My son is a Special Olympian!

I have sold ice cream biked miles, and walked for Down Syndrome – now you can support me revisit puberty with polar plunge and a bunch of people.

It is important we celebrate and support our awesome Special Olympians.  They excel and impress globally, with their enthusiasm and sportsmanship.

My son is a Special Olympian!

He was born with Down Syndrome and has been an absolute blessing to our family.  He’s cheerful, loving, and works hard to achieve his goals.  I’m a proud father for this amazing young man!

This year I pledge my support to Special Olympics New Jersey by making a donation through my page.

You have the awesome opportunity to also support me, and I will in turn share pictures of a pale, freckled, ginger bearded viking plunging into the ocean.  It will certainly be an experience for spectators as my roar will echo along the Jersey Shore.  And no, it is not a blue whale mating call!

The process is fast, easy and secure. Thanks so much for your support… and please don’t forget to send this page to any friends you think might be interested in donating!

Visit my donation page and share your love – Polar Plunge 2018

Shitter is full!

shitterfullWARNING – this is blog may cause some people to feel unwell – just I felt unwell during the events as they unfolded.

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It happens!  Shit happens!  And sometimes things just happen in a household, as a direct outcome of a natural process.  But when it happens, it is utterly disgusting.

And, when living in a household with 5 people, 2 adults and 3 kids, you are bound to see more of these incidents.

I’m talking about clogged drain and sewage pipes.  Whether it is the kitchen/bath sink, or a toilet that has been fed too much paper.  Either will happen.  It is how you deal with it that defines your manhood.

The other evening, while doing the dishes, our kitchen sink started to show signs of perhaps slight overload, as water did not drain as quickly as usual.  This is obviously caused by a few variables; the amount of food pieces and grease that has been swallowed over time.  At some point it may get a little stuck.

In this case, I simple mixed a little baking soda and vinegar, poured it into the drain and flushed it with boiling water.  It should do the trick, but didn’t.  In fact.  I stopped the flow altogether.  So, I decided to empty the sink manually and poured the content into the toilet … perhaps a slight silly mistake in hind-sight. The result was that I now had clogged the toilet.  To make matters worse, the pipe was so full that some water from main water was pushed into the drain, and the water in my kitchen sink started to rise.  Not good!

I had to turn off the main water to avoid flooding, and this unfortunately also meant no more toilet visit anywhere in the house until problem was resolved.

redphoneTime to call a friend, like in best jeopardy style.  Thankfully, the friend answered the call, and was kind enough to pay us a visit within 20 minutes.

It was pretty obvious that we a significant blockage somewhere in the pipes.  We tried to ‘snake’ toilet, sink and washing machine drains, but not positive outcome.  To make matters worse, the dirty water was now dripping into the basement.  Thankfully we do not have fully furnished basement and no carpets.

I had to call for help!  We needed a professional to solve this, well knowing that it would cost us some silly money just in call out fees.  It was 11pm, but had to accept the extortion from local plumber.  By 12.30, the plumber had not called back, so my friend and I thought we should take matters into our own hands.  How hard could it be to clear the blockage?

We quickly found the clean-out plug, underneath the kitchen/toilet area, and proceed to prepare for the nastiest part of the evening.  We knew we would have to open the plug, to release water pressure and empty sink + toilet.  This would be rather unpleasant, both visually and smell factor.

poo-bucketMy job was holding the large bucket as close to the plug as possible.  Knowing that this is literally human faeces (bodily fluids in this case from humans), which contains bacterias and other less attractive features, we could not afford to spill anything.  It would not only be disgusting, but the cleanup afterwards would be intense.

I carefully balanced the bucket, while my friend gently unscrewed the plug. “Water” started dripping, then running, straight into the bucket.  A few more 1/4 turns and the pressure was being released.  Our plan was working … until my friend lost his grip on the plug and the darn thing fell off.  The direct consequence was that sewage was being forced out from the clean-out hole, causing the stream to miss the bucket I was holding, and providing me with a shower.  Yes, I got drenched by shit!

The problem was, I could not drop everything and run.  I had to stay calm and catch the water, while trying not to get any into my mouth.  It sounds disgusting, but it was worse in real life!

I had to remove my Dropkick Murphy t-shirt (sorry lads) as it was soaked with shit.

On the plus side, the pressure was being released quicker, water stopped dripping from pipes and we knew it was working.  The down side was that we were covered in shit, and the floor was also slightly affected with a small puddle of faeces.

Finally the sewage was cleared and we had to go to phase two.  Locate the blockage with the ‘snake‘.  Finding the blockage was incredible easy, except I was covered in faeces and the smell was unbearable.

It was my first time using a ‘snake’, and hopefully last.

As I start to work the blockage, using the ‘snake‘, I was also introduced to something called the ‘champagne bottle effect’.  My mate might have been lying or making this stuff up.  Anyway, I very quickly found out what he meant.

See, when you release pressure, it can come shooting out.  You release a cork on a champagne bottle and it comes out.  Same thing happened with this shit.

I gently yanked the ‘snake‘, to clear the blockage, and was obviously successful.  The next 2.8 seconds was the worst in my entire life.  Shit was literally spraying from the pipe right at me.  I had not bucket handy, and had to jump down from the ladder and drag the larger bucket underneath the stream of excrement. to my dismay some of it had already landed on the floor.

My friend came running down the stairs, from inspecting toilet and sink, only to find me covered in human faeces.  I had old paper and other unidentified pieces in my chest hairs.  Arms were covered with a brownish shine and pants + shoes soaked.

This was not pleasant!!

Then again, we had successfully cleared the blockage and saved $500+ just in call out fees.

After a small beer break and panick laughing as we were slightly worried about hepatitis, we had to tackle phase 3.  Inspect and clear the waste pipe all the way to the end.  Given we had cleared the major blockage, we were fairly confident nothing else would be found.  And we were right.

The two amigos, aka Beavis and Butthead, had fixed a major domestic waste drain problem. We have had no training, and it shows, but still managed to fix it.

By the time we had finished, and cleaned up the worst shit, it was 3am.  We still had work in the morning, so we put all the equipment outside and I mopped up the faeces.

I showered twice before going to bed.  I could still smell the faeces as it was probably stuck in my nose.  I knew Friday would be a long day and that buying bleach was top priority.

Lessons learned – avoid using too much toilet paper, educate kids on right amount of paper to use for each job and do not pour kitchen waste into the sink.  It all adds up and will slowly block the drain.

missionaccomplished

The Carmine Code

carminesFor those not familiar with Carmine’s, it’s an amazing Italian family restaurant.  It opened its doors back in 1990, and pride itself to for making any meal feel like an Italian American wedding feast.

Many of my colleagues had spoken about Carmine’s, and I have heard reference to it on the radio and even in a few movies

… I think!

It was one of those places we simply had to visit, but we rarely went into the City.  If we did, it was mostly my wife and I, or perhaps just for a few business meetings.

A few days ago, the opportunity came knocking.  We had planned a visit to Broadway to see the “King and I” musical, as part of a fantastic offer with TDF who organises autism friendly performances.

After the amazing performance, it was late in the afternoon and we needed to refuel our bodies with some lovely food.  I unlocked my iPhone, opened the OpenTable app and made a reservation at Carmine’s.  It was like a new adventure was about to start.  Something mystical and mesmerising.

It was a journey to Shangri-La of food happy utopia, where we would sample wonderful dishes in a great atmosphere and among likeminded food loving people.

cloudyThe place itself wasn’t something amazing on the outside.  It was merely a small shop front, which led into a small bar area, full of people.  Then a dark magical staircase to the other side – to the promised land.

As we ascended the stairs, we were greeted by numerous scents and flavours.  It was in reality a smack to the face of gourmet food, and I was almost knocked off my feet by the sheer vapour bomb of food smells …. lovely food smell.

The waiter placed us at a family sized table, comfortable seating all five of us.  I glanced around the room and was pleasant surprised that this was in fact only large families.  People were happy, smiling, laughing and eating.  My kind of place!

We were Carmine virgins.  At least that’s what I told the very friendly waiter, and he was enthusiastic about explaining us the Carmine Code.  It was simple actually.

"This is a family restaurant
We serve family sized portions
The table share the food."

We ordered a salad, veal steak w/ mash and mixed plate of pasta.  According to the waiter, this should feed our hungry family.

Half way through the salad, which made Olive Garden’s salad tray look like a starter, I realized that we might have ordered a bit too much.

Then the two main courses arrived and I must’ve arrived in heaven.  In front of us were two large sized trays, filled with food.  Enough food to feed our family for a week.

I had to sample every piece, and it was fantastic.  Not Michelin star food, but real Italian style food, almost as mama would make it.  And, that was despite the amount of people who were eating with us, how many had been before us, and how many were coming after us.

I hit the food brickwall hard.  It was not unpleasant, but I was disappointed with my own performance.  We had barely made a dent in the past samples, and still half veal dish left.

heart-cloudsThankfully they have an excellent doggie bag attitude, and placed all the left-overs in tinfoil trays and a large shopping bag.

It was heaven.  We had just witnessed a food revelation and had in an instant become Carmine followers.  This was an amazing experience, and thank you food God for letting us experience utter stuffedness.

Wheeling Samaritan

… previously on Judgebrix.com

As I was sitting in my Dodge Charger, contemplating how to get my tire changed and still make it to work, I had come to the realization that I needed reinforcement.

Time to call a friend!

The first friend was 25 miles away, and at work.  The second friend never picked up – what a friend, eh?!

I for some reason decided to call my wife.  Well knowing she couldn’t help me, as she was minding our 2 sick kids, but she could perhaps offer some moral support.  I needed a virtual hug now that I was also injured, and stranded on Fury Roads.  In reality, she would offer me little technical support, and resorted to calling road-side assist 🙁

roadsideSuddenly, a giant van pulled in, in front of me.  The driver slowly reversed.  A slightly large dude jumped out and walked towards.  There where no-one else around, so it could only be me he was approaching.  Now, was he going to rob me a gun point, rape me with plastic gloves or was he simply a good samaritan?

Thankfully he was the latter, and my butt was starting to relax again.  He pulled out the proper tools from the van.  Jacked up the car.  Unscrewed five bolts with ease.  Swapped the tires and dropped the car again.  He had an extremely hairy ass.  Not that intentionally looked at his backside, but it was pretty difficult to miss it.  All within 7 minutes.

It was 7 minutes of magic.  For a brief moment I had forgotten my injury, and was smiling ear to ear.  As he was packing up his gear I asked him how much for the pleasure of his services, to which he replied “don’t worry, glad to help!”.

I was utterly surprised and waiting for him to say I owed him $200.  But no, he kept packing up and was preparing to leave.  I quickly dropped $20 in his hand and couldn’t thank him enough.  He just smiled and took off.

top-gun-maverick-thumbs-upI was back in my car, hitting the road and going to work.  So many cars passed me that morning.  It only took one realtime hero to help a stranded office dude.

Thank you my unknown road-side hero.  You’re my wing man. My Goose 🙂

Goodbye Jaws

A perfect smile is worth millions and opens many doors.  A smile has magical powers.  A big smile gives the owner of the pearly whites a sense of pride and confidence.

When our daughter was born 11 years ago (almost 12) we were informed that she had cleft palette and would need surgery before turning 1.  That’s a lot to take in when this was your first child, but we also knew that she is special and will succeed in whatever she does.

Some kids born with cleft may also have some dental challenges.  Challenges we never encountered until we met a great dentist in the US.  She had developed an underbite due to her cleft, but were told that it could be addressed somewhat easily.

All she needed to do was to get braces, up and down, and that would correct her bit.

That was more than two years ago, and after being presented with a bill of $8000 (USD) – $5000 after insurance covered their part.  Perhaps not too bad of a price to pay to give her a smile she could be proud of – it’ll last her a life time 🙂

I had noticed that she was not fully confident and she failed to smile on many occasions. It was not her real smile we saw.  She never mentioned if her underbite bothered her, but as she started to grow and mature, it was certainly affecting her confidence.

$5000 and 2.4 years later, and it was finally time to get the braces off.  Day of reckoning and moment of truth.

She had suffered for a long time.  Missed out on some of her favourite snacks, such as popcorn, and the constant dental visits to get the braces tightened.

Getting the braces off was like be released from prison … according to her at least.

The change was phenomenal.  Goodbye underbite and hello Hollywood.

She was over the moon and soooooo proud of her new smile.  Teeth were the same, but the braces had really done an amazing job.  The pain, tears and months of suffering had paid off.  It was a delight to see her beaming of confidence.

We bought a big bag of popcorn, sunflower seeds and chewing gum to celebrate her release.

She hasn’t stopped smiling since, and why should she.  Be proud and show off your smile.

smile