Sunday, June 25, 2006

Business Travel and the Joy of the Club Sandwich

I used to love business travel. I used to travel once a month to pretty cool cities that I always wanted to see. I've been to New York, Chicago, LA, Dallas, Las Vegas...and to places I never was interested in like Little Rock. Business travel isn't vacation travel--it gets old pretty fast. I think when you are younger, single and have no kids it's a great way to see the US, even the world. I don't travel anymore...and I don't miss it. Sure it's exciting at first but then it starts to get old. The airports all look the same. The rush of business travelers, the harried vacationers, the rush. You have packing down to exactly what you need to wear for meetings and maybe a different top for going out. I once travelled to Orlando with just the art folio bag and my laptop backpack. I wore the same outfit flying out as I did flying home. My business clothes were in the folio.

You know when you have to be at the airport but before 9/11 you could get there as close to boarding as possible. After the heightened security I would make sure to wear slip on shoes, have my license in my backpocket and my boarding pass printed out. And I'd travel with as little as possible. Again, it's not vacation travel.

Now that I'm married with a son, I'm thankful I don't have to do it as much. I was never afraid to fly before but it's different now--travelling alone makes you paranoid. You start to look around the cabin and think--I really don't want to die with a bunch of strangers. Terrible thought, I know! I think that's why I understood what was going on in the movie, 'Lost in Translation' (if I think I got it right). There is a sense of being on autopilot that gets depressing even if you are staying in a 5 star hotel in a great city--especially if you travel alone.

I have a business travel ritual that I follow to this day. Thank God for the safe flight when we land, get to the hotel and order a club sandwich. Every hotel has a club sandwich and you can't make them bad. I always have them with fries. I usually leave CNN on while I check email. Those things make me feel better, safer in a routine. True comfort food! (BTW, the best club sandwich I ever had was just this past weekend at the Marriott Renaissance in Las Vegas. YUM!)

I respect people who have to do it all the time. There was an article in USA Today that talks about how frequent business travel affects personal lives--how can it not?
The issue is that most people that travel for business a lot are in positions that require them to do so...hopefully they are compensated pretty well because they sacrifice personal time to do it. You can't complain about a spouse that travels frequently if it pays the bills--there is always a tradeoff--but that's a whole other blog.

I have never done any international business travel (I don't count Toronto). If I ever have to it will be exciting, but right now I like being close to home. I can't get much closer. I telecommute full time.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Practically Impractical: Luxe Handbags

I like high end handbags. I also like cheapie handbags. I pretty much like any handbag that looks nice and is functional. So why in my craziness did I purchase one purse that was over $1000? Call it crazy (I almost do) but the truth is designer or 'luxe' handbags, while ridiculously overpriced are, to the buyer 'worth it'. I'm not going to lie and say it's because they are made better than other handbags. The luxe lines like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Gucci...will all claim they are well made, hand stitched, and only made in France, Italy, the US etc. and they may be, but I've had a $500 Kate Spade handbag strap break on me--twice and my sister had Marc Jacobs zipper pull fall off. No matter what people say, designer handbags are purchased because of the name first, design 2nd. Practicality probably doesn't and won't make the list. So why buy them? I have to admit, after starting out making nothing and getting to a point in my life where I feel like I like nicer end things, I treated myself to one of the most expensive things I've ever purchased in my life: a black leather quilted Chanel tote purse. I still feel a little guilty about it. It's such an extravagant purchase. If you are going to buy one you have to get over the price or it will just bother you. But don't believe the hype. Sometimes I have $2 in my Louis Vuitton purse! hahahaha. Sometimes (okay, more than sometimes) it's ok to be frivolous.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Married with Children

I read one of the best articles on being a parent yesterday--it's called 'Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?' by Daniel Gilbert:,9171,1202940,00.html

It questions our need to feel as though our children bring us happiness regularly. That's what everyone wants to say and what we want people to think but the truth is parenthood is HARD. And I only have one kid!

I have never loved anyone as much as I love my son. In the article Gilbert says:
"Our children give us many things, but an increase in our average daily happiness is probably not among them. Rather than deny that fact, we should celebrate it. Our ability to love beyond all measure those who try our patience and weary our bones is at once our most noble and most human quality." I love that. I love how honest it is.

Anyone who is married that thinks having a child will make a marriage better or give you a stronger bond is in for a rude awakening. Al and I were married 7 years before I had James. I was never afraid of preganancy--I was more afraid of after and raising a little person. I recall telling a girlfriend that I really felt I was at a point I was ready--then I got pregnant a month later. The truth is you are NEVER ready. Having a child and going through the newborn phase is a stressful and an extremely trying, not to mention tiring time. If you don't have a spouse that helps out--good luck! Here is a tip--if your significant other doesn't help with the household chores or the beloved pet, chances are you are going to be doing 90% of the work it takes with a child.

I have friends who complain complain complain about their husbands not doing enough to help out. I feel for them but come on, after awhile you have to either DO something about it or stop complaining--after all, their spouse is the person they chose to marry AND have kids with. I know it sounds harsh but hello--if a man isn't going to step up for their family, then they aren't going to step up for anything.

One of my friends left her husband because he was a 'disappointing father'. I'm sure there is more to it but I admire her for knowing what life she wanted for herself and her son. It takes guts to do it on your own. I would feel the same way if Al was a slacker. Luckily he's not. Phew.