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,

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.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Serendipity. Thirty minutes into my first a** chewing of the day my cell phone rang, indicating I had to take the call, I stepped into the main level lobby to hear that pending a background check I have a new job, at a considerably higher salary and much better benefits – Located in Cambridge, MA. Given I still carry a “secret” clearance I don’t think the background check will be an issue.

The COR will be wondering why I’m grinning ear to ear as he eats me a new a** next week.

A warm-up and a jog seem to be just the thing…

To make showering possible.  The cold weather here and the cool water in the hotel combine to make a sort of Swedish bath…The exercise raises my temperature enough to make it bearable.

Sure are a lot of joggers here, but considering most of them are active or retired military that makes sense, I suppose.

A further blessing is that there’s a Starbucks right on the way to the Metro station, one Venti Americano equals about three regular coffees.  That leaves only two regular coffees to consume once I get to work before I stop glaring at everyone who speaks to me.

Off for day two at the puzzle palace, Lord, let this trip go quickly.