A Kansas Soul Honeymoons In Florida

The Sprious Experience Stipend is supposed to be used for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, things you wouldn’t normally do otherwise. For example, in the 2022-23 period, I used mine to go to my first-ever live rock concert, which was pretty terrific.

This time around, though, I really think I’ve nailed the “once in a lifetime” part:

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Yes, that’s yours truly on the left there, gazing in awe at the newly-minted Mrs. Coleman on April 8, 2024.

Sprious didn’t pay for my wedding – well, not directly, just in the old-fashioned way where I get a check every couple of weeks and I can do whatever I want with it. But the Experience Stipend did pay for a nice chunk of the honeymoon, buying us a few extra days that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. And I’m starting with the wedding photo for two reasons:

  1. The first is that, as a newlywed, it is my god-given right to take any excuse, no matter how tangential to bust out the wedding snaps.
  2. The second is that there’s really no way to write about this trip without acknowledging that it was, first and foremost, my honeymoon. It was where my wife and I, despite dating for eleven years prior to the actual nuptials, were introduced to two people who didn’t exist before – “Mr. and Mrs. Coleman.” To only write about the pretty scenery or the lovely cocktails we had would be to miss the whole point of the event, and what made it so meaningful, and why I’m so grateful that the Experience Stipend gave us this time together.

With that out of the way, though, let’s look at some nice scenery:

This is the Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, Florida. Actually, this is only a tiny portion of the resort, which has something like half a dozen outdoor pools, six restaurants, a lake, a boat to a private island and just about every other luxury you could think of.

My wife Bailey and I did a lot of work for our wedding. Being a professional artist and craftsperson, she personally handmade our ketubah, our toasting glasses, all our centerpieces and flowers, and much more. Being a graphic designer among other roles here in the Sprious/Rayobyte marketing department, I made our website, all our signage, our invites, and more as well. We wanted the wedding to feel handmade and personal, which also made it feel – from this end – exhausting. So we were really looking to do nothing else on our honeymoon except relax, and this was a great place to do that.

I’m not good at relaxing in general, as anyone who works with me or, worse, lives with me can attest. One of the amenities at Coconut Point that I’d truly never experienced before was a spa, where we paid for a lengthy couples’ massage. It sounded heavenly on paper, but to be honest, it wasn’t for me in practice. I’m not someone who likes being touched in general, even in the context of a friendly handshake, so having a stranger massaging my body only made me more tense and defeated the actual physical benefits of their hard work.

There’s one thing that does calm me down, though, and that’s food. One of the best things about going to Florida when you live in the brutally landlocked American Midwest is that you can get real, fresh fish that hasn’t been frozen on a truck or airplane for ages. I love fish and ate a truly ridiculous amount of it while we were here – particularly my favorite, fresh salmon. If we could have paid for just a few more days I really think I could have made salmon an endangered species, so committed was I to their total and complete destruction.

As an amateur gourmet, I also introduced my wife to the joys of a truly fancy wine and cheese platter, as you can see in this photo of her combining brie and a French rosé. This is the nicest (read: most expensive) restaurant at the resort which we had to make a special reservation for, and you’ll never guess what I had for an entree here. Actually you will guess. You’ve already guessed. You’re right.

We didn’t just come to Florida for the fish, though. We actually had a very important mission, which was to get my landlocked Midwestern lady into an ocean for the very first time in her life. Here’s how that went:

Let’s zoom in further:

The picture’s worth a thousand words, really.

Finally, I have to share one of the funniest features of the resort. They have a large wall mural made by a local artist showing some of the sea life one might find in the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part, this is a very beautiful work of art and we enjoyed walking past it. The artist did a great job capturing the actual sea creatures, like these manatees:

Or these adorable little otters:

But then, for whatever reason, the artist decided to add a land animal. The one we all see hundreds of times a day. The one our brains are trained to recognize better than any other.

The human animal.

I need you to brace yourself for this.

Are you braced?

Okay.

Here it goes:

The young man here appears to have a gaping wound in the side of his head that causes him to look like a sideways Pac-Man. The young woman is suffering from every single known disease, all at the same time. The fish and the turtle are clearly just trying to flee from these mockeries of G-d’s creation, and who can blame them. Who can blame them.

I’ve put a lot of jokes in this blog so now I’m going to be a little more serious in the closer here. The food was great, the beach was fun, and I got a lot of reading done (which is my favorite thing to do on vacation.) But like I said before, it was also an opportunity to meet Mrs. Coleman and also Mr. (married) Coleman. Despite the fact that we’ve been in love for so long, the commitment of marriage – of being “the other half of the same soul” as we say in Judaism, really has changed our relationship to each other and ourselves.

I’ll give you a single, not-too-personal example. One of our core values at this company is “What One Can Be, One Must Be” – a constant drive to self-improvement to the highest level. I’ve always been a supporter of this value (heck, I helped write it) and have tried to apply it to my own life, but now I absolutely hunger for it. The person I care about, respect, and cherish most in this world has agreed to be a part of my life – to even take my name – until the absolute end of our existence. That means things that only affected me now affect us both, forever. It means I can’t, for example, keep pulling extremely long shifts at work, which is why my Sprious Monthly Challenge for this month is to pull back on the overwork I usually voluntarily impose on myself as a VP, and delegate more responsibility to my brilliant team. Because it’s one thing for me to be exhausted and stressed out – I don’t care that much about me. But Bailey Coleman’s husband can’t be exhausted and stressed out all the time, because her happiness is too important. It’s the most important thing I’ll ever achieve.

The wedding was wonderful, but it was also a blur of to-dos, ceremony, and ritual. The honeymoon – our time of relaxation in each other’s company – was where Bailey and I truly got to enjoy our new life at length. I’ll always be grateful to Sprious for helping to make it as wonderful as it was.

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