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Tag Archives: travel

Recharged

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Life has a funny way of getting the timing just perfect sometimes. I have not been writing as often and while most of that has been a result of a full plate at work, some of it was just a case of the blahs. I haven’t been sure what to write and maybe just needed a break.
Last week I got just that. After an amazing and relaxing week with friends and family I am feeling recharged. Vacations are definitely sweet. To make it even better, I got a pretty sweet surprise when I discovered that this blog was freshly pressed. I thought the timing of that was pretty cool and encouraging so thanks WP people. I wasn’t as responsive as I would liked to have been to all the new readers and will catch up very soon. Thanks so much for wasting a click to stop by and read. I truly appreciate the kind words and visits here.
I think I finally have all of the sand washed out of my business and I am enjoying the last few hours of my vacation before waking up and being a grown up in the morning.
I so appreciate all of you reading. I am blessed with the opportunity to recharge my batteries and I am looking forward to some good (well maybe not good but I will at least shoot for readable) Sweet and Weaks to come.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and resist the urge to burn down your workplace or call in sick.

Cheers,

Simon

P.S.
Not a bad picture with an iPhone eh? That was the sunset on our last night.

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Sweet

Racing the GPS 

image via garmin.com

The dashboard GPS has to be one of the greatest inventions ever.  I mean it is right up there with air conditioning and the baconator.  For one thing, if you have a GPS you never have to listen to your wife nag  suggest you stop and ask a stranger for directions (which might as well be the same as getting out of the car wearing a shirt that says: I am only 75% of the man you are).  This little device, though often frustrating , brings a certain calming quality to our marriage when I decide to take a short cut and dare veer off of the digital pink line of safety.  Sure, sometimes we follow our digital mate precisely and put an unhealthy amount of trust into it as we wind up cursing under our breath and turning around in vacant lots or wishing we were still on the paved road but all in all, it is pretty dang awesome.

I think that my favorite thing about our GPS is that on long drives it gives me a clear competitive objective.  When I am driving and using the GPS, all of the goals in my life boil down to one thing.  Beating the arrival time on the GPS.  It is almost embarrassing how much joy I derive from beating the GPS.  I say almost because the amount of awesome clearly outweighs any shame.  One of the great things about racing the GPS is that it re calibrates as you go so if you gain a minute, it will adjust giving you instant gratification.  I went on two separate business road trips this week and am happy to say that I beat the GPS each time.  There are a couple of ways that you can beat the GPS like catching green lights or light traffic, but the best way to win is by speeding.  I drive a lot, so as a byproduct I speed a lot.  I don’t mean driving reckless like a maniac but my cruise control is most comfortable at least 8 mph above the posted limit.  I don’t know why it is, but anytime I cross back into my home state I feel a sense of relief like the state troopers here will welcome me home as a favorite son and overlook my GPS racing.  This is stupid for several reasons, mostly because  I really only seem to get tickets in Georgia.

Driving can often be a long mundane tiring task, but beating the GPS can make it totally sweet.

 

Weak

If Only I had a Portable Infrared Sauna 

image via consumertraveler.com

Have you ever heard of a plane crashing because of an iphone?  Maybe missing the runway and landing in a river because of a Kindle?  No?  Funny, me either.  I know that in my house we have computers and cell phones and regular cordless phones and baby monitors all running at the same time with nary a glitch or disruption.  So here is the thing. I don’t think that safety has anything to do with the reason that we have to turn off all electronics before take-off and landing on a plane.  I think the real reason is Sky Mall.  Unless you bring your own material, the seat in front of you really only contains 2 pieces of reading material (assuming you don’t need to read the barf bag or evacuation instructions)  some boring airline magazine that really is just about restaurants in cities you aren’t on your way to, or Sky Mall.

Sky Mall has comandeered my attention more than once below 10,000 feet.  In fact, had I not read about it only a day before Mother’s Day, my wife may have been the proud owner of one of these:

Sit back and just say ahhhhh to in-home relaxation. Portable Infrared Sauna $399.99
image via Sky Mall

Something about flipping through Sky Mall makes me feel like I am severely lacking in iphone accessories, meerkat lawn statues, and pet car-seats.  Has anyone actually ordered anything from Sky Mall?  Perhaps a plush mini staircase for your little dog to climb up to your bed, or maybe packets of the first ever protein supplemented ketchup? I mean surely you are all getting your credit cards out to order one of these:

The Traveler’s Bed Bug Thwarting Sleeping Cocoon. $79.99
image via Sky Mall

You know, thanks to 20/20 and 60 minutes, that one may actually be a good idea.  I am sure there are folks out there that needed a bunion regulator or a generic Snuggie, I just doubt that Sky Mall is their retail destination.  Have you ever met anyone that works for Sky Mall?  Tell me that wouldn’t be the best job ever, getting to decide what makes it into the Christmas edition?  That actually may be my dream job.  I want to be in charge of all of the vendor’s submissions and test products in order to deem them worthy of mile high status.

Until then, I will continue to ask every flight attendant possible if they have ever seen one of these on an actual flight:

This person is able to sleep comfortably in any Seat! Can you say the same? Probably not, unless you have SkyRest. $29.95
image via Sky Mall

It looks like that guy is taking a restful snooze, but my guess would be that he passed out from exhaustion and light headedness after the 20 minutes it took to blow that thing up.  So far zero accounts of seeing one of these in person by any flight attendant I have ever asked.  I don’t know how much longer Sky Mall will be paying the airlines in order to gain a captive audience at the start and end of each flight, but until then I will participate in the flipping ritual and wonder if I need a hot dog toaster or one of those butler statue toilet paper holders.

It is funny to joke about after the fact but when you have to bring your chair to its upright position and lock your tray tables, the prospect of looking through a Sky Mall for the next 15 minutes is totally weak.

 


What is “Cook Until Done” Divided by 30 Seconds?

Sweet

Shortcuts 

Lots of people love quotes.  I see them in your status updates and on the signature lines of your emails.  I guess I am impressed that you are a big fan of Hemingway and Voltaire, or that you got one of those quote a day calendars for Christmas.  I like quotes too, it’s just that putting a quote at the bottom of my email and crediting it to “Billy Madison” is not quite as professional.  I am not saying that I am not well read, but my favorite thing about Dr. Seuss movies is that I can finally be one of those people who say “It wasn’t as good as the book.”  One of my favorite quotes is from a movie called Road Trip.  There are several great lines but the gem is this: “It’s supposed to be a challenge, it’s a shortcut! If it were easy it would just be the way.”

Man, I love shortcuts.  Getting off the beaten path and having a bit of an adventure, all in the name of saving 5 minutes.  I like making my gps have a seizure, and sometimes it has been a while since I have seen my wife’s eyes roll.  Taking an unannounced shortcut is sure to do both.  In a world that is so digitized and matter of fact, short cuts are one of the few treasure hunt type adventures that we can still relish in.  Is there really any greater brag as a man than to make great time because you took a shortcut?

It is true that they don’t always pan out.  I questioned my own sense of adventure (and direction) earlier this month as I lead my in-laws following in the car behind me on a short cut that ended up adding 20 minutes of drive time and included driving through a deluge of blinding rain on empty praying to find a gas station in a sea of farmland.

You have to be willing to work through the occasional setback, but finding a great shortcut and going on an adventure is totally sweet.

Weak

Thought this was Supposed to Save Time 

I have cleaned instant oatmeal out of a microwave at least a half-dozen times.  For some reason when you create an oatmeal volcano in the microwave at work, you can’t just leave it like you would do at home.  It isn’t because I can’t read or follow simple instructions but I like my instant oatmeal a little less al dente than the instructions call for.  Working with unfamiliar equipment that potentially includes industrial strength wattage (or whatever cooks stuff in a microwave), can lead to inconsistent results.

I get that the microwave is a huge time saver and everything but is anyone else out there a little intimidated?  I mean that thing has like 25 buttons on it.  There are a lot of numbers and levels but if I have anything that needs to cook longer than popcorn, I just hit the popcorn button and then the plus 30 seconds button over and over until I get to the desired time.

Speaking of, I made a frozen dinner not too long ago that told me I had to cook it for 6 minutes on medium, remove film, stir, and then put back in for another 4 minutes.  Listen, if I knew you were going to expect me to be Wolfgang Puck, I would have just made Swedish meatballs from scratch. Also, I looked and have no idea how to cook on “medium”  maybe that is just popcorn minus 30 seconds or something.

In case you were ever wondering, if someone in your office cooks fish in the microwave, you have to pop 3 bags of popcorn and throw it away just to get rid of the funk. I am grateful for technology and that I don’t have to stab a stick through it to cook my hot pocket over an open flame but microwave fails are  totally weak.

*If you read my last post you might be thinking ‘this guy writes about popcorn a lot”

(There isn’t really any joke there, I am just saying you might be thinking that.)


There’s a Hole in My Bucket List

Sweet

The Chewy Freeze. 

I have talked about my love of gum before here.  People that know me well are aware of this affinity and for Christmas this year I received a case of a new minty fresh type that I was particularly appreciative of.  I try to pay attention to little things that I come across on a day-to-day basis that are particularly sweet and add a bit of awesome to an otherwise ho-hum day.  This happened on Saturday as I was chewing a piece of gum and grabbed the cup in the console and tossed in a few pieces of ice.  I hadn’t done it in a while but I love chewing gum and ice together.  This was exactly one of those sweet things that I like to earmark and remember.  It wasn’t just any ice either, which is what made it even better.  It was that tiny pellet ice that you remember from concession stands at little league.   I think we can all agree that pellet ice is the best ice ever.  That ice chews up perfectly and combined with gum that gets partially frozen and hard  is totally sweet.

Weak

It May not be a Marathon, But I did Run an Errand Once. 

Last week I read  this great blog post by Maggie.  Since then I have had the “bucket list” concept come up several other times.  A friend of mine is playing The Old Course at St. Andrews today and my grandmother flew in a sail plane a few months ago.  People are climbing mountains and starting non-profits and catching salmon with their bare hands.  My recent triumph was finally getting a few days of old gym clothes out of my trunk and into the laundry, gross I know.  Thinking about all of the amazing experiences this world has to offer sometimes makes me feel small.  I don’t worry though that my bucket list may have a leak or even that no formal list has been made.  I may never take up falconry on the weekends or spend the night in an igloo, but I do have goals.  Goals that are achievable (I think) and goals that would make my life better.  It may not be enough to fill a whole bucket but from a guy trying to be the best husband and dad he can be, here are a few excerpts from my teaspoon list.

1. Get rid of the two dirt spots in the front lawn.

2. Break down all those boxes in the garage and take them to the recycling place.

3. Play an entire game of football on the X Box  just like before  kids.

4. Start the day with something other than profanity when the alarm goes off at 5:30.

5. Learn some kind of basic “in case of emergency” hair styling strategy for my daughters in case my wife isn’t home.

6.  Try out that taco truck everyone keeps talking about.

7. Remember to buy stamps and get the trash out to the curb on time.

8. Figure out some kind of alternative energy solution fueled by dryer lint and dropped goldfish.

9. Hit all green lights.

10. Remember (just once) to bring those re-usable grocery bags to the store.

I have done some pretty cool stuff and I am sure that there will be more cool stuff to come.  I won’t feel empty if I don’t drive a Formula One car or see the march of the penguins in person.  I am happy for you folks that are out their building a violin from a tree in your backyard, and nursing an injured koala back to health with goat’s milk from your own goat.  For me though, calling a bunch of crap I will probably never do “my bucket list” is totally weak.


Some Like it Cold

Sweet

Leftovers for Breakfast.  FTW! 

Dear cold Soy saucy broccoli, how I love thee first thing in the morning eating you standing up in front of an open refrigerator without any pants on.  You know, in immediate retrospect, I think that the no pants thing might have been taking it a bit too far.  That being said, when I am concerned that my words haven’t quite hit the comedic tone I was seeking, I find adding something about no pants to the end never hurts.

I don’t want this post to take anything away from traditional breakfast foods and as a southerner, I  hold things like biscuits and grits close to my heart.  While an organized planned out breakfast is a thing of beauty, there are few things that this world has to offer sweeter than eating cold leftovers for breakfast standing in front of the refrigerator.  I guess you could go to the trouble of putting that pizza on a plate and sitting at the table but it is 7:30 in the morning, what am I some kind of weirdo?  When you eat it standing in front of the fridge it is kinda like it didn’t really count.

Last week we had some people over for dinner and my neighbor was kind enough to leave the spinach dip she made.  I thought about texting her first thing the next morning to tell her she had already made my day but didn’t want to sound like some kind of freak.  That cold spinach dip was the best thing I had eaten for breakfast in a long time.  Let it be known that she left crackers as well and I didn’t just eat dip with a spoon like some kind of animal. Cold Spinach dip was a nice start to a non-traditional breakfast weekend.  Sunday morning brought along another favorite but rarer treat.  The candy breakfast.  For the most part on Easter and Christmas morning I can trust that the first food I am eating  is chocolate.  Pretty awesome to proudly have peanut butter cups for breakfast with no fear of being judged, heck, you can even post a picture of your half eaten bunny on the internet and people will think you are some kind of hero.  To be honest though, there is one minor drawback to your breakfast coming wrapped in tiny pieces of foil.  It pretty much insures your metabolism and energy level for the day will be akin to a bottle rocket.  Lots of blast and fury out of the gate but just doesn’t quite last long enough to get the job done.  I couldn’t do it every day but twice a year candy breakfast is pretty sweet.

Weak

lobster pager (weak)

I love restaurants.  I worked in them for years and the whole idea of having servants to cook, clean, and bring me things  for me for about an hour has a certain appeal.  Lately though, I have been rethinking my approach.  You see we have a little one that is at that adorable age that she has decided she is too big for a high chair but she is still very capable of needing stitches at any minute.

We were at the beach last week for some spring break fun and as many do, we washed the sand out of our nooks and crannies and headed out to become slaves to a little pager thing that beeps and lights up to tell us it is our turn at the trough.  For the most part, everything was great but every now and then a dining experience steadily spirals out of control and sucks the joy out of a night quicker than a Cajun with a crawfish.  We had one of those experiences last week.  Having been there myself, I have an incredible amount of empathy for the restaurant business but sometimes you have to take a stand.  It is probably one of the weakest of the weak but last week I had to pull out the big guns and do something that no one wants to do.  I asked to talk to a manager.  Pretty weak.


Nooks and Crannies

Sweet
Much Better
I think we all can agree that few things in life rival spending the day at the beach. Fun, sun, surf, and sand, and sand, and oh look more sand. There is nothing better than that feeling you have after your post beach shower. Your skin is all tight and sun kissed and the sand is finally all washed out of your business. Totally Sweet.

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Weak
The Summer Beard
I have spent a bit of time spring breakin at the beach this week. I have had a great time and am also continuing my journey of self discovery of this person I didn’t used to be. For example I have a naturally darker complexion and have rarely used sunscreen. Now I know that most towels have a soft side and a scratchy side. Yowzers sunburns hurt. I am contemplating growing a summer beard because the thought of scraping my burnt skin with a razor makes my knees wobble. Another reminder that I am getting older and now the father of two girls is my opinion of bikini clad adolescents. If this particular spring break location had a sponsor it would be tube tops and aviator sunglasses. There was a time in my life that this would have been heaven but now all I can think is how that girl’s dad must feel. I guess that is part of growing up and follows suit with the other paradigm shifts in my life. I know that we all have those things that we look back at when we get older and realize they were silly (although, I will stand behind a well tight-rolled Bugle Boy jean) and for today’s teenager it will likely be the sunglasses. I don’t get the whole hipster thing. What is so ironic about looking like and idiot? As you get older the thoughts going through your mind on vacation change and that is kind of weak, but not near as weak as rubbing aloe on your blistered ear lobes. Seriously, sunburned earlobes?? Weak.

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Are We There Yet??

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Weak

This morning I had the pleasurable experience of getting caught in a traffic jam when the interstate I was on was closed due to an accident.  I take these kind of things in stride fairly well but this particular bit of traffic put me in park sitting completely still for 68 minutes.  It was raining and I was in the left lane boxed in by two large trucks.

Lately I have been adhering to all of the health advice out there about staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.  At minute 55 of the traffic standstill I realized some sort of action needed to be taken and I did not have extra pants.  Below is a picture of the emergency urinal I constructed.  Luckily upon completion of the build traffic began to move and I found relief at a nearby service station.  If you are interested in helping me patent this object please let me know.

Getting stuck in traffic is completely weak.


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