Melissa's Reporter Blog

Caffeine overload

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

There is, I believe, a fine line between not enough coffee and too much. And this morning, at the tail end of Commerce Chenango’s “Good Morning, Chenango” breakfast, I discovered just how fine. The hard way.

My day got off to a rather sluggish start. I’ll chalk it up to too much fun over the weekend, coupled with the dampening affect the gray skies always have on my psyche. But whatever the reason, I went through the first few hours of my day in a sort of caffeine-deprived fog.

I’m not really a morning person, so this wasn’t exactly a first. But normally, the typical stress of our morning deadline is enough to snap me out of it. Today, however, my routine was interrupted by the aforementioned breakfast presentation. So, instead of the frantic scramble at the keyboard, I found myself cozied up…with some scrambled eggs. And bacon.

Delicious perfectly cooked bacon. Which, while tummy-pleasing, regrettably does not have the same mind-sharpening effect as the fear of incurring Jeff’s wrath by missing deadline. In fact, it seemed to lull me into a food coma, thus making it difficult even more difficult to concentrate on the albeit very informative presentation.

Thankfully, I used to work for a company which employed the principals of Six Sigma, so I already had a general working knowledge of the concept or else I would have really been in trouble. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, however, I did what any self-respecting journalist would do in the situation – I started mainlining caffeine.

I struggled to give the subject matter my full attention while waiting for the restorative properties of this miracle elixir to kick in. But it never happened. At least not how I’d planned.

Instead of that gentle spark of energy I usually get from my morning coffee, I suddenly had the zing of a thousand espressos coursing through my veins.

There I was. Trapped. At the inside edge of a table, with no escape in sight.

I’d like to think that I kept my hyper-caffeinated state under wraps, but I can’t really be sure. There may have been some foot tapping.

Thankfully, though, it was near the end of the presentation, so I didn’t have too long to wait. But that few minutes felt like a century. I couldn’t wait to get up and start moving around.

My job wasn’t finished, of course. I still had the obligatory group photo – featuring a representative sampling of organizers and speakers – to take. I assure you that as soon as I snapped the requisite shot, I was out the door.

I could have really used a long walk back to the newsroom to work off some of that caffeine. But as luck would have it, the event was at Park Place. Moving at hyper-caffeine speed, I covered that half a block in record time.

It was only after I settled back in the office (or as settled as one can be when hopped up on that much coffee) that I realized I had someplace else to be. Namely, Norwich City Court. For which I was running late. Only a few minutes, to be sure. But that was enough to miss the one case on the calendar I was really interested in.

I knew I could get the information I was looking for, but doing so required sitting through all the other cases on the docket. Which, as entertaining as City Court always is, was something akin to torture to one as antsy as I.

But I got through it. Without any tapping incidents, I might add.

In fact, as I made my way back to the newsroom (at a much slower pace), I realized the caffeine buzzing through my veins had finally started to subside.

I decided to celebrate by indulging in what can only be described as manna from heaven: Hedonist Artisan Chocolates’ milk chocolate bark with sesame. My bestie Liz bought it for me this weekend while we were on a wine tour for her friend Emese’s bachelorette bash. (It was a fabulous trip, which requires a blog all of its own.)

The fact that I love chocolate goes without saying. But this is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before – the flavor of the sesame and an accompanying hint of salt is such an amazing savory compliment to the smooth sweetness of the milk chocolate. It is nothing short of delightful.

Before I knew it, I’d polished off a healthy portion.

And suddenly, an all-too familiar sensation was spreading through me. Only this time, it wasn’t caffeine induced.

Hello, sugar rush…

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Off to a bad start

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed in the morning. Today is shaping out to be one of those days.

In retrospect, it’s clear that I failed to recognize the early signs which, if I’d been paying more attention, were a clear indication of the day’s southerly inclinations. Beginning with the cruel twist of fate which lead me to turn off my alarm entirely rather than hit snooze as I intended.

This would be considered an inauspicious start to any day, but since I still had ample time to get ready for work, I didn’t see it for what it was: a portent of the universe’s alignment against me.

I was further lulled into a false sense of security when all the pieces of my early morning routine went off without a hitch. That included three stops on my way to work – starting at BlueOx in Oxford to get the papers, and then swinging by both the Norwich State Police barracks and the Norwich City Police station to pick up the respective blotters. Some mornings, depending on the timing, these pit stops can eat up an extra 25 minutes or more, but today, it was smooth sailing and I was still at work before 7.

It really wasn’t until 7:30 that the day really started going off the rails. That was when I took the first sip of my coffee. And nearly spit it out on my keyboard.

Now, most mornings, brewing the daily pot of coffee is a responsibility which falls on my shoulders. But it’s a duty which I’ve been trying to pass on – or at least share – with the newest addition to the ES staff, Julian Kappel.

This morning, like most, I was one of the first in the newsroom. And, as is my norm, I flipped the coffee pot on upon my arrival and turned my attention to work-related tasks while I waited for the ‘brew’ light to illuminate. This little light indicates the machine’s readiness to brew the live-giving, caffeinated elixir I find it difficult to commence my day without. I have found the time it takes for the light to come on is directly proportional to how badly I need that first cup of coffee.

For example, when I am most desperate for caffeine, it takes about an hour. Already had a cup on my way in? The little bugger is on in less than 30 seconds.

This morning, I was able to not only check my email and make my daily to-do list, but also type up the entire blotter before the ‘brew’ light lit up. By that time full-on caffeine deprivation had set in and I made my way back to the kitchen in a stupor.

As I pulled out the little basket where the filter goes, I was thrilled to find it all ready to go. Naively believing Julian had done the grunt work of placing a new filter and filling it with coffee grounds, I simply added the requisite amount of water and waited, ahem, patiently for the pot to brew.

Little did I know, he actually prepped it the day before, planning to brew a double strength pot to get him through the doldrums of late afternoon.

In my desperation for caffeine, I hadn’t even bothered to turn the light on in the newsroom’s kitchen and was therefore blissfully unaware that the substance which I had inadvertently poured into my favorite mug was the color and consistency of a peat bog. Until, of course, I brought the cup to my lips and took a long draught.

On a normal day, the coffee here is pretty horrifying. But at double strength? It’s toxic.

The incident was more than a little traumatic. After all, it’s not every day one of your co-worker’s tries to poison you.

But I pulled myself together and turned my attention back to the task at hand, which was trying to get some details for a story I was working on.

Unfortunately, my initial attempt to gather information was not what I’d call successful. See, the person I was trying to get said information from apparently thought our conversation was over. Despite the fact that I was still talking.

Okay, fine. They hung up on me. But I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here. (Mind you, it wasn’t even 8 a.m. at this point.)

I resisted the urge to both (a) curl up in a whimpering ball under my desk and/or (b) call the person back and give them a verbal bitch-slap.

Barely.

Instead, I took the responsible approach. Which involved popping a Midol, which I washed it down with a swig of the vile swill from the once-favorite mug and got on with my day.

Because that’s what you do when your day gets off to a bad start. You don’t crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. You get on with it.

Happy Wednesday!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Look who remembered how to blog…

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Okay, so I know it’s been a long time since I’ve tapped away at my little key board just for the pleasure of penning a blog for the enjoyment of our readers. Trust me, I’ve missed it as much as you have. Maybe even more.

Since I started at The Evening Sun three looooooong years ago, blogging has been one of the greatest highlights of my week. But of late, I’ve struggled to find time to put finger tips to keys. It isn’t laziness, I assure you. Or a lack of things to write about. No, it’s just that my new beat is eating me alive.

Don’t get me wrong! I love the challenge of it. Between my newly assumed coverage of the police/fire/court beat, plus the seven townships, four school districts and other bits and pieces I continue to cover, well, let’s just say there is never a dull moment. Especially since Jeff’s been doing his best to put me in an early grave by taking Friday’s off through the summer.

Oh, how I miss those care-free days, when Fridays were my favorite day of the week. Now they’re fraught with tension as Pat and I pull extra duty putting the finishing touches on the day’s edition in Jeff’s absence. But that too is exciting, and a nice change from school board meetings and the like, so I’m not really complaining.

I’m still in the “learning curve” phase with it all, but I’d like to think I’m getting the hang of it. And at some point, I hope that I’ll be able to find a little more balance. So I can find time to blog. And maybe, just maybe, have a social life again.

Although that last bit is probably too much to ask. I’ll setting for time to work on my summer to-do list. On which, regrettably, I have yet to make much of a dent.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Why I Relay

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

While talking about Chenango County Relay for Life earlier this week, The Evening Sun’s publisher, Dick Snyder, made an observation about how the number of people who walk in the event’s Survivor Lap – as well as the amount raised annually – has increased substantially over the years.

There is no denying the amazing growth and success of the event, but for me, it is bittersweet. For on one hand it is a sure sign of both the power of our community to pull together for an important cause and the strides made in medical research which have lead to new, more successful, less toxic treatments.

But at the same time, it is a reminder that with each passing year, this insidious disease touches and takes more lives.

I have seen this even in my own life. When I first became involved with Relay for Life, cancer was something that happened to someone else. Sure, I knew people who had been affected by it, but I lived in this comfortable bubble, naively believing that my inner circle of friends and family were immune. But all too soon that false security was shattered. Since then, cancer has crept closer and closer.

I have written about some of them, such as my friend and fellow Oxford graduate John Lobdell and my uncle, Richard Lopresti. There are others, too. More than I can count these days. Not every story, though, is mine to tell. Those who know me well know just how close to home cancer has hit in the last couple of years.

Then, of course, there is Sue Gosline. Less than a week has passed since our dear friend Suzie left us, and the loss is so fresh in my heart I can’t even think her name without crying. I spilled my heart, and so many tears, into my column about her today. I just can’t believe she’s gone.

But in the midst of my grief and all those tears, I’m reminded of that Survivor’s Lap and it sparks a glimmer of hope. Because cancer isn’t invincible. Those brave souls walking around that track, celebrating their victory over cancer, are living proof that this disease can be defeated.

I think, too, of my Aunt Donna, who battled lymphoma and won. My cousin Dawn, who is a living reminder of why early detection of breast cancer is so important. (Get those mammies, girls!) My cousin Richie, who survived leukemia. And my friend Kathie, who battled breast cancer long before I knew her. Each of them give me hope that cancer can be beaten. And I want to do all I can to help get us closer to finding a cure.

That is Why I Relay.

My favorite shirt from last year’s Relay for Life said, “Crush Cancer.” That’s what I want to do. I want to eradicate this horrible disease that causes so much pain, suffering and heartache.

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in Chenango County’s Relay for Life, in honor of all those whose lives have been touched by cancer. I will walk with Suzie, John, Uncle Rich, Aunt Donna, Dawn, Richie, Kathie and so many more in my heart.

Each step and each dollar raised will take us that much closer to crushing cancer. Please join me in supporting this cause, which has hit so close to home for me and so many others. Together we can help find a cure for this horrible disease.

To donate now, visit my fundraising page.

To learn more about Chenango County Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/chenangocountyny.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

The Fifth of July

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Here we are, back to the grind, images of Fourth of July fireworks still burned into our retinas and the remains of the weekends many barbecues still digesting in the furthest reaches of our digestive tracts.

There is nothing quite so depressing as returning to work following a holiday weekend. Even more so when the holiday in question is Independence Day. After three days celebrating our nation’s freedom with camp outs, cook outs, parades and fireworks, it’s hard to resign oneself to  something as freedom-less as work. Particularly when that work keeps you inside on a perfectly gorgeous day like today.

It isn’t just that the memories of this Fourth of July have already begun to fade into the collective conscience of holiday weekend’s past that’s getting me down. It’s the fact that the first blush of summer is gone. The next long weekend we have to look forward to is Labor Day, which basically means winter is on its way.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to hang up my golf clubs for skis just yet.

So, I’m starting a new tradition: Summer Resolutions. Which, as the name implies, are not dissimilar to the New Year’s variety. It’s all about living a happier, healthier existence. Only in this case, the focus is more on in-the-moment summertime fun than positive lifestyle change.

Here are 15 things which I have decided I absolutely must do before the end of summer:

1. Golf. I hereby pledge to golf at least once a week between now and when the first snow flies. And no, put-put is not an acceptable substitute.

2. Make use of the golf lessons my mom was kind enough to give me last year. (Yes, I realize she was trying to tell me something.)

3. Tennis, anyone? This year, I intend to dust off my tennis racket and play at least 5 times between now and Labor Day. Be forewarned.

4. Hit the beach. Any beach.

5. Step 1: Find my bathing suit. Step 2: Put it on. Step 3: Go swimming. (Can be combined with item #4.)

6. Frequent the Unadilla Drive In at least twice.

7. Reacquaint myself with my watercolors. Preferably on a deliriously sunny afternoon, ensconced on a blanket in the middle of a newly-mowed field.

8. Hike a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail.

9. Go wine tasting. (I’m all ready to check this one off the list. Already have a trip planned in August with Lizzy!)

10. Go camping. Even if it’s in my own back yard.

11. Plan a weekend trip to visit friends or family at least 100 miles from home.

12. Plan a weekend trip under 100 miles from home.

13. Take my mom, the ultimate baseball fan, to at least 2 more Binghamton Mets games this summer.

14. Host a backyard barbecue.

15. Have a picnic.

I think that’s enough to get me started. But I’m definitely open to other suggestions. What’s on your summer to-do list?

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Flood watch

Monday, June 27th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I started grumbling as soon as I heard the short blast of the air horn. Every golfer knows that sound, which heralds the premature end to a round of golf due to Mother Nature’s vagaries.

Not that I wasn’t expecting it. It was Thursday, after all, the night of my weekly golf league. It always seems to rain on golf night. And there have been no half ways in our weather lately. It’s either gorgeous, sunny days or torrential downpours, nothing in between.

We were just finishing up our fifth hole, the fourteenth, since we were playing Canasawacta’s back nine. Ominous dark clouds had moved in, but the rain had yet to come. There was the tell-tale rumble of thunder in the distance though, which we assumed was what prompted the signal to halt play. My most fervent hope was that we’d make it back to the club house before the skies opened up.

For once, my luck held. My opponent and I were able to not only make it back, but even stow our clubs before the first heavy drops of rain fell. And I was safely under cover on the porch by the time it started raining in earnest.

I guess I should explain that the beauty of the Gofers (the unfortunate name by which our league is known) is that is just as much about camaraderie as it is about golf. So, while I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to finish my round, I was still looking forward to dinner with at least a representative sampling of my fellow Gofers. Which is why I didn’t exactly welcome the intrusion of yet another piercing sound. This time it was the pager I’ve taken to carrying now that I’m covering the police/fire beat.

It was hard to feel sorry for myself once I heard what was going on, however, since it was flashing flooding conditions on two roads in the Town of Greene. I feared it was just the beginning, since the Southern part of the county had gotten hit hard the night before and I knew even more rain was expected.

A low battery kept me from staying tuned to the radio chatter while we ate, but my thoughts were divided between the conversation at hand and speculation about what was happening 25 miles or so down Route 12. Then I got a text message alerting me to the worsening situation in Greene. According to my source, much of the village was underwater.

I’m not going to lie, I was looking forward to going home after dinner and enjoying a rare evening of relaxation, devoid of any and all responsibility. But as soon as the text came through, I knew I’d be heading to Greene.

As I made my way down 12 in what could only be described as a torrential downpour, I wondered how to best approach the village. The decision was made for me, though, by Brisben’s Fire Police, who were diverting all southbound traffic to County Road 32.

I enjoyed the scenic route – as I always think of that section of East River Road – the rest of the way into Greene. I couldn’t help but notice how high the Chenango looked, though, and I have to admit I was worried about what I’d find upon my arrival in the quaint municipality.

At the terminus of 32, I turned onto 206, expecting to cross the bridge into downtown Greene. My efforts to do so were hampered, however, by the fact that traffic wasn’t being allowed over the bridge. So, I parked off Cherry Street and walked over.

Ironically, I needed my sunglasses, as the clouds had parted and the sun was shining bright against a beautiful blue sky.

My head had been filled with the images I’d seen of Greene in the aftermath of the 2006 floods, and I was worried about the damage this series of storms may have wrought so close to the five year anniversary of that disaster. Thankfully, my worse fears were not realized. Not to downplay the severity of these storms.

The flood waters had receded substantially by the time I arrived, but plenty of evidence was left behind of how high they’d climbed. South Canal and Willard Streets were impassable. The western end of Genesee Street was still partially underwater, but the State Highway crew was able to reopen it after unclogging the storm drains.

Some homes had been temporarily evacuated, and basements were already being pumped out. As I walked up North Canal Street, I saw people gathered on the bridge over the Birdsall Creek. There were four things which drew my attention as I approached. The first was the sheer volume of water still raging through the normally placid creek. The second was the gravel and debris strewn in the parking lot of the laundromat situated next to the bridge. (Ironically, the “open” sign was still illuminated, despite the fact that the business was obviously going to be closed for awhile.) The third was the skeletal remains of a large tree which had been thrown half onto the bridge by the deluge of water. The fourth, pointed out to me by Village Trustee Rod Andrews, was an electric pole being held up by on of the Village Electric trucks, the soil in which it had previously been set completely washed away.

Rod was out surveying the damage, and he was kind enough to let me walk with him along the banks of Birdsall Creek. He explained that after the floods of 2006, the village had used FEMA money to shore up the creek’s banks with rocks of various sizes, known as riprap. In some areas, the riff raff had held. In others, it had washed away and contributed to the problem.

I was amazed, really, at how much damage had been caused by the runoff in the creek. And I realized how lucky the homes along its length had been, because if had risen even another six inches, the devastation would have been multiplied ten fold.

I snapped pictures as I walked through the village that night. My favorite, if you will, is one of water bubbling up around a man-hole cover on North Chenango Street. All that water, just below the surface – it served as a poignant reminder to me of how much worse things could have been if a few more inches had fallen.

Of course, we did get more rain that night, but for the most part Greene was spared further flooding. Bainbridge, Afton and Coventry weren’t as lucky. My heart goes out to all those affected by the floods.

Also, thumbs up to all the emergency crews who braved the storms themselves, not to mention the aftermath, to come to the aid of their neighbors in their time of need. Without their dedication, many of these  situations could have been much, much worse.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Talk of the Town

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Have a burning question about something related to the Oxford Academy and Central School District? Well, now is your chance to ask away. Oxford Superintendent Randy Squier will be joining me from 2 to 3 p.m. at Hoppies tomorrow (Tuesday, June 14).

What’s the occasion? Why, The Evening Sun’s “Talk of the Town” series, of course. We’ll be traveling around the county, meeting with local leaders and giving community members to ask questions.

So, if you’ve got something to ask Randy – whether it’s about the proposed building project or something else pertaining to the district – come on down. Can’t make it? I’ll be happy to pose your question for you in addition to my own. Just email me at mstagnaro@evesun.com or call me at 337-3071 by noon tomorrow.

See you at Hoppies!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa

Walkabout

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately. Not surprising, really, since I’m trying to get ready for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight. It’s hard to believe that in just 11 short days I’ll be walking 18 miles in New York City to raise awareness for depression and help prevent suicide.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been racking up the miles. My typical walks ranged from 4 to 8 miles with a couple of longer walks – 10 to 11 miles – thrown in. But I’ve been a little nervous that even with the 30 plus miles a week I was walking, I wouldn’t be ready for the big day. Or big night, as the case may be. (We’ll be walking from 7 p.m. ‘til 5 a.m.)

I never thought I’d say this but, I think I’m ready.

On Saturday, I completed my longest training walk to date – a whopping 14 miles! I was a little sore and completely exhausted when I was done, but I was pretty proud of myself. Especially since I did it without any breaks, and on terrain which is a fair bit hillier than what I’ll have to contend with in NYC.

Our route will be a pretty interesting one. We’ll start in Brooklyn at Cadman Plaza and make our way through Brooklyn Heights to the Brooklyn Promenade and over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. From there, we’ll troupe through the Financial District to the island’s west side, where we’ll head up the Hudson River Park Greenway. We’ll turn East when we hit Midtown, then wind our way back downtown through Union Square, SoHo, the Lower East Side and China Town before trekking back over the Brooklyn Bridge in the wee hours of the morn.

Pretty cool, right?

There will be plenty of pit stops and a meal break to make sure we stay fueled and hydrated for our journey. And did I mention there will be cheering stations? If you’re going to be in NYC the night of June 4, come cheer us on!  Locations are listed on the Overnight website. It is going to be an emotional night, as we walk to prevent suicide and in memory of friends and loved ones we have lost by their own hand. We can use all the support we can get.

And speaking of support, it’s not too late to donate to Team Chenango. Several of our team members are still working to reach their $1,000 individual goals. You can donate by visiting www.theovernight.org.

Thank you once more to everyone who has been so supportive of our efforts to raise money and awareness for this cause. Together, we’ll see what a difference a night makes.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Dog and pony

Friday, May 20th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I’ll be honest, I never heard of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation before I received the invitation to attend its president and CEO’s presentation at Commerce Chenango last week. Matthew Driscoll, who served two terms as mayor of Syracuse before being appointed as head of the agency, was tapped by Governor Andrew Cuomo to visit Chenango as part of our esteemed gov’s People First Tour.

How or why exactly Driscoll was selected to visit our county is an unknown. Perhaps it was because, given his Onondaga roots, he could actually find us on the map.

Driscoll himself seemed a nice enough man. He was kind enough to speak with me at length after the presentation, despite a line of questioning that he probably would have liked to avoid. And I mean him no offense by my next comments. But I have to call it like I see it, and the presentation itself was nothing more than a dog and pony show. Our governor, sending out his minions to effectively “sell” his legislative agenda.

I’m not saying Cuomo’s priorities are out of line. In fact, I support most of what he’s trying to accomplish. I’m a proponent of ethics reform and a staunch advocate for marriage equality. Heck, I’m even for a tax cap – as long as the mandate relief being promised is delivered at or before the policy is put in place. But I resent the governor sending out a representative from an obscure agency (no offense!) to deliver his message. And what I resent even more is the fact that, while at the podium, Driscoll entertained no questions. It was this, more than anything else, which seemed to bother those in the crowd.

I know we have elected officials – like Assemblymen Crouch and Lopez, and Senators Libous and Seward – in Albany advocating on our behalf. (You’ll notice I left Assemblyman Finch off the list. He lost my respect the day I had to convince one of his aides that Bowman Lake State Park was in his district.) But I can’t help thinking that Chenango County and Rodney Dangerfield have something in common.

Neither can get any respect.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Everything is better in hot pink

Monday, May 9th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

In less than a month I’ll be participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18 mile overnight jaunt through New York City to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness.

I may have mentioned it a time or, like, twenty.

For months I’ve been preparing for the event, doing training walks and helping Team Chenango raise the more than $10,000 we need to embark on this journey of ours. The time and energy I’ve put into it is well worth it, though, because this truly is an important cause.

I have been so engrossed in the above tasks, that I neglected something rather important: appropriate footwear for the event.

I know, I know. It’s shocking. Not only is it absolutely crucial to have the right shoes for something like this, but when have I ever put off the chance to go shoe shopping!

Up until last week – when I suddenly realized the event was, yikes, only a few short weeks away – I didn’t feel a sense of urgency. My trusty hiking shoes work just fine on my training walks since I’m usually on the soft shoulder of the rural roads by my house. (Unfortunately, they don’t work so well on hard surfaces – like the city streets I’ll be tromping along when we head to NYC.)

And, I’ll be honest, buying sneakers just doesn’t “do it” for me like other shoe shopping. There’s something about having to select footwear based on function rather than form which I find inherently depressing and disheartening.

But with time running out, I knew I had to bite the bullet. So yesterday, under the guise of a mother/daughter shopping trip in honor of Mother’s Day, I dragged dear old mom with me to Vestal.

It was hell. Not only for me, but for the young sales associate – named, ironically, Melissa – who had the misfortune of working in the shoe section at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Where I spent well over an hour trying on basically every women’s athletic shoe they stocked. In both an 8 1/2 and a 9.

By the time I whittled it down to the top three, my hands were raw from tying so many double knots. And my feet were basically numb. Which made the decision that much harder for obvious reasons.

In the end, I selected a pair of Saucony’s. (They happened to be one of the first I tried on, but I hope Melissa didn’t remember that. For what she endured, she should definitely get Employee of the Year.)

They are a shockingly hot pink. But I swear, that didn’t factor into the final decision at all.

Okay. Maybe a little.

A special thanks to my mom, who was a wonderful sport about the whole thing. (Perhaps because I plied her with white zinfandel during our celebratory lunch prior to our Dick’s excursion.)

Happy Mother’s Day, to the best mom on the planet. Oh, and Happy Anniversary! She and my dad are celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary today.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.