I succeeded.

Photos of the Day:
Have you seen my baseball?  Split-finger, that's a strikeout pitch.

Where nightmares live, at an abandoned mental hospital.

Bird Park in Walpole

The falls at Hemlock Gorge in Newton.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

47 - 3/29/11 - Marsh Storytime X

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

47 – 3/29/11
Marshside Storytime X – Two Odd Couples

            It is with a bit of a heavy heart that I share the latest installment of Marsh Storytime.  Today’s story has to do with a pair of odd couples.  They were two sets of old men that made for some of the funniest reality television before there was reality television.  Joe and Joe, and Bill and Jay, their relationships and interactions helped make the old Marsh such a great place to work.
            Jay and Bill were the early morning guys, Bill sat at the counter and jay was part of the famous Table 13 crew of old men.  Jay was always there by 7am to fill all of the bird feeders.  He would come inside and we would chat about baseball, his preference was always the Brewster White Caps of the Cape League.  Jay was very soft spoken he also enjoyed starting the coffee for the waitresses before they came in.  He was a class guy.
            Bill was also a class guy, but his personality was quite a bit different.  He would come in loud and proud like a hurricane.  I think he worked in construction in his younger days because he was still a big guy in his early 70’s.  It always made me laugh to hear him come in through the back door to the kitchen before we opened cussing and swearing about whatever was going on.  I’d be putting bacon in the old pizza over and Bill and Jay would be on the other side of the line talking.  Jay speaking softly, Bill yelling about how the girls didn’t need his help with the coffee, it is making me smile right now thinking about it.
            The other odd couple, Joe and Joe, Mahoney and Capachione.  They would both sit at the end of the counter usually between 9:30 and 10:30 everyday.  I always remembered Joey Cap sitting right in the perfect spot where I could see him through the window of the door.  He would wave and motion for me to come out and say hi even when it was so busy that I barely had time to think.
            Of course I always found time to go out and Joey Cap would greet me with his usual ‘Hey boy!’  It made me smile, but then Joe Mahoney would start in to make the whole scene better.  He would yell at Joey Cap ‘He’s got a name, it’s not boy!’  Joey Cap would ask me ‘You don’t mind if I call you boy, do you boy?’  I always said I didn’t mind.  He’d then ask about my Dad, Jack, how he was doing.  Joe Mahoney would rag on Joey Cap for being Italian which would get me to mention that I was Italian as well.  He would then say ‘Yeah but it’s different with this guy,’ pointing at Joey Cap.
            The best part of the morning reality shows would be the time when Joey Cap would start to get up from the counter saying he had to go check his mail at the post office.  Mahoney would yell at him to sit down, that he really didn’t have anywhere to go.  His classic line was always ‘Sit down, I have to talk to you.’
            As I am writing this I realize just how much I enjoyed those times and those people.  Only now as it actually hurts to think of those who have passed on do I understand.  Each day it was the same thing and looking back I am so glad that I got to be a part of it.  I got more than ten years of knowing these regular morning folks that created the atmosphere of family that the old Marsh had.  I still remember after the old Marsh closed going to Grumpy’s with Meg to visit the old counter crew one last time.  It was a fitting curtain call on a time that most restaurants wish they could produce.
            So tonight I will raise a glass in memory of Jay Gordon.  You were a good man, a gentle man.  And I will raise a glass again in memory of Joey Cap.  You always made me laugh and made rough mornings fun with your personality.  As we Italians would say ‘Riposi in Pace.’  I was blessed to know you both, thank you for the memories.

Friday, March 25, 2011

46 - 3/25/11 - Adventures In Landscaping

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

46 – 3/25/11
Adventures In Landscaping

            I figured I’d take a little break from my Marshside Storytime to tell you all a little story about the one season I did landscaping back in 2002.  After you read this you will definitely see why it was only one season.  This post will be mostly about the rash of injuries and calamities that befell me during a really fun six-month period.  Some of those injuries still exist to this day, yeah I know, pretty sad.
            I believe that these events are in chronological order but I cannot be certain, it was almost ten years ago.  At the company where I worked we were loading up equipment for a mulching job.  It was drizzly and windy, a really great day to work outside.  Anyway, I was loading a wheelbarrow into the back of the rack body truck when a gust of wind came up.  For those of you who don’t know what a ‘rack body’ means it basically is a metal shell or rack back with a pair of heavy metal doors which swing out to either side and latch in the center to close.
            So the wind picked up and blew one of the metal doors my way, it blasted me in the back of the head which felt like a dream come true.  Everything went white and then slowly faded back into normal.  I worked that day in various states of consciousness, I didn’t pass out by I was pretty wobbly.  Pretty sure I got a concussion from that event, but the nine hour work day in the rain and wind sealed it as one of my least favorite days in a while.
            You ever think something is going to be light and then when you go to pick it up you find out that it is heavier than you thought?  I had that happen as well.  I was rushing to load up a truck on another day and went to grab a wheelbarrow.  Those are not really heavy, more awkward than anything.  However, when they are pinned underneath something that weighs several hundred pounds they become a recipe for disaster.
            I reached down and grabbed the base of the overturned wheelbarrow to slide it out so I could turn it over.  The wheelbarrow did not budge but my left shoulder did.  It popped right out of the socket and then went back in.  Well, almost.  It is called a subluxation rather than a separation but the problem was that my shoulder went it at a slightly different angle.  It hurt but I could work through it, that ended up being a mistake as now many years later the area has healed that way.  So I could have had it fixed immediately with less trouble, but now a doctor would have to tear all of my ligaments to get it out and put it back.  Gross, huh?  That’s why I might let it stay slightly misaligned forever.  Oh but wait there’s more.
            I remember working on a job at a motel.  I was using the string trimmer to edge the grassy area near a small playground.  Being in a rush since it was getting late I put my head down and trimmed rather sloppily to get it done.  Bad idea.  In my haste with my head down I smashed my head into a really thick tree branch.  My neck gave way, the branch did not.  It was like running head first into a wall.  So, the moral of the story is look where you’re going and also do the job right or you might get your head smashed in.
            Last but not least there was a job site in Sagamore.  It was a new development with no running water yet.  We always brought gallon jugs of water with us so that was to be no trouble, right?  On this day it was close to 100 degrees, close to 100% humidity.  A real peach of a day.  There was also no shade and we were digging out a hill of sand for a wall to be put in.  The best part?  My partner for the day had an errand to run and I left my water in the truck when he left.  No water, 100 degrees, no shade, you see where this is going?
            After a short time I was seeing purple spots everywhere and I knew that could not be good.  Heat exhaustion is not a pretty experience.  An hour of hell later my coworker returned with my water which I downed pretty quickly.  I did not realize how bad I was until I got home and decided to take a really cold shower.  After all day in that sweltering heat once I was hit by the cold my lungs closed up.  It was like Andre the Giant squeezing me.  Almost drowned in the shower, classic.
             Needless to say I was through with landscaping once the season ended.  Although it did give me a good idea for the future, travel writing.  I almost always enjoyed the drives off Cape and wanted to spend more time checking out the sights than raking and mulching.  So I guess I do owe my old knucklehead boss that.   I owe him that but nothing else, he was straight meathead all the way.  Cheers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

45 - 3/23/11 - Marshside Storytime IX

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

45 – 3/23/11
Marshside Storytime IX – My Name Is Earl

            I realized as I am sharing these stories that they are all from the old school 'Animal House' Marsh days.  While they were definitely miles more fun than the current Marsh there still have been a couple classic stories.  One of which I will share with you now.
            Back in September when Cape Cod was threatened by Hurricane Earl we had all prepared to have an early day going home to avoid the storm.  Wrong.  Money talks.  However, before we got the word that we were staying open a few people took off for home, you know what they say about assuming, right?   One such guy was our (former) head chef who took off to Patriot Place. 
            The remaining three of us, myself, along with the one and only Rob Blake, and my father, Jack, had to come up with our specials.  With a hurricane in the area we figured it would be slow and thus gave ourselves a little leeway with what we listed.  One special that will never be duplicated, or probably run again, was the Hurricane Burger.
            What is a ‘Hurricane Burger,’ you ask?  Oh it’s not one thing specifically, what it was ended up being a test of how much our customers trusted us.  The Hurricane Burger ended up being whatever the hell we felt like making them.  No two were the same and we made it a sort of challenge to keep it that way.    
            Our choices for burgers began at the height of creativity.  We did a fried egg burger which is pretty self-explanatory.  There was a burger that used two grilled cheese sandwiches as a bun.  Funny thing was that it ended up being for a skinny girl who could not even finish half of it.  We then suggested that the girls tell us who was ordering so that we could construct an appropriate burger for them.
            Rob constructed some sliders for one person.  There was a pizza burger with marinara and mozzarella cheese.  There was a Philly Cheese Steak Burger with peppers onions and a boatload of American.  I believe that after about ten orders we ran out of ideas and thoroughly disappointed every customer that came after with ‘regular’ burgers.  I suggested an invisible burger with just a bun but that was considered ripping off the customer.  Oh well.
            We ended up not being busy on that day, but three quarters of the orders were for the now famous Hurricane Burger.  Oh yeah and the damn Hurricane ended up not even hitting the Cape.  Still it was a classic story from the new Marsh so all of you newbies can now feel included in my hugely popular Marshside Storytime.  Cheers!