As I told Chris why I hadn’t met him the night before, his eyes were wide, “That’s Crazy!” “Yeah… I suppose… but, if I said ‘I drove from Austin to South Florida, and it was a breeze… that wouldn’t be very interesting.” Here’s what happened.
While I was in Costa Rica, I decided that I’d like to go spend some quality time with my parents. None of us are getting any younger, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen them. When I called them up and asked if they’re cool with it, they were thrilled. So, 2-3 weeks in February was what we decided on, and then I also lucked out and ended up having a 13 hour layover on my flight back to the United States, so, I got to have dinner with them in January, before hitting Dallas.
I love Austin, but the only reasons I stayed until February were that David Gonzaelz was holding another Internet Marketing Party (and he gets irate when I leave town right before the event, and don’t make it), and my good buddy Rob Burns was coming into town for that event as well. I hadn’t seen Rob in a while, and I missed him, so it was worth staying. We had an epic day of hanging out, followed by an epic night of hanging out. Internet Marketing Party was a blast. I ran into another really close friend I hadn’t seen in a while (Jesse Jameson), and now have an invite to go snowmobile and ski in Breckenridge, CO in March.
Since Rob was flying out Wednesday at 6pm, I was going to leave town about that same time, then drive to Dallas for four hours, hang out with friends, and leave for Gainesville, FL in the morning. However, at 3AM, while losing my voice from telling so many jokes at the Thai place , Jonathan Herberts informs us that the weather will literally be freezing by noon. This was not cool. Wrecking to black ice once is enough. Change of plans. As I curled up to bed at 5AM with my laptop, I skyped Brandie to see if she can figure out where the storm is going to be, and where I can go to avoid it.
I got up, packed up, and punched in Gainesville into my new phone (Oh yeah… I’m finally done with my Palm Treo! I got an LG Optimus S, which was cool.. but had some glitches that pissed me off… so I just traded it in on Tuesday for a Samsung Epic… NOW I’m happy. Geez, the things I can do with that phone (That’s what she said)). ‘s GPS, and it concurred with Brandie’s route that I should get on I10, and not go up to Dallas, to I-20. I got on the road at 1:15PM, and hauled ass. It was 28 degrees out, and I had seen a few snow flakes fly by. Tweets from Dallas were telling me that Dallas would be 18 degrees by morning. I was also informed that I’m about to drive into a storm and freezing weather, so watch out.
I was cold, and the heater didn’t help much because it made me sleepy. I would use it when my windows fogged up.
Icicles on signs made me nervous…. but the road seemed dry. The weather slowly warmed to 30 degrees, then I hit the rain. My car slid around a tiny bit, but I think that was more from the force of the wind than the rain. It wasn’t enough to spin me around. The gloomy weather was not fun though… I like my daytime driving to be blue. It was only once the temperature rose to 36 degrees that my hands eased up on the wheel.
Once I had driven for 5 hours, the temperature rose to 41 degrees, and stayed at that level until I arrived in Gainesville at 8am. It hadn’t stopped raining at all.
I had used the wrong cable with my phone, so I was not able to transfer audio books onto it. This was quite frustrating, as I had to do music and news the whole way. It’s nice to hear that both Katy Perry and Pink have songs out with a positive message (Fireworks, and F’ing Perfect). But damn… everything gets overplayed…. especially on an 18 hour drive. I did switch between radio and Pandora. By the way, if you want to do your own version of the Fireworks video, I suggest playing with a program called Particle Illusion.
I barely stopped for bathroom breaks. I only stopped for gas. For food, I had home made Kale chips that I made with my buddy Perry’s dehydrator using this tasty recipe for Kale Chips. I also had a few boxes of Wheat Thins sent to me by the Wheat Thins team, since I praised them on their awesome marketing campaign “The Crunch is Calling”. Oh yeah… and I got 3 $0.99 McChicken sandwiches with no lettuce. I’m not sure why some places have them spicy, and others have them non-spicy. I prefer the non-spicy version.
My pun that evening was that pumping gas is so cool. Yeah… it was 41 degrees out for a long long time.
I got to my little brother’s new place in Gainesville around 8am. His dog, Nugget, remembered me. He wouldn’t leave me alone. He didn’t let Itay take him on a walk, he didn’t even want to sleep in Itay’s room. He just wanted to hang around me. That was so sweet… Nugget’s getting a little old now, but he’s still so adorable… and his tail still stings like a barb!
I completed a small project before going to sleep… I had promised that I’d have it on Thursday, and it was thursday morning… so I got it done. Fell asleep. Woke up, went to Brunch with Itay, then got on the road to Orlando. I was going to meet up with some people in Gainesville, but I also hadn’t planned on sleeping in until 2:45pm.
I gave Itay a big hug, and got on my way again. The rain had of course picked back up again. Now I was heading to Orlando, to grab some coffee with some friends there. That too didn’t quite happen.
Apparently, the whole “You get 30 miles to drive once your gas light comes on” is more of an urban legend… and definitely does not apply when your car is filled to the brim with belongings to weigh it down. The light came on, I didn’t keep an exact tally of the mileage, and next thing I know, the motor sputters… but roars back to life, then sputters…. it was clearly gasping for air (gas). Like Irony? I do!
I ran out of gas, and let my car glide as far as it would go… which was 1/2 a mile from the next exit, and 10 feet after the “Gas at this exit” sign. So… there’s the sign for gas stations ahead, with my car out of gas in front of it. Lovely.
More irony you crave? Well… ok.. I have more. So, less than a week ago, I get to Kate Buck Jr’s house to hang out for Superbowl weekend. She’s telling me the tale of how her gas light came on, and she was freaking out, and barely made it to a gas station. What do I say? “Oh… I wouldn’t worry about it. You see, when that gas light comes on, you still have 30 miles to go.” See the irony here?
So.. I’m on the side of the Florida Turnpike with all my worldly belongings (except the 2 remaining boxes at Kate’s Garage– down from 5 boxes. A computer that Craig has in storage, some photo lights at Rob’s house, and a few of my old paintings at my parents’ house). My buddy Johnny Diggz just happened to have a gas canister in his car, and was willing to come get me…. but Orlando is a bitch to navigate… you have to go through all sorts of tolls, and lots of lengthy bits of road to get between sections of the turnpike. I told Johnny not to worry about it, as I got AAA.
I called them up, they call me back and say it’ll be within the hour. Really? It takes an hour to get a truck to me when I’m on a major road? Oh well. I had my wheat thins, water, internet on my phone… I was good to go. I actually fell asleep while waiting. When I woke up because there was the AAA guy knocking on my window, I realized that I had run out of battery while waiting. Maybe I left my lights on. I’m not sure, but it was good that it was AAA, they can fix everything.
So, Chris Hughes now had to cancel on our meeting, ’cause it was almost 10PM now. Joel Lepp said he’d still come out, and Johnny Diggz and I were going to hang out regardless of the time. Now, instead of coffee, I went to Johnny’s house, and from there to his Dueling Piano Bar (it’s pretty fun to have a friend that owns a dueling piano bar. We got a lot of attention from the cute waitresses, and the band members kept coming to hang out with us, and it was 3 for 1 drinks), Baby Grands.
Joel met us there. The thing that sucked was that I ordered 20 wings, so he could join in…. but when he got there I learned that he is a vegetarian. I know Joel from ENTP.org– a site I visited for a bit when I found out that I am an ENTP on the Myers Briggs scale. I was on a hunt for others like me. Joel seems more mild mannered than me, but when he jumped the rail and went on the dance floor impersonating the really drunk guy, his wild streak was pretty evident. I was highly amused. And then, he had to go.
Johnny and I spent our time there brain storming. His company Tropo does incredible things– they have an API that lets you add voice, text, sms, fax, email, IM, and much more to any of your web applications. That’s actually how I met Johnny Diggz! I was speaking at the 140Conf on Creating Serendipity… Johnny was also speaking about Geeks Without Bounds.
Watch Johnny’s presentation, it’s mind blowing what they are doing to change the world with their technology.
There’s not much more to the story. I ended up brainstorming with Johnny on some cool new ways they can grow the company some more. It’s always flattering to put my skills to good use with such impressive companies. He gave me a tour of their downtown Orlando office… quite cool. Then it was off to Johnny’s house, where we kept brainstorming, then watched a lecture by Rushkoff… interesting fellow!
It was time for sleep. But I gotta say Johnny has the coolest couch of all the couches I’ve been on. I slept in a bed, but that couch is friggin awesome! I’m going to have him send me a photo of it. His lights are all motion sensor activated / deactivated as well! Totally rad.
Today I woke up, had coffee with Chris Hughes, since I didn’t get to see him last night. I can’t help but business consulting! It’s what I”m wired for… so that was our 1st meeting. We know each other through Facebook and the internet marketing community.
I made a pit stop in Wellington, to meet a new client, and tour their facility. Then I finally made it home. Let the quality time begin.
Home made food (Mushroom Blintz) for dinner, along with a cup of tea. Then mom and dad asked me if I want to watch a movie with them. We watched “The Resident” and it sucks. There is no point to that movie except to make people feel creeped out, and women feel freaked out about moving in to a place, ’cause their landlord may be raping them in their sleep. I will say that Hillary Swank looks uber-hot in it.
Since that movie sucked, dad apologized, and said “Let’s watch another” -so we watched yet another movie, which also wasn’t anything to write home about. So…. now I’m writing late at night.
What do the next two weeks hold? Working on my book and projects, and then doing the things that mom and dad like- so… I’ll be playing card games, board games, watching movies, and I think we’ll even go to the beach. Wish me luck. Too much loving drives me bonkers. Tonight it was”Would you like to sit here?” “No… I’m fine. I’m already being productive” “Here, I cleared off space for you” “Really, I’m fine. Since you’re standing next to the power strip though, could you plug my laptop in?” “But I plugged the light in, don’t you want light?” “No mom, I don’t need light. I need electricity, thank you.” “Are you sure you don’t want to sit here?” (I’m sitting there now by the way).
My parents are adorable. I love them. I can endure two to three weeks of being loved. Their happiness is worth a 23 hour drive through crap weather.