This one might be a bit long but to whet your appetite let me lay out the highlights.
1) Under arrest: There was a warrant out for my arrest... yes, I'm currently out on bail.
2) Covid-19: Get my thoughts... it's kind of important as most of what I have to report on has happened during these times. Everyone has a story about how these times affected them. Here's mine.
3) Parting ways with people in Boston because...
4) This Biggest State of The Pich Address ever is coming from deep in the heart of Texas where everything is bigger! But why am I here? A Q & A awaits to answer those questions and more!
So... interested? Ok cool lets go.
First let me say that I want to post on the Black Lives Matter movement and I will soon. I felt like that deserved it's own post separate from all my usual self stuff in a State of The Pich' Address. But rest assured it written, and been edited a lot. It will come soon.
So I'm out on bail. $40 bail, but bail nonetheless. I won't go in to too much detail because it's boring and stupid. A traffic ticket issued to me last year was fixed right
away and instead of me getting the ticket bill or the court date in the mail I just didn't. I forgot about it and thus I didn't appear in court... and had a warrant out for my arrest for the better part of a year! State troopers ran my plates and pulled me over for the world's most shocking reaction to an arrest ever.
The cops were very nice about the whole thing. My record is clean aside from this incident. This is merely an oversight by the state of Massachusetts (which I can't wait to leave!). Like, how do you not let a person know about such things? I'm not hard to find. I go under EZ-pass spots often. They have my current address. phone number, and workplace... let a guy know! regardless a court date for the 27th of this month has been set to solve the issue. A weird bump in an already weird time.
Alright Covid thoughts. Again I'll try to stay brief for now. Maybe a full post on it later.
I'm over it. Actually and probably physically too.
As most know I was sick in early March. Leaving work early on the 11th. I had no idea then that would be my last normal day at Warrior Ice Arena. I was on board at first with squashing the curve. I still think we did it and I was all for joking about distancing, slapping on a mask, and having a Zoom meeting. But since late April... I'm just over it. I've heard from so many doctors in-person and on podcasts the truth about what this is and what it can do. I'm not afraid. I'm not compromised in health and for all who aren't we should be back to regular life now.
My biggest beef with this has been the fear that we've been encouraged to embrace and live in. We should respect this for sure. I'm not suggesting that it's not real. But I am suggesting that we don't stay hiding from something that can't kill a majority of us. We don't all hide from peanuts due to peanut allergies existing. Staying inside forever isn't going to make it go away. Our quarantine simply delayed the inevitable spread, which I get allowed hospitals to not be over run, but this started in March, should have been started in February and it's now the end of July... how long are people supposed to live like this with no serious threat? While I respect everyone's right to do what they feel they need to based on their situation (maybe they live with and elderly person, or someone who is compromised) I don't think everyone else staying put and businesses staying closed is the answer.
Don't get me wrong, I wear masks in stores and in public when needed. If someone invites me to their house, I come with a mask, I'm ready to do what makes people feel comfortable... but I'm at the point where I pity those that live in fear of catching the flu. I had it. It put me down for about 10 days. It was one of the worst illnesses I've had... top 3 I'd say. But I survived and I'd gladly go through it again if it somehow meant ending all of this.
In times of crisis we used to show strength but this year all we've shown is fear. I don't like that mentality for our country or the world. I worry about what young minds are thinking. Me at a young age would not have fared well with all this. I'd probably be hiding in a pillow fort I made with a can of Lysol.
Honestly this time has been extra tough on me because I hate people who are always using Purell or are germophobes. I just don't have the patience for it anymore. I used to worry about everything when I was younger and I can't go back to being that way. I'm safe, I try my best to keep others safe, but I also go and live as much as possible. No lie, I doubled down on therapy sessions to cope with the insanity from all those around me. It would have been easier to hide in a hole and wait for it to blow over but IT FREAKIN WONT! Thus I leave my house bravely everyday since March 27th when I was cleared by my doctor and told to "go live your life as normal." I'm not afraid. I wish everyone else wasn't either. We should be all living our lives more normally.
At one point I joked on Twitter... that it was easy for Kim Kardashian to tell us all it's cool to stay home. She has a mansion, a pool, and plenty of square-footage. Try having 4 roommates in a house in Boston and then see what she thinks about going out to get some air? I was attacked by people suggesting I was challenging quarantine when all I was doing was making a joke/social commentary. I deleted the tweet, which I rarely do, to avoid all the retorts because both sides of the argument are ridiculous.
During this time I've was frequenting Vermont because in April my step-mom was diagnosed as terminal. She was eventually allowed to come home and was told maybe she had a week to live. Well here we are in Mid-July and Jill is still kickin'. Still her same self and doing about as well as one can do all things considered. I won't go in to detail here but she can still watch Jeopardy, read, and jaw back and forth with my dad so I don't know... but it has added another layer to everything coming down the pipe.
Also as I faced a difficult decision I hoped to see my friends at a birthday party in late June but was told because I came from a hot zone that I couldn't attend. While I respected, and still do, the choice to keep guests at the party safe I was bummed to see some people I hadn't seen in awhile and now after this move... I'm not sure when that next time will be. I was more sad than mad. Covid has taken so much from so many. Sometimes I just concider myself lucky to have been able to stay paid, working, and mostly sane in a time that could have been a disaster... and now after all that...
Before I get in to this last thing I need to address Katie. As you know her and I have been dating for about a year and a half. But we have parted ways due, in large part, to my upcoming move. It was the hardest part of the choice to leave the area. Katie is a very private person and therefore I will respect her privacy by not saying too much.
I love her. She is a great person. Probably the nicest person I've ever met. She supported me even while talking to my new bosses about maybe moving there. She bailed me out after the arrest. She kept me alive with grocery drop offs when I was sick in quarantine.
We both took our patience to new levels in various ways while together. I feel like I've learned, and am still in the process of learning thanks to her. I wish her nothing but happiness and the good fortune that she deserves. We will stay in touch for sure and will be trying long-distance friends.
While Im sad to leave her I felt like this was the right move for me right now. Sometimes the best moves are the hardest.
As a pallet cleanser I need to joke or talk about something light. Sadly I don't have a lot of lightness going on right now. It all feels pretty heavy.
Ok... shame on you if you scrolled down just for this news but if you've seen the video by now, you now. The Most Electrifying Man in Ice Entertainment is taking his talents to Longhorn Country! Austin Texas! Holy crap right?! That's why this is the "Biggest State" of The Pich' Address ever... everything is bigger in the state of Texas!
So first a lead statement and then I'll take questions. I will be working for a company called Chaparral Ice. They currently oversee 2 properties and plan to be involved in more in nearby cities in the next couple of years. Of the current facilities, one is an older facility in or near a shopping mall? And the other is a brand new multi-sport facility currently scheduled to open August 1st. They would like me to be there in time for opening. I discussed the opportunity with anyone who would listen. People in the industry, my family, friends, people that used to live in Texas, people that know someone that went to Austin once... anything I could get. This for me checks all the boxes of looking for new employment in a new city. And I feel like this is a great next step for me.
I parted ways with Warrior Ice Arena and quite frankly can not thank them enough, although I intend to write a longer send-off in the near future to try anyhow. Marissa was very supportive and was the person I discussed it with first at Warrior. It's never been a secret that I've been looking elsewhere and never intended to be a Boston lifer. I do hate that it's come at a time when we are returning to business being open and Marissa is out on maternity leave. But I did work with the staff to educate them on all I do when I'm not playing pop-a-shot, or writing a gem of an all-staff email. I expect they will be ok in my absence and I love knowing that we just had months to work on projects and the building has never looked better so not only am I leaving the building in good hands, but it's looking 100 as the kids would say.
I'll take questions at this time.
Have you ever even been to Texas?
Great question. Technically - yes. Once. Layover in Dallas on the way to Milwaukee. Had to stay overnight in a hotel and fly out in the morning. So Actually - No not until 8/20 when I landed in Austin
I decided to move site unseen except for this week. Thats why Im in here. Starting some work stuff but also to scout a place to live. I would have loved to have visited before but due to the re-flare of Covid (thanks again big guy!) I opted to not travel here to see it first. Not because I fear it but because a visit would have meant a quarantine upon return and basically undo what would then be my 2-week notice... not ideal. I had enough first-hand accounts, chats with those who have been and info to know I'd like Austin. I actually had to Google "Bad things about Austin" to try and find some bad stuff because I mostly have heard good things. Basically it sounded like bad traffic and extreme heat... if that replaces bad traffic and extreme cold then I'm down... well also Massholes, people caring about Tom Brady, and ok I'm deviating too much... Next.
What the hell guy?
(I've inserted this question as I'd imagine Justin St. Louis would have asked me had I seen him on my most recent trip to Vermont. Another tip of the cap to Covid for that)
Well I've been looking for a place to go for awhile. I moved down to take a job in Mass in 2014 and have bounced around that area since. I got a lot out of it and by no way have any regrets about it. In fact it prepared me for all I'll face in the future, but this was never an area I wanted to settle down in and it hurt me a lot outside of work. For awhile I never wanted to form connections with people outside of co-workers, for fear I'd end up doing exactly what has happened to Katie. I just never put my all in to anything outside of work here because I never wanted to be here. Now I get to choose where I go and I'm excited to spread my wings in an area where I could literally drive 10 hours in any direction and be somewhere I've never been. In fact just driving over there eventually (an estimated 29 hours away) I'll be able to hit 2 states I've never been to and some big time cities I've never set foot in.
I thought you loved your job at Warrior Ice Arena?
I do. And I always will. I may never like another job as much as I've liked this one. The people I work with and for have been so great that it's hard to imagine it could ever be topped. However I felt like I was living for work. I often stayed well over required hours. Sometimes almost refusing to leave. I just felt super-comfortable there. Almost too comfortable. Hell, I wrote most of this address at my desk when I was done working instead of going home one night. (I later came back to edit along the journey to Austin) I need to shake things up. I'm meant for more. I finished the top certification in this industry this past year (thanks in large part to WIA) and in order for me to move up I have to move out. I've had some chances in the past couple of years but this one has truly surpassed my expectations so far. I mean it's hard saying not knowing, but on paper this is a slam dunk. I always joked with Marissa when she asked if there was anything she could do to make me happier, I'd say "Can you move the building somewhere else?" Well she can't do that but I can certainly look for a like situation and finally I found what I believe to be a good fit.
Why do you think it will be a good fit?
Well as I said I hope to explore and soak in Austin and it's surrounding area. Just learning a new culture and keeping my winter hats boxed up all year will be a fun adjustment. I've learned already I'm supposed to hate Californians who move there, and The University of Oklahoma (Hook 'em!). The cost of living is such that for what I pay now I could have my own very nice apartment and if I don't have to have roommates then that's solid. No offense meant to any current or past roommate but I'm 41 here... lets go. Plus I thought living close to family and friends in Boston would at least have the benefit of visitors but since I've been in Boston almost no one has come to visit (Aaron Stata excluded... I think he already has us booked for golf in Austin in December too) as my Mom barked "That's because Boston sucks!" Touche Mom. But you know where doesn't suck? Where people flock to for festivals, fun, and an average temp of 67-45 degrees in February? Austin, Texas that's where. And with my own pad y'all can come and visit. (I get to say "y'all" now that I live in the south)
As far as the work aspect I welcome the challenge of helping a new facility open while also helping an older one stay running. I have experience with both and I can't wait to dig in and get going on all that needs to be done. The meetings I had with the owner and operators went very well. They were from Winnipeg, and Massachusetts originally so we got along well. I could tell they wanted me and valued my years of experience and relationship with U.S. Ice Rinks Association. Later I met the new COO who was just hired in June and she is from Chicago, but also spent time in Australia working in the AFL. It's a transplant friendly city and a job with the same vibe. Working with people who understand that transition is pretty helpful. Part of the reason Marissa and I clicked early on at WIA too.
With my natural charisma I'm sure I'll be knee-deep in peeps by mid- August (whoa cocky much?) and if not I'll get a dog because apartments all seem to allow those too! It's like I could have a regular life there at the wages I currently have... wild!
What's the plan dude?
Well the plan was to help Warrior Ice Arena with whatever they need from me physically until the 20th. Then for this week I plan to get cracking with an intro week at work and a scouting mission for apts. Then home for the court date on the 27th and pack up that week and get moving. Even if I drove 10 hours a day it could take 3 days to get out to Austin with the ol Prius. Already talked with friends and family about stops along the way. Ive always wanted to drive across the country and other than trips to Milwaukee and Florida this will be the closest to that, and it will be the longest road trip Ive ever made.
I was hoping to have a farewell New England tour but time and travel restrictions dont really make that too advisable at this point. (Thanks yet again Covid!)
You seem confident... too confident. Any worries or concerns?
I have a few sure. I chose to move somewhere Ive never been before yesterday. It would be impossible to feel completely 100% ok with that but as in Texas Hold 'em sometimes you have to go all-in when the odds are extremely in your favor. Might someone make a straight flush on the river? Maybe. but if you've got a strong hand you've got to play it, or always wonder what if. Bottom line I was uncomfortable with wondering what-if on this one, and shoved all my chips to the middle. And I feel strong I'll win the hand and maybe the whole tournament!
Other than that I'm not sure I'm fully ready for 100 degree weather but working in rinks should help with that some. I've also heard of a "Cedar Fever" which concerns me slightly because they say it affects pollen allergic people... however I'm prepared with a list of medications to keep it to a dull roar if in fact it rear it's ugly head.
I'm sure it's going to be hard to find people with ice rink experience in Texas so while that might be a bad thing in some areas I also get a chance to teach everyone the proper stuff and not have people coming in with bad habits from other rinks. I think this will mean more training up front but will be rewarding in the long run.
I'm mildly concerned with how in to College football the region will be. I've never been a huge fan of it but my intention is to embrace it and don the orange which has never bumped me in football and root root root for the home team. Because as we all know I always adopt the local teams as my own. I mean I Iove the Brewers, and Bucks from my time in Milwaukee, obviously I'm a UVM guy through and through, and from my time in Boston... well... ok maybe that's not always true but I'll be happy to be in a city where I'm comfortable supporting the local squads. Might get weird when the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) come down to face the Texas Stars but time will tell... ( also a little concerned I might be in Astros country... How 'bout them Nationals?!?! It's still probably too soon for that. Maybe if I don't mention the sign stealing thing they'll let me slide?)
So what all goes on at these rinks you'll be at?
Well one is the home to the University of Texas Hockey team... I think they are Division 2 or maybe club? The new facility will be the practice rink for the Texas Stars of the AHL the affiliate of the NHL Dallas Stars. Also the Texas Junior Stars are there and aside from those I believe it's mostly going to be public sessions, learn to skate, figure skating and hockey leagues and camps like all other rinks. I mean whatever keeps the lights on and the ice cold. And who knows 2 months from now I could read this and be like "Well that was all wrong" and then I'll update you. It also features and indoor and outdoor turf field for soccer and lacrosse. Plans have many other sports to be added as well outside such as beach volleyball and pickleball courts. It's going to be a sight to behold when it's done.
How much Texas swag did you already own versus how much have you recently bought?
Almost none. I have a Dallas Stars jersey thanks to a trade awhile back with noted Stars fan Josh Goyet. I also have a pretty sweet Dirk Nowitski jersey. But that's about it. Not even a hat, or shirt of much anything else.
My first purchase was a sweet Texas Stars scarf which I realize will mostly be for display. I looked at some other stuff but waited til I arrived to drive around and get some stuff on site!
So far I haven't bought much. Don't see much point in buying something to bring back and pack to bring right back. I've scouted for sure but no big purchases right now.
Anything else to add?
Uh yeah this is going to be like the biggest thing since I moved to Milwaukee, but I'm 12 years wiser this time. I'm going to bring the Piche brand and electrify the ice entertainment world one Texan at a time! I hope you follow me on this site and on the 'Gram because you're about to come along with me. It's going to be a rootin tootin time! (I'll have to check to see if the kids are still using "rootin tootin" in Texas when I get there. That could be a weird Yosemite Sam thing I'm putting on them wrongly)
Ok folks that was wordy enough right? There was a lot of meat on that bone. Hopefully you were in shock, moved, and laughed a bit as I did putting this together. These feelings were real and from my brain right to the keyboard... just the way I like it. Hope to give more of that going forward. Living my life out loud is way more comfortable for me than being secretive and withholding.
Bottom line we all have had hardships in these past few months. And it's all not over yet. I've been told the whole time to expect a new normal... I had no idea my new normal would be written in the Lone Star State. I'm so excited for this adventure!
More to come soon!