Holiday quotes

December 5th, 2009

Ben on the holidays: “I just love Christmas!”

Jack on our trip to Home Depot for the monthly kids’ workshop: “I want to make Mommy a cuckoo clock.”

Kids say the darndest things, Part Deux

November 28th, 2009

Ben: Let’s play something.
Daddy (on a ladder putting up Christmas lights): Ben, I’m kind of busy right now.
Ben: Why are you doing that?
Daddy: The sooner you realize that when you do what your mother or your wife or your girlfriend wants, life becomes a whole lot easier.
Ben: Why are girls always in charge? That’s not fair.
Daddy: (Laughing and almost falling off the ladder)

Kids say the darndest things

November 28th, 2009

Ben just tossed the pen he was using aside and said, “Good bye pen, you stink, you’re pink.”  I have no idea what that means but it made me laugh for no good reason.

Of course, everytime we ask Jack how his day was, he gets downright sullen, crosses his arms and says with all sincerity, “I had a bad day.”  It’s hard not to laugh at him.

In other news, we had Thanksgiving dinner here on Thursday.  Laura’s father, Paul, is in town for a few days and Carrie’s mother, Ann, was here as well.  Matt and Carrie’s friend, Umberto, joined us as well.  We had tons of food and a good time was had by all.  Yesterday we got our tree (pictures to follow sometime soon) and Laura has been busy decorating.  She just loves this time of year.

A story for Daddy

November 25th, 2009

Earlier today Ben spent some time scribbling in a notebook that he earned from the treasure box in his school class.  I wasn’t really sure what he was doing but eventually he presented me with a small piece of paper.  He told me that he wrote me a story and wanted to know if I would hang it up at work.  Of course, I will, but I thought I should share it with all of you that probably won’t see it at my office…

Ben's Story for Daddy

Laura’s first 5K

November 16th, 2009

Congratulations to my beautiful wife, Laura, who yesterday completed her first 5K, the Raleigh Old Reliable Run.  She finished in just over 32 minutes for a pace of a second or so over 10 minutes per mile.  Her goal was to finish the race without stopping and she accomplished her goal!  Way to go, Laura.

Good news

November 3rd, 2009

Just wanted to share a little bit of good news!  Earlier today I accepted a Director of Account Management position with iContact, a leading email marketing firm based in RTP.  Many of you know iContact but if not, it is a young company that has seen steady, and one might say rapid, growth even during these rough economic times.  They’re currently ranked 189 on the Inc. 500 and the Triangle Business Journal has given them awards as one of the best places to work in the area.  This is the 2008 write-up for medium size companies and they also won in 2009 for large companies (no write-up).  The position is similar to one that I have held in the past and loved.  I will be leading a team of account managers focused on retaining clients and growing the overall revenue from those clients by providing excellent service.  There are a ton of challenges ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to tackling them.  I’m very excited to get back to work on Nov. 16th.

Through this extended vacation my wife, Laura, has been the most amazing person.  She has been supportive, encouraging and cheerful.  Without her, this experience would have been much different.  She’s the greatest.

Not done yet…

October 26th, 2009
2009 AL Champs

2009 AL Champs

Penchuk Boys Update

October 19th, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything family related and the throngs of followers of this site have been clamoring for it. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little. Regardless, here’s what’s happening with the boys.

Ben – Our oldest is a few months into first grade now and doing well. He’s reading more and more. Both Laura and I have been impressed at how far he’s come. Once in a while it’s a little jarring when he reads something you don’t expect him to (like an email you’re typing). Yesterday we went to the NC State Fair with some friends. Ben and Carter (his buddy) went on a bunch of rides, including a small roller coaster. Last year, Ben was terrified of it and refused to ride it. He’s definitely growing up and getting over some of those childhood fears. He’s also a big baseball and hockey fan – hard to believe he’s my son, huh? Right now he’s not playing any organized sports but come spring, I’m sure baseball will be back on the docket. Over the summer we put bunk beds in the kids’ room and Ben loves sleeping on the top bunk. Ben’s also become something of a card shark. We took a family trip to Lake Lure, NC, near the end of the summer and Ben was introduced to poker. Grandpa Duff is an aficionado and Ben fell in love with the game. He even took all of Duff’s chips in one game. Now, Ben wants poker chips for Christmas. How’s that for a judgment call? Do you get your 6-year old poker chips? Time will tell.

Jack – This kid makes us laugh. He’s hilarious. For example, he’s probably going to be a cowboy for Halloween, but he’s been wearing the hat and boots around the house for days now. He walks around saying things like, “Howdy, pardner.”  He’s also doing well in pre-school.  The other day he sang his ABC’s all by himself.  He’s also fond of telling us, “I had a bad day at school”.  We think he read a book about a kid that had a bad day and now Jack likes to play the sob story.  Of the two kids, this is the independent one.  Jack can go upstairs into our playroom and spend an hour up there with toys and living in his own world.  His brother always wants someone to play with, but Jack is alright doing his own thing.  He’s got such a good nature about him which is countered by the fact that he’s 3 years old.  The good news is that he won’t be three forever.  We’ve started playing hockey in the street now and he’s incredibly coordinated.  It’s been fun to see him grow up in the shadow of his older brother but still carve out his own way.

Check out the photos and see how big they’re getting.  Until next time…

State Fair

Roll of the dice?

October 12th, 2009

The other day I wrote about Dell receiving an incentive package from NC and Winston-Salem.  It’s still being discussed in the local press as evidenced in this article from Local Tech Wire (emphasis mine).

“They could have succeeded. It’s a gamble,” said Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, the primary sponsor of the state incentives package targeting Dell that was approved hastily in a one-day legislative session in November 2004. “You take a chance, and you roll the dice.”

There are two issues I have with Sen. Hoyle’s approach here.  First, the money used to “roll the dice” isn’t his money.  Frankly, I’m not real happy with an elected state senator that deems it his place to “gamble” with hundreds of millions of dollars that aren’t his.  The people of NC could have used that money more wisely on their own than by giving it to a corporate welfare recipient.  If he wants to gamble, do it on his own dime.  Second, the government, in this case, endorsed a single company.  They essentially played favoritism by deeming Dell to be worthy of incentives aimed directly and specifically at Dell.  Why are they worthy but other companies are not? All companies, big or small, should have the same incentives to put up shop in NC.  That point is made lower down in the article.

I also love this statement (emphasis mine):

House Speaker Joe Hackney said he doesn’t regret the Dell deal, because it probably generated additional tax revenues from the jobs it created.

Isn’t that great?  It “probably” did what it was intended to do.  I “probably” won’t vote for Mr. Hackney at the next election.

The one good thing, which I haven’t been able to fully grasp yet, is how it appears Dell only used some $8.6 million of the almost $280 million in incentives available to it.  Perhaps in the long run, the finances of this deal will work out OK.  But, the principles remain the same.  The government shouldn’t “gamble” taxpayer money on corporate welfare. Subscription Oddity

October 8th, 2009

Just got my annual subscription notice for the Wall St. Journal’s online edition. I’ve been a loyal subscriber for 12 years now and every October my credit card gets charged. Years ago I realized that if I got the paper edition, they would stack up and I’d probably never read them. For me, the online only option is the way to go.  I read it every day and love the email I get with all of the stories from that day’s paper.

This year’s subscription was $197, which is quite a hike from last year’s $119 (it’s a 65% increase). Rather surprised, I went to the “My Account” section of and looked at the billing options. There are two.

  • Annual subscription: $197
  • Monthly payments of $12.95 (annual cost of $155.40)

Fine. It’s a big hike in price and frankly, one that made me question whether or not to continue paying for it.  I like the WSJ and its coverage so I’ve decided to keep it but, of course, I’ve changed to the monthly option.

But what I don’t get at all is why in the world would they charge MORE for a one-time annual subscription than the monthly option?  Typically, a discount is provided when someone pays upfront for a whole year.  After all, the seller gets extra money upfront and reduced risk. With the monthly option, there’s more work involved (doing something 12 times versus once) and an overall higher risk level.  If that’s the case, why have the pricing disparity the way it is?  Shouldn’t the WSJ, the paper of record for business, understand this simple concept?

Even with the lower priced option, I’m still looking at an over 30% increase in price.  Frankly, I’m still questioning whether to continue subscribing, but now I’ll have a monthly reminder to consider pulling the plug.