We're ready for tomorrow's meeting. Jose eliminates some slides to focus the presentation more on the creative concepts we've developed for the client. Jose will open the presentation, and I'll present our custom ideas.

10:30 p.m. Back in my hotel room, I call home. Sonya is an interior designer, and she'll present ideas to some new clients in a couple of days, so she's a little nervous. She likes to bounce ideas off me. I tell her she's going to do great, and she wonders out loud why she airs her design ideas with a man who has trouble dressing himself without looking like he's going to a Grateful Dead concert.

Alyssa and I discuss her less-than-acceptable report card again. She promises to work harder on her homework and excitedly shares today's assignment with me. I hope this new enthusiasm for schoolwork lasts longer than a week, but anyway, it's great to see that our talk had some impact. I wish I were there to give her a supportive hug.

Every time I hang up after one of these calls, Renee is the one who cries to my wife because she misses me, so I always talk to her last, and remind her that she needs to watch over her sister and her mom while I'm gone.

This time, she asks me where St. Louis is, and I tell her to go look at a map and find Missouri. I tell her it's snowing, but she wants to know how to spell Missouri. Then I ask if she wants me to bring her some snow, and she says, "OK, but it'll probably melt, so make sure you get me something else that I can use. Like a coloring book about St. Louis."

11:00 p.m. It's bittersweet to call home from the road. I miss Sonya and the kids, but it always makes me smile to hear their voices.

I leave the curtains open so I can see the St. Louis Arch, the snow still coming down all around it. Where the heck am I going to get a coloring book about St. Louis?