March 11, 2018

The Boys Are Back In Town

The Boys Are Back in Town
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 11, 2018

I'm getting really sick of winter.  When we walked out of our neighbor's house the other night, I took this picture of my house because I thought it looked like it was sitting on a mountain of snow.  Technically we're at the top of a hill, but I thought from this perspective it looked like a hill of snow.  What do I know?

Monday gave us another 7 inches of the white stuff.  It also brought down one of our neighbor's trees into our yard.  They were very nice, though, and took a chain saw to it and hauled it away for us.  Such good neighbors.  

Luke and Avery were home from college this weekend for Spring Break.  Avery also brought home his girlfriend, Emma.  They were reminiscing about how much fun they used to have building snow forts and one thing led to another.  They now have a big snow fort in the front yard.  They know how to have a crazy time on a Saturday night!

Luke spends a lot of time bowling when he's at college so we thought it would be fun to get in a game while he was home.  It was.

On Friday, my buddies from Iowa came to town for a boy's weekend.  It was really good to see them.

The weekend started at Shooter's Billiards in Burnsville where we played a bunch of pool.

On Saturday morning, we headed over to the Mall of America because that seems like an appropriate thing to do on a Guy's weekend.

We were excited to be there because the stars of the upcoming movie Midnight Sun were there to make an appearance.

Patrick Schwarzenegger is the son of Arnold and Bella Thorne is a former Disney star.  Both of them seemed to be pretty excited to be at the Mall of America.  Just like I was.

We stopped at Bubba Gump Shrimp factory to eat some seafood and watch Forrest Gump silently on the screen in front of us.  Don't tell us we don't know how to party.

Later that night, we came back to the Mall to go to Benihana.  Our boy's weekends used to be quite a bit crazier.  Now they seem to be focused around food a lot of the time.  In any case, I had a bunch of fun with my old buddies.

On Sunday, we met Grandma Linda for lunch.  I'd like to think that she looks as small as she does because it's a trick of photography because she's sitting at the far end of the table.  But no, it's not a camera trick.  She really is that small.

March 4, 2018

Starting A New Job at Oracle

Starting A New Job at Oracle
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 4, 2018

I started a new job at Oracle this week.  I was promoted from being an inside rep selling our applications software to being a field rep selling our core technology solutions.  Instead of working in downtown Minneapolis, I will now alternate working from home as well as in our Bloomington office when I'm not traveling to see customers.

I took this photo on Friday afternoon from our office.  More than 10 years ago, I was working for Nor-Tech and used to host customer events in the building pictured.  At that time, I used to dream about what it would be like to work for Microsoft and work in a building like this.  At that point, I decided that's where I wanted to go in my career.  

Well, it's taken a long time and a whole lotta interviews, but I feel like I finally achieved my goals.  Sure it's with the 2nd largest provider of enterprise software rather than the largest and I'm in the tower next to the one I was originally envisioning, but it's close enough.  Now I have to execute.  Thanks to all of you who have helped me to achieve my goals up to this point.

On Monday, my former team and I went to lunch at Fogo De Chao.  I'd always wanted to try the place and was very impressed with it.  You gotta go there with an appetite, though, because it's more meat than I've ever experienced in a single sitting.

I've made a bunch of good friends in my two and a half years at Oracle including everyone in this picture.  I'm going to miss them all very much.  

George Petruck and I have gone to lunch together probably 80% of my work days over the past 2 years.  He's the only person I know who used to work directly for the US Speaker of the House and actually once had a beer bought for him by Barack Obama.  I'm going to miss his perspective on things both at work and in the world.  Although we will both probably lose 20 pounds or so after not going to lunch together any more.

On Wednesday night, we went to O'Briens in Shakopee to see Robert the Piano Man.  I went to elementary school with Robert's wife, Hollie, and we discovered recently that we both now live in Prior Lake together.  It's such a small world.  But I'd still hate to try to carpet the whole thing.

Thursday night was our monthly get together with the Prior Lake Empty Nester Club.  We enjoyed ourselves at Artisan Bistro and shared a whole bunch of laughs with one another.  We didn't realize how naughty the painting on the wall was until we later looked at this picture else we would have requested they sit us in the PG-13 area of the restaurant.

Luke is home for Spring Break from Minnesota State Mankato University.  We thought it would be fun to visit the RV show happening at Canterbury Downs on Saturday and made ourselves comfortable in several of them.  They're lucky that they didn't have the TV's hooked up else we probably would have stayed there all night as well.

  On Saturday night, we went to a "Game Night" at our neighbor Jim's house.

When we last went to one of Jim's Game Nights, I was thinking we'd spend the night playing Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.  Turns out he means Game as in game that he and his crew have hunted and converted into food that we all get to enjoy.

They had quite the impressive spread and a wide variety of different game for us to try.  There was pheasant, venison, salmon, halibut, and a bunch of other yummy selections.  I think I was a little more adventurous in my selections than Luke and Miss Sheri, though.  Their preferred game animals are cows and chickens.

  It was a fun night with fun people.  Best of all, when the night was over we only had to stumble across the street to get home!