Friday, January 18, 2013

My Heart - With Four Legs and a Tail

To my oldest son:

You're 16 now, and for a long time I've tried to find a way to truly let know you how much I love you.

I know it's awkward to hear me say it all the time, so I needed to find a way for you to experience what my heart feels for you in a constant, immersive way you would never forget.  Besides, many times I will not be in the same room as you and it's during those times you may need to be reminded the most.

I think I found the way....quite by accident.

I give you: My heart...with four legs and a tail:

Every time you interact with this amazing creature, remember...


My Heart Loves You Unconditionally
No matter what you do, I will be here to support, love, encourage you.


My Heart Jumps When You're Near
When you come home from school next week, or when you come home from your career next decade, I'll be excited to hear all about your day. I love it when you're near.


My Heart Will Comfort You
You have had some lonely, sad times already. I'm sure you will have many more. I wish you wouldn't, but you care so deeply for people that your heart gets hurt when the feelings are betrayed. During those times just know that my heart will always be there to comfort you and to help you through (even if it's just sitting next to you until you're ready to engage).


My Heart Loves to Explore With You
I love it when you include me in your adventures! Whether it's a chat about life, a gaming break to hear of the latest achievement, an invitation to your next big life event, or just watching you take that next big bite out of heart will always be with you and loves when you include me.


My Heart Loves to Hear Your Voice
We have a deeper relationship when we talk together. Let's not lose that.  We hear a lot about quality time, but you can't have quality without quantity.


My Heart Will Mess Up
I'm not perfect. Yes I know I'm the parent but still, I'll mess up. Don't worry, though. I'll probably know it before you do. I always have your best interest in mind, and through our mistakes our relationship will get deeper and better.


My Heart Will Challenge You
You will do things I won't agree with. I may challenge you 'in fun' to change your behavior while we both smile about it. But, sometimes I may not budge and we will need to work through it together. Even then, always remember I'm in this for you.


My Heart Responds to Kind Words, But Won't Give Up Loving You at Harsh Words
As you well know, your kind words melt my heart. But even when your words are harsh, I'll never, ever stop loving you. I'm a big boy and can take an earful. I'll listen to you rage, see past the surface, work to understand the source of the anger, and be ready to talk when you are. Even if you turn away...once you find your way back...I will be here...loving you the whole time.


Now that you and Orchid have found each other, I don't think you'll ever be the same... 

...I'm excited to see how you will grow as she grows

...I'm excited to see what you learn as you train her

...I'm excited to share this experience with you

...and I'm excited to share this life with you.

(Did I say I love you?) 


Saturday, January 12, 2013

6 Beds in 8 Nights

When describing my travel by the numbers it sure sounds provocative...

"6 beds in 8 nights"

"3 females in one hotel room"

"Broke the law at 2 hotels"

"Barely had a chance to sleep (if you know what I mean)"

"Naked 360° panoramic photos taken...and shared"

But, is it really what it seems? Here's my latest travel experience between Friday 11/30 and Friday 12/7...

Bed 1: Minneapolis
My girls are gymnasts. They compete at different levels so the "Peppermint Twist" meet was Friday night and Saturday morning...forcing us to stay in a hotel. Luckily I had enough hotel points to stay for free at Holiday Express Inn and Suites. It was only one block away from the Convention Center so it was perfect location. Free breakfast, too! It was a small room (didn't get the room I booked) so the 6 of us crammed into a normal hotel room and barely had a chance to sleep with all the kids fit-ful (and one a nightmare-filled) sleep.

Was it legal to have that many humans in one room? Most likely not. But my life-long motto is "Ask forgiveness, not permission".

Results: Girls had 2 very strong events, and are now ready for state meet (see Bed 6).

Bed 2: Golden Valley
My wife is an actress. The problem is that she doesn't get to do it much anymore. Our niece played "Little Red" in the musical "Into The Woods"...and that made my wife cry. 

She LOVES that musical (so do I), and her dream is to play a role in it, but it doesn't appear often around us, so while she was crazy-proud of her niece, the second she started singing, my wife teared up. it hurts to see her obviously long to experience something she can't...yet.

We slept on a blowup bed at my wife's brother's house, and enjoyed a nice morning and then made our way back home that afternoon.

Bed 3: Rochester
A short respite in our lovely, so-grateful-I-should-scream-but-too-often-I-forget-what-abundance-I-have home.

Bed 4: Las Vegas
Now THIS is a bed!

But, I was only awake in here for about 40 minutes.

I also discovered that the Venetian is the first Vegas hotel that is not overly sleazy and wanted to spend some time in.  For example, I loved the 2nd floor...complete with "outdoor" italian river walk.

An amazing place...but what a waste without my wife along.

I had a crazy-good dinner at B&B Ristorante, not only because of the amazing food and wine, but becasue it was FREE! Thanks Gartner!

And finally, I can utter the sweet, sweet words, "Pre-Check Status" whenever I fly. No more having to walk through the x-ray camera thing where 360° panoramic naked photos of me are taken then shared with someone in Washington, DC to check for bombs and guns (can't help not flexing a bit a the camera swirls around me)

Bed 5: Raleigh
Comfort Suites is my go-to hotel because it gets me points that my family could use, and it has a free breakfast. My 20 hours in RTP consisted of arriving at 11:30pm from Vegas, waking at 6:30 for a customer briefing, all-day demos at IBM, and flight to MSP at 7pm...arriving at home in Rochester at 10:30pm.

Bed 6: South Minneapolis
The very next morning, we all woke and drove BACK to Minneapolis. I rarely stay at the Sheraton because IBM doesn't offer discounts, but since the State Gymnastics meet gave a discount, we stayed there. Good place. It snowed like crazy the evening we drove up, and since it was another small room we dropped the boys off at their cousins in Golden Valley, dropped the girls off at the hotel, then went to our annual Fujiya sushi dinner and "The New Standards" christmas concert. It was awesome! I simply love sushi, and the band is always a treat to watch.

The next morning was the State Gymnastics Meet. It was another awesome/sad meet where one girl got great scores and placed high (14th overall for bars from 191 competitors), whereas the other girl struggled.

We actually stayed in a 7th bed in 9 days by sleeping in the guest room of my wife's brother's house. A wonderfully restful end to a crazy travel week.

There ya go.

So tell me, is that 8 days of travel as glamorous and attractive as the numbers portrayed?
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