Monthly Archives: May 2017

Broken Vows

Nothing means more to me than the vows I made to my wife. She is the most important human being in my life, and I pride myself on keeping the promises I have made to her for the past thirty-six years.

This week I stumbled. I have to come clean. I broke a vow to Peggy that I made almost exactly nine years ago.

I couldn’t help myself. She was so cute; a true damsel in distress. There was really nothing else I could do but stop to help. And that was it…

Nine years ago I went for a walk and came home with two kittens. Actually, I only came home with one. The other was brought to our house a day later because he had been returned by the kid who took him home. I had a feeling it might happen, so I had told the owner to bring him to me if they brought him back.

After that incident Peggy made me promise that I would not bring home any more animals.

This week I broke that promise. I had ankle surgery six months ago, and three mornings a week I go to rehab trying to regain the use of and strength in my leg. This morning on my drive to the facility I saw something in the road and thought an animal had been run over. As I drove by I saw that it was still alive and basically frozen in the road with fear. I turned around and went back, fearing that I would arrive too late. When I got back to the spot she was still alive, so I picked her up and took her home.

Peggy wasn’t expecting me back so soon, so she immediately assumed something was wrong with me. I told her, “I don’t want you to be mad at me, but I really need your help.” The kitten had climbed up behind the glove compartment in my car and I couldn’t reach her — I needed Peggy’s much skinnier arms. I told her to put on her gloves and come to the car.

The kitten was so young she still had her bright blue eyes. She was still scared but she let Peggy reach her and bring her inside.

She has now been at our house for a week. Her eyes have changed to their real color now that she is weaned. And she might be the cutest thing I have ever seen. After a couple of days of adjusting our two adult cats are playing with her.

I am still guilty about breaking my promise to Peggy, but I think she is going to forgive me. In our thirty-two years of marriage this is now the eleventh cat I have brought home (along with three dogs). Our animals live forever, so we will have plenty of time to get used to this one. Since I found her in the road in Louisiana we named her LaRue (but I spelled it LeRoux because all of our animals have names that are food-related — it’s weird, but deal with it). 

Meanwhile, Peggy seems to be warming up to the idea…

My beautiful girls
Being a kitten with two adult cats is just exhausting
Eating like a big girl

At the Box

Peggy and I have a standing date night every Friday night. Sometimes we go out to dinner and then go back to the house to sit on the porch. Occasionally we go to a movie and then go back to the house to sit on the porch. In the spring we sometimes go to the LSU baseball game and then go back to the house to sit on the porch.

This weekend is Mother’s Day, and for the first time in many years we are not traveling anywhere for Mother’s Day weekend. We just got back from a trip to Scottsdale, so we decided to stay home instead of heading out again. Our dog and two cats appreciate the consideration.

Since we are in town we hosted a group of clients in the suite at the baseball game tonight. It is always a great pleasure to host our clients, and doing it in a suite in the best college baseball stadium in America just adds to the enjoyment. We have food, drinks, snacks, game programs — everything you could want to enjoy a baseball game. Oh yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that we have one of the best baseball teams in the country to watch.

I love to watch LSU play any sport, but there is just something about a baseball game that makes it the perfect way to entertain clients. The pace of the game is slower so you can have conversations with people and not miss anything. The noise at a football game makes it hard to relax and visit, but baseball encourages visiting.

Tonight the weather was perfect. It was cool enough that everyone was comfortable without being too cool to enjoy the game. We have had some rain this week but the field was dry and in great shape. The suite was full of excited people ready to have a good time. If this is work I’ll take it every day of the week.

The good guys won. Any guesses about what Peggy and I did after the game?

Geaux Tigers!

Mixing Business and Pleasure

I had to be in Lake Charles for business on Monday and Tuesday of this week, so we decided to mix business and pleasure and come over for the weekend, too. We got here Friday evening in time for dinner. It was perfect gambling weather: too cool to stay outside for very long and too wet to get in the pool. We had a great dinner and then Peggy played slots while I watched sports in the VIP lounge.

Saturday was also cool and wet, but Sunday dawned clear and warmer. It was the kind of day that makes you glad everyone else is checking out of the hotel. We had a leisurely breakfast and then wandered down to the pool for several hours. The pool is never very crowded on Sunday, so it was perfect.

My company does two things every spring that make us very popular. We deliver dividend checks to our customers and we host crawfish boils for our distribution force. I was in southwest Louisiana on Monday delivering checks and then we hosted our Lake Charles crawfish boil on Tuesday night. Delivering the checks is one of the best parts of my job because it shows our customers how much we appreciate them. The crawfish boils are always a huge success, especially when the weather cooperates.

With business out of the way we got down to the real fun.

On Tuesday night one of the restaurants at the casino has karaoke. The singers are actually up on the stage where the live bands play in the Jack Daniels Bar and Grill. Several of my employees had planned work in Lake Charles on Wednesday, and I coerced many of them to come to karaoke. Because I am a man of my word there are no pictures or videos to be shared, but everyone had a great time. Several of them are pretty good singers. None of them could understand why the host kept calling on me to sing with him.

Peggy and I have been here more than a few times on Tuesday, and David likes to have me sing songs with him whenever we are there. I didn’t share this tidbit with my employees. Let’s face it, they don’t need to know the extent of my wife’s gambling…

We are heading back to Baton Rouge in the morning. Since we aren’t getting to travel for Mother’s Day this year, this trip served as proxy for our annual time away. Sometimes it is OK to mix business and pleasure.

As long as you mix them in the right amounts.

Friday night — cool enough for jackets
Sunday afternoon — perfect at the pool

Good Folks

I don’t talk about work a lot. I have a great job with a great company, but I don’t think people are particularly interested in hearing details about what someone else does at work. Every once in a while I make an exception.

We have a group of clients that serve as an advisory council for our company. The members of the council are hand-selected based on the company each represents and the amount of business they have with our company. It is a very efficient way to get feedback, both negative and positive, that helps us run our company more effectively.

Once a year we take this group somewhere for a meeting, and we invite the spouses. Before I came to the company employee spouses were not included. I, however, understand what an amazing asset my wife is in these settings, so as soon as I got here I pushed for spouses to be included. It is especially important on a trip like this when the clients bring their spouses.

These are some good folks. I have always been very careful about understanding the difference between work relationships and friendships, but these folks make you cross the line into friendship. It works to everyone’s advantage, and it makes trips like these a lot of fun.

We meet until noon each day and then we plan an event for everyone during the afternoon and evening. While we are meeting, Peggy usually plans something active for the spouses to do (she is a personal trainer, you know). Not everyone participates, but everyone is invited.

Today we went riding in the desert on ATVs and then went to a ranch for dinner. The ranch has an “Old West” town set up, and we shot pistols and threw axes before dinner. It was a great active day and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

The great saguaro hike
Four-wheeling in the desert
In the Old West. Peggy shot her first pistol, I won the axe-throwing contest.

Tomorrow is our last day out here. I’m ready to get home, but we have really had fun.

And riding the desert in an ATV is an excellent exfoliator.

Blast From the Past

I was sitting here this morning, minding my own business, when a blast from my past shows up on my timeline. I wasn’t ready for it. Here is a memory from thirty-five years ago today:

Peggy’s Senior Prom

The picture brought back all sorts of memories.

By this time we had been together for almost two years, so there was none of the ridiculousness of trying to impress a prom date with how much you can spend. Her mother, a wonderful seamstress, made her dress. My tux rental was all of thirty-five bucks (yes, those are my cowboy boots; they were the only black “dress shoes” I owned). I made and served dinner to her — salad, ribeyes, potatoes au gratin, broccoli, and cherry pie and ice cream — at my parents’ house, then we changed and went to the event at the Union Station, an event center that used to be the train depot in Dallas. We danced and hung out with friends, then we went to the obligatory after-party. Obviously, it was a pretty good evening if I recall all of the details.

When I look at her today I think she is even more attractive than she was then, and that is saying something as you can tell from the picture: she’s just gorgeous. I almost cannot believe that thirty-five years have passed since that night. We have our thirty-second wedding anniversary this summer, so I know it really is, but it just doesn’t seem that long ago. Now, when I look at myself in the picture I realize how long ago it really was!

A lot of life has transpired since that picture was taken, but the best part is that we have done all that life together. Very few people get to share all their memories from high school with someone who was there to enjoy it, but we have that luxury. I was at all the big events of the year with her, so they are our common memories. Her memory is just a little bit better than mine, though.

I wasn’t expecting to think about this today. We are actually in Scottsdale, Arizona on a business trip, but it certainly brightened up my morning! I’ll have to show her what popped up when we get together for lunch today.

I think I’ll let them fix the meal this time…