Saturday, February 28, 2009

Morose. Meloncholic. Insignificant. In a funk.

Today is the last day of February. Two months of this year have passed. What have I done with these two months? I feel like I am on auto pilot again. My life is running me -- I'm not living it. I'm not sure what to do to fix it either. I am moving forward on my work with my coach -- most of my coaching items are not related to work either.

I sit here in my dining room with Lilly sitting on my lap both of us staring at the laptop monitor in the foreground and in the background is the nasty floor to ceiling wall of mirrors. I am staring at the reflection and wondering what he can do to make a change. What can be done to feel like I am in control? Can I be in control? Is it better to feel like you're in control even when you are not, or is it better to realize you are out of control and just go with it -- like a roller coaster?

I wonder if the sense of listlessness is related to all the changes going on right now - or if it is something else. I also seem to have no drive to do anything. I was thinking my lack of drive to do things in my personal life is like an abused child who eats too much: they can't control major things in their lives, so they control the only thing they can -- food. I'm just drifting through the fast current of life: work is moving along quickly, the moves are speeding up to me, life as I know it is changing dramatically -- the only thing I can control is my utter laziness and my choice to do nothing. As I continue to do nothing I am in control -- I am utterly disappointed when I do absolutely nothing too. It's a big slippery slope. I often tell myself it is the miserable winters in Chicago that make me not want to do anything. I think that is a convenient excuse. I do feel so much better in the spring and summer though -- and when I am in the sun and heat in the winter (vacations).

I wish there were easy answers. Hell, I wish there were answers period.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday in the City

I had a very quiet night last night. I returned some swim trunks that were too big (thankfully I am not a Large with Tommy Bahama), then I went home. The rest of my night was spent making a list of things I need to finish up this weekend.

I love my lists. They make me feel so accomplished. I look over my tasks that are crossed off the list and smile. Or, more often than not, I look over my list and realize I have so few items crossed off the list I get mad at myself.

I called it an early night last night too. I got up early today and started crossing things off my list: do the dishes, CHECK; shower/shave, CHECK (yes, I do put simple everyday tasks on my list...it makes me feel accomplished.

I went to the dentist today. I love going to the dentist. It is just such a great feeling when you are done. I don't think I have ever had a dental phobia before, either. My boss is mortified by the dentist. I just don't get that.

There is a new dentist in the office too. I could spend all day chatting with him. He was born in Estonia, family in Pittsburgh and has lived in Chicago for a few years now. We have great political and travel conversations. I am sure that really makes his nervous patients feel better.

Bad news. I had a tiny cavity. How embarrassing. I can't believe it. He took care of it straight away, but still. I haven't had a cavity since I was a young teenager. Gross.

Tonight I have dinner with KS, we are going out for sushi. I've said it before and I will say it again, I love sushi and I would eat it everyday if I could.

On the bus home now, I will mark a few things off my list then head out to see KS. Should be a fun night.

Texas

As with most of my recent blogs, I am sitting on a plane. I am leaving Dallas heading back to Chicago. In 8 nights I have spent one in Chicago.

Texas was great for business. The vendor team down here is really on their game. I was thoroughly impressed. Everyone who knows me, and reads this blog, knows I am not easily impressed.

The first night we went to dinner at Cool River Cafe with some attorneys. The steak was good, the scotch was good and the company was too. I spent most of the night chatting with a born and bred Texan. He explained that not everyone is a George W Bush. He says he is conservative (compared to IL or OR) but liberal for Texas. He demands the right to own a gun, he also demands a womans right to choose. He is opposed to the death penalty for the same reason I am (the state was created by man and man is flawed, so how can the state ever be 100% sure they have the right guy. I would rather keep 1,000 murders in prison than kill 1 innocent man).

I am traveling with the claims guy (peer), the loss control/safety person (reports to me) and an HR person. I know what to expect from my people. Some other folks have different ideas of what is appropriate for work travel. I always wear at least business casual clothes, and I expect my people to do the same. One should never wear anything too revealing. Just isn't right.

This HR person also had dinner with us each night. Both nights she ordered the surf and turf. She also complained about the food. She was our guest and she ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, plus expensive bottled water. If she were gracious she wouldn't have been so dramatic... She would have been more cost conscious... But no, she hated everything.

When I am on the road and I am paying I will order anything I want, but only something I would pay for myself. If my boss denies my expenses I won't be upset. I am not trying to take advantage of my company.

The first night after dinner we decided to go back to the hotel and have a few beers. The folks from the law firm we were with didn't want to go out because they had to give a presentation the next day. Jim and I decide we WANT to go out. We ask an attorney we were with go find is some strip clubs. This task isn't too hard....hell, we were in Texas! The attorney prints a 2 page list of strip clubs for us.

Once I receive the list I decide to ask the 65 year old broad behind the reception desk for recommendations. She circles one "bar". She laughs and says "let's go boys". She decided to drive is to the titty bar. This establishment was called "The Lodge.". It looked like an abercombie and fitch store. It had antler chandeliers, cute boys behind the bar and big titted sluts walking around. The best part: the ATM had a $17.95 service charge.... WTF?

While sitting down a "girl" decided to give me a lap dance. I was not into it. I guess that means I am gay... According to the people I was with... She was rubbing herself all over by slacks. My biggest concern, asking my drycleaner to be sure she gets the glitter, the vanilla perfume and the stench of forgotten dreams off my pants.

We pay for this "treat" and decide to get out of that joint. I ask my new friend about "other" clubs. She directs us to a place called Zippers. Evidently this is where the boys dance.

We cab it over to the club. Not exactly what I was thinking. It was just like any bar on Halsted. The guys were shirtless, the service was bad and the place was packed.

We were there about 20 minutes the had to get to the hotel. Speaking of the hotel, when I checked in I was greeted with a nice hello and a surprise that my room had been upgraded. What a shock. I never get room upgrades... Which is fine by me, I don't spend much time in the room anyway. My travel profile says that I want a high room, with a king bed and extra towels. My "upgraded" room was a Zero Floor room. I don't know what that is. Evidently it is a smaller room, with two queen beds and it is in the basement. When I said I wasn't interested in the upgrade she laughed and said that was the only room left. Ugh. Courtyard Marriotts are not my friend.

We also spent an hour at the 6th Floor Museum, at the Texas School Book Depository. I thought this was great. We stood on the grassy knoll, which is very small, by the way. It is interesting that so many people were supposed to be ganging out there shooting at Kennedy (for you conspiracy buffs).

All in all the trip to Dallas wasn't all that bad. I met some great people, had face time with some of our operations folks that I talk to buy never see, and now I can cross a city off of my list of places never to go back.

So far this year I have flown 12,481 miles. I am in Chicago for 3 weeks straight now, then off to San Diego.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Almost like a Japanese horror film

My flight left 10 minutes early, good thing I was on it this time, and landed 42 minutes early. This is usually good, right. We had to wait in the penalty box for 40 minutes, which isn't that bad, we still would have arrived at the gate on time...

Yeah, you sense it, don't ya? A big but coming.... Air Force One was moving around ORD. Which meant we just say there watching that wide bodied annoyance. We had to wait another 20 minutes because AF1 was between us and the UAL terminal.

All in all it wasn't a bad flight, even with the delays, but shit if I knew Obama would wreak havoc at ORD I might have voted for McCain... Not really, my liberal leanings wouldn't allow that.

Riddle me this people: why the fuck don't they land at MDW, its closer to his house, or Gary? That's close-ish and no one uses that!

Lonely on my pedestal

I am heading back to Chicago. My upgrade did clear. This is another small plane -- and A319.

I have heard three people so far come to the stu and ask to have their seats changed. When the stu says the only way to get a new seat, you'll just have to ask someone to switch seats with you. Which isn't a bad thing, it is actually very common, these folks don't care for it at all. One guy turned to me and asked if I would switch with him. Fuck that, you donkey.

I still love flying in and out of Portland. It is such and easy airport and everyone boards so quickly and smoothly. I had sushi at Rose City Cafe with LMP. It was good to catch up with her. The fish was good this time.

I am in Chicago for about 40 hours this time, the odd to the Big "D" on Tuesday.

No one interesting sitting next to me on this flight.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Murphy, your Law can suck my left nut

So I hurry to my flight. Get yelled at on the PA with a possible lost bag, and get this... We are still on the ground. No pilots. At least the airplane is about 89 degrees.

I am betting the guy next to me that we won't be out before 7pm, he is the optimist. How can those people live with themselves?

At least my Chardon-ale is in my belly now.

I bet we leave here at 725pm. That would be 1:15 before the last flight of the night.

One final note: this donkey one row behind me is making googly eyes. I think I hear a monkey behind me too. If BH were here she'd go check it out.

Here I am again

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I hate to arrive at the airport early. I like to arrive with enough time to zip through security, grab a bottle of water and get on the plane.

Today was a bit extreme even for my tastes. I left the office shortly after 4pm for a 5:44pm departure. I took the train because I completely distrust the Kennedy, especially in rush hour. The train got me into ORD a few minutes before 5pm.

I hurry upstairs to the bag check (I had checked in online already, just needed the bag tag). DENIED! Can't check a bag any less than 45 minutes prior to departure. I had 43 minutes until departure. I had to beg for them to check it. I am pretty sure my bag won't make it, which means I will have to loiter at the airport until the next flight gets in. I bet they won't deliver it as a courtesy because I was late. Ugh.

I then go through priority security. It was packed. I haven't seen so many people in this line ever. 10 minutes to get to the scanner. We run out of bins. Finally get the bins after loads of confusion. Then, you guessed it: my bags along with the bags of one very thin, tall and angry Asian woman. It took 3 grunts, two supervisors and a suit to figure out how to release my bag its radiation prison.

At this point it is 5:22. We leave in 20 minutes. Of course my gate is C27... The absolute farthest hate possible in terminal 1. I hurry (I didn't run, couldn't be THAT guy) to hear them angrily calling my name at the gate. Got on board at 5:31, 3 minutes before the door closes. Ugh.

I didn't get my water. But I will be in Portland at 815pm, barring metal fatigue or pilot error. I can't enjoy loads of bad wine on this flight because I am renting a car and driving home. Ugh.

Hopefully no more flight updates.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Drained. Tired. Procrastinating.

I hate coming back from vacations. I am always so pissed off and exhausted. I never ever want to return to the real world. This usually only happens when I am completely disconnected and out of the office for a longer period. Most of my vacations are only 3-4 days. For my birthday I was gone for 5.5 days, it was bliss. I might write about it here, or I might not. If you want to know the details (and become very jealous) email me. I did contact a couple time share vacation rental places for pricing and rental specs. I just loved the heat and the relaxation of the desert. I don't think EAD and JFB thought I was digging it too much, but I was -- I was so relaxed. It was perfect.

Since I got back to work, I feel that I am just drowning in it. I'm having a hard time getting certain people motivated and getting some major projects moving forward in an timely manner. Sometimes I just feel like I want to ask people "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

I met with my coach yesterday. He is pleased with my "progress" towards my 2009 goals. I of course couldn't disagree more. I'm always beating myself up. Here are a couple of my goals and the progress I've made (in no particular order):

* Study a new language (read a children's book by the end of March 2009) -- picked Spanish (Spain, not Latin) and have studied about 4 hours of lessons. It's pretty much all review, as I took 3 years of Spanish in High School

* Find a new charity to volunteer with. After quitting the Children's Place last June, I have been trying to find a small non-profit that would really benefit from my support. I was hoping to find group that had some glamour to it as well -- I do want to help needy people, but I'd like to be around like minded, attractive people with good jobs. Not only is it a charity -- it is a social period too. I kept looking for a health care related charity, but am narrowing my search down to a couple of arts charities. I'll still be involved with the Architecture Foundation, but am looking at a small theater group, an outsider art gallery/museum/educational institution, and a couple of others that are along the same vein, but I've just done less research on, so I can't provide loads of details.

My coach often comments on how "service" is a big part of my personality. I would never have thought that myself. Charity (NFP) work is important to me. Acting as a resource to friends/family is important as well. Civic mindedness is also very important. Mentoring/guiding colleagues/staff/etc is important too. Who knew?

Perhaps one of the reasons I feel gross now is because my diet has really changed to crap lately and my work out plan has been totally non-existent.