About a month and a half ago I learned of an overnight work retreat that I was going to have to attend in Solvang, CA. I’ve been going to these retreats for the past 8 years and I’ve never really had a problem- the mentality is just pack up and go. It is more difficult to sit through a day and a half of strategic planning exercises and watch my to-do list grow overnight. In short, overnight= no problems.
Anyhow when I learned of this retreat two thoughts crossed my mind:
1} Oh my gosh this will be my first time leaving Mason and Elaine on an overnight trip
2} I will sleep through the night. I will have my own bed. I will watch tv. I will sleep in.
I felt a little selfish as a smile crept across my face as these thoughts crossed my mind, but it isn’t a road trip or fun vacation it is a work retreat. Whenever the retreat was brought up I began day dreaming of my Mark-list and began adding to it: wine tasting, maybe a movie, and go to bed late and wake up even later. The list kept growing and I had no one that I felt comfortable sharing it with and when I did I couldn’t help smiling. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
I felt bad leaving Elaine and knew that I would miss Mason. Sometimes he is a two person dude and plus it is nice to share him while the other one cooks, cleans, gets a potty break, takes care of Ruby, or just has a moment to breathe. As the overnight approached I reminded Elaine every other day and made sure that it was on our mental and physical calendars. The count down approached and eventually the day came where the bags were packed and good bye kisses were given.
The day progressed like most work days except I was 45 minutes away from home and heartbroken to learn that Albert Pujols joined the wrong team in red. (This is another long story, but I look at the Angels as the stupid guy who swoops in with all the glam & glitter, flirts with your partner, and smiles as he brakes up your long term relationship… yes I’m still a little emotional, but the Angels can suck it.) Okay where was I, yes I got our hotel in downtown Solvang and felt weird- something was missing.
After the day was over I checked into my room and learned that I had my own king sized bed, large screen tv with 200 channels, and a little time to kill. This was a huge surprise as I’ve always had the awkward experience of bunking with anther random ymca employee and be forced to make small talk about how lifeguards are hard to hire and how often treadmills break down. I quickly thought of how much Elaine and Mason would enjoy the hotel time and Christmas decorations in Solvang. I called and invited them up before I even took off my shoes. As soon as I got back from dinner Elaine and Mason were in Solvang and that is how his first hotel and our mini adventure began.
Even though I slept terribly and had to spend the entire next day building strategic goals, having them there with me made everything better. Thanks for reading and here are a few hotel shots, Mark