Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As for Husband’s management party, well, it was something else. I haven’t danced, sang, laughed and drank so much in a long time. And a large part of the reason we all had such a good time, the band. The band, Radio Daze, was absolutely unbelievable. Along with their massive singing abilities, they yelled and swore at us, dragged defenseless females out onto the dance floor, leapt on top of tables and downed a round of shots with some of the agents and athletes, all without missing a beat of the music or a word of the song. They were so rock n’ roll and if I wasn’t already married, no doubt they would be the band to play at my wedding. They were the centrepiece of the night and absolutely the reason we all enjoyed ourselves so damn much.
Once again, for a little visual effect, I've added some photos. It just helps paint a picture of the evening that words cannot. Enjoy.
There is the band, Radio Daze.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Kim Kardasian, who you may or may not have heard of, was having her birthday party at the night club in our hotel last night. She is basically a socialite who is famous for being famous, but has never really done anything to justify the fame, yet somehow she has managed to get her own reality show, was on the US version of Dancing with the Stars and is dating an NFL football player by the name of Reggie Bush.
So knowing that the club was going to be crazy with people trying to get a look at Ms. Kardasian and her NFL hunk, we planned ahead by getting one of the managers of the club to hook us up with a VIP pass. Cos that’s how we like to roll. We had our own curtained off area that looked down onto the dance floor and table full of pre-ordered booze that was served to us by our very own big boobied, short skirted, Vegas style bar maid.
The night was so much fun and cos really I’m too hung over to keep blogging and thinking, I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves. Well, some of them anyway, the rest will just go in a vault somewhere, never to be seen again.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Previously the whole US tax thing never scared me, cos I was a resident of another country, so Uncle Sam couldn’t touch me. Now however, I have become a US resident and Uncle Sam wants his share. The only thing is, I have no idea how to go about giving it to him. I don’t know why, but y’all here in the US of A, have a very complicated system when it comes to tax paying, which is a large part of the reason I have assumed the ostrich* position on the issue. That and the fact that Husband had told me not to worry about it, cos we were filing jointly, so I didn’t. Only one day the thought struck me, “wait a second, if you haven’t done your taxes in years, and we are filing jointly, then that means if you are going down, then I’m going down too? Ok, that sh*t ain’t happen’in, let me go get myself an education on US tax sorting out of receipts, tax filling out of forms and tax sending of the money to the government, or if luck be on our side, collecting of a rebate.
I told Husband that we needed to get it together on the taxes. That its time to play grown ups and finally get on top of the situation. I also insisted I be apart of the process, that way I could learn and know what I was doing every year the taxes were due. Husband said, “Oh, you want to be part of the process? You want to learn? No problem, here you go” and he handed me a huge stack of invoices, receipts, bank statements, credit card statements and expense reports to sort through. The good news was, that was just for 2007. There were many more piles where that came from for 2006 and 2005. What had I let myself in for?
So for the past 2 days, I’ve been locked up in my tower, ala Rapunzel style, combing my way, not through hair, but piles of receipts and documents in an effort to organize and re-organize them into their proper years, categories and sub categories. It’s a slow, soul-destroying process that has caused me to develop the posture, back pain and ass numbness of a women in her late 90’s. I also think my mental health is in danger, cos I often catch myself talking to the receipts. “Now where did you come from? What pile am I suppose to put you in? Oh, I suppose you so special, you want a pile all to yourself, like you is exclusive of some’in”. I even do accents, you know, for the receipts and expenses from other countries. “May wee, leetal receipt, where ‘ave you come from?” That’s my French accent in case you were wondering.
But there you have it. I wanted to help and learn, so here I am, helping and learning my ass off. All in the name of giving the government my share and more importantly, keeping myself from ever having to meet and befriend Bertha.
* Ostrich Position: burying ones head in the sand on important issues, in the hope that they will 1. sort themselves out, or 2. just go away.
This is my current work space. Trust me, its organized chaos. But you can see why my brain is close to being fried right now.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This little guy pulled no punches in getting his message out there loud and clear. He used his mad computer skills, tapped into his creative side (notice the jolly font and cute ballons) and even hired an assistant (as eveident by the random hand left of shot) to help get his message across. And boy did he ever.
See how he nailed the presentation.
"Baby Paul, thank you so much for all your hard work. I know it may not have turned out exactly as you planned, but that was probably your assistants fault. It's so hard to find good help these days ; )"
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Each and every year I wait for the clock to strike midnight on October the 14th and move itself onto the 15th, cos that is MY day and I want to enjoy every second of it. Sleeping just gets in the way of some good birthday activities. And this year was no different. I kicked the day off by meeting my friend Martina for a training session, followed by a birthday cappuccino. Then it was back for a quick shower, before I met another friend, Derval, for lunch.
We drove out to a little restaurant in Clontarf, which is right on the Dublin coast and enjoyed some yummy sea food while discussing the break up of Madonna's marriage to Guy Richie, husband's and boyfriend's, the latest track gossip, clothes and shoes.
Afterwards Husband and I went strolling along the sea front of Malahide checking out the yacht's of some of Ireland's rich and famous, while getting the heads blown off us by the high winds. We endured it for as long as we could but eventually had to escape the elements by ducking into a local chipper for some fine greasy food.
From there it was onwards to Kildare to meet up with my parents and my younger brother for a bit of a birthday dinner. My older brother Edward, that's him next to me in the photo, was working late, so after dinner we dropped down to see him and his wife, Sarah.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The whole weekend has been the most fun, as well as the most challenging that I’ve experienced in a long time. I was pushed and dragged out of my comfort zone so often over the 3 days. There was public speaking, organizing, demonstrating, co-coordinating, communicating, thinking, planning, listening, administrating and controlling tasks to be performed and critiqued all under the watchful eyes of 30 odd people. Scary, very, very scary. But what a huge buzz and rush of adrenaline once I managed to complete each task, successfully.
One of the more fun challenges we had to take on was that of designing a training session aimed at 5-10 year olds. The session needed to be high in energy (cos seriously, what child isn’t), easy to understand (so language needed to be simple & explanations kept to a minimum due to the risk of boredom) and be able to hold their interest (cos we all know the attention span of a child can be short). But it also needed to be relative to the sport of track and field, so tapping into their use of speed, agility and balance was essential. We were then required to test our newly designed sessions on each other. Yes, grown ass men and women were out there rolling, tumbling, throwing, jumping and chasing each other around, all in the name of reconnecting with a 5-10 year old version of ourselves.
As an outside observer, it was a sight to behold, as a participant, it was an absolute blast. One of the highlights of the weekend.
Away from the academic side of things, I got the opportunity to catch up with athlete friends I had not seen for years. Those I had competed with at school level and those who I hadn’t seen since they held my hand and calmed my nervous as I waited to compete for Ireland at my first ever international.
It was so weird to sit down and reflect on the types of people we were all those years ago and rehash some of the funny, embarrassing, horrific, successful and down right disgraceful stories from past years of training, traveling and competing together. And no, I have no intention of sharing any of those stories. The slogan of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” applies heavily within the context of track too ; )
But suffice to say, time and age has managed to reshape some into calmer, more mature versions of their younger selves, and for the rest of us, it has made absolutely zero difference.
Good times everyone, good time.
Filling our brains with coaching knowledge.
Socialising at the end of day one. Nicola & I were room-mates on many of my early trips with the Irish track team. She is one of the wildest, sweetest, most consistent and trusting friends you could ever have and I will say that life as Nicola's room-mate, was never, NEVER, dull.
Gary and I were on the same track team in college. Shout out to Waterford IT. And we've also lived and trained together at various points over both our careers. Boy does he have a few stories. Must always stay on Gary's good side.
Shot-Putter Sean. I have not seen Sean since we were about 17 years old. Apparently I broke his camera at an airport on the way back from a competition. I have no recollection of such an event. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
So yesterday morning we loaded up “Foxy”, Husband’s beloved plane, took off and headed north into the Georgia Mountains. Blairsville was our destination. Once there, a dude from Enterprise met us at the tiny airport with our rental car. We took the car a little deeper up into the mountains to a place called Trackrock and there we spent the day riding horses.
I use to ride horses when I was a kid, but one day, when I was about 6 or 7, the pony I was on decided he was over trotting around in circles and being well behaved and so he made a mad dash for freedom by jumping the pasture fence, while I was still on his back. This sent my 6 year old self into complete panic mode and at that point I felt like I had no option but to throw myself violently from the beast in an effort to get away. I hit the ground hard and was so shock up that I never went on a horse again. Well, that’s a slight lie. I did try again many years later, but the fear was still there. And this frustrated me, cos I know I love to ride horses, but I just couldn’t seem to get passed what happened all those decades ago. Husband on the other hand had only ever been on a horse once before yesterday and that was last March or April, for about 10 minutes. So he has had no bad experiences and therefore no fear.
The trek took us through some of the Georgia mountain forests and even though I was tense and anxious for a while, once I realized the horse I was on was not the loose canon of my younger years, I relaxed and really got into the whole experience. Most of the trekking was through forest but we did get to a portion of open fields where we had the option to let rip on the horse to see what kind of speed they had. This part I wasn’t too sure about. Was I strong and confident enough to control my horse at high speed? I guess there was only one way to find out. So I just took a deep breath and went for it. And let me tell you, it was amazing. It was so much fun I wanted to keep him running. Husband blazed a trail right after me like he was a Kentucky Derby contender for next year. You’d never have thought it was just his second time on a horse. So annoying.
The only down side from the day was soreness. Let me tell you, on that horse you are tapping into muscles you have never used before. I could feel it in my knees, my arms and obviously my ass even before I dismounted. But it went to a whole other level once I did eventually get off the horse. It took a minute for me to recognize my legs under me again and then I got busy trying to identify what exactly was hurting. I listed off all the areas of pain to Husband as we walked to the car and looked for his list in return, just for comparison and to know that I was not alone in my suffering. He assured me I would not be alone and that made me happy. That and the fact that I had now overcome my little horsey fear was enough to keep me buzzing all the way back to Atlanta.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday morning Husband took himself off to L.A for a couple of days, to see the Red Sox play the Angels with a friend of his. So when a friend of mine contacted me to ask if I would meet him after work and assist with a special assignment, I agreed.
The special assignment went a little something like this. My friend has a friend, who by day is a fine, professional, upstanding member of corporate America, but by night, is a fine, professional, upstanding, cross-dressing tranny of Atlanta gay nightlife. Yes, (s)he performs as a fabulous drag queen, at one of the gay bars close to downtown. But the problem is, friends friend, appears to have fallen off the face of the earth lately. Just completely disappeared. (S)he is not answering the cell phone and hasn’t been to either of her jobs in weeks. Nobody knows where (s)he is gone. The only thing people have heard, is that (s)he is in fact alive and well and just getting some much needed rest and recuperation at a little resort like place out in Arizona by the name of Betty Ford. But my friend just wanted to go to her place of work; her evening job if you will, and make sure all was well. However, we never actually made it to that place of work.
We were both starving when we met up, so we decided to grab dinner at a restaurant not far from my house. And since its been a bit of a dark week for Shinkins, we decided a glass of wine was well deserved. Well, one glass led to another and another and maybe another, you know how it goes. Anyway, next thing you know, this middle aged, white man arrived with a key-board, which he proceeded to set up in the corner of the restaurant and began banging out songs that were totally unexpected. We are talking Usher, Ludcris and Outkast, to name just a few. I swear we thought we where hearing things. It just felt so out of context and not at all what I expected a white man in chino’s and a polo shirt to be singing at a restaurant bar on a Friday night. Obviously the songs sounded nothing like the originals, but they weren’t that bad either. What was bad was when all the older people at the restaurant got up and started trying to dance, black girl style to the music. We are talking white women, in the higher end of the age category, booty shakin, gyrating, pop, lock and dropping like they were in the privacy of their own home.
Initially I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things, remember, there was a little splash of wine on board, so I was beating on my friends arm in an effort to get his attention away from the cute bar man and onto the show that was unfolding before us. As soon as he looked, his chin dropped to the floor and his eyes popped out of his head. Good, I wasn’t seeing things. We stared, but some how we felt like we shouldn’t. Like it was wrong, rude or invasive in some way, but how could you not? It took a few minutes for us to come to terms with the whole situation, but once it got to that stage and things started to feel “normal”, who do you thing was up there getting low with all the elderly’s? Yes of course, it was yours truly and friend. I tell you, these elderly’s still know how to party like its 1999.
In the mean time over on the West coast, Husband was getting his own drink on, baseball style and at the 9th inning of a very close game with the Angels, the Red Sox managed to secure victory. To celebrate, Husband decided to quickly jump over the barrier between the crowd and the baseball field and take a short run up and down the top of the Red Sox dugout. Lord knows how, but he managed to get back to his seat without being rugby tackled by any security. However, while he was in the middle of getting heroic high-fives from the surrounding Red Sox fans, security tapped him on the shoulder and had him escorted out of the stadium and he couldn't have been prouder of himself.