September 2006
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Archive for September, 2006

I’d hoped for a little more this time, but I’ll take what I can get. This batch of referrals means that people logged in through August 9, 2005 will soon be seeing their babies. This also means that the wait is now up to 13-14 months and with only 18 days referred since last month, it looks like the wait time continues to increase.

It could have been better news, but it could also have been much worse. We’ll be right here waiting and hoping that referrals speed up soon.

So I’m spending a few days on the road, on what I call the HR East Coast Tour 2006, visiting some of our regional offices with my HR director and her assistant who are visiting from San Diego. Our first stop was in Chester, VA where we arrived and promptly went out for a Chinese lunch with a group of co-workers. The food was awesome, but the best part was my fortune cookie.

It said: You will soon be traveling and coming into a fortune.

My preferred translation of that means that (hopefully) we’ll be going to China soon and getting Ava. Of course, to cover all the bases I should also probably play the lottery numbers on the back side of the fortune, too. After all, I am traveling now and a lottery win would sure be nice to help pay for the I-171 we’re going to be redoing soon.

Woo-hoo! December is now out of review. This means all we’re waiting on now is to be moved into the matching room where we’ll be matched to Ava.

What a great way to start the morning. I think I’m gonna have an awfully good day today.

By 8:30AM on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, John Fiorito was already at work on the 104th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. He was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, having joined the company after having previously worked for RMJ Securities where he met his future wife, Karen.

He called Karen at 8:30 that morning. Perhaps it was a daily routine to let his family know he’d made it safely to work or maybe it was a phone call to check on his then six year old son, little Johnny, who was recovering from acute myelocytic leukemia that had been diagnosed several years earlier. Maybe it was simply to wish his wife a good morning and to remind her that they were out of milk. Whatever the reason, it was the last conversation that Karen Fiorito had with her beloved husband before he died that day. John was 40 years old when his life was so unexpectedly and tragically ended.

John was a native of Stamford, CT and a Class of ’82 Columbia College graduate. John spent a large portion of his career working for RMJ Securities and he and his family had only recently moved back to Stamford from Old Bridge, NJ.

Johnny Fever, as he was affectionately known by friends, was a devoted family man. He met Karen while they were both employed by RMJ and proposed to her in 1987 at dinner atop the World Trade Center. It was a surprise proposal and John was in cahoots with the waiter to pop the question. The plan was for the waiter to bring the ring to the table on a silver platter. Karen must have suspected something was up, though. She said, “John was fidgeting that night. After he gave the waiter the ring, I think he was worried he’d never come back with it.” Even after eleven years of marriage, he was still deeply in love with his wife. “Til the end, he always held my hand,” Karen said. “And he always complimented me on how beautiful he thought I looked. I don’t know if every husband does that; but he did.”

John Jr. was born five years after their wedding and was the apple of John’s eye. They shared a love of trains and boats and spent nearly every weekend together, visiting the nature center close to their home. They walked on the trails, went to the beach, and took fishing trips. And although he loved his job, family always came first for John. Karen said, “My husband’s world kind of worked around John Jr. When he wasn’t working, with the free time he had, he spent with John and I. There was lots of family time together. John’s hobby was his son.” After little Johnny was diagnosed with leukemia John would take days off to spend time with his son when he was sick, sometimes sleeping next to him in the hospital. Because of his son’s illness, John also became involved in fund-raising for the local Leukemia Society and the Make A Wish Foundation.

Things were looking up for the Fiorito family in late 2000. Little Johnny was recovering from a bone marrow transplant with great results and the family was even able to take a vacation to Disney World and to the beach in the spring of 2001.

Almost everything John did was for his family. He had a dream of retiring from the financial world in five years because he wanted to become a teacher. He was good with kids and loved the idea of having the summers off to spend with his son. Karen sums it up best when she said that his family “was the thing that made him the happiest. That was his life–his son and me.”

Five years later, John continues to have an impact on people. John’s brother, Dr. Joseph Fiorito, is a gastroenterologist who holds health lectures year-round at schools and community centers in his brother’s memory. He decided to honor John in this way because John loved to call him up from his office in the World Trade Center seeking medical advice for his co-workers. “I felt like I was treating a whole extended practice,” Dr. Fiorito said. “I thought he was running a social service clinic instead of a financial, bond-trading firm.”

John is survived by his wife, Karen, and his son, John. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Joseph Fiorito, and his mother, Sarah.

**The information above was culled from many different sources. I tried to ensure that I used reputable sources and to bring together as much information as I could to give a true picture of John Fiorito. I did not contact the family, as I felt they deserve their privacy to mourn John on the fifth anniversary of his death, therefore the quotes attributed to his family were all taken from previous interviews. This memorial is part of the 2996 project.**

By all these lovely tokens

September days are here

– Helen Hunt Jackson, September

I used to love September. Still do – most of the time. Heck, it’s my birthday month so you gotta love that and it (for me) feels like the beginning of Fall, which I absolutely adore.

But the negatives are starting to get to me a bit. Of course, as a nation, we’ll always pause for a moment on September 11th and think of what a horrific day that was. And personally, I’ll always think of September and remember Hurricane Isabel who hit our little town on 9/18/2003. She flooded our house that day and not only nearly destroyed our home, but sorely challenged us and our relationship (you can never underestimate the emotional upheaval a natural disaster brings along in its wake).

So I was not happy yesterday. Ernesto was not supposed to come nearly as close as he did and sure as heck wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a bad rainstorm. Uh-huh. Apparently somebody invited him to the party and forgot to tell us about it.

J and I both took the day off to make a long weekend a little longer and spend some time together. I slept in while J got up early (as always). The power was flickering on and off until it finally gave up the ghost around 7AM, so we had no idea that we were now right in the path of Ernie and were about to get slammed with 10 inches of rain in a very short period of time. Considering that our house is only 7 ft. above sea level you can probably imagine how quickly things took a turn for the worse. By 1PM the drainage ditches were full and overflowing, there were flash floods happening everywhere, and I was in near hysterics. J and I quickly moved two of the cars to higher ground, keeping the SUV in case we needed to get out. We were soaked to the bone and watching the water come ever closer to the house. I’d stacked my laptops, some boxes of pictures, and all of the adoption paperwork (to include our nearly worthless, going-to-expire-before-we-ever-get-a-referral I-171H) and had it ready to go if necessary.

We were lucky. We had about 5 inches of water in our shed and in our garage, but nothing in the house. 2 very large tree branches down in our yard. We lost power for less than a day and cable and internet for slightly longer – as compared to the 7+ days during Isabel. What Ernesto did bring though, was a reminder of all the fear and helplessness that you face when there’s something happening that you just can’t control. Which is a very good way to describe how this increasing wait feels to us pre-adoptive parents sometimes.

So tomorrow we clean out the garage and shed. We’ll throw some stuff away and try to salvage what we can. We also got a painful (and expensive) reminder to keep the garage clean and stuff put away and off the floor. We’ll pull out the industrial strength Clorox to counter the mold growth and then we’ll rip out the cabinets again. We’ll start all over with a fresh slate and in a couple of days we’ll have a nice and clean and organized garage. We made the trip to Sam’s Club tonight and purchased industrial steel cabinetry and shelving to replace the wood stuff. That way if it floods again (and it will) we’ll just pull it out and hose it off.

But to get back to the good things about September. It’s my birthday month (Oh – did I mention that yet???) and I have a really, really pretty new green car that will soon be able to live in the clean garage. And we have awesome neighbors – we’re reminded of this everytime something happens in our neighborhood/community. And we’ve (hopefully) reached the midway point in our wait for Ava. And November is finally out of the review room which means that we’re (December) in there and should be reviewed soon, if we haven’t been already.

Okay, so I love September again. And did I mention it’s my birthday month?