The Polar Express

18 12 2008

Nearly two weeks ago, my wife and I took the kids on a trip to the North Pole. Amazingly enough, there was a train that goes right near Santa’s village. The Polar Express was a fun ride for the kids, and they had a chance, ever so quickly, to see Santa Claus.20081208-IMG_2613

The trip to Williams, AZ was fairly quick from Phoenix. I guess that’s just me getting old. After three hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel only to be greeted with cold air and a long checkin line. Santa set up accommodations for us in his hotel, the Grand Canyon Inn. The checkin line went very quickly, as this seemed to be the normal daily routine.

After settling into the hotel, the kids, excited to see Santa again, put on their pajamas. The rule is, on The Polar Express, you can only see Santa in your pajamas. After dinner, we ran out in the chilly air to our seat on the Polar Express. The silly Dad, me, picked the wrong car to get on, so we had to run back up to the head of the train to the correct car. After a few minutes, the friendly helper elves gave us friendly instructions on being safe on the Polar Express.

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And then we were off to the North Pole.

On the train, we were provided refreshing hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie. And, then we read the Polar Express story. And, it happened so quickly, that after a short while, we eventually made it to the North Pole. And Santa was there waiting for us. The girls we excited to see Santa. As the train turned around, Santa had disappeared. Then, the conductor told us that Santa was on the Train with us! Great!

Santa made his way to our car, seeing every girl and boy on the train and making sure they received their christmas present.

On the way home, we sang christmas carols, something I haven’t done in years. I only wish the cold air hadn’t had an effect on my throat.

I think next year, we’ll make reservations on the Polar Express again. Seeing the joy and excitement in the kids is what makes being a parent so fun. The girls, in their excitement do get a little wild, but the world melts away when you’re on the Polar Express. After all, Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good.





New Year’s Resolution, One Month Early

1 12 2008

For the past six months, my job has taken a huge chunk of my life away from me. While I wasn’t working 12 hour days, it sure felt like it since I would see my girls for only one or two hours at night. Many times, I wouldn’t see them at all since I was on the road dealing with traffic when they woke up, and attending other functions around the Phoenix area by the time they went to bed. And while the absence of my girls from my life was leaving a huge whole emotionally, I was also suffering physically. The added commute time directly subtracted from my daily exercise time. And, while over time I didn’t have to commute two and a half hours per day, every day, I was not very motivated to exercise on the other days either. So, over the past six months, I’ve gained 5 pounds about an inch in the waist, and lost far too much fitness. As a result, I’m most likely in the worst shape of my life. 200811302324.jpg

This is a far cry from three years ago, when I was in the best shape of my life. Three years ago, I completed El Tour de Tucson in 4 hours and 58 minutes. Fast enough to qualify as a Platinum rider. I then ran a half marathon, only to be hindered by a sore knee. I easily had enough juice at the time to complete the run. Slowly, family life took control of my life requiring more and more time. This is natural, and now I can see why and how so many middle aged parents gain weight while their kids grow up. It’s happening to me now. But, I’m not going to let this continue!

First thing on the list was to take care of the job. Check.

Next, I need to get back to the thing that had me fit enough to do 110 miles in one day, and still be ready for more: bicycling.

This is where I start my New Year’s resolution a month early. I can’t start this early enough. I miss being on the bike often. I’ve managed to be on my bike only once a month at best recently, and I have always been painfully reminded how much I miss using my own power to get my butt around town. This is the time of year to do this, and the time is now.

While my new office doesn’t have an official bike setup, they are very open to the idea, and I’ll figure out a way to get back to one of my favorite things: bike commuting. BIke commuting is what dropped my weight from 240 pounds to 195 pounds. Bike commuting is what helped me gain enough fitness to finish el tour in personal record time. Bike commuting is what gave me balance in my life. I am going to start commuting by bike once again…finally!