Not that I'm ordinarily a David Bowie fan, or that any of you reading this will understand the reference, but it seems appropriate at this point in my life.
My company decided that I couldn't do my job unless I was physically located in Arlington, instead of Fort Worth. So now I'm sitting in a cube surrounded by strange people and strange sounds and facing the opposite direction. If you've never worked in a cube, you won't understand how unsettling it is to have everything you're used to reversed. I get this strange vertigo feeling every time I look up from my monitor. It's like I'm wearing someone else's clothes. They fit ok, but they don't feel like they're mine.
In two weeks Sarah and I are travelling to Maui, HI. While that's technically not a change, it is different. We're looking forward to sitting on a beach, surrounded by people I can only hope are fatter than me, and doing nothing. It should be a calm respite from the storm that our lives have been the past 12 months and the whirlwind that it's going to be the next 5 (months... years... decades...).
I can't imagine anyone reading this who doesn't already know, but Sarah and I are expecting. I originally wrote "Sarah and I are pregnant," but that's vastly overstating my role in the process. In December we'll welcome a child into the world. And then he or she will come home with us. To live in the new nursery. Which used to be the office. Which will now be located in the patio that we are having remodeled and enclosed.
Like I said... changes.
So I thought I'd share a strange experience that happened to me the other day. I was sitting at my desk checking my gmail account and at the top of the list was a new message from Steve Boyd. This isn't entirely strange since I send myself emails from time to time - to remember a link or something like that.
But on closer inspection I saw that the from address was steve[at]steveboyd.us. The message was a heartfelt thank you to someone named Susanne from, appearantly, me. But a me with a phone number in New York.
My first thought was that this was some kind of spam, but after reading it I couldn't find any evidence that they wanted me to help them release escrowed funds in Namibia. This seemed like a real email, sent to Susanne from steve[at]steveboyd.us and cc'd steve.boyd[at]gmail.com. It felt a little like looking into a funhouse mirror. It was me, but grossly distorted.
Over the course of my life I've become peripherally aware that there are other people out there named Steve Boyd. But if another Steve Boyd sent an email to Susanne, why on earth did he send it to me too? You have to think that these other Steve Boyds are aware of their own email addresses.
Nothing to do now but write him back and ask what the heck is going on. To my delight I received a prompt response from Steve Boyd. He explained that he is the owner of boyd.steve[at]gmail.com and he just accidentally transposed the name when he sent it. I told him I was grateful to have gotten into gmail early enough to get steve.boyd.
In order to make our 2pm flight out of Boston we had to leave Litchfield around 9am. The return trip was absolutely seamless. We didn't hit any traffic, dropped our rental at the return location, hopped onto the bus that was waiting, walked up to the self-checkin counter, checked our bags and passed through security - all without waiting in any lines.
We settled in at the gate and did some first-rate people-watching. After a while, the waiting area at the gate started filling up with people and we knew it would be a full flight. At one point the harried, grumpy desk agent made the following announcement over the intercom: "Will everyone who is currently standing in line please go sit down. I have to do some paperwork and I don't have time to deal with you yet." Nice.
She also asked for volunteers to bump to the next flight because our flight was overbooked, offering passes to "anywhere in the 50 states." Sarah went up and told her we would bump if they could get us to our final destination (Dallas) at a reasonable hour. She said, "No, we can't do that." So Sarah went off to use the restroom.
Note: Sarah can hold her water like a camel until she hears the following words: "Ladies and gentlemen we would like to begin boarding flight 531 to Chicago with seating one."
While she was gone, another desk agent called me up and told me they could get us into Dallas an hour later than our scheduled time if we would bump to the next flight. I told her sure and went back to watching all the people - who were still standing in line. Sarah got back and was quite excited to learn that we would be getting free passes. When the friendly, competent desk agent got our flights re-routed, we left the madness of the overbooked flight and went to wait at our new gate.
About 30 minutes later the same harried, grumpy desk agent showed up and we just laughed and laughed. Flights #3 and #4 passed without incident and we were happy to be home while there was still a little daylight left.
Overall it was a nice weekend getaway. It's always good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.
We got started a little later Saturday morning, but had enough time before the wedding to drive around Litchfield and see some of the sights. The Goldrings (Eden's family) were kind enough to provide us with a little goodie bag that contained some chocolate, fruit and directions for driving tours of the area.
Our first stop was the center of town where the First Congregational Church sits. according to the literature, this was the first (and only) denomination allowed in the area for about a hundred years. There was a sign near the church claiming it to be the most photographed church in New England, which makes me wonder if they have a person assigned to count the people who take it's picture. I took 2 pictures, but pretended to take 8 or 9 to keep their count high.
Across from the church is a row of shops, and many old houses. We walked the streets for a while and Sarah was quite interested in an estate auction that was going on. After I convinced her that we would not be able to fit a wicker headboard and footboard in our luggage, we traveled on. The driving tour directions were very good, but it turns out that some of the roads are not really marked with street signs. And some of the roads are not really roads.
On the photo page there is a picture of a set of red barns taken from a distance. To get to this location required us to to travel on a rather rugged path that was not paved in the modern sense of the word. We were grateful to be in an SUV. I guess I still would have made the journey in a car, since it would have been a rental, but knowing that we could engage the 4x4 traction if necessary was reassuring.
After a little lunch we wound our way back to the Briggs's house and got ready for the 4:30 wedding. The wedding took place "on the grounds" at Eden's mother's house. It was a beautiful setting with tents for the ceremony and dinner and plenty of room to socialize and consume the wonderful appetizers. It was a little chilly, but the sun was out so overall it was fairly comfortable. We found out later that there were also swarms of mosquitoes, who dined almost exclusively on Sarah's legs.
It appeared that everyone had a great time. At one point Chris's parents even danced. I was grateful that Sarah didn't bug me about that - the dance crowd was a little older, as the band was playing music that they could relate to. So we sat and visited with Chris and Eden's friends. By 10pm or so it was getting pretty cold (even to me in a suit) so we said our goodbyes and made an exit.
Note: If you ever attend a wedding where they park your car for you in a field and you're driving a rental, try to remember the license plate number or something more descriptive than it's color.
Stay tuned for Sunday. More pictures have been loaded up on Page 2.
This past weekend Sarah and I attended the wedding of an old friend. The following stories are true. The names have not been changed to protect anyone's identity. Except I'm not very good with names, so some of them may be wrong. Sorry about that.
Any day that starts at 3:30 am has a lot working against it. But we rolled out of bed and started toward the airport about 45 minutes later. This was to make a 6 am flight to Boston... so we could drive to Connecticut. Trust me, a month ago all of these decisions seemed prudent and reasonable.
Note: If you park in the Express lots at DFW airport, there's a guy sitting at the entrance who gives you little bottles of water.
Flight #1 took us from Dallas to Chicago. Somehow I drooled cran-apple juice down the front of my white shirt and spent half the flight rubbing ice on the stains and scrubbing them with napkins. It worked pretty well. Flight #2 took us from Chicago to Boston. I didn't have any cran-apple juice.
At Logan we picked up our rental car, a Ford Explorer. We decided that since we would be driving through a lot country we hadn't ever seen, it would be nice to have a larger vehicle. It was only a few dollars more than the intermediate level car and turned out to be a great choice, especially considering the amount of time we spent on non-paved roads. But more on that later.
Travelling from the airport via the chunnel, it took us FOUR HOURS to get from Boston to our destination - Litchfield, Connecticut. This is about an hour and a half longer than it should have taken. It would seem that on Friday afternoons, every person in the Boston area leaves the state via I-90. We finally arrived in Litchfield at about 4:30 pm. When we were making our travel arrangements we were notified that we would be staying with a "host family" for the weekend. The Briggs are a very nice older couple with a beautiful and quaint home set off an infrequently-travelled road on what has to be 15 or 20 acres. We hauled our bags in, made our introductions, and sat still for about 30 minutes before getting ready for the Rehersal Dinner.
The Rehersal Dinner was held at the Litchfield Inn in a formal setting that necessitated the purchase of new clothes for both Sarah and myself. Sarah looked lovely despite the humidity and her insistance that she could feel her hair curling minute by minute. I looked like me... in a jacket and tie, which is to say uncomfortable.
Note: if anyone wants to take me out to a restaurant or event that requires a jacket and tie, I am prepared.
We met many of Chris and Eden's friends who are all very nice and interesting people. I took lots of pictures and none of them turned out because of the low lighting in the room. It's possible that I will need to look at getting a new digital camera soon. It's also possible that I don't really know how to take pictures.
Speaking of pictures, many of the ones we took on Friday and the first half of Saturday are available for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully I'll finish the review of Saturday and Sunday soon.
Now I remember why I haven't taken the time or energy to set this site up as a real blog. I just don't have the desire to publicly comment on the happenings in my life all that often. Plus, no one who looks at this really knows what a blog is anyway. Nor would they be terribly impressed if I implemented "permalinking."
So it remains mainly a repository for pictures of my beautiful niece. Someday I will find the time to create a dedicated site just for her. Until then I can probably be found mowing the yard, or playing PGR2, or any number of the mundane things that make up life outside of work.
And I'll continue to post sporadically.
Jennifer and Doug are having their baby today! It's a whole new ballgame. Suddenly everyone has new positions to learn and play.
Uncle Steve and Aunt Sarah couldn't be happier to welcome Alyse into the world. We look forward to doing all the cool stuff that aunts and uncles get to do - I think Sarah has been carrying a pack of gum in her purse for about 6 months now ('cause doesn't your aunt always have gum?). For my part I have been steeling my resolve to actually hold a baby...and like it. That's a biggie for me. We won't even begin to talk about changing diapers - that's a Mom and Dad thing.
But I think more than anything we're looking forward to meeting this new person and learning more about ourselves through her.
Happy birthday, Alyse.
Saturday evening we went to III Forks for Rachel's birthday. Our party of 7 had to wait a little longer than we wanted to for a table, but we aren't TV stars, so what are you gonna' do? The evening started off well with a close encounter with Steve Harvey. Things quickly degraded, though as the food arrived.
Jerry and Dan ordered the same entree (steak), but were served out of order. The first thought that comes to mind is "just switch plates." This was easier said than done as the plates were scalding hot and they weren't sitting next to each other. Then as Sarah and Kelly cut into their steaks they discovered that they weren't prepared to the proper temperature. Both should have been medium-rare but were medium-well. We didn't have water refills and things were beginning to get ugly.
Our waiter attempted to diffuse the situation, and once all the food arrived prepared in the specified manner, it was a very nice meal. The staff of the restaurant was aware that it was Rachel's birthday and were attentive and apologetic. After our dinner plates were cleared the bar manager brought us all a special after-dinner drink that isn't on the menu. It was a nice gesture, but the drink was coconut-flavored and several in the party didn't care for it. I figured that the drink was sort of a peace-offering for the earlier ugliness and we would be offered a choice of desserts, decline, and be done. I was wrong.
As we were enjoying (or ignoring) our special drinks, our waiter arrived with the dessert plate. You know - the one they bring to the table to show you all the choices, and it's so tempting you just have to have one? Only we didn't get to pick one. He sat the entire tray down in the middle of the table, lit a candle that was in a piece of chocolate cake and said, "Enjoy!" I think there were about 8 different desserts on the tray and we were all very pleasantly surprised. Everyone grabbed a fork (the third fork) and dug in. I ate a bunch of stuff that I knew would make me sick, but felt it would be rude to just leave it sitting there.
The managers and staff at III Forks was able to take an unpleasant situation and really turn it around into a very memorable evening. They could have offered us the drinks or a dessert to compensate for the confusion. I'm sure given that option several in the party would have declined both, but felt like it was an appropriate gesture. Instead, they brought all the dessert choices out at once and we all left with a really positive memory.
Way to go, III Forks!
While sitting at lunch yesterday with a Ferrari owner and a classic Mustang owner, I was forced to admin that I'm not a car guy. I think they assumed that I was because of my car. We joked about it, but I could tell that in their eyes this makes me a second-class male citizen.
Now don't get me wrong - I have a great appreciation for cars, but more from a design standpoint than the gears and guts. To me all of that is sort of cold and technical. The first thing that draws anyone to a car is it's exterior design. If its curves are appealing then you want to know more about it. You want to sit in it. You want it to be comfortable and luxurious. Or sleek and powerful. You want it to make a statement about you.
Driving the car is a secondary experience. You expect the car to go when you step on the gas and stop when you step on the brake. If you're so-inclined you might want to row the gears yourself, but when you do you expect it to respond. While doing all of these things you expect to be comfortable.
Is all of this presumptuous? Of course it is, but that's because I'm not a car guy. I'm a car appreciator - and surely that counts for something.
One of my favorite lines from Office Space. The answer, in this case, is "redesigning the site." So please bear with me while the majority of the content here is unavailable. You freaks that were looking for the picture of me sitting in a field of bluebonnets are out of luck.