23 February 2010

Our Journey Part One

Almost eighteen years ago I met a tall, handsome man with wild hair! You made me laugh with your easy way, and dazzled me with your intellect, and brought out the best in me. The next winter we started dating. In the spring we took our first trip together. An adventure down to Moab, Utah. We drove in your red jeep with Moose. You brought a friend as backup but that was o.k. by me. We had a great time hiking around, playing in the river, and camping out under the stars. That summer we camped out up in the mountains. That summer you flew home for your sister's wedding. Did we fly back for the holidays that year? I met your folks and was introduced to New England. I remember you quizzing me on which states were in New England. I had a lot to learn about this area! I was happy to meet your family and see the town you grew up in. I also got to meet some of your friends. I still remember going to Steve's house for the first time, being mesmerized by his pellet stove. When you were considering grad school we took that road trip up to Montana near the Canadian border. It was an amazing condo my parents let us have for the week. It was Thanksgiving and I knew it was a big holiday for you so I did a feast for two, turkey included, and had a romantic dinner for two.
We drove out to New England stopping in Wisconsin on the way and visited with my family. Then my Grandpa Jack got us ferry tickets and we hopped the boat with our Volvo and then across Michigan, up into Canada, through Niagara Falls and back down to Massachusetts. I loved visiting the ocean and watching you and your Dad fish with the giant poles! Poor Moose was so afraid of the water, but he was such a good traveling companion!
I remember driving down to Arizona to see your parents early in our relationship. We stayed with them in their little travel trailer. They were so kind to share their space with us. We visited the air museum, a favorite destination to this day, and hiked up the canyons.
Once you finished school we headed off to Utah. We didn't have jobs lined up but after visiting the area we loved the beauty and were hopeful. This was not one of our best times. We had a cute little house that we rented but poor Moose had such a tiny back yard and we went through our first test. Utah didn't last but thankfully we did. Our parents both came out that summer and we had a great time up at Bear Lake.
We headed to Texas Creek next. I bought some property with residuals from my dog bite early in life. We planned to build a house on the hill there. We traveled all around Salida, Cotopaxi, and down to Canyon City looking for the place to call home. It was a beautiful area but jobs were pretty scarce. We did get to see a lot of the beauty in Southern Colorado while we were there. It wasn't long before we headed back North to Denver.
We knew we didn't want to live there so we headed off across the country to Rochester, NY. Your sister was so kind to put us up until we found a place of our own. It was an adventure and very different for me. I liked that we were able to walk everywhere but our tiny 1 bedroom apartment was not the Ritz. I still remember our splurge of Boone and spaghetti dinners. A job offer in Colorado pulled us back pretty quickly, though.
Back to Greeley. We lived in the basement apartment and I worked in IT. You had some interesting jobs then but we were back in the beautiful state of Colorado and we were getting married!
We married in Loveland Colorado on a perfect February day. It was so nice you didn't even need a coat! You had many friends come in the night before the wedding and had a rocking bachelor party. I had a more low key with my family as my relatives had just done the long drive from Wisconsin. Our wedding was just perfect. It went by way too quickly.
We had made the decision to skip a honeymoon and put any gifts and monies toward buying a house. So we went up skiing with your family the days following our wedding. This was a great idea. I got to know your family better and we were able to buy a house that year.
We bought our first house in Denver in 1996. You had gotten a job in Broomfield and the commute from Greeley was so far! Shortly after we moved in I got a job traveling and setting up Intranets. I traveled the Western half of the US for the next year. I saw places like Roswell, Boise, Seattle, Bozeman, SLC, Anchorage, Phoenix, etc. My favorite trips were the ones you could come with me on. My first trip to Las Vegas was so scary. I stayed at the MGM and it took me a half an hour to find my room! So when we went together and stayed at the Excalibur it was wonderful! I also enjoyed our trip to Cheyenne, and Estes Park when we stayed by the lake. Our first anniversary we went to Baby Doe's in Denver and had a fabulous meal. It was wonderful to live so near all of our friends and be so close to work and life was wonderfully simple then!
Fall of that year you were offered a relocation package to New England. Just a few weeks you were off to Mass, and by February we were settled into temporary housing in Mass and looking for a home. We nearly landed outside of Worcester but a last minute snag ended that deal and we landed in New Hampshire.
Within a few weeks we had the idea to start our store. You were working weekends down in Shrewsbury while I worked on our business plan and got financing in order. We also put the land in Texas Creek up for sale. We received an offer at the perfect time and that enabled us to secure financing for the shop. We opened our doors September 1, 1998.
We worked hard those first two years. Trips were short and close by. When we closed the shop to travel to Colorado for Christmas we entrusted our customers to pay us later for the fuel they took. Times were simple then.
As we grew and got employees we achieved a little freedom. Our first big trip was our belated honeymoon taken on our fifth anniversary. A transatlantic cruise featuring the Glen Miller Orchestra. We were by far the youngest on the boat. I remember wobbling up the hallways because the storm we traveled across the ocean with rocked the boat so much! We had a great engine room tour, and had great fun. Sailing away from the volcano at Funchal Madiera was most memorable. We ended our adventure in Barcelona after seeing the Azores, Malaga, and Ibiza (boring during the day). Barcelona was so quick but so much fun! I loved the aquarium and having Sangria on at midnight was the best ever.
The next summer we headed South to Cancun for a couple of weeks. Swimming in the crystal blue waters and visiting Cozumel were quite memorable. It was great to catch up with my folks and Aunt and Uncle there. That was when you discovered that you loved Shakira's music. :-)
Many of our early trips surrounded the store. We went to Salt Lake and down to Moab again, Baltimore, Nashville, Reno, Hilton Head, Anaheim, and Atlanta for the hearth show. I loved when we added side trips on to some of our favorite destinations. Las Vegas was a warm midpoint to meet our friends and family during the long winters at home. Visits to Colorado and Arizona became a staple.
The houseboat trip to Lake Powell was an all time favorite. That water was SO COLD but the day was hot and whole experience was perfection! I can't wait to get back out to do that again!
The annual trips to Newport were also a real treat! I do love that town and catching up with the family is priceless.
Taking a trip up to Montreal was a real treat. I had never visited a bilingual city! Catching up with our suppliers in Ontario on the lake was a blast. It was great to get to know Stew and Paul.
Taking the Caribbean cruise was a delight! Belize was an absolute favorite, but I also enjoyed Roatan, and Hondoras. Cave tubing was such an experience!
The year we flew into Munich and drove over to Wels for the World Pellet Conference was a whole new experience. Stopping in Dingolfing to tour the BMW facility will always be the factory tour to beat! I loved this part of the world even though we don't speak the language. It was just comfortable.
I really appreciate that we were able to travel with your folks. Our trip to Florida, and the Bahamas was a great time to spend with them. The German cottage we stayed at was impeccable. The keys were fabulous!
I also liked the short local trips that we have taken. Vermont is a great getaway, camping at Pillsbury, and visits to Ogunquit Maine, and down to the Cape are adventures I look forward to and enjoy immensely.
We found our dream home in Temple. It was a trick because not only were we buying the house before we sold the old one we were buying it on New Year's Eve and then leaving to Mexico for two weeks after only owning the house for nine days. My Dad retired and we all traveled down to Mazatlan to help him celebrate. The big freeze occurred during this trip but gladly not until the very end so we were able to enjoy our time with family.
We planned our next trip to Europe. Salzburg was high on my list. We would stay there and take the train to Wels for the show. Such a great time riding around up by the Eagle's nest, and walking around the HohenSalzburg Fort. Such beautiful countryside!
I loved our preseason trip out to Block Island. It was like having the amusement park to yourself! The bike ride was incredible, and the Boston Creme Pie ice cream is still the best! Such a fun ride to and from, too!
Hawaii was a pleasant surprise. It definitely has paradise potential. I loved pulling off and snorkeling or just riding along listening to KAPA fm in our little HHR. The plane trip around the island was amazing! The whole trip was a wow!
So many places we have traveled! We should really do a timeline!
How about the Nova Scotia trip? We planned that months in advance. Such an adventure driving all the way up to Cape Breton! Halifax and the museum were among my favorites! Taking the CAT out there was half of the adventure. Going back up that way on a fall cruise was a great way to see the highlights again as well as Bar Harbor! Cadillac Mountain was so cool!
New York City is not a place I would live but I have enjoyed our many visits there. The Fancy Food Show was a great time. I also loved catching up with your sisters and niece there. It is so nice that we can stay in CT for the night then take the train in.
Our anniversary trip to Zion is one of my favorite memories. The little cottage, the great hikes and the horseback ride make that a winner! Stopping at our favorite haunts in Vegas on the way back was fun, too!
I do love visiting places when they are not busy. Martha's Vineyard last year was an adventure. You can imagine what it is like on a hot summer day, but appreciate the peace and beauty of the area that first made it so appealing.
One big trip of a lifetime was checked off our list this last summer when we flew to England and then on to Ireland. Such a varied and fun holiday. Picadilly Circus, the Tower of London, Dublin Castle (church brought to you by Bailey's ;-), Dungarvin, and the Gold Coast. Kilkenny was a gem. So beautiful and so much fun!
The last seventeen years have flown by and have been made better because you have been a part of my life! <3Happy 14th Anniversary to my love!<3 Our adventure has just begun :-)

19 February 2010

Hotly Cold and Coolly Hot

After all our employees had done to step up after the firing of the Ex-Psycho-employee we decided to take everyone on our annual ski trip after all. We came across a great deal to stay up in Bartlett and got free ski passes along with our stay. The only trick was that we had to stay two nights. So we did one night with our employees, then Art and I invited up our friends to stay the second night. Art got to "Ski FREE" on his birthday at wildcat the second day so it was a great bargain! The best part was that I had a shopping buddy! In past years I would do puzzles, read, watch movies, and shop the outlets to entertain myself while the guys were skiing. This year it was quite nice to have a friend along. We shopped a little, stopped for lunch and a beverage, then shopped a little more! Their kids loved the pool at the resort, too. I enjoyed the sauna. The condo had two bedrooms, a loft with four beds, a living room dining room, and kitchen. Very roomy! So sad they pulled the wood stove out of there... probably a lawsuit killed that one year's ago. One of our employee's brought his acoustic guitar and some song sheets. We sang acoustic karaoke or more group singing as we knew the words. It was good to get away from work and just hang out with the guys.
After one day at home I headed South for my next adventure. Surprising my Mom for her 60th birthday. Note that she and Art (and nephew Jack) have the same birthday. Since we were up skiing I did not even call her on her actual birthday. They were celebrating her's and Jack's birthday before heading back to Mexico for the winter so I thought she would be distracted. I also didn't want to blow my surprise! So I flew into Mazatlan one half hour before she arrived. So when she got off the plane I was the first person she saw! She was shocked, she cried, then started wagging her finger in my face saying how mad she was that I didn't even call for her birthday! Too funny!
To add to the fun my Aunt and Uncle moved down to Mazatlan a couple of years ago.This was the first time I was down there while they were because they had only been partially retired and not spent most of the winter down there before. My cousin her husband and daughter were also there visiting. It was wonderful catching up with everyone! We went to the Tequila factory, boogie boarded at the beach, and took a great sail around on the Patricia Belle, a local schooner.
We also had a birthday/Valentine's party. Art stayed home and held down the fort. I do wish he would have come with but it was nice to know that the animals were fine and the house was being watched during the coldest month!

It was nice to see all of my parents neighbors down there. Sandra was so helpful when my parents moved down there, and she is an incredible cook!
She made Chile rellenos con camarones for me. Heavenly! I also get a kick out of how most of us understand Spanish enough to know what the other is saying and they understand enough English to know what we are saying but we don't speak using that much Spanish and they don't speak using that much English. Must be hilarious to listen too! Travel season has begun well!

Brookline is moving along well. The wiring has all been replaced on the "shop" side of the building. They have the office/break room and bathroom walls up and should be ready to sheetrock this coming week.
One of our guys (goes by the name of 'Not Me') opened a virus on our computer at the store. This is a repeated offense and why I keep the important software on the other computers there! However, since we are running an old version of XP there is no chance we can find another machine to match... So I spent an hour and a half on an online chat at Apple, then Art and I spent the afternoon down at the Apple store yesterday. It is going to cost less to get an Apple server, and three new Apple computers (using our monitors) than it would be to update the three PC's we use now. Our guys also hate our Point Of Sale system. It is still full of bugs and glitches even though it is five years and even more versions into it. We were faced with upgrading that POS again (aptly named) with the hopes that it would run better at the steep tag of $899 per machine. Mac has a similar program- NEW- for only $399 a machine! What a difference! It has been suggested that it won't be the crappy work around the problems and bugs kind of software and I find that pretty easy to believe.