Return to Reality

We got home at about 1 AM last night after a week at a wonderful vacation destination called GreenLinks Resort between Naples and Marco Island, Florida. We had a great, spacious two-bedroom condo with excellent amenities for the price you would normally pay for a mid-range hotel room in a larger city. With three people traveling together, we find that it’s essential for a successful family vacation for everyone to have a space of their own when they want it. I would very much recommend the resort for couple or families. It was quiet and clean, and we were comfortable with our 16-year old being able to hang out at the pool or elsewhere on the grounds on her own or with us.

(For the plane nerds: we flew three legs in Boeing 737-400’s and one in an Airbus A321-100, the first time I’ve flown in one of the latter planes. The interior was a bit more spacious than most American planes, but the ride felt labored, as if the plane never quite got to the point where it was cruising comfortably with its load. I’m not normally a 737 fan, but the Boeing warhorse was the superior plane for this trip, even though two of the three planes were clearly at the back end of their life cycles based on hull and interior wear and tear).

The average high temperature each day of the vacation was around 80, with relatively low humidity and bright, clear skies. We rose early most days to play 18 holes of golf at a great course for our experience level, The Lely Mustang Course, where I shot the two best nines I’ve played to date, unfortunately on different days, so I didn’t break my 18-hole personal best. So much for practicing, I guess, since I literally made my first swing since October in the tee box of the first hole. We visited Naples, Marco Island and Sanibel Island for shopping and eating on different days, and at night sat out behind our condo in the hot tub and pool with an amazing east-northeasterly view in a cloudless sky, with Mars, Sirius and Orion just stunningly bright and clear in the heavens above us. I’ve been to just about every major region or city in Florida, and don’t care for most of them, but I really, really liked this particular area for its mix of sports, beach, culture and nature, with the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary standing as a highlight in the latter regard.

Kind of makes the snowstorm I’m going to have to drive through tomorrow to get to work all that much more dreary, though I’m looking forward to getting back into the office since we’ve got some interesting, challenging procurement and operations projects on the table that will have far-reaching ramifications for the way we manage our business. I actually find that I think well and clearly about work matters when I’m away from the day-to-day minutiae, and can think how I want to move things strategically, rather than reacting to issues as they emerge. Of course, I’m sure there will be some unexpected surprise awaiting in my in-box that will immediately blow up my big picture plans, but at least I will have them formulated to underpin the daily rush and bustle.

After that first day back at work, we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends at the Desmond‘s annual shindig, at which we had a great time last year. If you happen to be there and see me, please say howdy. I’m generally pleasant and friendly in person, much to people’s surprise. My only resolution post-January 1 this year is to figure out a plan (be it chiropractic, massage, ergonomic or exercise based) to get my back in better shape. The two hours I spend on the road and eight hours I spend at a desk most days have taken their toll on my spine this year. I lived with chronic pain in my shoulder for 20 years before getting it surgically corrected, so am not inclined to let the back deteriorate the same way. I’m thinking some combination of a better home office chair, sensible weight and stretching work, and occasional chiropractic visits should do the trick, although I’m hoping I can do without the latter, since the last time I went to a chiropractor for any period of time, I found that the treatments made me feel great, but that they seemed to be self-reinforcing in the sense that if I missed a week, all of sudden everything felt even worse out of line than it did before I went the first time.

So we’ll see. Happy New Year and Healthy Backs to you all, and please be safe as you welcome 2008.

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