June 22, 2014

Niece Week

Every year, E and I host my niece for a week in the summer.

Rockets on the launch pad for Niece's second launch.
Last year, in addition to some pure family time with us, she was also a commuter at a local soccer camp.  She informed me that she wanted to come back this year and stay in the dorms.  Apparently, staying with your aunt who's even older than your father is violently uncool compared to staying on a college campus where the adult supervision is college kids and 20-something professional athletes and coaches.

So, this means that she was only actually with us for 3-4 days, and now she's on her own in the dorms, with a roommate who shares her initials, her new best friend for the week.  I commute to watch her games at the end of each day if I can fit it in and, if I'm lucky, I get to say hello.

She's such a pleasure to be around these days.  She cracks hilarious and stunning adult-level humor jokes, but she's simultaneously childlike in ways that I find refreshing and, at times, educational.  I'm sad that she wasn't able to spend more time with us, but I also understand how fun and important it is for her to go and do things outside the protective cocoon of the family with other kids her age.

On the running front, this week was good in terms of increased distance.  I put in a total of 34.02 miles on my feet.  But... because Niece was here, I substituted a couple of the runs for walking together.  Friday, I opted out of my run, but we walked to and from a client meeting at a local Starbucks and we walked downtown to meet E for her selected dinner of Sushi.

Thursday, while I worked, she sorted all my leftover foreign currency from the year's travels.  What?  I needed to keep her busy while I worked, so I gave her Chinese, Japanese, and Hong Kong currency (the harder stuff) as well as New Zealand, Australian, and some Euros -- she did a great job looking through all the currency and grouping them accordingly, matching up the various monies to the countries (impressively getting 100% matching the bills and coins to characters I wrote for her to designate China and Japan).   When she was done, we looked up conversion rates and then I sent her off to do the calculations into USD. (Again, people, I needed to work.)  Finally, we walked downtown to the bank and back (where she was thrilled to exchange it all for her own funky bluish-tinged brand new $100 bill with all sorts of wacky additional color security features).  FYI, it took a $3 infusion from me to cover the roughly 3% difference between online currency conversion and the local branch conversion rates, but I felt it was only fair.  In the end, I gave up my run for a walk, but she's $100 richer *and* it was obvious that we were the most fun that bank teller had all day.  Bonus, I feel like I didn't fail completely on the auntie entertainment scale, and now E and I don't have to deal with the pile of small bills of foreign currency.  Everybody wins! (Well, almost everybody.  They didn't take the coins...)

Started circulation in October 2013 (http://www.newmoney.gov/)

New back of the Benjamin.

Due to swapping walks for runs, the percentage mileage under 10:00/mile was only 4%.  But, today was a nice lead-in to the season of increasing long runs with good solid easy 5 solo, followed by a walk to stay warm until I could start the 3X10:00 easy w/2:00 RI with G -- Total: 8.44 miles, slightly more than what my training plan required for the long run this week.

This is definitely the least work-focused weekend I've spent in a *long* time.  Since Niece is here, she took up most of my weekend attention, so my working hours and work focus took a huge hit (this is not necessarily a bad thing).  Friday night, after walking downtown, a dinner of sushi, and laundry to prep for her camp, we headed next door for a Karaoke party hosted by neighbors, where I confirmed that she's her father's and grandmother's daughter with quite a fabulous voice.  Saturday, I woke to make her breakfast, fit in a short run while she showered, went to a rocket launch where she had 2 successful launches, enjoyed a big ramen lunch with friends, then supervised packing and took her to camp and got her settled.  A couple of hours later, I returned to watch her first soccer game, followed by a late appearance at a second local (but different people) Karaoke party.  Today, I did the aforementioned long run, enjoyed an Italian lunch with E, and then headed to the east bay for joint college roommate and husband drinks at the awesomely hip Grand Tavern followed by a rooftop beers and burgers party overlooking the lake where we watched the exciting see-saw of the US-Portugal world cup game.

Did you notice that *nothing* in the previous paragraph was about work?  I can't remember the last time I was this relaxed about work on a Sunday.  Niece week is such a great gift.


Arvay said...

That sounds so awesome in so many ways! I'm super happy for you!

Biting Tongue said...

Thanks, A! It was such a pleasure to have her stay with us. I drove her home and drove back to the bay in one day today and it was totally worth it...