Do y'all have any idea how hard it is to go back to work (and living on the beach) after being on vacation? Why do I submit myself to such agonizing torture? Is it because I have all these frequent flyer miles? Or there was an accounting typo and I was credited 1865 hours of vacation instead of 18.65? Nah... (Actually, I called in the keypunch error and it was, uh, corrected. I guess Steve P. and all his "Save the Change" stuff actually got to me)
And it's not bad enough that I'm on my second straight assignment in sunny Tampa, Florida, but here I go writing about another vacation. This time, I completed two back-to-back vacations. Life sure is rough.
The setting for this story is ski country. First stop: Lake Tahoe. The TDS Project cast had scoped out a condo to house the twelve us for the week of New Year's. Naturally, the TDSers (Pam Dunn, Scott Heath, Jaye Shaw - pronounced "Hsia", Dave Mosley, LouAnn Trojcak) and their friends were the first to arrive and took the real beds. Amy Force, John Morse and I had trekked coast to coast just to get stuck with bunks constructed of mouse pads stapled to particle board. Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but it was bad.
The skiing was good some days, and overcrowded other days. LouAnn got the award for the best wipeout, flawlessly completing an end-over-end tumbling exercise with skis intact. But then again, there's more to do than ski in Tahoe. Just ask Scotty, who blew out his ACL (anterior-cruciate somethingorother) a week earlier and still came on the trip. Gambling, snowmobiling, hot-tubbing, New Year's, dining, etc, was all "encapsulated" in Lake Tahoe (sorry, I had to put that in there to keep the Techies interested). Even the late night pictionary game turned into a riot. LouAnn's rendition of a cockpit closely resembled something that looked like a drunk rat. But it was the Nielsen contingent (John and myself) who eventually won. John also lucked out on the Nevada side of Tahoe. Having never seen a slot machine before, he hit a 480 quarter jackpot on slots. This won't do much for curing his gambling addiction.
The New Year's Eve celebration lasted all night (at least for Dave, who played craps until the sun came up). The main street into casino row was closed off to traffic and patrolled by a battalion of riot police, but it was still impossible to control our own direction of travel in the crowds. In any case, the next day, the vacation culminated as we watched the Aggies lose in the Cotton Bowl (Hook'em).
After Tahoe, it was off to San Jose for part of a day en route to my next vacation. That day happened to occur around my birthday (Jan 3). So the celebrating continued, as we toured Los Gatos, and the always thrilling TDS housing accommodations.
Next stop: Breckenridge. I knew the trip would be interesting as soon as I disembarked from the plane and saw Greg Businelle with a sign that said "MICHAEL CHANG". (I apparently look just like the handsome fellow) Needless to say, I had to fight off the onlookers to get my snowboard. Eventually, we arrived at our luxurious accommodations. And there was Chip Sherwood with his portable liquor cabinet who's first task was to continue the celebration of my birthday. Here we go again...
With this crowd (mainly Nielsen BSGers) of ten, the emphasis was skiing (or snowboarding). Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper. Sure there were side trips, like to Vail for dinner ($) or gambling in Blackhawk ($$$), but we were there primarily to ski.
So there we were on the slopes. Skiers of all calibers, with distinct techniques. There was Gregg Ruben (Gert) who preferred the challenges of skiing down stairs (thump, thump) to the actual slopes. Most skiers take off their skis before entering the lodge. There was Chip, who made several valiant attempts to join the 101st Airborne, but to no avail. And then Dean Draper. Ah, yes. Dean the man. There was never a problem finding which run he was mastering. First, you'd find his long elf hat. Then a glove, a pole, a ski, another ski, another pole, and then smiling Dean. As for me? No style, just the usual: another injury. But it wasn't sustained by shredding moguls, or catching air on a black. Rather, it was running through the parking lot and tripping over my snowboard. Very embarrassing. So why am I telling y'all this?
And of course, we had to break out our cellular phones. Talk about obnoxious. Ring, ring!
"Hello, Mike? It's Chip. I just crashed on Crescendo. Dude. Awesome jump! Where are you?"
"I'm on the B1 chairlift with Rob Engelhardt, Peak 9. What's up?"
"Greg B, Kevin Smith called from Peak 8. There's fresh powder, and no lift lines. Lunch at Peak 8?"
"Sounds great! We'll be right over. I'll call Dean and Gert. Their lesson should be over soon."
After tumbling down the slopes, we'd relax in the condo hot tub, with soothing music, good conversation and Chip's secret formula apple cider. Some of us then headed off to town. A very good all-encompassing trip. Well, that about wraps it up. I'm all vacationed out, at least for another month or so. I guess it's time to start filling my overtime bank again. Anybody up for biking/rafting the Grand Canyon?