10 Years

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Ten years ago, during our honeymoon in Hawaii, I told Ashley that we would come back to the island for our ten year anniversary. I wasn’t sure what would happen during those ten years, but I was adamant of what would happen at the end of that period. During that time, I have had six different jobs, while Ashley has had two. We bought our first house. Ashley gave birth to our beautiful son. We moved across the country. We lived on the beach and wet our feet in the Pacific Ocean. We lost a friend. We moved across the country again. We adopted new friends; we lost another. We missed our return trip to Hawaii.

This summary does not adequately cover the depth or richness of the last ten years. There are many laughs and many tears that I have conveniently glossed over for the sake of brevity. I feel very fortunate that I found someone to spend my life with: someone to laugh with, to cry with, or to make silly jokes with that no one else would understand. I have found someone with whom I can share everything and for that I am lucky and grateful. I’m not sure if I would quantify the last ten years as easy or hard; I’m more likely to quantify it as fulfilling.

I look forward to our time together. I am excited to see what new memories we make during the next ten, twenty, thirty, forty, …


A special note for Ashley: thank you for sharing your life with me. I may not always show it, but I am grateful for every moment we share together.

Tips

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I had a first while staying in a hotel on a recent trip. I usually try to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff. Even if it’s a business trip, I’ll try to leave a tip out of pocket. This trip was no different. The first morning, I left a tip on the nightstand. When I arrived back at my room, I realized that housekeeping had not entered the room (bed was not made, towels not cleaned up, etc). The tip was still on the nightstand. No big deal; the room was still clean and I don’t need the bed made every day. I had plenty of towels and still had some coffee. The second morning, I left the same tip on the nightstand. When I arrived back at my room on the second evening, my bed was still not made, towels not cleaned up, coffee not restocked. However, this time, the tip was gone. 😱

This was a first for me. It made me feel uneasy, but I reported the incident to the front desk. I’m still not really sure what to make of it.

Research

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After moving back to Nashville, Ashley and I decided to buy adult furnishings for our new home. We hired an interior designer to help us fill our space. As part of that design, the designer picked out floor coverings for our living and dining rooms. One lesson I have learned, now too late: research the materials used in rugs and carpets before purchasing them. Specifically, it’s a good idea to know how to clean and treat them before adopting a new dog or before your first spill. If you procrastinate, you might be learning to live with spotted or splotchy floor coverings.

Perspective

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We’re on our second big vacation of the year. In February, we took our second trip to Disney World. Ashley wanted to take another vacation during the summer months. This time, she wanted her family to accompany us. We hadn’t had a family vacation with her family, outside of her parents joining us on our first Disney World trip last year. She wanted her brother to join us this time. Max had asked to go to the beach. Since we no longer lived next to a beach, this seemed like a natural destination.

There are quite a few options for beaches in the southeast. Ashley put a pretty harsh filter on our options though; she didn’t want anything in the Gulf and she preferred to stay away from heavy tourist destinations. Her initial suggestion was Outer Banks. After recognizing how much of a drive it would be for us and her parents, she looked elsewhere. She eventually landed on Tybee Island.

During our first Disney World trip, I watched a family have their pictures taken with one of the Big Four characters. One of their youngest, who seemed shy, was carrying a camera. As a way of getting him involved and to open up, the parents had their kid take pictures with his camera. I adored this idea. Years ago, when my nephew Dallas was about Max’s age, perhaps a little younger, Ashley and I handed him our point and shoot digital camera while in New York City. We gave him simple instructions on how the camera worked, then we let him take whatever pictures he wanted. We ended up with quite a few “bad” shots. However, we also ended up with my favorite shot from New York: a ground perspective shot of Ashley and me, with sky and skyscrapers above our heads. It was a different perspective. To this day, that picture still brings a smile to my face.

With all that in mind, Ashley and I bought Max his first camera. We wanted something simple that could take digital photos. Additionally, we wanted something easy to understand, fun, and cheap… just in case it took a bath. We landed on the Polaroid Snap. So far, I have been very pleased with this (and so has Max). The picture quality may not be the best, but Max loves the camera. I am excited to see the world, one snap at a time, from his perspective.

Ode to the Cadillac ATS

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After buying a house in Aptos, Ashley and I realized we needed to get a second vehicle. There are shuttle options from Santa Cruz, but getting to those bus stops would be a nightmare with only one vehicle. Unfortunately, there were no good public transit options to get to the coach stops and it would have been quite a trek on a bicycle. Additionally, I was in charge of dropping Max off at daycare in the mornings. We didn’t want to buy a vehicle. We also weren’t sure what would be the best option purchase-wise (after just buying a house). We opted to lease instead.

This was our first lease. I had heard and read about the process. I had also been raised to believe that renting or leasing was a “waste of money”. I understand the argument, but I also don’t believe that rushing into a large purchase is necessarily a good idea for the sake of “saving money in the long run” (sort of like selling a house that you bought in Aptos two years after buying it…). I put together a list of possible vehicles. I had decided I wanted something a bit more premium, but not ridiculous. I also didn’t want a huge vehicle. A small sedan seemed practical. The list was shortened to three makes: BMW, Jaguar, and Cadillac.

The Cadillac brand has always held a special place for me due to nostalgia and my family. My family always believed that a Cadillac was a symbol of status: you were doing well for yourself if you drove a Cadillac. After test driving those three, I deliberated. Even though the Cadillac was Ashley’s least favorite, it was my favorite. Seeing as how this was going to be “my” car, I opted for the ATS.

For a bit over two years, the ATS was my commuter car. I did not always drive over the hill from Santa Cruz to the office, but I at least had to drive it from Aptos to Scotts Valley almost every week day. Once we decided to move back to Nashville, I realized I wouldn’t have a need for a commuter car anymore. We decided to ship it with us to Nashville anyway. After adjusting to our new setup in Nashville, we also realized that we really don’t need two cars (or at least, not with any regularity). We knew that once the lease was up, we’d return the Cadillac.

I knew the day was coming, but it still made me a bit sad to hand over the keys. It only took a few minutes to complete the process. I hand them the keys, they do a quick visual inspection, then have me sign some paperwork. The paperwork basically details that I’m not lying about the mileage on the odometer and that I’m turning over the vehicle back to GM. There is a more involved inspection that I did a few weeks ago to determine if there were any damages to the vehicle that would warrant extra charges (to which there were none warranted). I believe the thing that affected me the most was how attached Max seemed to be. He even had a nickname for my car (🚀). Fortunately, he understood and handled it well; I had prepared him for the car going away a few weeks before we turned it in.

It was an interesting process. I would definitely consider leasing as an option in the future if the situation seems appropriate. It’s basically a long term rental of a vehicle. I believe that long term rentals are appropriate in certain circumstances and not always a “waste of money” as so many in my circle attempted to impress upon me.