March 23 – Columbus, Atlanta, Johannesburg

Works remain insanely busy. Which has worked reasonably well this week because I have been so jet lagged I have been getting up at 3 or 4 am. It is 3:15 now, as I write this and will soon move from the bed to the desk and get started. I finished my last call last night with Australia folks at 9:30.

But in a weird, sadistic way, I never mind being really busy. It all feeds in to this need for validation I have. If we are working hard and getting a little appreciation it makes us feel valued. Not a healthy attitude I think but one that comes in our family DNA. My sisters and brothers are mostly the same. We are at our best when we are busy. We are not great relaxers. Once in a great while, someone takes a day off—but mostly that means a break from our jobs and then it’s a side project. For me, MYO or building a camper or writing a book and for others it is building a barn or putting in a 2-acre garden or painting the house. Or whatever.

When we get together to ‘relax’, we plan a 4 or 5 course meal and we all do something. We all shop and chop and slice and dice and sauté and bake. While we are also drinking, bullshitting, listening to music and singing along. If someone finds themselves with nothing to do for a few minutes, then a 6th or 7th course is added to the menu and they jump back in. Eventually, late in the evening , a game of euchre may break out. And we sit for a bit.

The week flew by. Midnight on Friday night now and I am on a Boeing 777 en route from ATL to JNB. 4 hours in to a 14 hour flight. I napped a bit. Passed out actually. I got upgraded on the flight from CMH to ATL. The flight attendant in first class was a big burly man. He looked more like a seasoned Irish cop than an airline attendance. I ordered a whiskey, assuming I would get a little bottle. The burly man brought me a glass filled to the top with Maker’s Mark. At least a 6-oz pour and we were already 20 minutes in to a 1 hour flight. I sipped on it and managed to get through about 2/3’s of it when we started preparing to land. I had enough. But the burly man thought not. When I went to give him the glass back he just looked at me. No smile. He said ‘you’ve got time’. I should have, at that point, said “I’ve had enough’. But the peer pressure was enormous. The guy next to me was watching. So I did what had to be done and gulped down the last 3 ounces. Eyes watering, I handed the glass back to the burly man. He had the barest hint of a smile now.

This being Friday and all. I had to have a martini when I got to the airport. I made a bad choice of a restaurant. I had already ordered my martini before I took a look at the menu. Very poor selection. I wound up having a pathetic little pile of chicken strips with a side of cole slaw. Not up to Friday night dinner standards, but so it goes. Anyway, I slept the first 3 hours on the flight. In addition to all the alcohol I am still a bit jet lagged from the Japan trip.

Family dinner at Shannon’s last night. We have an emerging new routine that I really like. We meet first at the ‘Hole in the Wall’ when we get together. We hove a few beers there and then head to Shannon’s or Terri’s for food and more drinking. It’s nice. Soon Larry will build a home and mom and dad will live there. Yvonne moved up last month. So within the space of a single year we will go from just Shannon and Terri in Somerset to everyone but me. Interesting.

I got socially conscious t-shirts for everyone. One says ‘If  you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table, not a taller fence’. The other one has a picture of John Lennon and says ‘You may say I’m  a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.’

So this picture is with everyone wearing their shirts.

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