Cinnamon Roll French Toast at the Oak Grill in Newport Beach
This morning, the lights started coming on in the apartment, as usual, at 4:30 a.m., getting us out of bed before our 5:00 a.m. self-imposed wake-up time as the rooms slowly brightened like a sunrise. Aaron made the coffee and picked up on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which he’s been playing in his free time. I went into my office and read, browsing the latest updates about the Scotch whiskey distilleries that Brown-Forman acquired awhile ago after which I spent some time looking at its planned acquisition of Fords Gin, followed by a review of a couple of changes in state-specific real estate laws and research into a Taiwanese company. For most of this time, I was quietly listening to one of my favorite songs, the jazz genius Vince Guaraldi’s Great Pumpkin Waltz, which was made famous by A Charlie Brown Christmas. I spent a good part of our first autumn and winter in Newport Beach with that song on endless repeat as we settled in to our new home. The slight chill in the air, and the overcast gray skies (which never seem to last long around here) made it a perfect fit. It lets me focus without distracting me from what is on my desk.
We had originally planned on going to the beach today, maybe getting food and sitting outside for awhile to enjoy nature, but we had a lot to accomplish and wanted to get started. As a result, we decided, instead, to walk to a nearby restaurant, The Oak Grill, which is part of the Fashion Island Hotel, to have breakfast together as our one big meal of the day then both dive into our respective task lists. I brought the physical book I am currently working my way through, along with a pen and highlighter, and Aaron had his favorite reading apps loaded on his phone. We made the trip – on a side note, I was wearing my new vanilla, pink, and mint 1980s-style Adidas shoes, which I have come to love – talking as we passed the jasmine flowers and trees.
We each opted for the the cinnamon roll French toast with cream cheese frosting and fresh berries with maple syrup. We also shared a few pork sausages on the side.
We need a better, closer picture after pouring maple syrup over it …
I had planned on spending my afternoon working on a combination of contract approvals, accounting reviews, and a few other items but, instead, ended up taking my iPad Pro out to one of the outside decks – the one overlooking the pool off our master bedroom – and reading the 10-K of a Software-as-a-Service company that I find extremely compelling.
The past few weeks have been extraordinarily productive, both personally and at the wealth management firm. We:
- Completed the sale of our house in Missouri. I have a draft post written about it that maybe, someday, I’ll publish. We knew it was the right decision – we’re going to do whatever it takes to give our future kids all of the advantages we can – but we still had mixed feelings on it because we bought it when we were in our mid-twenties. For around a decade, it was where we fell asleep at night, celebrated holidays, practiced music, played video games, built our businesses, learned to cook, learned to garden roses, babysat our nieces and nephews, learned how to design furniture and custom dress shirts; where we lived when we got married even though it was not legally recognized in Missouri at the time. I probably asked Aaron two or three dozen times if he was absolutely sure he wanted to sell it because I wouldn’t necessarily object to just keeping it on the balance sheet for the next few decades even if we never went back to see it again. I liked the idea of keeping the first house we bought together. In truth, though, what I cherish are the memories and life we built together, not the physical space. We’re out here on the West Coast now. This is our home because we’re together.
- Moved forward with the next stages of gestational surrogacy. We’re working with a wonderful agency which will oversee the search process for the women to whom we entrust one of the most important things that will ever happen in our, and our future kids’, lives.
- Outsourced some important tasks that will free up more of our time to focus solely on managing client portfolios at work.
- Officially shut down the now-dormant Kennon-Green Enterprises, LLC following the reorganization and distribution of essentially all of the assets back in 2017. We had thought about keeping it for estate planning reasons but we’re going to need a complete overhaul, including some trust work, as we prepare to have kids and are now located in a state with entirely different property laws.
- Made decent, albeit irregular, progress on restoring posts from the private archives. So far, we’re up to 154 restored posts, totaling 175,448 words of content (excluding the comment sections, some of which are many, many times larger than the post itself and contain entire discussions on a wide range of topics).
- Read some books (surprise, surprise).
- Began a short-term hyper-productivity project that has some specific goals we are trying to achieve before the deadline. So far, we’re doing great. I can’t share a lot of details for competitive and privacy reasons but they involve continuing the build-out of our back-office and some personal improvement objectives. For example, we pay for a lot of wonderful software that can do things like classify the securities held across all client accounts according to specific SEC categories required in our regulatory disclosures. That way, instead of having to do this by hand each year, we can simply run a report. It’s stuff like that which isn’t necessarily visible everyone else but that is essential because, taken together, it makes us much more efficient.
Sometime, later this summer, we will need to work remotely for six or seven days because we are flying back East to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews. Caleb is officially done with medical school and has begun his residency in anesthesiology. I’ve been meaning to post about his graduation ceremony. He has point-blank said that if he can find a job in Southern California when he’s done with residency, he and his family will move out here. I want that to happen so badly because I love the idea of him, Tara, and the kids being nearby, especially if it means our kids and their kids get to grow up together and have memories of their childhood spent running around on beaches and going to Disneyland with their cousins.