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December 25, 2008

Has it Really Been That Long

I look at the date that the last entry was posted and wonder, where did the time go? The past thee years have been such a blur.

About the time things ended in the journal I had just moved to another house here in Flower Mound. There was so much to do with rennovations and I just ran out of time then got out of the habit.

Work is always guaranteed to consume all available time, especially since I'm not dependent upon being in the office anymore. There really is truth to the saying, Citi never sleeps. About this time I moved into IT production support - a unique sub-circle of Hell but one that I volunteered for since one gets to touch just about everything at one point or another. It's a good way to learn the systems but it's bad from the standpoint of after hour calls.

Then there were Bailey's activities, mostly centered around band. Football games and evening concerts. The fact that she now had a car made things a little easier but then there was the constant worry that she'd have a accident. Fortunately she's a good driver and the worry has decreased significantly. We were fortunate to be able to travel to New York to see Bailey play a concert at Carnegie Hall. Yes, the acoustics are that good. Over the summer Bailey was able to travel with her AP group from school to the Fiji Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

At the beginning of the next school year we decided to host a foreign exchange student. I figured it would be like having a guest staying in the house and things would be pretty much normal most of the time. Maike came to live with us August 4, 2006 and became a permanent fixture in our hearts soon after. Maike and I had a love of tennis in common and I couldn't wait to get her out on the tennis court. Unfortunately, she arrived in the midst of a heat wave and after about a half hour out on the court that first time she said, "You've got to be kidding. You actually play tennis in this heat?" She eventually became acclimated and was the top player on her FMHS team. I was never able to win against her. Playing against the backboard is easier than playing Maike -- at least the ball comes back to you when hitting against the wall. Maike took special delight in running me from side to side. On a trip to Hawaii for Spring Break we both took our racquets in order to play in paradise. Playing there is not for wimps because of the heat and humidity but we gave it a go. After one particularly long point which ended with her hitting a drop shot and me scrambling to return it (I didn't) she remarked, "Good hustle." I was running on fumes the rest of the set and decided to call it a day after that.

The school year went by like a blur. Maike was a junior and Bailey a senior. Like siblings that close in age they weren't the best of friends but they got along ok. However, before we knew it the school year was over and there were many partings. Bailey and Denise traveled to France with a school group which left Maike and me alone for about a week and a half. We were able to visit some museums, the Ft. Worth Zoo and just hang out together before her flight home on June 18th. It very difficult to return to an empty house.

After that summer was over Bailey was off to college. We had shopped around a little and actually visited The University of Texas together. I think that she was in awe of the place and felt very tiny on that campus. A week later Bailey and her mom visited Texas A&M and while the campus felt a little better it still wasnít what she was looking for. A campus recruiter got her interested in Austin College which she sent in a application and was accepted to with a Deanís scholarship included. Itís a very small liberal arts school with an incredible faculty to student ratio. It also ranks #1 in the nation for its study abroad participation rates - a average of 70 percent of Austin College students have studied abroad. For her January term this year Bailey will be studying in Rome. In her short life she has amassed more visa stamps in her passport than Iíve accumulated in my entire life.

So Denise and I began those tentative steps into becoming ďempty nesters.Ē Life didnít change that much except that we both stay at the office a lot longer since thereís nothing pressing at home to rush to. I work from home a couple of days a week, on average, and spend a bit more time on the tennis court in the evenings.

I received an unexpected treat from an old and very dear friend in an email that served to remind me that I havenít made much time in my life to keep this thing updated. Unfortunately, over the years Iíve had a HDD crash or two and have upgraded my hardware a few times. When I searched for the source HTML behind these pages it wasnít to be found anywhere. So Iím in the process of rebuilding the site and there are many updates being made. Unfortunately because of this and the fact that I canít seem to remember how to force Internet Explore to load pages from the server instead of the local cache the updates donít show unless I hit the refresh button. Frustrating because it should be such a simple thing to code. If anyone out there remembers the trick, please let me know!

Tomorrow Denise and I will drive to Frisco Colorado for a few days of skiing. This is the first vacation in quite a long time that weíve gone on without our daughter. Itís exciting and itís sad all at the same time. I donít know how much blogging that Iíll be able to do with the blackberry, but Iíll give it a try. If not, see you when I get backÖ

Posted by mjwoods at December 25, 2008 11:24 PM

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