Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pleasure Mixed With Business

We just returned from four-day trip to California, which it turns out, is not exactly a hop, skip and a jump from Connecticut. In fact, the travel is lengthy. We did a lot of sitting in airports, which is a prime people-watching place. I was so tempted to take pictures of the most interesting characters I saw and then do a post just on the people I saw, but it just didn't seem like a very nice thing to do.
Anyway, back to the trip. Most of you know I work for my brother-in-law who owns C4 Communications, LLC. It is the ideal job because it allows me to work from home. Its not always easy to juggle work and three kids 4 and under, but because of my income Shaun has the flexibility to be around with the kids too and its a system that works for our family. One really nice perk of the job is the all-expense paid trip to the San Fransisco area that Colombo has given us for now a second time.

This annual event is put on by the master agent that Colombo does business with, Intelisys and this year marked the 10th anniversary of this affair. The entire weekend is all you can eat, all you can drink. Its a spare-no-expense kind of thing and they know how to do it BIG.

The first day Colombo and I sat in on a day of presentations by the different service providers who were present. We were served an incredible breakfast and lunch, too. Although its a bad shot taken with my phone, I had to include it to prove we "worked" during this trip. It was fun to chat with other agents who are doing similar things and because I've been to several different events in the telecom world, I now recognize many faces of the suppliers as well. I enjoyed reconnecting with these people and seeing faces I only email with the rest of the year.

Later that evening, we were taken out to dinner by one of the suppliers. The hotel provided amazing meals...EVERYTHING we ate there was incredible. The hotel was in our top three of nicest places we've ever stayed in. Apparently, the Meritage was rated VERY highly among hotels worldwide last year. They really had every detail down.

The next day the guys went to play in the golf tournament and the girls went on the wine train tour of Napa Valley. Incredibly, just 4% of California's wine comes from there.

Again, really good food. Who eats a three-course meal in the middle of the day?? Well, we did. We happened to sit with a couple from WA and soon discovered they were Christians. They were really sweet and it made for a nice afternoon.

Here are some scenes taken from the train. We happened to be there during harvest time.

The train dropped us off at Chandon Winery for a tour and tasting. The painstaking process requires much patience and experience. Its a wonder they can make any money on it at all.

Even the grounds were beautiful. They had "eco-friendly" stone sculptures throughout, including these flowers.

That night we met up back at the hotel and got ready for the banquet. I set my camera on the stackable washer/dryer in our room and tried out my new remote control. Pretty cool, huh? After dinner and awards, a live band played and the dance floor was opened. It was really LOUD and by this time many people had taken full advantage of the open bar all day and night, so we only stayed for a few songs.

As we were leaving we met up with Amy and Colombo who'd found the firepit on the back patio. We stayed and chatted for a bit then headed back to our room for a party of two.
The next morning we packed it up and drove into San Fransisco. On our way we stopped at the golf course where the guys had played. Amazing views, even though it was still foggy.

Its always a good thing when I am somewhere where palm trees can grow.

Grape fields along the road.
We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge for some pictures.
We drove down the famous Lombard Street before heading to the pier to catch the Alcatraz ferry. That was an amazing tour and I'll do a separate post on it later this week.
We walked around the city and came across this "band". The oldest on guitar was maybe fifteen and the youngest, 7? was on the drums. It barely sounded like actual music, but they were into it, it was very cute and they were drawing a crowd.
On our ferry ride back from Alcatraz, Colombo received an email that our connecting flight which was supposed to leave NYC at 8 AM was actually going to be leaving at 6 PM. THAT was not going to work, so we found a Starbucks while the guys searched for a different flight. We ended up flying out of SF at 10:45 PM and laying over in Atlanta for three hours before heading home.

We had a really great time. Although it was a full schedule, Shaun and I got time alone to sit and talk on our room's deck and just be together, without life's interruptions. We were married 11 years before Avery was born, so it is very natural for us to be just a couple. I am not one of those people who says they don't remember what it was like before they had kids. I DO remember, well, and its so easy to fall back into it when we get time together.
The other part of not really missing the kids is knowing they were being very well taken care of. Grammy and Bobbi had them the first day, then Pop and Kiki took the girls while Uncle Nathan and Aunt Laryssa had Aiden. Saturday morning my dad took Aiden too and had all three until Sunday afternoon when I picked them up. I'm so, so grateful to have trusted, available family to help out. It was a good time of renewal for us as a couple and we were thrilled to be home and to see the kids again.


Darla said...

that's great to have helpful family and to get some time alone together as a couple. we all need that. looks like fun!

mel said...

oh my gosh, I live 30 min from SF!!! Isn't SF a neat city? I am SO glad you went to Napa (also 30 min from me) Wine tasting is one of our favorite things to do, we go several times a year. So glad you got to enjoy a few days with your husband without kids! Looked like you had a great time!

LuAnn said...

"I'm so glad you had this time together." Do you remember Carol Burnett - no I am sure you are to young - but she sang this at the end of her show.
Looks like an amzing time - great pictures with that new camera too !!!

Amy Joy said...

Wonderful pictures!! Sounds like an awesome trip!

Connie said...

Sounds like a great time. You are definatley blessed to have so many willing family members to take the kids. Our one and only week vacation without kids cost us $250 in childcare. My husband's college age cousin stayed with them while on break from school. Alone time is always fabulous!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

What a fabulous trip, and FABULOUS pictures! Wow! We've traveled to San Fran twice, and we love it - so much to do, and so different from where we live. So many fancy places to go!