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Empire State of Mind

I sat down, buckled my seat belt, exchanged a few text messages with my sister as the flight attendant did her best to usher people in quickly over the intercom.  Then it all came crashing down, similar to Lindsay Lohan’s career after her recent grand theft scandal.  The last two weeks have been crazy.

The day after Nolin’s baptism, I boarded a plane for Norfolk with my parents and Nana for a quick three day business trip. After two days of meetings I made the Wednesday night flight back home just in time to feed Nolin, hang out for a minute and then put him to bed.

Friday morning it was back to the airport bright and early for me.  This time I was heading to New Orleans for a previously planned guys trip.  I met up with several of my old college friends and quickly realized I am not as young as I used to be.  There is nothing about New Orleans that screams nice relaxing weekend.  We never hit up any of the scenic tours that Jenn had suggested and I left New Orleans having a lot of fun, but feeling like a tired old man.

That would have been ok, except for the fact that in about 18 hours I would once again leave for the airport this time for a last minute conference in New York…yeah I have a very understanding wife.

So the plan was get in, get out and get home.  As is typical with most things I do, it didn’t quite go as planned.

As soon as I got on the plane, all everyone was talking about was the next big snow storm that was coming to New York and how it was going to mess up all of the flights.  I just kept thinking thank God that I am flying out at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning. It was later Tuesday when I got the text message that my flight the following day had been canceled…What?!  Its not snowing nor is it very cold out.  I made last minute attempts to try and reschedule flights to no avail.  Looks like I was staying in New York one more night.

Jenn encouraged me to take the opportunity to actually explore around the city versus trying to switch flights getting stuck at the airport with delays and cancellations…again I have a very understanding wife and as usual she was right.

I took the time to walk over to Central Park, 30 Rock (ran into Juliana Hough…literally ran into her), 5th Avenue (apparently I was a baller on a budget), and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  It was nice to actually take the time to be a tourist if I wasn’t going to be able to get home as soon as I had planned.

Finally, Thursday came and I was ready to make my way home after a few conference calls.  This turned out to be a comedy of errors.  It started with a very long and jerky ride through traffic to the airport.  It was a trip of 0 to 30 to 0 and then back to 30 about 5 times every minute. I was starting to feel car sick and figured well it can’t get worse than this. With the New York traffic the ride to the airport took a bit longer than expected, but hey that’s New York…no, it’s actually the shuttle service taking you to the wrong airport.

With an hour and 10 minutes until my flight, I started back across town in the middle of rush hour traffic to the correct airport…seriously how did this happen?!  It was t-minus 30 minutes when I got into the screening line, but after being run over by an aggressive crotchety old woman in a wheelchair, I was able to make it through.  I was out of breath and completely stressed out, but luckily in LaGuardia the flights are always delayed.  So now it was off to my next destination my connecting flight in Baltimore.

Since we were delayed I now had 10 minutes to get off this plane and on the next flight home to Orlando.  I just made it, only to find out that we would now have an unscheduled plane change in Pittsburgh.  That doesn’t ever make you feel comfortable and to top it off the plane was filled with Pittsburgh fans chanting Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers…awesome!

About 45 minutes later we landed in Pittsburgh and changed planes.  Here we were greeted with the news that the passengers going through to Orlando would get to pre-board because of the plane change.  So I was about the 8th person on.  No exit row seat but I got an isle seat.  Then an older man asked if he could sit by me…yeah no problem

The only problem is the six foot five 325 lb man right behind him came and sat in the middle seat.  Really?!  There are at least 15 completely open rows, and several other isle seats and this guy decides to sit right next to me for a two hour flight…once again awesome.  Then the chants started.  This time it was Pittsburgh is going to the Superbowl, here we go.  I just told myself this really can’t get any worse.

Luckily it didn’t.  The guy sitting next to me actually wasn’t too bad, and was even trying to help me strategize on my intense Angry Birds battle.  We landed only 15 minutes late, and as I walked out to the curb the shuttle was waiting for me.  It was 11:40 and and after almost 11 hours I was home.

As soon as I got in the house I walked into Nolin’s bedroom just to let him know I was back…he wasn’t there.  I walked into our bedroom to find Jenn and Nolin fast asleep in our bed.  Jenn had brought Nolin into our room, so I would have a chance to put him to bed when I got back…finally I was home.

Happy Hour

This week has been crazy.  Not good crazy or crazy fun, but one where you just hope that you can close your eyes and wake up when it is over.  It has definitely been a week where I think I should have been able to cut out early for a 5 o’clock happy hour to unwind. 

I spent most of the week in Jacksonville working long days and spending the nights away from Jenn and Nolin.  It has been harder this time to leave Nolin because as he is now 3 months old (a fact that I have a hard time believing), he has become so much fun.  Nolin discovered his laugh and I have to admit it is pretty awesome.

He laughs at pretty much anything including some of the fantastic songs and raps I make up for him.  I am starting to think that I could have a career as a children’s artist…well that may be stretching it a bit because as I said, Nolin laughs at anything so his approval may not be the best gauge for a successful career change. 

Jenn also started back to school this week.  This is the week that she has been dreading since Nolin came into our lives.  I am pleased to say that she has handled the transition like a champ.  It has been easier since Grandma Teresa has been here to take care of Nolin (and Pancake) while we are at work. 

It’s official, my life will now parallel the Everybody Loves Raymond tv series since my in-laws have taken up residency down the street from us.  All kidding aside though, it has been pretty nice for Jenn, Nolin and I to have Teresa so close and we are looking forward to Don coming down shortly.

With all of these changes taking place, I think that we have all been seeking out some way to relax and unwind. For some of my friends that comes at 5:00 on a Thursday night after work (sometimes a Wednesday or even a Tuesday).  For Teresa, I think she enjoys her happy hour at around 8am (no we haven’t driven her to early morning drinking just yet) when she looks into the crib as Nolin is waking up and he just smiles at her.  For Jenn, it is the moment she walks in the door and is home with her mom and Nolin.  For me, it starts about 10 minutes after I walk in the door, and I am greeted by big laughs from my little man.  At that point it really doesn’t matter what headaches or problems the day may have had in store for me because this is the moment that I have been working for all day.

I guess happy hour has taken on a different meaning since my twenties, but it is also pretty nice to now be able to enjoy one every night without the headache the next morning.  I hope these days continue, and that at some point everyone is able to find the times that allow them to relax and smile because as the song goes…It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

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