Not nostalgic

We spent last weekend in Norfolk visiting Brian and his family (Hi, Brian and family!).  It was really nice to see them and hang out (they make Norfolk FUN!), but I found on the drive in and the way out that I’m REALLY not nostalgic for that area.  We lived and worked there for two years.  We bought our first house there.  We adopted Roxy and Riley into that house.  I got out of the Navy there.  I got my first post-Navy job there.  There’s all that history, but when we drove around and through, my feelings were mostly of the I’m-glad-we-don’t-live-here-anymore variety.  There’s nothing WRONG with it.  It’s a perfectly nice place to live.  But.  I don’t think back on my Navy years with fondness (neither does John), and down there, where nearly EVERYONE is in the Navy or has a tie to it, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore.

The dogs are the one thing I AM nostalgic about, of course.  I miss them terribly, and it was nice to drive by our old house and remember them playing in the yard, but they spent most of their lives in the Ashburn house, so even that is somewhat overshadowed by the Navy presence.

We moved away 10 and a half years ago.  I’ve been out of the Navy officially for nearly 11 years.  My Navy phobia hasn’t waned.  Okay, “phobia” is too strong.  Discomfort.  Not going back there.

But the house – the house was good to us.  It appears to have lost ALL character in the last ten years (along with the bushes that used to be in front and flowered practically year-round), but let’s blame the owners for that.  Also, winter and brown grass and no leaves.

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Audible gasps from all around, seriously

A couple of weeks ago, our good friend Chuck retired after 30 years in the navy.  It was a really nice ceremony all the way through, but the best part came at the end.  One of his fellow master chiefs stood up to read The Watch (as you do).  It’s sentimental to begin with, but for the most part, it’s like listening to the readings by family members at a wedding.  The readings are nice, and the words are heartfelt (you hope), but you’ve heard them before.

The master chief was introduced, but she bowed out, saying someone more appropriate was going to read it.  Chuck’s son, a brand new seaman apprentice, two weeks out of boot camp, appeared from behind the enormous American flag hanging from the ceiling.  Chuck was taken completely by surprise and choked up immediately.  Cody began to read.

The Watch (with minor adjustments made by Chuck):

For thirty years, this shipmate has stood the watch.
While some of us were in our racks at night, this shipmate stood the watch.
While some of us were in school learning our trade, this shipmate stood the watch.
Yes, even before some of us were born into this world, this shipmate stood the watch.
In these many years as war has been waged against us, and as our nation sacrifices blood and treasure, this shipmate stood the watch.
Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there, needing his help during those hard times, and yet he stood the watch.
For thirty years, he stood the watch so that we, our families, and our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety each and every night, knowing that a sailor stood the watch.
Today we are here to say, “Command Master Chief, the watch stands relieved, relieved by those you have trained, guided, and led.  Shipmate, you stand relieved.  We have the watch.”

Now read those last couple of sentence again, with one minor adjustment, knowing that Cody is his father’s son.

“Command Master Chief, the watch stands relieved, relieved by those you have trained, guided, and led.  Shipmate, you stand relieved.”  Then he paused, looked up at his dad, and said, “Dad, I have the watch.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  In fact, I’m tearing up just thinking about it. That kid’s good.

Anxiety dreams

The classic (or cliche) anxiety dream seems to be the one where you’re at school or at work or wherever (the place doesn’t seem to matter too much as long as it’s public and filled with people) and all of a sudden you realize you’re naked.  I have never had that dream (not that I’m complaining).  No, my anxiety dreams are about the Navy.  I’m on a ship, the ship’s at the pier (it’s very rarely at sea – I’m not sure why), and everyone is rushing around preparing to go to sea (maybe in a couple of hours, maybe the next day – soon) or preparing for something big, and I have no idea what’s going on.  It’s always me as I am now, years out of active duty, having forgotten more than I ever knew.  I don’t know where to go, how to get around, what to do, what to say, or even what to wear.  Sometimes people are nice to me and sometimes they’re not, but everyone has a job to do and understands what that is except me.  That would be bad enough if in the dream I thought I was supposed to know all those things, but I always know I don’t belong there.  I’m not supposed to be on the ship – I got out!  I was free.  How did I end up back there?  I hate that dream.  Had it last night.  Much as I hate the 6:00 alarm (who’s singing now?), I was a teensy bit happy to wake up to it this morning.

People faint all the time at my events

Yesterday was a weird day.  It started fine.  I got a ton of stuff done at work in the morning and I left to take my statistics midterm with plenty of time to finish it.  Except it wasn’t enough time.  I got about halfway done in TWO HOURS and then the testing center closed (it’s Spring Break) and I had to leave it unfinished.  (I emailed my professor.  We’ll see.)  Then I had a ridiculously strange conversation with the checkout lady at Wegmans when I ran in to pick up dinner (I was talking about knee highs.  She was talking about tampons.  She must have thought I was insane.), and when I got home I wasn’t in the mood to do ANYthing.  It was such a huge contrast to the day before.  When I got home from the gym Wednesday night, I felt like I could climb mountains.  You know why?  I’ll tell you why.  But wait – I need some space.  This is big and needs its own paragraph.

For the first time in my life – this is no exaggeration – I touched my toes.  Even when I was little, even when I was in high school and so skinny I could hurt people with my hip bones (those days are long gone), I couldn’t do that.  I faked it in the Navy – we were sitting down and I could lunge for my toes twice a year.  But this, this was real.  (I’m a purist.)  This was standing up, folding forward, and reaching.  And I. Touched. My. Toes.

Go me.  Go yoga.

Bonfire

There’s probably an HOA regulation against it (or a county ordinance or an actual law or something), but sometimes I think it would be kinda convenient if we could lug everything out of the basement and burn it in the backyard.  Except the washer and dryer.  And the dog crates.  And the drum sets, amps, guitars, studio equipment, and other musical paraphernalia.  And the books.  Everything else, though – who needs it?  It’s not stuff we use often, if ever, and we’ve already combed through it looking for stuff to donate, so why are we still holding on to it?  Some it is paper – things that should be filed and held onto for a while.  I started that project over a year ago; I’d like to finish it some day.  We have an exercise bike I don’t use – I could easily get rid of that.  John has a weight bench, but he uses that sometimes.  What else?  I really don’t know.  But there’s a lot of crap down there.

In other news, I have no news because I still haven’t gotten my midterm grade and I decided not to bug my professor because why?  I don’t know.  I just decided not to bug him.  It hasn’t even been a week since I took the test.  I can be patient.  For a couple more days.

I’m considering cutting out caffeine.  Cutting back certainly.  Possibly cutting it out altogether.  I’ve been drinking too much of the stuff lately.  Today alone: 1 cup of tea with breakfast at home, 1 cup of coffee mid-morning at work, and another cup mid-afternoon.   TOO MUCH.  I don’t know if I can start tomorrow, though.  I’ve got an 8am meeting downtown, so I’ll need something or I’ll fall asleep on the way in.  And Thursday I’ll be exhausted from Wednesday’s very late night….I’ll start Friday.  You believe me, right?  How is it that I got through four years in the Navy without a coffee habit only to be beaten by a regular 9-5 job?  Hm.  The answer may be in the question.

I wouldn’t bet against myself in a poker game – actually, I probably would

I don’t want to work any more this week.  Or next week.  I’m ready for vacation, and I’d like a super-long one, please.  The danger with super-long vacations, of course, is that after all that time off, I don’t want to go back to work.  The first time that happened to me was after the month I took off to move across the country when I transferred from San Diego to Norfolk.  Then, I could very easily blame my reluctance to go back to work on the fact that work = ship and deployment and separation and stress.  I don’t have that excuse anymore (something I am most certainly NOT complaining about).  Going back to work now just means not being able to stay home and be lazy, something I don’t get any sympathy for.  Which is fair.  I can hardly demand sympathy for being employed.  Nor should I.

Editing is a good thing.  I just deleted a paragraph about my hair.  My ponytail, really.  Be grateful.  It was…stupid.  Worse than inane.  Or, well, it was inane, but not in a fun way.

Because I can’t think of any other way to stop tonight, I’ll leave you with this: Kenny Loggins wouldn’t beat the baby Jesus.

Craving healthy food

I don’t make smart food choices when I’m traveling.  See yesterday’s post for exhibit A.  I bought a custard-filled muffin and a cookie.  And that was not an isolated incident.  Now that I’m home (Ahem.  I’m home now.), with access to a fridge and cabinets and a Wegman’s, all I want to eat is fruit.  And vegetables.  Salads and turkey sandwiches.  This used to happen to me in the Navy, too, when I got back from being at sea for a stretch.  Fresh food disappeared fast, and we didn’t get supplies all that often.  I’d come home craving leafy green stuff.  SO not normal for me.  But it’ll be great if I can keep it up.

Keeping myself up today is something else.  I’m not nearly as tired as I was the last time I had to get up at 3:30 for a 6am flight (and I’m pretty sure that’s due to getting close to seven hours of sleep last night), but I can feel sleepiness rolling in.  I don’t think I have more than two hours left before I’m unconscious.  Hopefully John will get home before then.  Both so I can see him and so we can eat.  I’m hungry and I’m pretty sure I missed lunch today.  I had breakfast in Chicago while waiting for my connection (bagel, banana, iced vanilla chai – best drink ever), and that’s the last thing I remember eating.  8-ish.  I’m gonna have an apple while I wait.