They Call Me ‘The Wanderer’

Dallas, Chicago, Champaign, Decatur, Chicago, Tulsa, Dallas. This is where I was for five days last week. Every fall, scientists and engineers in my company scatter and send teams to major universities to recruit the next round of suckers, I mean, product developers. I jest, I jest. To be honest, the University of Illinois team is small. There were only two alumni before I joined the team. As such, they decided that I needed to be trained to interview. And so, I bought a plane ticket to Illinois.

To save on money, we (myself and another scientist) flew into Chicago and drove down to Champaign. This was uneventful as I have driven that drive about 50 times in the time I was working toward my Master’s. We arrived on campus at 11:45, found parking at 11:50 (clearly the stars were aligned), and met our intern candidates for lunch at Noon. After lunch, we checked into our hotel, accomplished some major work (like everyday work-work), then met our full time candidates out for dinner, patiently waited while my cohort pored over the deodorant section in Wal-Mart looking for a brand that doesn’t put aluminum in the formulation. Long story short, there isn’t one. Back to the hotel to assemble gift bags, then off to bed.

Up and out at 7 AM. Intern interviews from 8 to Noon. Had lunch with faculty. One more intern interview after lunch, then met with various faculty for the remainder of the afternoon. I then changed clothes in the bathroom of one of our campus buildings, and afterward set up and presented an “information session” on our company. After THAT, we met up with another scientist who’d flown into town and went out to none other than Papa Del’s pizza place for dinner. Mmmm Papa Dels. Back to the hotel at 11:00 PM and answered emails until midnight.

Up and out at 7 AM. Ate breakfast at a local coffee shop. Interviewed full time candidates in the morning, scarfed down lunch in 15 minutes, finished out the afternoon with more interviews, met up with my parents and Tony at 4:30 PM, drove to Decatur, ate dinner, and went back to settle in at my parents’ house.

Slept in ’til 9 AM, after trying to get out of bed (rather unsuccessfully) twice. We had a FANTASTIC day on Saturday. Mom, Dad and I ate brunch. Rose drove up from St. Louis with Gabriel. (Michael was at home giving a funeral and preparing his sermon for Sunday.) My friend Andrea, her husband Jarrett, and son Evan came over to visit in the afternoon. Evan is almost 3 years old. Gabriel is almost 2 years old. They had a most adorable playdate. We found out early on that the two boys can shake hands with each other. Both with their right hands on the first try, and shook three times. They were pros. But, on second thought, they both watch their daddies shake about a hundred or so hands every Sunday morning. That’s preacher kids for ya. :) We eventually ate dinner then rounded out the evening with a movie. Just a fantastic visit.

Left home at 9 AM. Drove up to Chicago. Got some work done at the airport before I boarded my 3:15 PM flight. Landed in Tulsa, OK. (I had to connect through Tulsa to get a fare equal to what it would have been if I’d have left Friday. That’s the only way it’s okay for me to have personal time when the company pays for my plane ticket.) The Tulsa flight to Dallas was delayed and delayed and delayed and long story short, I ended up renting a car in Tulsa and driving (3 and a half hours) home so that I could get home on Sunday night. Sunday felt like a long day. It didn’t help that I left Decatur at 9 AM and got home at 9:30 PM. I could have realistically driven the entire way from Decatur in that amount of time. ::shrug::

Now I’m back home. Andy held down the fort while I was gone, and Hugo was very happy to see me when I returned. Andy’s off to Houston at the end of this week, and I’m off to Aberdeen again this Sunday. I’ll be gone all next week. Hopefully (HOPEFULLY) after next week I’ll be done traveling for awhile. Well, you know except for the holidays. But for work anyhow. I look forward to that. :)

The Reunion

Andy and I just returned from St. Louis yesterday. My immediate family held our very first family reunion. Mom, Dad, Michael, Rose, Gabriel, Tony, me, and Andy were all in attendance. Mom and Dad flew me and Andy up to St. Louis and reserved hotel rooms for all of us downtown, so that we all had a getaway. Michael, Rose, and Gabriel – who had an ear infection, poor guy – picked us up from the airport and took us back to their house on Friday afternoon. Friday evening, we all went to downtown Alton for dinner at Tony’s. After dinner, we all drove downtown to check into the hotel.

Saturday was packed. We all got up early and went to the St. Louis zoo. My parents have tried, unsuccessfully, to take my nephew, Gabe, to the zoo on three different occasions. This time, success! We spent all morning visiting the various exhibits and didn’t end up leaving until early-mid afternoon. Then, to the pool! We got to lay out in the sun and let Gabe show off his water skills. It was here that he really figured out how to say “Debbie” and “Andy.” Well, it was more like “And-uh” and “Deb-uh”, but up to that point, I’d been referred to as “Ded-oo-bah”, so I was frankly thrilled to be knocked down to two syllables.

Sunday, we went to Tony’s church service and Michael’s church service. Being that it was the first Sunday of the month, we got to take communion twice! A first for many of us. We had lunch at a pizza place, went out to the Science Center in St. Louis that afternoon, ate dinner at Charlie Gitto’s (a favorite) on The Hill, and then crashed hard after dinner.

Now we’re back home. I got to go pick up Hugo from the vet this morning. To say that he was excited to see me was a bit of an understatement. I was one of five different people picking up their dog from boarding at 7:00 this morning. I sat in the waiting room, watching through the little window on the door separating the waiting area from “the back”. Every time a tech would come into view, I could always tell that they didn’t have my dog in tow. They’d be coming up from the back walking with their back straight, holding a leash in one hand, and swinging the other arm. Someone leaned over at one point and said, “Are they bringing your dog?” I said, “No, you’ll know when it’s my dog before he gets out here.” A tech finally came into view behind the door, back arched with two hands on the leash. Arms taught out in front of her, body lunged at an angle to oppose the force on the other end of the leash. “Now THAT’S going to be my dog.” Sure enough. Hugo knocked the swinging door open himself, saw me, and almost knocked the poor girl off her feet as he barreled toward me. It’s really hard to hold back 70 lbs of happy. I can relate. Anyhow, Hugo’s back home snuffling in all the familiar smells from behind the four walls of his crate.

Speaking of Hugo, I’ve uploaded two new albums to the Photos page. One is an update of Hugo’s photo albums with pics from July. I realize it’s been a whole month since then, but we haven’t really been taking pics of him. I’ll have to remedy that this month, because he’s hit another growth spurt. I also put up some pics I took from the Paulson reunion weekend. Oh yeah, and the “About Us” page has been updated to be a little more inclusive. Enjoy!

The Fruits of My Labor

Hmmmm. Trying to find something to watch on T.V. while I write this. So, what’ll it be? Dogs catching frisbees on Animal Planet or a bad movie on Lifetime? Tough choice. Remind me why I pay $50 a month for this staggering array of television options?

Nevermind the T.V., I’ve got PICTURES! Lots of ’em. I’ve been working hard on this site, people, and now you get to reap the benefits. We’ve got more pictures of the wedding, including a new rehearsal dinner album. I put in before and after’s of the apartment down here in Hell… I mean Texas. (That doesn’t speak to how I feel about this state. It’s just that, at 108 degrees, it’s hard to tell the difference between my home and Lucifer’s.) I added pictures to my bridal shower album and the “Getting Ready” album.

Also, Andy and I took a trip up to see my family in the St. Louis area for our nephew, Gabriel’s, baptism. It was awesome to see everyone again. It made me homesick. Strangely it also made me miss the color green. Not that I’ve got anything against the brown palette we’ve been working with down here after the droughts, but I do miss grass that doesn’t break when you walk on it.

Okay, the baptism. Gabriel gets cuter and cuter every time I see him. I’m glad that the rate of “cute” growth slows down with the rate of actual growth in babies, otherwise looking directly at this kid at the age of, say, 8 would cause you to actually melt. In my totally unbiased aunt’s opinion, of course. 😉 We had a great time seeing Michael and Rose’s new home and getting to tour Michael’s new church. It definitely is different to have my brother up in the pulpit leading a worship service. Very cool.

Other than that, I go back to the dreaded Aberdeen next week. Four days this time, instead of the two days I spent on the previous visit. I’m hoping for a drastically better experience this time, and I’m fairly confident that I will get at least some sleep. I guess time will tell!

Meanwhile… go see the pictures!

My Weekend in the Bluegrass State

Andy’s bachelor party was this weekend. So, while he and the boys were living it up in Las Vegas, I took a roadtrip to Kentucky to visit my brothers, Michael and Tony. Of course, my wonderful sister-in-law, Rose, and nephew, Gabriel, were there too! It was awesome to see everybody.

I got to babysit for Gabe one morning while Michael and Rose were at work, so I had an opportunity to dust off the child care skills. Gabe wasn’t sure about me at first, but by the end of the morning he figured out that I could make a bottle and change a diaper. So, in his book, I was OK. But just OK. When I attempted to communicate via baby talk, I got one raised eyebrow.

But by the end of the weekend, I was officially bumped up to A-OK status, which granted me full gurgling, cooing, and smiling rights. Aunt Debbie was mighty pleased.

Of course, I snapped a couple pictures while I was down there. I posted some of the best ones here. Enjoy!

Easter Pictures of Gabriel

Yay!! Michael sent more pictures of the baby. If you need a pick-me-up, look no further!