Friday, August 31, 2018

Who's scarier?

via Instagram

Over Norway

via Instagram

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Lacking legroom. Fortunately Oslo isn't too far

via Instagram

Forgot my shoes. Debating if I need another pair

via Instagram

Second place in the race to SAS

via Instagram

Watching planes and walking in Hounslow

via Instagram

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Quiet LAX

via Instagram

Monday, August 27, 2018

Keto dinner

via Instagram

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Did a mile

via Instagram

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ready to put together a pallet wood tray

via Instagram

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lunchtime reclamation

via Instagram

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Back home

via Instagram

Later afternoon at LSU and #sqlsatbr

via Instagram

Friday, August 10, 2018

Quite the line this morning

via Instagram

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Mileage Run Turned Fun

I travel quite a bit for work, sometimes too much. I’ve tried to cut back, and I have, but I’ve ended up with some longer trips. This year I’ll go to London 6 times, which is a lot of miles, and money.

Having some status with an airline makes a difference. I’m a United Platinum level flyer, which is nice. I get upgraded in the US about 25% of the time and get to use lounges for international travel. I also get a few upgrades to use as I see fit and I can book my wife into the larger economy seats when she travels with me. Free bags are nice as well.

As I’ve traveled more, I have tried to get to a status level and stop. For a number of years, that was getting to the Gold level (50,000 miles + $6,000). I’d usually get to the middle of the year and start evaluating trips, trying to cancel or avoid some once I knew I’d get to 50,000. A few years I kept my travel in the 50-55,000 range.

The last two years I’ve made an effort to do less, taking time off for volleyball coaching during the tournament season. While this worked out well in the early part of the year, I’ve ended up with a somewhat crazy late spring and an even crazier Sept/Oct. As a result, I’m going to get a lot of miles and dollars spent with United. Last year I ended up with 81,000 miles, but only about $9,100 spent. That put me into the Platinum Mileage Plus level, but wasn’t close enough to get to 1K. The miles weren’t an issue, but spending another $3,000 didn’t make sense for the additional benefits.

This year is different. I was thinking I’d only get about 55,000 miles, but then an extra London trip appeared in May and I got a 6th scheduled for October. As a result, I knew I’d blow past 75,000 miles, but how far. I started calculating and with some expensive tickets, I realized I was going to be over the $12,000 spend for the 1K status, which includes global upgrades (across the ocean). I never get those, and have rarely paid for them. However, they’re nice when you need to fly overnight and get to work.

In June I had about 42,000 miles and $6,000 spent. When I looked forward at the known trips, I realized that I’d be about 7,000 miles short of the 100,000 for that level. Since the money is usually the hard part, I knew I needed to get a mileage run in.

I almost did one a few years ago. I was at 48,000 miles and actually booked a flight, a one day, DEN-BOS-MCO-DEN trip, but had to cancel since something came up. This year, I started looking for another run, but it’s hard to get 7,000 miles in the US. I could put together 2-3 $300 trips that would get the distance, but that seemed like a lot of work.

Then I saw the United sale to China. I started thinking, hey, that’s a good trip. I checked there, and a number of other places. I looked at Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, and more. Eventually I found that China and Hoing Kong were the best runs for the money. For $700, I could get 15,000 miles. That’s way more than I could get in the US for that price, plus I could spend a night in Hong Kong. However, at $700, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go alone.

I asked my wife where she was with miles and status. It doesn’t make much difference for her, but at that price, we could have a nice adventure together. As I wrote recently, experiences are better than things, and while a little pricey, this seems like an experience we’d enjoy.

We started looking and ended up finding a few dates that will work. Like the United magazine articles Three Perfect Days, we’ll get four. A crazy schedule, but I’m excited to go see Asia, a place I’ve never been.  That being said, here’s my Oct schedule:

Oct 8-10 – Washington DC

Oct 11-14 – New York

Oct 16-19 – London

Oct 25-26 – Chicago

Oct 27-31 – Hong Kong

Plus I have a trip a week before and one a week after this.

Then I’ll rest and do nothing until April, other than two office visits.

Now I need to find some fun stuff to do in Hong Kong with my lovely wife.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Happiness, Retirement, and Time

I ran across an article on retirement myths and clicked. It’s getting close to the time I can think about retirement, so I decided to sip a cup of coffee and see what someone had to say.

I immediately saw things I loved and hated, so I’m commenting on a few items here.

First, Hunter S Thomson is right, though he’s a bit of an extremist.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”"

Enjoy yourself and use your body. Take care of it to give it some durability, but use it as well. The same thing in your lifestyle. Don’t be too cautious or afraid. Expect things to go wrong. Enjoy the ride, the ups and downs.

19. Money is overrated. – True, money is a means to an end. Spend wisely most of the time, superfluously sometimes. Use money for an experience when you can. Travel, visit relatives, pay them to come to you, go see a friend or a place.

18. Time is your most valuable asset – True throughout life. I learned this after 40, but it’s true in work and play. Time is valuable, so use it. You still need breaks and rest, but time matters more than money. If you make the trade to get more money for your time, balance that out by taking more time away from money later.

17. Stop searching for happiness -  Just like not trying to buy your way to satisfaction with things. I love cars, and I’d like new ones, but I enjoy the one I have and appreciate it. Actually, I have fun driving rental cars, even that tiny Kia Soul. However, the bigger message is to learn to enjoy the things you experience. For me, recently watching my kids hike and get ahead of me. Even while I’m struggling, I smile at their success. Cooking dinner, and the experience of planning, cutting, assembling. I appreciate small moments. A good run down a ski slope, a nice lap swimming. A minute staring at my wife and remembering how wonderful she has made my life.

There are still bad times, but get through them and appreciate the experience there. Learn to avoid some, but know you can’t avoid all.

16. Your bucket list is crap. – It’s a poor title, and I disagree a bit. Making a list could be deferral, but not making a list if worse. Make a list, and make goals. I used to try and knock off one thing a year. Just one. I had big and small things. I’ve gotten away from the list, and can’t decide if I want to put another together. I feel the pressure of the list, and that can be good, especially as my kids grow and I have more time with my wife. I’m more willing to spend money on life, not things now.

15. Comfort is overrated. The magic in life takes place at the edges of our comfort zones.

I need to learn this better.

14. Go with your feelings. You don’t have to intellectualize or justify everything you want to do.

I really need to learn this better.

12. You get to choose what matters. True, but for most of us, it’s not just us. It’s also our partner, our family, our friends. Balance that out, making yourself important, butt also learning and enjoying the relationships in life.

10. Let it go. Everyone has regrets, but don’t live a life of sorrow.

I really think about this in business. Once we’re in, we’re in. I read this about the NASA SLS rockets and thought, most people are thinking we’ve built some rockets, invested $xx, so we should consider that. Not really. Whether we use them or don’t, that money is gone. Look forward from here, ignoring the previous actions.

Same in life. Move on, learn from the past, maybe have regrets, but they can’t drive you and you can’t dwell on them. Of course, I’ve had a great life and I’m in a great place. I wouldn’t take away any of my mistakes because I wouldn’t then end up here.

7. Ambition can be a killer

Maybe, but be ambitious outside of work. Be ambitious in many ways. See things, meet people do better in lots of ways.

5. It is okay to fail. Failure is part of life even in retirement. Failure teaches valuable lessons.

I agree. Fail fast, fail small, but take some chances. Don’t expect perfection, from yourself or others. Especially your kids.

1. Even though you are retired, you don’t have enough time for everything.

This is really about making choices. Choices are hard in many cases, because we want to do everything. Now.

We can’t. Make choices, accept them, circle back and tackle something else later. Those are good choices.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

At Grinnell Glacier

via Instagram

Obligatory entrance sign photo

via Instagram

Friday, August 3, 2018

Wyoming tunnels on the way home

via Instagram

KJ on top of the trail

via Instagram

Thursday, August 2, 2018

I'm on a horse

via Instagram

Today's view

via Instagram

Coffee choices in Cody

via Instagram

Waking up in Wapiti, WY

via Instagram

Rand Creek Ranch horses waiting for their ride

via Instagram

A beautiful campsite in St Mary

via Instagram

Glacier National Park from St Mary

via Instagram

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Relaxing in camp

via Instagram