November 22, 2006

Explosion on the North Shore

Not sure if you had heard in the national news about the major explosion of a chemical plant that occurred here last night. Kim and I live about ten miles away and it certainly woke both of us up last night. It felt like the whole building was shaking and although the blinds were drawn, the apartment did brighten from the light. Incredible. I had no clue what it was until I heard this morning on the local TV stations. I guess the fire rose several hundred feet in the air, produced a small mushroom cloud and even register 0.5 on the Richter scale all the way in Boston. It woke people up as far away as Maine and New Hampshire. Whoa. Anyway, here is the link to the story: Amazingly, even though about 60-80 homes were destroyed, no one was killed and only about 10 people experienced minor injuries! Miraculous.

November 18, 2006

Hillsdale Homecoming Part 6

Mon Oct 9, 5:20 am: Always good to start a long road trip early in the morning. I wake up easily and am somewhat excited for the trip back. Another nice surprise is that Jeff (my old boss) is up to greet us and say goodbye. What a guy.

6:00 am: Pick up Joel and Allie. Say goodbye to Joel's mother and to Tony. Not quite sure how he is going to get to the airport tomorrow, but it will add to the drama and adventure, I'm sure.

9:30 am: Time for traditional McDonald's breakfast at rest stop, but we settle for Burger King. At the rest stop I realize that we missed our highway when I-80/90 split before Cleveland. But it is a minor inconvenience since the roads still parallel each other.

12:30 pm: Allie is driving after Kim drove in the morning. It is so nice to have four of us driving during this trip as opposed to the usual two of just Kim and I. Kind of a quiet trip back as we are all tired from the busy weekend.

4:30 pm: Still driving.

6:30 pm: Still driving, will we ever get there?

7:30 pm: We drop Joel and Allie off at their place in Cambridge, but we still have 45 minutes to drive home. Joel tries to give us directions back as it is very tricky getting around this area with tons of one-ways.

8:30 pm: Lost in downtown Boston. Frustrated and quick-tempered at his point. Kim and I just want to be home. So tired. And hungry. And low on gas.

9:00 pm: Finally near home. Get McDonald's and gas. Ate one of them. At this point not sure of which.

9:15 pm: Home. What a great place to be. Plop on the couch, turn on the tube and eat. What a great thing to do.

9:45 pm: Kim and I hit the bed and are asleep before we know it. Dreaming about what a great trip we had, what great friends we have and what great sleep we will have.

The End.

November 15, 2006

Hillsdale Homecoming Part 5

Sunday Oct 8, 9:00 am: Quick run to Mc'D's for a breakfast sandwich. Tony gets an extra pie in the bag, which I eat. The peasants rejoiced.

10:30 am: Kim and I returned to our old church where we ministered and became engaged. Tony, Muffin and Nic accompany us. I have the privilege of serving as lay leader during the service. Great to see so many old friends. I especially enjoyed picking on the kids who were in our youth group.

12:00 pm: Dr. Reist invites us all to join him for lunch after the service at a great sports bar down the road. Just a terrific lunch as we were able to all talk together. Dr. Reist was his usual self, but I' m pretty sure none of us would have had it any other way.

1:00 pm: Muffin drops cell phone, appears to have destroyed it, Nic saves the day in no time flat.

2:00 pm: Tony, Joel and I decide that it is time to play some disc golf out at Baw Beese. Kim gets to spend some quality Brother-Sister time with Nic. Allie does what Allie does: run.

3:00 pm: I am pleasantly surprised that having not played a single round of disc golf all year and using only one disc (and not even my own disc), I shoot one over par. I usually averaged about two to four over par during my many rounds with Garny. Perfect fall day to be out there for a round.

4:00 pm: I sit in the Joel's mother's garage, which is actually a warehouse of Tony memorabilia. Tony and I sift through his memories and I get two free guitar books from Tony. Tony's always been a giver, he'd give you the shoes off his feet, but that's not really much for Tony considering how many shoes he owns... many, many... shoes.

6:00 pm: Tony is chilling back at Simpson and the wife and I decide to pay a visit to my old boss and his family (and drop our stuff off since we would be staying there that evening. I explicitly told them that I had brought an air mattress and that we just needed some floor space, but when we arrived, we were told that Jeff had kicked his twin daughters out of there room for us and made them clean it! He told us that he always takes advantages of having guest over to get his kids to clean their room. The twins were actually very excited for us to stay in their room. Exceptional fam.

7:00 pm: Hunger beckons. We submit. Little Ceaser's Drive-Thru Hot-n-Ready Pizza. Just thinking about it now makes me hunger. Another thing I miss greatly. For $5.35, you can drive-up and get a large pepperoni pizza. We finished off the meal with some ice cream from the Moo Cow in Jonesville. Delicious. Tony pays for his ice cream with the change he found in the garage. Less weight for the trip back to Japan.

8:30 pm: Stop by and pay our old friend Piko a visit.

10:00 pm: Tony and Joel decide to attend Catacombs. Tony and Joel began this ministry during our junior year at Hillsdale and it survives to this day, and apparently is even more popular than when we were there. Of course they currently advertise the gathering, which was not done in our day considering that it was suppose to reflect the time when Christians would meet secretly in the catacombs due to persecution. Much was still the same: no lights only candles, sitting on the floor, time of singing, with prayer in the middle. Another of my favorite things during my college days was this service every Sunday evening.

10:30 pm: Kim and I stay up a little later than we should. We are both exhausted and know that it will be an early morning tomorrow, but just enjoy seeing the Lantis family too much. But we are in bed and asleep soon after.

November 13, 2006

Hillsdale Homecoming Part 4

Sat Oct 7, 10:00 am: I am astonished to find out that I a) did not wake up when Tony and Billy return, b) had slept for ten straight hours and c) that my stomach is back to full health after yesterday's funky cappuccino disaster.

10:30 am: Took Tony to Rite Aid so he could buy his supplies. Apparently medicine in Japan is outrageously expensive. Tony also look for a wrist wrap because this was his current injury. Every time I meet up with Tony, somehow he gets injured. I don't think it's me, I think he is just old.

11:00 am: Time to start eating out tuition back. Hillsdale is giving away a lot of free food today and we intend on eating a lot of free food. With my appetite back, Tony and I head to homecoming registration to score some muffins, bagels, fruit, juice, etc. We are badgered by two students to sign up for the free raffle, but as we all know, it is a way to get our info to call us up for the alumni phoneathon.

12:30 pm: Smile! The five year picture of the class of 2001 is taken. Our group counts for 60% of the picture (6 out of 10). Not sure where the other 242 students are. But then again, not sure if they mattered anyway. Oh, more free food. this time they had the little kosher wieners, cheese and crackers, veggies, beer and wine. Must keep eating.

12:45 pm: Catching up with Lantz Romance (and child!), Little Danny Simpson (and child! and another in the oven!), Russ and Gina (and child!). Crazy.

1:00 pm: Make a getaway to the steps of Central Hall. Can't miss the alumni choir production. This is true mostly because my wife is in it (can you find her in the picture?). Billy Boy joins me as his wife is also in it. Couldn't have asked for a better day weather wise as we were truly under azure skies.

2:00 pm: Time for tailgating and more free food in the alumni tent! Excellent. I unfortunately am feeling a little full and know that there is still more free food ahead of me, so I abstain.

3:00 pm: We are at the big game! Hillsdale vs. Indianapolis. We find ourselves down 13-0 early on. Typical Charger football. But we are having a great tim ein the stands. The old college cheer has caught us and we are very much enjoying rooting for the blue and white.

3:30 pm: Decide to make calls to friends who decided not to join us: Jessica Formerly Donda, Meredith Formerly Culbertson and Kwin who is still Kwin. Kwin is the only one who answers, we pass her around the group like a bad cold. So in a way, Kwin did some crowd surfing at the game in Hillsdale all the way from California. Nice.

4:00 pm: Halftime! They announce the drawing for the alumni raffle. Prizes are a brick and top prize is a chair. I announce that I would rather have the brick. "Second prize brick goes to...Lucas Miller." I won a brick! This is an alumni I brick worth $150. I can engrave anything I want on it and it will be places in the alumni walk. Amazingly Ashley Culbertson, Allie's sister wins the chair! Amazing because she is in Georgia. I guess Allie threw her name into the mix. Our group sweeps!

4:30 pm: Joel, Allie and myself head up to the President's box after Joel sweet talks the bouncer. We investigate into our prizes, score more free food (assorted nuts, brats and beer). Give our regards to Larry, share a few Churchill jokes and are on our way.

4:45 pm: Hillsdale somehow wins 14-13 with a freshman quarterback starting his first game due to two other quarterbacks being injured. We actually should have lost, but defenders kept running into each other and the ball would somehow land in our receivers hands.

5:00 pm: Charger victory party at alumni tent. More free food! A great hashbrown casserole, pulled-chicken sandwiches and dessert make for some good eats. I sit with Prof Westblade and family and Dr Turner as well. Lovely conversation with good folk.

5:30 pm: Find Joel, Tony and Muffin. The incident occurs, which I will let Tony tell in his own words: "I expect to read about the runaway baby in the next installment, keeping in mind that yours truly did not know that the baby was barrelling towards him, due to extreme focus on the frisbee. Dad throws the frisbee, mom rolls the baby down the hill... not a hard call to make, except that I saw the frisbee first and have never been that good at multi-tasking." Just FYI, yours truly (Lucas Miller) is the one who caught the runaway stroller, but Tony did catch the frisbee. So we are both heroes.

7:00 pm: Head over to Simpson to chill for a moment. Watch the end of the Tigers game. They knock out the Yankees and celebrate like little kids. Our friend Chas ditched us to go that game. Watching it, I feel he probably made the correct choice. Probably.

8:00 pm: Decide to congregate at Rosalies for snacks and drinks. I had neither as I was stuffed from all the free food that day. Great to see Jen and Kel-Kel again. We were the last to leave Rosalies that evening. Good times.

11:00 pm: Quick stop at Wal-Mart for old times sake. I begin to drool over the ridiculously low prices that are absent from life in Massachusetts.

11:30 pm: Joel, Tony and I meet up with Robey, Mohler and Crazy Carl in the EAR. Ping Pong follows as well as Sportscenter and catching up Mohler on life. Again, we were the last to leave, getting kicked out by security at 2 am.