From the Virgin Atlantic lounge at JFK

About a month ago a couple of projects at work got really busy and it became clear that the week of Thanksgiving was going to be spent overseas.  This morning I dropped my wife and kids off at one airport so they could spend the week in Omaha with my family,  then headed off to the office and then to JFK.  Here’s the view from the Virgin Atlantic lounge right now:

JFK

Before leaving this morning  I spent a little time with the boys working through this fun problem:

This is yet another super project for kids from Fawn Nguyen’s visual pattern site: visualpatterns.org.   I love these projects because they are activities that I never would have thought of on my own.  Not in a million years.  The patterns are pretty simple (at least the ones that we’ve done so far), but both boys find them fun and engaging.  Last week’s purchase of a big box of snap cubes has made the projects even more exciting for them.   I see on the gallery tab on Fawn’s site that we aren’t the only people using snap cubes to play around  with her projects.  I wonder if we are the only people with Minecraft villages made out of snap cubes . . . .

This is sort of a somber trip.  One of the projects is coming back up to speed on a company I used to look after – Global Aerospace.  In 2002, Forrest Krutter and I helped to negotiate the purchase of Global Aerospace.  He and I were on the board from 2003 to 2007 when I resigned to look after some other duties in the US.  Forrest and I had a history that went quite a bit beyond Global Aerospace.  He did the local interviews in Omaha for MIT and interviewed me for college in the fall of 1988.  He then hired me into Berkshire in 2000 and we worked together on lots of projects until this past fall when  he died after a long battle with cancer.    By terrible coincidence, he died on the same day as my high school math teacher Mr. Waterman.

So, part of this trip is coming up to speed on Global Aerospace.  As much as I like the people there, and as much as I do truly believe that they are the best in a really tough industry, the circumstances will make that bit of the trip tough.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with the death of someone who I worked with closely.  In 2011 my partner of 10 years, Bob Bennett, died after his fight with cancer.  I spent all of 2012 coming up to speed on the parts of his work at Berkshire that I wasn’t involved in.  In fact, part of the reason I was in the office today was something that I forgot to take care of last week.

It is interesting to me how quickly I’ve grown to not like traveling for work.  At first – in my early 30s with no kids – flying all over the world was both fun and fascinating.  The thrill faded fast, though.  Since stepping down from the Global board in 2007 I’ve hardly traveled at all.  Of course, that’s made home schooling a lot easier.  My guess is that I’ll be travelling at least 6 weeks a year for work with the new responsibilities I have now.  That’s a big change.  I probably wasn’t traveling 6 weeks total from 2008 through 2012.    It seems likely that coaching ultimate is going to be very hard in 2014.  Hoping beyond hope that I’m wrong about that, though.

So, the flight leaves in about an hour.  I’m having breakfast with my best friend from college who is overlapping with my in London for about 2 hours tomorrow morning.  The rest of Sunday should be pretty uneventful – probably just reading in the hotel and hopefully hitting the gym.    The week is filled with meetings rather than math videos.  Flying back on Thursday evening and then picking Allie and the boys up from the airport on Friday evening.    Hoping Friday gets here fast . . . .

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