March 2

Listening to closely to the radio caused me to miss my turn. "Well, it's not like you knew where you were going anyway," I thought to myself. It was not that hard of a route and one that I had taken from the passenger seat at least two dozen times. Still, my car was rolling down a mostly deserted road at 10 p.m. when I would much rather be closer to home. It was a February storm that did not involve snow, but it was payback for the beautiful weather we had earlier in the week. As I had left the arena, the downtown tornado sirens roared, spooking the Chicago fans. I had a long walk to make, so I had little time to care that the weather was getting worse. Too much on my mind to care much about the damn storm anyway, and the hockey game was among the least of those things. When I sat down in my car seat, it was barely raining.

I realized that I had driven into Shelby Park. By this point, the rain was coming down in buckets. It was not until I got onto Riverside Drive that the wind picked up. And holy mother of god did it pick up. My speed went from a puttering 20 miles to about five miles an hour. The rain was coming down as if a fire hose were pointed at the side of my car. I shut the radio off. I was not even that nervous about the rain until random objects started blowing across the road. There are no street lamps on at that particular end of the divided street. A small tree in the median was already blocking half of the lane. Lightening flashed just to make the scene a little more interesting. My cell phone rang. "Almost home; can't talk; bye."

I closed my eyes, said a small prayer, and scooted on home.

March has arrived. Spring means the radio weather will get a workout. That is until mother nature settles into her usual routine of the summer afternoon thunderstorm rather than the violent season transition weather we are accustomed to. Our upcoming vacation is timed well to get away for a few days from what is bound to be rough weather in the mid-state. It also makes for the second such trip Samantha and I have taken in our four and a half years of marriage. It is shaping up to be much like what we did on our trip to Chicago, just two nights instead of one. What I loved about that trip was that it did not have a set itinerary as much as it was guided by public transportation routes and wherever our two feet would carry us.

Aside from the weather, it is also well-timed for our mental health. Both of us are entering our busiest time of the year at work, so being able to shut off the work e-mail for a few days will be a relief. I keep thinking about the comic that illustrates the typical stress levels before, during and after a vacation. The waning months of hockey also mean that my evenings are probably going to be freed up a bit soon, as my team is flirting with missing the playoffs for only the second time in seven seasons. I have a packet from the club wanting me to buy a full or partial season ticket plan. That decision will likely end up waiting for the end of summer.

I have started trying to do web development again. The current attempt is with Ruby on Rails, a web application framework that I have never used with a programming language in which I have never written a line of code. I suppose that combination is at least helpful in coming to the table without any preconceived notions. I have completed dozens of projects using PHP, more WordPress installations than I can count and even one small project using Symfony. While my day job is working for an interactive marketing agency, my role there is not based on whether I know the difference between a string and daisy-chained method calls. Still, I like working with development and developers enough to at least seek a better understanding of the ins and outs.

I need to find other hobbies that do not involve being chained to a desk. I have a 5K later in the month, so I need to make plans to get a run or two in before that. My rather weak goal of 10 miles a month was already missed in February. I have got to get a move on.