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2014

                 




Hello Everyone,

Here we are at the end of a very terrific 2014! This year was so terrific for me, I hope it was the same for you.

We started out the year 2014 with a "crippling" snowstorm here in Atlanta. Actually there were TWO. The first one on January 27th, let's just say the city was NOT PREPARED. The entire city of Atlanta (and I mean, the ENTIRE CITY) went into gridlock at Noon on Tuesday 1/27. Not knowing how bad 2 inches of snow and ice could be, all the businesses and schools called it a day at Noon. 6 million people on the roads/freeways at the same time. I know, because I got stuck in the hotel van, it took me 1 1/2 hours to drive 1 mile. I finally just parked the van in a store parking lot and walked back to the hotel, 1 mile in the snow. Tales were told and experienced of people in their cars for 18 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours in order to get home...We call it Atlanta Snow Jam. People were walking in off the street looking for somewhere to sleep and get warm. All of our rooms were full but we let people sleep in the lobby areas, the bistro booths, everywhere they could. Here are some Snow Jam photos.The second storm, very similar came 2 weeks later but the city was completely prepared and everyone stayed home. The hotel wasn't even sold out because everyone stayed home. The first storm not only sold us out, we had people sleeping in the lobby. The Bistro was open on 1/27 until about 1am (instead of 10pm) and 1/28 until about 11pm. But the second storm was so much less eventful.

Next on the agenda for 2014 was my move from Cypress Point Apartments where I had lived for 4 years to a new complex called Orion at Deerfield. I had a great group of "helpers" for this move, including my twin brother Bruce, my long time friend Paul who had JUST moved to Atlanta from Oregon (he worked for me 30 years ago at McDonald's when he was 17), my co-worker Maritza's son Alex who had just moved to Atlanta and my hotel friend/houseman/military buddy Eugene. Here are some photos from the Orion move.

I was very sad in early March when I got a call from my Mom in Oregon. My step-dad, her husband of 23 years had passed away at home after a long illness. She told all of us boys not to come, that his daughters were handling everything, but we immediately booked flights to go home and be with her and take care of her for the memorial service. Here are some photos from his memorial service.

We had a long-time guest in the hotel named Nisha who was doing her residency at Northside Hospital. She left us after a year 1/2 at the hotel and we took her to the Georgia Aquarium and CNN as a going away present. Here are some photos from that day at the Aquarium / CNN.

Memorial day was really fun for me, lots of Memorial tributes around my apartment area and I was able to go the Atlanta Braves game with my friend Bernie from the hotel. He is from Boston and the Braves were playing the Red Sox. Here are some photos from that Braves/Red Sox game. I was able, for the first time, to visit Stone Mountain here in Atlanta at the end of May. I've been here for 7 years but have never made it to Stone Mountain. It was a beautiful day the first day until about dinnertime when the rains came. So I didn't get to see fireworks show against the mountain, but here are some photos I took that day at Stone Mountain.

My BIG trip this year was going to work my THIRD U.S. Open golf tournament. It was held just a few hours away in Pinehurst, NC. My friend Sean came down from cleveland to do this volunteer thing with me this time. I did my first U.S. Open in San Diego by myself in 2008. My next one was in Pebble Beach in 2010 with my friend Ron from Oregon. So this one, being my 3rd was very cool. Here are some photos (LOTS) that I took that week. One of the coolest things that happened was the Sunday before the first practice day (our first "work day"), Sean and I took a trial run to the golf course so we knew how to get there and where to report for duty. They had a special parking lot set up that day for ALL people to come and see the course and shop at the Gift Shop. There was a "trolley" taking people from the parking lot toward the entrance to the golf course. But again, quite a walk, and this is where the cool part comes in. There was a very nice/cute young lady who picked us up in a golf cart and drove us right up to the entrance of the golf course. Of course I flirted like crazy and took a photo. As it turns out, we saw her just about every day during the week at the "volunteer bus" area as we were getting on/off the volunteer shuttles. Turns out she worked for the transportation company that runs the big busses that were transporting volunteers and spectators to the golf course all week. The coolest thing was finding out she actually lives in Lawrenceville, about 10 miles from me. She was engaged and set to be married in October. We friended each other on Facebook and she was nice enough to send me photos of her wedding. Thank you Brie for making my U.S. Open experience that much better!!! U.S. Open Pinehurst Photos

Our front desk agent Alina (from Ukraine) anxiously awaiting the birth of her first baby in early August, had a baby shower at the hotel on July 22nd. Here are some photos from that baby shower.

Another sad time hit my family in early August when my Aunt Carol passed away. She lived close by in Canton, GA but I didn't really ever get up to see her and my Uncle Bob. My Dad and Stepmom came up from Florida for the
Memorial Service for Aunt Carol. It was great to see all my cousins again.

My twin brother Bruce and I took a trip up to Helen, GA (kind of like Frankenmuth, Michigan) for our 52nd birthday on August 26th. Helen is a small little bavarian village with a lot of little shops, a little river for people to innertube and lots of little dining areas. It was fun, SMALL, but fun. Here are some photos from our day in
Helen.

A bunch of us from the hotel went to Garth Brooks concert in downtown Atlanta on September 21st. Garth Brooks just came out of retirement with a new album. Trisha Yearwood also coming out with a new album. Very very fun, can't believe how many people remembered every word to every song, and the big sing-alongs were amazing. Here are some photos from the Garth/Trisha concert.

I found out just after this concert, in early October, that I had been accepted as the new Assistant General Manager at the Courtyard Atlanta Gwinnett Mall. My last day here at the Courtyard Atlanta Perimeter would be 11/6. I will work that evening for a huge group-check-in, then fly out the next morning for my big reunion in San Diego. My submarine USS Topeka was having a reunion, approximately 65 men and their wives/girlfriends were able to make it from all over the country. We had a big welcome reception on Friday night, a golf outing on Saturday morning, a submarine tour on Saturday afternoon, and a group dinner on Saturday night. Here are some photos from my USS Topeka Reunion. Also before I made my trip, I was able to re-connect with a LOT of folks that I started my Marriott career with in San Diego, some of which still live in San Diego, some in L.A. but we all got together on Sunday for brunch and drinks. Here are some photos from SANDT Reunion. As soon as I got back from San Diego on 11/11 (Veteran's Day), I had one day to recover, unpack and prepare for my first day at my new hotel on Wednesday 11/12. The first 3 days at the hotel were very exciting as I spent many hours at my desk with phone support trying to get access to all of our Marriott systems, etc... The staff also threw me a "Welcome Bill" party on my first day which was very nice. It only took one day, but all the housekeepers were already calling me Billito. :)

Finally, to finish out this long, monumental year, my old hotel threw a going away party for me on 11/20. Thanksgiving food was served, and the turnout was amazing!!! Jerry said he said he could not remember such a big turnout for going-away party for a manager. I was very touched by everyone being there, including people who were off duty, all the engineers from the Marriott cluster Engineering, employees that we had who had moved on to other hotels, everyone was there. It was very emotional. They made me read what people had written on my going away plaque, and one of the inscriptions actually got me and I got pretty choked up.....Here are some photos from my ATLPE going away party. Thank you ATLPE for all the memories and such a great send-off...... It was a wonderful year for me, I hope your year was equally memorable! I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.

Photos from the remainder of 2014 will be posted on next year's letter around Thanksgiving, 2015.

Until we speak soon, I wish you and yours the most happiness and love this holiday season and please keep in touch. But to everyone, all the best and please write soon!

xoxoxoxo
Bill