Thursday, November 05, 2009

Return to the Grind ... but it's a new grind ...

I've been down for the past week with a cold. Picked it up while at home on R&R, evidently, and it finally took off after I came back here. The medical center reassured my hypochondriac self that I didn't have pneumonia again (have had it three times in my life, no fun) and that I wasn't going to die anytime soon - at least, not from a cold. So they gave me lots of good drugs that made my sinuses drier than the Mojave Desert. Yesterday, my body told me that the virus was officially dead, so now I'm just getting over the residual symptoms.

As a result, I hit the treadmill tonight after work. It whipped my butt, but sure felt good to get moving again. Tomorrow: weight room.

I'm much happier at work these days. My little group of people has transferred into the Gulf Region District, so we have a new set of bosses who are still learning what we're all about, but they're very supportive. Most importantly, my job has completely changed. I was working on organizational issues and creating PowerPoint briefings for high mucky-mucks who didn't understand what we were telling them and didn't seem to care. Not a lot of job satisfaction there. Now, I'm running six programs with budgets of many millions of your taxpayer dollars. All of them are designed to help Iraqi provincial officials and people run their own country in a more effective manner. A chance like this is the reason I volunteered to come here, and I'm going to give all of these projects my best shot. It's a really tremendous opportunity.

In addition to the job being so good, life in our new location is better. I moved into our new office this past week. It's on the same compound where my barracks room is. So instead of having to take the special bus in to work, and being tied to the bus schedule, I now have a commute of (by actual measurement) 2 minutes 30 seconds from my room to my desk. Pretty cool. Okay, so it's about 45 minutes if you include the trip to the DFAC for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (10 minute walk each way down a dusty road heavily travelled by MRAPs, semi-trucks, Strykers, John Deere gators, and every variety of SUV and pickup in the world). The air in our office building seems to be much healthier than the old building, too. My eyes aren't bothering me like they did.

And if all this wasn't good news enough, this past week we won a painting from a dear friend of ours in a raffle. The artist is Genie Maples. Her studio is just down the hall from mine, and she paints wonderful, powerful abstracts. This one is particularly strong - you can read about it in her blog. Suffice it to say, it's about a lot more than you think.

So the next six months look like they're going to be an exciting time. Work is fun again!


  1. Skip

    I was happy to find you here through Sean.

    Hope you are doing well. From the sound of things, you are making a real difference.

    All the best

  2. Congratulations on winning the raffle for Genie's painting. You work in quite a building there in the flood plain of the French Broad River !!
    Ted McIrvine