Spades..

Two nights in a hotel in San Juan and what do we do? We play spades instead of hitting the bars. Here’s two nights worth of our scores. (Me, Marie, Scott, and Marc) Things didn’t go well for Scott around the halfway point. Incidentally, I’ve developed an excel spreadsheet that will keep track of spades scores for a group of four.

Spades_Readable

No.. We could really do without the funk.

Woke up this morning in a funk. Slept a bit later than I have been recently. Wandered down to my office and said good morning to the kids on the way.  Thought I had a mid-morning call which would leave me plenty of time to finish a document I had been working on. Turns out, the call was scheduled for 10 minutes after I woke up.

2 hours later, I emerged from my office. Definitely in a funk.

I’ve spent quite a number of days at home over the past few weeks. Between a local engagement and weather problems causing me to avoid Dallas last week, I’ve been enjoying being a stay-at-home dad. Waking up in the morning when the wife heads off to work to snuggle with the baby. Being home at night to give the baby her bottle while she passes out. Being able to play Wii with the 5 year old from time to time. All of the creature comforts of my office.

Today? I go back to the reality of my job. The car service picks me up in an hour. I’ll spend the afternoon and evening travelling to Austin, TX. (Which according to American Airlines wasn’t part of the U.S. this morning.) Three nights in a hotel before flying home Thursday evening. My job affords me wonderful flexibility, great opportunities to travel and the cash doesn’t hurt bad. Some days, I’d rather stay home and see my little ones learn something new.

40 Bucks

If you don’t have time to invest in reading this, come back later. I’ll warn you now, it’s a long read.

If you believe there are infinite universes, one of them is exactly like Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe. This means somewhere, Shepherd Book said “I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in something.” It’s also written on the back of my iPod Touch in this universe. It’s simple, to the point and i full agree with it. Each of us believes something a little different. There’s nuance to faith. Sometimes that includes having no faith and choosing to be very literal about the world around us and our place in it. Whatever your understanding of our place in this world is, pick a lane and follow a few simple rules.

I choose to believe there’s a purpose behind all of this and I choose to play my part in it. A random event is just that. Random. Multiple events that have a common thread could be random but I find that highly unlikely. Let me take you back to Saturday in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Marie (@dylissia) and I had a bit of cash left over from our shore excursion we took while on our cruise. This money was spoken for. We were going to spend it on trinkety crap or some novelty item on our tours to bring home to the kids. Maybe we were going to spend it all on post cards for our crazy family and friends. Maybe we’d find a massage parlor in Puerto Vallarta. Who knows? The point is that we anticipated this money having been spent. For whatever reason, it was still in our pocket after our last day in port. It was burning a hole there.

Saturday morning, we decided to blow $60 of what we had left in the casino on the ship. I’d take $40 to the roulette table with our coupons that gave me an extra $5 dollars on any $5 or more bet if I were to win. Marie decided that the slot machines were a good place to make her $20 donation.

I sat down with $40 and worked my way up to $60 after a few carefully placed (read: entirely random) bets. I was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to be a bit more adventurous with my winnings. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Next thing I know, I’m down to $26 from my original $40. Apparently my skill at random guessing games wasn’t crisp anymore.

I took a stab at making my money back and put $13 on black. Next thing I know, I doubled my $13 and made it back to $39. I sat out a few spins to study the table and take the opportunity to calculate how the numbers were coming up. This board seemed to have a pattern. Thirteen came up three times in nine spins. Three!! After careful consideration and calculation, I placed another $13 on black. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, I was up to $52. I was on a roll. I’d doubled my money in two bets. I was high. I was going to beat the house and earn back all the money we’d spent on the cruise. So, I cashed out and left the table lady a $2 tip.

After piling all of our remaining cash together, we doled out tips to the ship staff that helped us throughout the week and Marie put the remaining $43 in my wallet. We were leaving the ship and needed some cash for the porters at the dock and the cabbie for the ride back to the airport.

Our ship departure was a bit odd compared to what we’re used to. The port at San Pedro had an issue with Customs which caused a delay in getting off the ship. This led to the port terminal and luggage area being nearly completely empty by the time we made our way off the ship. We didn’t need a porter. No tip required. The money remained in my wallet.

We intended on splitting cab fare to the airport with Scott and Marc but it was easier to put the cab fare on a credit card. Again, no cash tip was required. The money remained in my wallet.

This post is already long so I’ll spare you the complaints about lunch at the airport. Suffice it to say, we spent nearly 80 minutes getting food at On The Border in LAX. Chips, Salsa, Queso, a pair of Diet Cokes, a burrito and an enchilada. Most of the time, we can’t catch a breath when they’re bringing our drinks, appetizer and meal. Their goal is to shuttle people in and out. Not Sunday at LAX. We waited. Seemingly, we waited forever.

At one point, Marie asked if i just wanted to drop the $40 in the jacket and leave. The bill was $39.80 something and I didn’t feel like leaving a tip because of the service. We waited a while longer for old man waiter to retrieve my credit card and return with the slip. Again, the $40 remained in my wallet.

This money should have been gone. This money was spent at least five times over. On shore. In the casino. At the pier. In the cab. At the airport. For whatever reason, I found a reason to pass on buying more souvenirs, tip a porter or cabbie, walk away from the table or find a different way to pay.

Fast forward five hours. We’re nearly home. We’re standing at O’Hare with our bags. We’ve called our car service to come pick us up at the baggage claim area. While waiting for our car, a woman walked by and asked if we were going to Rockford, IL. We weren’t. It is a few hours in the wrong direction. I watched as she walked down the length of the baggage claim area asking people as she went.

I asked Marie to ask her if she’d considered the bus to Rockford while I waited with the bags for our car. It seems she tried but her card was declined. So I sent Marie back again to find out how much the bus service to Rockford was. $22. So, we wandered over to find her a third time and since it was sitting in my wallet, I handed her $22, told her to get home and be safe. She thanked us for the money, cried a bit and then walked back to the bus terminal. Marie and I turned around to see our car service pulling up.

I have no idea if she made the bus. I hope so. If she just wanted money, she’d have asked for five bucks. She asked for a ride. I have faith that she needed a way home, not a collection of cash. She needed a way home. We didn’t exchange information or provide any way of following up with each other. I didn’t quite care to do that. I wasn’t loaning her money. I was giving her money. Marie and I hopped in our car and headed home. I’m hopeful the woman made it home safely too.

Being away from home sucks. Being close to home with no way of getting there sucks even more. If any of the chances I’d been given to spend the money worked out differently, I wouldn’t have had any money to help. I’d have spent the evening wondering if the woman made it home.

As I said, I choose to believe there is a purpose in this life. I believe there is a reason for what happens in our life. Good, bad or ugly. Sunday night, someone needed to get home.

It’s been a while

Loaded the wordpress app on my iPad and realized I hadn’t posted anything since before the new year. Big surprise, I’ve been slacking. If I thought new years resolutions mattered, I might make one about posting more often. Since i think they’re silly, I’ll simply resolve to post this entry and try to post again soon.

Waiting at lax to board a flight home to chicago. Really loved the 7 night Mexican cruise and the wife has already put a deposit down on our next cruise. A 7 night itinerary to the western Carribean. That should be a bunch of fun, even though the sea day starts the cruise. I like having a day of relaxation before returning to port. Island hopping will have to suffice.

Had more fun than expected with my brother-in-law and his partner. Taught everyone how to play spades. Took tons of pictures, most of which are not for public consumption. Had great food every night. Made 12 bucks in the casino a roulette. Went whale watching and got a number of excellent pictures of the whales. Saw sunset over the pacific a few times and can’t wait to do it again.

I’ll save critiques for the week for another day. On the bright side there a only a few.

Quiet Getaway!

For years, Marie has been asking to go to NYC for a weekend. I typically don’t like NYC and have avoided the city like the plague. Earlier this fall, I relented and off to NYC we went. Flew in late on Friday night. Had dinner and went to the top of the Empire State Building. Wandered a bit of Time Square, Macy’s and Battery Park on saturday. Flew home early Sunday afternoon. Had a great few nights in the city and already started planning a return trip.

If you’ve been here over the past few weeks, the following won’t be a surprise. There are pics. 🙂
NYC Pictures

Yet another vacation…

Over Thanksgiving, the family took a 10 day trip to Florida. 10 days of togetherness was great. We spent three nights on a Disney cruise and a few days at DisneyWorld. Between those days, we took a day or two to relax. Met up with my oldest friend while we were in Florida and met his girlfriend and baby for the first time. Spent some time doing touristy things.  Spent a ton of time in the car.  All in all, we had a blast.

We took a ton of pictures from our travels and the best among them have been posted up to Flickr. Links to follow.

Disney Part 1

Disney Part 2

It was inevitable…

Way back in July, Marie and I ventured out to San Diego to attend Comic-Con. Turns out, we took tons of pictures and even promised to post some of them for friends. You’d think owning 5 cameras and having 2 computers on my desk would make moving pictures around trivial. You’d be wrong. Between procrastination and laziness, 4 months have elapsed and I’ve finally posted the SDCC pictures to Flickr.  Follow the links below to enjoy the pics.

(SDCC 2010 Part 1) http://www.flickr.com/photos/siraim/sets/72157625365144251/

(SDCC 2010 Part 2)  http://www.flickr.com/photos/siraim/sets/72157625490270652/

Where The Hell Did It Go?

This is a relatively short entry. I hope getting this out of my head and into the world will help purge the demon.

The night before leaving New York, I watched  tv in bed. I turned off the tv before curling up to fall asleep. I don’t remember where I put the remote, but I didn’t get out of bed so it couldn’t have gone far.

I woke up before my first alarm went off and couldn’t go back to sleep. Since I was up, I figured I’d watch a little Mike and Mike in the Morning to catch up on the MLB playoffs.

This plan was foiled when I couldn’t find the remote. It had disappeared while I was asleep. I checked under the bed. In my suitcase. Behind the end tables. In the duvet on the bed.  Gone. I turned the room over and couldn’t find it.

I left for the client site and wasn’t able to shake the missing remote from my mind. Did someone sneak in and take it? Did I eat it while sleeping? Where the hell did it go?

If you’re wondering, I watched nothing while getting ready to leave the hotel. Yes, I know how to use the buttons on a tv. However, the tuner on the tv wasn’t used to control the channels. The Marriott in-house programming delivery system was in charge and it only responds to the remote.