Saturday, March 28, 2015

Night Out

For the first time in probably a year Jen and I got a night out together.  The plan is to head down the Onion Grove for the dinner and then we are going to a dance in Oxford Junction.  Should be a good time even though Jen and I don't really know how to dance.  Thinking now that we are "adults" it's time to actually learn to dance.  

Thursday, March 26, 2015


I'm home and it has never felt so good to be back.  I really freaking tired but my goal is to stay up and go to bed at a normal time so I can get back on my normal schedule.  I have to go to work tomorrow so I need to get some rest tonight.  I don't have a whole lot to accomplish tomorrow but I do need tag up with people and get up to speed on everything I missed over the last 2 weeks.  Hopefully I can get out of work early.

Just About Home

After a long day of travel I'm just about home and ready to get there.  Being on the road for 10 days is a long time and it's going to be nice to sleep in my bed tonight and get back to my normal routine for at least week before I'm on the road again.

Headed Home

After being on the road for the last 10 days I'm at the airport finally headed home. I'm really looking forward to seeing the family in real life and not over video. Going to be a long day but at least I get to ride in style over the ocean in Delta Business Class and not get stuck on Air France again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Night In France

Tonight being my last night in France I thought it was time to actually get out and enjoy some other restaurant besides the hotel restaurant.  I met up with a few other people I knew from Rockwell for dinner tonight.  Not going to get a whole lot of sleep given my flight takes off at 6:30 am and I have to be up by 4:30am.  Since I'll be riding in high style in Delta Business class I'll be able to get some rest on the plane ride home to make up for any lack of sleep tonight.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Power Streaming Netflix

Turns out that absolutely nothing is open in France on Sunday.  I guess they have some kind of law that if a place is open Sunday they have to pay the employees a very high wage which means there is nothing open.  The hotels, a couple restaurants and some bars stay open but as far as I can tell that's it.  That pretty much left me with one option today, power stream some Netflix.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Evening In Toulouse

Made it back to my hotel after an afternoon spent in downtown Toulouse.  I was telling Jen tonight that today was a "Bucket List" kind of day.  It's not very often you get to spend time in a foreign country while the equivalent of their Super Bowl is going on.  The video I posted earlier is a taste of what the afternoon was like.  Ended up sitting at table with a couple of French guys who were kind enough to explain the rules to a "Dumb American".  It was pretty fun to experience something like that.  Europe is quite the place, at my table was a Canadian, a Frenchman, an Italian, a German, a Bosnian and a American.  Sounds like the start of a joke but I'll say this the name of the pub "Melting Pot" was an accurate description of the people watching the game.

France vs England Rugby Match HD

Big Rugby Match

This evening I met up with one of the RC-F engineers at a local pub I'm Toulouse France to watch the France vs England rugby match. This match in France is the equivalent of Iowa vs Iowa State football game in Iowa. The pub we are in is absolutely packed and everyone is singing and having a great time. France ended up losing the game but it was a great time. I ended up meeting a bunch of people from Italy, Germany, England and Bosnia who were all here to watch the game. At first it was a bit hard to understand but once I figured out the rules it was alright. Can't wait to see my next match if I make it back here in the future.

Toulouse City Center

Today I decided to head down to the Toulouse City Center to check some things out. Last time I was in France I didn't get an opportunity to go see anything so this time I'm taking that opportunity. So far it is a very neat city and I've seen a lot of cool things. In about an hour I meet up with some friends to go watch the big rugby match between England and France. Never watched a rugby game before from what I've been told this is the game of the year.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Good First Day of Meetings

Today was the first full day meeting with the RC-F team and it went fairly well.  We wrapped up around 5:30pm which left me plenty of time to get in a run before I headed down the restaurant for some dinner.  It's too bad that people in France don't care about the NCAA tourney at all because I was out of work early enough to pretty much catch the full day of games if they actually had them here.  I've been relegated to following it on and Twitter.  I guess since ISU lost it really doesn't matter at this point but still would have been nice to see the game.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Working Cell Phone

Yes, yes, yes!  For the first time ever on business travel I have a working smartphone.  One doesn't realize how important it is to have a working phone but I can tell you, while most of the time smartphones are a distraction, on travel they are a vital piece of equipment.  Being able to find restaurants, get directions and look up numbers for cabs is vital to actually being able to get around.  Sure you could get by without it but in France most people speak poor English, if at all, so being able to be self sufficient is vital.  Having a translator on your phone is vital when you do have to interact with someone who doesn't speak English.  Even better it was only $35 to get my phone up and running which pales in comparison to the $120 it would have cost to get it setup in the US and still have to pay for every call and every use of data.

The pictures above are of the mall I got my phone working in and a weird statue I passed on my 2 mile walk to the mall.  I don't have a car, most cab drivers don't speak English here and it just feels wrong to pay $25 to get a cab ride 2 miles to the mall, so I decided to hoof it.

In Toulouse

After a whole lot of traveling the past 3 days I'm in Toulouse, France for the next 8 days.  I'm going to miss the family but I'm happy to be stationary for awhile and not have to sit in airport and airplane seats for at least the next week.  Hopefully the next week working with the RC-F engineers are productive and we get the stuff we need to get done actually done.  Plan now is to go check into the hotel and try and find a cell phone store so I can get a pre-paid SIM card for my phone so I actually have phone service the next week.

In Paris

I'm in Paris, through Passport check and waiting on my final flight to Toulouse.  Not trying to sound like a complainer, but Air France Business class is really crappy compared to Delta Business class, it didn't end up being that big of deal since I slept most of the way.  Although I do realize I've been spoiled when it comes to International Business Travel because we get to ride up front with layer down seats and plenty of space, if I ever have to pay for it myself I'll be stuck in the back of the plane and I'll really be complaining.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

At The Airport Again

Here less than 24 hours later back at the airport waiting to catch my next set of flights to Toulouse.  I make a habit of not actually talking about what I do on my blog so I won't say what I was doing or who I was meeting with but the meetings went really well.  There were a few other companies down here to meet with the same customer and pretty sure we had the best showing.  I guess we will see as the program progresses.  Anyways, I take off here in Dallas at 5:30 get to Atlanta at 8:00pm and take off on the "Red Eye" to Paris at 10:15pm.  Fly overnight getting to Paris about 11:00am local time and then catch my final flight to Toulouse at 1:00pm getting in a 2:00pm tomorrow.  Not going to really get a good rest until I get to Toulouse and get to bed tomorrow night.

In Dallas

I made it to my hotel in Dallas last night a little before midnight after a long evening of traveling and today is the start of my crazy long day.  This morning until around 2pm I have a customer meeting down here.  At 2 I head to the airport and start trek across the ocean over to France.  Hopefully I get some sleep in on the plane because I know the team in France wants to get started working when I get there tomorrow afternoon.  Right now that is the plan but we'll see how I feel when I get to France, if I'm too tired I may tell them they are going to have to wait a day before we start working.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Long Run With Jen

Today I had a whole lot of working out that I had to do so I decided to skip church and get my workout done.  Around 10:30 I got on my bike for a 2:30 hour ride. When I got done Jen needed to go on an 8 mile run, her longest ever, so I convinced her to let me come long against her protests.  When we started out it was great, we felt good the wind was at our backs, it was nice.  When we hit the turn around the wind was in our face, we were tired and had 4 miles to go it was a slog.  We ended up getting the run done in about 1:30 which wasn't too bad for Jen's longest run ever.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yard Work

With it getting warm outside yard work season is officially getting started.  The plan was to spend an hour or so to get the front yard cleaned up a bit.  I think Jen and I sometimes forget that our yard is really big.  So what was going to be an hour long enjoyable project in the front yard to get outside a bit, turned into 4 hours and 15 bags on yard waste.  Needless to say Jen and I a tired and I still have an hour long ride to do.  Probably going to be a late night for me to get my workout in.

Jen Painting Porch

This morning Jen is back out on the front porch working to get it scraped and painted.  You might be able to see a little in the background the corner she already has done, looks pretty good.  With it not being stupid cold out anymore she is eager to get all her outside project done, this being at the top of the list.  

Crazy Travel Week

The original plan was for me to get on a plane today at 3:00pm and head to France until next Saturday, and right up until 4pm yesterday that was the plan.  At 4pm yesterday I got a text message from my boss that he needed to chat with me.  He told me that was a very important customer meeting in Dallas on Tuesday that I needed to support so I needed to change my travel to fly to France from Dallas Tuesday night. So what was going to be a fairly leisurely trip to France today is going to turn into fairly crazy travel few days.  The plan now is I catch a plane Monday afternoon from Cedar Rapids to Detroit and then catch a flight into Dallas landing around 9:00pm.  Tuesday, I get up head to the customer site to present a slide deck and answer questions, leave there at 2:00pm head to the airport to catch a 5:30pm flight to Altlanta.  From there I catch the "red eye" to Paris France and finally get my plane to Toulouse getting in around 2:00pm Wednesday.  I'll go right from the airport to work for a couple hours with the French engineering team before I finally get to head to my hotel and get some well needed sleep.  Not entirely sure when I come back yet.  Right now my plan is to leave the Thursday the following week, which takes me to Amsterdam and Minneapolis on my way home.  If we get done early I may be able to head back home next weekend but I'm not counting on it.

Either way over the next week and a half I'm going to be visiting 8 airports in 3 countries, and stop in 5 different States.  Then when I do get back I'll be home for one week before I head back to Dallas for a week to chair my consortium sub-committee meetings.  After that, assuming no more crazy last minute trips come up I should be home for at least a month before I'm back out on the road.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marshall Makes Honor Band!

Yesterday Marshall came home and told us that he had been selected to be part of the Coe Honor Band April 18th!  Marshall was pretty excited to be selected and needless to say Jen and I were really proud of the kid.  I'm looking forward to seeing his performance in April.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Pigs In A Blanket

With the day light saving time kicking in last night we were all pretty much dragging ass today.  When we got home I pretty much headed right to my chair for a nap, Jen went and did a 7 mile run, and the boys headed up to the video game room.  I guess technically I was the one dragging ass while everyone else actually did something.  After I woke up from my nap around 2:00 I spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies on Netflix, felt good to relax.  Last week was busy and yesterday was a 3 hour workout so I really needed a day to recharge my batteries before a crazy week ahead.  Anyways for supper we had "Pig In A Blanket" which were freaking awesome!

Kids Singing In Church

Much to Marshall's displeasure they had to sing in church again today.  Marshall is kind of getting to that transition age where he starting to feel too old and self conscious about singing but the rest of the adults still see him as a little kid. I assured Marshall when he got done that he only had a few more months until his signing days were over.  In sixth grade they no longer have to do the "kid" things in church.  Crazy to think that Marshall is already this old, time sure does fly.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Modern Living Room

I saw this tonight and had to take a picture against the protest of Jen, I'm a culprit too.  In the modern living room it is not uncommon these days to see the TV on, a tablet in a lap, and possibly a phone being messed with too.  Funny how things evolve over the years, I remember a time before smartphones and now I can imagine not having my smartphone and tablet.  

Friday, March 06, 2015

Ironman Is Coming

As always with me it seems there is another Ironman lurking around the corner and I'm having to keep my training up.  Last month wasn't the best month in terms of hours and looking over data from last year, while I finished 2 Iron distance races, I just don't feel like I put enough training hours in.  This year I really want to increase my training and make a run at an Ironman PR.  That means I'm going to have to get more two a days in and not miss as many days as last year.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Boys Getting Ready For School

I've noticed lately that my blog entries are getting somewhat sparse in their frequency because I'm not really capturing the everyday stuff as much any more.  My plan is to try and fix that so that years from not we can look back and see not only the big things but just some of the day to day things we did over the years.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

No School and Working from Home

This morning we woke up to freezing rain and some more snow, on top of the stupid cold temps we've had all week.  That meant no school for the boys and I decided to work from home instead of risking driving in to work.  Too bad I have stuff I need to get done today or I would just make it a boy day and play video games with the kids all day.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

In Charge Of Lunch

After church is was voted that everyone wanted pizza for "Sunday Dinner".  In Clarence there is pretty much one place to go when it come to pizza and that is the Onion Grove.  I wandered on up there to order pizza and wait for it to get done.  It worked out well because the Mayor walked in while I was there and we got to spend some time discussing some things ahead of the next council meeting.

Marshall The Acolyte

Today in church Marshall was the acolyte for the second time and Jen had council duties, which left Clancey and I in a pew by ourselves.  Between bells, church council and kid stuff the church has successfully managed to get us to come pretty much every weekend at this point.