December 21, 2016

So much has happened in the past 15 days since I last wrote a blog here on the Planet website so I guess I will start from the top. Friday the 9th was the day the Trans-Siberian Orchestra made their annual trip to town. As I do every year, I brought some noobs who've never experienced TSO live to the show. This year it was Skip Strong and his wife Kimber, daughter Taylor and son Carson and it was the latter's very first concert! We met up at American Burger Co. in downtown Greenville with a couple of other couples from my church for some dinner before the evening show. As always, the show was amazing and taking first-timers really makes each year a new experience! Plus we managed to be at the right place at the right time after the show to get backstage and meet some of the band!

The next day, Tessa and I made our way down to Tampa for the Buccaneers/Saints game the following day. We didn't get in town until 3 in the morning then we first hit a Walmart to grab some earplugs for the game since I got us seats in front of the pirate ship that fires its cannons for every point scored by the Bucs as well as every time the team enters the red zone. Unfortunately, we ended up leaving them in the hotel room when we left to go to the Florida Aquarium before the game since it was a 4:25 kickoff. However, the cannons weren't as bad as expected and the game was awesome! Not as much for Tessa since she's a Saints fan!

And, of course I had to take advantage of getting some gear at Raymond James Stadium! I picked up at mini replica helmet, T-shirt and a Santa hat! I wanted to get a jersey, but the one I wanted was a special Salute to Service edition I saw online that wasn't actually available at any of the stadium shops. So, thankfully NFL Shop had a 25% off promo running that very day so I ordered one that night in the hotel room while watching the midseason finale of The Walking Dead. It arrived Monday and I got to rock it yesterday along with my Bucs Santa hat!

Before leaving Tampa on Monday, we grabbed some lunch at Lee Roy Selmon's so I could have some of their fantastic Twisted Southern Chicken where they smother a chicken breast with mashed potatoes and maple bacon creamed corn! Oh, it's so much more than just a greatly named entree!

Over the next few days, we took it easy then on Thursday we got out and did some Christmas shopping since it was payday for me. We literally had to use my credit card to get home from Tampa! After shopping, we went to the Entercom Christmas party at Local Cue. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw that I had a Facebook message from one of my mom's friends asking me about what happened to Paige's husband, Chris (aka P1 Fireman) causing him to pass away. Having been away from the office, I had no idea so I pulled Stoneman from our sister station, Classic Rock 101.1 aside at the party and asked him what had happened and if it was true. I was already in disbelief and then when he confirmed, I was devastated. I have known Paige since before I was even officially hired at 93.3 the Planet and have worked with her longer than I have worked with anyone. And, in an industry of big personalities and even bigger egos, Paige is one of the few truly sweet and genuine people I know. I really cannot think of anyone less deserving to have to face a tragedy such as this. All I could think of is that happening to either Tessa or myself. It truly is unthinkable.

I did not stay at the party long because I had promised my mom that we would go look at Christmas lights with my brother and Aunt Pat. It was really hard, though, having just received the news about Chris but I managed to keep it together.

While Tessa was at work the next night, I did a few small repairs around the house. When I went to the front door, I saw a box on our doorstep from Lovesac and I knew immediately it was one of my Christmas gifts from Tessa. While I could have just ignored it, I decided to message Tessa and let her know. She told me just to go ahead and open it since I likely knew what was in there (and I did). It was a cupholder to fit our Lovesac sactional leather couch! Apparently I have another gift coming from her but, to be honest, I would be perfectly happy with just this!

While Tessa had to work all weekend, I geared up for Take Heart Church's two Christmas celebration services Saturday night and Sunday morning. The highlight for me was doing Relient K's rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" since it was the most driving song I have done with the worship team yet!

Sunday evening we had a quick family get together with Tessa's grandmother since one of her uncles was in town. It was quick because you know I had to make sure we were home in time to see my Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the number one team in the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys! I knew it would be a tough game and a likely loss but I am extremely proud of how well the Bucs played. As a matter of fact, had it not been for some detrimental errors, I am confident they would have kept their win streak alive!

After work on Monday, Tessa and I drove to Anderson for the visitation for Chris. I was dreading seeing Paige as I was not sure how she would be and my heart had already been hurting for her. Thankfully she seemed to be in fairly good spirits all things concerned.

After the visitation, Tessa and I went to look at more Christmas lights. I guess holiday lights must be therapeutic for me. As the holiday approaches, I am keeping her and their family in my thoughts and prayers and I would like everyone reading this to please do the same. And please let all your loved ones know that they are indeed loved. Merry Christmas.