Archive for January, 2008

The Captain in the New Year

The beginning of 2008 has turned out to be quite a bit busier than I anticipated.  I’ve been preoccupied with several things, some of which fall under the “things not to blog about” rule.  Besides those, here’s what kept me occupied the last couple of weeks.

Ringing in the New Year

My favorite part of the holiday season is New Years.  It’s essentially a celebration of the passage of time.  What better reason to get dressed up and have a few drinks!  New Years Eve is the one holiday that has consistently been a blast.1

Megan and I spent the last few days of 2007 at the same place where we began the year, the Renaissance in Sarasota.  We stayed three nites with our old neighbors Amir and Julie.  With no real plans to speak of, we kicked back and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.  We went to the beach, walked over our favorite bridge, enjoyed nice leisurely meals, and had an occasional drink.  We also got to meet Grace, the newborn daughter of our friends Rob and Leslie.  Check out Megan showing off her uncanny ability to makes babies cry.

The highlight of our trip was New Years Eve.  We ended up spending the nite with six other couples at a swanky steak house in downtown Sarasota.

The gals definitely classed the joint up

The guys, not so much

With the entire patio reserved for our group we were able to enjoy the fine weather and even finer cuisine.  Check out me with twin lobster tails!

We rang in the New Year with a champagne toast.  And then spent the rest of the nite back at the Renaissance.  It was one hell of a classy way to celebrate the end of The Year of the Captain.

Business Travel

Airports are miserable, exhausting places.  Wearing a suit on a plane is no fun.

Sports and Television

The beginning of the year is usually the time that I focus on the upcoming sweeps month and Spring Training.  This year I think that professional sports and broadcast television are trying their hardest to make me uninterested.  With the writers strike killing television and the Cardinals dismantling the team this off-season, my 2008 has involved much more music and reading than usual.  With not much to look forward to, it’s actually a nice change of pace.2

Rob Face Redux

My buddy Rob has a history of unintentionally ruining group photos.  He somehow makes a stupid face every time a camera flashes.  Here he is ruining a picture at Amir’s wedding.

Rob stayed true to form and ruined our New Years photo.  Well done my friend.

Preventing Megan From Bringing Home A Dog

Megan has wanted a dog for over a year now.  I have become an expert at coming up with reasons not to get one.  We can’t have one in a high-rise, not until after the wedding, not until after the holidays….  Well, I’m officially out of excuses.  Megan is currently researching toy fox terriers.  If anyone has any spare excuses, please let me know.

Ciao,

The Captain

1  Every New Year’s Eve I’ve spent with Megan has been classier than the last.  Two years ago we did Chicago.  Last year we watched the orange drop in downtown Sarasota.  Next year we’ll have to get some Cristal or eat a faberge egg or something.

2  Well, except Lost of course.  I can’t wait for the new season.  Flash-forwards off the island are going to rock.

The Captain Looks Back At His Year

One year ago I officially declared 2007 to be the Year of the Captain.  While I certainly didn’t have the best year ever, I somehow managed to shatter my own extremely high expectations for 2007.  Now that the Year of the Captain has sailed on, join me as I reflect back on a year that I will never forget.

Boating

Joining the Freedom Boat Club was the best decision I made all year.1

I spent a good chunk of my free time taking boats like this

Stationed behind the wheel

And taking my friends out for cruises around the bay.

I managed to take just about everyone I know out on a boat ride at some point this year, and from a variety of locations.  I took out boats in Sarasota, Venice, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Destin, Miami, and the Chesapeake Bay!  Learning to operate a boat in ocean waters was a challenging but highly rewarding task.  All my dreams of becoming a captain were realized by the end of the year.  The Freedom Boat Club officially made 2007 the Year of the Captain.

Getting Hitched

As I’m sure you probably already know, 2007 was the year that I married my high school sweetheart.

The preparation, execution, and follow-up of the wedding consumed most of my time during the Year of the Captain.  Looking back, I can honestly say it was worth every second.  By completing most of the prep-work ahead of time, Megan and I were able to really enjoy our time in Fort Myers. The five-day event was one non-stop good time.  I got to hang out with all of my favorite people in a tropical setting.

It was like taking a vacation with everyone I know, but cooler.

And best of all, my family and friends witnessed me professing my love for that little spitfire of a woman that I married.

Sarasota

Living in Sarasota was also a large part of the Year of the Captain.  Living in a high-rise condo by the bay was super exciting for beach lovers like Megan and I.  Check out the view we woke up to in the morning

Living three miles from the beach and ten miles from the boat dock was extremely exciting and convenient.  Moving away from the beautiful beaches was definitely one of the more difficult things we had to do this year.  Who would want to move away from this?

Lost 25 pounds

I started the Year of the Captain with a goal in mind:  Lose 30 pounds and write 30 blogs.  While I didn’t quite reach my goal, I was very happy with the results.  At years end, I was down 25 pounds.  Not too shabby.  Several people asked me how I was able to drop the weight.  I did it the old fashioned, boring way:  diet and exercise.  2007 saw me return to running for the first time in years.  Living in Sarasota really gave me the incentive that I needed to get going.  Out my front door it was a three mile run over a gigantic bridge to the beach.  The gorgeous view really kept me motivated.  Check out the bridge over Sarasota Bay

I managed to drop my mile run under 7:30 for the first time in years, and wound up feeling and looking better than I had for quite a while.  Now that the year is over, I feel ready to keep active and set new goals.

Caribbean

My first trip away from America was thanks to the Year of the Captain.  While initially planning on honeymooning in Italy, we ended up spending a week in the Caribbean.  Even though the honeymoon started off on a bad note2, the trip was a huge success.

St. Lucia was equal parts exciting and relaxing.  We spent half of our time down on the beach…

…and the other half up in the mountains

Since I have already discussed the trip in great detail, I’ll simply say that it was everything that a honeymoon should be and then some.

New Job

While many things changed in the past year, perhaps the biggest was my new job.  I won’t bore you with the detail of my employment, and instead point out that the Year of the Captain saw a return to an old frenemy, business traveling.

New Drinking Buddy

The Year of the Captain saw the replacement of my drinking buddy.  The two-time champ and rookie fan-favorite Bill was replaced by the seasoned veteran Amir.  This Egyptian power-house and I set a new team record for high-class boozing in 2007.  From classy drinks in fancy establishments

To shot-gunning beers on a boat

To cigars and a hookah on a patio, we ran the gambit.  So let me take this opportunity to raise a glass to Amir, as I did so many times in the Year of the Captain.  He’s the only booze hound I would trust to marry me.3

Five Weddings

We managed to attend five in 2007, and four of them were in the span of one month!  Megan and I were a part of our good friends Jamie and Rachel’s wedding back in February

And we had a blast at the wedding of Amir and Julie.

We also managed to attend:The St. Louis wedding of Megan’s best friendThe New Jersey wedding of my fatherThe Virginia wedding of Megan’s NYU friend Alison It turns out that the Year of the Captain was a good year for getting married.

Vegas

Apparently I traveled to Las Vegas with a few friends at some point during the Year of the Captain.  Despite overwhelming photographic evidence such as this

I still deny any knowledge of such a trip.

St. Louis in Florida

The Year of the Captain felt a little more like home thanks to my teams playing in Florida.  While 2007 was not a good year for St. Louis sports, I lucked out and was able to catch my favorites here in Florida before everyone realized how terrible they truly were.  I got to catch the Cardinals a couple of times in spring training while they were still on their World Champion afterglow.  I even got to meet the Cardinals President, Mark Lamping.

Elsewhere, I was able to catch a Rams game at the beginning of the season, before the team became a laughingstock.  Watching a terrible game wasn’t so bad thanks to the great seats my uncle scored.

Cheering on the home team here in Florida was a blast, no matter the outcome.  While my teams did poorly, this St. Louis guy was an absolute winner in the Year of the Captain.

Captain’s Quarters

Probably the most apparent result of the Year of the Captain is my renewed love of writing.  I originally started writing as a way to keep in touch with all my friends who I would see at the wedding.  By years end my restored love of writing had officially transformed me into a blogger, and Captain’s Quarters was born.  Hopefully you have enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed creating and maintaining them.  2007 created a monster, and now the monster is loose.  Beware.

I’ll take this opportunity to close out the Year of the Captain with a picture that pretty much sums up my year.  In this pic, Amir and I are headed back to the Freedom Boat dock at top speed.  We are about two hours away from the dock where our boat is due back in an hour and a half.  During our return, a helicopter buzzed us and took this picture.  Here I am under the gun, full speed ahead with a smile on my face.  That was the Year of the Captain.

Ciao,

The Captain

1  Besides marrying Megan, of course.

2  How we managed to bring everything we needed with us except our passports is beyond me.  Everything worked out and it has since just become another funny story.

3  By that I mean perform the ceremony, not be my man-wife.

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