Yesterday at the gym I had a minor revelation. I don’t want to work for anyone else anymore. When I get out of the Air Force I want to be working on things that I believe in and are important to me, not just grinding through some project because it’s there and someone has to do it. These thoughts had occurred to me in a roundabout way before, but never with the clarity I had yesterday. I have no idea how I’m going to pull this off, but I have two and a half years until retirement from the Air Force to figure it out. More to follow!
Okay, I get it, two years is a long time and I probably should have just shut this thing down long ago, but recently I met some people online who had started blogs and I decided to give this another shot. A lot has happened since then and I won’t try to go into all of it here. Some big events in the last two years that may or may not become blog posts in the future:
1) I rescued a beautiful puppy named Bailey.
2) I Deployed to Iraq for six months this year to work with the US Embassy on Foreign Military Sales to the Government of Iraq.
3) I have been re-assigned to Maxwell AFB, Alabama and will be moving down there and reporting in next week.
So thanks for checking back even though it’s been a long time. You should definitely check out GeorgiaBarbie and HR Heels who inspired me to get back to sharing a piece of my life with the world. Thanks ladies!
So it’s been a good five months or so since I posted anything on here. It’s not that I’ve been particularly busy or haven’t had anything to write about. In fact, a lot has happened since then.
There was a trip to Connecticut to visit the family back there, which was really great. We even pulled my niece out of school one day and took her to the Statue of Liberty, formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World (fun fact for the day). I must say I was really impressed with New York City. I hadn’t been there for about ten years and it truly is a different place. It seems cleaner and brighter. Maybe it was just the gorgeous spring day we were there, but it seemed like a city full of hope and promise.
Just a few weeks after the trip to Connecticut, I went on some work trips to Washington DC and Boston. It had been a few years since I had been back to Boston and I really enjoyed getting back to some of the old places I used to hang out. I even got to Fenway Park to see a Red Sox game with a bunch of people who had never been to one. It’s always exciting to get to share the experience of someone who is walking into Fenway for the first time feeling the history and the energy of the place. The Sox even won that night! All of these trips have me really excited to move back to a big city at some point in the near future. I don’t have any plans to move as of this moment, but I’m kind of looking forward to it.
Another highlight of the summer was my road trip down to Wichita Falls, Texas for my friend Eric’s wedding. Eric’s new bride Lee Ann grew up in the area and she is a total sweetheart and her family, along with Eric’s, made very feel very welcome and I had a great time at the wedding and just seeing Wichita Falls. The last time I was in that area, I was doing my ROTC Field Training at Sheppard AFB, so we didn’t get off base too much. It was nice to see the city and I had a really great time on the drive down and back.
Just a few weeks after that, my Mom came to visit. She had never been to Colorado before and we did all of the usual Colorado Springs tourist stops, Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, etc. She really wanted to do two things while she was here: See the Air Force Academy and go to a Colorado Rockies game. So we did both on a Friday afternoon and evening. Mom was highly impressed with everything we saw and we had a nice relaxing time in addition to seeing all the sights.
So as you can see there’s been a bit going on. Nothing too crazy, but lots of fun and good times. This post actually started as something else entirely, but I got wrapped up in telling the story of what I’ve been up to, so the next post will be about the original thing.
While I was deployed Jenn and I talked frequently about her potentially coming to visit me in Colorado once I got home. If you don’t remember who Jenn is, your homework is to re-read the “Party in the F-L-A” post from November.
Jenn had just started a new job (Congratulations on that, by the way!), but it turned out her schedule allowed her to come out and visit the weekend after I got home. I was really excited since we hadn’t seen each other since November, and even though we talked almost every day while I was deployed, there was a lot to catch up on. Jenn was able to find a relatively cheap airline ticket into Denver so I drove up there to pick her up on Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm and the drive up to Denver was beautiful. As I walked into the terminal, Jenn had just picked up her bag from the bag claim and was ready to go. It was great to see her again and the drive back down to the Springs was just as beautiful as it was on the way up. We spent the whole drive catching up and talking as I pointed out the sights along the way. I hadn’t planned much for Jenn’s first day in town since I wasn’t sure how she would feel after traveling and what we would both be up for, so we got some lunch and just spent the rest of the day chatting about all the things we hadn’t talked about while I was gone.
The next day was Super Bowl Sunday and I had grandiose plans to show Jenn around the Springs and find a fun place to watch the game. Unfortunately for us, the weather was not cooperating and it was snowing and windy and generally gross all day long. I took Jenn to my favorite mexican restaurant and then we got ourselves a few movies to watch and some snacks and watched the game while we watched the snow come down outside.
By Monday morning the snow had stopped, but now it was absolutely freezing cold out. We ventured out to get some breakfast and tried to stay warm against the cold and wind. We must have been pretty successful because Jenn was even willing to head back out again later that day to go to the movies and to get some coffee. At that point Jenn had enough of the cold (as did I) and we headed back home and ordered some Chinese take-out and just relaxed the rest of the evening.
The next morning, Jenn had to fly home to Georgia. I’m sure she was eager to get back to warmer weather! Of course, now that she was leaving the sun was out and Colorado was warming back up to normal temperatures again. We had another beautiful drive up to Denver and chatted the whole way again. I went inside the terminal with Jenn and hung out with her as she checked in for her flight. We didn’t really have any more time before she had to go, so I walked her to the security checkpoint and we said goodbye.
Despite the weather, it was great to see Jenn again and we had a great time. I hope Jenn wasn’t bored with her first trip to Colorado. I was very excited to plan our next visit together and show her some sights that she didn’t get to see this time!
So as you already know I haven’t posted anything in a while. It’s clear from my viewing stats that you all have finally gotten tired of reading my old posts, so it’s probably time for a new one.
I returned from my deployment to Southwest Asia in late January. While five months was a long time to be away (although not as long as the guys and girls who do a year or more over there, much respect to them), it was a great experience and I learned a lot while I was over there. I even managed to get some geocaching in while I was gone.
After I got back I was able to take a few weeks of R&R and have started a new assignment here in Colorado. Not too big a change, just moving across the base working on similar kinds of things, although I’m getting exposed to some new things as well, which is always nice.
That’s what has been happening in general. Jenn has come to visit a few times, I’ve been on a ski trip with some friends who came into town and went to visit my Dad in Myrtle Beach as well. I’ll be posting more about those trips in the near future.
It’s good to be back!
Recently I got the opportunity to go back to the States for a week as part of my deployment. Without getting too much into the details, a few of us headed to Florida to get trained on a new system and evaluate it for potential use at our deployed location. A somewhat important fact in this story is that the trip fell over my birthday, which also happens to be a national holiday, so I was pretty sure that we would get that day off from work on this trip. Also important to note is that my friend, Jennifer, has the same birthday.
I met Jenn about a year ago, but we lost touch with each other for a while. We have since reconnected and have been talking frequently since I deployed back in August. She lives in Georgia, so I thought it might be fun if she came down and we celebrated our birthdays together and hung out for a few days. After Jenn deliberated on it a while, she also decided that it would be fun and made plans to drive down that week and spend a few days in the sun.
The plane trip back to the States on Saturday was mainly uneventful except for our bags not making it to Florida with us, but it was a small price to pay for every flight being on time and not getting delayed or stuck anywhere. After crashing for about 10 hours and waking up Sunday morning, we found out that Hurricane Ida was making her way directly towards us. I talked with Jenn and she was still planning on making the trip Tuesday and wasn’t too concerned about driving through a hurricane. Our bags showed up that morning and we headed out to get some lunch and pick up a few things we needed to get through the storm. None of the locals in the Ft. Walton Beach area seemed to be too concerned about it so we decided not to worry about it either. As Monday arrived Ida had been downgraded to a tropical storm and there was some rain and wind, but nothing too extreme so Jenn decided to press on with driving down Tuesday morning.
Now, I’ve been out of the country for a while, but apparently there is a new Miley Cyrus song out called “Party in the USA”. I have since heard it and its one of those annoying yet catchy songs that we will all remember but deny ever liking. Jenn has expressed to me several times that she CAN NOT stand this song, mainly because it gets stuck in her head easily and it’s on the radio all the time. So I get a text message from her telling me she just started driving from home and guess what’s on the radio and how this is a “great” start to the trip. You’ll have to ask Jenn, but I think that was probably the worst part of her drive down. That and when she got rained on getting a drink from somewhere, but about 7 hours later she arrived safely on Okaloosa Island. We got caught up and looked through some pictures of her wild sorority days that she had promised to bring and then it was time for dinner.
We went to dinner at a seafood place next door with my co-worker Tina and her mom who also came down to visit for a few days. Dinner was fun and everyone really hit it off and we went to Howl at the Moon after we ate. If you haven’t been, Howl at the Moon is a chain of dueling piano bars across the country and it’s a pretty good time. We sat and listened to the old dueling piano bar standards of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and such. Tina and her mom had heard some song about new roller skates and a key and requested it and the piano player didn’t really know it, but faked their way though it and we all had a good time there for a few hours before we called it a night.
I’d like to tell you that our birthday started with a beautiful sunrise and was warm and sunny all day long, but the remnants of Ida were still hanging around so it was cloudy and grey all day. Not to be discouraged, Jenn and I went out exploring Ft. Walton Beach and Destin and found a place to have coffee and tea and talk about all sorts of things. We mainly just spent the day bumming around town, but it was a lot of fun and a really great birthday. We even got cupcakes to share with Tina and her mom before we went to dinner at a little Italian place that night.
Thursday was back to work for me and Tina, so of course it was sunny and warm. Jenn took advantage of her free time and did some shopping while we were at work. We went to a beach restaurant type place for dinner where I convinced the hostess to give me a kids menu and some crayons to do the puzzles (If you ever are in a situation with Jenn where you need crayons, get her a blue one, not a pink one. You’ve been warned). There were some Tic-Tac-Toe grids on the kids menu and I tried to let Jenn win and she totally missed it, so I had to invoke the little known “here’s a hint” rule in Tic-Tac-Toe. Jenn was then able to defeat me easily but we decided that one game of Tic-Tac-Toe was enough and she did the word find while I colored in the connect-the-dots alligator.
Friday was another nice sunny day and Tina and I only had to work until noon, so we picked up her mom and Jenn and went to lunch down at a little open air mall on the water. We ate and then walked around a little bit and Jenn and I walked on the beach for a while until we decided that we were going to need ice cream. We drove into town and found a place and Jenn got some really good coconut ice cream (way more original than my basic chocolate chip) and then headed back to meet Tina and her mom for dinner. We went to an AMAZING pizza place called Helen Back. If you are ever in that part of Florida, you have to eat there. No discussion, just do it.
Saturday was departure day for everyone. Tina’s mom had an early flight so Jenn and I found a little coffee shop on the water while Tina dropped her mom off at the airport. Jenn had a long drive in front of her so she got on the road mid-morning while we packed our things and checked out of the hotel. Tina and I caught our first flight to Atlanta and arrived there right around the same time Jenn was driving through there. I got word from Jenn that she arrived home safely just as we were about to go board our flight back overseas. On the flight back I got served the smallest can of Diet Coke ever made on the flight so I waved it around claiming I was a giant. Tina laughed. The stewardesses didn’t.
Once again the flights were uneventful and we arrived back at our deployed location with no problems. As I write this I’m noticing that my deployment will be wrapping up soon and that it has gone by very quickly, much more quickly than I anticipated. So far this has all been a great experience, but it will also be nice to get back home to the States and get caught up with everything and everyone I’ve been missing.
I’m currently a little more than a month into my deployment. It’s hard to believe that it is going by that fast! The first two weeks were a little crazy getting inprocessed and going through training, but after that it’s been easy to settle into a routine. It’s kind of a nice change from the hectic pace back home.
Working the night shift took some getting used to, but it’s actually a pretty good deal here since I miss the hottest part of the day. The temperature is usually coming down as I’m getting up and heading to the gym in the late afternoon. I’ve been getting to the gym 6 days a week which has been great because that almost never happens back home. After the gym is dinner and then some of us usually walk over to the coffee shop and have a cup before we catch the bus to work. The bus and walking are pretty much the main ways of getting around here for most people. One of the great things about working nights is that we can head to the pool as the sun is coming up and hang out and get some sun before it gets too hot out. It’s not quite a party atmosphere that early in the morning, but we’re working on it!
One of the unique things about being deployed is that while you’re on base you either have to be in uniform or in PT gear so everyone is pretty much walking around in blue Air Force PT shorts and grey Air Force PT shirts. You also have to wear a reflective belt for safety when it is dark out. I haven’t had a chance to get off base yet, so I haven’t worn civilian clothes in over a month.
I have run into an insane amount of people I know out here. I knew that there were some folks already out here and some coming in a few months, but I have run into a bunch more that I hadn’t seen in years since I have been here.
So that’s the update. It’s not the exciting stories I’m sure you were all hoping for, but when something fun does happen you can be sure I’ll post it here.
About a year and a half ago I was out to dinner with some friends and one of them recommended the book “How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci” to another. It sounded interesting so I ordered the book and read it. I really didn’t know much about Da Vinci prior to this and was astounded to see how the politics of the day had affected his life and work. Perhaps most fascinating is the balance that he lived his life in and found connections between science and art and the world around us. At various times I’ve picked up the book again and read sections, but have never gotten around to doing the exercises in it. I figured that this deployment would be a good opportunity to dig a little deeper into the ideas presented in the book and maybe learn a little bit about myself along the way.
Step 1 is to perform self-assessments in a number of areas including curiosity, learning, perception, balance, etc. which I actually completed some time ago, but never took it any further. Now I’m going to take another look at those and progress on with some of the exercises with a goal of doing a little bit every day and hopefully increasing my awareness of the world around me and those in it.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of getting ready to deploy. I had to get a bunch of immunizations (Small Pox, Anthrax, etc. so thanks to all the terrorists out there who think making biological weapons is cool) a physical, a dental appointment, and all kinds of training and briefings. The highlights were the readiness training (which mainly consisted of running around a field with body armor and an M-16 for 2 days) and qualifying on the 9mm Beretta at the combat arms range. I’m always a little nervous about doing things with live weapons because I just wasn’t around them much growing up and have only had limited experience with them in my military career, but after the last few weeks I’m confident I can handle a weapon with out embarrassing or shooting myself.
I left home at 7:45 in the morning and after about 36 hours and 4 layovers I finally made it to my deployed location. From the places on base I have been to, you can’t see anything on the horizon except for desert so there’s a definitely “middle of nowhere” feel to the place. Everything is designed to be functional and kind of has a temporary look about it, the buildings are pretty much square brown concrete and a lot of the original trailers for housing are even still around.
We have pretty nice dorms and dining facilities, the BX carries almost everything a normal BX back home does. The gym is incredible and there’s always plenty to do and plenty of people around when you’re off duty. Have been doing training this week and start working the night shift tonight. After that it should be pretty routine for the most part, but I think we’ll find some ways to have fun while we are here!