That was back when I was in my blogging funk.
See, my hard-working husband Jason runs a restaurant. A BIG restaurant. It's a lot of work, and a lot of sacrifice...not only for him...but for us (as in his wife and kids), too. He never has weekends off...or holidays. He works Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Fourth of July, Easter...he only has Thanksgiving and Christmas off...and on Thanksgiving he goes and feeds the homeless at the shelter...and on Christmas he's usually so tired that he barely makes it through the opening of presents before he goes back to bed.
And even on his upposed days off, he still has to go in, or take calls, or solve problems.
His days start early...and end late. He usually works about 12 hours a day when it's slow. In season, he pulls, 14-16 hour days. Back to back. There have been weeks that he's clocked in 150 hours over a 10-day spread.
Plus...there is the stress. Don't even get me STARTED on the stress.
Anyway...it's not always fun. And quite honestly, it hasn't always been rewarding either.
But last year, after almost 4 years of struggle, Jason did something amazing. He got his store running SO EFFICIENTLY that he won a prize.
See, every year the company the Jason works for, The Cheesecake Factory, awards it's top performers with an all-expenses paid trip. On even years, you go somewhere in Hawaii. On odd years, you visit some other exotic locale.
It's not just any trip, either. They REALLY take care of you...you stay at luxurious hotels, get preferential treatment, have your choice of amazing excursions, eat at amazing restaurants...I mean...it's EXCLUSIVE.
Well, last year he made the cut, and was one of the top 10% of the company to be awarded this trip.
We got to go to Maui, Hawaii...and stay at the Four Seasons at Wailea.
|Everything we need to go to Maui...|
It was AMAZING. The hotel was gorgeous, everyone was SO accommodating. Jason and I would be up at, like 4:30 am (darn East Coast internal clocks), so we'd head down to the gym and the gardeners would be out watering all the beautiful flowers, and they would say: "Aloha, Mrs. Johnson. Aloha, Mr. Johnson. Can I get you anything?"
I mean...they were the GARDENERS!!! And they knew our names.
|Jason with King Kamehameha|
We had an incredible time. We ate at Spago and David Pauls Island Grill. We had room service breakfast every morning on our lanai. We went on amazing and exclusive excursions...
|A little fella I caught on film while on our Eco Hike...|
...like Eco Hiking up to the waterfalls along the Hana Highway...
|Jason jumped off at least 5 waterfalls on the hike...this was the smallest...|
...and taking a private charter out to snorkel in the Molokini crater...
|The private charter with exclusive beach-side boarding we took to Molokini crater...|
and going on a gorgeous sunset sail out of Lahiana. We ate at FABULOUS local eats...from the fun and casual Paia Fish Market in Paia to Mamas Fish House just outside the quirky little surfer town...
|Me and my baby at Mamas Fish House just outside Paia...|
We drove around in a Mustang convertible all week. And I learned to say humuhumunukunuka'pua'a...
|Outside Mamas on our romantic dinner out...|
We also got presents delivered to our room every day...a bamboo surfboard cutting board with local fruits and cheeses, a beach bag cashmere cotton towels, a basket of luxurious bath salts and soaps, and a Maui cookbook signed by the author and chef...
It was the honeymoon we never had...13 years late.
So, of course, when we got back, I told Jason that I DEFINITELY wanted to do that again. And he had to work hard to get it.
He gave me a look.
It became kind of a joke...not only between him and I...but also within his company.
If he got home after a grueling 14 hour day, I would look at my pretend watch and say: "What are you doing home? You've still got, like, 3 more hours to put in if we're gonna go to the next trip!!"
And when his Area Director or Vice President would call or stop by to go over his numbers, they'd say: "I hope you've done well this quarter...you know how badly Shannan wants you to go on the next trip."
So at the end of the year, I asked Jason: "How'd we do?", and he answered: "I think we've got it...but lets wait and see."
So I (rather impatiently) waited. I went over in my head how last year, we had barely made the cut...squeaking in by a mere half of a point. Jason said his numbers for this year averaged over 100% (which is remarkable)...but what if that wasn't enough?
Well...I really had no need to worry. No need to doubt my husband.
Because if there's one thing about Jason...when he sets his mind to something...he ALWAYS gets it. Doesn't matter how long it takes...he WILL achieve his goals.
Jasons' Area Director called last week. He said: "I've got some good news for Shannan..."
And today we got our official invitation to register for this years Presidents Circle trip.
Oh? The destination?
Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.
|Excuse me...but every time I see this I feel the need to jump up and down and clap my hands...|
And you should see the itinerary...
We arrive in Barcelona to stay at the Hotel Arts...a Ritz-Carlton hotel right on the Mediterranean. We spend 3-and-a-half glorious days touring Barcelona, going clubbing, and attending Galas. Then we take a train to Madrid, where we get to spend another 3-and-a-half days staying at the Westin Palace RIGHT in the heart of Madrid. There are day tours to Toledo (located in La Mancha, and home to famous sword makers), Flamenco Dinner Shows, Bull Fights, and tours of the Prado art museum and Royal Palace.
It's going to be HEAVEN.
I've never been out of the country before. Well...I once went to Canada...but I'm not sure that counts.
And the best part of all is the company I'll keep...my best friend, and the guy that has been through it all with me...and still has the guts to stick around.
Thank you, Jason. I love you, darling.
Now...about next year...