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Jonny Dano

The Final Countdown (Baby Edition)

I find it so ironic that a year ago at this time, Nicole and I were counting down the days to our wedding. Now, here we are a year later, and we are counting down the days until our baby girl is born. Although both occasions are different, it's a happy vibe all around. For the past two years, October has been a really special month for us. It's always been one of my favorite months; I love June-August and October-December in general. Life feels more fun because everything is so festive with the summer, followed by the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's).

As per usual, I apologize I haven't gotten a chance to write in this journal very often. These past couple of years have been so eventful that I hardly get time to myself, especially to write entries in here. It kind of sucks because I always enjoy looking back and seeing where I was at a given time. But, hey, even if I write a handful of entries per year, it's surely better than nothing.

People have been asking me how I've been feeling lately, knowing my daughter's arrival is mere weeks away, and I have to say that I have a range of emotions. I'm nervous in the sense of what to expect as a parent (though I've gotten practice through my nephew Johnny, niece Victoria, and cousins Ayla and Eliza) but most of all...I'm very excited. You know, it's funny, Savage Garden has a song "I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You" and I never quite understood what they meant. Well, now I know. I love my daughter already and she hasn't even been born into the world yet.

You know, when Nicole first announced she was pregnant, it was a fun announcement and all, but as time went on, it became more and more real. And there were different milestones, like when Nicole's stomach would grow (not so much when it would gradually, but when it really popped) or when we found out the baby's gender or, most recently, when we went to a place in White Plains that specialized in 3D sonograms. We now have a sense of what she looks like. As each of those events occurred, it made her upcoming arrival more and more exciting.

Nicole was also recently thrown a baby shower by her mom and sister. It was held at Barosa Restaurant at the end of September and was just lovely. Nicole's mom, my mother-in-law Jackie, worked her butt off to create all these decorations and to ensure that all of Nikki's guests had a great time. Some of the guys joined me as well, while their ladies were in the other room. Those gentlemen included: Stephen, Wilfredo, Mike Dalvano, Jason Pitera, Chris M., Vinnie, and John Pan. Although it was not a surprise baby shower, I can assure you that Nicole was flattered beyond belief by everyone's generosity and well wishes. I was too.

On to some other subjects...

In taking a look at my last entry, I spoke about my 32nd birthday, and I must say it was a wonderful few days. It happened to fall on a Wednesday night and besides Nicole and my parents, my sister and the kids came by, as well as Sal and Teresa. The weather was very cooperative so we got to eat dinner outside (on the deck) as well as have the cake out there too. My family was generous and I'm thankful for their presents and their presence. My nephew Johnny actually wrote me a birthday card and it was the best home-made gift I could have received.

On the Friday that followed, I admittedly called out of work, so that Nicole and I could spend the day together. She had gotten me a watch for my birthday but said that I could return it if it's not the model I was looking for. As awesome as it was, it was very fancy looking (which would have been great for weddings and such), but I had been looking for more of an everyday watch. We ventured out to Roosevelt Field and were able to find an awesome one in the Fossil store. I actually sort of created it by picking out the face I wanted, as well as the band itself.

After RF Mall, Nicole took me to dinner at Piccolo's in Mineola, a delicious Italian restaurant we had tried years earlier, as Kim had her bridal shower there. It was very good the second time around as well. Thank you again to Nicole for a great few days! :-)

The day after that, Nicole and I went to Michael and Lauren's wedding and I must say, we really enjoyed ourselves. Mike and Lauren admittedly did not have a big affair and I think that Mike almost felt that I was going to be judgmental about things because our wedding had more people or whatever. Hey, I come from a big Italian family where you gotta invite everyone and their mother, literally. Even Nicole's family is kind of like that. Not to mention, our social circle - while great - is a blessing and a curse because we have many groups of friends. I don't say that conceitedly either; just being honest. In any case, I told Michael from the get go that "you do you," meaning it's your day and everyone who was fortunate enough to be invited would have a blast. I also told him that his wedding day will be (one of) the happiest day(s) of his life. I said this before and I'll say it again; weddings are very autobiographical. It's not just a day with you and your new spouse, but a celebration where all your family and friends are under one roof. It's an awesome feeling. I remember Michael, during the cocktail hour, coming up to me and saying, "This is awesome!". It was then that I knew that same emotion hit him.

The ceremony was at a small church on the SJU campus, while the reception was at the Riviera on Long Island. The venue was lovely and fit them perfectly. The food was tasty, the company was fun (i.e. our table had the Curcios, Sivaks, Grahams, Dwayne, and Giacomo, to name a few), and it was just an elegant evening all around. Much like Mike and Lucie, who got married a few weeks before, it was a classy affair. I tip my hat to both gentlemen!

In the month of September, on Labor Day weekend to be exact, I joined my buddy Richard out in Baltimore. He moved there last January and had been wanting me to visit there for a while now. Whether it be the crazy amount of events Nicole and I had attended on the weekends or expenses that hit us, there was always a reason why I couldn't make it. I finally found the time and resources to go and I was happy that I did.

I joined Mr. Parker on Friday after work. I took the Bolt Bus down there and met up with him around 9:30 PM. We went to a cool '50s/Sci-Fi/comic book-themed diner. Then we bar hopped for a few more hours until we hit the hay.

The next day, we had some brunch at Miss Shirley's (their waffles were pretty great!) and went down to Camden Yards. While the Orioles were not in town unfortunately, we did get to see the stadium as their staff was super cool about it. And a nice, quaint stadium it was! We also went to the Geppi Museum which had a lot of old-school memorabilia from the '50s onward. They had plenty of movie posters, comic books, classic board games, and so forth.

We followed up our trip to Camden Yards by walking along Chesapeake Bay and eating at a seafood restaurant. The weather was absolutely perfect, too. Post-dinner, we walked through Baltimore's version of Little Italy and then went to downtown Baltimore where we had delicious ice cream at this place called The Charmery. The last thing we did was hit up a local bar that RJP frequents. While I enjoyed all of that, I also had fun just chilling in his nice apartment, which incidentally is inside of a building that was formerly a hotel. We actually spent some of that night watching old episodes of "Double Dare," where Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon guest starred. Hey, can't beat that!

The next day, I hopped back on the Bolt Bus back to NYC, but not before we had breakfast at a nearby Saloon (as they called it). I had chicken and waffles, which may have been the best version of that dish that I've had.

Once again, a hearty thank you to Mr. Parker for having me over. It was nice to spend time with one of my long-time buddies and bond in "Charm City."

In late August/early September, Nicole and I moved from our apartment on Alderton, back to my parents' house in Forest Hills. This time is different than it was years ago, however, as we are paying rent to live in the basement. Our kitchen and living room are down there but our bedroom and bathroom have remained on the second floor. That's okay with us, though, as we didn't want my parents doing too much construction to the house. The basement, warmly known as The DanoDome, is now completely redone. The wood paneling is now painted sheetrock, the floor is tile, and we have a kitchenette. The layout is a bit different, too, though admittedly the bar is still there. We wanted it to look different but to still have that ambiance.

The moving process was a real pain, as we had to hire movers (Moving Right Along) to bring all of our stuff from Alderton to over here. The move to the apartment was much easier, because we did everything gradually. In this case, we sort of waited til the last minute, not to mention we accrued a lot of extra items living in that apartment. The movers were great, though, and we had some extra help from Nicole's mom, whose assistance we're super appreciative of.

After several weeks of having a ton of boxes scattered everywhere, we're almost finished. The baby's room (my former room) is complete, our bedroom is handled, and the basement is just about ready. Now it's time for DiBaby to arrive!

The last thing I wanted to mention was some recent wrestling events I've gone to with friends. Back in August, I went to NXT: Takeover Brooklyn with my former NBC coworker Chris. We also met up with our friend Casey. The event was a boatload of fun and had one of the best matches I've ever seen live, in that of Sasha Banks vs Bayley. It was one of the best women's matches, period. The crowd was essentially going crazy the whole time and made for a fun evening all around.

Earlier this month, on October 4th, I joined my brother-in-law Michael and friend Rich (Martinez) in seeing the WWE live show at Madison Square Garden, titled "Brock Lesnar's Go To Hell Tour." It had Brock Lesnar vs The Big Show, John Cena vs Seth Rollins in a cage match, and Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens for the IC title. As an added bonus, Chris Jericho was celebrating his 25th anniversary in the wrestling business, so I was happy to be in attendance. I'm sure most of you know he's one of my favorite pro wrestlers, if not my top favorite.

The job situation is still the same from when I last updated but I have been connecting with a lot of people who are keeping their eyes out for me and have passed along my resume. I'm gonna keep doing that until I'm blue in the face. I'm tired of my job being my Achilles' heel. I am confident things are going to turn around for me, as they did back in 2013 when I needed a change with my wedding on the horizon. I may not have that great job the minute my daughter is born, but I promise you I am working hard to find a better job so my baby girl and my wife are well supported.

Lastly, I wanted to say that I am honored, as I was recently asked by Stephen to be his Best Man at his wedding to my cousin Ashley next October. I hope to make them both proud and cannot wait to celebrate this happy time for them! I've already started working on the speech. Wish me luck!

Thank you all for reading if you did and I hope you all are well.

Until next time...

--J[o]n[a]t[h]a[n]

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November 2015

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