Enter your email for updates:
Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

The Ballbuster Blog

Filed under: Fun, Personal, Travel

Stepping into Michele Bell’s Shoes (Sort Of)

First of all, let me say that I don’t think anyone on the planet can take Michele’s place when it comes to writing – or sporting the trampiest shoes ever, let alone me in my wildest cross-dressing moment. But let me try.

Before I talk about vacations and what I really think about them, I’ll grab my bottle of Absolute, a little cranberry juice, a sprits or two of apricot brandy and make myself a good “sex on the beach” (Yes, I drink one of those every once in a while) before I work up to my dirty vodka martini with two giant olives in a tumbler, shaken not stirred. Three of these, as my drinking partner Michele can attest, and I am under the table in no time. No one that I know of has ever put Michele under the table.

To think, I’m sitting here in picturesque Trevose, PA, working my fingers to the bone while Michele is on vacation in Avalon, NJ, skinny dipping capitol of the world. And knowing Michele as I do, she’s really having a “sex on the beach.”

But you know what? I’m lovin’ it. Why? Because I have a thing about vacations. Don’t know why, but I feel better knowing I’m working and not getting behind. My wife Leslie wants to kill me and screams bah humbug every time I bitch about taking some time off. I actually cave most times and reluctantly pack up my laptop, Blackberry, iPhone and assorted peripherals. Then, off I go screaming like a baby like last year when we decided to go to Italy with our close friends Richard & Kippie Helzel (Yes, the same CPS VP we all know and love).

No time is ever a good time for me and November is almost impossible because I’m finalizing all of my client’s schedules for the new year. I whined, bitched and threw a few temper tantrums but it didn’t work this time and the end result was I had a great time.

Italy is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Kippie has lots of relatives in the old country and we stayed at her cousin’s Villa in Tuscany which was truly beautiful. We must have driven 1,500 miles or more in a few days but it was well worth it.

While in Rome we saw all the sights but at the Coliseum a word of advice: If a man dressed up in a gladiator outfit approaches you and wants to give you a photo op, don’t do it unless you ask him how much first. This little trick cost us $50 US. We’re all still laughing at that moment.

Antonio sure saw us coming. I still laugh when I think about it.

How stupid does this look? When he told me the price I got so angry I thought he was going to circumcise me again.

The beautiful IMonti Villa owned by Kippie’s cousins, Giulio & Lunella, two of the most cordial and friendly people in all of Europe.

IMonti at sunrise (I was up all night catching up on e-mail). As beautiful as it was, at 6 a.m. the hunters started shooting double-barrel shotguns. They were loud and pretty damn close.

One day in Tuscany can make up for a lot of rough days in the office.

Me after getting an e-mail from Tim and Rich with my budget expectations for 2009.  I am just one happy camper.

Richard and Kippie Helzel. They look so happy but what’s Richard thinking about…

Must be this newly married couple who were strolling in the piazza. Wait a minute, is that Joe Haley from The Joe Show? Nice try, Joe. Bring back the goatee and get rid of the Italian wife. Bigamy doesn’t work there either.

Bratwurst in Italy? You bet. Out on the town for some of the best Italian food in the world and we find a German sausage stand in the middle of Sienna. Go figure.

We had a ball with Kippie’s family, wonderful salt of the earth people.

I couldn’t possibly end the photos without showing you what we opened our eyes to every morning in Tuscany.

The moral of this story is to take some time to smell the roses. It’s really is good for you – it recharges your batteries and helps you look at life in a better way, at least for a little while. So now that I’m a changed man on the subject of vacations. Where will I be going next? I don’t know about you but I’m going to Disney World in January. See you all in Orlando at the ASI Show. Ariva derche!
Ron Ball

P.S. – For those of you who miss Michele and want to party with her in Avalon, just look for the house by the beach shaped like a bottle.


  1. Michele Bell Says:

    LOL!!!!!! Ron, Babycakes, you had me at “wildest cross-dressing moment”… I rolled out of my beach chair laughing. Muchas Gracias for filling in for me — fabulous, HILARIOUS job! BTW, no sex on the beach for me — I’m way too lazy and sand is way too itchy. ; ) Cheers!!! — M
    PS: The photo of you in the feathered Centurion helmut just SLAYS me…
    PPS: In case you haven’t heard the news, the state of New Jersey is officially out of Grey Goose.

    Wednesday September 3, 2008
  2. Kippie Helzel Says:

    What can i say, Ron…let’s do it again!!! (the trip, that is). Baci, Kippie

    Tuesday September 9, 2008
  3. Giulio & Lunella Curiel Says:

    The Italian cousins say: It was great to have you stay with us in Chianti and please do come back soon

    Wednesday September 10, 2008
  4. judi cavaliere Says:

    great job

    Saturday September 13, 2008
  5. Shewa Says:

    This is your best writing yet!I’m going to share this with my team members.Amazing post, truly!


    Wednesday March 23, 2011

Leave a Comment