Monday, April 30, 2012

House update

We went to see the house yesterday and it is coming along well. Below are the new pictures:

Entering the front door into the living room

The kichen

The family room

Bathroom tile

Master bathroom

Back of the house

Friday, April 27, 2012

Too Into Sports?

*Some of you might be surprised that people think that I really like sports. It has been a passion of mine since I was a kid, which is somewhat strange since neither of my parents are what you would consider sports crazy. I blame the obsession on a couple of factors. 1) My parents didn't want me to play violent video games (ex. Mortal Kombat), so instead I bought and played games like Madden and NBA Live. 2) I grew up in Mississippi, which is a state that tends to more heavily weigh athletic success as opposed to academic success. I am sure there are others reasons, but regardless of how it happened it has been a defining characteristic of mine. I love watching, analyzing, debating and generally thinking about basketball, football and baseball.

*And by some I mean none.

Now is this a problem? Should I take it as a criticism when someone offers their critique that I am "too into sports?" Even if I wanted to (which I don't) change my interest in sports I am not sure it is possible. I have built too much around my life around this characteristic. Many close friends have been become close friends because we both share a mutual interest in watching games between players we have never met. Do you know how many Sundays I've watched the mediocre at best Dolphins play with a friend that ended up being a groomsman in my wedding? Or how many times the best man in my wedding has told the story about me elbowing him in the face during a basketball drill?

There are certainly negatives about being "too into sports." The highs are extra high (think Austin Rivers shot against UNC) and the lows are beyond depressing. Normally I like to think of myself as rational, calm individual, but when it comes to sporting events there is a reason I normally like to watch the big games alone. Also, these sporting events can come into conflict with normal life plans. M knows that March is not the month to plan anything, and that if we go to a place like the arboretum on a Sunday then I probably will be checking my phone for fantasy football updates. I can certainly be selfish and unreasonable when I want to watch certain games.

Still I don't think the negatives that come from following sports have negatively affected my life. I might have to make certain adjustments in day to day activities, but last I check I have a wife I love, a job I enjoy and friends that I can trust. Most days I am genuinely happy and content with how things are going.

I don't mind the negatives when you weigh them against the positives that come from being too into sports. It has given the ability to make conversation with almost any person who follows sports on even a casual basis. This has proven to be very valuable in small take situations like sorority formals (in the past of course), double dates or basically any time I need to talk to some random guy. But beyond that I have made a lot of friends that share the same language as me when we talk about sports. I can make a detailed, sarcastic, very narrow comment over email or text that is immediately understood and communicated back in appropriate manner. This might not make any sense, and probably would make less sense if you saw some of the conversations we've had over seemingly random players or events.

Also, sports have proven to be one of those things in life that hasn't soured in old age. Watching a game still provides that child-like joy of not knowing what will happen in a game (a 17 point underdog winning the MAC title) or a single moment (Doug Penno's shot against Akron). Watching those moments or a team like the 2010 Duke basketball team meet their absolute 100% most optimistic projection make all the 2nd round picks wasted on QBs and trades like the Santana for Gomez for Hardy for Hoey worth it. I enjoy watching sports and until the negatives outweigh the positives then I will continue to follow them with a passion that I wish other people would show in what interests them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kansas City 2012

I love Kansas City. Everything about the city seems to be perfectly suited for a great weekend with the guys. World class BBQ - check with places like Oklahoma Joe's, Woodyards, Jack Stack, etc. One of the best and most underrated baseball stadiums - check with Kauffman Stadium. A great downtown with plenty of places to drink, dance and enjoy hanging out with friends - check with the Power & Light District. I get asked the question "why do you go to Kansas City so much" often and my response almost always includes the description that while Kansas City doesn't do everything, what it does it does extremely well. The city focus on a few key areas that I happen to really enjoy, and that is the reason I keep coming back.

This trip was another success. I've been to KC five times in four years. Assuming there is no financial or personal crisis next year then it will be six times in five years next year. This trip had a slight variation on our normal trips because we bought tickets to see Jimmy Buffett at the Sprint Center. It was my first time inside the Spring Center and also seeing Jimmy Buffett outside Kansas City. Much like Kansas City has become a tradition I've also had yearly trips (4 times) to Alpine Valley, Wisconsin to see Jimmy Buffett. If you can't tell I am sometimes I a creature of habit when I find something I like to do.

The most exciting thing about the Buffett concert was what happened before the official concert even started. No more than five minutes after we had all picked up our first margarita at the Power & Light District, Jimmy Buffett gave a surprise 10 song set less than a 100 feet from where we were standing. We were very fortunate because during all my Jimmy Buffett concerts I had never been even remotely that close to him before. The concert lived up to my expectations and started the night off well.

It was great meeting up with now distant friends (two from Minneapolis, one from Iowa and one from Chicago) and sharing a few drinks. It is great having these long-term friends, where it takes zero time to get back to how things used to be. It might seem strange to others that Kansas City is the place we want to visit, but if anyone reading this blog ever spent an hour there with us they would understand.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Choices - Dr. Stearns Retirement Party

Last Saturday M and I had the pleasure of attending my former Marketing professor's retirement party back at Miami University. This party was noteworthy for a few reasons. 

1) The Miami hockey coach and his assistant sat next to us during the dinner/speech portion of the evening. This allowed me to talk to one of the best college hockey coaches in the nation. For a hockey novice like me it was a pretty good opportunity to learn more about the sport. Below is a picture of Coach Blasi and I:

2) Being back at Miami is fun. The energy level on a college campus is something that you don't always get in the "real world." Also, the real world doesn't have Bagel & Deli.

3) Dr. Stearns gave a speech thanking everyone for attending the party (including a call-out to M and I) and one part of really stuck with me. He talked about how if he had a chance to make every decision over again he would do the exact same thing. He would want to work at Miami with the same coworkers and students. He would have the same friends, follow the same sports and choose the same person to marry. It was hard to hear that speech and not be inspired. 

The speech and the time I've spent traveling has given me a chance to review the big decision of moving from Minneapolis to Columbus for a new job. Did I make the right decision? Or as a lot of people have asked - how do you like your job? The answer is that yes, I am very happy with my decision right now. It can be difficult being new with the job, but overall I am very pleased with the work and my coworkers. One thing that has been especially rewarding with my job is the level of travel that it requires. I've been to New York, Miami, Chicago and Dallas for a total of 25 Victoria's Secret/PINK stores since I started in December. Considering there are over 900 Victoria's Secret stores it means that I still have a long way to go.

Anyway, I have a lot more to write later about Kansas City (our 4th trip was a success) and of course the house. I just wanted to give a brief update on my weekend in Oxford and how that related to my new job. Hopefully after 30+ years I will give a similar speech as Dr. Stearns. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

All the world's a stage

"At the end of the day I realize once we make certain decisions there is no going back and the luxury of being "bored" or "lazy" will be gone. I am happy with what we (don't) have. But it is still a lot of fun to play the part."

This was a text I received from one of my good college friends that is possibly the most insightful and well written texts I've ever received. Just reading it again it is impressive to think of the about of content squeezed into only a few words. It completely describes a situation, feeling and emotion into the big life decisions that seem to happen year after year in your mid to late 20s. One year you are getting engaged, the next year it is marriage, which is then followed by a big location change and also buying a house. And of course there is the ultimate life change of having children. After each change there is no going back and in most cases the amount of free time you have decreases.

The best one can do is to be happy with what you have and probably more importantly be content with what you don't have. The above quote could have been about anything, but it stemmed from a conversation about renting vs buying. She was congratulating me on taking the next step towards buying a home, and I was assuring her that there were advantages to renting. Her quote stemmed from that discussion and put it so perfectly that I should probably just stop writing now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

House update

We went to see the house today and it is coming along well. The cabinets are in both the kitchen and master bathroom. The big decision we need to make is how we want to organize the family/tv room. Anyway, below are new pictures

The wine rack over the fridge:

The kitchen

Master bath

Looking at the family room and the kitchen from the fire place

The family room with the spot for the fireplace

The view of the fireplace from the 1st floor bedroom

Another of the fireplace and window

Below are the dimensions of the family room (as measured and drawn by me).