Archive for July, 2008

July Updates

July 30, 2008

Whew! July came and went! Started off with a bang (bum dum, ching! (actually won’t be the last drum reference of this post)) and is ending on some good notes. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, July:

– American Airlines, if you read this, can I please give you one tinsy, tiny, bit of advice. Could you please advise you Customer Service staff that you cancelling a flight does not constitute someone saying to me, “Oh, you missed your flight.” Seriously, Ingrid, my lovely Customer Service Ticket Rebooking Agent, wherever you might be, remember what we talked about. Because I show up late for a cancelled flight transfer does not mean that you can say, “Oh, you missed your flight”. Ingrid and I bonded in those few minutes of back and forth discussing the definition of “Oh, you missed your flight” and I hope, in all seriousness, she is doing well and hasn’t subjected anyone else to “Oh, you missed your flight”.

– The flights from LA back to Rochester were interesting. My transfer in Chicago was cancelled due to weather which led to Jeffrey staying overnight there. Thankfully though, my Uncle Joe and Aunt Chris brought me to there house and let me stay the night there. BIG THANK YOU AGAIN! Don’t know if I could have kept myself away from the awesomeness of Ingrid while there. While there at their house, I did become a temporary Pampered Chef employee. It was the least I could do for their hospitality. My Aunt Chris is a Vice President in the organization and was planning their big conference so I chipped in with some administrative help. Hope it went well!!!!

Interruption to the updates, there is rockin good lighting storm going through the area right now. In my new apartment (which I’ll explain in a second) I put my computer right in front of one of the windows and now I have a great view of all these storms passing through. I used to sit on the front porch of the building I lived in, but this ain’t half bad. Just need to change the song playing on my Ipod right now, AC/DC “Thunderstruck”. But I love a good thunderstorm! My house one day will definitely need a big porch where I can read and watch these things come rollin on through.

-I got a promotion in Residence Life here at RIT. Instead of working with undergraduate staff, I now work with graduate student staff. This also meant that I have to switch apartments. At first, wasn’t a 100% sold on the apartment. Now being just one set of eyes, I was honestly worried about making it look nice. It’s tough! I was in Target picking out shower curtains. It came down to a nice striped color pattern and one that had a comical drawing of the layout of the earth. I had to put the earth back. Thanks to Nick, Melissa, Lisa, John, Amanda, and Sherill who came over tonight for the design support. Haven’t hung up the wall pieces I bought but they thought the pieces would look nice in the apartment:-) Phew!

-With all the changes going on, I had to do a little something for myself. You’ve hopefully by now seen the old picture of me playing the drums in that stylish outfit. Well on one of the shopping trips, I took a right instead of going straight and ended up in Guitar Center’s parking lot. 15 minutes later, I was the proud owner of a new electronic drum set. I freakin‘ love this thing and it brings back a lot of good memories of those drum lessons, CCHS band, and the Contemporary Music Ensemble.

-I’ve also mentioned before that I get to have some amazing experiences in this job. Tonight was another one to add to the list. The people mentioned above all came over to watch Project Runway (“Holla at ya boy” I too can’t believe I just typed those words, but I also can’t believe they came out of Tim Gunn’s mouth). The John in that list is John Nolan, Lisa’s husband. John works over at GM in Rochester where they research fuel cell technology. One of the perks of his job is that he gets to take one of their four fuel cells cars home with him every now and again. Tonight they ended up driving it over here and after the show was over, Lisa pops up with, “Hey Jeff, want to drive it?” I was like, “Hell Yea!” (It would have been perfect to say, “Holla at ya boy” but I couldn’t think that quickly on my feet). So I got to add driving one of only 180 fuel cell cars in America to the list of cool experiences. Thanks to them for that opportunity!

That’s pretty much July in a nutshell. Hope things are well wherever you might be reading this.


LA Trip- Part 1- "8 hours from now, Tahoe. But we need to stop at Starbucks"

July 8, 2008

I’m a big fan of Bill Simmons who writes for The ones I enjoy the most are his running commentaries on different sports events. So in order to survive the first time our family has been in really close quarters for about 10 years, I thought, let’s break out the blog and have a little fun. Without further ado, I give you the 494 mile adventure:

6:11- In the car. My dad already has the camera out. Just waiting. 8 hours from now, Tahoe.

6:21- Checking to make sure everyone has everything and we’re off…to Starbucks. Chris can’t find keys. Doesn’t worry about it. Thinks they’re in apt.

6:31- First seabrook quote. Can you smell the ocean yet? Spain Family Backstory: Every summer we’d pile into the car and drive to Seabrook, New Hampshire. That was 3 hours, this trip, 8 hours. We’re on the way.

646- the first mom “sisst” (sucking the air between her teeth). 405 has lots of traffic

656- Chris’s Ipod gets connected. Let’s just say we have different musical tastes. He’s a fan of the light stuff. I need something that has an actual drum track. At this time of day, I’m a fan of something that I can strum along to or belt out at the top of my lungs if it’s slow.

706- First fight in the car. Fitting that the song on at the time is The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel

710-Ipod given to me to change the song. Good move on my brother’s part. Calling my bluff.

716-Ipod given back because I couldn’t find a song that had a drum track. Admittedly, yes he does have some good music but I couldn’t find any in the 6 minutes I had it.

718-Pass a Smokey the Bear fire threat sign. It’s labeled “High”. You can tell that with all the dried grass and brush that just a little fire can cause wide devastation.

732-My Dad whips out my brothers keys. They’re in his pocket.

1030-Stopped for lunch and realized something about family “discussions”- there’s probably 20 different points that it could end if someone just let someone else have the last word

1122: There is a fly in the damn car. You try and you try but as you can never do that whole Mr Miyagi thing. And I’m using something a little bigger than chopsticks.

1143: We rented a van for this trip. I’m sitting in the 2nd row and just noticed the whole window next to me goes down. It’s not the typical crack open, it’s the whole window! Now I bring this up because I seem to be the only one in the car amazed by this. Maybe I’ve been sitting here for way to long…

1200: My mom’s first scream. I got to be honest, surprised it did come sooner. Huge truck goes from the right to left lanes cutting us off big time. My dad slammed on the breaks. She thought my dad should have sped up to pass him.

1233: We’ve been thinking that it’s just a hazy day but after rolling down the window we realize we’re closer to the fires than we thought. Lots of smoke in the area around central California/ It’s amazing people are living through this and breathing it in all the time.

1248: I finally driving! Knock on wood. Amy loses phone. Right in front of her. Chris makes fun of her.

1250: Chris can’t find phone. In his pocket. No comment

214- Arrived. Crazy drive through mountains. Can feel a big difference in air quality. The smoke combined with the altitude makes for an interesting breathing experience. You get used to it after a few minutes but you can definitely tell a difference. After we got there everybody scatters leaving me to clean up the car. Now I know how my dad felt after we got to seabrook.

LA Trip- Part 2- "Why did you get Amy?"

July 7, 2008
After getting settled at the hotel, it was time to relax and reconnect with a lot of family we’ve not seen in some time. As the wedding approached and my brother (he was in the wedding party) and parents went to the rehearsal dinner, Amy and I decided, why not travel to Reno. I’ve never been to Nevada and it was less than an hour away. On the way there we were chatting about a few different things including the fact that I thought “How cool would it be to see a bear before we left?” I’d seen them before in zoos but I thought it would be cool to see one in the wild. Remember this as you get to the last pic.

Don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but yes, that is a seersucker suit with a pink bow tie.
So it’s late at night. Everyone was hanging out after the dinner and just relaxing at the bar. I needed to head out to the car to get something and I take two steps into the parking lot. Now, hopefully you’ve seen the movie Ghostbusters where Venkman is staring down the hallway at Slimer and calmly says into his radio, “Come in Ray”. Ray responds frantically and Venkman says, “It’s right here Ray. It’s looking at me.” That was pretty much me after those two steps. I walk out to find a huge bear going through the dumpster in the middle of that picture (I tried to clean it up as best I could). I look up and it turns to look at me. What does a boy from Rochester do when a bear three times his size turns and looks at him other than freeze. I mean this was a Jurassic Park freeze. The bear seemed to have a puzzled look on his face, takes a few steps towards me which I match with a few LARGE steps back. Finally after a few seconds of this dance we’re doing, I turn and calmly walk away back through the protective gate surrounding the hotel. But instead of getting hotel people, I yell for Amy. She asks what’s going on and I grab her arm and lead her towards to parking lot. Now, instead of scream, she breaks out in howling laughter from our previous conversation. It was good brother and sister moment. Hotel staff did eventually respond and chased the bear away. As I go to tell my mom the story, she asks, “Why the did you get Amy?” Why did I get Amy? Well, because I knew it would bring a smile to her face to share in one of the more random moments of this trip:-)

LA Trip- Part 3- "Just a city boy, born and raised in north Detroit"

July 7, 2008

Congrats to my cousin, Patrick Manion, and his wife, Andrea, on their marriage. It was a great ceremony followed by an equally awesome reception. Great speeches by the best man Tom, Uncle Paul, and Andrea’s friends and family. The reception got really interesting which we’ll discuss in a second…

A quick story about this picture. You might know the Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin“. There’s a line that could apply to the Spain boys (I was born southwest of Detroit, Chris was north of the city) but if you change the lyrics of the second verse to “north Detroit” it would directly apply to Patrick and Tom. So, we get the DJ to play this song and what happens, Chris grabs the mike, takes his shirt off, and starts singing at the top of his lungs. Yep, that’s my family:-)

Are we singing the same song?

LA Trip- Part 4- "The Green Truck"

July 7, 2008

A great story from the wedding is that the wedding party was taken from the church to the reception in an old green truck.Now, this wasn’t any old green truck. The story behind the truck is that Andrea’s brother, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, along with his best friend rebuilt the truck together over a lot of years. Little by little they refurbished the whole thing. The last time it was used was at his funeral. It was a touching moment to pay tribute to him.

My dad was really moved by this story and in talking to the guy driving in the picture about the story, he offered my dad an opportunity to drive it. He was really touched by the moment.

LA Trip- Part 5- "No sir, we’ve never lost a car"

July 7, 2008

Right outside of our hotel was the Squaw Valley Cable Car. Bringing you from the base of the valley up to their “High Camp”. From here, there are some tremendous views including some of the lake. Due to the fires in the area, Lake Tahoe was tough to see but it didn’t cloud some of the great scenery near by.

On first trip back down, there were only a few people in the car. My dad pipes up with a great question to ask very high off the ground, “Ever lost a car?” The operation responds, “No sir, we’ve never lost a car.” On the second trip, the conversation went in a completely different direction. Keep in mind, it’s the same operator:

(After passing one of the towers) Operator: Be prepared for a small swing as the car passes the tower. (Side note: Yep, the car swings and it’s as scary as it sounds)

Random Person: So one of these cars ever drop?

Operator: Nope, the cars have never fallen.

Random Person #2: What about what happened in ’78?

(Now, I do ok with heights. Didn’t as a kid but after some of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve become ok. But the silence after this question was asked was way too long for anyone, fear of heights or not)

Random Person #2: Oh sorry man, didn’t mean to call you out there.

Operator: (silent)

Me: No really, what happened back in ’78?

Operator: Ok, so on April 15, 1978 we had an incident with one of the cars in which one of the cables dislocated from the tower and struck the car. 4 people died, 32 were injured including one who fell from the car. He actually only suffered a broken rib and was able to walk away thanks to snow breaking his fall (Side note- There wasn’t any snow underneath the car).

In continuing to tell the story, he stay selective with his words but tells some awesome stories of the rescue operations including one guy who actually walked down the cables to the car without any safety equipment but carrying rescue supplies.

And that will be the last time Jeffrey will be riding the cable car…

From 8600 feet above sea level, here are some pics from the two trips:

LA Trip- Part 6- "Mile High Golf"

July 7, 2008

I’ve had the opportunity to play golf at some great places, but this one rivals all of them. Thanks to my Uncle and cousin for organizing this outing. Amazing surroundings and amazing weather for a great round of golf. Here are some pics:

Chris won the long distance drive contest. He was pounding the ball out there.

LA Trip- Part 7- "The Trip Back"

July 7, 2008

Not as long as the last one but still memorable…

12:17pm-Everybody welcome Stacy to the car.

So we pile in after Amy, my Dad, and I getting off our second cable car ride.

12:20- Still trying to figure out seats. Can’t find gps. We claim we don’t need it. Let’s see how this goes. Stacy asks the first “Are we there yet?”.

12:23- we’re off.

(cue crazy drive through the mountains)

2:16- Just got done with a little In N Out. Real simple menu but what I didn’t realize are all the secret items you can order. Check them out here. Stacy is now in the driver seat. Does she know what she’s in for?

3:34- Man, this is boring. No drama. Everyone is keeping their mouths shut. Quick stop Lodi, CA.

5:40- How can a McDonalds not have ice? Even with the 97 degrees outside, they don’t even have ice in the drive through. I move to the back back of van.

6:04- It took till now for the Spain family car to erupt into a political discussion.

8:15- Arrive at my brother’s apartment. It’s a nice place in a good area. The deli on the corner sells Coke products in the old glass bottles. Here are a few pics:

LA Trip- Part 8- "I Love This Pier"

July 7, 2008

After driving back to Los Angeles, my family got to spend some time on Chris, Stacy, and Amy’s home turf. The trip included a stop at the Athletic Club Chris and Stacy belong to, another round of golf, a stop at the law firms my brother and sister work at, and a trip to my mom’s favorite spot. Here are some pics from that part of the trip:

I think if it were possible, my mom would live on this pier at Manhattan Beach.

The whole gang, me, Amy, Janice (my mom), Jeff (my dad), Stacy, and Chris