Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Then of all the cools things, Angie planned all the activities. We planned six "events" for the girls to do that we would time (putting a golf ball, soccer kick, volleyball shot, dress up, wheelbarrow race, and some wacky race involving a spray bottle and water. The girls were split up into two teams and did all of the events as quickly as they could. Then, the team in the lead got a head start toward a scavenger hunt. They had to find trash, green things and stuff around the park. Lastly, they had to make up a poem for Marissa.
The winning team won "I won" license plate necklaces and the team won a toilet seat...yes, a toilet seat - which is proudly displayed around Marissa's neck. The backup plan (it looked like rain most of the day) was a scavenger hunt at Target. Either I missed where that became popular or we live a low rent neighborhood, but it seems that scavenger hunts at large department stores are the fun, cheap way to party with the kids now.
Marissa opened presents, then the girls dances some weird circle dance. Not sure what that was all about, but it looked fun, so I joined in. That made the girls laugh, so it was worth it. I like being the goofy one and I know the kids like it. Dylan and his friends helped with the activities. They were bored out of their skulls even with all of those girls around. I guess macking on your sister's friends isn't cool at 13. A couple of more years, I bet that'll change in a big way.
Other than the fact that we had a cold front come through and made it very cold and windy, everyone had a great time. I don't know how we'll top it. Oh, wait, yes I do. Marissa and I leave for a weekend in NY in less than two weeks.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
First is work. For the last 4 weeks, I've been traveling back and forth to our Support Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. In fact, of the last 4 weeks, I've spent 16 nights in a hotel in Raleigh. However, no one at the hotel actually knows me because I am typically out early and in late, with 12-hour days not being uncommon. In fact, on Monday of this week I worked from 7am to about 11pm in preparation for an audit (which was the reason I was spending so much time out there).
Unfortunately, even when I've been home, I haven't really been home because if school. During this period of travel - which usually consisted of flying into Raleigh on Sunday afternoon and home on Wednesday afternoon - I was finishing up a semester in which I went to school full time. That means that I would fly home on Wednesday afternoon and instead of going home, I'd go to class. Then, I'd have class Thursday night, Friday night, eight hours on Saturday and then four more hours on Sunday afternoon, after which I'd go to the airport to start the cycle all over.
That being said - this period has abruptly come to an end. The audit for work successfully completed on Wednesday evening. We passed, and as it was my project, I am receiving the accolades of a job well done. Additionally, school ended last night with what I believe to be a successful final. That means, a successful quarter at work and a successful semester at school.
Now - with some time at home, I can reconnect with Angie and the kids. Unfortunately, life doesn't stop because I need a break. Volleyball games, performances, group, and birthday parties are all demanding my time this weekend. I just can't wait until I get a Saturday to myself, where no one is making any demands of me. I can catch up on a movie or two, and some seriously needed downtime.
Angie calls is unplugging. I call it recharging, and I'm in serious need of some. Maybe next weekend, after yet another trip to Raleigh.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen in the news the problems going on at American Airlines this week. They've been cancelling scores of flights while they redo maintenance and inspections to their McDonnell-Douglas (MD80) fleet. Unfortunately, three of those cancellations were for flights on which I was scheduled. I was supposed to be flying home from Raleigh, NC on Wednesday afternoon, but received a call late Tuesday letting me know that my flight was cancelled. After scrambling to get through to an agent (American's customer service lines were overwhelmed and I kept getting "all circuits are busy" messages), I was scheduled for the next afternoon. However, on Thursday morning, I was awoken by American Airlines letting me know that my flight had been cancelled. However, at this time, they had me booked on yet another flight, for Friday morning. That didn't last long, however, and I was again notified of a cancellation. Again, I was rescheduled on another flight for Friday afternoon.
I've felt bad for each of the Customer Service agents that I've worked with on this. They are clearly overwhelmed and dealing with this the best they can. It isn't their fault that the management of their company is inept. Remember, American had 18 months to complete these modifications, but did so in a manner that didn't pass inspection. American blames the FAA for "stepping up their standards" around these inspections in reaction to recent Congressional pressure stemming from two separate whistle blower incidents in the last several weeks. Can you believe that??? American blaming the FAA for being more stringent in their inspections?!?!
That makes me a little concerned that these financially strapped airlines are cutting corners with safety to save a little here and save a little there. Clearly, they've reduced their employee numbers by too much (it comes across in the crappy service that is more often the norm), but are they now cutting too deep in maintenance? I hope not.
You may ask why I haven't demanded to be placed on another airline. The fact is that I was probably going to have to extend my time here next week, so instead, I used this as my opportunity to get more work done. At the end of the day, these cancellations have not been too inconvenient. Just don't tell American that because I already put in for my $500 voucher as compensation for my trouble.
And, assuming I get home today, I have to turn right back and return on Sunday. At least I get a change of clothes while I'm home.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Or, not there to be a part of the Tooth Fairy. Since she HAD to bring her tooth to school to show her classmates, she didn't want to give it up to the tooth fairy. In fact, she had me lock it up in my safe (next to my gun, some cash and our passports) so the tooth fairy couldn't get at it. But, that means on Monday night/Tuesday morning, I wasn't there to see her wake to the surprise.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Someone once told me that I had no margin in my life. In fact, he's told me this regularly over the last several years. What he means is that there is no room in my life for the busyness that can occur, and because of this I am not well suited to handle it in the proper way. For example, if I don't build some down time for Angie and I to just talk, than our relationship will suffer because everyday life will encroach on us. Another good example is with finances. If we live hand to mouth and don't save a little (build margin) then even a small setback and have serious negative consequences.
The title of this blog was uttered by Cassie when I interrupted her nightly prayers with a call to her to say goodnight (I'm on the road), but it serves as a reminder to me. I need to "pause" every so often and allow God to build margin in my life. To allow me to weather the storms of life that are always threatening to get in the way with my relationships (by building margin with Angie or my family and friends by spending time with them and loving them), with my job (by spending time cultivating relationships or taking the time to pat someone on the back), with my health (by taking the time to eat right, exercise and rest), with my sanity (by taking the time to do something I enjoy), or with my relationship to God (by slowing down and spending some quality time alone with Him).
So, I'll be asking the Lord if it is OK to pause every now and again. In fact, just stopping to ask the question is probably a good way to start.