In eleven hours, at 5:40 Monday morning, I depart Bangkok for a six-day business trip to Houston. This is my first business trip in five years, but I am no stranger to them. For the four years prior to moving to Bangkok, I traveled more than 100,000 miles a year on business. When I moved here, though, my employer laid out the condition that while they would be flexible with allowing me to work (very, very) remotely, they would not be paying for me to fly back to the US for meetings.
Since then, my manager and team members have regularly scheduled meetings around my visits back to the US, resulting in trips that frequently mix business and leisure. This time, though, the company is paying for the trip. A year and a half ago we were acquired by another large company. While the integration has gone smoothly, we have a new Vice President for our division, several new regional personnel, and have not met as an entire team in two years. When I first heard there would be a meeting, I checked prices and made the pitch. Thankfully, I have known the new VP for most of my ten years with the company and he ran the price to the top of the flag pole to get approval.
Now, the downside is that I’m not being flown business class. Asking them to spend five times the airfare of any other employee is enough. But I’m glad to have this opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, meet new ones, and be present at what promises to be an important meeting as we move into a new chapter of our company’s history.
Plus, it will give me a chance to play Santa Claus. You see, the meeting is only Tuesday through Friday, but tickets without a Saturday night stay-over were $500 more expensive than if I stayed until Sunday. To save the company money, I routed my travel from Houston to Kansas City on Friday evening, so will get two nights and a day with my family.
You see, last year we gave my youngest niece, Ava, a small plush hedgehog, something a friend of ours gave us. She loved it and noticed that on the tag, there was a picture of two hedgehogs, one smaller than the other. Interestingly, she assumed that she had received the large hedgehog and promptly announced that she wanted the baby hedgehog, too.
Little does she realize that she actually has the baby hedgehog. Pictured above is the bigger hedgehog, also a gift from the same friend.
The question was, how to pack it? Thankfully, US carriers (yes, I’m stuck on Delta – bleh!) allow international passengers two checked bags, so I’m bringing a second bag for most of my clothes and using this larger primarily for the hedgehog. The end result:
Oh, and Ava and her sister Emily don’t know that I’m coming for a visit. Hopefully everyone there has kept it a secret and they’ll be very surprised on Saturday morning when they wake up.
So for the next few days I may be out of orbit on Xanga. My apologies in advance. I actually have some more food porn from Phuket to share with you.
What a great Uncle you are!!! I can see why they love you so much!!! Have a great time on your trip…and most of all enjoy your visit with your family in Kansas City. Oh and by the way…BRING YOUR COAT..it is COLD here in the Midwest!!!! lolRuth Ann
This is just what I needed this morning! I love it.Oh I wish I could hear her squeal when that hedgehog popped out!
I wish I had an uncle like you. Cute hedgehog!
Just enjoy that family time. How cool of you to locate the other hedgehog. Your an awesome Uncle 🙂
awww That’s an awesome hedgehog. I want to be your niece! Good luck on your trip and stay safe. 🙂
Have a great trip! I hope the meeting goes well. Have fun on your quick trip to visit family. More food porn?!?! You are a tease.
hahaha that is a huge hedgehog! hilarious that you have to stuff that in your luggage… your niece will love it i’m sure!
You must be the coolest uncle ever
Have a good business/leisure trip! I can imagine your niece will be jumping with joy to see Santa Chris showing up with this huge hedgehog!
I love your title for this entry ! Lol Supposing your niece did see that, do you really think she wouldn’t ‘peek’ Lol I’m sure that ever so cute hedgehog will be much loved and hope you enjoy your family visit. 🙂
hee hee… enjoy your trip. If you have one of those vacuum bags, maybe that might help next time.
You are so thoughtful! Have a safe trip, and wave as you fly over Arkansas! LOL
Sweet of you as usual. You are the perfect uncle. Spoil them, play with them, and love em. What more could they want? Lucky girls!
I can hear your niece screaming with joy!! Love the packing job LOLOLOL.
Have a wonderful trip! I can’t wait to hear how surprised and happy the girls are to see you!
Haha, how big is the small one compared to that? That’s pretty cool! Lucky niece.
=) that’s such a nice gift. have a safe trip!
Haha, this totally made my day. Major cute and fuzzy factor!!!
adorablei hope you have a safe trip =]
Have a safe and wonderful trip! I’m sure your neices will be absolutely thrilled to see you!
I AM SOO EXCITEEED FOR YOU!!!! HAVE A SAFE TRIP MR~ and I love the subject line “Warning – If You Are My Niece, Don’t Read This”!!! please take a pix (or have it recorded) when you give ava her large hedgehog!!! can’t wait to c her little face lite up!!! you are such an awesome-o family man! PROPS!!!!!!!
Cute! That hedgehog is adorable! And I like how your neice assumed she had the big one. Haha. I hope she is pleasantly surprised when she sees this over-life-size hedgehog! :o) It’s been awhile since I’ve visited xanga!!! I need to check in more often! :o) Hope you and Tawn are well! I saw the post in the Opera Suite…and needless to say, very jealous over here!!! I want to vacation in a boutique-y suite! I told the bf I found a resort in Bali that was contemporary and scenic, but he shot it down. UGH. I’ll have to live vicariously through you until I find something he likes! :o)
thats awesome. too bad its not crawfish season. i love eating in houston!
Oh my goodness. That is the cutest surprise to find in a gift ever, especially because she is looking for a smaller hedgehog. You rock, Uncle. 🙂
How nice it was to read a great post like this amongst all the trash you read on here. That was entertaining. I hope to hear more from you.
Have a great trip! And you are the best uncle!!
have a safe trip. She will be trilled. Food porn is my favorite porn LOL
Cute hedgehog! Well done on having traveled so much for business – something I’d like to have without putting in the effort 😛
You are an awesome uncle!!!