Playing Catch-Up, Part Two

Playing Catch-Up, Part Two

In the midst of all of these life-changing goings-on, we were also in the promotional push for one of our bestselling children’s books. Pete the Popcorn: Pickles, Peppers and Paprikas was released on Sunday, November 22nd. The book is a partnership with Tony Packo’s restaurant in my home town of Toledo, Ohio. If it sounds familiar, it could be from the 1970’s television show MASH. Jamie Farr’s character always spoke of the Hungarian hot dogs at this east-side staple.

There were three book signings at all three locations of Tony Packo’s. The second one was on December 9th. My interview was in Cincinnati, Ohio early in the morning on the 10th. And then we had to be in Cleveland, Ohio on the 11th for a different launch event for our book Crusty Cupcake’s Christmas Catastrophe. Busy times, indeed.

My interview with Allegiant was everything that my interview with Delta should have been. Stress-free and informational, led by kind people. I wasn’t totally sold that the airline would be a good fit for me and my personality— I came from an airline where everything was free. Allegiant sells EVERYTHING… right down to water. How would I handle that?

However, upon completing the individual portion of the interview, I was given a packet containing drug testing and fingerprinting information. I knew what was happening, even if the job offer didn’t come on the spot. I proceeded to the drug testing site, peed in the cup, and we drove to Cleveland, where we had an afternoon school visit.

The call came on Monday, once we had returned to Toledo. On my application, I was asked to list which crew base I would prefer. To my amazement, Punta Gorda, Florida was listed as one of the options. That little town that I’d never heard of, where we stopped for gas, could be my new home. Anywhere in Florida was fine for me… but something attracted me to the quiet.

Orlando would be too many kids. I already deal with kids.
Fort Lauderdale would be too young. My partying days are over.
St. Petersburg would be too busy… although the beaches are nice.

So we threw the old dart to the map and listed Punta Gorda as our first choice. And that’s what I was offered when the phone call came.

Christmas and New Year’s were a blur. On Sunday, January 3rd, I found myself on a Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas, my home for the next five weeks.




As always, your support is appreciated…. and so are your purchases of my books, which you can find on Amazon at my author page!

Playing Catch-Up, Part One


Playing Catch Up, Part One

It was October of 2015. Joe and I were completing a tour of schools in several southern states before taking a break in Florida.

We spent a few days in Boynton Beach before making the beautiful drive to Key West. There, we spent a week with two sets of great friends… and took part in the very adult-themed week of Fantasy Fest, which is Key West’s Halloween celebration.

On the drive home, we stopped for gas in a town called Punta Gorda. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would soon become more than familiar with this sleepy town on Charlotte Harbor.

At one point during our long slog through the State of Florida, I declared to Joe that we would be moving to Florida within one year. I didn’t know when. I didn’t know how. But I knew that warmer weather and a change of scenery is what we both needed.

Shortly before arriving at our friend’s house in Tampa, I received a phone call from Delta Air Lines. During this conversation, I was invited to attend a face-to-face interview in Atlanta, Georgia. Having worked for a Delta Connection carrier for 9 years, I was excited at the possibility of returning to a job with an airline.

Just a couple days later, I was on a plane to Atlanta (which was funny, having just driven through the city less than 48 hours before.) When I got to the interview, I just wasn’t “feeling it.” In all honesty, the flight attendants and human resource professionals that were processing the applicants were… how do I put this? Stuck-up? Uppity? Better than me?

Soon, we were told the news that I was expecting, but dreading: all newly-hired flight attendants were being based in New York City. And we’d be required to live within a two-hour radius of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.

Ambition or quality of life? That was the choice I was given. And I chose quality of life. Living in New York City would put my Florida plans on hold indefinitely. So I went with the unknown: an interview with Allegiant Air, that was already on my calendar for early December.


As always, your support is appreciated…. and so are your purchases of my books, which you can find on Amazon at my author page!

Journey Under the Bridge

Earlier this month, I knocked two items off my Bucket List. I’ll share these adventures with you over the next couple of days.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fascination with the Mackinac Bridge. Almost every summer, my family would make a trip north, to visit my mother’s friend from high school, Val. Val and her husband Roger live in Wakefield, Michigan… which is almost to Wisconsin. So “the bridge” was our halfway point.

I remember seeing advertisements for boat trips that took tourists underneath The Mighty Mac. Each summer, I would beg to go… but each summer, we were in too much of a rush to get there or get home. Or we ended up taking the ferry over to Mackinac Island.

This year, I knew I’d end up in Mackinaw City for the release of our book, Murdick’s Mackinaw Mystery, so I made plans to finally take my ride under the bridge. The boat was the Ugly Annie… and the trip was simply magnificent. Of course, this is coming from the guy that was always more impressed with the Hoover Dam than the Grand Canyon. I guess man-made mechanical marvels are more interesting to me than natural creations… more on that in another post.

For now, here are some pictures from my trip under the Mackinac Bridge:


One of the island ferries, with the Grand Hotel in the background.


Approaching the bridge, traveling West.


I couldn’t get enough of this view…


Yeah… after seeing this, I won’t be driving in the center lanes again.


One final pass under the bridge, traveling East.