Sunday, May 20, 2018

Friends – it’s all about time and timing!

You know who your friends really are when after you leave your former residence in Southern California to return to Colorado, they go and buy a plane. Yes, for them it is a pleasant one day flight with stop overs in Sedona for a late breakfast and then a final fuel refill in Santa Fe. Yes, they did that and they have come across to spend a week with us as they head off to Indianapolis for the end of May racing calendar that culminates with the running of the Indy 500. Good friends indeed and ones we cannot see often enough. And the timing couldn’t have been any better since we too will be heading for the airport this weekend as we take off for Germany.

Through the years we have spent vacations with them in Europe and in Australia but it’s now been quite a few years between drinks, so as to speak. Fortunately, we will be opening calendars to check dates in 2020 – it really needs that much planning to pull off.  Their business has really taken off and Brian being the sole proprietor of a general contracting business he remains very much hands-on so there can’t be too many days spent out of the office even if his office is a GMC Sierra truck! On the other hand, flexible options when it comes to time management means he can take time for a visit and we really do like to entertain them when they are here – did we ever mention in the past that these were the folks who introduced us to the nightly ritual of green (apple) martinis?

If you happened to be wondering whether we managed to squeeze in a flight with them then wonder no more. The weather proved favorable and one morning, Brian returned to the airfield and retrieved his Cessna from the hanger where it was being parked and with no additional encouragement required, we were quickly lifted into the sky – what a fun flight. Brian and Jan have been flying for years and as two people experienced in all that is needed for a safe flight we couldn’t have wished for anything better.

The highlight for us was a flyby above our home in Highlands Meadows where the unmistakable layout of the golf course was hard to miss. Our new home is in the middle of a construction zone but all the same, it was really a nice sensation to see just how our home presented itself even as the new homes were being completed – our soon-to-be next-door neighbor just happens to be a family that owns the largest GM dealership in Ft Collins. Serendipitous, you think? Well, that new Corvette ZR1 might be in the mix if we play our cards right. From the air, though, the biggest revelation was just how many lakes and ponds there are along the Colorado Rockies front ranges. I guess we weren’t prepared for that surprise but surprising it turned out to be – no wonder there are so many boats parked in storage facilities flanking both sides of the interstate from here to the Wyoming border! 

I guess the only sad report to make here is that it was only a matter of a few weeks back when they sold their track-focused Corvette (it’s just a coupe, Brian used to say about the car, as it had its flanks enlarged and many components beefed up) and after almost ten years of track outings we shared with them, we know our own Corvette is lonely tucked away, as it now is, at our offsite storage facility. But I am sure that will change as the weather improves and already we are looking at our own calendar sorting out when we can head to the track for open lapping days as well as to at least one track weekend with NASA – the National Auto Sports Association. As for the vehicle we rely on to tow our trailer and Corvette, our RV that we use as the company command center, well fingers crossed. We should be able to pick it up in a week or two as the end draws now to a major home overhaul. 

On the other hand, one very practical outcome from having good friends visit is that it motivated us to finish a couple of projects. In this case, with no indication that there would be any more snow falling any time soon, it was time to finish furnishing our main entertaining deck – it’s always been our plan to be able to support evening dinners for six in an al fresco environment. Big lanterns with candles, a grill and yes, even a cooler-on-wheels (loaded with drinks), all that was missing was the sound of waves crashing on the shore. Unfortunately, here in Colorado, there’s no such luck and we will just have to settle for the cheers and yelps of joy coming from the golfers sinking putts on the 17th green we overlook.

However, what we have now achieved is support for that six-place setting that we excluded from the original design of our main floor. Yes, we kept a formal dining area but that was it. And who needs a formal dining room anyway these days … OK, so we struck some common chords here lessening the formality and adding more capacity to serve wine. Who could argue with that? But outside – well it soon became a question of ownership. Did we own our outside deck or did the mosquito? Unprepared to forfeit valuable real estate we fought back – yes, we sprayed every surface with something the mosquitoes didn’t like, turned on the overhead fan and installed candles everywhere and so far, it looks like we succeeded in reclaiming our own backyard!

Contrary to popular belief there is more to life than golf and, for Margo and me, it more often than not comes down to enjoying the simple comforts life affords us. Maybe we will tackle that maddening game at some point in the future but for now, watching a game unfold in front of us more than satisfies any imminent urge to go and play the game.  And yet, when it comes to simply observing like many of you, I suspect, we watch a lot of home shows on television that highlight how best to decorate and, for the most part, we switch off. We have our own ideas and our own creative juices and you have likely followed the progress we have made through the posts to this blog. Bottom line? We go our own way, right! 

The ultimate accolade though came this week – the developer of the entire estate dropped by to ask if they could bring a couple to our home to show what could be achieved with their floor-plan. Wow! When it comes to new homes, apparently most folks need gentle prodding to better visualize outcomes as their newly purchased home finishes being constructed and to imagine how best to fill the empty spaces that inevitably develop during the construction phase! Even more interesting is the surprise over how effective a little splash of color can prove to be and in this regard, when it comes to our home don’t ever go looking for beige or pastel! 

Brian and Jan didn’t just fly to see us. They were on their way to Indianapolis to see their grandson Colton race in the Indy Lights series and in the days that followed their time with us, Colton would be on track both Friday and Saturday circulating not the big oval everyone associated with Indianapolis but rather the infield road course first developed when Formula One came to Indy. Now, the year to date for Colton had produced mixed results and he certainly hadn’t been too thrilled with the outcomes of the four races to date. With grandparents watching from the Andretti VIP pavilion, the pressure was certainly on Colton to pull something out of the hat. Well, actually no, not really – there really isn’t any way to put pressure on Colton as his fellow competitors are quickly coming to appreciate.

Lagging in the Indy Lights standings and sitting mid pack, the weekend proved eventful for Brian and Jan as yes, first race and first corner, Colton was pushed all the way back to second last. No worries as he stormed through the field to win! As for the second race well he was once again pushed back on the first corner but this time only to fourth so it was only a matter of times for him to work his way up through the field. And oh yes, with three laps to go, he made a phenomenal pass to take and then hold the lead. Two races and two wins and no the standings have been turned upside down.  With promotion of the last race in May at Indy for the Indy Lights competition it was good news for us all to see Colton featured front and center of the advertising now being released by Indy.

In two weeks’ time on Indy race day, he will compete one last time in May at Indianapolis but this time, it will be on the big oval. Always a challenge but somehow, it’s hard to imagine Colton letting the pressure get to him and while Brian and Jan had to fly back to California and will miss this race, I am sure we are going to hear all about it as the race unfolds. Finding time is always tricky to manage when you have a business and working the calendar to find opportunities to get together seems to be getting harder and harder to do. And yet, somehow the timing does sort of work out and we do enjoy time spent with friends. Shortly we will be heading out of town but that is another story for another time and oh yes, while Brian and Jan were with us, we signed the contract to complete the basement – maybe they should stay away as these quick visits of theirs is costing us a lot of money. Just kidding, as they will always be welcome to bring a little bit of California with them and to stay at, dare I say (at this time of year) – our own Windsor Castle!