Unsolicited Advice: Valentine’s Day (Couples Edition)

Love is, mostly, personal.

I say “mostly” because, well, hell, look around you today — there’s probably something shiny, red, floral, or made of chocolate staring at you from where you sit, subtly implying or outright declaring that you, too, should have such or give such or somesuch …

Hell with that. 
Unless, that is, what you really want is something shiny/red/floral/chocolatey, in which case, have it. 

If, on the other hand, you’d prefer, why not something personal? 
My wife and I celebrated this day eight years ago with a full-on Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner, and that remains my favorite Valentine’s Day observance so far. 
We didn’t even call it Valentine’s Day; we called it Day [#], where [#] was the number of days we’d been together as a couple. 
Every Feb. 14 since, we’ve observed Day [#] basically the same way. 
In so doing, we took something general and made it something mostly our own. 

I say “mostly” because, of course, we are still hewing to a date on a calendar, even if we call it by another name. 
Mind you, when a random July day rolls around and a turkey dinner sounds wonderful, Day [#] is there for us, too. 

Traveling Notes: Chicago

(Travel Log is about the destination; Traveling Notes is more random observations and tedious details — the “there and back again” aspects of traveling that are not necessarily specific to the destination.)

When booking through a travel website (as opposed to directly with the hotel) verify the advertised amenities with the hotel. It’s a pain in the ass, for example, to discover that the airport shuttle you are expecting does not, in fact, exist.


TSA is TSA is TSA. 

Some day I will complain in detail about security theater, but for now, simply, “Ugh.”


Are hotel shower controls purposefully designed to baffle and confuse the weary traveler? I say yes.


I remember the first time I stayed at a somewhat-fancy hotel (for a friend’s wedding) and discovered the bathroom phone. So, I imagine, does the friend of mine who, upon calling my room, was greeted with, “There’s a phone in the fucking bathroom!”

Shortly after checking in, my wife, from the bathroom: “Why is there a remote control in here?” 

Seconds later: “Never mind. There’s a TV in here.”

There was also a phone.

Apparently, we don’t stay in enough fancy places.


Rainfall shower heads are nice. Probably not nice enough that I will remodel our bathroom, but really quite nice.


I’ve traveled semi-frequently to the north in winter. I love it. I love winter, anyway, but I especially enjoy the opportunity to experience proper winter, with the snow and the ice and the wearing of my best winter garb. 

It’s also nice to be somewhere snow and ice are expected and easily dealt with in small quantities. 

More snow and ice fell in Chicago over the few days we were there than have fallen over the past couple of “snow days” here in Atlanta. 

It’s easy to laugh at how little snow it takes to shut down southern cities, but, well, I consider that among the charm of southern cities. 

The fact I am writing this whilst lounging at home midday with a drink to hand may indicate a slight bias on my part, however.