Statement of Intent

This morning I wrote our “statement of intent.” It’s a letter to the Chinese adoption authorities explaining why adoption, why China, what kind of child you hope to get and lots of promises that you’ll take loving care of the baby. This is a one-page document that has to cover a lot of territory, including practical stuff like addresses and citizenship information. So the room for additional information is short. It’s an interesting comment on Chinese culture that there’s a section prioritized for education — how much do we have and how do we plan to educate our child?

I felt more moved than I expected writing our statement, and I really enjoyed spending time with it.

It made me think that maybe I should be writing statements of intent for other important choices in my life. I certainly felt focused and well-directed when I finished. So when I want a new job, or just when I want to instill a good habit (or break a bad one) perhaps I’ll start with a one-page declarative document. I think I can leave the citizenship information out.

Here’s some unrelated stuff:

I visited the Microsoft campus for the first time last week. The campus was gorgeous — verdant, lush, hyper-green. The best part of it, though, was that it smelled distinctly of eucalyptus. So nice, they even have waterfalls. The interior is a bit more run down, which makes sense as the campus has been down for a while. It did make me laugh that it’s really hard to get BlackBerry reception there, so we all had to go into the hallways by the window and wave them around.

After our meetings we went to a very fancy-pants dinner that once again confirmed for me that I usually like what comes out of my kitchen as well as I like what cost $100 at a posh restaurant. Of course, I didn’t have to wash the dishes (or pay) so I had a very nice time. And the service was no less than exquisite. I did fumble badly in jumping on the fish special without listening carefully. The accompanying sauce sounded so lovely (tomatoes, olives, capers, wine) that I missed that it was a whole fish. Nothing like trying to make intelligent chatter with important partners (I think I was trying to sound like I’m used to talking about sailing when the main course came) while de-boning your meal. I actually did a terrifically clean job of getting out the filet, but felt a little nervous about fishsplatter until it was done.

Another noteable event: the flight to Seattle.
First: A Bad Sign.
During takeoff it quickly became clear that the man in the middle seat brought nothing to entertain himself. No books. No magazines. No music. No games. No Sudoku. Nothing. What he did have: someone to talk to. Me. He was from Venezuela and persistent. My earphones did not deter him. Determined magazine reading did not deter him. Avid in-flight movie watching did not deter him. Here’s some sample dialogue:
Him: So my friends say to me…
Him: So my friends say to me…
Me: Sorry? I couldn’t hear you through my headphones (Assume posture of having taken them out very temporarily, earbud hovering an inch from my ear.)
Him: So my friends say to me, “Are you going to see cattle?” And I say, “NO!!! See-attle!”

He also asked me a lot about electricity costs and hydroelectric power in the US.

For a while I did manage to hold him off by bobbing my head to the music on my iPod, and he spent some quality time with the guy in the window seat. When he turned back to me I snuck a peek at window guy and saw that he’d put on those big noise cancellation headphones. He looked like a helicopter pilot. All I could do was raise my eyebrows at him in silent tribute. Well played, window man.

Anyway, we soldiered on to Washington. And then. Believe it or not. 10 feet from the runway (I’m not exaggerating). I got to experience my first aborted landing. At first I thought the jolt I felt was the wheels touching down, and then I realized I was being pushed backward instead of forward, which meant we weren’t stopping, we were shooting up into the sky. And that we did at an impressive clip and angle. By the time I finshed saying, “What? What?” we were back in the clouds. The pilot came on and got all pilot-y, saying, “Sorry folks, we had a little traffic confusion there. We’ll circle around and get you on the ground.” And I thought: I wonder if the people in first class heard them yell “Jesus Christ!” from the cockpit when they saw the plane/luggage truck/moose on the runway.

I knew that we would be okay, because sometimes my life can seem to be full of cruel jokes but I knew there was no way I was going to check out next to the “See Cattle” guy.


6 responses to this post.

  1. “Sorry folks, we had a little traffic confusion there.”
    I bet that was the understatement of the day. You guys probably came within inches of being the next big disaster headline.


  2. “Sorry folks, we had a little traffic confusion there.”
    I bet that was the understatement of the day. You guys probably came within inches of being the next big disaster headline.


  3. “Sorry folks, we had a little traffic confusion there.”
    I bet that was the understatement of the day. You guys probably came within inches of being the next big disaster headline.


  4. I know! I’m happy I have no more flights in my immediate future.


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