Tonight I am sitting ona couch in my friend April's kitchen. I'm staying with April and her family - her sister, Alice; husband, Jesse; and amazing little boys, Orion, Zaki and Roan - until Sunday, when I'll head out of the DC area for good.
Originally my hope was to post here on the first of September, as that was the first day I was officially a civilian. While the day started out well, it ended in frustration when I locked my keys in my car, couldn't find a working ATM to get cash to pay the tow truck, and I was in no fit shape to write an inaugural posting. On the second day of September, things took a bit longer than expected and a chore from the day before had been postponed, so by the time I was home, my head was hitting the pillow. On the third day of September, I had a fairly easy day, and so now, on my fourth day of being a civilian, I am ready to post!
31 Aug 2010
Since it was my last day as technically active duty (although I was still on leave), I toured a few DC places that I hadn't gotten to yet. First, I went to the National Portrait Gallery, which had some wonderful photos and paintings. Also, they had a Rockwll exhibit, which was ironic since I went to the Rockwell museum in Massachussettes a couple weeks ago.
Next, I walked to the Capitol building and walked around that area for a bit. That led me to see the Supreme Court building, so in I went to walk around the pristine, high-ceilinged halls, look at the marble busts of all the past Supreme Court Justices, and listen to a docent-lecture in the actual courtroom. Amazing how little I knew about our Supreme Court! Did you know that a Justice does not have to be a lawyer?
All of them have been, historically, but it's not
After the Supreme Court, I wandered over to Union Station and took a walk inside, which I haven't done before. It's gorgeous! Then it was time to head back to Sarah's apartment, stopping at Whole Foods to pick up salmon for dinner. We had a fantastic meal of salmon, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Yum!
1 Sep 2010
The day started out quite well: I got up early and headed over to Silver Spring, where I completed and forwarded the paperwork needed to enter the inactive Reserves, received my Commendation Medal and said a final good-bye. Incidentally, I was in the building directly across the street from the Discovery Building, which on this particular day was under lockdown within two hours of when I was in the area, due to the guy who took hostages protesting Discovery Channel.
Luckily, I was nowhere in the area when that event began. Instead, I was in DC, getting my passport back from the Embassy of Vietnam, complete with a one month, multi-entry visa, valid for 1 Nov thru 1 Dec. Next up, I headed to what I thought was going to be my last doctor's appointment. That ended up taking three and a half hours of my day and I had a follow-up scheduled for the next day.
I decided to head over to Bolling Air Force Base to try to get my Reserve military ID. It was 3:30pm at that point, and they wouldn't take me (that office stops taking customers at 3:30pm), but they recommended I head over to Andrews Air Force Base,which was nearby and their office stayed open until 4:30pm. So, off I went. I got a phone call as I pulled into the Andrews ID center, and chatted with a former boss as I went inside.
I got seen around 5pm, only to spend the next half an hour trying to work out with the ID center folks how they should do all the administrativia necessary to get me my ID. It ended with them giving me a number to call the next day and with promises to call me first thing the next morning.
As I walked out of the office, I realized a disturbing fact: I couldn't find my car keys. I searched, I panicked, I raced out to my car, and then, it became clear: I had locked my keys in the car. This began an embarassing drama of calling my car insurance company and then my phone dying; a good samaritan loaning me the use of his phone; the arrival of the tow truck guy; and the extreme frustration of a company that wouldn't take credit card, me not having cash, and the first five ATMs I tried being broken or not taking my card.
You can see why I decided not to blog that night!
2 Sep 2010
This day started out with my additionally scheduled doctor's appointment, which resulted in yet another appointment for the next day. (Luckily, this is not really a bad thing; it's regarding my hearing problems.) Then, I headed back to Sarah's, packed up all my stuff, loaded the car, and headed over to see the classroom where Sarah teaches and to say good-bye to Sarah. Then, it was time to drive up to Fort Meade, where April lives. We chatted and caught up for a bit, and then I drove to Annapolis, where I met a couple prior co-workers for dinner, drinks and chatting. It was a fantastic evening, although a little sad because it was full of yet more good-byes. When I got back to Aprils', we chatted until late, and then I went to bed in the guest room. (Thanks, Alice, for giving up your room and bed for me!)
3 Sep 2010
I slept in, hung out with April and the kids, and was generally lazy for the first part of the day. In the afternoon I headed back to DC for my last doctor's appointment, after which I headed straight back to Fort Meade to try to avoid the Labor Day crush traffic. I only partially succeeded, but it wasn't too bad. We had a great dinner of steaks with mushrooms and onions, mashed potatoes and green beans. Then we spent the evening relaxing on the porch, chatting. Alice straightened my hair, too, and did a fantastic job!
4 Sep 2010
Today, we got up (relatively) early and headed out to the Maryland Rennaissance Festival! We stayed all day and saw jousting, many silly players, some great costumes and lots of interesting shops. It was a perfect day for it, in the low eighties and very low humidity, blue skies and a nice breeze. We managed to eat quite a bit of fair food, which we regretted later, and to drink several Bee Stings and beers. The boys had a nice time, getting wooden swords and enjoying the variety of interesting things to see. Once we got home, Jesse changed out my car brakes, which have been making truly aggravating and alarming grinding sounds, and changed the oil in my car. Thanks, Jesse!
That's the news so far! Tomorrow, I head down to Durham, where I'll stay with my folks until 4 Oct, which is when I fly out to Seoul, South Korea, to begin my round the world trip!
My goal is to write regularly to this blog, detailing my preparations for travel, thoughts and ideas and plans regarding the big trip, and general goings on in my life!
My next blog will outline my general plan for the big trip, to include what prep I've done so far. I look forward to seeing your responses to my blogs, so please feel free to post comments!