Spring Break 2015

Trish and Aaron Pogue at AT&T Stadium I’ve done a couple of posts now about living the high life thanks to the slow, certain success of my most recent business venture. I have one more to share, but this one is only tangentially related to Draft2Digital. In fact, I think it was the first time this year I took time off from work.

Earlier this month, I took a road trip with the family. We went down to Dallas (about a three-hour drive) for three days in order to accomplish three things:

  • Dinner at Texas de Brazil
  • A tour of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium
  • Shopping at Ikea

(Just guess which one of those items Trish picked.)

(You are correct.)

Nicki and Kris Austin at AT&T StadiumActually, she was pretty excited about all three. And, come to think of it, there was a pretty important forth item on the list:

  • Socializing

That’s because we took this family road trip with another family in tow: The Austins joined us for the whole weekend.

For those who don’t know, Kris Austin is the CEO of Draft2Digital who accompanied me on both of those last two outings I wrote about. But I knew Kris for more than a decade before Draft2Digital existed. Our families have been close for as long as they’ve been discrete families. We all have dinner together a couple of times a week, and our kids are close as cousins.

Annabelle, Jason, and Alexander in DallasSo everyone was on board when I suggested this trip. We drove down Saturday afternoon, checked into the hotel (and it was a nice one), then headed straight to Texas de Brazil, where we had a reservation waiting.

If you don’t know Texas de Brazil, you should. It’s a Brazilian churrascaria that represents the perfect union between a fine steakhouse and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Even their salad bar is almost worth the price of admission.

I’ve been three times now,and it just doesn’t disappoint. It’s a feast and an experience and a luxury.

And this time we got to share the experience with our friends. It was the first time we’d brought our kids, too, and they had a chance to try some foods they’d never encountered before. Annabelle liked the lamb chops. Xander was all about the bacon-wrapped filet mignon.

After that we went back to the hotel and talked and watched a couple of shows before calling it an early night.

AT&T Stadium in DallasThen Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel. The kids all went swimming in the hotel pool (which might have been the highlight of the trip for them), then we got cleaned up and headed to the stadium.

We had tickets for the VIP guided tour which took almost two hours (and rightly so; that facility is amazing) before they released us onto the field for some free play. And it occurs to me now that that was the highlight of the trip for the kids.

Xander, Maggie, Jason, and Kris in the end-zone at AT&T StadiumThey ran and jumped and tackled each other. Kris bought a football for them to fight over. They rolled around in the astro-dirt. It was great.

After that we had a late lunch at my favorite Mexican place (it’s a chain, but one we don’t have in Oklahoma), and then we went back to the hotel to hang out and play games together. It was quiet and easy and so much fun.

Annabelle posing in her dream room at IkeaMonday went much the same way: sleeping in and a late breakfast before check-out, then we loaded up the cars and headed to Ikea. It was…I want to say “overwhelming.” We don’t have one closer than Dallas, and for most of us, this was our first experience with one. It was certainly impressive.

Then we found a pizza joint with a kids’ play place for lunch. (I grabbed In-N-Out from across the street.) We played there for about an hour, then we finally said our goodbyes and headed home.

The whole trip was cool and exciting and relaxing and…just everything a vacation ought to be. Then I woke up the next morning and went back to work at my dream job.


Kris Austin and Aaron Pogue courtside at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ersI wrote recently about the burst of exciting events in the early days of Draft2Digital before it became mostly nose-to-the-grindstone right up until my visit to Apple in February. Well, as it happened, that sort of became its own burst of exciting events.

A couple weeks after the San Francisco trip, Kris (our CEO) was talking with our company lawyers about something boring, and they invited Kris and me to join them in their courtside seats for an NBA game. Am I a VIP, or what?

The game was March 4th’s outing against the Philadelphia 76ers, when Russell Westbrook got his second triple-double of the season (he’s up to six now). We showed up a little bit before the game and Kris took some photos of the arena from his seat:

Kris Austin and Aaron Pogue courtside at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers

We were on the second row, right behind one of the goals (and about twenty feet from the Thunder bench). We had an incredible view of the action, and it was an action-packed game.

Kris’s wife was watching the game at home, and she caught some great pictures of us on the TV. This one’s probably the best:

Kris Austin and Aaron Pogue courtside at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers

That’s Westbrook making a break for an incredible slam dunk. You can see Kris and me on the second row. (The dude behind Kris gaping in awe is our superstar lawyer.)

This one shows me a little more clearly:

Kris Austin and Aaron Pogue courtside at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers

But we weren’t really there to become TV stars. We were there for the game and, as I said, the game was amazing. I’ll leave you with a shot of the view from my seat:

Kris Austin and Aaron Pogue courtside at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Livin’ large. I’ll let you know what happens next.