Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Guys Weekend Snapshot
I've worked with some of the same guys for over 15 years and developed close personal friendships with a group of them. We started getting together for a few days every year to hang out, golf and catch up about nine years ago. The group has expanded a bit, but over the past 5 years or so is pretty much the same group of guys. It's a group that genuinely enjoy hanging out together. Some of the guys have been the other's bosses at one time or another, but it doesn't really change the dynamic of the group. I count these guys as good friends - willing to step up and help in times of need, personal or professional.
This get together was exactly what I needed. I laughed so hard, so often on this trip. Maybe it's because we've all worked together for so long and traveled together for work so much, but we all get together so well. There was no "that guy" that annoyed everyone else the whole time. People weren't above messing with you when you fell asleep first or crushing against the window in the back seat when the car took a sharp turn in your direction. Everyone helped out and everyone took care of everyone else, and would mock you at the slightest turn or dumb thing out of your mouth. Great times.
We normally do our gathering up in Gaylord at Bill's place, with people flying in from all around the country. Glenn bought a house in Clearwater Beach, right on the Intercostal water-way and it wasn't too tough of a call to head down to Florida. The weather ended up being about the same as Michigan in the end - maybe colder.
When we arrived, it was about 92 degrees. Within about 6 hours a huge cold front came through and dropped it down to about 75 degrees. It ended up getting as cold as 40. It was actually warmer in Michigan. Most of the guys flew into Tampa, a few of us had customer meetings down in West Palm Beach and drove up from there. The only upside to the drive was experiencing my first "Five Guys Burger" on the way. Greatest burger in the world - hands down.
We woke up early on Friday, all set to go deep sea fishing for the day. The same weather front that produced the cold, also produced big winds and big waves. The captain said he wouldn't take us for our own safety. I think he was just hungover and wanted to go back to bed on a rainy day.
Instead, Glenn took us out in his sailboat into the Intercoastal waterway. It was a beautiful view of the houses in the area.
A couple of the guys were fishing off the back of the boat when a pelican decided to take the bait. We had to reel him in so Glenn could release the hook from his mouth. Newton volunteered his shirt to grab the bird. He flew off, happy as a can be. Newton ended up with a bloody shirt.
Newton and I claimed the front of the boat, and as we headed towards the ocean, the waves got big and we had a great roller coaster ride. We couldn't sit still for long, so we headed up the mast to launch in to the water.
The only downside to jumping in from the mast are the wires, the boat below that you have to clear, the big waves and the really fast currents. Other than that, no problem. Neither of us died, but neither did it again either.
After the boat ride, most of our activities consisted of eating, playing cornhole (see below)
With cornhole, it turns out I am a ninja. I can pretty much blindfold myself and get a beanbag in the hole. I was told many times that I should go pro and I am considering my options.
We watched a lot of football and baseball (by a lot, I mean I have never watched that many football games in one long weekend) and then throwing Kohne in the Ocean on his birthday. On the topic of Kohne... Everyone gradually asked him for his iPhone, glasses, etc until he was completely sea-worth. What a group of friends we are. He took it well.
On the last night, we headed downtown to Clearwater for the Jazz Festival. Aaaron Neville played Sunday night, whom I've only seen on a Saturday Night Live City Court with Aaron Neville and then as the theme song for the Fisher Price Little People song the kids watched when they were younger. The song drove me nuts and the kids would sing it over and over to torment me. It was actually a pretty good show, ending with a Bob Marley cover and Amazing Grace.
Thanks again to Glenn and Rebecca for opening their house up to us and for explaining to the neighbors why guys were jumping off the dock at midnight.