Twenty

Twenty years ago, I woke up single. 

I got showered. I nursed a hangover. I got dressed. I let my brother drive me to the church down the road. A few dozen friends & family showed up. And my best friend walked through the door, and grinned at me.

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We were young. but we we pretty sure this thing was the stuff you could spend a lifetime searching for.  

We promised to help each other. To hold each other. To cheer & to comfort. To tend to, listen to, and to cherish. We stood in front of our friends, and promised we'd follow one another through any adventure. Take on any challenge. And come out the other side - hopefully laughing, sometimes crying, but always together. 

Twenty years of moves, children, scars and scares, new jobs, road trips, book-store dates and five star vacations, of poverty and success, animals and hare-brained ideas. Of memories & conversations. Of getting it wrong, and of making it right. Of passion, and of fights. Of making up with water balloon fights or sometimes unspoken apologies. Of teasing. Of imperfections. Of completeness. Of long flights to explore new places together.  Of simple, quiet nights with all the best things within arms reach. Of beauty. Of shared fears & comforts. Of constant, steady, amazing love. 

My Bride is the most beautiful woman I've ever met, and my best friend, and I am more than certain that I'm the luckiest man I've ever known. 

Our government not working at internet speeds

Our first little iPhone app, VaxTrak was first published 4 years or so ago (remember this?) . An app to help parents and families keep track of immunizations received, recommendations, find their nearest flu clinic, and generally keep your kids (or self) safe from preventable diseases. 

The VaxTrak video - acted by my friend & colleague Anna

The VaxTrak video - acted by my friend & colleague Anna

This was probably one of the professional contributions I'm most proud of, even now, as it came from a very personal place in our family of having moved around enough to have lost that little yellow paper booklet the pediatrician entrusts you with when your child is first born. 

If I had realized that importance placed on that little yellow booklet, and that it would almost certainly be the deciding factor in whether or not your child would be admitted to the graduate school of their choice or spend the entirety of their lives asking if you'd like the egg white only breakfast McMuffinator. we'd have probably taken better care of where we put the Suddenly Important Yellow Booklet.

Look doc, we were new parents, still trying to figure out which end of this baby you just plopped on our laps is doing the squalling, and which the pooping. Seriously. Your medical judgement in putting another helpless human into our completely unprepared care is questionable at best. I'm not sure if I managed to dress & bathe myself the first year of parenthood, let alone keep Little Precious clean. 

So coming up with a way that my company at the time - squarely in the vaccines-supplying business - could help parents out with their job of vaccines-keeping-up-with efforts, was pretty cool. 

Cool enough that Novartis filed a patent on our behalf. 

Never mind that the filing is several years old, or that the app was discontinued last year, a little ways before Novartis sold off their vaccines business to GSK.  The patent continues along its merry way through the halls of the US patent office, and may, someday, actually be approved. No doubt just before we all ditch our smart phones in favor of a embedded chip that shoots lasers into our retinas and tells us where we need to go. 

Whatever. This week we got some paperwork from Novartis basically to sign away the rights to any money made from the (always-published-for-free-on-the-App-store) app (that-is-no-longer-available). 

It's just nice to see "Inventors" there in black and white, with our names listed. 

 

I left out Texas. It wasn't an accident.

I occasionally get the time to sit down and doodle. Sometimes with purpose.

I think the last time I took art as a class was 6th grade, but I spent plenty of time doodling in the edges of my notebooks. Mostly, I still use pen & ink. 

In keeping with my resolution to try and give more handmade things, I thought a lot about what I could do for our anniversary.  In the 20 years we've been together (19 married), we've had the chance to travel a lot, and live in several parts of the world. We were recently talking about how silly the pheasants were that would run out in front of  cars on the little country lane we lived at the end of in England. 

That gave me an idea.  

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I picked something representative of each of the places we've lived for long periods of time in our marriage. Georgia. California. Cheshire. New England.  

Dogwood. The Golden Gate Bridge. That silly pheasant. The windsor chairs we love.  

I'm not the most accomplished of artists, and these are fairly simple sketches. But each one of these has meaning, and represents a place that's a part of our story, and a part of the home that we've built. 

 

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Plus, they look pretty good on the bathroom wall.