Patience in the Storm of Murphy’s Law

I’m sitting here at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, near Disneyland. It’s Saturday morning and the breakfast hall is filled with anxious children, worn down parents, and crying babies. The breakfast, pretty typical for a motel, isn’t too bad. The coffee is hot which is good because it’s terrible. Good coffee, the really good stuff—freshly roasted, brewed heavy, bowel shakingly strong—doesn’t matter what temperature it cools down to. It has flavor, you see.

Today marks a week of travel for my wife and I. Our goal was to find a place to live in Rochester, NY, so we flew over there and stayed a few days. I met with the University as well, discussing what I need to get in order.

We stayed with old friends, met with new people, found some internet people (Tony, I’m glad you’re a real person. You just never know!). We drove to, what felt like, every corner of Rochester searching for apartments.

There and Back Again

It’s been a rough week of travel. We had rental car issues and hotel issues; our Chicago layover turned into a mid-life crisis (a storm came in—on our way back to LAX—and the lightning grounded all flights).

So we sat in the terminal. Every few minutes we’d find out our flight was delayed further. Many flights were cancelled, so we were thankful, at least, ours wasn’t. As the night progressed, lines built up, people paced, airport employees updated through indecipherable intercoms.

I was mixed. Yes, I desperately wanted to leave, but no, I didn’t want to die in a Chicago storm. The storm would pass and I was fine waiting. After all, we packed Redbox DVDs and found a seat near a charging plug.

As the night turned later, people’s attitudes grew dimmer. I wont lie and say that I didn’t complain, because I did. Ultimately though, I was starkly reminded that worrying and complaining—literally—get’s you nowhere.

We were stuck in an airport and had nothing to do but practice patience.

With the Lord’s favor, we made it back to LA in time to pick up Megan’s sister and her sister’s friend who traveled down to visit. Before that, we were able to check into our sketchy Los Angeles motel and soak in two hours of sleep. Then we headed back to the airport to pick up her sister and then head to Disneyland. For two days.

With a full day of Disneyland on just two hours sleep—you could imagine—my wife and I wanted nothing more than a little sleep.

So we checked into our motel, opened the door, and my wife’s eyes widened. “Ummm…”

I peeked around the corner and saw this:


The four of us stood there, weathered and jet lagged. We looked at each other and erupted into laughter.

Thanks, La Quinta. I’m thankful, but this test in patience wasn’t necessary. I’ve had my fill this week. Also, the coffee just cooled and it tastes like the devil.

Do you have any travel horror stories? Any good layover tips? What do you think?

Fearing Fear and Then Punching Fear in The Face

origin_2768351879I remember standing in line at Space Mountain, Disneyland—six years old or so. My older brother and sister were there, maybe my mom. Yeah, definitely my mom.

Knees buckling. Tears building. Fear grabbing.

Space Mountain? Could there be so terrible a place? My brother was pushing me along in line; this was not a good sign. He was always trying to get rid of me. What evil plan had he concocted now?

Escape. I had to. Closer and closer we inched, past the TVs and the red, terrifying flashing lights. Finally, it came. The exit door. After an hour, we were so close to getting on the ride.

I could just do it, I thought, go on the ride. Would I really fall out?

I looked left and saw the exit sign, then to the right towards a deeper entrance to the ride, then to my brother who was evilly nodding his head. Now or never, I thought.

Tears bottled up, I went for it. Running as fast as I could towards the door, kids laughed behind me and I heard my brother yell. I bursted through the exit; bright-white concrete sun blinded my eyes and I collapsed on concrete—crying my head off.

New Fears, Old Chum

For those of you who may have missed the news, Rochester, New York is now officially in our sights. Scholarships and grants came through in a big way from the University there. We’ll be moving sometime in summer.

See kids, dreams do come true.

It’s bittersweet, really. We’ll be leaving San Luis Obispo—SLO town—and I love it here. I grew up here. I moved away for a number of years; since we, my wife and I, moved back, our time here has been well spent and well loved.

Old chums, new pals, boogie boards, farmers market, breakfast burritos—reconnecting.

All good things come to an end? I guess; new things can be good too. Also scary.

Fear, get out of my face. 

It’s too easy to fall into fear’s trap. We listen to the negative over the positive; we cave in and take the easy way out. The greatest, most terrible side-effect of fear is that it keeps us from doing what we love: accomplishing goals, moving across country, or say, eating octopus.

What if fear was just a tool that we could use for our gain? Recently, I’ve come to terms with fear. Well, I’m trying to at least. See, fear isn’t some trick of the devil. It isn’t Satan’s test. It’s just a test.

Without fear, personal cost couldn’t be measured. For example, would the water be as sweet if I didn’t fear jumping off the rock? Would it even be worth it? I’m starting to wonder.

I encourage you to embrace fear for what it is: a mere tool. Use it for YOUR gain. Mark your dreams by how much they scare you, then reach for the scariest one.

When fear over steps its boundaries, punch it in the face and go on the ride. Space Mountain is totally worth it.

medium_47529326Photo Credit Top [http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyworldsecets/2768351879/]

Photo Credit Bottom [http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeandy/47529326/]

Rider’s Block: A Bus Story

Life getting you down? Hitting writer’s block? Need a little inspiration?

This last weekend my wife and I went to Anaheim for the NAMM Conference and for Disneyland. If you’ve never been to NAMM, or don’t know what I’m talking about, I would suggest googling it for a quick answer. This is not a blog about NAMM—although I may still write one.

This is not a blog about Disneyland, churros, or turkey legs either, though yes, I will probably write one soon. That new Cars ride in California Adventure sure is something special.

No, I have something far more interesting to write about. See, I rode the bus today. The city bus. Yeah, I washed my hands.


When you ride public transportation in a new area for the first time, as I did today, there’s one thing to learn and remember: On the city bus, everything is tolerated except for holding up the driver. In another words, ask quick questions, have your money ready, and mount the steed. It’s worth noting that every one is either crazy and filthy, a college student, or a combination of both. So if you don’t know the rates or exactly where the bus is going, keep confident and don’t stress over it — you’re doing fine.

The first gentlemen I talked to was a middle school teacher in Cayucos, CA. He was nice. We talked about guitar, which I teach, and art, which he teaches. There were brief discussions about the economy and the weather. His name was Eric.

Eric left about half way through my hour long ride somewhere in Morro Bay. Not long after, my new best friend and his dog jumped on board. He didn’t have any money and somehow convinced the driver to let him on.


First, he sat across from me. The lady next to him happened to be afraid of dogs and it became uncomfortable quick. “Is that a service animal?” she asked with a snarl.

“Yes,” the man answered, never turning his head towards her. He was dressed nice, an older man with a weathered linen, brown-suit and a fedora that left me jealous. His dog, Wiley, sat in his lap and was well behaved.

It’s hard to figure out some people on the bus. He had all the makings of a normal guy and if I hadn’t heard his fare finagling from the street, I would’ve assumed him as such.

“Is that a service animal,” the woman repeated the question with an even uglier snarl.

“I told you,” he said, raising his voice, “How many times do I need to tell you?” The bus fell silent. Finally, the old man looked at me. “That taken?” he asked, pointing at my seat sounding angry.photo copy

I shook my head, not wanting to offend him as he already displayed his temper. You hear stories about the bus, about people who are normal one second and then start throwing feces the next. I guess I was worried he was a loose cannon or something. Or that he would try to sell me socks filled with pidgin feathers. You never know.

Anyways, he stood up and moved towards me. He was large which was interesting; considering he had his dog, it was tight fit between the two of us.

“Some people,” he said, adjusting himself. We were practically leg to leg. Wiley sniffed me. “Where you goin’?” the old man asked.

“Back home,” I said, “in SLO.”

“You live there? Any open rooms? I’m looking for a place.” I look down at Wiley, he looked at me. I shake my head. “Figures…”


There was nothing magical that happened, or dangerous really. The bus is like that. It takes you out of your comfort zone just enough to make you notice. I ended up talking to the old man about writing, college, and Herman Hesse. He smelled a little weird, but overall, was nice enough. I never figured out if he was crazy.

Right now, he’s probably wondering the same about me.