Bride’s birthday pre-game

It has begun.

Grey Goose dirty (filthy!) martinis for me, $68.00 / bottle glasses of Chianti for her.  I ain’t spending s*** on liquor at an expensive Brazilian steakhouse, and the groupon comes with a bottle of wine and dinner for two.

I’m afraid the steakhouse has made a rather large mistake – They won’t allow more than one groupon to be used per “group”, and we have a 6-person party.   So if they don’t seat us at least adjacently, if not push three tables together, its going to get loud.  Trust.

lrsFLASH

Ah well.  That will be entertaining blog-fodder at the very least.  With video.

RLTW, and out here.

greenred

All lights green, all systems GO

What the heck happened to February?  Seems just a week ago I was filling out reams of pre-employment paperwork and spending a fortune on marksmanship gear, and as of today, I have four nights left at home before reporting to Eglin AFB for range qualification for a week, then moving my butt up to Cambridge to sit in a corporate apartment for a month while I look for listings my wife might deign to evaluate for purchase.

She, in the meantime, has to select a brokerage to handle the sale of this house we’ve lived in for sixteen years (we have a choice of two, interviewed one yesterday and another is coming on Friday), organize with an “estate sale” firm who will assist her in getting rid of all the stuff we don’t want to take with us, stage the house, and put it on the market, and deal with the movers.  She’s done all of this countless times, of course, with every PCS (Permanent Change of Station) we made while I was in the army, but she’s not looking forward to it.

Luckily her birthday is on Saturday, and I’ve made reservations at a Brazilian steakhouse for the two of us – One last indulgence before being separated for a month with little time to talk to each other.  Good grief, it feels like a deployment, or my staff time as an S-3 (Plans & Operations) when I was a Major – TDY (Temporary Duty) here, there, and anon, keeping me away from home for extended periods.

OK, perhaps not a deployment.  This time no one will be shooting back at me (unless a disgruntled MIT student busts a cap in my a** – Unlikely, since I’m not faculty, just a staff member on the ballistics and trajectory team…I won’t be grading anyone).  But TDY?  Oh yeah.  This is the civilian version of TDY.

Anyhow, I’m all packed, the flu has passed, I’m taking a break from the range today to take eldest daughter clothes shopping, and there’s Portuguese red wine to look forward  to on Saturday evening.  The only fear I have is the fear of how much I’m going to miss my bride for this upcoming month…I really am quite fond of her.

And don’t think the irony of starting a new job where I’ll be firing small arms every day at work in the midst of the latest “ban all the guns” furor escapes me – It amuses me mightily.

Here’s some morning reading for you while I suffer at the mall:

On Monday, as the news of the Virginia Tech shootings was unfolding, I went into my advanced constitutional law seminar to find one of my students upset. My student, Tara Wyllie, has a permit to carry a gun in Tennessee, but she isn’t allowed to have a weapon on campus. That left her feeling unsafe. “Why couldn’t we meet off campus today?” she asked.

Virginia Tech graduate student Bradford Wiles also has a permit to carry a gun, in Virginia. But on the day of the shootings, he would have been unarmed for the same reason: Like the University of Tennessee, where I teach, Virginia Tech bans guns on campus.

In The Roanoke Times last year – after another campus incident, when a dangerous escaped inmate was roaming the campus – Wiles wrote that, when his class was evacuated, “Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.”

More at the link.  Out here,

Facebook a**holes

This is why I’m not on FB.  My wife’s engaged in an argument regarding gun control that’s been rolling since last night – Some jerk (one of those whose self esteem hinges on winning arguments on the Internet) is snarking at her about why the 2A should be repealed…I read his posts this morning and sent my wife this via email:

Just put each link in a separate post (not the text of the article, just the link to it), it will give him plenty to read.  These are the actual state and federal Supreme Court decisions over the second amendment (District of Columbia vs. Heller is the final say until some other jerk brings a case before the court).  And tell him I appreciate his decree as to what I am and am not entitled to [aside: She mentioned that she’d ask her wounded veteran, Infantry officer husband what he thought, and the jerk wrote a mini-article as to what I’m entitled to think / say), but I’ll defer to the Constitution and the Supreme Court for that rather than some guy on Facebook.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Meaning_of_%22well_regulated_militia%22

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caetano_v._Massachusetts

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v._City_of_Chicago

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

And here’s the killer argument from Ben Shapiro, one of the smartest political analysts out there:

5. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/students-anti-gun-views/

Zuckerberg really has created hell on Earth for those who use it to argue politics, but I’ll be damned if I let some creep tell me what I should be thinking while I’m cleaning my .357 in my boxer shorts (sorry, that’s an awful image, I know) with my shrapnel scars in full view on my legs – Even if he’s not addressing me directly.

I am clearly dull-witted

We aren’t “high society” by any means…But as I showered this morning, Waylon’s “Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)”  (Youtube) came up on the playlist while washing my hair.

Epiphany.  Let me explain.

I’ve listened to that song probably thousands of times since freshman year of high school (Hey, I’m from Texas, and it was the 70’s…You either listened to C&W or KIXS on the FM dial, and the song was released that summer), just loving the tune and lyrics.  But from the perspective of a fellow who has completed one career and is fourteen years from completing another, the meaning of the lyrics one day come dreadfully to life:

There comes a point in a working person’s life when the realization that all of the weekends, late nights, and holidays sacrificed to get to the position one occupies have left one “comfortable” – But that having established the reputation of being that Type “A” personality who is shooting for Senior Vice President before retiring, there’s no halt to the sacrifices until that point is reached.

And when you reach it, then what?  My wife & I don’t fight like the Hatfield’s and McCoys, but I don’t think either of us, after thirty-one years of marriage, believe we’ve had the opportunity to spend as much time together as we like.  Me and my work, our raising three children (all now grown and gone), me and my VFW and American Legion and Homeowner’s Association Board of Directors and North Georgia Corps of Cadets Association Board of Directors and volunteer work with recently separated veterans, her and her mini-chicken farm, hobbies, and bill paying (yes, I, the only member of this household who’s ever been employed, live on an allowance, just shoot me)…Yeah, it got me where I am, with a heart attack along the way.

Wouldn’t I rather live in a small house in San Antonio or Austin, working a 9-5 job, and have all that time we’ve missed?  You bet.  But the values and discipline my father and the army bestowed on me never would have allowed that…They raised my expectations of myself so high that I’ll be reaching for the next rung on the ladder until I fall into the cremation pit.

It’s something to think on.  I’m afraid I and the army instilled the same values and discipline on my son, and I feel guilty about that.  My daughters are free spirits who are just as happy crashing on a friend’s couch for a couple of months to save money for something they want, and they are expert at lowering their expectations – A trait I’m envious of.

If I had it to do again, knowing what I know now, I think I’d live life differently.  Impossible to know, of course, but I like to think that I would.  Of course, like every other major rumination I come across, it’s too late to change things now…But perhaps a discussion on the matter with my kids, and my grandkids, is in order.

You don’t have to make first string, or cross the finish line first, you just have to make the team.  File that among the many things I wish I’d learned long ago.

Havoc

I have 8 days to prepare for a move to a temporary (company provided) apartment for 4 weeks, preceded by a week in Tampa inventorying and mapping the data center.  Don’t want my 120 new employees to think I don’t know my a** from a hole in the ground when talking to them about load balancing, firewall, SLA upload / download and page load times, number of blades, number of VMs, what each blade and VM is responsible for, what OS it’s running, what the licensing status of all of the software is, etc.

Being me, when I get to Tampa on the 25th, I’ll do a leader’s reconnaissance of the route from my hotel to the office so that I don’t get lost on my first day of work – I’ll repeat that exercise on March 4th when I arrive in Boston for my stay in the temporary apartment (I say my stay because my wife will have to remain here to handle the movers when they arrive and go through all the rigamarole of putting the house on the market – We’re going to be separated for five weeks, which I’m not looking forward to, but I believe she may be).

The office has a gym, thank goodness, no more maintaining a gym at home to get my workouts in (I refuse to pay for a health club / gym).  If I know myself, I’ll buy a bunch of turkey lunch meat, some 100% whole wheat bread, a bottle of mustard, and a few TV dinners, I’ll just eat that stuff and pocket the per diem to pay for my Grand Marnier and “Cafe Latte” flavored vape e-juice (plug for drvapeit there) (that stuff almost makes vaping as expensive as smoking, but I’ll do without the carcinogens and tar, TYVM).

There’s an iOS app that tells one the best route to take when jogging, that’ll take care of not getting lost during my morning runs (Can you tell I’ve been concerned with getting lost since Military Science III in 1985?  To be an Infantry officer one must be as intimate with land navigation as one is with one’s significant other, and I knew I was going to be an Infantry officer by 1985 – You don’t spend 4 years in an Infantry National Guard unit and have much of a shot to be branched anything else at commissioning, so typical of me, I was making and running my own land nav courses in the mountains of North Georgia and running them, and taking every opportunity I could to run the Yankee Road land nav course at Fort Benning).

In the meantime I’m packing my home office (can’t let the movers do that or I’ll never find anything when we get up North), making minor repairs around the house, and doing what I can to prepare for the new job.

It’s havoc around here, and I have no dogs to let fly to assist me (See: “Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war!”)

That is why blogging has been sparse, which may actually be a good thing..I’m building up so much blog-fodder in my brain that I’ll no doubt write 500-word posts for weeks when settled in.  Until then be well – I’ll see you as soon as I can…we all know I’m going to sneak a post in whenever I can from Tampa and Boston, I’m addicted now.

Holy smokes

Just received, read, signed, and returned the offer letter for my new position.  I’m a bit in shock, I think, at the benefits and amenities…A FULL relocation (just like an army Permanent Change of Station – A truck shows up with boxes, wrapping paper, blankets, and 3-4 movers, they wrap, pack, and box everything and put it on the truck, and carry it off to your new home, where they unload and we unpack).  The bride only has to supervise.

On top of  THAT, they pay the Real Estate Agent’s commission on both the sale of the current home AND the purchase of a new home, as well as paying any closing costs or points on the new mortgage.

A “Real Estate Specialist” from the HR department will be here Monday to start the process…We have a full year to sell the house if that’s how long it takes.  In the meantime, they’ll pay for 30 days in an “Executive suite” while we look for a new place to settle.

And given we aren’t paying any closing costs, points, or commissions, I’m going to treat myself to something I’ve wanted for a very long time on Monday…A brand new Mercedes C300 – half of the payment down in cash, the rest financed.  I have enough guns, it’s time for the 2003 Mustang GT to go and be replaced with something more befitting my age.  Then we’ll take my wife’s leased Nissan back to the dealership and buy her an Escalade, or whatever her dream car is.  After 14 years of driving the same cars, we deserve it.

We’ll wait until one of my oldest and dearest friends from military college (you know who you are, Mark A.) who also served as one of my references, gets back from a business trip to Guam to celebrate, but tonight there will be adult beverages.

Thump is back, my friends.  I’m back.  If you’d told me in 1982 as a knuckle-dragging 11B Infantryman that I’d be in the position I’m in now, I’d have busted a gut laughing.  It took a h*** of a lot of work and stress, but now here I sit – Like Borat in his hotel room, seated, muttering “King of the castle, king of the castle, you do this, you do that.”

Used to be…

When I got a nasty cold or virus, I could conquer it in three days or so.  Ah, but I was young then, and in prime physical condition.

All of the shopping trips my wife has sent me on since my return from Alexandria seem to have exposed me to an ugly, nasty sinus infection – I haven’t slept more than two hours in three nights, thus the lack of hot air here.

Give me some time to gobble down enough Aleve-D Sinus and Cold, Sudafed, and locally produced honey, and I’ll be back in the saddle.

Adios for now.