Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coming to Eldersburg - Party Supply Store?

I was driving home from my son's baseball game this evening (they won 12-5, but it was a no-hitter.  Other team scored their runs on 2 HBPs, a bunch of walks, and a throwing error), and I noticed some action going on in the retail space in between Weichert Realty and Quest Diagnostics in the Liberty Station shopping strip.

The lights were all on, as opposed to the other spaces which had no lights on, thus making it stand out.  On the walls I saw a bunch of inflated foil balloons, the kind you would see lining the walls of Party City.  I have no idea who the new retailer is, but now you know, so keep an eye out for it.  I think this location has been unoccupied since the Leather Goods store was there back when the motorcycle shop next to Liberty Station was open, which has been a couple of years.

Here's the location on the right side:

And while I'm writing this I'm enjoying a frozen Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet.  Oh, so good!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone takes a moment this weekend to consider what Memorial Day is really about.  It is not about grilling burgers and hot dogs.  It's not about drinking beer.  It's not about going to the beach.  It's not about the unofficial beginning of summer.

Memorial Day is a time to remember our fallen soldiers.  Remember those who have died.

I got really irritated this weekend when I heard a commercial on Jack FM 102.7.  The "DJ" said, "I hope this is a weekend you won't remember."  This is totally implying that you get drunk and have a good time.  But I guess this blasphemous behavior is what we should expect from the self-centered alcoholic 20-something F-you generation.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad.

My father's birthday isn't until June 2nd, but since we're going to Dover for the NASCAR race next weekend, my mother wanted to have us get together this weekend to celebrate.

We met at my sister's house for a cookout.  My mom said to meet at 2pm.  We got there at 2:15, yet we were the first ones there. No surprise there.  Closer to three I went outside to get the grill going.  My sister came outside and said that my parents had arrived and that we should go outside to greet them.  Uh.....okay.  So I followed her around to the front of her house.  Then I see this red Mustang GT pull up.  Who the heck is that???

My mom hollers out the window, "Hiiii!!!!"  There is where the young crowd would say, "O-M-G!"

My dad got out and said he bought himself an early birthday present.  He said that he's been looking at Mustangs for a while.  His father owned a 1965 Mustang fastback.  My dad was hoping that when he graduated from college he'd get it.  Much to his chagrin, when he graduated he came home to find that his father had traded in the Mustang on a 1970 Ford Torino.  Booo!

He said that in a few days he is going to be 63 years old and as Ronald Reagan said, "If not now, when?"

He took me for a spin.  Then took the grandkids for a spin.  He actually called it a 'Pony ride'.  Then I asked if I could take it for a ride.  He handed me the keys and said, "Go for it!"  I took my oldest daughter with me.  We went for a 10 minute zoom.  That car with its 300 hp can go from 30-60 in like a split second.  Fantastic!  And the rumble of the engine is enough to excite me into submission.

Will I inherit this car one day?

Baltimore DPW - Pay More For Your Water!

Marylanders are constantly being told that inflation is in check. Good thing.  I can't imagine how much more expensive things would get if there was inflation.

Without inflation, gas is, what, 50-100% more than it was several years ago.  Have you bought any food lately?  In addition to shrinking the package sizes, the prices are significantly higher.  The only prices that seem to have come down are housing prices, and this is because no one is buying houses and people that have them are defaulting on their mortgages and being kicked out onto the street.

Now Baltimore's Department of Public Works, which holds all water consumers hostage, announced that it is increases the prices of water by 9%.  Did you get a 9% raise this year?  I sure didn't.  That means that the cost of living is consuming a larger portion of our income.  Our quality of life will decrease and we will spend less money on discretionary items, the items that seem to drive our economy.  Therefore, more people will be laid off.  (Attention Sparrow's Point workers - you're probably not going to be able to find a new job when you get laid off.  Sorry.)

And didn't our water bill go up last year by about 9%?  I think our family now pays about $1,300 per year in water. It's now cheaper for me to take a bath in beer.  Enough tax and fee and rate increases already!

BGE Extortion Credit

From Wikipedia:

Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force,[1] but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant.

I got my BGE bill yesterday and when I opened it I was pleasantly surprised.  Only $26!!!  Wow.  Have I been living in the dark for the last month?  Or is that new high efficient LG washing machine really saving me that much money?

Then I saw that I had a $100 credit, which reminds me of the seemingly extortionist demands that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley put on Constellation Energy in order to approve the merger with Exelon.

Let's see - criminal offense when person obtains money through coercion.  Check.  Method commonly practiced by organized crime.  Check.  Making a threat which refers to a requirement of payment of money to halt future violence.  Check.  Inflicting pain and suffering or making someone endure something unpleasant.  Check.

Don't most people go to jail for this type of behavior?  Imagine that outcry if a Republican Governor had crafted this deal.

Martin O'Malley is going through his book of accomplishments - run Sparrows Point out of business because it's a dirty company.  Check.  Run Constellation out of town.  Check.  Prevent Northrop Grumman from moving to Maryland.  Check.  Get cozy with Purdue, largest polluter of the Chesapeake Bay.  Check.

It just doesn't make sense to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day in D.C. With Starlight Foundation

The Starlight Children's Foundation is one of the local organizations that provides entertainment events for families with a critically ill child.  They also provide gaming systems to the pediatric wards at local hospitals.  These gaming systems are Wiis and Play Stations mounted on a cart that can be wheeled from room to room.  For children that have compromised immune systems and are confined to isolation in their room during their entire hospital stay, which sometimes can be weeks long, these gaming systems provide much needed entertain.

Starlight Children's Foundation asked our family if we would be interested in joining them for a day in Washington, D.C. to tour the Capitol building and meet our Congressional representatives.  You know me - I jumped on this opportunity.  Unfortunately, it was my daughter's down-week (Vincristine and Dexamethason), so there was no way she would be able to attend.  She would be grouchy, irritable, inconsolable, irrational, tired, emotional, and downright miserable.  Fortunately, Starlight Children's Foundation allowed me to attend with no other members of my family.

We were meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building at 10am.  I don't travel in rush hour traffic much, especially in rush hour traffic to Washington, D.C.  Traffic down U.S. 29 was insane.  I think it moved at about 90 mph and was jam-packed.  It was a chain-reaction accordion accident waiting to happen.  I parked at the Silver Spring Metro parking lot, which requires that you put 72 quarters in the meter for several hours of time.  Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket for the parking meter at the Silver Spring Metro parking lot, or are you happy to see me?

The ride on the metro to Union Station was fairly quick.  The walk from Union Station to the Rayburn Building probably took more time.  I finally made it to the building and waded my way through airport security, only without the airport.  We met in room 2203.  It seemed like a while before we got going as we had to gather a group of about 100 people.

This is an actual sign in the Rayburn Building.  You know what an Internal Relocation Site is?  Is a freakin' stairwell!!!  I guess my house has an internal relocation site.  I can't wait to yell at my kids for leaving their shoes on the internal relocation site.

Once we left, we found Lyndon LaRouche outside demanding the immediate impeachment of President Obama.  If we do not pursue his impeachment with any sense of urgency, we will suffer the effects of World War III with Russia.  Uh......okay.

I took this guy's picture.  He didn't seem to mind, but he told me that since I took his picture I should take his handout, which I did.  And promptly put it in the closest paper recycling bin after I read a few lines of his paranoid conspiracy theorist propaganda.

We arrived at the Visitor's Center at the Capitol.  This place gives the National Zoo a run for it's monopoly on insanity.  There must have been several thousand people there.  I was a bit disappointed with the Visitor's Center.  A few pictures.  A few interactive computers.  An amphitheater showing a very short film on the history of the Capitol building.  And some relief maps documenting certain snapshots in time of the Capitol area.  And lots of long lines.  The gift shop?  Probably as big as a large bathroom.

We finally got a tour of the Capitol.  We sat in the gallery in the House of Representatives.  Eric Cantor was on the floor talking with some colleagues.  I didn't recognize anyone else. Unfortunately no cameras are allowed in this area, so no pictures.  There was only a total of maybe 10 Representatives there the entire time.  It was humorous to watch them give speeches from the podium to a room full of empty chairs.  I guess they were speaking to the CSPAN audiences.

Later we toured the rotundas.  This is where we saw House Speaker John Boehner walk by.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready and he walked by really fast.  Buy I saw his piercing blue eyes and his George Hamilton tan.  There was no mistaking him.  He's the blurry in this picture.  Honest!

Finally we broke for lunch, which was really good.  I got a ham sandwich on sourdough bread.  It was a huge slice of bread, just like our national debt.

After lunch we headed to see the Maryland Congressional delegation.  We got word that no elected officials from Maryland were in town (sigh), so we were getting to meet a 25year old staff member of Senator Barbara Mikulski in the Hart Senate Office Building.  He was very polite and listened to our stories and our concerns.  And he told us that whatever our causes were, Senator Mikulski was a champion and supporter of those causes.  I should have mentioned term limitations and non-gerrymandered Congressional districts.

I finally got out of town and onto a red line train around 4pm.  I needed to get to my son's baseball game by 6pm.  Plenty of time, right?  I got there right at 6pm wearing my business casual outfit rather than my cargo shorts and baseball shirt.  At least I was there, despite the fact that I forgot the scorebook and the lineup.

Route 29 moved about 8 mph in the evening.  It did give me the opportunity to take a picture of my favorite license plate - Washington, D.C. - Taxation Without Representation! (I'll post that picture when I have a computer with photo editing software!)

Green Oak Landscaping: A$$HØГEZ of the Day

I was driving home today following a white F-250 pulling a black trailer toting 2 zero-turning mowers.  I thought nothing of following them UNTIL the passenger threw a giant handful of lunch trash out the window.

Who was this environmental hater?  It was none other than an employee (owner?) of Green Oak Landscaping, LLC Hard Scape Specialists, 221 West Old Liberty Road, Sykesville, Maryland, 21784.

If you'd like to let them know what you think of a Carroll County business throwing trash into the streets of Baltimore County, give them a call - (410) 274-1046.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sykesville House Fire

My son and I decided to go fishing on Sunday.  He decided that he needed some more tackle, so we went to Wal-Mart.  When we came out I noticed this big plume of puffy gray smoke billowing up from the distance.  We didn't decide to go there, but it seemed to be on the way.  Once we got to White Rock Road, we could see the smoke coming from the ground.  I thought perhaps the barn was on fire.

Fortunately (Unfortunately?) the traffic was crawling as everyone was slowing down to take a look at this.  It's not every day that you see a big fire.  When we finally got close enough to see the fire we found that it was actually a house fire.  You're heart absolutely sinks when you realize that a house is on fire.

I'm not sure if this fire was an accident or a controlled burn of a structure that was going to be removed anyway.  I could not find any news on the Internet about the fire.  I sincerely hope no one lost their home.

From the picture I can tell that Sykesville Freedom Fire Department and Winfield Fire Department responded.  I'll keep checking the fire departments' websites and the local news and update you with anything I find.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Secret Messages to O'Malley on My Lawn

I came home from work the other day and found these markings on my lawn.  I wasn't quite sure what they meant.  Was the county coming in to work on the sewer line?  Or the water line?  Or are they one and the same???  The next day I had orange, red, and yellow dots painted in rows all along the front of my property.  Something was up.  Aliens?  Not quite as grandiose and artistic as crop circles, but suspicious nonetheless.

Then next day it occurred to me.  These are painted signs to inform Martin O'Malley where I live.  Can you picture this?  "Blue circle with arrow pointing to house - adversarial blogger lives here."  Green circle with an arrow - blogger knows that Martin O'Malley cannot defeat Barbara Mikulski or Ben Cardin in a Senatorial race and cannot fathom the idea of O'Malley running for President."

I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  I just know that people from the left are after me.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kinky Liquor

I am such a sucker for sexually-themed liquor.  It's an effective marketing ploy against men.  I found this pink bottle labeled Kinky Liquor.  Well, actually the bottle is a clear frosted bottle, but the contents are pink.  We haven't opened it yet, so I don't know how it tastes.  How was I not supposed to buy this?

This is the third in the series of liquors that I have bought, the first being Ménage à Trois wine, then Fu-Ki Wine, now Kinky Liquor.

What's your alcoholic weakness?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My New iPhone 3GS - Welcome to 2009!

I've always been a latent technology adopter.  This is evident when coming in my house and looking at my new VCR, my new project screen television, and my new MP3 disc player.

My daughter dropped her cellphone last week - a Samsung Flight.  The keyboard still works, but the screen is dead.  She asked if she could get a new phone.  I had a better idea - I'll get a new phone and she can have my old cellphone.  She wasn't too keen on the idea and even sassed a little bit about how it wasn't fair.  But I reminded her that (to paraphrase the cliche), '12 year olds can't be choosers'.

We shopped a little bit and it seems that nearly all of the phones are now data plan phones.  I refuse to call them smart phones, because they're not smart.  They're just programmed to do what they do.  And I wasn't thrilled with having to pay $100 for a new phone.  The free upgrade phones were all crap.

We went to my in-law's for Mother's Day and I was discussing our phone situation with my brother-in-law and he offered my his old iPhone 3GS.  Sure, it's three years old and the screen is slightly goopy.  The rubberized cover is faded on the corners and torn.  But you know what?  Cheapskates can't be choosers.  I'm very grateful for to him for letting me have his phone.  Thank you!

I called AT&T and added the required data plan.  There was no activation fee since it is not a new phone.  Now I have my own iPhone!  Yay, me!

Still trying to figure it out and I'm still transferring my contacts from the old phone.  I thought the SIM card contained your contacts.  Apparently not?  I told you I'm not a tech gadget kind of guy.  I can replace the master cylinder on the corrugator at work and reprogram the XML output.  But I have no idea what my cellphone can do.  And I don't really care that much.

How do you like your phone?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May Potpourri Part 1

I know I'm not blogging much right now, but here are some highlights of the past few weeks.

My son's baseball team threw a no-hit shutout last Saturday.  The team was fairly terrible, so it's not like they beat the Yankees, but a thrilling victory nonetheless.

While we had all that rain over the last couple of days, I noticed that I had Niagara Falls in my front yard.  Apparently my gutters were clogged.  Today I got up on the roof and started pulling out a mesh of maple tree sprouts.  I wonder if this would be good to add to a salad.

My daughter was confirmed at Church the previous weekend.  We had family over so I made a fruit salad, which I decided to make into a bowl of art.  Quite proud of my creation.  And my photograph.

I haven't run since the Port to Fort 6K on April 29th.  Later that evening I picked up my daughter to carry her because her legs were hurting (one of the side effects of her chemo).  As soon as I picked her up a pain shot through my groin.  Another hernia?  Sure feels like it.  The initial pain subsided, but the stingers and pangs are still there and starting to get worse.  Do I get another hernia surgery?  Is that really what I want right now? Ugh.....

We recently had what's called the supermoon.  This is the time of year when the moon's orbit is closest to the Earth.  I played around with my camera for a while taking pictures of it until a got one I liked.  Check it out.  I had to turn the flash off and set the shutter for a quick speed.  Otherwise the moon was a big white blob.  I think this even looks like one of those astronomy pictures.  Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Maryland Special Session

I feel obligated to write about the current special session of the Maryland General Assembly.  However, it's all the same old same old when it comes to Maryland politics.  Do I really need to repeat myself?  Okay, I will.

1) Maryland is getting a reputation for inept government.  And Maryland politicians are practically admitting it, too.  The so-called leaders of the General Assembly, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller came out of the most recent session disappointed that they couldn't put together a budget that included massive tax increases on working class people.

2) Maryland law requires the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget every year.  Ignore the fact that every year O'Malley brags that he signed a balanced budget.  No, $H1T, Sherlock.

3) Maryland passed a balanced budget in the most recent session.

4) O'Malley and his cronies raised the budget by another bazillion dollars, but didn't have enough money to pay for it, so they are implementing their "Doomsday" budget that they agreed to, which results in cuts to education. Now they are crying that it's not fair that they have to make budget cuts to education.  Isn't that like getting mad at your mother when you punch yourself in the face?

4) By increases taxes (AGAIN), Maryland is effectively increasing the budget (AGAIN).

5) The Montgomery County delegation said they were going to vote against the state income tax increases because it disproportionately and unfairly impacts all the rich liberals in their county.  Therefore, they are proposing a 16.7% increase in the state sales tax, which will more fairly impact all residents in the entire state, including those who are unemployed, destitute, poor, and severely in debt.  (Who does Montgomery County think they are, corrupt Wall Street Republicans???)

6) How is it that Maryland spends so much money on education and brags that we're number one in education, but a few million dollars in budget cuts to education will ruin our education system?

7) Why is it that we're spending more money on education every year for the last several years, yet Baltimore County Public Schools laid off 200 teachers last year?

8) It's costing Maryland tax payers nearly $100,000 for this special session.

9) Martin O'Malley claims that this special session to increase taxes will help move Maryland forward.  As Ozzy Osbourne sang in the song No More Tears, 'going forward in reverse'.

10) The special session proposes income tax increases on families earning more than $150,000 (with the intention of driving upper middle class Marylanders out of the state and into Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware), and tax increases on commercial real estate deals (to drive away businesses from Maryland and into Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware), tobacco products (which are overwhelmingly consumed by poor and minority groups), and death certificates (to piss off dead people).  I question the tax increase on the death certificates.  Everyone knows the dead vote in Baltimore City sways heavily Democratic.  I don't think it's wise to disenfranchise that group.

11) And last, but not least, the elected state officials want to pass along the cost of funding teacher pensions to the counties so that they use that money for other spending priorities.  This will actually lead to more tax increases at the county-level.  Why does Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly hate teachers so much, yet still get their votes year after year???

Friday, May 11, 2012

Speaking of Flip-Flopping.....Steny Hoyer

Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer seems to be the latest in a long line of liberal lemmings to flip-flop their official position on gay marriage. Congressman Hoyer is best known for his bigoted/racist remark about African-American Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele ("a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.").

 I'm not sure why Hoyer felt the need to announce his change in position.  It's not like he's going to run for a higher office. We've established that already. Perhaps he feels threatened by the Republican Congressional challenger Tony O'Donnell.

 Now that I think about it - it's a legitimate threat. Hoyer has been "slavishly supporting the Democratic Party" in Congress for 31 years. People are tired of the same old tax-tax-tax, spend-spend-spend mentality that Hoyer offers.  I honestly think there will be a bigger sea of change in the upcoming election. Wouldn't it be awesome to see Steny Hoyer get his retirement ticket punched? I mean, 31 years of solid failure should be good enough to send someone off into the sunset.

 So are there any other Democrats in Maryland who are not officially in favor of gay marriage and need to announce that they have changed their position?  Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama O'Malley O'Marriage O'Flip-Flop

So it seems like the Democrats are trying to steer the upcoming election away from what is important (the economy), to a social issue (gay marriage).  I guess if you know you're in trouble, look a squirrel!

After increasing pressure from the press, the Hollywood bully-pulpit, and Vice President Biden going rogue, President Obama was backed into a corner and forced to say that he is now in favor of gay marriage.  This is, of course, after saying that he was against gay marriage, but yet had an "evolving" opinion.  Don't be fooled.  This is rhetoric for "I'm monitoring public opinion and will shift my answer when I feel it is most advantageous to my polling numbers."  This evolving opinion was, of course, after Obama was previously in favor of gay marriage prior to running for political office. Thank goodness for Obama the public has a short memory.

Following President Obama's most recent flip-flopping on the social issue of gay marriage, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley praised Obama for this flip-flop.  This is coming for O'Malley who's known for his own flip-flops.  O'Malley was praised for his support of the gay marriage initiative in Maryland during this recent legislative session.  But this is after being AGAINST gay marriage during his first term in office.  How can you praise someone for a decision when they were against it previously?  If I was the benefactor of the changed opinion, in this case the gay community, I absolutely wouldn't trust him (not that I trust him anyway).

You know Martin O'Malley is sitting in his red smoking robe tonight patting himself on the back for getting another press conference to let everyone know that he agrees with the President.  Whoop-dee-doo.  This guy wants to be President  himself, right?  God help us.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Happy Meat Monday

I found this on the Internet while looking for something else and thought it was too funny not to share.

Obama May Day Song

Courtesy of Eludius Sr.:

Obama campaign song, to be sung on May Day or May 5th the anniversary of Karl Marx's birthday.  

Forward!  Forward!
Workers of the world.
Redistribution of the wealth.
Unto each according to need
From each according to ability

Forward!  Forward!
In solidarity.
Vote for Obama
For everything for free!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Happy Cinco de Cuatro!!!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of Obama's self-declared Cinco de Cuatro!  Let's celebrate.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Eldersburg Royal Farms - Oh There You Are

I mentioned a couple of days ago that the corner lot closest to the Princess Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 32 and Route 26 had been sitting a while since they announced that a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station was going to be built.

I think someone at Royal Farms must be reading my blog.  That would make them a smart person.  Because the other day I noticed this sign go up.  I only had a chance to snap a picture of it today.  So I guess it really is coming soon.  Maybe this summer???  Exxon - can you say competition?  Is this going to be the end of Eldersburg having the most expensive gas west of New Jersey?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Happy Work Anniversary!

Yesterday was my 15th anniversary for working at American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America.  15 Years!  My accomplishment was recognized with a timely email stating:

Thank you for 15 years of completing your assigned tasks in an appropriate and timely manner.

I think I may print that one out and hang it in my prison cell.  Another coworker who started the same day as me did not get a congratulatory email, so I shared mine with him.

I got to thinking.  I've reported to 17 different supervisors in 15 years.  I've sat in 14 different seats.  It's probably time for me to move seats again, but not time for a new supervisor.

In 15 years, all of my children were born, I bought a house, 3 of my 4 nephews and nieces were born.  I've had only 2 cars, my wife has had 3.  I've lost most of my hair, gained weight, lost weight.  Paris Glendening was the Governor of Maryland when I started working there.  Bill Clinton was President.  Jessica Simpson was 16  years old and the Orioles had 2 more winning seasons to go before their sub-.500 streak.

The Ravens were a year old.  The Maryland Terps basketball roster included Sarunus Jasikevicius, Laron Profit, Obinna Ekezie, Rodney Elliott, Matt Hahn, Matt Kovarik, Terrence Morris, Mike Mardesich, and Terrell Stokes.

Titanic won best picture, over As Good As It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, and L.A. Confidential - all movies that are now on TCM.

Many of my coworkers were in college or high school.  A couple were even in middle school.  My computer had Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and GroupWise email.

Wow.  Where has the time gone?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

2012 Believe in Tomorrow Port to Fort 6K

Sunday.  What a wonderful day.  There has been much lead-up to the Believe in Tomorrow Port to Fort 6K.  I've pestered my Facebook friends to the point that I'm sure I was blocked by some of my outer circle friends.  I harassed emailed every person that came to mind over at American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America for a donation.  Fortunately, most of them are very kind and willing to support us.  Having reversed the situation, I certainly would help them.

Sunday began with an early riser, quick shower, quick breakfast, while I concurrently did a quick status check on Facebook.  (I need to know what people did between 10pm last night and this morning!!!).  We got our stuff together and jumped in the car.  We were on the road by 7:15am.

We arrived at the Domino Sugar Plant to park just shy of 8am.  A quick unpack and we head over to the Museum of Industry to find our team.  It wasn't hard to find them.  4 million people wearing super bright pink t-shirts.  That was just our team.  The area quickly filled up with this year's participants.  And it was a gorgeous day for a race. It was about 50 degrees and sunny, which for running is PERFECT.   And it got warmer as the day wore on.

This year's race was being recorded with a chip, so it didn't matter if it took you 2 minutes to cross the start-line.  However, after last year's race, I had no desire to be any farther back than necessary.  I didn't want to get trampled by the dedicated monster runners.  Nor did I want to be behind the mad-mom strollers, walkers, and sightseers.

Finally the start gun was heard and we were off.  I was with a few friends and we agreed to run together.  After the first bend in the road I looked over my shoulder and there was no sight of my friends.  I was running at a decent pace, not sure what it was.  I finally hit the first mile-marker at 8:11.  Holy tax-increases, Batman!  I continued along.  A few people started passing me, so I figured I was slowing down.  I hit the 2 mile-marker - 16:22.  Holy-unbalanced budget, Martin O'Malley!  I am still running at the same pace.

I finally pass the water table.  There's a crowd of people around it.  I heard some advice from a friend once.  Avoid the water table if you can.  Then I figured, this is only 3.8 miles, I can run that without water.  It's not like I'm running a marathon.

Mile-marker 3 - I'm at 24:55.  Okay, I'm slowing down a little bit, but still a fantastic pace!  I'm climbing a hill.  It seems to last forever and it's getting more painful, sort of like a Martin O'Malley term in office. 

An old cougar passes me.  "It's all downhill from here!", she growls.

I look up.  It's still uphill for as far as I can see.  "Downhill from where???", I ask her.

"Around the next bend", she says.  We turn the next corner.  More uphill.

"I thought you said it was downhill after this corner."

"It's coming soon!  Trust me.  I ran this course on Thursday!"  We turn the next corner.  More uphill.  She's obviously a staff member for Maryland Senate President Mike Miller, because she's full of it.

But alas, the next turn and we're FINALLY going downhill again.  I pick up the pace.  Use the downhills to your advantage.  I'm practically sprinting at this point.  Finally we're back on Key Highway.  I'm not wearing headphones, so I can hear myself breathing.  I realize what a loud breather I am when I run.  If you thought you heard dying bear run by you on Sunday, that was probably me.  And slobber?  Holy mad cow.  As heavy as I was breathing, there was an equivalent amount of liquid me flying all over the place.  If you thought a quick rain storm passed you, I do apologize. 

I'm running as hard as I can, but it's not that fast at this point.  But I finally crossed the finish line.  I had no idea what my time was.  I learn on Monday that I ran just over 30 minutes!  You can't imagine how psyched I am.  I haven't been this thrilled since Nancy Pelosi was removed as Madam Speaker.

A few minutes later my friends trample in behind me.  My friend's husband runs in with a stroller.  "Hey, Virus!  I think I beat you."  "I don't think so."  Wow.  I have no delusions that I am faster than this guy, but I'm pretty certain that I beat him in this particular race.  Come to find out, his chip time was better than mine, but my clock time was better than his.  So whatever.  He need not feel threatened by me.  I'm giggling like a little girl picturing him like Beavis with his shirt over his head saying, "Are you threatening me?!!!"

My oldest daughter comes in next.  She ran it in about 34 minutes.  Not bad for a 12 year old!  Then my 10 year old son comes in - 36 minutes.  Awesome!  He didn't even have running shoes on
Master of Ceremonies: WBFF Fox 45's Candace Dold:

The race finally concludes and they gather everyone for the awards ceremony.  I knew our team won the award for most money raised.  We were ahead by $9,000.  I was fairly certain that we won the award for the largest team, but Sarah's Brew Crew was close behind us.  We did beat them for largest team.  Then, my son placed in the top 3 for his division.  I'm so proud of him!!! He even wore his medal to school the next day.

All in all it was a great day.  We raised a lot of money and brought a lot of awareness to people about Believe in Tomorrow.  I'm sure there were other teams out there that were giving us the evil eye and watching us during the fundraising campaign wishing they could beat us.  But it's not about the competition (though I am proud of our accomplishments).  If someone else could raise more money or get more participants than us, I think that would be wonderful.  It's all for a great cause.

We look forward to being there again next year.  Will you be there next year?
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