|Seems improbable, but this is a cell phone picture of my actual family|
I've learned from observation of my personal life, as well as from some recent leadership training, that people seem to think I have decent ideas, and are willing to follow me, even if I am unclear about why my idea is good (one of my shortcomings is explaining that to others). At age 40 (plus), my wife and I will slap down a deposit on a vacation rental, and magically the bedrooms will fill up with friends. Unfortunately, it's been the case that if my wife and I don't slap down a deposit, the trip doesn't happen, because everyone's busy and few people have the initiative to do such things. I was sad and frustrated to hear at a kid's party in February, "Hey, did you guys rent that beach house again?" I was like, "No. We've been busy and we hoped somebody else would do it." Didn't happen. In alternate versions of this story, friends will rent a house with too few bedrooms, beds, and toilets, 35 dogs, and 16 kids, and hope that the adults are drunk enough that we do not murder each other.
Then I heard in March that my brother T had slapped down a deposit on a 5-bedroom house on the Shenandoah River, with the invitation, "Just come." Strategically located 3-4 hours from each of us three brothers, it was an easy trip. As we grow older, the 8, 9, and 10 hour road trips with kids and dogs are exhausting, and need to be buffered with a week or more of vacation, which none of us have available....so we don't go.
Magically, the act of reserving the giant cabin netted 3 brothers, 2 wives, a fiancee', 2 kids and a dog. It was a good time. No one fought except kids (briefly) and we caught a lot of smallmouth, and had our fair share to drink. My family's contribution was to lead the "food/menu" portion of the trip, which seemed to reduce confusion and keep everybody full of happy camp food. There were many highlights of the trip, but photos talk best sometimes. I didn't even take pictures of fish I caught. I just kept catching fish. 2015 has been harder than it was supposed to be, and it was great to get away for a few days.