Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome to 2011 Jessica!

I'm finally doing it, I'm trading in my LG flip phone for a smart phone. I really can't believe this day has come. I haven't had a new phone in about 3 years, and I have never had anything besides a flip phone with t9 texting which I have mastered. For a long time I didn't care what kind of phone I had. I hate phones with full keyboards, who can text like that? I knew my phone was old and that most people had moved on to bigger and better phones with internet and awesome picture-taking abilities, but I didn't care. I stood by my phone and said I would not get a new one until this one broke, because I didn't need a new one and quite honestly I get annoyed with people who stare at their phones all day surfing the web, checking their email or playing games. I did not want to become one of them. In full disclosure, as long as I kept the flip phone I would also stay on my dad's family plan which was a pretty good deal. But as time went on, it became more and more embarassing to talk on my phone in public. The less people I saw using flip phones, the more I thought hmm, I wonder if people are wondering why I am still talking on a phone model from the year 2000?

My phone showed the first signs that it is going to die the other day. Just out of no where the outside and inside screen went bright white. I am pretty familiar with flip phones and have experienced this problem before, so I knew it meant a smart phone was in my near future. Luckily the inside screen worked as long as I kept the phone in the open position. Lucky in that the phone worked, but unlucky in that carrying around an open flip phone is about the only thing worse than carrying a closed flip phone. The funny thing is that about 2 weeks ago I came to the realization that I should probably get a new phone before mine completely dies on me and I lose all of my contacts. Rob somewhat agreed with me, but asked how or why my phone would just up and die on me. I told him to trust me, it always happens like that, these phones just crap out on you sooner or later. And what do you know? Not more than 2 weeks later mine crapped out on me.

When my boss saw my phone one time she asked whose it was, couldn't believe I still used it and said it was "retro." That was putting it nicely. When I told one of my co-workers that I was going to join the real world and get a new phone she thought I meant I was going to be on the show the Real World, and after I explained myself she proceeded to tell me that she's happy I'm getting an iphone and that she has always felt bad texting me because she thought it might take me a while to respond using such an old phone. Seriously, who have I become? Somehow I have allowed myself to become that person who is waay behind the times. And I'm only 27, it's not like I'm an old lady who doesn't get it.

The other night Rob and I went to the Verizon store and made the big switch. In a day or so I should be getting my shiny new white iphone in the mail! It will be new and exciting, though I'm sure I'll be frustrated with it for quite some time until I get used to it. When the guy at the Verizon store told me that once I get the phone in the mail I just need to plug it into itunes on my computer and it'll be all set, my first thought was, "Well that might be a problem because I haven't had itunes since 2009 when my last laptop failed and I haven't re-downloaded it onto my computer since." Instead I just said. "Ok sounds good!" Looks like I'm getting a new phone and itunes.

And this concludes travel tour 2011

We did it! We finally reached the end of our 3 month weekend traveling tour. And don't get me wrong, we loved each and every trip and would do it again in a heartbeat (although Rob did once make the exact comment "we are never doing this again"), but all of the driving and time spent in airports does take a lot out of you. Since August we have been to MI, PA, Boston, Charleston, Clemson, NH, Washington DC, Greenville and we concluded with a surprise Naples, FL trip.

Every November Rob's company takes their employees of the month for the whole year (about 4 win each month) on a long weekend trip to Naples, FL. Rob won in 2008 and 2009, and since they are each allowed to bring a guest I got to go as well. They fly everyone to Naples, give them a rental car and everyone stays at the Naples Grande beach resort, which oddly enough I had stayed at before years ago with my family. It is a really nice time, and though it can feel somewhat like a work obligation for Rob, it feels more like a free beach trip to me. So last year around November Rob's boss asked him if he would see him in Naples and Rob said, "No, I didn't get it this year." His boss acted surprised (even though it is rare for someone to win it 2 times in a row, let alone 3 times) and said, "Well next year you will get it." Rob didn't put much faith in that comment, but I wanted to hold his boss to it. Each month I crossed my fingers and hoped he would win employee of the month, but he never did. So by August when our other travel plans picked up I stopped thinking about Naples so much and figured it's probably best we don't add on another trip to our schedule this fall anyway. Then, at the company meeting on October 3rd Rob found out he got employee of the month for September after all! I was so excited, more so than he was.

We ended up having a great time. The first night they had a cocktail/dinner reception outside by the pool and I got to meet some of Rob's co-workers I had only heard about. Everyone then moved the party inside to the hotel bar, like has happened every year we have gone. Friday we went to the beach, did some shopping downtown, walked the Naples pier and then went to the awards dinner at the Naples Yacht club. Everyone on the trip who works for Granite dreads the awards dinner, because for the first two hours the CEO talks and calls each employee up one at a time to get their award and picture taken. I like that part of the night though, because I think it's interesting to hear what he has to say about different employees. When he presented Rob with his award he said some pretty nice things which made me proud to be his wife. He said how they bent the rules for this employee so he could move to Atlanta and go to grad school because he was too valuable of on employee to lose, and he quoted some of the people he works with from other departments who praised Rob's hard work. Saturday we spent the whole day at the beach and the pool, and that night Granite's COO took us and 5 other couples out to dinner at an amazing steak and seafood restaurant, Chops, downtown Naples. Sunday we had time for a nice brunch and then we were off to the airport.

I say the travel tour is over, but really Rob is flying up to MI this weekend to go to a Michigan triple-header (2 Michigan hockey games and 1 Michigan football game in 2 days) with his dad and brother. Rob did invite me, but I decided it would be better to let the Porter men enjoy their Michigan sports weekend together. The Michigan football game would be fun, but I'm not sure I could handle the 2 hockey games on top of it. Plus this way I can watch Roxanne instead of taking her to the kennel she has grown to hate.

We will be in Atlanta for Thanksgiving day, but then Friday we are off to SC to visit my family and relatives that will be in for the holiday. Then we are done...until Christmas.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Greenville Marathon

One of the best parts of being married to a marathon runner is getting to travel to all of the different cities for the races. I get to be a tourist and a fan, without any of the pain that comes along with running 26.2 miles. Rob ran his 6th marathon a few weeks ago in Greenville, SC at the Spinx Run Fest. This marathon was similar to the marathon Rob ran in Burlington, Vermont in May 2009, which was one of my favorites. Both Burlington and Greenville are smaller but fun, walkable and unique cities with lots of little restaurants and shops. Very different from the huge Boston and NYC marathons, but to really appreciate those events I think you need to experience the smaller races as well. And when I talk about "smaller" marathons, I am not just focusing on the number of runners, but also how the race is planned/executed as a whole. For example, at this race we were able to drop Rob off less than a block away from the start about 10 minutes before the race started. After we dropped him off we waited by the start to watch him go by, and with less than 10 minutes to go before the start of the race, the 4 high school aged kids had not quite figured out how to raise the official Spinx Run Fest banner. Luckily they figured it out in time, or the runners would have all been ducking when they got to the banner.

Rob and I weren't alone on this marathon trip. My mom met us in Greenville Friday evening so that she could help cheer on Rob at the race Saturday morning. It was her first marathon experience and she loved it! It was great having another cheering buddy with me to keep me company during the race, and she was a big help when it came to directions and driving to mile 9/19 where we went to watch Rob go by because that is where the course made a loop and we could see him run by twice at the same spot. After seeing him at mile 19 we drove back into town and saw him at the finish line. One of the unique things about this race was that the finish was inside Fluor Field, Greenville's minor league baseball stadium that is a mini replica of Fenway Park!

Once again, Rob made me a very proud wife. Not just because I can't even picture myself running a 5k let alone a marathon, but because I see day in and day out all of the training and hard work he puts in in the months before the race. The 8:30pm dinners and 7am long runs on the weekends must have paid off, because he didn't just run the marathon, he dominated it. He beat his already impressive personal record by 3 minutes! He crossed the finish line in 3:05:35, finished 15 out of 436 runners, and got 3rd place in his age group. He is already planning his next marathon, which will probably be somewhere in Georgia this spring.