Monday, October 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Krista and Chris

Hi Guys,

Do me a favor? It'll just take a minute, I promise.

Hold out your left hand in front of your face. Just look at it for a second or two. Now, count the fingers. Yes, the thumb too. Yeah yeah, I know, it's a thumb, not a finger. Just count it, OK? (Do you have to be so obstinant? I mean, really!) Count your fingers. Five of them, right? (Assuming neither of you are really a Simpsons character.) You guys can now count on one hand the number of days until your wedding. How cool is that? After a year of planning. After counting all the fingers on dozens upon dozens of hands, and even a few toes on a few feet, it's now down to one hand. Five fingers, on one hand. Five days.

Now, take a closer look at the ring finger on your left hand. Krista, take off the bling for a sec, and just take a look at your ring finger. It's bare. It's naked. There's probably a faint tan line from your engagement ring, Krista. But Chris, your finger is plain, almost stark looking.

In five more days this finger won't be bare anymore. Ever.

In five days you won't say "This is my fiancee..." anymore. Instead you'll say "This is my husband..." or "This is my wife..." when you are introducing each other to someone. Even though you'll call each other "husband" or "wife" the real meaning behind those titles will always be "This is my best friend."

We are beyond excited for you two, and we can't wait 'til Saturday.


Beej and Todd

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is it Real Me, or Pretend Me?

Lately I’ve been developing a persona I like to refer to as “Pretend Me.” Pretend Me does all the things that “Real Me” only dreams about. For example, Pretend Me wouldn’t think twice about telling off the client that was eating while speaking on a conference call a few weeks ago. Pretend Me would sit at home watching trash on TV, but Real Me has been pulling 12-16 hour workdays.

Today Real Me and Pretend Me got into a fender bender in the parking lot at BJ’s Wholesale Club. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Real Me was pulling into a parking space, and tapped the bumper of a car that was in the space on the left. Pretend Me forced the gear shift into reverse, peeled out and hightailed out of there. Real Me sighed, and put the car into reverse, and listened as the bumper of the Jeep gently unhinged the bumper of the parked car. Pretend Me screeched at Real Me, “What the hell are you doing?? Get out of here?”

Real Me parked the car, and asked an older woman approaching, “Is this your car?” The woman said yes. Real Me apologized profusely for hitting the woman’s car, while Pretend Me got in the woman’s face, pointed her finger millimeters from her nose, and got on her case for having the nerve to park in that lot, or even to come to the store in the first place.

Real Me then wrote down her name, phone and insurance policy number on a slip of paper from a small note pad she keeps in her purse, while Pretend Me scoured the car looking for a scrap of paper on which she could write somebody else’s name, number and insurance card—preferably that of an ex-boyfriend.

Real Me listened to the woman and her middle aged son discuss whether or not to call the police, while Pretend Me hollered something containing the phrase “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.” Then the middle aged son whipped out his cell phone and said “So, what’s the number for the police in this town? Should we just call 911?”

“Don’t call 911, this isn’t an emergency,” Real Me sprung out of the car. Pretend Me grabbed the man’s cell phone, threw it across the parking lot with all of her might and said “Are you fucking crazy? You’re going to call 911 because the bumper is hanging down a few inches? Don't be a dumbass!” Then she took the item she planned on returning to the store and said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes, I just need to return this. I’ll deal with this when I’m done,” while Real Me stood in the parking lot for about an hour and made small talk with the woman and her middle aged son while we waited for the cop to arrive.

The cop arrived, and we filed the report. He examined the damage to her vehicle, then Real Me and Pretend Me reached out to the woman’s dangling bumper and ever so gently popped it back into place. We dusted our hands off on our pant legs, then went about returning a defective cordless phone to the store.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Domo Arigatoo, Mr. Toddboto

Life has been insane lately. I have been very neglectful of the blog. I've been working my crazy little head off lately, and am barely home. And when I am home, it's just to eat something, shower, sleep a bit, and then go right back to work.

I've been warned about the busy season at work, and it has hit with a vengeance. Lately I've been leaving for work before the sun is fully risen, and have been leaving well after it's set again. I am chained to my computer, barely leaving it long enough to retrieve a print out, or use the ladies room, or even to get a bite to eat. I understand it will continue at this pace until December.

Heaven help me.

But it's all good. I like what I do, probably for the first time in my career. I am having fun with it, and really it could be heaps worse. I could still be working for a past employer that I have come to refer to as the spawn of the devil. Instead I am working with some really cool people who stop what they are doing several times a day to exercise in the common area outside of our desks, and have roped me in to exercise with them. Yes, we have been dropping F-bombs to the point where we're considering installing a swear barrel instead of a swear jar. But at least we stop to lob a few nerf balls at each other to burn off some stress as well.

Todd, of course, has been the ridiculously supportive husband as I hack my way through my insane work schedule. He calls me at work to make me laugh, sends me funny little emails, and then he drew a picture for me last week so that I would see it when I was walking into the garage to flop into my car and switch on the auto-pilot that would take me to work. (Auto pilot=the muscle memory that steers the car to my place of employment, so that my brain will entirely disengage and I will arrive at work with no recollection of having driven there.)

This picture has had me laughing for days now.

We have a little magna-doodle thingy hanging on the door that leads out to the garage. This little $4 gadget from Target has provided us with endless entertainment for months now. We leave little notes and little pictures on it for each other to see every single day of the week. I haven't had the heart to erase this one yet, because it's been cracking me up every time I look at it.
Domo arigatoo, Mr. Toddboto. It's little things like this that make me so happy that I married you.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Breaking out of jail... (a Todd post)

It's been 6 months that we have been living in the new house. In the last 13 years (since I left Vermont) I have never felt as "at home" as I do now. Unfortunately, I love where we live so much, that I really don't want to be anywhere else. I don't want to be at work, in Florida, in Tahiti, or on the boat. The only place I want to be is home.

As usual, the things that attract me to the house are the projects to be done. I have doors to install, wood to stack, fires to build, pasta to make, and a woodworking shop to complete. I want to paint the basement, renovate bathrooms, and remodel the master bedroom.

All I want is a couple of months to spend at home (and an unlimited bank account).... is that so much to ask? :)

Worst of all I think, is the woodshop. I have had an interrest in furniture making for as long as I can remember. If you were to ask people that know me, they would probably be surprised by that. None the less, it is true.

The reason that they would be surprised is that, until now, I haven't ever really mentioned it. Basically, this interest is one that I have kept bottled up for years. My personality is such that once I get into something, I get focused on it and want to learn everything I can. Woodworking requires a lot of specialized tools and most importantly a lot of space. Also, to be any good at it, you need to "apprentice" to someone that is a master. I have known for a long time that I didn't have the resources to pursue this art. So, I have intentionally avoided discussing it (and even researching it) for fear of being severely frustrated.

That has all changed.

Now I have a woodshop.

I also have a master furniture maker that is giving me lessons, and with each visit to the tool store I get a little closer to having a complete shop.

I am having more fun with this than I have had with anything I have done in my recent memory. The skill, the art, and the whole process from design to end-product appeals to my senses. I love the smell of freshly cut cedar, and I enjoy the feel of maple and walnut after it's been planed, joined, and sanded.

In my job as a technology consultant, there is no permanancy. Regardless of how well designed a system is, it will be obsolete in a few years and it will be torn out. That has been my single biggest complaint about my job, nothing I create will even survive my employment with the company.
When I was a young man, my parents had a fireplace built in their house. I quietly watched the mason build that beautiful fireplace brick-by-brick. It may seem silly, but that had a huge impact on my life. I remember thinking that his work would stand long after he had passed. I remember thinking that even if the house burned, it was likely that his fireplace would stand. I have been looking for that for most of my life. If I become good at this craft, I too can create functional art that others may admire years after I have gone.

The other cool thing is that furniture travels. I think about that when I walk through "antique" stores. The interesting thing about a $50,000 antique table is that it was likely created by someone just like me, in a shop just like mine. It may have been sold, passed down, moved across country, and then found at an estate sale. By the time it ends up in that store it may be 110 years old, have hosted thousands of family dinners for hundreds of people, and be 4,000 miles from the place where it was created. In fact, the shop in which it was built may have been leveled to build an auxiliary parking structure... but the craftsman who created it (although anonymous) is still appreciated.

The only problem is that right now, I am stuck in my office. With a bunch of techie people. Doing techie things. I can't focus, and I don't want to.

I want to be in my shop.