Concierge Pigs

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Whether it’s school, business or life, some people take advantage of the situation.  In school, teachers used to say “you are going to ruin it for everyone.”  And indeed that is something that happens in every part of life.  I witnessed this last weekend when as a treat for the end of school, we decided to take a quick trip to one of our favorite places – Walt Disney World – for a long weekend.  We didn’t have a lot of time due to work commitments and kids’ activities but thought four nights would be a fun quick trip.  We splurged on the Grand Floridian and to further the celebration, I surprised the girls with Concierge Club in the Sugarloaf Building.  Basically this means free snacks and drinks throughout the day and other special services that we don’t necessarily use but it’s a treat for sure.

For us it’s a treat.  For others it is a way to show true colors and act as if the world owed them something.  I can’t tell you how many times my jaw was to the floor watching the folks we now refer to as Concierge Pigs.  And there were many.

The people screaming from the lounge on the first floor to the third balcony at their kids/grandparents/parents – and not really screaming anything – just HI at the top of their lungs – they were nothing. The folks taking up four tables of four in a limited seating area with four adults and two kids.  Also nothing. The teenager with five croissants on his plate.  Gross but nothing still.

Two examples stand out above all the rest of the piggishness.

First let’s talk about the family from hell. A three-generational family that should have been the cute ones of the bunch were loud, obnoxious and felt as if the lounge was there for their use only. And the moment of truth was when five of the “moms” in the group gathered in a semi circle around the hors d’oeuvres table eating directly from the trays.  With their fingers.  Blocking anyone from coming close (not that we wanted to after seeing this).  Two of the women had two glasses of champagne – each.  Double fisting it as if the cocktail hour would end too soon.  Really, this is why you upgraded to concierge?  Rent a suite.  Order in. Don’t make me watch it or ruin my appetite.

And then there was beer guy. This was a breathtaking display of piggishness. I watched as he grabbed four bottles of beer and after realizing he could balance more, took two additional.  After disappearing to his room, he returned.  With a stroller. Which he packed with as many bottles as he could fit.  Then he disappeared again.  He returned to grab two additional beers while his wife filled four large cups with red wine.  I next saw them sitting at the pool getting wasted while watching their kids play.

I assume these are the people who cheat on tests in school, pad their expense reports in business, cheat on their taxes and lie on their resumes.  They ruin it for everyone in terms of employers needing to be uber vigilant about expense spending and hiring practices.  And they ruin it for everyone in terms of hotels needing to jack up their rates to account for the pigs.  Disney discounts which were once fun to find and relatively plentiful have all but disappeared and now I see why.

Pigs of the world – you know who you are.  Get over yourselves and stop taking advantage of the rest of us.

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Summer Dreams

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Summertime feels different. It just does. As a middle aged dad, I felt like I was nine years old as school was winding down. I couldn’t wait for summer to get here. No more pencils…no more books… Yes even as a parent that is still the first thought I had – the same as when I was nine.  The late night homework sessions.  The stress over tests and papers. The complaints about teachers who also seemed like they were ready for the school year to end and thus didn’t have the same excitement as they did at the beginning of the year.  It was time for it to end.

So now we are in summer. Pool parties.  Vacation trips. Swim and cheer camps.  Summer swim team. And a chance to catch our breath.

As for business, summer is a great time to take a long look at what is working and what isn’t.  Take time to figure out what kind of clients would make me happy come fall and start reaching out to those organizations for new business. I actually started the process in the spring and now have a lot of proposals out and am looking to see what will come through. Though spring is the time of rebirth, I still look to fall as the season when change happens.  It’s been that way since my first day of kindergarten and I’ve always treated it that way.  I even started my business in the fall and this year, God willing, will celebrate seven years as an entrepreneur.

But for now, let summer begin in all its glory. We have some great plans for the season as a family and I have a lot of fun projects to keep me busy until my fall rebirth.  

On Saturday I did something I don’t remember ever doing.  I found myself with about two hours of free time when my family was out.  I could have caught up on a project. Done some work around the house.  Gone out and run some errands. But I decided to pour a drink, grab a travel magazine and float in the pool. Probably the most relaxing two hours of my last six months.

Here’s to more two hour retreats like that one.

Tales of a Swim Dad – Part One

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Truth be told I almost called my blog Tales of a Swim Dad.  That’s because I do spend a lot of time shuttling back and forth between swim practices and wind up spending a lot of time inhaling chlorine as my 13-year-old daughter swims year round and both she and the 8-year-old swim on a summer team.

The oldest is now on her third year-round team as we started at a rather low key, non-competitive team for the first two years before moving to a much more competitive group for two years.  This year, she tried out for and made the uber-competitive team and is working harder than ever and getting better every day. I love watching both of my girls swim.  Really like the vibe around swimming and swim meets.

But that’s not to say that some of the parents aren’t insufferable like in soccer, gymnastics, softball, cheerleading and every other youth sport. It’s funny how these youth sports dynamics imitate the corporate world in so many ways.  I recognized that some folks can’t turn off their work personalities while watching their kids play sports.  That’s why you have the screamers, the bullies, the complainers, the whiners, the miserable folks and everything else you see in the office.

I had some of the funniest and most amazing experiences with swim parents at the team she swam with before her current team. I wasn’t blogging then so I thought I’d take a moment to revisit some of the stuff that made me scratch my head.  I’m calling this Tales of a Swim Dad – Part One because I know I’ll be back to talking about this big part of our family’s life.

For my Facebook friends, you know I have to talk about the coupon ripping lady.  My absolute favorite.  She was a diving team mom at the old team and would bring piles and piles of coupons to practice and sit there and RIP them.  Not cut them…but rip  — from their original pages.  It was loud. It was amazing that she didn’t own scissors and I truly wish I would have bought her a pair at some point.  Opportunity lost.

This was a team of Swim Dads – there were many many more dads who brought their kids to practice than on the current or past teams.  I had a whole script nearly written in my head for a Dance Moms like show “Swim Dads.” It’s amazing how when you bring a group of disparate personalities together how everyone ends up with an “identity” around which you could build a show.

There was the nice guy whose daughter was very good but the family didn’t act like it.  They were accepting and fun and really tried to get everyone to connect through outside activities as well.

There was me (the new guy) who didn’t really know where I fit in. But I figured I could be the narrator – ala “The Wonder Years.”

There was the high powered corporate executive who was preparing to move his family for the 8th time in the kids’ 10 years on earth.  The same people, who, with a straight face said their boy was going to be in the Olympics.  Now I don’t ever want to crush a dream but if you are going to the Olympics, you are more likely to have to be home schooled and training at a facility somewhere in Colorado Springs or Florida.  Not going to private school and going to practice 3 or 4 times each week.  This is the same man who grilled the coaches about what kind of strength training his son could be doing at age 9.  Uh. None.  Kids that young are not supposed to lift weights due to development issues.

There was the loud guy whose son joined the team late and missed a meet because the parents didn’t read the email about what time he should be there and then reamed the coaches to their faces and to all the other parents.

And finally the dad who bragged. Constantly.  About everything his only child daughter did.  He couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t excelling at swimming but I came to find out from my daughter it was because she mostly fooled around in the pool and yakked with her friends.

Lifetime, are you listening here?  Maybe it should be “Swim Parents” so we can include coupon ripping lady and distracted mom whose son hated swimming but she forced him to come anyway.