February 28, 2014

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

For those of you who regularly read my postings, you know that travel is a part of my work routine. I travel for business more than most, not as much as some, but more than I like. After 30+ years, the novelty has more than worn off. The period between Christmas and the end of February is particularly grueling. I’ve traveled all or part of almost every week since December 23, except for one week in January, when I was on jury duty in New York City, and one in February, during both of which I was lucky enough to sleep in my own bed every night. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this installment on American Airlines Flight 22 from LAX to JFK at 9:15PM EST on Wednesday. I hope to arrive at JFK just before midnight and, if all goes well, be home and asleep before 1AM.1

This particular trip was different. As I’ve written in the past, I do the NY/LA trip every 6-8 weeks, roughly eight times per year. When I was planning this trip, my wife Tracy asked if she could tag along. From reading my past postings, some of you know that Tracy and I have three small children, ages 5, 3 and 1 1/2. So needless to say, Tracy hasn’t been able to travel much since we got married six years ago. In fact, the last time she was in LA was the summer of 2007 for the premier of The Bourne Ultimatum. Since then, I’ve probably made 40-50 trips to LA. And having a young family doesn’t give us the opportunity to get away by ourselves all that often. So she called her mother, Grandma Carole to our children, who was more than happy to spend three days with her grandchildren, and we were off.

We landed in LA just after noon on Monday. Tracy accompanied me to a business lunch, and afterwards I dropped her off at the hotel while I went about my afternoon of meetings. She met me that night for a business dinner, and I must confess it was nice to go back to the hotel with my wife, instead of alone. We woke up early on Tuesday since our biological clocks were on NY time, and I was up and out by 7:40AM for an 8AM breakfast in LA, and then an hour car ride to Irvine (Orange County) where I spent the rest of the day in our office there. Tracy enjoyed a rare day to herself – no children, no husband, just her own “me” time, a true luxury for her. I got back to our hotel at 6:30PM in time to pick her up and include her in my Tuesday night business dinner.

When we got up Wednesday morning, it was off to the Universal Pictures lot, where my movie producing activities have their office. Since that office opened in 2009, Tracy hasn’t had an opportunity to visit and meet the people who work there or to see the place. We got to the office, introductions were made, I did a little bit of business and then it was off to a behind-the-scenes tour of the “lot,” the Bates Motel, Wisteria Lane, and other Universal favorites. At 12:30PM we were in the car and off to LAX, fighting the LA traffic and getting to the airport later than we should have. Welcome to life in LA!

The whole whirlwind was an opportunity for Tracy to actually see how much I pack into a 2-day trip. Not much sleep and not much downtime. I think she came away with a better appreciation for how much really gets done when I’m on the road. And it was nice to have her with me. But in the end, we both agree, there’s just no place like home.

1I made it, albeit an hour late due to some computer glitch before take off.