We have now spent 31,556,926 seconds together (give or take a few thousand at the time of writing you this). We shared seconds I wish could have lasted forever and seconds I wish I could give back to you that will remain with me forever. In the same year I saw my son walk his first steps and my marriage walk its last. We have shared deep sadness, betrayal, shock, anger, hate, frustration, helplessness, joy, exhaustion, success, failure, love, heartaches, and headaches.
More than half way through the year I knew you were starting to consume me. I couldn’t absorb all that was being asked of me and that I was asking of myself. I was like a sponge who had taken in all it could which didn’t have room to absorb anything else. I knew that I was taking on more than I should and it was affecting myself and those around me. I started to tell others I was seeing things were broken and my desire to fix them. Fortunately I had enough foresight to realize part of what was happening but I had no idea how much foresight I lacked which I eventually gained. The important thing I take away from 2008 is I now understand what happens to a sponge which has nothing left to absorb is squeezed. It drains itself of everything the pressure demands which leaves it void of what it used to have. However, the sponge is then able to absorb better things. In life be careful how much you absorb but also be careful how much you let go of something you have committed to keeping.
You taught me a lot about myself, probably more than any other year I have come to know. You have changed me in ways I didn’t think possible. Entering 2008 I was on a track to something I thought I wanted but it took a freight train on that track to hit me to realize it is something no longer of importance to me. My nephew Evan’s favorite toy is Thomas the Tank and I find it so interesting every time I play with him that he creates a disaster in order for Thomas to come and save the day. Evan yells “HELP CHOO CHOO… HELP!” and along comes Thomas to assist. My help isn’t coming from a train but rather from others who have helped push me up the hill saying “I think you can, I think you can”. To those who have helped push me up the biggest obstacle of my life, words can’t express how grateful I am. Freight trains are tough to stop and even after they hit you, they will drag you quite a distance if you don’t find a way to stop it. I tried to stop it several times after it hit me before realizing the train didn’t have brakes of its own so the best thing I could do was direct it onto another track I was not on but I truly hope in doing so it doesn’t hit anyone else in its path.
Do whatever it takes to keep your family happy and since that isn’t always possible, remember to find a way to keep yourself happy. Just be careful to make sure your hapiness isn’t at the expense of others. I’m sorry 2008, I won’t miss you but I’m also not sorry for meeting you which is an odd thing for me to say. 2009 you had better be good to me because I deserve so much better than 2008.
My parent’s neighborhood
My mom shoveling snow for the second time before I got there
My parents backyard
Evan Eating a Cookie
If I haven’t said it a million times before, I love California. I was talking to my mom yesterday who said it was snowing like crazy in Portland and that my flight later in the day may not make it. I was surprised to hear things were so cold up north because my neighbor across the street was washing his truck in a short sleeve shirt. My flight was scheduled to leave Oakland at 4:40pm but at around 1pm I learned via text message that the flight was canceled. I tried to call Horizon Airlines after getting the text message to get another flight but upon calling they basically said “hey it is snowing like craheazy in the Pacific Northwest and we are slammed with calls so we can’t take any more so call back later…bye”. After 20 minutes of trying to talk with someone they finally let people sit on the phone lines and my wait time was 19 minutes. I got another flight which was scheduled to leave at 7pm so I took the dogs to the kennel, finished packing some last minute things, and headed to the airport.
If you haven’t traveled with a toddler by yourself yet let me just say you haven’t lived. I lugged two huge suitcases, a backpack, and Tyler but don’t worry everyone I am power lifter so it was nothing for such a brute of a man like me. I got all checked in and after going through security I have decided the terrorists have won. Seriously, I had to take my laptop and video camera out of my backpack, take my shoes and Tyler’s shoes off, my belt off, and then when I got through they had to test the milk I brought for Tyler while I was getting us dressed again.
So after getting through security I decided I deserved a Starbucks and let me tell you the coffee never tasted so good. Since I got to the airport early I went to the other end of the terminal which was completely vacant so Tyler could run all over the place without bothering anyone. You would have thought Tyler was Forrest Gump Jr. the way he was running around the airport. About an hour into Tyler running around at the end of the terminal I got text messaged by Alaska Airlines that the flight was delayed another hour. We went over to the gate to hang out which lasted about 5 minutes or less of sitting. He played peekaboo with the woman behind us for a few minutes before deciding he wanted to run around again. I talked him into going to Starbucks yet again and got another coffee. When you are entertaining a toddler in an airport a guy needs his coffee and there really wasn’t more I could do to keep myself entertained. After I got my second coffee (life is good) I showed him the horizontal escalators that connect the two terminals. Since it was about 9pm at that point nobody was riding the escalators so I took him on it which he loved. I swear we took those escalators 5 times each way before we needed to get back over to the gate.
The escalators were great entertainment and even I was having fun drinking coffee and chilling on the escalator watching the planes. About the time we got back over to the gate we were told the plane we were waiting for just left Portland so we were going to be delayed another hour and twenty minutes. That meant more walking around the airport with Tyler so by the time the plane came in and they called for families traveling with young children I marched right to the front of the line let me tell you. I talked with a couple with a young daughter from Portland until we were ready to board the plane. How great would it be to be able to go to the front of every line any time you had your young child with you? Seriously when you are traveling with kids it is like parting the Red Sea of people. Let me tell you it is like you are traveling with a rock star getting into aclub ahead of everyone else.
We boarded the plane and the flight attendant was nice enough to move the person next to us so Tyler could have a seat to himself. I luckily had half a bottle of milk left for him so as we were taking off I gave him a bottle to help his ears and before we hit 30,000 feet he was asleep and stayed asleep the entire way. Horizon Airlines is great because they give out Jones Soda, Northwest microbrews and wine, and unlike every other airline out there they don’t charge you a dime for it. So anyone that knows me knows that I chose the microbrew which was Snow Cap ale from Pyramid Brewing that I loved. In fact every time the flight attendants came down the aisle they would fill your glass so not eating that night I was loving life after walking behind a toddler in an airport for 4 hours.
My dad had to chain up his truck to pick me up but we made it into my parent’s house at 1am and Tyler was such a trooper. Between Tyler and Alaska/Horizon Airlines, I can’t thank everyone enough for making the trip up to Portland as painless as possible considering the weather conditions. We laid Tyler down in a crib at 1:30am and he literally just passed out as soon as we put him in. It is snowing like crazy still here today so more videos and posts to come. :)
I used to work with Lee back in Portland and every year he would leave a crazy happy birthday song on your voicemail. This year is no exception. :)
Happy Birthday From Lee