Polaroid Photo

Uncle Markie out and about.

Refresh for a different picture!

UMTravels

Choose a Topic:

Sun
14
Dec '14

Holiday Letter


Guess this gives me an excuse to write a Holiday Letter so here goes:

My addiction to travel continues untreated. This year found me hitting several milestones:

  • In June hit United Airlines Million Mile status meaning gold for life
  • In September made Elite Status on Princess Cruises meaning free internet minutes, free laundry/dry cleaning, and they stock my mini-bar once for free – another lifetime perk
  • In October made Alaska Airline MVP Gold Status through 2015 meaning fairly regular free upgrades to First Class and double miles on all my flights. When I don’t get the upgrade at least they comp my first drink in Economy – and then there are the two free checked bags which is handy when heading to Santa Fe during the holiday with all the presents in tow. Leaving tomorrow staying a couple of nights and taking the train home in the bedroom sleeper.

As for all that travel, it’s been a CRAZY year. On United to get to that Million Mile mark, 41,543 flight miles, Alaska Airlines will be 53,440 (only needed 40,000 to qualify for Gold but there were too many great last minute deals).

The travel list for this year (including this week’s trip):

January

  • Berkeley, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA – Ensenada, Mexico – Los Angeles, CA cruise
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Victoria, BC
  • Bozeman, MT

February

  • Forks, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR
  • Portland, OR
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Denver, CO

March

  • Boston, MA (mileage run)
  • Boston, MA (overnight)
  • Bucharest, Bulgaria
  • Istanbul, Turkey

April

  • Denver, CO
  • Hong Kong (mileage run)
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Redmond, OR
  • Vancouver, BC

May

  • Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouver, BC-Seattle, WA Cruise
  • San Francisco (2 mileage runs in one day)
  • Orlando, FL (mileage run)
  • Oakland, CA (mileage run)
  • Houston, TX (overnight to connect to Air France flight)
  • Paris, France

June

  • Santa Fe, NM
  • New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA Train Trip

July

  • Whistler, BC
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

August

  • Denver, CO via Train and Plane
  • Victoria, BC

September

  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC Princess Cruise
  • Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, CA Princess Cruise
  • Tucson, AZ

October

  • Tucson, AZ (same as September trip)
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Santa Fe, NM

November

  • Los Angeles, CA to Los Angeles, CA Princess Cruise
  • San Diego, CA (Cruise Stop)
  • Ensenada, Mexico (Cruise Stop)
  • Denver, CO

December

  • Detroit, MI
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Albuquerque, NM to Los Angeles, CA Train Trip
  • Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA Train Trip

 

2015 is starting to book up as well:

January

  • Sacramento, CA
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Victoria, BC Canada
  • San Antonio, TX

February

  • Berkeley, CA
  • Victoria, BC Canada
  • Santa Fe, NM

March

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Komaki, Japan
  • Forks, WA

April

  • Honolulu, HI

May

June

  • Whistler, BC

 

My business partner just shakes his head when I tell him where I’m headed. He’s much more the home body, but as long as I’m back to work my days, no harm, no foul. Speaking of the shop (that would be Madrona Wine Merchants which I have a 1/3 interest), here is a status update on how the business is going.

A little more than three years into starting the wine shop, things are frankly going better than I would have ever hoped for. We have no debt mostly because to retail wine in the state of Washington you have to pay for it first, no credit from the distributors allowed. What debt we had from the beginning were mostly store fixtures (much of which we built ourselves in my woodshop/garage) that we put on the shop’s credit cards was paid off last year. We pay ourselves for our time behind the counter and have always been current with the exception of a couple of winter months the first year. We’ve upped our take several times over the years and are on stable ground finance wise.

The shop itself is small – just 350sqft of sales space with 75sqft in the back for toilet/sink/icemaker and a small amount of storage. Small, but we pack it in with over 650 different labels (stock ranging from 4 to 12 bottles of each. The majority of the bottles are in the $10-20 range with a handful under $10 and a few that range to the low $100s. We are located in the Madrona Neighborhood of Seattle. Those of you who visited me in Seattle before I had the Boylston Street house might remember when Jim (now my business partner) and I lived at 25th and Union – if you kept heading east on Union, at the top of the next hill you would run into 34th Avenue, the heart of Madrona where we are on the main strip with reasonable rent. Sales have been improving year over year which is what you want in a small business.

As for the love life, I’d been seeing someone for a couple of years but with the 4 hour commute and other things he found a partner to move in with who is a much better match. We parted on good terms and are still in contact from time to time. Socially active having people over to dinner a couple of times a week (when I’m in town) and opening the house to the occasional CouchSurfer along with my friends from out of town. Mom is still holding in there though losing a lot of body strength which she is working on with the help of a therapist. Sadly, her travel days are over but she has all the memories of her own travels and still has her mind and eyes and is happy keeping current with books/magazines and the three daily papers, It is nice that she is at El Castillo, a retirement community just off the Plaza in Santa Fe. With it being a two-bedroom it gives me a place to stay on my visits to work through the “honey do” list. I try and show up every 3-4 months depending on airfare.

Looking forward to seeing The Colonels in a couple of days during their almost annual pre-Christmas visit to Santa Fe. And, of course, looking forward to taking the train home with my buddy Dwight sharing the Bedroom Sleeper on the Southwest Chief connecting to the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles.

Happy Holidays one and all.

UncleMarkie

Comments Off on Holiday Letter

Comments are closed.