Sunday, April 05, 2009

Vacation's Over - Back To Work

My month-long hiatus from a full-time job has ended.  I'm in Winchester, Virginia, for training with the Army Corps of Engineers.  I'll be here until Friday, when I go down to Dulles and get on a plane bound for Kuwait.  My "vacation" was extended twice, as noted in previous postings, and now I'm ready to get back to work.  It's not that I wanted to leave home (FAR from it!!), but when you're supposed to be doing something, well dammit, it doesn't feel right when you're not.

Janis and I had a great last few days together.  On Friday night, we went to a party at our friend Genie Maples' studio.  We got to see quite a few artist friends that we hadn't seen in a while, including Daniel Nevins, Wendy Whitson, John Mac Kah, and Constance Humphries.  It was really good to see them all again and play catch-up on what they were up to.  On Saturday evening, we had dinner with our next-door neighbors.  We ate way too much shrimp over rice (yum), drank a bit too much beer, and finished it off with chocolate-chip-cookie-and-Cool-Whip sandwiches.  We played the original version of Trivial Pursuit, too, which was really interesting on a variety of levels.  Wikipedia says this version was published in 1981, which makes it 28 years old now, and answering near-30-year-old trivia questions as if they were current news can be a bit disconcerting ... such as those about the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall, and most especially movies and entertainment stars.  Note to self: time to get a more current set of questions!

Today was tough.  After I gave the dogs one final morning walk, Janis took me down to the airport.  Leaving J and the two girls is always hard.  We two humans knew what was up, but even the dogs seemed to understand that Daddy was going away again.  I managed to get pretty much settled down by the time our boarding call was announced.  While the plane was taxiing to the end of the runway, we heard this angelic voice coming from a few rows up.  Some little girl, maybe 3 or 4 years of age, was very excited about being on the plane.  As we started our takeoff roll, we could hear her coaxing the plane as if it was a pet: " ... uuuppp .... uuuppp .... UUUPPP ..." Then the nose came up and the plane launched itself into the air, and our little cheerleader cried out "AND AWAAAYYYY!!!"

Once I got to Dulles Airport, I met up with the group that was heading to this week's training in Winchester.  Our guidance had noted we'd be shuttled up here by a limo service.  Now I don't know about you, but in my experience, "limo service" in such cases normally means a 15-passenger van.  Not this time.  They took five of us out and loaded us into an honest-to-God stretched Lincoln limousine.  The next group followed in a stretched Ford Excursion that looked like it could carry a brigade of troops in full combat tuxedos.  You can see our limo here - ours was the one with the black interior as seen in the bottom right photo.  We all thought that stretched limos would definitely be the thing to have in Baghdad or Kabul.

Now I'm sitting here in my room in the Holiday Inn.  This is a really nice place.  It's brand new.  There's an exercise room like almost all hotels have nowadays, and I went down there and pushed some weights around for a bit to start working off some of the pounds I think I put on while at home.  Then I had a really first-rate salad in the hotel's dining room - a big surprise because who goes to a Holiday Inn for a good dinner?  Now I've got to do a bit of ironing and then hit the rack.  We've got an early morning tomorrow and I need to be sharp.  

1 comment:

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